Escondido, CA

Jeff Epp’s commitment to Escondido


What do you say to a man upon his retirement who has dedicated 36 years of his life to serving his community?
There is so much that I and many, many others can say but it seems that Chokran, Danke, Hvala, Mahalo, Grazie, Takk, Gracias or Thank You are most appropriate. These are just some of the languages of thanks of people who Jeff Epp has been touched by and who he has touched. This is Jeff’s last month in the employ of the City of Escondido.
Jeff began his career in 1985 as a Deputy City Attorney and years later was named our City Attorney when Dave Chapman retired. Epp was a young sharp lawyer whom Chapman chose to serve on a legal team who argued, and won, a challenge to the recently approved mobile home rent control ordinance before the United States Supreme Court. He had a photo of him standing in front of the Supreme Court Building in D.C. which looked like it was his high school senior class trip photo. Oh yeah, he was a very young lawyer.
Then in 2017 he was named Escondido City Manager following the resignation of the previous City Manager. After a nationwide search the presumed replacement withdrew his application and the next day I asked Jeff if he would take over as CM knowing that he had enough years to allow him to retire. After checking with his family in Dubois, Wyoming he agreed to stay on. I’m not sure if he knew at the time that he would spend the next four years managing city operations. Any person who works for the same company, in this case a city, or for 36 years deserves to exercise his right to go, in his case, hunting and helping run the family owned Outlaw Saloon in Dubois.
Oh, a few words on Dubois. Very small town population 959 as of 2019 which is actually an increase over 1980 but a decease since 2010. I must add that Jeff Epp was part of the 1.2% population decrease between 1980 and 1990. But … pickleball is coming to Dubois which as I have stated numerous times is the fastest growing sport in America. I bet Jeff could run that town with one hand tied behind his back and working maybe 15 hours per week. We shall see. That is if he moves there.
I just wanted to say a few words thanking Jeff for his commitment to Escondido. Others will offer the many accolades due him at his sayonara dinner. During my 16 years on the Council and 10 years on various commissions I, actually all of us, have been the beneficiary of his counsel and his outstanding service as our City Manager especially during the past 15 months in balancing budgets during these very trying COVID times. Thanks Jeff, and as Roy Rogers would say, “Happy Trails.”
Speaking of COVID, I read where the Johnson & Johnson vaccine was granted another six weeks shelf life. Curious. Reminds me of a Henny Youngman joke where a doctor gave his patient six months to live. The patient then tells the doctor he can’t pay his bill so the doctor gave him another six months. Ba da boom.
Recently I read about the Don Diego Scholarships. Most of you will remember Tommy Hernandez who welcomed everyone to the Del Mar Fair every year but I was not aware of the foundation. One scholarship was from the Spanjian Family who used to own Spanjian Sportswear in San Marcos from 1971 to 1985. The family business actually began in Chicago in 1932, moved to LA in 1944 then to SM and later sold. I happen to have two football jerseys from Spanjian. One is a mistake with Doug Flutie’s name for the Kickoff Classic where Boston College did not play. The other has the name of the buyer in 1985 DeLong and the Rose Bowl logos.
The US Open will be played this week at Torrey Pines Golf Course. Have you noticed how long professional golf courses have become? They’re all like 7,600 yards plus. I can remember when 7,000 yards was a good measure of talent but I guess with the advent of superior equipment and guys who can drive over 300 yards that increasing the yardage was inevitable. I attended the Buick Open at TP in 2003 and the yardage on the South course was 7,607 and this week is 7,652 with the increase coming on the 13th hole.
If you know TP South you know the 13th is a horrendous par 5 with kikuyu rough on the right side and a cliff on the left. Need to drive the fairway. How about raising the professional basketball hoop to 12 ft. Hey, these guys are way over the rim when they dunk. Just sayin’.
OK two goods ones his week. DADY247, obviously a proud papa, I think this one is for all the Wolverine fans, University of Michigan for the unknowing, ROOTBLU.

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

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