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Escondido Voters To Elect Mayor On Nov. 4

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Escondido Voters To Elect New Mayor On Nov. 4
Escondido Voters To Elect New Mayor on Nov. 4
GuestsSam Abed, mayoral candidate, Escondido Olga Diaz, mayoral candidate, Escondido

Most political observers say this November's election is not generating much interest among California voters.

That might be different for voters in Escondido. The top two candidates in Escondido mayor's race are two politicians that have very different points of view on a number of issues: incumbent Mayor Sam Abed and the city's Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz.

Abed is seeking a second term as mayor in the mostly Republican city. While Diaz hopes to be the first Latina mayor of a city where Latinos make up half of the population but just one-quarter of registered voters.

Top 3 priorities

Olga Diaz: Infrastructure, transparency in government, (she expects to release her plan for greater transparency later this week) civic engagement.

Sam Abed: Neighborhood improvement, public safety, financial stability and economic development.

Proposition H

Proposition H would turn the defunct Escondido Golf Course into a housing track. Diaz voted to designate the course open space but now stands with the developer and supports Proposition H.

"The proposal is the compromise project. It was put together, crafted through community meetings and polling. I’ve read the initiative and there’s very little to object to. This may be the best offer we see, " Diaz said.

Abed, who also voted to designate the golf course as open space is staying neutral.

"I want to leave it up to the voters and after the election I’m going sit with both sides to find a solution," Abed said.

Proposition G

Proposition G asks voters if Escondido should become a charter city.

Diaz opposes Proposition G.

"I believe the document that would become the new constitution for the city is poorly crafted. It didn’t have a lot of community feedback. Having a general law city status creates some legal bumpers for us in terms of how we operate our city," she said.

Abed supports making the switch from a general law city to a charter city.

"It gives power to the residents and the voters of the city. And it also protects taxpayers because we will be able to eliminate the prevailing wage," he said.

The prevailing wage issue is tied up in the courts.

Immigrant Shelter

The Escondido City Council is expected to vote this month on whether to open an immigrant shelter, which the city's planning commission rejected.

Diaz said she is not commenting on the immigrant shelter until all testimony is heard.

Abed says he opposes the shelter due to land use issues.

Why do you want to be mayor?

Diaz tells KPBS:

"I think I could set a more positive tone for how the city is led. The mayor is the most visible person in the community to do that. I’m bilingual, I communicate effectively, I'm articulate, I can synthesize a lot of complicated information and communicate that to the public. I’d be very proud to serve as the mayor of Escondido."

Abed says:

"I’m very proud of our achievements. We’ve turned our city around. We have a balanced budget, financial stability, our bond rating has improved to AA-the second best you could get. We have improved public safety and we’re going to focus on our neighborhoods."

Escondido doesn't have a strong mayor form of government, meaning the mayor is one of five votes on the city council.

There is a third candidate in the race. Stephen Siaw, a CSU San Marcos student, told U-T San Diego he jumped in at the last minute because he felt voters needed to have more choices.