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By Miriam Raftery

September 20, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Will Santee Councilmembers keep campaign promises made to voters when the controversial Fanita Ranch development comes up for a vote this week?  

What actions will La Mesa’s City Council take to address housing and homelessness?

These are the hottest issues on agendas in East County this week. Scroll down for details


Santee’s City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 23 at 6:30 p.m. includes a public hearing on the hotly contested Fanita Ranch project.  The staff report recommends that council approve the massive development project despite the fact that developer HomeFed has withdrawn plans to build a Magnolia extension as an alternate fire evacuation route and despite the fact that an initiative on the November ballot would allow voters to decide on projects that exceed general plan allowances, as Fanita Ranch does.

Council previously refused to allow that initiative on the ballot two years ago, delaying it with a study, and some councilmembers stated during the 2018 campaigns that they believed no vote should be taken until the people have a chance to vote on the ballot initiative.

In a taped radio 2018 interview with ECM, Councilman Rob McNelis stated, ““I am absolutely in support of the citizens of Santee having their own vote on this. Taking it out of the hands of the Santee City Council, have the citizens vote on this.”

Laura Koval told ECM in her 2018 taped candidate interview on KNSJ, ““I want the voters to have a voice on Fanita Ranch. Let the voters decide in 2020.”

However, substantial donations from interests tied to Fanita Ranch have flowed into the campaigns of several Santee councilmembers, raising questions over whose interests will be reflected when the project in the works for nearly two decades comes up for a vote on Wednesday. 

 View staff report.  

View full agenda and details.

La Mesa

The La Mesa City Council has both a special and general meeting this week.

The special meeting Monday. Sept. 21 at 6:30 p.m. will provide opportunity for the council and public to weigh in on a homeless shelter proposed by the County of San Diego and the state at the current Holiday Inn site on Parkway Drive in La Mesa. View agenda and details.  The county and state want transitional housing and help for those at risk of homelessness due to COVID-19 at the facility, which would remain at this use for 55 years and assist homeless from across East County.  View our earlier article on this project.

The regular meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 6 p.m. will include proposed multi-family housing on the former police station site and a resolution to ,move forward on helping the homeless in partnership with PATH using community redevelopment block grants and coronavirus relief funding, among other agenda items.  View agenda and details.

These actions come after La Mesa's Council voted last week to take significant steps to help the city's own homeless, as the Union-Tribune reported. That plan will be modeled after the CAHOOTS plan (Crisis Assistance Helping Out On The Streets). CAHOOTS is a mobile crisis intervention team serving Eugene and Springfield, Ore., that was designed as an alternative to police response for non-violent crises, including mental illness, homelessness and addiction.

El Cajon

El Cajon’s City Council meeting Tuesday, Sept. 22 at 3 p.m. includes only consent calender items, administrative and commission reports, along with councilmember activities, with no public hearing items agendized.  View agenda and details.


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