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Local News December 11th, 2008

Ed Gallo Joins The Paper

Ed Gallo, newest member of The Paper family

A distinguished city council member for the last eight years, Ed Gallo has now joined The Paper as Marketing Consultant.

Lyle Davis, editor and publisher of The Paper said, “I’ve admired Ed for many years. We’ve followed his career and have always been impressed with his strong sense of community, his active involvement as a volunteer on countless community events. It seems he knows everyone and everyone knows him. He has assured me he intends to continue his active community involvement while being part of The Paper’s family. He does so with our full blessing.

Ed will be responsible for calling on area businesses and helping them develop and execute their marketing plans. Given his creative mind, his knowledge of the market, and his stature in the community, we think it’s a good marriage. We look forward to working with him for a long time.”

Controversy over Cruisin’ Grand in Escondido

A potential hot controversy is brewing up in downtown Escondido. Escondido Councilmember Marie Waldron is very upset over a promotion the Escondido Downtown Business Association is running.

Waldron became incensed when she received an emailed flyer that offered a $500 award for the design of a new poster promoting “Cruisin’ Grand.”
Steve Waldron, Marie’s husband, was the founder of “Cruisin’ Grand,” and created the various posters and other graphic support material to promote the popular event when it first started.

Councilmember Marie Waldron

“The DBA didn’t call us, they didn’t discuss it with us, they just flat emailed an announcement that this is what they were going to do,” said Marie Waldron. “It was a real slap in the face after all that Steve had done for the program and for the DBA.

Steve did the poster design for free . . . he owns a business in the Business Improvement District ... he pays an exorbitant BID fee ... Steve thought of the whole idea of Cruisin' Grand ... he went to the DBA to work together with them to create and run it for 8 years ... he volunteered his time, many times closing his business to do it, and worked on the event, at the event, planning the event and promoting the event all year long, all for free. He owns a home and actually LIVES in Escondido ... What a slap in the face! The DBA has pushed Steve out and thought they could run the event without him. Cruisin’ Grand is no where near where it was before. Attendance is down, the number of cars is down and the DBA has only itself to blame.”

We contacted Debra Rosen, CEO of the Escondido DBA for comment. She referred it to the Executive Committee who responded, in part:

The idea of Cruisin Grand was proposed by Steve and we have acknowledged this many times. Wendy Barker and Steve came to the DBA and presented the idea of the event and asked the DBA to run the event. We agreed and asked Steve to be our car advisor. He was never the manager nor did he run the event. We appreciate that Steve volunteered his time and the many others who do so as well.

Steve did not do the poster for FREE. He was given a $1,000 sponsorship on the front of the poster and, he asked for and received the exclusive right to use the event artwork that belonged to the DBA to make and sell official event apparel for which he received the profits.

(Steve Waldron claims this statement is totally inaccurate. “I donated the use of my art, I still have the originals. The art copyright remains with me and always has. I donated to the event for nine years, the award art, the Jingle Bell Cruise art, plus hundreds of hours spent during the events acting as a car liaison, closing my store countless times to generate more cars to participate.”)

It is important to note that Cruisin Grand is not a BID-assessed event. Steve's BID fee is not exorbitant and the new fee structure brings it in line with all other retailers. The DBA has not pushed Steve out. He has been asked/invited many times by the DBA staff and several of his friends on the committee to stay involved and lend his influence towards growing this event. He has chosen not to attend meetings or participate.

Cruisin Grand has become a more successful event and the number of classic cars coming to the event each week are up. We measure this by the number of permits that are distributed each week. We have also noticed more families coming to the downtown and most of the restaurant were busier later in the evening with larger groups of visitors.

Cruisin’ Grand is a wonderful event for the community and the DBA makes no money off of the event. The only one generating money from this event is Steve Waldron through the exclusive sale of the Cruisin Grand apparel.

Once again we welcome his participating in this event.

Steve Waldron claims Cruisin’ Grand never was about money. He loved classic cars, he loved Escondido, For a long time he refused to sell tee shirts with Cruisin Grand logos because he didn’t even want the appearance of taking money. Former Escondido Councilman Ed Gallo confirms that he had to almost beg Waldron to sell tee shirts but Waldron was very reluctant because he simply didn’t want people to think he was in the event for the money. As to the latest flap, Waldron said, “I had not gotten any previous notice from the DBA nor had any discussion been presented to me that this was being discussed. I have already started working on the poster art as I have done (FOR FREE!) every year. What a slap in the face to see that now in this economic time the DBA sees fit to pay someone $500 to create the poster art and also pay additional to cover any changes and revisions to the art, when I did this for 9 years for FREE.”

Waldron went on, “I will show you the letter signed by Scott Peck directly rejecting my requests and offerings to come back and work with the DBA as we had since I brought the event to them 9 years ago. - - - Since the Cruisin' Grand event takes a substantial amount of city taxpayer money, I respectfully request information on when the decision was made to go out to the open market and what the roll call vote of the committee and Executive Board was to implement this contest. This should be considered a public records request.

More Tri-City Controversy
Lame Duck Board Votes $2.4 Million in Bonuses

Before the board of directors of the often embattled Tri-City Health Care District left office they made sure they would be remembered. They voted last week to give $2.4 million in employee bonuses, including nearly $90,000 for Chief Executive Officer Arthur Gonzalez. That was Wednesday, December 3rd. The new members were sworn in at 5pm, Friday, December 5th.

