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Escondido Democrats Endorsements

Mayor — Olga Diaz

Council District 1 — Consuelo Martinez

Council District 2 — Chad ‘Shad’ Hunziker
(rated acceptable)

Elementary School District Area 4 — Martin Hranek
(rated acceptable)

High School District Area 2 — Lou Barrios

High School District Area 5 — Georgine Tomasi

Measure E (School Bonds) — YES

Measure G (Charter City) — NO

Measure H (Lakes Specific Plan) — YES

See more detail from the EDC election coverage page.
See Democratic Party recommendations for State positions and propositions. 

Find your polling place.

Diaz gets endorsements from Maher, The Paper

Olga Diaz has gained two endorsements from high-profile conservatives in her effort to become Escondido Mayor: former Escondido Chief of Police Jim Maher and Lyle E. Davis, editor of The Paper.

Maher, of course, has been the center of a controversy over the terms of his “retirement” from the Escondido Police Department. There have been persistent rumors, still unproven, that his departure agreement stipulated that he could not participate in Escondido city politics. This claim has been impossible to prove or disprove as the agreements are confidential personnel matters.

Maher is quoted in a Diaz campaign ad as saying “Olga Diaz is unquestionably the best candidate for Mayor of Escondido.”

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Abed: “Why would someone like you support someone like her?”

by Irv Lefberg

Photo of Mayor Sam AbedThe Mayor’s revealing question about my support for Olga Diaz: “Why would someone like you support someone like her?”

That’s the question I was asked by the Mayor awhile back when I talked with him at his booth at a Street Faire in downtown Escondido.   I was wearing my “Olga Diaz for Mayor” shirt, and thought it might be interesting to ask the Mayor a few wonkish questions about fiscal issues that were before the City Council at the time, like the optimum size of the “reserve” and pension funding obligations.

I told the Mayor that I had been a non-partisan, career civil servant in Washington State for over 30 years, working (much of the time) as a fiscal and economic advisor and manager for both  Democratic and Republican Governors; that I held  a PhD from a good school and had been a professor at the University of Washington.  And, that my late wife Cheryl and I ran two small,  moderately successful businesses during our 30 years of marriage.

It was at this point that he asked me the question that’s in the title of this post.  It could not have been more revealing (and corroborative) about his state of mind and vision of the City and Nation.   It was also offensive to me.

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Is Mayor Abed bragging about embarrassing data?

by Irv Lefberg (cross-posted from

upeconomy-questionReal economic information has always been a casualty of electioneering.  Since campaign loony tunes have been  put on steroids by Tea Party style dialogue, it’s even worse,  if that’s imaginable.   I offer a little case study here from the City of Escondido, near San Diego, where I live, which illustrates the problem.   This case has some humorous features that should alleviate the inclination to cry or pound the table.  It has its counterparts in most of the U.S. Senate and Governor’s races we follow across the country.

“Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts,” said the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan, about American political campaigning.

The Mayor of Escondido has either never heard this wise and oft quoted remark, or doesn’t agree with it, especially as it applies to the local economy. The Mayor, or his publicists, have indeed brought new manufacturing to Escondido (as he claims) – the manufacture of numbers about the City’s economy during his tenure.

These numbers are either lies, sloppily concocted because its too much effort to get them right,  or just picked out of thin air because they have a nice ring to them. It’s more likely one of the latter two, than outright lying, because some of the “facts” (amusingly) subvert the Mayor’s case.  The examples are from the Mayor’s stump speeches and campaign mailers blanketing the city.

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Former Mayor Harmon calls for investigation

photo of Jerry HarmonFormer Escondido Mayor Jerry Harmon has called upon public officials to investigate Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, City Manager Clay Phillips and City Attorney Jeff Epp. Harmon believes the officials used public funds for political purposes when they allegedly attempted to stop former Police Chief Jim Maher from running for public office in the city. Harmon’s action follows publication of a letter, attributed to an employee in the city attorney’s office, that was published in The Paper, a weekly newspaper. The August 20, 2013 letter, which appears to have been written for Maher to sign, states “I have no intention whatsoever to seek elective office or to assist any candidate in running for elective office in the City of Escondido during the next election.”

