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Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022
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Taking Care of Business Becomes an Economic Necessity

As the national and state government leadership grapple with taxes, fees, cutbacks, layoffs and the like, local governments in North County are proceeding with making decisions necessary to get their communities moving in the right direction.

New Mayor Sam Abed in Escondido is not waiting for higher authority to motivate him. The mayor has appointed an economic advisory board to explore what kind of incentives would attract businesses to determine what challenges the city faces, and to decide on the best way to forge partnerships with local colleges and other regional institutions.

Mayor Abed is steadfast in his quest to do the right things necessary to bolster his city’s businesses. “Our City Council has never been more pro-business in its desire to stimulate jobs, retain businesses and move the city forward,” Abed said.

New Mayor Matt Hall in Carlsbad feels the same way. He has initiated a series of business leader lunches co-sponsored with the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce to meet face-to-face with individual business sector leaders to allow them direct access to him, Deputy Mayor Ann Kulchin, City Manager Lisa Hildebrand and Gary Barberio the director of economic development.

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Food for Thought

The invitation-only luncheons are private conversations about concerns each industry has and about obstacles that hinder growth. Letters, memos and endless meetings don’t cut to the chase as quickly as these conversations do, Mayor Hall said. The first luncheon was April 21 with leaders from the golf manufacturing community.

A few signs of changes affecting business can already be seen. In Carlsbad, the City Council has been meeting with the auto dealers in Car Country Carlsbad, its largest sales tax provider. After several planning sessions the dealers presented a multifaceted plan to the council. They want to develop a sign program that will draw customers into Car Country and guide them through the plaza. They want to improve traffic flow and safety along Paseo del Norte and Car Country Drive; and they want to improve the appearance of Car Country, both from Interstate 5 and at the curb in front of each dealership. The dealers would also like to streamline the process for expansion and remodeling. This cooperation is an example of the willingness of government and others working to help get the economy back on track.

Construction Sites

Construction cranes are back and working at full speed. If you glance inside the base at Camp Pendleton as you drive north on I-5, you will see the site of a new multimillion dollar military exchange, a new front entrance to the base and a $700 million new military hospital. Thousands of construction workers are plying their trades on those projects.

Escondido’s skyline has been dramatically altered with the construction of a new super hospital. The $956 million facility is a 289 room, 789,293 square foot Palomar Medical Center West, “hospital of the future.” The three main building complex complete with 17 elevators is 70 percent complete. The grand opening is anticipated in the spring of 2012.

Speaking of hospitals, the giant Tri-City complex in Oceanside has announced the funding by its foundation of several new pieces of equipment to support their expansion. Among these are a new stereotactic biopsy system for breast biopsy procedures and a new treadmill and Holter System to perform state-of-the-art treadmill analysis of heart patients. The new equipment is part of the ongoing expansion of the public hospital. The grants totaled more than $300,000.

Customer Satisfaction

One industry that appears to be handling the struggle of the economy is the Indian gaming business. I ventured out to Harrah’s Rincon Casino with my wife to celebrate our anniversary and was very pleasantly surprised by a couple of things. The first is the level of customer service. They bent over backward at all venues to make us feel important. We chose the Fiore restaurant for our dinner and we had a wonderful five-star meal. From our waiter Bobby, the restaurant manager Karin DeChristopher to the Executive Chef Damian Stanley the customer service and quality of the food were terrific.

The last event of the night for us was sitting through the appearance of Burt Reynolds being interviewed by talk show veteran Dick Cavett. Reynolds, the star of “Deliverance,” a veteran of more than 100 movies, was humorous, down to earth and regaled the audience with story after story of his movie career. If you are out near Harrah’s and you want a nice pleasant evening of dining, entertainment and gambling you are in for a treat, but I wish you better gambling luck than we encountered.

A special salute goes to the George Pardee family for its commitment to the education of hundreds of the region’s future leaders by providing 50 scholarships a year to students at Cal State San Marcos that have a minimum grade point average of 3.25 and have demonstrated need. The gift from the construction scion’s family was created by the J. Douglas and Marian R. Pardee Foundation after a grandson graduated in 2007 from CSUSM. To salute the tremendous gift the university will bestow an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to J. Douglas Pardee at the school’s commencement ceremony on May 21.

Ted Owen is president and chief executive officer of the Carlsbad Chamber of Commerce.

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