Communities

CURVE REALIGNMENT ON HIGHWAY 94 IN DULZURA NEARS COMPLETION

East County News Service
 
February 15, 2020 (Dulzura) – “I am happy to report that work on the State Route 94 (SR-94) Curve Realignment Project in Dulzura is nearing completion and is expected to be finished by the end of March,” says Cathryne Bruce-Johnson, public information officer for Caltrans in San Diego County. 
 
Construction activities will typically continue Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and will require reducing SR-94 to one lane as needed so that crews can safely work on the closed side of the road. Motorists may be delayed for short periods as they are directed through the single open lane one direction at a time. 

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FANITA RANCH GENERATES WORRIES ABOUT WILDFIRES

By Mike Allen
 
Photo: Theresa McCarthy, speaking against Fanita Ranch
 
February 15, 2020 (Santee) -- In a third public workshop Feb. 12 about Fanita Ranch, the 3,000 unit residential project proposed in northwestern Santee, developer HomeFed Corp. presented an extensive fire prevention plan--including construction of a new fire station and three roadway extensions from the site to main city thoroughfares in case of an emergency evacuation.
 
While the plans looked nice to some, others remained skeptical that the addition of all those houses will make the city safer during a wildfire.
 

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FREAKY FRIDAY REVIEW - JUST ONE DAY

By Kathy Carpenter
 
February 15, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- Remember the saying be careful what you wish for? Freaky Friday is a possible result from the quote. Over-the-top-family-fun. Everyone always thinks the grass is greener on the other side.
 
In Freaky Friday a daughter wants just one day of peace—a hassle-free day from her mom. Her mom wants just one day together with her family under her expectations. When they argue over an hour glass, their lives are changed for a day. But not what they wished for. They are transformed into each other: the daughter now in the mom’s body, the mom is in the daughter's body. Since neither can live their lives looking like the other, they are forced to exchange places. The mom goes to school. The daughter takes on the day before the wedding preparations for a perfectionist mom planning her own wedding.

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CAMPO TRIBAL MEMBERS PLEAD FOR LEGAL HELP, ALLEGE RIGHTS VIOLATED IN WIND PROJECT APPROVAL: PETITION SEEKS REVOTE ON CONTROVERSIAL PROJECT

“Our reservation is in dire financial condition. We have really nothing to give our youth…All we have are false promises.” – Denis Largo, tribal elder who delivered a petition calling for a vote to overturn wind project approval

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Tribal elder Dennis Largo

February 14, 2020 (Campo)—Whistleblowers in the Campo band of Mission Indians claim that their tribal leadership pushed through approval of a massive wind project during an improperly noticed meeting. They have now collected enough signatures to overturn that approval with a revote.  But despite the Feb. 13th deadline to notify tribal members of a meeting to revote on the controversial project, several tribal members say they have not received any such notice.   

The proposed Campo Wind project would allow 60 turbines built by Terra-Gen on the reservation. Each would be 586 tall, the tallest wind turbines ever built on land, according to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which also opposes the project.


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PEDESTRIAN STRUCK, KILLED ON I-8 IN ALPINE

By Miriam Raftery
 
February 14, 2020 (Alpine) –A 24-year-old man who had pulled over to adjust loose items in the bed of his pickup truck on I-8 west near West Willows Road in Alpine yesterday at 1:30 p.m. was fatally inured by another motorist.
 
A white Lincoln MKZ driven by a Lemon Grove man, 70, crossed over the white line separating the right lane from the shoulder. The Lincoln struck the pickup and the impact caused the pickup’s driver to be thrown forward, landing on the shoulder and sustaining major injuries.  

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MICROCHIP CLINIC FOR PETS: SUNDAY, MARCH 1 IN SANTEE

East County News Service
 
February 14, 2020 (Santee) -- The San Diego Humane Society will host a microchip clinic for pets on Sunday, March 1 in Santee from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for dogs, cats and bunnies.  The cost is $15, cash only.  (You must be signed up by 12:15 p.m.)
 
