Candidate McNamara Leads Abed In Donations From Eligible Escondido Voters
Jan 1- June 30, 2018 reporting period
Escondido, CA - Candidate Paul “Mac” McNamara raised over $39,000 from local voters during this last reporting period. This is almost double the amount that was raised during the last reporting period.
“I’m very pleased with this amount. It reflects that the voters of Escondido now know there is an alternative, and that they want and support change. To put it in context, the amount raised just in this period is roughly the total amount one needs to run for Mayor of San Marcos. Unfortunately, since our Abed led city council raised the donation limits from $540 to $4300 per donor which is over 8X the city of San Diego limit and 16X the San Marcos limit, it makes our city open to undue influence from developers and outside interests. In effect we are for sale,” said Mac.
“My decision to refuse money from special interest groups is not without challenge, but one has to do it if one hopes to serve and make decisions with integrity, and not be beholden to corporate donors. Poorly planned development, counter to the city residents’ wishes and ever increasing traffic are just two examples of why city leaders must ensure they are supported by the people they are elected to serve - the residents of the city,” continued Mac.
Shining a light on Abed’s donors exposes he is the candidate of the developers and special interest groups. A detailed review of his supporters in this report combined with his poor leadership decisions confirm he is the special interest candidate. A clear choice has emerged in this election, continue the downward spiral of the city, or elect a leader who works for the people.
Upholding the Legacy of the Founding Fathers
I was honored to be asked to speak at two 4th of July events: Two-Ward Breakfast at Kit Carson Park, and at the Rancho Bernardo Veterans Memorial.
Good Morning everyone and thank you for inviting me to speak at your 4th of July celebration.
I know a lot of us have different ideas as to what the Fourth of July represents. For some it is a day for picnics and BBQ; for some it’s fireworks, and for some it may even be a big appliance sale weekend. When I was stationed in Boston at one point in my career, it is the first day it finally got warm. No matter how you think of the Fourth, today I’m going to suggest another way for you to think of it. It’s the way I think of it, and it is why I am proud and feel blessed to be an American.
The Fourth is considered our Nation’s birthday, because most would say that is when the Declaration of Independence was signed. Well, that is partially true. What really happened on the Fourth is that the final draft of the document was approved by Congress. The document wasn’t fully signed, as we now know, until August and didn’t make it to England until November. The actual resolution to secede was passed on the second of July, Thomas Jefferson wrote the document in June, and we had been in a revolution since April of 1775 (Lexington and Concord). But as you know, holidays seem to evolve and the Fourth is the day we celebrate.
What is the document after all? It is not only a declaration of secession, but it is a reasoned argument of why we should, and must, secede. Remember that point. The Founding Fathers thought it was important to state why they felt secession was necessary and made an argument to that effect in the Declaration. They listed 27 wrongs against them. They could have sent a note that said, “Dear King George III, we’ve had enough. Best of luck and goodbye.” But they didn’t. Rather they stated an important concept that is our legacy as Americans: They essentially said that, if one has the power to correct a wrong, one has the right and duty to do so. That is more than an argument, but rather a charge to all of us and subsequent generations that, as Americans, if we see a wrong - and have the ability to act on that wrong - we have an obligation to correct it.
The Founding Fathers, like all of us, were imperfect individuals, but on this point, they took a powerful stand. They had everything to lose but chose to risk it all and defy what was considered the normal order of the day - countries ruled by Kings, Princes and potentates - to create a concept of government that derived its power from the will of the people.
Now I sometimes indulge myself and wonder what the conversation was like between George and Martha Washington after he rode back from Philadelphia. I imagine Martha on the porch, because it is hot in July in Virginia, and she sees George riding up and greets him with, “Welcome home, how was Philadelphia?” He responds with, “Pretty interesting, you’ll never guess what happened.” She, of course, responds with the question, “What?”, and he replies, “We decided to secede from England.” I wonder what Martha’s reaction was to that? Remember they had a lot, if not everything, to lose. Did she ask him if he had fallen off his horse and hit his head? Or did she say something like, “I’ve been telling you that for years!” I like to think that it was something more to the latter. Because while we don’t have any female signers to the Declaration, history demonstrates through letters and other documents that the spouses of the signers had a strong influence on the lives of their husbands. And they also recognized that something was wrong and needed to be corrected.
