Santee City Council

SANTEE BALKS AT JOINING JPA FOR COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY; APPROVES NEW HOUSING PROJECT

By Mike Allen

Photo: Renewable  energy sources; Creative commons via N.A.

October 10, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee is having second thoughts about joining a joint powers authority with several North County cities to obtain more electrical power from renewable sources.

The proposed entity is a community choice aggregation program for the cities, giving them the ability to buy more power from sources such as solar and wind. Local utility San Diego Gas & Electric would continue to deliver and maintain transmission lines and billing operations, but the CCA would be responsible for buying all power.

SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES EXTENDED STAY HOTEL, GETS INITIAL RESULTS OF BRANDING EFFORT

By Mike Allen
 
September 21, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council approved a 122-unit extended stay hotel just west of the intersection of SR 125 and SR 52 on Mission Gorge Road at its Sept. 18 meeting.
 
The Council also heard an initial report from its contracted expert to help create a brand for the city as it attempts to boost its tourism and attract new businesses.

SANTEE GETTING ON BOARD THE CCA TRAIN WITH COASTAL CITIES

By Mike Allen

September 19, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee and Carlsbad would seem to be strange bedfellows, given their geographical locations and the latter being twice the size in population. But the cities are moving closer to joining forces to form a new entity to purchase more of their power from renewable sources starting in 2021.

SANTEE CITY COUNCIL PLANS ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT, ALSO DESIGNATES LIBRARY SITE FOR HOTEL

By Mike Allen 

By Mike Allen
 
August 15, 2019 (Santee) -- Executing one of its priorities set last year, Santee’s City Council has approved the concept of an overlay zone to an area centered around Town Center intended to attract arts and entertainment-orientated businesses such as night clubs, galleries, museums, theater and dance companies, plus other tourist-centric enterprises including hotels.

SANTEE MULLS ALTERNATIVE WAY OF BUYING ENERGY

By Mike Allen

Photo: Howard Choy, EES Consulting

 

July 26, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council took a more in-depth look this week at establishing a new entity that promises to provide energy at reduced rates while obtaining more of the power from renewable sources.

SANTEE TELLS SANDAG TO KEEP HANDS OFF HIGHWAY FUNDS

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Hasan Ikhrata, executive director, SANDAG 

July 2, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council heard first-hand this week about a massive, high-tech revamp to San Diego County's transportation system, but Council members weren’t impressed.

 

The Council appeared united in telling a team of three professionals from the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the regional transportation planning agency, to keep its hands off any committed funding to expand the key highways to the city.

 

"Everybody here is excited to hear about bold, new ideas," said Councilwoman Laura Koval. "But we also want you to know that we're still moving forward with our plan...and we're still going after funds to complete our highways."

SANTEE APPROVES BOND FINANCING FOR WESTON IMPROVEMENTS

 
 
By Mike Allen
 
May 28, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council approved the final phase May 22 on about $9 million in bonds that will be issued next month to pay for improvements and city services to the controversial Weston residential development, formerly called Castlerock.
 
The special tax bonds are completely supported from property taxes paid by the residents of Weston, which is located just west of Santee Lakes and off Mast Boulevard.
 
No city funding will be used to repay the bonds, which are being issued through two separate community facilities districts via a mechanism commonly used by many cities in California called Mello-Roos.
 
The actual amount of issued debt won’t be known until the debt is priced and sold in early June, but likely will come in at about $8.9 million although the special financing districts controlled by the city of Santee has the power to issue up to $9.5 million in debt.

HIGHER DENSITY CONDO PROJECT PRODUCES HAND WRINGING IN SANTEE

Santee Drive-In Theatre is one possible site for low-income housing

Council also approves feasibility study on community choice energy option, with two other cities

View Powerpoint presentation

By Mike Allen

January 24, 2019 (Santee) --Believe it not, Santee needs new housing, particularly affordable type, and more rental stock to handle demand from folks who cannot afford to buy houses.

But where to put housing geared to low income earners, and how that construction will impact other properties are not easy subjects, as was revealed at the latest City Council meeting Jan. 23.

The agenda item that prompted much frustration and hand wringing was a proposed residential condo development on a parcel owned by the county. City Ventures, a large Irvine-based developer, recently obtained the 22-acre parcel which is now in escrow. The company wants to build 365 new units at the site, which is just east of Town Center Community Park, behind the YMCA.

SANTEE COUNCIL JANUARY 9 AGENDA INCLUDES CLIMATE ACTION PLAN, COMMUNITYCHOICE ENERGY AND FANITA RANCH-RELATED ISSUES

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2019 (Santee) – Santee City Council has several important items on its agenda for the next meeting on Wednesday, January 9 in Council Chamber (10601 Magnolia Ave., Santee).  These include the city’s climate action plan, a proposal for more developer funding of the city’s subarea plan, and a presentation on a community choice option for Santee residents to purchase power from the city instead of SDG&E.

CONSERVATIVES SWEEP IN SANTEE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Zack Gianino and Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfeld await final election results in Santee

November 6, 2018 (Santee) – A grassroots effort to elect slow-growth, progressive candidates to the Santee City Council appears unsuccessful, with a conservative slate leading handily for all three seats and two Republican incumbents headed to reelection.

This was Santee’s first election since dividing the city into districts instead of at-large elections.

THREE CANDIDATES VIE FOR OPEN SEAT IN SANTEE DISTRICT 3: HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Zack Gianino, Laura Koval, and Lynda Marrokal

November 4, 2018 (Santee) – There will be at least one new face on Santee’s City Council soon, since District 3 is an open seat with no incumbent.