The event will take place at 8917 Carlton Hills Blvd. Santee (near the GTM Store/Mary’s Donuts), hosted by Andy Popka from State Farm.  Phone: 619-698-2333 

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BUDGET MONITORING SHOWS LA MESA ON STEADY FINANCIAL COURSE GOING INTO 2020; CITY COMMISSIONS REPORT ON STATUS OF THEIR WORK

By Kathleen Connell

February 13, 2020 (La Mesa)  On February 11th, La Mesa’s Mayor and City Council heard from Director of Finance Sarah Waller-Bullock (photo, left) on the state of the City’s finances and metrics versus the budget for the quarter ending December 31, 2019.  Ms. Waller-Bullock also provided information on state and regional financial data.  In general, with the exception of housing, La Mesa is “flat” without extreme fluctuations in income or expenditures in the period; most departments are “at or slightly below expectations.”


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EL CAJON POLICE SHOOT UNARMED MAN IN STOLEN VEHICLE WHO REPORTEDLY TOLD OFFICERS “KILL ME, PLEASE”

 

Update February 14, 2020:  ECPC has identified the suspect who was shot as Keith Crenshaw, 21, of Arizona. The name of the officer has sitll not been  released.

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2020 (El Cajon) – A suspected car thief is hospitalized after being shot twice in the torso by an El Cajon Police officer this morning shortly before 9 a.m.  

According to Lt. Randy Soulard, an out-of-state law enforcement agency informed El Cajon Police Dept. that a stolen tan Kia Amanti sedan from their jurisdiction was in El Cajon.  The reported agency directed officers, who located the stolen vehicle parked in the 500 block of South Johnson.

The officers found a man asleep in the driver’s seat.  “As they planned their approach to arrest the suspect and prevent his escape, he woke up. The officers identified themselves as police officers and immediately began giving repeated commands for the suspect to show them his hands. The suspect refused to show his hands and repeatedly reached under his clothing and into his waistband,” says Lt. Soulard.

He reports that the suspect continued to ignore the officer’s commands and stated something similar to “Shoot me before I do it!” while reaching into his waistband.


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TODOS IGUALES (ALL EQUAL): LEMON GROVE RECALLS HISTORIC LATINX VICTORY-- FIRST U.S. COMMUNITY TO DESEGREGATE SCHOOLS

Treganza Heritage Park renaming also honors history of humanitarian Lemon Grove doctor
 
Photo: Roberto Alvarez at the far right in the third row
Courtesy: California State Library (1928)
 
By Kathleen Connell
 
February 10, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- A City Council discussion and unanimous resolution to rename City Center Park to Treganza Heritage Park opened an unexpected floodgate of memories about the diverse history of Lemon Grove, and a too-often-forgotten national Latinx farmworker landmark legal victory. 
 
Desegregation of US schools is usually attributed to the landmark 1954 legislation, Brown vs. The Board of Education.  In fact, the first successful desegregation challenge occurred at Lemon Grove in San Diego’s East County. Roberto Alvarez vs. the Board of Trustees of the Lemon Grove School District, a legal challenge known as the Lemon Grove Incident, occurred in 1931, in the agricultural town of Lemon Grove.  Helen Ofield, past President of the Lemon Grove Historical Society, mentioned the historic win in passing to the City Council, in support of the park’s name change. 

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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: NORTHERN MOCKINGBIRD

 
February 10, 2020 (El Cajon) – Robert Gehr spotted this Northern Mockingbird on a thorny perch enjoying some warm sun on a chilly morning outside the Wieghorst Museum in El Cajon. A talented mimic, the Northern Mockingbird can imitate hundreds of songs from other birds. Mockingbirds have been known to imitate sounds of car alarms!

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HOULAHAN DECLARES CANDIDACY FOR SANTEE MAYOR

By Mike Allen

February 10, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee Councilman Stephen Houlahan wants a larger say in molding the city’s future and has declared his intention to run for mayor, opposing incumbent Mayor John Minto.

Houlahan says the main issue motivating him to throw his hat into the ring is the disturbing trend by a majority of his Council colleagues to consistently undermine Santee’s General Plan and approve higher density projects.


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CASA DE ORO ALLIANCE GROUP REVEALS SURVEY REPORT AT MEETING: MANY SUPPORT FORMING A BUSINESS IMPROVEMENT DISTRICT

By Jake Christie
 
February 8, 2020 (Casa de Oro)--During a January 16 meeting, the Casa de Oro Alliance revealed the results of its September 2019 community survey, which had 490 respondents from the regular populace of Casa de Oro and the business community, who were contacted through mailers, emails, the CdO website and on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. 
 
The subject of the survey was the business district on Campo Road between Kenwood Drive and Sweetwater Springs Boulevard; the average age of the respondents was 49 and they had lived in Casa de Oro 25 years.

