Santee

WELCOME, SANTEE & LAKESIDE RESIDENTS!


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SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES FANITA RANCH BEFORE VOTERS CAN WEIGH IN ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
September 24, 2020 (Sante) -- By a 4-1 majority, the Santee City Council approved the controversial Fanita Ranch development that will add nearly 3,000 homes and about 8,000 residents to a city that has been fighting over the project for most of its 40-year history.

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FANITA RANCH VOTE, HELP FOR HOMELESS TOP AGENDAS IN SANTEE AND LA MESA THIS WEEK

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


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SANTEE COUNCIL GRANTS LANTERN CREST 50 NEW UNITS, DEFERRAL ON IMPACT FEES; APPROVES CHANGE ORDER FOR TV STATION

By Mike Allen
 
Photo:  50 unit addition to Lantern Crest Senior Living.
 
September 10, 2020 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council unanimously approved a 50-unit addition to the Lantern Crest Senior Living nursing home that included granting the developer a zoning change as well as deferring the payment of about $1 million in impact fees.

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SANTEE COUNCIL AND MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR SEPT. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Mayor John Minto and challenger Stephen Houlahan; City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

September 5, 2020 (Santee) – East County Magazine will host a forum on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. for candidates running for Santee Mayoral and City Council races. To date, Mayor John Minto and mayoral challenger Stephen Houlahan have both agreed to participate.  In the race for an open City Council seat, Samm Hurst has confirmed she will participate; Dustin Trotter said he had a scheduling conflict for the forum. All candidates in both races have also now done separate interviews with ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be posted soon.

The forum will be virtual on Zoom. You can watch the livestream at https://www.Facebook.com/eastcountymagazine and send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. A videotape of the forum will be posted later on www.EastCountyMagazine.org and the forum will also be broadcast at a later date on KNSJ radio.

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are details on the candidates (listed in alphabetical order for each seat) and key issues:


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HOMEFED YANKS FANITA RANCH PLAN BEFORE COUNCIL VOTE

 

By Mike Allen

 

Cancelling Magnolia extension, as proposed, would remove key evacuation route for wildfires, critic says

August 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Fanita Ranch, the 3,000 unit residential project planned for Santee’s northwest quadrant, is being delayed by developer HomeFed Corp. to make some significant changes, including removing an extension of a key arterial serving the project.

In a letter posted on the Fanita Ranch Facebook page last week, Jeff O’Connor, the company’s vice president, said HomeFed requested the delay “to remove the extension of Magnolia Avenue from the project in order to direct those funds towards the improvements to SR-52.”


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FEDERAL LOANS AVAILABLE TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AFFECTED BY CIVIL UNREST

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 31, 2020 (San Diego) -- Low-interest federal disaster loans are available to help small businesses across San Diego County that were affected by civil unrest which began May 26, 2020, if they do not have the financial ability to offset the adverse impact without hardship.

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MANY SEATS LACK CANDIDATES AS AUG. 7 DEADLINE TO RUN FOR LOCAL OFFICES DRAWS NEAR

By Miriam Raftery

July 27, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The deadline to file to run for local offices is August 7 including school boards, water boards, fire boards, community planning groups, city councils and mayoral races. In some races, multiple candidates have pulled papers announcing intent to run (though none have yet turned in final paperwork to qualify for the ballot).  Other races have only incumbents running unopposed or in some cases, no candidates announced yet at all.

For example, in the controversy-embroiled Cajon Valley School District, where two seats are on the ballot, so far only incumbent Jim Miller has filed to run. No one at all has registered so far in the La Mesa-Spring Valley School District.

In the Helix Water District, so far incumbents Mark Gracyk, Joel Scalzitti and Dan McMillan are running unopposed.

All community planning groups in East County currently have fewer candidates than seats. If not enough people run, vacancies will be filled through appointment by County Supervisors to these positions that advise Supervisors on key land use projects. There are many other races still lacking a full slate of candidates.

Interest appears strongest in city council and mayoral races. Here’s who has announced intent to run so far:


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PANDEMIC INFECTS SANTEE’S BUDGET, CAUSES $1 MILLION HIT TO SALES TAXES

By Mike Allen
 
June 28, 2020 (Santee) -- The city of Santee will sustain an estimated loss of $1 million in sales taxes in the coming fiscal year starting July 1, as a result of so many stores being closed or only partially open due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

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SANTEE ADOPTS RESOLUTION DENOUNCING RACISM, CONSIDERS INCLUSIONARY HOUSING LAW

 

By Mike Allen

June 25, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s leaders decided they needed to make a public denunciation of racism, hate speech, and intolerance in response to a flurry of recent ugly incidents in their predominantly white city.