From this start, we were given our constitution which was another imperfect document, but it had what others did not: a way to correct itself. And, as we all know, our country’s history is filled with self-correction. That ability and charge to right a wrong was incorporated in our subsequent governance documents. It is why our founding is so unique among the history of mankind. I would argue that it is the culmination of enlightened thought that made its way to people of character, who converted it into a form of government that serves as an example to the world today.
While this story sounds wonderful in the re-telling, there is another lesson and legacy for all of us. The governance documents were not just written, they were debated, sometimes hotly, and formed through compromise and engagement. What does that teach us? Put another way, and a little more directly, when in our history was there a time when it was OK not to engage in the questions of the day? We all know the answer. There never was and probably never will be. The Founding Fathers gave us a work in progress, and it is up to us and future generations to stay vigilant and engaged in the discussions of the day. It is up to us to recognize wrongs and correct them. That is what distinguishes us as Americans. So, I want to charge the youth today - and I would define youth as anyone who thinks they have more tomorrows than yesterdays in their life - to continue this gift, this legacy passed on to us. Stay engaged in your community. Learn about and debate the issues. Vote, volunteer, and preserve this great country of ours.
Now some of you may find engagement daunting, so let me share with you a short story. When I was in the Marine Corps, I had the opportunity to be the commanding officer of a helicopter squadron, the Purple Foxes, which had a heroic reputation in Vietnam. After I took command, a number of veterans of different services came up to me and told me that, during Vietnam, when they were in a dangerous and life-threatening situation, no one would come and rescue them because it was too hot and dangerous. But the Purple Foxes squadron came. The young aircrews were, as you can imagine, daring, brave and a bit irreverent. And, painted on the bottom of their helos, was their motto – “give a s**t”.
If you think about that story today, we are both those who need rescuing and those who can fly the helicopters. All we need to do is give a “you-know-what”. As a community, we can save what needs saving or count on our neighbors to save us when we need saving. That is the lesson we must remember on this day every year. By working together, being united (does that ring a bell?), we can make things right and better. We just need to remember the courage of those who went before us and, when our challenge comes, we simply need to act.
Finally, since another theme of today is that we are honoring Korean War veterans, I would be remiss if I didn’t say a few words about that conflict. Korea was a turning point for us as a nation. The war itself was very different than WWII even though it was only 5 years between them. The troops were integrated; they had night jet fighting; helicopters were used for casualty evacuation and resupply. The code of conduct was introduced. But I think the important thing is that this was the first war that we fulfilled at an international level the charge from our founding fathers: That if we see something wrong and have the ability to correct it, we have the obligation to do so. The veterans here today have kept faith with the Founding Fathers, and so we honor them not only as veterans, but Americans. But we must also remember that fulfillment of this charge is not ever without cost. So, I will end with this quote from Gettysburg which was put there by the state of Georgia. I think it applies to all our veterans. “We sleep here in obedience to law; When duty called, we came, When country called, we died.”
God bless all of you and may God continue to bless our great nation. Thank you.
Complex Problems aren’t Solved with Simple Solutions
Allianza Guest Column June 12, 2018
In this Election Year, we have been hearing a rallying cry against so-called “sanctuary cities.” But this supposed outrage is a ploy, a distraction from the real work that needs to be done in our city.
Complex Problems deserve thoughtful, long-term consideration
Our immigration problem is complex, and as unpopular as this may sound, we bear some responsibility in its cause.
When you think about it, the term “Sanctuary City” has all the elements a weak politician needs. It connotes someone who has broken the law and then runs into the church claiming Sanctuary to avoid prosecution. If only that were the real problem we had.
