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By Lori Bledsoe
Reprinted with permission from The Alpine Sun; Factcheck provided by East County Magazine’s research team


November 1, 2010 (Campo) -- Four of the six candidates running for the Campo Planning Group were present at a discussion at the Campo Community Center: Diane Richards, Robert Hume, Richard Northcote, and Walter Ogle answered questions from the community for over an hour regarding their knowledge and agendas of the Campo community.


Diane Richards has lived in Campo since 1985. She is a paralegal, and has been working for 27 years at UCSD in the math dept advising the chair. She is a San Diego native and says that the role of the planning group is very important. She understands it is an advisory to the county, to thoroughly look at projects for the community. She says, “I hoping to provide myself as a resource.”


Robert Hume has lived in Campo since 2005. His first adventure in San Diego county was in 1984 as a Coast Guard Flight Guide Intern. He worked for a government contractor out of San Francisco and has 22 years of experience in the US Army as a medic. After that he was a full-time para-medic/firefighter in Georgia, and is now in the Campo fire department. He says, “I think its important to know what’s going on in the county.”


Richard Northcote has been in Campo since 1977 and is seeking re-election. He attended Campo Elementary and Mountain Empire Jr. High and high school. He says, “I think we’re making good progress on our board right now, we have a board that will listen to the community.


Walter Ogle has lived in Campo for 25 years, he has a degree in mathematics and navel science and was in service during Vietnam era. He worked for the Sheriffs office for 28 years. He says he has a pretty good feel for the community. He says, “I want to preserve the rural flavor of Campo and would like to increase the rural economic viability.”



How much time do you think you will spend supporting your role as planning group member?


Richards: I think I will spend as much time as I need to.

Hume: As much time as it takes to fully investigate the input from the community. I will have an email process to take input and feedback from the community.

Northcote: as much time as needed to do the research.

Ogle: I have an advantage, I’m retired. I have the time to argue our case in front of the Board of Supervisors. It depends on the issues, some of these issues will last for months, some will be one-time issues.



The current Planning Group has asked the county to approve over 500 half acre lots at Cameron Corners, will you vote to rescind?

Hume: I will want to fully review what is being presented to planning commission to accept for approval. Keeping it rural and rustic is important to all of us, I think that all of what is coming to east county is market driven. Were not going to loose the flavor of our small community. If it benefits the community, get feedback from the community. I would fully vet the question before making a decision on the question.

Northcote: The general plan is 275 acres for Cameron Corners which would be 2 homes per 1 acre. I’ve never heard of a motel going there, just like Robert, I would have to fully review the plan and go from there.

Fact check: Northcote’s answer is non-responsive. The version of the community plan that Northcote supports says 275 acres at two homes per acre. The general plan does not say this. The county has not yet adopted the community plan because it is so hotly contested by the community.

Ogle: In the community plan there are 3 villages where higher density living would be. I would have to listen to the objections. They would have to be compelling. If there’s an objection to what they approve, I would have to listen to the objection.

Richards: I would have to review the plan. This all sounds like the Campo Hills deal, and that was a mistake. We have ground water to protect, so I’m quite concerned that the group would pass something like that. I would have look a the details to find out what the provisions are for preservation of ground water and septic and what’s the back up plan because as you know, once these developers get in and put something like Campo hills in, they’re gone, and we’re stuck with the mess.


What is your vision for Campo Lake Morena in the next 10 years?

Northcoat: Try to keep it rural and keep the developers out.

Fact check: Northcote is a member of the developer-supported PAC called “HOPE.”

Ogle: I would like to see some development, but retain the rural atmosphere while controlling economic growth.

Dianne: Hopefully not a lot of growth There’s a lot of good qualities in this community I’m not anti growth, I’m thoughtful growth.

Hume: I would never vote for something like a Wal Mart coming here. It would be nice to see some economic growth for the kids to have summer jobs or activities. I would like to protect the rural nature of the community. I hate to see stagnation. Slow methodical growth in some areas is good for the community. The healthcare center is good for the community and provides local work. Common sense for our community.