At the June 24 City Council meeting, Mayor John Minto said the unanimously passed resolution condemning racism will be a guiding principle as the city confronts its past.

“We acknowledge that we’ve had problems but we’re not going to allow those problems to stop us from moving forward and doing better,” Minto said.


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SANTEE CARJACKING SUSPECT ARRESTED IN LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

June 19, 2020 (Santee) – A suspect is in custody after reportedly threatening to kill a 77-year-old woman and her family, then forcing the victim out of her car and driving off with her purse and cell phone.  The carjacking occurred shortly before 1 p.m. today in the 9800 block of Mission Gorge Road in Santee.

Sheriff’s deputies and La Mesa Police officers found the suspect, Chris DiSalvo, 30, sitting in the stolen car in the 4600 block of Palm Drive in La Mesa. 

“Upon seeing law enforcement DiSalvo took off, but crashed into a tree,” said Sergeant Michael Tingley with the Sheriff’s Department.“He then ran into an apartment complex."


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PROTEST AFTERMATH: SANTEE COUNCIL SAYS IT HAS TO DO BETTER JOB

By Mike Allen

June 14, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council looked at itself in the mirror after a fortnight of national protests and rioting following the death of George Floyd, and found the reflection wasn’t all that great.

Stunned by an outbreak on several nights of blatant racist taunts and violence, allegedly by outsiders, the leaders of the predominantly white city said they need to conduct some serious soul-searching about their attitudes regarding race.

“Maybe this city has buried its head in the sand for too long,” said Mayor John Minto. “If the perception that (racism) is here, then it’s here.”

Councilman Rob McNelis, who has often publicly denied allegations of racism in the city, said he took full responsibility for being among those who did indeed ‘bury his head,’ unwilling to look at how many people of color say they are treated.


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THOUSANDS MARCH FOR JUSTICE IN SANTEE ON SUNDAY

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

Photos, left and right, by Ryan Michael Darsey

Updated June 13, 2020 with additional quotes and photos.

June 8, 2020 (Santee) – Thousands of protesters held two peaceful marches and rallies Sunday in Santee to call for an end to racism and police violence.  The first kicked off near West Hills Park and proceeded to Santee Lakes. The second convened at the YMCA and marched to the Santee Sheriff’s station on Cuyamaca Street.

The first was organized by Santee residents Tasha Cassidy and Alana Ethridge, who told Patch.com that they wanted to promote “unity and diversity” to overcome “a stigma of Santee being racist.”

Far more marchers convened at the second march which began at the YMCA and ended outside the Sheriff’s station at Cuyamaca Street and Mission Gorge. Deputies stood guard, allowing marchers to proceed saetly down the nomrally busy street throught the shopping district. Many carried placards eading "Black Lives Matter," "I Can't Breathe" and other slogans.

At the Sheriff's station, speakers included 83-year-old Richard Lawrence, who marched in Selma, Alabama in 1965 with  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 


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STANDING TOGETHER AGAINST RACISM IN SANTEE

By Henri Migala

Protesters outside Santee Town Center

June 6, 2020 (Santee) -- I received a call Saturday, June 6 advising that people protesting police brutality in the wake of the death of Mr. George Floyd were demonstrating in front of the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility in Santee in vehicles. The vehicle protest provided protection in the COVID-19 era; others stood on a street corner, most wearing masks.


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CONFRONTATIONS HEIGHTEN RACIAL TENSIONS IN SANTEE

 

Threats on social media prompt preparations for more potential clashes after violent confrontations earlier this week



By Miriam Raftery; ECM journalists and photographers Rebecca Jefferis Williamson, Henri Migala and Paul Kruze contributed to this report.

Photo, left by Henri Migala: Sheriff's officers cleared those on both sides of a contentious protest Monday night in Santee

 

June 5, 2020 (Santee) – Businesses in Santee including some major retailers and Wells Fargo Bank are boarded up or closed this afternoon, with a major law enforcement contingent in place after a post on social media called on marchers to “F*ck Klantee” tonight. Other posts suggest activist events may be planned over this weekend.

The posts follow several nights of conflicts and physical altercations between a group of white men who shouted racial taunts and allegedly physically harmed several young people who claimed they were Black Lives Matter protesters, though the white men claimed they were detaining suspected looters.


