Who did you trust?
When the November 2014 Escondido Mayoral race came down to two candidates, voters had to place their trust in one or the other. Olga Diaz, the upstart civilian political novice, who displayed great energy, enthusiasm and a refreshing sense of 'outsider' naivete. She showed great empathy for the disenfranchised, the marginalized, and the poor. She promised to bring the community together, to look forward and to protect the integrity of the Escondido experience.
She had looked many residents of the Country Club area in the eye and told us she appreciated our community activism, energy and commitment to the political process.
Nearly a year later, it is now clear that despite Olga Diaz' duplicitous actions, switching sides and supporting the efforts of the LA based property flipper, that ultimately, she was at least honest about her position. It probably cost her the election, and as much vitriol as her betrayal engendered, she stuck to her guns and took a stand.
It pains me to say that, but it is true.
Incumbent Republican Abed on the other hand, said voters could trust him to continue his fiscal prudence. He was "proud of his ethics and integrity" and his "leadership skills." And he asked the ECC people to be patient and to know, he had our back.
Back in August 2013, along with the entire Council, they had both voted to stop the LA flipper from turning the Country Club neighborhood into a personal ATM machine by carpeting it with high-density, zero lot line tract homes. The people were ecstatic that the process of qualifying the Citizens Property Rights Initiative using a self financed, all volunteer effort, had been formally adopted and unanimously made law.
But something happened on the way to the 2014 election. Facing a deep-pocket assault along the campaign trail, both politicians chose to go AWOL.
Democrat Diaz claimed her ability to 'connect with the community' would make Escondido a "better place to live." But in the end, her coziness with the Beverly Hills Bully overruled her empathy for the community. Olga's campaign took his money and switched sides, endorsing his plans to amend the Escondido General Plan, which would effectively render the citizens referendum moot. She tossed the mostly older, white, Republican Country Club community vote under the bus. A cynical, but very calculated political decision.
Unbeknownst to the voters, Sam had previously met secretly and encouraged the flipper, so he chose the only expedient way to avoid a conflict of interest. He decided the least costly political move would be to sit on the proverbial fence. "Let the voters decide."
The voters decided, crushing the Beverly Bully's Prop H, by a huge 2 to 1 margin.
So Sam won reelection, then pandered to the community, telling them he would protect their interests. He stated that the Bully was the problem, not the solution. That the community had vested property rights, and that he would demand that the property owner collaborate and come to the table to modify his homes-only plans to include other vital amenities too. He asked us to trust him...
Boy, were we naive. Last week, he, Olga and councilman Mike Marasco along with Jeff Epp, the inept and outgunned City attorney who couldn't defend the historical decisions of the Escondido Planning Department and the Citizens Initiative that legally memorialized those zoning resolutions, capitulated to the LA property flipper.
They simply kicked the community effort to the curb for political expediency. So much for Sam's "ethics and integrity." What a sick joke!
Democrat or Republican, I am sorry to say Escondido is a microcosm of Politics in America....really ugly.