Despite concerns from a majority of speakers during public comment, on June 30 the Escondido City Council approved the allocation of a large subsidy to a developer who plans to build a luxury Marriott hotel downtown.
Rick Moore, an 11-year Escondido resident, came to the city-council meeting on July 14 to talk about the long history of passionate discussions — spanning seven years — that have been fueled by the hotel issue.
“I think input from those who question council actions resulted in a deal that is much better for the people of Escondido,” said Moore. “In other words, the discussion made for a better deal.”
Moore pointed out that the biggest concern for those who opposed the project was the financial burden on the City. As a result of protests and questions from citizens and citizen-led organizations, significant points were made and were heard over time, he said. The subsidy is now lower than the figure that was originally considered (from $19 million to $10.7 million), the payment is now split into two parts, and the money will be taken from the redevelopment fund and not the general fund. He called the newly approved deal “much safer” and “clearly better” for Escondido taxpayers and residents.
As someone who is still concerned about some questionable projections, Moore suggested that the process of listening and discussing the project with the public should continue. “We ask the council consider a mechanism to keep the community informed as the hotel project proceeds.” He suggested regular reports from city staff or the formation of a citizens’ committee that would monitor and report on the project.