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LA MESA EXTENDS CURFEW FOR NEXT FIVE NIGHTS, SANTEE AND EL CAJON HAVE CURFEWS TONIGHT

By Miriam Raftery

June 3, 2020 (La Mesa) – Following rioting, looting and fires on Saturday in La Mesa and continued civil unrest across our region, the City of La Mesa has announced an extension of curfews each night from June 3 through June 8 from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.

El Cajon and Santee have also extended curfews through tomorrow morning.

Below is each city’s announcement, since hours and details vary:


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

CURFEWS IMPOSED AGAIN TONIGHT; ACLU RAISES CONCERNS

 

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

Photo by Henri Migala: Police in riot gear Saturday night in La Mesa

June 1, 2020 (San Diego) – Following civil unrest across the region, all East County cities and some unincorporated county areas are under curfew orders tonight. Curfew orders are as follows:

La Mesa: 7 p.m. tonight to 7 a.m. tomorrow

El Cajon 7 p.m. tonight to 5:30 a.m. tomorrow

Lemon Grove 7 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. tomorrow

Santee 8 p.m. tonight to 6 a.m. tomorrow

Lakeside and Spring Valley:  8 p.m. tonight to 5:30 a.m. tomorrow


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SANTEE EXTENDS PANDEMIC RENT RELIEF TO JUNE, REVIEWS PLANS FOR COUNCIL CHAMBER RENOVATION

By Mike Allen

May 29, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council voted unanimously May 27 to extend a moratorium on evictions of both residential and commercial tenants impacted by the coronavirus to the end of June.

The Council enacted an urgency ordinance installing a moratorium on evictions April 8 that was set to expire May 31. The city took the action despite the fact that the state of California already has executive orders in place barring evictions of tenants who can show they have been negatively impacted by the lockdown of all non-essential businesses starting March 19.

Councilwoman Laura Koval said given the fact that so many residents are unemployed, and have yet to receive their first check from the state, it’s necessary that the city provide them with some safety net.


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BEHIND THE TROLL MASK: SANTEE'S SWASTIKA MAN AND HIS EXPERT TRANSLATOR

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  A screen shot of “ubeartron” video of Dustin Hart at Santee Food 4 Less includes a BitChute ID of “1488,” references to Hitler or neo-Nazi views. He says he just Googled the Nazi flag and printed it out. His body camera “came from Amazon.”

May 27, 2020 (Santee) - Dustin Levi Hart says he and his wife wore small swastikas on their faces for almost an hour while shopping May 7 at Food 4 Less in Santee. It was a protest against state lockdown orders, he said.


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SANTEE COUNCIL RESPONDS TO RACIST MASK INCIDENTS, SIGNALS CHALLENGE TO TERM LIMIT MEASURE

 

By Mike Allen

Video by Ana Nita: discussion on racial incidents

May 16, 2020 (Santee) -- In the wake of two nationally-publicized racial incidents inside local grocery stores earlier this month, the Santee City Council voted on May 13 to confront the issue by expanding a community police board that will develop strategies for addressing intolerance. The incidents involved shoppers who wore masks with hate symbols during a county health order mandating masks in stores to prevent spread of COVID-19.

Mayor John Minto, who publicly denounced the incidents soon after they occurred, said he spent many hours talking with residents about what happened, and is convinced the city cannot ignore or simply shrug it off.

“We have to understand why and where it’s happening,” Minto said. “We’re going to triage it, find out where most of the worst symptoms are, and bring people together.”


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SANTEE DRIVE-IN MOVIE THEATER REOPENS THIS FRIDAY NIGHT

May 15, 2020 (Santee) – Eager for entertainment?  It's showtime in Santee--with social distancing.

The Santee Drive-In movie theatre is set to reopen tonight. Theatre 1 will show Trolls World Tour starting at 8:30 p.m. and Onward at 10:10 p.m.; both are rated PG. Theatre 2 will show The Invisible Man at 8:30 p.m. and The Hunt at 9:45 p.m.; both are rated R.

Bring your own FM radio to listen; tune in to 89.3 FM for Theatre 1  or 89.7 FM for Theatre 2 . Loaner radios are available for a $20 deposit refundable on return.

The theatre accepts cash only. You’ll need to bring your own popcorn or other refreshments, since the snack bar will be closed, and follow these new rules:


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SOME ADVICE IF YOU SEE A NAZI OR A KLANSMAN

By Donald H. Harrison, Editor, San Diego Jewish World
 
Reprinted with permission from San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
May 11, 2020 (Santee) — So, imagine you are shopping and into the store comes someone who is wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood, or a face mask with a swastika on it, as happened respectively at a Vons and a Food4Less outlet in Santee recently.  What should you do?