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RAIN BARREL DISTRIBUTION FEB. 22 IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service
 
February 8, 2020 (Spring Valley) – If you would like to capture rainwater to use in your garden, a rain barrel distribution event will be held Feb. 22 at Mt.Miguel High School In Spring Valley. Rebates are available and  pre-orders should be made by Feb. 16.  See details below. 
 
Event Name: Rain Barrel Distribution Event - Spring Valley
 
When: Saturday, February 22, 9 am - 1 pm
 
Where: Mt. Miguel High School, 8585 Blossom Ln, Spring Valley, CA 91977
 
Contact: (760)436-7986 x700 or compost@solanacenter.org
 
 
Event Description: 

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WYNONNA AND THE BIG NOISE LIVE AT THE MAGNOLIA FEB. 8

East County News Service
 
Photo source: Magnolia Center
 
February 6, 2020 (El Cajon)—Wynonna Judd and her band, The Big Noise, will be live in concert at the Magnolia in downtown El Cajon on February 8th.
 
Judd has sold over 30 million albums worldwide. As half of the mother daughter duo “The Judds”, she was once dubbed by Rolling Stone as “the greatest female country singer since Patsy Cline." This iconic performer has received over 60 industry awards, with countless charting singles, including 20 No.1 hits such as “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not me,” and “Grandpa, (Tell Me ‘Bout The Good Ole Days).”

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HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS AND HEALTH AMONG HOT TOPICS AT SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES' FORUM

View video of full debate here:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daR2Gmad0g4





By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Candidates Joel Anderson, Brian Sesko, Kenya Taylor, and Steve Vaus

February 6, 2020 (La Mesa) – Four candidates running to represent East County in the San Diego County Supervisors 2nd district seat participated in a lively forum on Jan. 29 at Murdock Elementary, hosted by the Grossmont Mount Helix Improvement Association and sponsored by East County Magazine.

Candidates fielded a broad range of in-depth questions provided by the public during the forum moderated by the League of Women Voters before a capacity crowd. 

The four candidates are Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, former State Senator Joel Anderson, behavioral health consultant Kenya Taylor, and homebuilder/cattle rancher  Brian Sesko.  They are running to fill the vacancy soon to be left when long-serving Supervisor Dianne Jacob leaves office next January due to term limits.


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SCOUTS HOST FLAG RETIREMENT CEREMONY FEB. 17 IN SPRING VALLEY: BRING YOUR OLD FLAGS

By Miriam Raftery
Photo licensed under CC by ND
 
February 6, 2020 (Spring Valley) – Cub Scout Pack 355 invites community members to a flag retirement ceremony on Feb. 17 at 3:30 p.m. at Santa Sophia Academy, 9806 San Juan Street in Spring Valley. 
 
“We would be honored if you and your families could join us as we participate in this honored tradition,” a press release from the group states.  “We encourage and welcome you to bring your unserviceable, worn or damaged flags to this event as well, to be collected for a dignified retirement.”

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TOBY THE T-REX TO HAVE NEW NEIGHBORS IN LA MESA

By Jeff Phair
 
February 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- For two years, Toby the T-Rex dinosaur has been living by himself high on a hill in La Mesa looking at the views of the Coronado Islands, Point Loma, the Cuyamacas, and Table Top Mountain in Mexico.  With the recent approval by the city of La Mesa for the La Mesa Summit Estates subdivision, Toby will soon be having new neighbors.
 
Grading will begin soon on a gated enclave of 30 homes.  Each home will feature a Multi-Generational suite.  The Multi-Generational suite is a second master bedroom with a full bath, a kitchenette, a media center, a stacked washer & dryer, and a separate entrance.  This allows grandparents or a boomerang adult child to live in a supportive extended family environment, but at the same time have a feeling of independence.

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HAROLD BROWN, EAST COUNTY TRANSITIONAL LIVING CENTER, NAMED EL CAJON CITIZEN OF THE YEAR

 East County News Service



February 4, 2020 (El Cajon) – The El Cajon Citizen of the Year Committee has selected Harold Brown as its 2019 El Cajon Citizen of the Year award.

 Brown, CEO of the East County Transitional Living Center (ECTLC), will be honored at a luncheon from noon to 2:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 10 at the Ronald Reagan Community Center, 195 East Douglas Ave., El Cajon. The public is invited to attend. Admission is $25 per person and lunch is included. Tickets are available online at www.EastCountyChamber.org under “Events,” or by calling (619) 440-6161. 

