The first approach is to recruit businesses that are unique to the surrounding area. It will do nothing to draw people from outside the area to open another Wal-Mart or Home Depot when they have one in their own back yard. I want to see businesses come in to the area that will draw people from surrounding cities. An outdoor superstore like a Cabela’s, Outdoor World, or
Sportsman’s Warehouse would draw people from all over Southern California and even from Mexico. El Cajon is losing its battle on this front to cities like Santee who have Sonic and are on the verge of getting Chik-fil-A and Phil’s Bar BQ. But, there are other franchise businesses that should be looked at that have major followings and tons of advertising, such as, Buffalo Wild Wings, White Castle, Churches Chicken, Etc... I believe the El Cajon Brewery can be used in the same mold but must be marketed correctly and must be embraced by the city bars and restaurants.
The second opportunity is to get manufacturing industry companies into El Cajon. This would have a positive impact on the city in multiple ways. It would make more jobs available and with El Cajon having the highest poverty rate in the county this is much needed. It will fill vacant space and will provide additional tax and business revenues. Having been in the manufacturing industry for the past 26 years I feel my experience and knowledge can help recruit this type of industry to El Cajon.
The third opportunity is to find ways to bring consumers to the area. As mentioned previously, unique businesses will help. Also, getting the East County Performing Arts Center re-opened for performances will bring people into El Cajon multiple times a week. Again, I want to mention what is happening in Santee, and why we are behind the curve in developing a sportsplex. We have Wells Park that is not being used to it capabilities or even the vacant land around the airport along Weld Ave that could house such a venue. It gets hot in East County how about a water park somewhere. What about bringing back the friendship festival or a winter festival? There are areas that this can be done, like the vacant land between the baseball field at El Cajon High School and Main Street. A trolley or shuttle system that brings people to various locations around El Cajon will make it easier for consumers to get to the businesses without the hassles of finding parking.
The fourth opportunity is through El Cajon’s growth. How about annexing some of the unincorporated areas into the city? I’ve heard from multiple people that live one or two blocks outside the incorporated city limits that they would like a say in what happens in El Cajon. They are directly affected by the cities politics and operations yet they have no say to who is elected. By being part of the city they would get the use of the city services and have a vote in the city politics and in turn the city receives the property taxes. This is a lengthy process and requires a majority vote by the area to be annexed. It would involve a lot of work from the city and some PR but I think there are areas that will be happy to join the city.
Lastly, the city needs to look internally at what it can do better to help businesses. The city needs to do a better job of expediting the permitting process, cutting through the bureaucracy and red tape. El Cajon leaders should not only get new businesses running, but help them to succeed once they are established. I’ve heard from multiple businesses that the sign ordinances are too restrictive. We need to evaluate them and work with the businesses as well as the city residents to find a win/win solution for advertising. The PBID organization only works with businesses in the downtown area. What about establishing an organization with a broader scope to help with businesses along second street, Broadway, Jamacha, and other areas?
These ideas and so much more can get El Cajon known as a city where people want to visit and/or live. ake the correct decision in November.
Vote the clear choice "For a Better El Cajon" Duane Swainston for City Council.