By Miriam Raftery
Photo: simulation of plant viewed from campground at Mission Trails Regional Park
April 14, 2014 (San Diego) – One year after the California Public Utilities Commissions suspended an application for the controversial gas-fired Quail Brush power plan proposed near Mission Trails Regional Park and schools in Santee, the applicant has taken steps to keep the proposal alive.
By Miriam Raftery
October 17, 2013 (Santee) – Santee’s City Council has voted to allow annexation of the controversial Castlerock Development project, meaning the land will be transferred from San Diego to Santee. Pardee Homes plans to build 283 single family homes, 147 multi-family dwellings and a public park at the project.
The Council has fought to oppose Castlerock on the boundary of Santee and San Diego, but the City of San Diego approved it. Unable to block the project, Santee’s Council decided to allow annexation so that developer fees and property taxes from the new homes will be paid to Santee. In turn, Santee will provide services as fire protection.
Friday: Listen to the East County Magazine Show on KNSJ 89.1 FM at 5 p.m. to hear our interview with Stephen Bartholow, editor of Santee Patch, who has been tracking this story.
July 25, 2013 (Santee) – By a unanimous vote, Santee City Council ignored pleas from residents and authorized the city to seize and force sale of four properties, as well as obtain easements for nearly a hundred more. The declaration of eminent domain was done to allow the Prospect Avenue street widening project, which impacts properties on nine streets.
“We don’t want to leave,” Gloria Duff testified, Santee Patch reported. Duff, whose family has lived in their home for 50 years, said the family took out a second mortgage for remodeling recently and fears they won’t get enough money.
San Diego Planning Commission to weigh changing zoning to allow project at April 26 meeting; Opponents plan march today in Santee
March 31, 2012 (Santee) – Santee Mayor Randy Voepel didn’t mince words. “This is a declaration of war,” he said at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting, where Councilmembers voted unanimously to oppose the gas-fired Quail Brush power plant.
The 100 megawatt (MW) “peaker” power plant is proposed on 10 acres adjacent to Mission Trails Regional Park, close to West Hills High School and homes.
By Anne Tolch, Vice Chairperson, Sustainability Alliance of Southern California
September 21, 2011 (San Diego) -- For many years there was the assertion that smoking posed no danger to our health, but we now know the science community was right. It also took a while to figure out that acid rain really posed problems. Fortunately, our society has implemented policies to address these serious issues. The same is true for climate change. In the end, we will work together to solve it.
What climate change skeptics such as Santee Mayor Randy Voepel may not realize is that reducing our reliance on fossil fuels will provide many other benefits. These include creating good jobs and cleaner air, saving money for businesses and families, and strengthening national security. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will also help protect farmers’ harvests and food supplies from drought, as well as reduce risks of devastating wildfires and floods.
Voepel's beliefs share much in common with Flat Earth Society views
By Miriam Raftery
September 16, 2011 (Santee) – SanDiego350.org, a coalition of three dozen community organizations, invited local officials to participate in a Sept. 24 event titled “Moving San Diego to a Clean Energy Future.” Far from fringe extremists, the group includes major entities such as the American Lung Association, U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce, San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, Sustainability Alliance of Southern California, and Earthcare at First United Methodist Church.
Santee Mayor Randy Voepel fired back a vitriolic response. “I do not believe that climate change is man made,” the Mayor said in an e-mail declining the invitation, calling himself a “proud, Rush Limbaugh, Tea party, Conservative that will never cease fighting socialism.”
By Jeremy Los
“This issue has received band-aid approaches to fix it when it needs a tourniquet.” – La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid
“We look at them as a resource… they are the eyes and ears of the community… they certainly know when something is going on.” – El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis, on the homeless in his town
"I do not feel there needs to be a regional center for the homeless in East County." -- Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom
"I am not in the homeless business." - Santee Mayor Randy Voepel
April 26, 2011 – Four East County mayors shared their reactions on a new study on the many homeless in our region. Their views differed dramatically on how to address the homeless problem. In addition, three of the four mayors questioned the study findings and voiced doubts on the numbers of homeless people listed in their cities.
According to the 2011 Point-In-Time Count by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, East County is now home to 8.9% of San Diego County’s homeless population, with El Cajon staking claim to the highest number of homeless people. However, the majority of El Cajon's homeless are in shelters--while in other East County communities, the homeless are living on the streets, in cars, or camped along riverbeds.
CA ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE THREATENS LAWSUIT AGAINST PADRE DAM AFTER WATER DISTRICT DEFIES NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION, CONTINUES CONSTRUCTION AT SITE DEEMED SACRED
Community leaders testify on Viejas’ behalf, ask Padre’s water board to find alternative solution;
Viejas to ask judge on Friday to extend injunction
By Miriam Raftery
June 24, 2010 (Santee) – Improper. Disrespectful. Inappropriate. Embarassing. Those were some of the terms community leaders used at yesterday’s Padre Dam Municipal Water Board hearing to describe the Board’s refusal to halt construction at a planned reservoir and pipeline site near Lake Jennings.
“I’ve just come from the site,” Leon Thompson testified, drawing an audible gasp from the crow when he added that he shot video showing “desecration continuing” of areas near a circle of rocks marking grave sites. View video here.
By E.Z. Pickens
April 1, 2010 (Santee) – The San Diego Chargers have received an offer from the City of Santee to construct a new Chargers stadium in the East County community.
“This will be a win-win for the Chargers and East County,” said Santee Mayor Randy Voepel, wearing a sporty bolts blazer. With the upcoming completion of Highway 52, Santee will be easily accessible from all parts of San Diego. Having an NFL team in Santee will not only be good for Charger fans, but will also boost revenues for our city.”
LEFT IN THE WAKE: SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES CABLE SKI, WAKEBOARDING & RESTAURANT FACILITIES AT SANTEE LAKES OVER OBJECTIONS OF NEIGHBORS
Mayor Randy Voepel, Vice Mayor Brian Jones and Councilman Hal Ryan voted in favor, Council members Jack Dale and John Minto voted against controversial project
By Miriam Raftery
October 29, 2009 (Santee) – By a 3-2 vote, the Santee City Council voted last night to approve a major use permit for Sudweeks Development to construct a cable ski and wakeboarding facility at Santee Lakes. The project, previously approved by Padre Dam Municipal Water District, will operate seven days a week and also include a restaurant serving alcohol until 11 p.m.
The measure was approved despite strenuous and, at times, tearful objections from dozens of Santee residents and environmentalists.The developer and less than a half dozen supporters argued that the project will increase recreational opportunities in Santee, also boosting revenues for Padre Municipal Water District.
“I have an attorney. We are not done fighting this,” Santee resident Julie Naggar told East County Magazine, hinting that a class action lawsuit may be an option.
August 13, 2009 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council held a town hall meeting on Wednesday, August 12th to discuss a proposed cable ski park at Santee Lakes.