By Jo Marie Diamond, President and CEO
East County Economic Development Council (www.eastcountyedc.org)
January 24, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Where’s East County in the scenarios presented by the Greater San Diego Vision? Make your voice heard soon.
You may have seen the ads, heard the radio spots and received emails urging you to engage in the public choosing process for the Greater San Diego Vision initiative. You may have even visited the Public Choosing site and taken a tour of the scenarios for Land Use, Economic Development, Education, and Culture and Amenities.
What you haven’t seen or heard is any reference to the role of East County in these scenarios.
Over the last eight months, about 200 community leaders from the fields of economic development, housing, environment, transportation, economics, education, community and cultural amenities dove into the top issues identified by San Diegans and worked to develop options for the public to review and decide. East County Economic Development Council and fellow East County stakeholders participated actively in these task force process and the subsequent community meetings that asked the public to identify employment and education centers, housing, infrastructure, open space, and amenities. We were encouraged by the openness of the process and hoped to see exciting live-work-play scenarios that specifically addressed the East County as well as greater San Diego County. Similar past efforts to develop and promote a regional vision have ended up focusing only on metropolitan San Diego and the coastal communities. Unfortunately, this appears to have happened again. And so, we object.
In November 2011 the scenarios were presented on www.OurGreaterSanDiegoVision.org along with a campaign called “Show Your Love for a Greater San Diego” that urged the public to “choose.” When the public visits the choosing site, they see Central, North, and South County prominently displayed as part of at least one of the scenarios. Not so for East County.
So we asked Greater San Diego Vision representatives to present to the East County EDC Board the underlying data that specifically reflects East County and what these data mean in the four scenarios. They did and you can see it at www.eastcountyedc.org. The presentation was instructive, but not enlightening.
Where was any consideration of the potential employment center in an aerotropolis surrounding Gillespie Field airport? Or mention of the role of Native American lands and employment centers already so prominent in East County? No recognition of the plans of our cities - El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Santee - to meet the increasing challenges of reduced resources with actionable visions for livable, vibrant communities. No reference to our wonderful open spaces. No understanding of the East County supply chain companies (and greater San Diego’s) that will figure prominently in the success of the region’s three main economic drivers: defense/military, innovation, and tourism.
We raise these concerns to increase awareness and to urge you to go to the public site to choose before the last day, which is Jan 31. We also encourage East County residents to post comments at the Greater San Diego Vision Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/OurGreaterSanDiegoVision) or send them directly to Lori Pfeiler, Associate Vice President, Regional Vision Initiative, (LoriP@sdfoundation.org).
We appreciate the chance to vote but the vote must be of real choices. East County takes the shaping of our region’s vision seriously. The Greater San Diego Vision process may result in catalyzing our commitment. Good. Now go vote. Thanks.
The views expressed in this editorial reflect the views of the author and do not necesarily reflect the views of East County Magazine. To submit an editorial for consideration, visit www.EastCountyMagazine.org.