We are not faced with hordes of criminals who want to convert a city into a church sanctuary to avoid prosecution. We are faced with hardworking people and families who escaped the poverty and criminality of their home country without the benefit of being a winner in our country’s immigration lottery. Or they did not have the means to obtain a student visa or find marriage to a citizen allowing a relatively easy naturalization.
If we are going to truly look for solutions, we must face some facts. Our neighbor to the south suffers the effects of our country’s insatiable desire for illegal drugs. It is a cartel and crime influenced country. Every parent, faced with those daily realities, would want their children to have a better life.
And of course, all of us have benefited from this desperation. We have employed immigrants as farm workers, care givers, day laborers etc. at the lowest wages, which allowed them to stay. And stay they have, not just this election year, but for generations – contributing to our communities as workers, taxpayers, volunteers, friends and neighbors.
We have allowed them to live in a legal limbo that has created families with mixed residency status. And now we have some leaders who think all we need to do is split the families, not worry about the economic engine they fuel, or the consequence to the family – often children, they leave behind.
They think they can simply load them up on buses and send them somewhere else. This will not solve ANY problems and it will create many, many more.
Even though statistics show that immigrants have a lower crime rate than those residents with citizenship, current leadership wants us to believe that this action will somehow make us safe and somehow everything else will remain normal. Their assertions defy logic. This is simplistic thinking that won’t solve anything, and it will – and already has – caused more problems in our city.
Scapegoating is Not Leadership
Scapegoating coupled with fear is a popular tactic with ineffective politicians. Point the finger at one group, blame them for some ongoing problems, and suddenly they appear to have found a convenient solution. Perhaps they are hoping that if enough emotions are riled up, residents will not even notice that there are dozens of other, more pressing issues that need attention. Perhaps they will not even notice that the mayor’s highly publicized gesture is outside the scope of city business and has been a tremendous waste of resources causing greater harm to the city’s already diminished reputation.
We do not need to play their shell game.
As a city of faith and values, we can see through these feeble attempts at scapegoating a segment of our society in order to score political points with a small group of people. Complex problems are not solved with simple solutions, especially if those simple solutions are not solutions at all.
These are hard topics to discuss, but we need to enter a dialogue about them that incorporates the impact of our decisions, and how our decisions define us as a community. We must come up with workable solutions that respect our fellow residents and work for our community.
As a starting point, we need a Mayor who knows he is not empowered to enforce immigration laws. Spending taxpayer time and money that will have no effect on this issue is a waste. It is a waste of taxpayer resources and shows a disregard of his office responsibilities. In the military, we call this a dereliction of duties.
We are better than this. We are a community. We need leadership that respects the ENTIRE community and looks for real solutions to our problems.
“We have nothing to fear but fear itself” may be a cliché but it’s still true today
Times Advocate Guest Column June 21, 2018
Since this summer is the 42nd anniversary of my Marine Corps battalion conducting an evacuation of Lebanese citizens from war torn Beirut, I read Mayor Abed’s Washington Times op-ed reprinted in our local Times Advocate with particular interest. In the op-ed he compared Escondido to war torn Beirut.
Lebanon – a Case Why Having a Strong Community Matters
If you are not familiar with the troubles in Lebanon, the events are covered in many history books. Suffice it to say, the country devolved into a civil war with sides divided by religion and cold war politics. When I returned in the early ‘80s as part of a Marine Corps peace keeping force, not much had changed except the city itself, that was once known as the Paris of the Middle East, had become part of a failed state and pockmarked by the results of direct and indirect fire weapons. Even in that terrible condition, one could see how beautiful and prosperous the city had been. It is no wonder that Abed abandoned his home and sought a better life, like all of our immigrant families, here in America.
Like Abed, people from all over the world want to come to the U.S.
Now I don’t blame Abed for wanting to leave his home rather than stay and fight for it. We see that all the time on the news and certainly there are many examples in history. People from all over the world in similar situations want to come here. The problem of course, is that there aren’t enough visas for everyone. Abed was one of the lucky ones who managed to succeed in that effort. Not everyone from Lebanon who wanted to come could come, and if we had shared a contiguous border with Lebanon, during that timeframe, we would probably be talking about the undocumented Lebanese. And if we shared it with Syria today, it would be the Syrians, and the list goes on. Simply put, our way of life has provided us with peace and prosperity and those who don’t have it seek us out.
