Deputy Mayor John Masson, who is running for reelection to the Escondido City Council responded this week to some points that were made by his opponent Nicole Downey in our interview with her last week.
“For the record,” Masson said, “I’m a proud Republican but nobody tells me how to vote on anything. I think I missed one ECCHO meeting and don’t recall ever seeing her at the meetings. I don’t recall seeing her at council meetings advocating for her ideas for the community.”
Masson says that he too is willing to meet with anyone from any side. “I’ll speak and/or meet with anyone- Republican, Democrat, Independent, etc. Interesting how, neither Nicole or Vanessa have ever reached out to meet with me to discuss ideas or issues. All of the sudden they have the answers?”
Masson defended the city’s programs to deal with the homeless. “Regarding the homeless, we’ve done a great job with the limited resources that we have. We also have lots of affordable housing when compared with other communities. Our increase in homeless is a direct result of poor legislation from Sacramento: AB109 and Prop 47.”
Masson flatly denied Downey’s comment: “There are a lot of businesses on Grand that are putting for sale signs. Even my opponent John Masson’s commercial property is up for sale for $2.8 million.”
Masson told The Times-Advocate: “Regarding ‘my’ commercial property… I don’t own the property, I’m just a renter. My Dad owns it with two other partners and one of them wants out and is not willing to be bought out by the current partners. Her insinuation that it’s up for sale because everything is so bad is ludicrous.”
He also criticized his challenger’s suggestions for dealing with vacancies. “Her answer to vacancies is tax residents and property owners of vacant commercial buildings?”
He added, “With regard to graffiti, we have a robust graffiti abatement program that has been very effective. We continue to put more resources toward this program as they become available.”
Regarding Downey’s assertion that the city is aiming to force out the Escondido Community Child Development Center by raising its rent, Masson responded: “I have donated engineering and surveying services to the Escondido Community Child Development Center. The City is not trying to force them out. Our strategy is to bring our leases closer to market rate. We try to balance the lease rate/subsidy with community benefit while at the same time maximizing the return to the City.”
The Times-Advocate encourages a robust debate among candidates or supporters for city offices or any offices that are within our service area. We will sit down any candidate any time before the election, as well as do follow up stories on issues that are brought up.