Escondido, CA

Welcoming the New Year


Hello 2020. I hope you behaved yourself on New Year’s Eve. In welcoming in the New Year I want to take this opportunity to congratulate Ed Varso on being named Escondido’s new Chief of Police. A good choice of a good man for a tough job. In addition to Chief Varso being chosen to replace Craig Carter I want to touch on the process. I have always been a firm believer in promoting from within; whether it be city administration or a business that requires department heads and other leadership positions.

Every organization should have a successor training program in place. I believe this instills confidence in new employees that “someday I could be Chief or Captain or Division Chief or a department head.” This helps in building morale especially critical in public service. It makes transition much smoother.

And speaking of Craig Carter, I recall, as a new council member in 2001, my first ride-a-long with then Sgt. Carter. Contrary to urban legend we did not stop at a doughnut shop first, but rather a coffee shop. After a tour of a few high service call neighborhoods we went on a stakeout. I thought, “Oh good, maybe see some action!” However, after three quiet hours sitting in his police cruiser we left for another location which was a “party house.” We called it quits a little after midnight. During our hours together I concluded that this guy would make a good Chief. Twelve years later he was a good Chief.

This is funny. In 2002, Fred Dryer was in town filming an episode of “Hunter,” a TV cop show series. Part was on Grand Avenue, part was at the CCAE and the best was a car chase and crash scene in the public works yard. I found out about the scene and decided to check it out. Security was keeping the public out since there was some danger involved. Somehow I got in and stood for over a half hour to watch a scene that took roughly one minute. It involved a crash and rollover. The crew cheered because the scene was done in one take. Outside the fence behind me stood Sgt. Carter and I asked him why don’t you come inside. He replied, “They won’t let me in” and laughed.

We have had other movies done in Escondido. “Renegade” starring Lorenzo Lamas did an episode at the Holiday Wine Cellar; which I watched. They did the same scene three times and to me they all looked the same as Sonny Sixkiller chased a guy across Escondido Boulevard as Lamas rode his bike to the front of the building. The director obviously saw something I did not. BTW Lamas is short—which surprised me. His motorcycle was sized down to not make him look short. Also, the opening scene for the show was filmed on Del Dios Highway. There have been other shows filmed here over the years.

Now to the important stuff. As I sit here writing, it is halftime. Halftime in the college bowl game schedule. A little more than half done, only 18 to go. Let me tell you, we need this break. Do you have any idea how taxing it is to watch football every day for over two weeks straight? Then after the January 13 Championship game come the withdrawal symptoms. But not to worry it’s only seven more months to the next season. Oh, not to surprise you but there are only 360 shopping days until Christmas. This being a Leap Year we all get one extra day to shop. Wonderful.

At this writing, Kaitlin Rose, owner of Rosie’s Cafe downtown, needs all of our prayers and well wishes as she fights to recover from a horrendous accident she was involved in. I don’t know if police have apprehended the hit and run dirtbag driver who hit Kaitlin. I hope they do soon.

Saw an interesting personalized license plate last week. It will also bode well as a New Year’s Resolution. PLZCHIL. Good idea don’t you think? Happy Leap Year and happy birthday to all of you born on February 29. One birthday every four years.

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

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