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MAN WITH SWASTIKA MASK SPOTTED SHOPPING IN SANTEE STORE

Source:  Patch.com

Photo via Shutterstock/sebastianosecondi

May 9, 2020 (Santee) - For the second time in a week, a shopper was spotted wearing a mask associated with racist hate groups at a Santee grocery store.

A man was seen wearing a swastika mask at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Food 4 Less store on Cuyamaca Street.


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SANTEE VONS SHOPPER IN KKK HOOD IDENTIFIED BY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo: The Santee Vons shopper wearing a makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood has been identified, the Sheriff’s Department announced Tuesday
 
“Detectives have identified the man in the images and will continue their follow-up of the incident,” said a news release. “The Sheriff’s Department would like to thank the public for their assistance and cooperation with this incident.”

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PASSAGES: BUDDY RABAYA, 58, SANTEE COMMUNITY LEADER

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor
 
Photo: Buddy Rubaya
 
May 6, 2020 (Santee) -- Stalwart Santee community leader Buddy Rubaya, a strong advocate for local mobilehome owners, passed away on April 28, 2020 after suffering a stroke on March 25. 
 
Rabaya was born in Brawley, CA on May 14, 1961. He later moved to Oceanside, where he graduated in 1979 from El Camino High School. During his high school years, he was a star tennis player and was on the speech team. He later continued his studies at Palomar College, where he was also active in student politics and served as executive vice president of the student body. 
 
His active participation in Santee led him to become president of the Santee Mobilehome Owners Action Committee (SMOAC), lobbying for residents rights including rent control. In the same vein, he was appointed regional manager of the Golden State Manufactured Home Owners League’s political action committee.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: THE MAN WHO WORE A KKK HOOD TO A SUPERMARKET...IS THIS WHO WE ARE WHEN WE THINK NOBODY IS WATCHING?

By E.A. Barrera 

May 5, 2020 (Santee) -- I grew up in San Diego's East County. I lived and went to school in Lakeside. Over the years I lived in Santee, the SDSU College area, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Hillcrest, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon and Julian. I currently own a home in Lakeside.


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SOCIAL MEDIA ERUPTS OVER PHOTOS OF SHOPPER WEARING KKK HOOD IN SANTEE

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  Man wearing makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood was photographed by a fellow shopper Saturday at the Santee Vons store.

May 3, 2020 (Santee) - Social media users including the leader of the Anti-Defamation League of San Diego expressed outrage this weekend over photos taken Saturday of a male shopper at the Santee Vons wearing a makeshift Ku Klux Klan hood.


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SANTEE OPENS MAST AND WOODGLEN VISTA PARKS, INCLUDING DOG PARKS

By Miriam Raftery

May 1, 2020 (Santee) – The city of Santee today announced the reopening of Mast Park and Woodglen Vista Park, with some limitations to prevent spread of COVID-19. (see below)  All other parks remain closed, however all trails and walking paths remain open.

The city asks everyone to follow the regulations below “so we can keep these parks open, and hopefully open more parks in the near future.”


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EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES HUNKER DOWN TO WAIT OUT PANDEMIC: CITY LEADERS SHARE VIEWS ON REOPENING

By Emmet Pierce

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

April 27, 2020 (San Diego’s East Count) -- Despite a growing desire to return to life as normal, East County residents and businesses are following the state’s COVID-19 social distancing guidelines, officials say.  But some mayors and local business leaders voice concerns over impacts on the business community from extended closures.


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COVID-19 CASES IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY RISE TO 3,141; HUNDREDS OF CASES IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

April 28, 2020 (San Diego) – Over the weekend, 98 new cases of COVID-19 were reported by the San Diego County Health and Human Services department. The jump follows the trend in several cities where rallies were held to end shutdowns. The Sheriff arrested several local protesters over the weekend for violating stay-home orders.

The disease has spread rapidly in East County, where El Cajon now has 181 cases, La Mesa 71, Santee 29, Lemon Grove 28, Lakeside 22, Ramona 14, Jamul 6, and Alpine 4.  The communities of Ranchita, Boulevard, Potrero, Julian and Pala each have 2 cases; Borrego Springs, Descanso, and Tecate each have at least 1 case. View an interactive map with the latest updates on local cases by community.


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