Abed now makes the comparison between Beirut and Escondido, and claims the influx of immigrants is making us less safe and more like Beirut. Abed is a politician, so exaggeration comes with the territory, but this claim is so far over the line it leaves the domain of reasonableness. As a quick aside, it is worth noting that in his 2018 state of the city speech, he said we have the lowest crime rate since 1980 and claimed credit for it. The claim by the way is really a national trend that started at least 10 years before he got here. But you see the immediate contradiction. What he is really upset about is SB 54 – the California Values Act.
SB 54 Does Not Prevent Police from Reporting Criminals to ICE
Abed claims SB 54 somehow prevents the execution of the duties of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency. And that is just not true. Undocumented immigrants convicted of a serious misdemeanor or felony, and there are 800 listed in SB 54, can be reported to ICE. Unless you are in law enforcement, I don’t think many of us could take a blank sheet of paper and write down 800 things that would break the law. I would argue that when it comes to listing important laws, we’re covered. So, what is so upsetting to Abed? The law also states that we can’t use local law enforcement to enforce a responsibility that lies with the federal authorities. In this case, we are talking about immigration. That is a good decision because the immigration problem is a complex Federal issue and didn’t start this election year. There are real dangers when local officials feel they can interpret and enforce federal mandates. So let’s look at the facts.
First, we need to remember that research shows that the undocumented immigrant population has a lower crime rate than the rest of the population. That means everyone who is here is not a member of an MS 13 type gang and they are not causing chaos in our streets.
Second, undocumented immigrants came here for the same reason as documented immigrants – to escape their poverty, lack of opportunities, and in some cases dangerous, and even life-threatening situations, and have a better life. And they were able to stay here because the citizens of this country employed them in jobs Americans didn’t want to do and at very low wages.
Third, keeping the crime rate low requires police officers having a good rapport with the residents. Putting our police department into the position of ICE agents closes that door. It also has the unintended effect of increasing criminal boldness and endangering our officers and residents.
Finally, Abed ends his op-ed by claiming that one of the reasons people are leaving California is because of his imagined chaos and anarchy caused by immigrants. Sorry, that’s not true either. People are leaving because it’s expensive to live here. If Abed wants to help Escondido, he needs to narrow his focus from Sacramento and Washington, D.C. back to our city and work on bringing in good paying jobs, helping young families find affordable housing and improving the reputation of Escondido. After all, isn’t that what a mayor is supposed to do. Abed is entitled to his own opinions but not his own facts.
Charter School Lease Extension
Mac speaks against extension of Charter School Lease.
Privatizing Escondido's Public Library
Mac speaks against privatizing Escondido's only public library.
Climate Action Plan
Press Release from Mac 4 Mayor
I applaud the recent release of the Second Edition Climate Action Plan Report Card by the local Climate Action Campaign. This objective analysis does a great service to our region by evaluating all Climate Action Plans and on the progress local governments are making to effectively address climate change.
It is inspiring that five local cities, including San Diego and Chula Vista, and three in North County have adopted a 100% commitment to clean energy for their business and residents. I’m not sure if Escondido can get there, but I would like to evaluate what that might take. Several models I have reviewed show that this could be a new revenue source for Escondido.
I support many of the recommendations in the Report Card for Escondido. I would like to see us in-crease public involvement and release annual updates. Escondido should adopt aggressive clean energy goals that make fiscal sense, including water and conservation targets. On the transportation front we should promote ZEVs and get serious about smart growth strategies and effective transportation strate-gies. I also support evaluating a zero-waste goal if it works for our city.
I strongly support adding a significant goal for tree canopy cover, especially in our neighborhoods where trees are few and far between. Trees make for a more beautiful neighborhood, offer shade, in addition to helping reduce climate impacts.
