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Local News July 22, 2004

Council Candidates In Escondido Lining Up

Council Candidates In Escondido Lining Up


The seats of Escondido Councilmembers Ed Gallo and Tom D’Agosta are up for election this November and, so far, five potential candidates have pulled papers.  The first to take out papers and firmly announce his candidacy was the incumbent, Ed Gallo, age 62.  The other incumbent, Tom D’Agosta, age 65,  has stated an intention to pull papers but as of this writing had not done so. 

Somewhat of a surprise announcement came from former Mayor Wil Mason, who has indicated his intention to pull papers.  Mason, age 72, was recalled from office by a 2-1 margin following public accusations by Citizens for Recall of “drunken arrogance,” slapping an inmate in the drunk tank of the Escondido Police Department and of calling a female police dispatcher “a fat cow,” of browbeating Escondido police officers who had attempted to ticket him for unsafe driving, and of demanding the then City Manager, George Patterson (now deceased) to “get his ass down here,” at 1am.  The allegations raised a furor against Mason and the electorate turned him out of office in October of 1973 by a 2-1 margin.


Other potential candidates include Sam Abed, owner of Midway Mobil.  He says he has already begun raising funds for his campaign and running campaign advertisements.


Also indicating interest as a  candidate are James Condomitti, a former freelance columnist for the North County Times and Tania Bowman, a child advocacy attorney.


Escondido City Clerk’s Office Under Fire


A formal complaint has been filed against the Escondido City Clerk’s office by The Paper.


The city of Escondido recently advertised for bids on the annual contract to publish legal notices.  In its notice to eligible area newspapers the city invited bids from ‘daily’ newspapers.


Lyle Davis, editor and publisher of The Paper objected, saying nothing in the code required nor allowed the city of Escondido to restrict the bidding process to ‘daily’ newspapers.  Any newspaper that was adjudicated by the Superior Court to be entitled to publish legal notices is eligible.


Marsha Whelan, city clerk for the city, at first sent a letter stating that the city had to publish on different days of the week and thus needed to have a daily newspaper. 


Davis checked the law books and could find no such requirement.  “The city can quite easily provide for weekly publication of legal notices,” said Davis.  And as Department head, Ms. Whelan should know that.  It’s a simple matter of planning.”


Whelan did not return Davis’ phone calls for three days.  When Davis finally reached her she claimed she was “busy because of candidate filing deadlines.”  She then sent Davis a letter citing the Election Code which was the same code Davis had submitted to her pointing out the requirements.


“I don’t have any problem with someone else winning the bid, as long as they win it fairly,” said Davis.  “I just want it to be a level playing field and to play by the rules.  The City Clerk’s office apparently feel the rules are intended for someone else.”


The matter is still pending.


Jerry Harmon Involved in Opposition to Trans-Net


Long time political activist and former Escondido Councilmember and Mayor, Jerry Harmon, has begun campaigning against the half-cent transportation tax extension.  He says developers, not taxpayers, should pay for local roads.


Long identified as an articulate champion of slow growth, Harmon is spokesman for a group known as Traffic Relief is Possible, which is comprised mostly of people who have been long time Harmon supporters. 


Harmon points out that the vote will require a 2/3rds majority and he’s hopeful his group can muster enough votes to prevent the measure from reaching that level.  Other politicians have expressed reservations about the bill as well.


"Volunteer Roundup” at Melrose Ranch


The Palomar Pomerado Health Foundation is sponsoring a "Volunteer Roundup" to celebrate and appreciate volunteer leadership and friends of the Foundation. The private event, a Western-style barbecue, will take place on Saturday, July 24, 2004, from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m., at Melrose Ranch, 16757 Guejito Grade Road, Escondido.


The event will feature live music by local country band "Emerald River", a John Wayne look-alike, and a performing trick roper. There will also be a community pledge challenge to support PPH Trauma Services and a special guest speaker.

Melrose Ranch is the Lake Wohlford-area home of Arie and Anneka De Jong, owners of Hollandia Dairy and Waste Management Company. The ranch was originally a 640-acre estate developed and built in the 1920s by Lord Sommerville, an English nobleman. In the 1930s, Lord Sommerville hosted Edward, Prince of Wales and future King of England, who courted Wallis Simpson while visiting the Valley Center estate before abdicating the throne to marry Mrs. Simpson. In 1944, Warner Brothers filmed outdoor scenes for the film "Uncertain Glory," starring Errol Flynn. The property has been bought and sold several times over the years until 1997, de Jong and his wife bought the now 115-acre property.