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East County News Service

October 2, 2018 (Santee) – Santee's Council races have attracted seven candidates for three seats, drawing strong public interest following a heated Council meeting recently over the future of growth and development in the community.  Scroll down for details on two candidate forums, as well as information on all candidates in the race.

Two candidate forums are slated on October 4th and 9th for Santee City Council candidates running in districts 1, 2 and 3:

Thursday, Oct. 4, 6 p.m. at Carlton Oaks Golf Club Crest Room, 9200 Inwood Drive, Santee

Tuesday, October 9, 6 p.m. at Pride Academy School, 9303 Prospect Dr., Santee


The League of Women Voters will moderate the forums, which are sponsored by the Santee Chamber of Commerce, San Diego County Library, Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee (SMOAC), Santee Solutions Coalition, Santee Community Collaborative, and Community Action, Service & Advocacy (CASA).

RSVP for the October 4 event:

RSVP for the October 9 event:

The events are free and open to the public.  Audience members may select questions which will be screened by the League of Women Voters.


Seven candidates are vying for the three seats: incumbents Rob McNelis and Ronn Hall, and challengers Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfield, Rudy Reyes, Lynda Marrokal, Laura Rose Koval, and Zack Gianino,  

Growth and development are key issues in Santee, where the Council majority voted to study and delay putting a citizens’ initiative, the Santee General Plan Protection Initaitive on the ballot. The measure would require that the public vote on any development projects with higher density or changed use from what the current General Plan allows.

 Citizens have voiced concerns over traffic gridlock, loss of open space and wildlife habitat with multiple large developments recently built or in the pipeline. But others contend that new development is needed to meet growing demands for housing.

Both incumbents running, Hall and McNelis, voted to study and postpone the citizens’ initiative, though Hall says he is working on a “real fix to the 52” traffic issues.

At least two challengers have pledged not to take money from developers (Andrade-Heymsfield and Gianino); Reyes has voiced support for the citizens’ initiative and opposition to council’s vote to delay it, while Marrokal has said she is passionate about controlling development and preserving open spaces. Koval, a member of the Highway 52 coalition, says she is not an advocate for “unbridled growth” and wants to fight for improvements to traffic congestion.

Read about candidates below including their occupations, websites, ballot statements and a key quote (from their ballot statement or website).

Click on attachments at bottom of this article to read ballot statements from six candidates; Reyes did not provide one.

View district maps:




Vice Mayor Rob McNelis, real estate and mortgage company owner, past Chamber of Commerce president

Key quote:  “…dedicated to working within the city’s annual budget to meet the needs of the community without new taxes.”



Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfield, website developer/business owner

Key quote: “I will be committed to fighting for the people and not corporate interest.”




Councilman Ronn Hall, business owner and former Chamber of Commerce president

Key quote:   “As promised, during my first term, I helped create new jobs, protected local taxes, fixed infrastructure, updated parks, and made public safety a top priority bringing the crime rate down.”



Rudy Reyes, SDSU program director and Cedar Fire burn survivor

“Politicians are bound to one ambition above all others: to listen to the concerns of our citizens and take them into consideration in our decisions.”




Lynda Marrokal, retiree

Key quote: “I am passionate about controlling development and preserving our open spaces.”


Laura Rose Koval, Santee Lakes parks and recreation director

“I have reviewed the city’s budget and plan to share new economic strategies.”



Zack Gianino, college liaison

Key quote: “I won’t accept developers’ dollars. I want to serve you. Our neighborhoods deserve attention.”


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