What do you want the campo lake Morena area to look like in 25 years?


Ogle: I hope in 25 years with proper planning we will maintain. Growth is inevitable and in 25 years people will push out to here, they want to live in the country. I think without destroying the open space and without destroying the rural flavor we will be able to accommodate this plan where we have 3 centers of population, Lake Morena is the village and will continue to be the village, Cameron corners will be developed, and Campo with the park area can be another center of population.

Richards: I hope to maintain the rural atmosphere, with some improvements I hope the roads and infrastructure will be maintained. I’m hoping not to see a Wal Mart up here because again, big developments bring issues with them. I’m hoping that development in 25 years is well thought out.

Hume: I can remember this community twenty years ago, and the change that I’ve seen has been slow and methodical. The next corridor that is to be developed is out the 8 and it depends on the economy. Basic services. Nice flavor of the community with basic services.

Northcote:. I’m the same way as everyone else, but I would like to see no stop lights up here.


What would be your preferred density for a project like Cameron Corners?


Richards: 1 and 10. But that would depend on how it’s built, we have to look at the plan. I would like to see it well planned and well thought out.

Hume: Moderate to low density, if it was planned out in a good way. It all stems from how it’s planned out. I don’t want to see empty houses like Campo Hills. Can we support it? Can the water support it and the sewer support it? There are a lot of issues that we have to address before we can bring more people in.

Northcote: there are a lot of studies that have to be addressed like water, sewage and transportation it would be hard to answer at this time.

Fact check: Northcote has already voted to preapprove two homes per acre at Cameron Corners, in addition to whatever high density housing would be allowed on the commercially zoned portion. The Star Ranch development proposal includes a hotel and approximately 500 homes.

Ogle: I’m going to drop back and answer this question as if everything was ideal. I would like to see this as an old town with houses on half acre lots, but ideal conditions do not exist here. To put a real number on density you have to have all the studies in front of you.


Question: What do you think qualifies you to be on the planning group?


Hume: My desire to see our community prosper. A newer member gives balance.

Northcote: I think being involved in the community means knowing what the community wants. I’ve been in the community quite a bit and I’ve been on the board for four years, so I think I know a little bit of what’s going on here.

Ogle: I’ve been here 25 years, My backgrownd in the military means I deal in facts and gives me the ability to be impartial.

Richards: I care about where I live. I would like to retire here. I care enough to speak up.


Do the candidates understand that disaster planning is not one of their responsibilities?


Northcoat: We do have a disaster group and I’m involved in it .

Ogle: Yes.

Diane: Yes I do understand that.

Hume: Yes

Do you believe that zoning is equivalent to private property rights? Or let me change that, Do you believe that zoning should change private property rights?

Ogle: I’ve just gone through a construction process. I have mixed feelings [about zoning]. Sometimes I think your being pinged on your rights and some of them are for your good. If zoning is not what the community wants than it is up to the community to change it.

Richards: I think it depends on how it is affecting certain people. I believe the zoning is here to protect certain people. As a Board we’re here to advise the county on the needs and desires of the community.

Hume: People’s property they should be able to do what they want with it until it affects their neighbor. Zoning has it’s place

Northcote: I believe property rights should mean that you do what you want within reason.


Do you believe that economic development can only be achieved by building a lot of homes and why?


Richards: I would say, not necessarily. I would have to say that there are other ways. Use some reason. No I don’t think that building a lot of homes in a dense way is the best way for economic growth.

Hume: I would have to say no. Building a lot of homes would not be the best for our community. I would like to see development for equestrian and parks. What we need to sustain the ability for people to visit our community, spend money and then go home. Services, facilities and opportunities for people to visit.

Northcote: No, but we do need some housing to support the businesses during the week as we only get visitors during the weekends.

Fact check: Northcote has repeatedly supported high density construction in the community.

Ogle: economic growth may drive more housing so you have housing for the people to support the economy.


