Escondido, CA

Time for another look

How long has it been since you heard anything about CV-19? Yeah, I know it’s like very fifteen minutes but then it is no doubt the most important event happening in our lives. Many new cases are being reported nationwide but I believe that to be the result of more testing being done. 

Now California is perilously close to having the Governor order businesses to close once again, which could be catastrophic for this state’s economy and especially critical for Escondido where we rely so heavily upon sales tax revenue to provide the services that we desire and deserve.

Speaking of sales tax, a large sign by Westfield North County announced the closing of the Sears store something I mentioned recently regarding the impending demise of one of the nation’s largest enclosed shopping malls. This is not a good sign, either noun or verb, especially losing a trusted American retailer since 1886. The foreboding omen for Sears-Roebuck Co I believe was when Alvah Roebuck’s name was removed with the final blow being Sears recently selling off every man’s dream tools Craftsman. Tim the Tool Man Taylor would have been crushed.

The number of people being unemployed is staggering so how is it when I go into some retail stores the checkout lines are so long. Having been in retail for fifteen years I understand the frustration of shoppers having to wait in line seeing only one or two check stands operating and three or more being vacant. I mean if the store is doing this volume of business it seems to me that the store can hire a few more cashiers even on a part-time basis. What am I missing? Let’s get people back to work.

There is a local builder advertising the new state law allowing Additional Dwelling Units offering seminars on how to add rental income to your existing single family zoned property. Recently I mentioned that our City Council denied a housing development downtown. It seems counterproductive to deny multi-family housing downtown to beat the rush for ADU’s being built in single family neighborhoods. Of course, some believe the biggest perceived roadblock is parking downtown.

As I have stated numerous times, I have attended many parking meetings as we have had a “parking problem” downtown during the 47 years I have lived here. Fifteen years ago there was an effort by some to have a parking structure built downtown as the answer to the success of Grand Avenue. I don’t care if you built a 1,000 space parking structure that is not the answer to a successful commercial district. Two major parking studies that the City commissioned both had the same result, “We do not have a parking problem we have a parking management problem.”

Adding to what ails downtown are some of the businesses that have been permitted in retail spaces. Now I am all for business as that is what a strong economy is all about but a massage therapy business conducted by appointment only, a school, a small dance studio (not Georgia’s which has been on Grand for many decades), a wedding planning business on the most prominent corner in Escondido and others. I am sure these business owners are as happy to be in Escondido as we are to have them but in my opinion they are not conducive to creating foot traffic which is the lifeblood of any commercial hub. The vacuum cleaner repair shop creates more foot traffic.

My philosophy has always been that if you have what the public wants parking is not the problem. Yogi Berra said it best when commenting on a restaurant, “People don’t go there anymore because it’s too busy.” If you knew Yogi you will understand. Hopefully, the new committee being formed to discuss the future of downtown will yield some positive results. It’s time for another look.

As usual I like to end on a light note. Spotting personalized license plates attracts my attention. This week PITI LYF. I don’t know if this is real estate related as Principal Interest Taxes and Insurance which is your total mortgage payment. Maybe?

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

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