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Escondido City Council deadlocks on District 2 nominations

ESCONDIDO — After hours spent interviewing candidates for the city’s District 2 seat, previously held by the late John Masson, the Escondido City Council adjourned its April 22 meeting without making an appointment.

The four council members — Mayor Paul McNamara, Deputy Mayor Consuelo Martinez, Olga Diaz and Mike Morasco — interviewed nine candidates for the vacant seat and lasted nearly three hours.

The council members narrowed the group down to five: Tina Ostrem Inscoe, a membership executive of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce; Vanessa Valenzuela, who ran against John Masson for the District 2 seat two years ago; Barbara C. Aguilar, a development specialist at Escondido Community Child Development Center; Scotty Lombardi, a business leader with broad human resources experience; and Richard Paul, a director at an electronics manufacturer in San Marcos.

Two candidates were then nominated, but each nomination failed.

Valenzuela, a Democrat, was nominated by Martinez, which was seconded by Diaz. However, the nomination was opposed by Morasco and McNamara.

Next was Inscoe, a Republican, who was nominated by Morasco. The nomination was seconded by McNamara but opposed by Martinez and Diaz.

Diaz then proposed a ranked-choice voting process, which both McNamara and Morasco opposed.

McNamara, a Democrat, told The Coast News that he chose not to vote along party lines because he was trying to be faithful to the voters of District 2.

“First of all, this is a nonpartisan race. Secondly, the goal is to find someone to replace John Masson,” McNamara said. “Do you pick someone who is aligned with your feelings and your views of the world, or do you pick someone who better represents John’s views of the world? The reality is that the majority of the people of District 2 picked John, and I want to honor that.”

The Coast News reached out to the Escondido Democratic Club, which said it’s “not taking a position at this time on who the City Council should appoint to fill the vacant seat. However, the EDC did endorse Vanessa Valenzuela for that seat in the 2018 election. As we get closer to the November election that will select the permanent city council member for that district, the EDC will hold its usual endorsement process, inviting all Democratic candidates to speak to our membership, and then holding a membership endorsement vote.”

The council will revisit the appointment at its next meeting on May 6. If a candidate is appointed, they will serve until November. They will then have the opportunity to run in the election for the remaining two years of Masson’s term.

“I nominated a candidate who I felt had the most depth of knowledge,” Martinez said.  [Valenzuela] knew a lot about the issues, she’s already involved in a lot of the work in the platforms that she was advocating for and I think she could work well with the council. Although I am glad that there’s an election coming up because I do think the most democratic thing is for the people of District 2 to choose who they want to represent them.”

If the City Council fails to agree on a candidate on May 6, the District 2 seat will remain vacant until the Nov. 3 election.


Ray Carney June 8, 2020 at 6:47 pm

Grapevine is a scandal sheet out of a P.O. box in San Marcos. Don’t even compare Coast to “that”.

Ray Carney May 4, 2020 at 1:00 pm

Same rule applies to Barbara C. Aguilar, another “reconquista”.

Ray Carney May 3, 2020 at 3:45 pm

Anyone check out Vanessa Valenzuela Linkedin page? Move-On .org and every other “socialist” nonsense group. Is this what WE want? George Soros and others controlling us? Put this one to bed.

Bet she supports Planned Parenthood.

Ray Carney May 3, 2020 at 10:04 am

I thought my last comment was pretty harsh but after doing some research on Vanessa Valenzuela’s positions, I knew she was NOT the right person for the job. I read a bunch of stories where she mentions potholes, parks and the city getting involved in national matters (immigration). Well I too have resided in Escondido since 1984, originally from the South Side of Chicago, I have seen neighborhoods and cities decline, I see it happening now in Escondido. I remember when I arrived in Escondido, I settled on the East End, that was the place to live, so I rented a unit in a NEW apartment complex, Citrus Grove Apartments. For decades I worked hard and eventually purchased a home, also on the East End. The reason why I chose the East End was it’s shops, eateries and atmosphere, today that feeling is gone, now I live on the West End of the city? During the 2000’s, I supported Abed, Waldron’s bid to deny lawbreakers apartments within the city. Because of this lawlessness, the East End has become just another “barrio” losing it’s charm of the 1980’s, replaced by gangs, guns, graffiti, crime, drugs and decay, no wonder why nobody wants to live there, I sold my home and moved out of Escondido knowing that the damage to the East End can NEVER be replaced. Well I’m older now, retirement age and want to spend my remaining time in a city I know but not the East End, the West End where the problems I mentioned above do not exist. Now in politics, you must read between the lines before voting, do not take things at face value, to me Vanessa Valenzuela is just another “oh cry for me” open borders liberal who cares less about this community, Like most Latino-Latina politicians all they care about is the “reconquista” and not about the results. There is an old saying back East, it’s called “white flight” learn it folks, all coming to a theater near you and the last GREAT areas to live in Escondido faces a threat of becoming “just another barrio”. Maybe that is why Vanessa Valenzuela got beaten badly in her run for City Council and her only chance is appointment. Don’t let “the three Amigo’s” make the decision, demand an open vote in November.

Ray Carney April 30, 2020 at 9:53 pm

District #2 is the last place in Escondido “un-barrio-ized”. Most who live here are retired and do not wish this area to become another” east side” like Diaz and Martinez district. We love no crime, no graffiti, no taco shops on every corner, no three families living in a one bedroom apartment and most of all, we speak English here.
Bad enough we are allowing the “Three Amigo’s” (Mc Namara, Diaz, Martinez) to decide. I say let it go until November.

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