Do you agree with the downsizing plans for GP2020 for your area?


Hume: Yes and no. I would like to take a better look at that before I decide which way to go.

Northcote: I would say no.

Ogle: I’m not in favor of that.

Diane: I would have to look at that in more detail, but at this time I would have to say no.


What are the foundations of Campo’s community?


Northcote: The lifestyle up here.

Ogle: Originally we had immigrants that started a store here, then we had the Border Patrol, and it has grown from there. People who live out here enjoy the country life style and the economy is growing here. If we can increase the economic growth here to sustain our community, it will make our community strong.

Richards: I think that this community of Campo is full of people who like the small town feel and people like it the way it is.

Hume: People enjoy the rural community, it has small town flavor, and people know each other. Everyone bands together as a small town community. Everyone likes the flavor of the small community.


What do you think the planning group can do to promote better economic conditions for our community.


Hume: If it makes sense for our community, then we need to look at it, but if it isn’t good for our community than we shouldn’t support it.

Northcote: Support the businesses that are hear, support businesses that want to come here like Bed and Breakfasts and Equestrian businesses.


What do you know of the county building restrictions east of the water line?


Ogle: Nothing

Richards: I am also not aware of that.

Hume: I have not heard of anything “east of the waterline” I would like to get more information on that.

Northcote: It would depend on water studies. Everyone up here is dependant on wells.

Fact check: Northcote has already voted to preapprove the development of a water and sewer district at Cameron Corners that would support the Star Ranch development and would rely exclusively on groundwater.


Where do you live in the Campo/Lake Morena area?


Richards: I live on Buckman Springs Road.

Hume: I live in Campo Hills

Northcoate I live on Lake Morena Drive

Ogle: I live on Custer Road.


What do you envision at Cameron Corners, if anything?


Hume: I think that Cameron Corners has the ability to be the economic hub. If we’re going to put anything in our community, commercially, that’s the place to put it.

Northcote: As the general plan calls for, it is the hub of the community.

Fact check: The community plan (which Northcote voted to modify in favor of Cameron Corners development) says that and the county has not yet adopted the community plan because it is so hotly contested by the community.

Ogle: I agree, it is the most logical place for economic growth for the community, for mom and pop stores or grocery store if we ever get one.

Richards: I’d like to see that cleaned up and developed …


What is the single most important issue in Campo and how would you like to see it addressed?


Northcote: Our water issue, Water is number one. Probably do some sort of water district where our water is controlled.

Fact check: A water district does not control water use. It delivers whatever is used and charges money for it.

Ogle: I think water and for a lot of these communities is sewage. We have to continually monitor the water table. I think we should look toward sewage treatment maybe for irrigation.

Richards: Water is one of our main issues and sewage treatment. Also quality of air. I would like to preserve what we have by being careful of what we put in. In regards to sewage we have to look at everything individually.

Hume: Water is the most important but also fire threat is pretty important.


How many planning group meetings have you been at?


Ogle: One

Richards: I’ve been to a few, about six.

Hume: Three

Northcote: Every one for the last four years.


What do you think you can contribute, and what are you willing to do to help our community?


Richards: I think I can offer my eyes and my ears. If I sign up for something I’m in it for the long haul. I can offer my honesty and my opinion. I’m a hard worker. I love this community. I respect everyone’s opinions, everyone has them.

Hume: I represent the newer folks in Campo. There is a new influx of people who have only been here for five or six years. I think it’s important to have balance. I think it’s important to hear from everyone, and have balance from newer members of the community, as well as old timers in the community. We all have a vested interest in the community.

Northcote: I’ve been at every meeting for the last four years, I’m committed. Over the last two years we have members on the board that really cares about the community.

Ogle: I’ve been here for the last 25 years and the community’s growing but we need to keep the plan. I’m here to represent and to do what the community wants to do. I want what’s best for the community, to keep it rural.

Fact check: Ogle just said in earlier answer that he supports semi-urban densities and a water/sewer district.

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