I have watched Mayor Sam Abed, both as Mayor and Councilman for many years now. He does not like being crossed. His response to you is pretty typical—emotional, and vengeful. And, not very truthful.
He claims that Stone Brewery, 24-Hour Fitness, One Stop Systems, and Baker Electric have “located here under his watch.” Baker Electric was established in Escondido in 1938. www.baker-electric.com/about-us/history-timeline/ One Stop Systems has been headquartered in Escondido since 1998. globenewswire.com/news-release/2018/08/03/1547065/0/en/One-Stop-Systems-Expands-Design-Manufacturing-and-Test-Facilities.html Stone Brewery opened their Escondido restaurant/brewery in 2005. www.stonebrewing.com/about/facts And, true 24-Hour Fitness did open a new facility in the Westfield Mall North County in 2014, but what was in that space before that time? Was there really a net increase in jobs? Abed claims that his administration has created 2,200 new businesses and 3,000 new jobs and most of them in the tech sector. So, that’s an average of less than 1.4 jobs per business. And mostly in the tech sector? 24-Hour fitness? Stone Brewery?
He brags about balancing the budget without going into the reserves. Well, that philosophy resulted in the closing of the East Valley Pkwy. Branch of the Escondido Library, in 2011, over the strong objection of many citizens, citizens who had offered $96,000 to partner with the City to keep it open.
A study by the CSUSM Office of Community Service Learning in collaboration with Escondido’s Future published September 7, 2012, revealed that closing of that branch took away a safe place to study for students in the area. He also brags that the city will save over $10 million in ten years by outsourcing the library. Well one of the positions outsourced was the Director of Library and Community Services, which was replaced by the Director of Communications and Community Services in December, 2017. www.escondido.org/Data/Sites/1/media/minutes/Council/2017/12-20-17CCMeetingMinutes.pdf
The city’s website states that the Director of communications and Community Services earns between $111,264 – $150,216 annually. So, that $400,000 Abed insists the city saves annually—is exaggerated by at least $111,264. www.governmentjobs.com/careers/escondido/classspecs?keywords=Director%20of%20communication%20and%20community%20service He also claims the library had only lost one employee. Actually it has lost three very senior experienced people—years and years of librarian experience.
Abed said that McNamara had received money from developers/landlords. The ones Abed mentioned are all friends and relatives of McNamara. None of the four mentioned do business in Escondido, unlike the majority of Abed’s contributors, who do have business before the city. The developers of the environmental disaster known as Safari Highlands Ranch are just one example.
Observation of Abed all these years makes what Wendy Wilson said in her Alianza North County article ring very true. His first priority then (2010), and is now, is his personal finances. His patronizing of Councilwoman Olga Diaz over the years makes it very believable that he doesn’t think women should work. His closing of the library and denigration of the city’s roll in providing recreation conforms to Wilson’s claim that Abed told her he does not “believe the government should sponsor public education or libraries.”
No, it is Abed, not McNamara with the mendacious claims.
MARGARET MCCOWN LILES, Escondido