Escondido, CA


Editor, Times-Advocate:

“Currying favor with a diminished political power center”.

That is how Kirk Effinger’s letter (TA, Opinion 6/1/2017) portrays the people who live in the Escondido Country Club area. How rude.

Then, referring to Mayor Abed’s effort to mitigate the selfish and intransigent position of the Beverly Hills property flipper who has cast a pall upon the formerly desirable Country Club Community, he suggests Abed has historically expressed “xenophobic undertones”.

Let’s put the ad hominem attack on our Mayor aside, because it is so outrageous and uncalled for . . . but Kirk, just how arrogant and condescending can you get? You suggest that the local Country Club people were and are pursuing a “Quixotic goal of forcing a private property owner to bend to their will.”

Mr. Effinger, that owner is a new neighbor. He is not the center of the universe as you seem to think anyone who owns property zoned for development is. Of course, he has property rights, but so do they. That is why we have elected officials to sort out community conflicts. The Mayor is simply trying to do right by everyone involved, which isn’t easy when one very rich constituent uses legal bullying to get his way.

In this case, it is one newcomer neighbor who is trying to impose his vision on hundreds of existing homeowners who have built the neighborhood with their sweat equity for over fifty years!

It is he that is trying to force the others to bend to his will. It is he that has held the entire community hostage. It is he that has purposely destroyed the former golf course property, allowing it to turn fallow, the trees and fauna to die, for the weed infested abandoned fairways to become overrun with carnivorous critters, fencing it off with a cheesy, unsecured rent-a-fence that serves absolutely no purpose except to diminish the appearance of the neighborhood, thereby driving the average property values down by 30% or more. It is he that sued the City and 24 innocent homeowners, tying their properties up in expensive litigation. It is he that dumped tons of untreated chicken manure next to existing homes as a way of threatening and intimidating the people who resist his attempt to turn the entire property into a personal ATM machine.

So who has the Quixotic goal of making a boatload of cash from flipping a property he will never occupy? After nearly five years of bullying, the owner has never offered to put anything other than dense housing on the property. The amenities included in his plans will never serve the existing neighbors or attract visitors like the old golf course did. His designs offer nothing to help the existing community recover after five years of turmoil and probably another five years of construction. By then, he and his millions of extorted profits will be long gone.

Property disputes happen all the time. In this case, Mayor Abed is right: The out-of-town real estate flipper is the one who is causing the problems, not the locals. They have played by the rules and been extremely up-front and fair about their desire to redevelop the property in a way that protects the history and reputation of the area, while enhancing the community with new amenities to recover property values and establish the desirability of the neighborhood. Packing the open spaces with wall-to-wall, zero lot line homes is not in the best interests of the greater community and the voters made that point clear when they said no, by a 2-to-1 margin, to Proposition H in the 2014 city-wide election.

The truth is exactly what Abed said, the people in the community deserve a fair and inclusive process that serves everyone’s needs and contributes to the overall community, not just the greed of one new neighbor.

RICK ELKIN, Escondido

Rick Elkin is a local blogger and author. He has maintained a history of the Escondido Country Club issue at

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

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