La Mesa Rejoins East County Economics Group

LA MESA -- In an otherwise uneventful and blissfully short City Council meeting, the council voted 5-0 to fund La Mesa's return to full membership in the East County Economic Development Council.
The vote was a victory for Councilman Ernie Ewin who had championed La Mesa's return after dropping out of the organization several years ago.
At the time it left, Mayor Art Madrid questioned whether the organization delivered measurable return on the city's investment. Membership costs the city $3,000 per year.
Over the last two council meetings, members of the ECEDC (see photo above) addressed city officials and reviewed detailed plans for promoting business expansion, attracting new business and championing plans to expand economic development around Gillespie Field, the small airport in El Cajon that local officials are targeting for an "aerotropolis" development effort that could benefit all of East County.

The proposal to rejoin the ECEDC was approved 5-0, but not without Madrid and Ewin exchanging a few subtle political punches and counter-punches.

Madrid took the opportunity of the plaintiff ECEDC management's presentation to ask if they would support a La Mesa effort to win "All-American City" designation for the city.

Of course they would was the answer.

Ewin then informed the ECEDC staff that, in fact, the council had already voted against seeking the designation, but the mayor is pursuing the effort without other groups within the city.

In the end, a quiet reminder that this is an election year.

The council also approved a proclamation proclaiming March as Prescription Drug Abuse Awareness Month and encouraged citizens to dispose of old and out-of-date medicines properly. (see photo below)

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Tags: East County Economic Development Council, Government


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Comment by Batman on March 12, 2014 at 10:00pm

I am aware the entire Camp Gillespie property is owned by the County of San Diego. Very few of the businesses the county is leasing to west of Marshall Ave. are aviation-related. I'm just skeptical this project will produce the return on investment the county and the City of El Cajon are hoping for. Most of the aviation-support businesses already at Gillespie are barely scraping by. Back in the 1960s, when fuel was cheap and regulation was light, this airpark would have been filled with tenants immediately without a doubt. We'll see what happens.

Comment by Barry Jantz on March 11, 2014 at 9:31pm

It may indeed be a shame that Cajon Speedway is gone, but the development of the site is not an El Cajon project, nor was it a city decision to close the track. The lease of the County owned land was for 50 years and expired in 2005. The requirement by the FAA is for aviation uses, which has been the case since mid-last century. This may be the most thorough article on the history of the speedway and the planned new uses:

Comment by Mark Cavanaugh on March 11, 2014 at 9:11pm

Ok City Council,

We expect to have you show how La Mesa benefits at least dollar for dollar in real not touchy feely terms in one year from now before renewing your membership in this organization.   My guess is you just wasted $3,000 of taxpayer dollars.  With every dollar being so precious now, this is one expense that could have been delayed until a presentation from the ECEDC could actually show in quantifiable terms how we get back our investment.  What's next, membership in the Chaldean Chamber like the HWD?

Comment by Batman on March 11, 2014 at 6:51pm

So La Mesa has taken an interest in El Cajon's airport project. It's a shame Cajon Speedway was done away with to make way for the huge airpark. Small-scale civilian aviation operations are not likely to expand very fast if the price of avgas and jet-A continues to rise, and it will likely rise considerably in cost with the new environmental taxes and regulations recently signed into law by our governor.

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