Watch video of the news conference on the EDC YouTube Channel. 

Read coverage in Coast News.

Visit Jerry Harmon’s website on this topic.

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Council votes 4 to 1 against shelter

Olga Diaz photoAs expected, the Escondido City Council voted October 15 to support the recommendation of the city Planning Commission and to reject the application for a migrant children’s shelter in the southwest part of the city.

Mayor Sam Abed and Council members Ed Gallo, Mike Morasco and John Masson voted against the shelter proposal; Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz supported it by voting not to approve the Planning Commission recommendation.

In her usual style, Diaz went through a long list of comparisons that answered, for her, the question of whether the proposed shelter was an appropriate use of the former nursing home — it was. And when she moved from that part of the decision to the “conscience” part, she said recalled the failure of President Franklin Roosevelt to admit a ship of Jewish refugees during World War II. She called his failure “a mark of shame” on his leadership. She declared “I may lose an election but I will not lose my humanity,” by voting against the shelter.

Southwest Key, a firm that operates similar facilities in other parts of San Diego County, had sought a conditional use permit to convert the nursing home to a shelter. Its application had been denied by the Planning Commission, but was appealed by the ACLU. Dozens of public speakers addressed the issue  in a Council meeting that lasted more than three hours.

Read coverage in UT San Diego.
Read coverage from NBC7.
See video coverage from News 8.
Read coverage in the Los Angeles Times.

Watch video from the City of Escondido website.

Measure H – the Lakes Specific Plan

photo of October meeting

Michael Crews presents the case for Measure H to Escondido Democrats.

Those promoting and opposing Escondido Measure H, the Lakes Specific Plan that would allow construction of 430 homes on the now-closed Escondido Country Club golf course, appeared before Escondido Democrats at the October 11 meeting. Each side had 15 minutes to state their case and each brought a slide show to support their presentation. Videos and the slides are available below for review.

There was little new information in either presentation. The developer promoting the project spoke of increased property values, new recreational facilities, water use savings and improved access to the neighborhood. The opponents predicted increased traffic and congestion, higher water use, stress on other support facilities and bemoaned the loss of open space the development would cause. Each focused on challenging claims made by the other side.

The opponents, neighborhood residents from the Escondido Country Club Homeowners group, said their goal was to defeat the developer’s proposal, then identify an independent, objective third party who could facilitate negotiations on the fate of the property. Speaker Jim Ahlers of the ECCHO board agreed the land is likely to be developed, but stressed that the proposal in Measure H is not good for Escondido and needs to be defeated.

Escondido Democrats have endorsed Measure H, as have Mayoral candidate Olga Diaz and Council District 1 candidate Consuelo Martinez.

Watch video of the presentation for Measure H. 
See the slides in the Yes on Measure H presentation. 

Watch video of the presentation Against Measure H. 
See the slides in the No on Measure H presentation.

Latina Olga Diaz Aims for the Top Spot in Conservative Escondido

(Reposted from the San Diego Free Press)

By Don Greene, President

photo of Olga Diaz

Olga Diaz

In North County politics, Olga Diaz is an anomaly. Currently, as the Deputy Mayor of Escondido, Olga has achieved something that no one else has done in 126 years: She is the first Latina elected to the City Council. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Once named the 11th Most Conservative City in the United States, Escondido can be a lonely place for a Latina, especially if she fits the description of Olga Diaz.

Diaz describes herself as an environmentalist. She as championed the rehabilitation of Escondido Creek, turning it from a concrete, channelized flood control basin to a 7-mile linear park in the heart of the city. She also describes herself as a feminist, a progressive, and, if those weren’t enough, a Democrat.

Being all these things should not be automatic detriment to a candidate or politician, but in Escondido, things are a little different. Recently, at a Republican Central Committee meeting, current mayor, Sam Abed, declared that “Escondido is the Republican capitol of San Diego County.” It is much of that type of bravado that gets the city into a lot of legal troubles. It was some of that legal trouble that launched Diaz’s political career.

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