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Ed Gallo Speaks


Editor—Even since Ed Gallo “retired” from the city council I have been working on him to get him to write us a column. I finally broke him down, and here is the first example:

You are correct.  This is a new column premier edition.  Hopefully it won’t be a one and done.  Today’s topic in the historic Escondido Times Advocate, our hometown newspaper will deal with an issue I presented to the City Council on June 5 this year.  

As we all know, Escondido is heavily reliant on sales tax revenue to provide for the necessary public services such as police, fire and recreation.  

More so than other cities in San Diego County due to the property tax formula that has scr–– uh, shortchanged Escondido for over 40 years.  The bulk of our sales tax revenue is generated in the retail sector led by North County Faire as most longtime residents refer to Westfield North County and the Auto Park.  Grand Avenue has been an integral part in revenue generation for 131 years.

For over 50 years Escondido has invested millions of dollars improving the appearance of Grand Avenue beginning in the late ‘60’s adding the center median after the Village Mall (first enclosed mall in California) drew businesses from Grand Ave.  

The ‘70’s saw the addition of free public parking lots.  In the ‘80’s after North County Faire opened and usurped retail from downtown the pop-outs and pedestrian lights were added.  And the parking meters were removed from Grand Ave “because the mall has free parking and downtown should offer the same.” Last year the center median was additionally enhanced with the removal of the dying eucalyptus trees and replaced with new trees and colorful flowering plants.  In the near future plans are set to reconfigure the parking situation downtown adding more parking.  All of these investments were initiated to preserve the viability of the only true ‘Main Street’ in North County.  

However, I believe the most productive investment in downtown has been the advent of the Façade and Property Improvement Program.  According to our Management Analyst, the return on investment of the FPIP has been 10 to 1. A $10 return for every $1 dollar invested on image and appearance which has been one of my bi-lines since I was on the East Valley Association Board in the ‘90’s.  That’s the 1990’s.

When I was in retail some decades ago my motto was “eye appeal is buy appeal.”  If it looks good people will buy it.  Anyone who remembers the pet rock craze will know what I am talking about.  The same goes for our downtown.  We have not had any funding for the FPIP the past few years but I think it is time now to again fund this program.  This fits in nicely with what the Mayor has stated before and after the election about rejuvenating Grand Avenue and when added to what the new street scene will look like it makes prudent sense to kick start the FPIP.  

I told the business owner with whom I spoke that I would do what I can to get funding for his plans on an exterior remodel of his building.  If we take the Mayor’s words seriously then we should once again offer an incentive for existing businesses to improve their properties, and there are still storefronts that could use improvement, and also for prospective business and property owners.  Thank you for not calling the grammar police on any inadvertent errors.

*Note: Opinions expressed by columnists and letter writers are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the newspaper.

2 responses to “Ed Gallo Speaks”

  1. You are right Ed. Keeping Grand Ave as Escondido’s Main Street serves us all who enjoy the shops and restaurants.

  2. SoCal Baker says:

    Ed, I agree with perceptions, then why did Escondido not pave any roads or send code enforcement to any of the flower or tree streets to stop multiple families from living in a single family home or doing illegal garage conversions. People want to live in areas that are maintained and Escondido has allowed whole parts of the city to be ghettofied. Drive down 9th from the 15 toward Petersons Doughnuts and you will see homes that have 3 families living in it and commercial properties that are not maintained or allow homeless people to congregate. I have never in the 18 years living in Escondido ever seen a code enforcement pick-up truck in front of a house that has someone living in its garage. Just drive down Rose street toward East valley and you can write tickets to your hearts content; enforcement is the solution to Escondido’s problems, crack down on blight and multiple families in homes and Escondido will be great again. Downtown is changing, which is good, but the whole city needs an upgrade and that will only happen when there is consequence for breaking the law. Really, should we let people park on their lawn or have 9 cars in front of there house, or have un-permitted additions built in their back yard?

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