While I am encouraged that the city of Escondido is currently updating its plan, it is clear that it is long overdue. In the first report card, under Sam Abed’s leadership Escondido was dead last of all the governments with a climate plan. Ours was the worst. It isn’t surprising since Sam Abed has not been a leader on climate issues and, in fact, has rejected opportunities to partner with other cities to improve climate policies.
As Mayor, I will take seriously the opportunities presented by the crisis and embrace innovative technol-ogy, public-private partnerships, and input from our residents and organization with expertise like the Climate Action Campaign, the Center for Sustainable Energy and our own local Escondido Climate Action Alliance. The report card can be found here.
Escondido And Sanctuary Laws: Hostile Action Endangers City
Union Tribune Op-Ed April 12, 2018
Escondido’s politics are broken; its governance is dysfunctional. The most recent example of this dysfunction was last week’s City Council meeting during which the council majority and mayor voted to join federal legal action against the State of California’s Senate Bill 54, the California Values Act. Mayor Sam Abed’s efforts to convert police officers to immigration agents have reduced public safety and civic trust. This complicates police work and alienates much of the community when we need to work together to reduce crime in our city.
The consequences of that action are endangering Escondido police and our residents. Since the founding of this country there has been natural friction between the roles of the federal and the state government. Abed’s action won’t alleviate that friction or resolve the complicated and difficult issue of immigration. It is election year political theater that unnecessarily divides our community.
The decision to join the lawsuit is troubling in many significant ways. Law enforcement experts warn the signal this action sends will force some citizens and immigrants into the shadows. It is well known, in Escondido especially, that there are many families in homes that have a blend of members who have legal status, and those without.
This action forces a no-win choice in those homes when it comes to reporting criminal activity — report crime and then possibly be deported, or remain silent and have the criminal activity receive no consequence. It is no secret that when a segment of our community is reluctant to report crime, criminals will be emboldened, and crime will go up. Our police will then be faced with ever increasingly dangerous situations, all of which could be avoided with more thoughtful leadership. This runs contrary to Abed’s statement after the vote that he “was elected mayor to keep the community safe.”
This action is linked to a larger, albeit failed, strategy. Abed claims that his approach, which targets the immigrant and minority populations of the city, by partnering with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, enforcing gang injunctions, and supporting traffic safety check points is what caused the lowest level of crime in our city since 1980. This argument ignores the success of preventative efforts by the Escondido Police Department and does not acknowledge the downward trend of crime nationally. Furthermore, evidence that his solution has not worked is shown by Escondido having a higher crime rate than our neighboring cities of San Marcos, Vista and Poway. Abed’s approach has not reduced crime and has created a negative public image of this city in the county and beyond.
It is also inevitable that city personnel will divert their time (and, therefore, tax dollars) to an area that is outside the scope of the mayor, the council and the city staff. Abed and the council have plenty of consequential issues to address such as traffic, housing and economic development. Instead, they are attempting to distract the citizens of Escondido by drawing them into a national political drama. The citizens deserve a mayor and council that stick to what they were elected to do: fix the roads, clean up the water, attract much-needed industries and higher paying jobs, limit sprawl, help improve schools and services and provide help to our homeless population and others in need.
Under Abed’s leadership it has become commonplace in Escondido to waste taxpayer dollars (approximately $1 million) on senseless and unsubstantiated lawsuits. And this decision, yet again, pits one group of neighbors against another. Furthermore, it deteriorates the city’s reputation as a welcoming, values-based, family-oriented place, and misrepresents the majority of citizens to the surrounding communities. Abed intentionally and unnecessarily forced Escondido into the national spotlight in exchange for some perceived political gain.
We can have legitimate public conversations about the distribution of responsibilities among federal, state, and local governments on matters such as sanctuary policies. But using those conversations to peddle anti-immigrant sentiments is flawed, low politics.
Escondido is a city of faith and values. We should be using public debate to find ways to uplift our city. Abed could do this; after all, he is an immigrant and should know that it is better to take the high road. Let’s stop making decisions that endanger residents, misrepresent us and destroy our reputation. Escondido will only begin to thrive when it embraces its rich, diverse heritage and people. We must do better.