Back in 2006, Escondido City Council members Ed Gallo and Sam Abed teamed up in support of a controversial housing ordinance aimed at preventing landlords from renting to undocumented immigrants. During that debate, Abed and Gallo both made headlines. Abed said he believed that nearly half of the residents of Escondido were illegal immigrants, a number far higher than what experts believe them to be. At the council meeting on the issue, Gallo was quoted as saying, “Make no mistake, folks. We’re being invaded.”
During the past two years while they’ve served on the council, the two have sat side by side and agreed with one another on most issues.
This year, at the September 10th Escondido City Council meeting, Gallo and Abed once again joined political forces to push for an adoption of a citywide parking ordinance. The ordinance, according to Gallo and Abed, addressed the issue of multiple families living in single-family residences and crowding the streets with cars.
The community did not favor the proposal. Escondido residents thought it was another attempt by the twosome to rid Escondido of illegal immigrants. For nearly two hours, they lined up to dissuade the council from proceeding with the parking ordinance. Even the independent parking consultant hired by the City disagreed with Gallo and Abed over the need for such an ordinance.
Yet, despite opposition from the community and the independent consultant’s findings, Gallo and Abed continued to support the unpopular ordinance.
In the following weeks, Gallo used what he referred to as the “deterioration” of Escondido as his main platform in his campaign for reelection. His website stated his chief concern as being the “image and appearance” of Escondido.
On November 4th, Gallo was defeated by 32-year-old coffee-shop owner Olga Diaz. According to San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Diaz defeated Gallo by nearly 2000 votes. Councilmember Abed, however, was reelected.
For more information on Escondido City Council’s new image and appearance, go to ci.escondido.ca.us.