Originally Posted February 01, 2016

“Homes for Our Troops” provides assistance to the most severely injured service members nationwide who have been injured since September 11, 2001, by providing them with mortgage-free, specially adapted homes. Most of the veterans they serve have sustained injuries that include multiple amputations, full or partial paralysis, and severe traumatic brain injury.     

In 2016, Escondido’s home town hero, former Marine Sgt. Toran Gaal, was selected to receive one of these homes. Toran lost both legs and suffered brain damage during the Afghanistan War.  After his long road to recovery, he settled in Escondido.  Prior to his service in the Marine Corp, Toran was a former Division 1 college basketball player at Dayton.  After his injury Toran thought he would never step on a basketball court again, but when his daughter Bella decided to play basketball in the Escondido Police Athletic League (PAL) he agreed to coach the team. Toran now is a leader in the PAL program and a volunteer for the Escondido Police Department.

On February 6, from 9:30 a.m. -12:00 p.m., a special recognition event will be held  at the Park Avenue Community Center (210 Park Avenue) to honor Toran, Homes for Our Troops and all the sponsors who help make dreams a reality for severely wounded military veterans.   At this event there will be a short video about Toran’s military service, the details of his injury and recovery, and the importance of having a home that will accommodate his injuries. At 10:00 a.m., Toran will receive a police and fire escort to the Community Center.  

The City of Escondido is proud to salute our hometown Military Hero and Escondido Police Volunteer, Sgt. Toran Gaal.


Originally Posted January 25, 2016

I will be presenting my Annual State of the City address on Wednesday morning, February 24, 2016 at the Conference Center of the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

The event is co-sponsored by the Escondido Chamber of Commerce and willbe begin with an optional breakfast at 7:30 a.m. followed by the program at 8:00 a.m. The program will include awards to outstanding community volunteers as well as my address.

The optional breakfast is available for $20 per person.  To make your reservation for breakfast, please register online at https://www.escondido.org/state-of-the-city-address.aspx  or contact the City Manager’s Office at 760-839-4631.   The deadline to reserve breakfast is 5:00 p.m. on February 19, 2016.  Persons wishing to attend the program may do so at no cost, if they are not eating breakfast.  If you would like information about sponsoring a table, please contact the Escondido Chamber of Commerce, 760-745-2125. 

I hope to see you there!


Originally Posted January 18, 2016

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a national holiday honoring one of the most influential and iconic leaders of the civil rights movement. It is celebrated each year on the third Monday of January, near his birthday of January 15th. 

The holiday was signed into law in January 1983 by President Ronald Reagan and it was first observed three years later.  In his proclamation speech, President Reagan noted,  "This year marks the first observance of the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. as a national holiday. It is a time for rejoicing and reflecting. We rejoice because, in his short life, Dr. King, by his preaching, his example, and his leadership, helped to move us closer to the ideals on which America was founded. . . . He challenged us to make real the promise of America as a land of freedom, equality, opportunity, and brotherhood." 

Today, while many of us are enjoying a day off from work, let us remember the meaning behind the King holiday: to honor the total legacy of Dr. King, to focus on the issue of civil rights, to highlight the use of nonviolence to promote change, and to call people into public service. 


Originally Posted January 11, 2016

The Escondido City Council is preparing to begin its recruitment for volunteers to serve on eight boards and commissions.  Vacancies will occur on all of the following:  Building Advisory and Appeals Board; Community Services Commission; Historic Preservation Commission; Library Board of Trustees; Personnel Board of Review; Planning Commission; Public Art Commission; and Transportation & Community Safety Commission. 

For the most part, the qualifications to serve are residency within the geographic boundaries of the General Plan.   

The Historic Preservation Commission requires a resume to assure that you have specific expertise.   The Planning Commission may require evidence of certification for design professional classification. The Library Board requires either residency or that you work within the geographic boundaries of the General Plan, and the Public Art Commission requires that you either reside or have a business within the designated boundaries. 

Meeting times and frequency vary, depending on the commission, and the term of office is four years, with the exception of the Library Board, which has a three-year term.   The application period will begin on January 2, 2016 with a closing date of Friday, February 12, 2016. 

More information is available on the City’s website at www.escondido.org/boards-commissions.aspx or by calling the City Clerk’s Office at 760-839-4617. 

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