Editor’s note: The Times-Advocate offers candidates the option of an interview or submitting a candidate’s statement. Rick Paul, candidate for Escondido City Council in District 2, the late John Masson’s district, chose to submit a statement.
Escondido has been my home for over 30 years, and I am deeply committed to making it a city that is a great place to live, work, and play. As a businessman and engineer, I know how important it is to support community organizations and neighborhoods that work to revitalize the city.
I am dedicated to carefully listening to residents, learning about neighborhood needs, working collaboratively with local organizations, and paying careful attention to budgetary issues. I’ve worked with City Council members, most notably John Masson, so I have an understanding of the stakeholders involved. I am running for City Council now because there is great need for leadership and budgetary expertise which I can bring to the city council. I can fill the leadership gap left by John Masson.
I am an independent, non-partisan civic leader who will not participate in rancorous political party arguments. It is not the time to divide the city; it’s time to unify, to bring our communities together.
As a co-founder of the Escondido Charitable Foundation, I helped bring like-minded residents together to fund local health, education, and youth programs. These efforts have infused over $2,000,000 into the Escondido economy and brought our community closer together without using city government funding.
Today, my top priority is to fight the coronavirus so that city residents and businesses will be safe. Residents need to have access to the best available testing and medical care. I will also vote to extend local laws against evictions.
Escondido businesses have received sustainability grants. I am an advocate for additional grants and as well as zoning changes that keep businesses open. I will fight for Escondido’s fair share of recovery grants when they become available. We must support our small businesses, now more than ever.
As a current member of the Escondido Planning Commission, I also support smart growth that will provide increased affordable housing that is adjacent to mass transit and walkable city services. I believe that all rezoning needs to be tied to local job creation, and I will require that all new developments pay their own way so that current residents are not burdened with new taxes.
I am a consistent advocate for parks and open space that provide multiple opportunities for outdoor activities. I served on the board of the Daley Ranch, a 3,201acre nature preserve that is a unique habitat conservation area, maintained by Escondido in perpetuity. There, in non-COVID times, I lead trail hikes and taught seminars on local wildlife habitats. It is a place for families to recreate and enjoy the outdoors while maintaining our ecological heritage.
Other issues where leadership can make a difference include the following: Escondido will be in deficit spending this year and likely several years thereafter. The city must manage underfunded pension liabilities; I want to work with local and state officials to find a fair compromise that will not bankrupt the city. As a businessman, I know budgets. We need to be smart in budget cutting to create a lean city government that is both responsive and effective.
Secondly, neighborhood leaders worry about crime and local gangs; the Community Alliance for Escondido supports early intervention teams and mentoring youth in unique ways that can provide direction and leadership for city and police programs. (I am a member of the Alliance.) Collaboration with Interfaith Community Services, and Solutions for Change, among others, to address the surge in homelessness is vital. If non-profits and local government can partner in this challenges, Escondido will be on a strong footing.
I am uniquely qualified from within the typical field of candidates. I have an incredible work ethic. I am dedicated to creating an Escondido where all are welcome and where the community can thrive.
Rick Paul, 08/13/2020