Dara Czerwonka, candidate for Escondido City Council in District 3, is criticizing rival Joe Garcia, for accepting campaign contributions of $4,300 from Safari Highland LLC, a developer group proposing a controversial project in the San Pasqual Valley. Both are on the November ballot.
Czerwonka said, “This is an inherent conflict of interest for Garcia, both as a candidate for City Council and as the current Vice Chair of the Escondido Planning Commission, an official committee of the City of Escondido that is charged with providing the initial review and recommendation for or against the development.”
Czerwonka is also a resident of the adjoining community of the proposed project, and historically, a vocal opponent of the project since it was first proposed as, “Safari Highlands Ranch.”
“I do not believe Mr. Garcia can be objective in evaluating the Harvest Hills project after accepting such a sizable contribution from the developer so close to an inevitable vote,” said Czerwonka.
The project in question is the Harvest Hills development, a 550 luxury home development in the San Pasqual Valley, between the Safari Park and the Rancho Vistamonte / Rancho San Pasqual housing neighborhoods.
The developer is working on a finalized Environmental Impact Report with details about the mitigation plan to address the 800 objections raised by local residents and other interested parties.
Previously Garcia was urged by the Sierra Club to return the campaign contribution. The Sierra Club also two candidates running for other district seats to return the campaign contribution to Safari Highlands Ranch LLC.
“I believe that Jose Garcia, as a candidate and a Planning Commissioner, should not only be above actual ethical impropriety; he should also act above reproach. Escondido deserves better,” said Czerwonka.
Czerwonka’s website can be found at darac4esco3.com.
The Times-Advocate contacted the Garcia campaign for comment and we have not received a response.