 Brown will be honored for his community involvement, including support to several nonprofits and charitable volunteer work.


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STUDENT HARASSED WHILE WALKING TO GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL

 

East County News Service

Image: Creative Commons via Bing

February 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa Police Department is investigating an incident of verbal harassment that occurred this morning at approximately 7:10 a.m. yesterday. The victim, a 16-year-old Grossmont High School student, was verbally harassed by an adult male suspect while she walked from the Amaya Trolley Station towards the school.

The student arrived safely at the school and immediately reported the incident to school staff. A crime report regarding the incident has been taken and the investigation is continuing.

The suspect is described as a black male adult, approximately 35-40 years old, medium to heavy build, with a full goatee, wearing a gray beanie style hat, black shirt, and black pants. The suspect was on foot and no vehicle was observed.


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MAST PARK OPENS AFTER YEARLONG RENOVATION

Story and photos by Mike Allen

The wait is over. After 13 months of reconstruction, Mast Park reopened Feb. 1 to hordes of Santee residents who were nearly universally happy about the results.

“I like it but I can’t wait until all the people are gone,” said Olga Buhler, a 24-year resident of Santee who frequents the park on daily walks. “I’ve been waiting, waiting, every day…They did a super job.”

“It looks beautiful,” said Michael Ranson, who lives nearby in the Santee Lakes neighborood. “This looks a lot more open, brighter, and safer. They did an amazing job.”


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JUDGE ORDERS KALASHOS TO PAY $300,000 SETTLEMENT IN FRAUD AND HARASSMENT CASE FILED BY BEAUTY QUEENS AND TACO SHOP OWNER

One plaintiff, attorney Lina Charry, has refused to settle

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ben Kalasho and Zhala Tawfiq, dethroned pageant queen who accused Kalasho of posting faked nude photos of her online in retaliation for a business dispute

February 1, 2020 (El Cajon) – Former El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho and his wife, Jessica Kalasho aka Jessica Deddeh, have been ordered by  San Diego Superior Court Judge Kenneth Medel to pay  $300,000 in a civil fraud, defamation and sexual harassment lawsuit.

The suit was filed by former Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant contestants Zhala Tawfiq and Paris Kargar as well as by Three Brothers Taco Shop against the Kalashos, the pageant, and the former San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce that the Kalashos founded.  The settlement money is to be divided equally among the three plaintiffs, according to the judgment


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UNIDENTIFIED PEDESTRIAN KILLED ON HIGHWAY 94 IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service
 
February 3, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – An unidentified male pedestrian was struck and killed by a Toyota RAV4 last night around 9:07 p.m. on State Route 94 westbound near College Avenue.
 
According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, the pedestrian walked south from the right shoulder directly into traffic lanes, in front of the vehicle. The CHP responded, along with Cal Fire. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene of blunt force injuries. The driver, a 29-year-old San Diego woman, remained at the scene and cooperated with the investigation.

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GIANT WIND PROJECTS DRAW STRONG OPPOSITION FROM RURAL RESIDENTS AND TRIBAL MEMBERS: DEADLINE FOR COMMENTS IS TODAY

 

By Rebecca Person

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article

Photos: An existing wind project on the Campo reservation has previously had multiple fires caused by exploding wind turbines, shown here, raising alarm among area residents over fire dangers and other potential hazards posed by the proposed new and far larger turbines

February 3, 2020 (Campo) -- Residents of Campo, Boulevard and Jacumba voiced their concerns Jan. 23rd at a meeting in Boulevard held by the County Planning Development Services staff addressing the construction of 120 wind turbines in Boulevard and on the Campo Reservation.

The wind turbines will be 596’ tall, taller than towers which dot the high desert that stand between 325' to almost 400 ft tall. 60 turbines are planned for the Campo Indian Reservation, and 30 turbines for McCain Valley near I-8 freeway in Boulevard. According to Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Community Planning Group, these may be the largest wind turbines ever erected on land. Turbines on tribal land would also abut her property in rural Boulevard. Setbacks from some homes would be far less than at many other wind projects, even though the turbines are larger.

Over 60 local residents gathered at the meeting and many spoke of the effects existing towers have had on their quality of life. Campo Band of Mission Indians tribal members who live on the Campo Reservation and oppose the project stated that they have presented a petition with 65 signatures asking their tribal council to overturn an earlier disputed vote to erect the giant turbines on the reservation.