New director George Coulter said yesterday that he would have voted against the bonuses and wants the matter revisited. But new director Charlene Anderson was less certain. “I'm glad I did not have to make the decision,” Anderson said.

The public hospital district operates Tri-City Medical Center in Oceanside. The payouts amount to a 1.6 percent bonus for the rank-and-file of more than 2,000 hospital employees, between 7 percent and 15 percent for most administrators, and an 18.8 percent hike – or nearly $90,000 – for Gonzalez.

Anderson and Coulter will replace Darlene Garrahy and David Tweedy, who lost their seats in the Nov. 4 election. Board members Kathleen Sterling and RoseMarie Reno were re-elected to the seven-member board on Nov. 4. Sterling voted against both employee and administrative bonuses on Wednesday; Reno voted against the administrators' bonuses.

What has many voters upset is that the outgoing board took it upon themselves to call a special meeting to address the issue rather than leave it for the newly elected trustees to deal with. Traditionally, critical issues are deferred until the new board is seated.

Former Vista Mayor Bernie Rappaport told the board that its meeting just before the new directors take office “is going to be perceived as a sneak attack.” He went on to say “the public simply does not have faith in the board and the administration of this hospital. You cannot overestimate perception.” Several other speakers brought up the public lack of trust in the board.

But the old majority decided by a 5-1 vote to follow through with the bonuses previously promised to rank-and-file employees. The vote to give bonuses to executives was 4-2. Director Dr. Madeline Rodriguez was absent.

Gonzalez's base salary is $483,000 a year. He also receives a $12,000 annual auto allowance. In addition, $51,684 is being place in a deferred compensation account that he cannot receive before Jan. 1, 2011.

Sterling insisted that the district has the requisite budget surplus because it refinanced a bond issue this year and not because of additional revenue. The district was more than $12.7 million in the black for the 2007-08 fiscal year, compared with a $6.8 million deficit when Gonzalez came to work at Tri-City a decade ago.

Casa de Amparo Denied Permit

Casa de Amparo, an organization serving neglected and abused children was denied permission to build a shelter, day-care center and other buildings on its land in Twin Oaks Valley, by the county Planning Commission.

A request for a major-use permit was all that remained for Casa de Amparo to hurdle before they could move forward after six years of planning and studies. It has been leasing sites in Oceanside and wanted to build a permanent home in Twin Oaks Valley, an unincorporated area north of San Marcos.

There were two votes for the project, two against it, and one abstention. Another commissioner was absent. Failure to gain sufficient yes votes constitutes a denial. Sharon Delphenich, Casa's executive director, plans to file an appeal to the county Board of Supervisors.

Traffic Advisory Issued for Barham Drive

Construction work on the Barham Drive street widening project will begin on Monday, January 5th. The work is between the Highway 78 eastbound off-ramp and the eastern City limits, just west of Opper Street.

The City expects to complete this work by the end of spring 2010. For more information, please call the City’s department of public works at (760) 752-7550.

Non-Profit Group Receives Permit to Build a Larger Plant

A nonprofit group serving children and adults with special needs plans to break ground on its new home in rural Twin Oaks Valley in the spring. The group, Training Education & Research Institute, or TERI, saw its project approved by the county Planning Commission after about three hours of presentations and debate.

TERI, a private nonprofit founded in 1980, serves people with developmental and learning disabilities, including autism and cerebral palsy. TERI owns a nearly 20-acre parcel, at 555 Deer Springs Road in an unincorporated area north of San Marcos. It plans 11 buildings and 287 parking spaces on about 2 acres.

Construction will start in 2009, but how quickly the project will be built depends on fundraising, said Cheryl Kilmer, executive director. Some of the buildings would be used for classrooms, therapy, art, recreation, vocational training and administration. One will be used to offer life-planning services and consultations for people with special needs and their families.

A maximum of 305 children and adults, excluding employees, are expected to use TERI's facilities on weekdays. A majority of the students will be current clients. About 200 full-and part-time employees will work at the new location, which will be open part of the day on Saturdays for recreational programs. An equestrian center and outdoor swimming pools also are planned.

Hold That Tiger!

The next big construction project at The San Diego Zoo's Wild Animal Park outside Escondido plans on building a den for Sumatran tigers that will make is a lot easier for zoo visitors to view them.

Zoo officials are raising money to build a 5-acre enclosure. The park's six Sumatrans are an endangered species that have lived at the park for many years, but in an area that was hard for guests to view.

Arrest Made in Child Porn Case

David Michael Grummer, 43, of Oceanside, was taken into custody last week after FBI investigators found computer evidence that Grummer had been receiving and distributing child pornography. Agents then secured a warrant to search Grummer's home, where they seized more computers and found evidence of child pornography being received and distributed.

According to Special Agent Keith Slotter of the FBI's San Diego office, Grummer had originally come to the attention of federal authorities in January during a joint investigation by the FBI and the U.S.

photoLake San Marcos Christmas Boat Parade Saturday

Friday, December 12th, at 4:30 PM the Lake San Marcos Community will gather for the Yacht Club Boat Parade and third annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Caroling Party. All residents and their families are invited.

The Boat Parade starts at 5 PM near South Shore Landing. It will be led by Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus in an open “sleigh.” Bring a folding chair to watch the Boat Parade.

• • • • •

Local News? We’re your community paper. If you have a news event in your community, we’d like to know about it. Please email details of any news event you are aware of and would like us to investigate.

Send your news tips or press releases to: thepaper@cox.net. Questions? Call 760.747.7119. And thanks!





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