The Escondido Inferiority Complex

Published Sunday, July 24th, 2011 by Dave Woods

"I like Escondido, but..."

"Yeah, that would be great, but it will never happen here..."

"I wish Escondido had..."

Do any of these statements and sentiments sound familiar to you? If you live in Escondido, they probably do. I've lived here most of my life, and time and again, I've heard Escondido residents express thoughts like these.

In fact, I have to confess... I'm guilty of saying and thinking such things myself. At times in the past, I would even project an almost apologetic tone when telling people where I live and grew up.

But while some of us merely lament some of the negatives and frustrations, others take a far more extreme and counterproductive approach. For example, how many times have you heard both insiders and outsiders to the city mocking Escondido and calling it names? I know I have, many times...

Another thing I've seen is "the battle of no" — one group in Escondido proposes something, and the opposition lines up to merely say "no" to the proposal without ever bothering to offer a constructive alternative of their own. All conversation stops, great ideas die, and the original problem gets even worse. What a tragic waste of human energy...

And the worst cynicism of all: How often do we see outright disrespect, name-calling, and mean-spiritedness in our public discourse, especially in the forums of certain online newspapers? Way too often...

Regardless of its specific shape or form, we have to look ourselves in the mirror and admit that, as Escondido residents, we suffer from some collective self-esteem issues. I call this crisis of confidence the Escondido Inferiority Complex.

Trust me, I understand many of the reasons why people are frustrated because I feel some of those frustrations as well. To name a few: Property values are down. City and school budget cuts are a real bummer. Downtown and shopping centers have too many empty storefronts. Our job market is weak because, somehow, the city didn't plan and zone enough industrial land decades ago. There's no doubt we have a few problems facing us, and we shouldn't ignore them or gloss over them.

But let's get real... When it comes to the problems facing our community, there are MANY cities in the U.S. (and the world, for that matter) facing the same issues. These are trying times, and we're not alone in this, so we shouldn't beat ourselves up as badly as we do.

More importantly, even in good economic times, the reality is that mindlessly dwelling on the bad without recognizing the good and putting constructive energy into problem solving is silly, counterproductive, and it has to stop. In fact, our negative energy is actually PREVENTING us from solving the very problems that we so often lament.

Quite simply, the Escondido Inferiority Complex must end — right here, right now. This week in Topics, it's time for a pep talk. We're going to further examine the causes of the Inferiority Complex, find solutions, and show this community that it has every reason in the world to smile and stand proud. Starting with article #2...


Join the discussion! 4 comments so far...

  1. I was at a small office on Juniper last week and was looking up the street. The architecture of the stores was beautiful, and it was easy to imagine what a nice downtown it once was. I know it can be that again.

    This is a great idea for encouraging growth and civic pride in Escondido. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Jeannie Sapp on July 25, 2011 at 1:38 PM

  2. Thank you Jeannie, not only for leaving the first-ever comment in Topics, but also for your compliments! I agree completely — downtown can be like that again.

    Comment by Dave Woods on July 25, 2011 at 10:34 PM

  3. Just before we moved to Escondido this Feb while chatting with a friend/2nd generation Escondido resident, we were dismayed by their stories of various eager, small businesses who wanted to set up shop on Grand but were unable to due to things like non-competes, excessive fees and seemingly endless hoops to jump thru. What's the real deal here?? There are plenty of folks who would love to open shop in those vacant store fronts...but what's truly keeping that from becoming a reality??

    Comment by Amanda Trejo on August 1, 2011 at 11:51 AM

  4. Hi Amanda, that's a good question, one that has troubled me as well.

    A frequent one that I've heard about is parking, both a lack of it and onerous parking regulations placed on businesses. Many of those parking regulations were streamlined recently, but I fear other obstacles may still remain. Keep in mind, some of these issues could apply citywide, so it's not just a Grand Avenue problem.

    In the near future, we plan on having an entire weekly topic dedicated to Grand Ave. and Escondido's urban core as a whole, so check back soon because I'm sure this topic will be part of the discussion.

    In the interim, are there any past, present, or aspiring business owners in Escondido who can share their real experiences in trying to start a business here -- both good and bad, permitting issues, code issues, constructive suggestions for improvements, etc?

    Comment by Dave Woods on August 2, 2011 at 9:10 PM


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