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COLD STORM, FREEZING TEMPERATURES AND HIGH WINDS TO IMPACT REGION

By Miriam Raftery

February 2, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Strong winds with gusts up to 75 miles an hour are forecast tonight through Monday afternoon, with a high wind warning in effect in our local mountains and light snow possible.

Monday through Wednesday, a hard freeze watch is in effect for the high deserts, where temperatures could dip into the high teens to low 20s and snow flurries are possible. In the low deserts and valleys, a freeze watch is also issued, with temperatures in the upper 20s to low 30s.

Along the coasts, a gale warning is in effect due to strong winds over coastal waters tonight and Monday.


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LA MESA MAILMAN KILLED BY HIT AND RUN DRIVER ON DEHESA RD.; JULIAN MAN CHARGED

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo via Featheringill Mortuary
 
February 1, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa resident Kevin Charles Wilson 56, was struck by a Mitsubishi Mirage while riding his bicycle Jan. 20 on Dehesa Rd. near Singing Hills Golf Course in rural East County.  He was taken to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego, where he was pronounced dead of his injuries.

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LA MESA APPROVES MIXED-USE LA MESA QUARRY RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROJECT

By Kathleen Connell

February 1, 2020 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa City Council met on January 28th. The most prominent item on the agenda was a hearing to consider The La Mesa Planning Commission’s approval of The La Mesa Quarry 2 LLC development project, an in-fill mixed-use development at 4400 Palm Avenue on a sloped property near Collier Park.

The development includes a 3-story, 21 unit apartment building with parking beneath and a separate office building. The Council voted unanimously to follow staff's recommendation and upheld the Planning Commission’s approval. The project is now in the site development plan stage.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL APPOINTS GREG HUMORA AS NEW CITY MANAGER

Source: City of La Mesa

January 31, 2020 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa's City Council voted on January 28 to approve  an employment agreement designating Greg Humora as La Mesa’s new City Manager.  He served as Assistant City Manager for  La Mesa since 2016.  Prior to that, Humora had been the La Mesa Director of Public Works/City Engineer since 2004, and Engineering Project Manager beginning in 1999.  He has worked for the City for a total of 20 years.


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SENATOR BRIAN JONES HOSTS BORREGO SPRINGS TOWN HALL FEB. 1

East County News Service

January 31, 2020 (Borrego Springs)  -- State Senator Brian W. Jones invites you to attend a Borrego Springs Town Hall on Saturday, Feb. 1 at the County Library, 2580 Country Club Rd., Borrego Springs.

A nonprofit expo will be held at 9 a.m. followed by a town hall from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

Share your views, ask questions on issues important to you, and learn about great work being done by nonprofits in the community.


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LIBERTY CHARTER HIGH SCHOOL PROPOSAL DRAWS OPPOSITION FROM RANCHO SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS; TRAFFIC IS MAIN CONCERN

Debbie Beyer, Literacy First Director, faults planning group for not allowing rebuttal testimony. “They got it so wrong,” she says.

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

January 31, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Initial plans to build a charter high school on an empty lot near Chase Avenue and Jamacha Road hit a major stumbling block when the Valle de Oro Planning Group unanimously voted to reject a mitigated negative declaration for the project proposed by Literacy First Charter Schools

With the January vote, the next step for Literacy First will be a vote by the Valle De Oro Planning Group on Feb. 4 at 7 p.m. at the Otay Water District Headquarters meeting room. After this vote, the proposal goes on to the San Diego County Planning Commission on a future determined date, and then on to the San Diego Board of Supervisors.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO SANTEE OFFICIALS: LET’S PAUSE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AND SOLVE TRAFFIC CONGESTION FIRST

By Eid Fakhouri, CPA, Santee resident and commuter advocate
 
Photo by Eid Fakhouri, taken January 23, 2020
 
January 31, 2020 (Santee) - We see this traffic everyday on city roads (Carlton Oaks, Inverness, Mast, West Hills) that are 1/2 mile from the on ramps.
 
This is just to show you that even on a beautiful day without any accidents, traffic is still backed up. The bottom line here is our city roads are not made to handle the traffic.
 
We understand there are a lot of vehicles coming from all over the region to Highway 52, but let's not exacerbate the problem.
 
Our land will always be available; it is not going away.  And yes it may be developed one day. But there is no need to race to add to the problem until our infrastructure can handle it. 

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