The City of Escondido Hometown Heroes Banner Program was established as a way for the community to recognize and honor men and women who serve, or have served, in the U.S. Armed Forces. The personalized banners will be hung from approximately Memorial Day (mid-May) to Veterans Day (mid-November) in Downtown Escondido along Grand Avenue, 2nd Avenue and Valley Parkway. Banners include a photo of the hero, their name and customizable text that can include their military branch, special awards or honors they received, etc. 

Banner orders are being taken now through early May. The cost of the banners is $190, which recoups the City’s cost to produce and hang them. Banners may be ordered online at www.escondido.org/herobanner.aspx or by contacting Michelle Geller at mgeller@escondido.org or (760) 839-4587. 

Please note: Banners that were ordered in 2015 will be hung again this year. After two seasons, individuals who ordered banners will be contacted and the banners will be returned if desired.


Having a thriving business community not only means services and jobs for our residents, it also means revenue for our city which in turn can be spent on public safety, streets, parks and other quality of life amenities. 

The City Council has made economic development  a high priority and is committed to being a business-friendly community.  As a result, it is important to me personally  to reach out to businesses.  I meet with local businesses regularly to learn more about them, to see how they are doing, and to find out what the City can do to help keep them in Escondido and to help their business grow.  If you are a business owner in Escondido and would like to have me visit your business, please contact Michelle Geller, Management Analyst II, at 760-839-4587 or mgeller@escondido.org .


“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.


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!