By Logan Jenkins | UTSandiego.com
If it’s Sunday — and I’m on the job — it’s Roses & Raspberries, North County’s reinstituted cheering and jeering section launched more than 30 years ago at the late Times-Advocate. Send in nominations for the week’s winners and sinners.
A rose — the New Challenge, Right Attitude award — to Escondido Councilman Ed Gallo for embracing, rather than whining about, his new Latino-majority council district in the city’s urban core.
In interviews, Gallo is sending the message that he’s running on his record right into the Latino heart of his district, not away from what’s been designed to be hostile territory for him.
It’s actually good for the city that the historic district election next November should feature Gallo, a conservative whose friendly, even-keeled persona just might play well in a district that’s been fashioned to elect a Latino with a (presumably) progressive agenda.
Gallo says he plans to walk the neighborhoods to listen and learn. He concedes his Spanish is “extremely limited,” but he has a volunteer interpreter at the ready.
Though an incumbent, Gallo starts his re-election campaign an underdog in a district that should turn out for Councilwoman Olga Diaz, a Democratic Latino candidate running against Mayor Sam Abed, a Republican with whom Gallo has aligned himself on key issues.
If Gallo’s going to win re-election, he’s going to have to channel that Jack Kemp-style enthusiasm for urban development. He’ll have to sell that he’s the pro-business conservative who can get things done for his constituents once they make clear to him exactly what they need.
If he were to win the so-called Latino seat, Gallo would make counterintuitive history. He’d buck the racial assumption behind district elections.
As council races go, this one could be the most interesting in North County.