Three candidates are running in a race where development issues, traffic, and the city’s looming deficit are key issues.  They are Zack Gianino, a community college district liaison, Laura Koval, parks and recreation director at Santee Lakes, and Lynda Marrokal, a retired manager. 

Hear our in-depth interviews with all three candidates by clicking the audio links (Gianino, Koval, Marrokal) and scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 

Zack Gianino interview
Laura Koval interview
Lynda Marrokal interview

MCNELIS LEADS ALL SANTEE CANDIDATES IN CONTRIBUTIONS

 

By Mike Allen

November 2, 2018 (Santee) -- Running in his fourth city election, Santee Councilman Rob McNelis has been around the block a few times asking for funds to pay for such things as campaign signs and mailers so it’s no surprise that he easily leads the pack of seven candidates for the City Council with about $23,000 collected as of late October.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: RUDY REYES, FIRE SURVIVOR RUNNING FOR SANTEE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 2

 

East County News Service

November 1, 2018 (Santee) –  The race for Santee City Council District 1 pits incumbent Councilman Ronn Hall,  an insurance company owner and former Chamber of Commerce president, against Rudy Reyes, a San Diego State University program director, Cedar Fire survivor and advocate for burn victims.

We invited both candidates onto our radio show at KNSJ 89.1 FM.  Reyes accepted; you can listen to his full interview at the audio link and view highlights below. 

Councilman Hall declined, citing dental surgery, but did answer written questions earlier in the campaign which you can read here.

Audio: 

Rudy Reyes interview - District 1, Santee

DEVELOPMENT IS KEY ISSUE IN SANTEE CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1 RACE: HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS



 

East County News Service

November 1, 2018 (Santee) – This is the first election in which Santee residents cast votes by district. In District 1, Councilman Rob NcNelis, a market leader with a mortgage banking company and former Chamber of Commerce president, is running against Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfield, a software engineer and business owner who worked at U.C. Berkeley’s school of public health as a program manager and chair of the staff advisory council.

Key issues are development vs. quality of life, as well as how to address the city’s budget deficit. Andrade-Heymsfield claims her opponent puts developers’ interests over those of residents; she pledges to oppose Fanita Ranch. McNelis says he’s voted against some developer donors’ projects and votes for what's best for Santee. He pledges to keep government small and out of people’s pockets; Andrade-Heymsfield says she has ideas for new revenue sources to address the city’s deficit without raising taxes. 

We interviewed both candidates on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio. Hear the full interviews by clicking the audio links (Evlyn Andrade Heymsfield audio and Rob McNelis audio) plus read highlights below.

Audio: 

Evlyn Andrade-Heymsfield interview
Rob McNelis interview

READER'S EDITORIAL: DEVELOPERS BUYING SANTEE CITY COUNCIL SEATS THROUGH PAC'S DARK MONEY

 

By Santee City Councilman Stephen Houlahan and Preserve Wild Santee Director Van Collinsworth

November 1, 2018 (Santee) - A flood of developer dollars are backing incumbents/status-quo candidates (McNelis, Hall & Koval) in this city council election. The dark money backing for these candidates show that this election is about resident versus developer control of city government and the ability to approve the massive Fanita Ranch project.

SANTEE COUNCIL DELAYS VOTE ON SLOW GROWTH INITIATIVE, EFFECTIVELY TO 2020

By Mike Allen

Photo: Pam Kerzner testified, "We don't need any more houses," citing traffic delays.

August 9, 2018 (Santee) -- Voters in Santee hoping to have more say in future development projects will have to wait two more years to do so, following the City Council’s vote last night to prepare a report on the initiative’s possible impacts instead of putting the issue on the November ballot.

In a two-hour hearing Aug. 8 before an overflow crowd at City Hall, the Council voted 3-1 to prepare a report to be completed within 30 days. That effectively prevents a public vote in November because there isn’t enough lead time for a campaign, said City Attorney Shawn Haggerty.

SANTEE ADOPTS DISTRICT ELECTIONS WITH MINTO-MADE MAP

 

By Mike Allen

 View full-size map B adopted by Council here.

 April 14, 2018 (Santee) -- Santee’s ongoing process of shifting from voting for their representatives by all city voters to a system of district elections took another step to reality last week when the council adopted a map made by Mayor John Minto and held the first reading instituting the change.

 Minto offered a map he drew that divides the city into four areas and with a close balance of some 13,000 people in each district. His motion also called for a change in the cycle of elections that results in two council seats being elected every four years starting in 2020. The mayor’s position will remain at large, or selected by all city voters.

 His motion, which was seconded by Councilman Ronn Hall, passed 3-2 with Council members Brian Jones and Rob McNelis opposed. The second reading and adoption of the law and the map is scheduled for April 25.

SANTEE MOVES RELUCTANTLY TO ADOPT DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 

 

 

Today is last day to submit a map for final consideration at next Council meetings

By Mike Allen

 April 4, 2018 (Santee) -- Like it or not, and all five council members absolutely do not, Santee is adopting a system of district elections in advance of this November.

 Starting in late January, the council has been holding public hearings and soliciting comments about how boundary lines dividing the city into four quadrants should be drawn.

SANTEE MOVES AHEAD WITH PLAN FOR DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 

By Mike Allen

January 26, 2018 (Santee) -- Despite having one of the most homogeneous populations in the county and lacking any concentration of minority groups, Santee elected officials say the city’s hands are tied, and Santee is forced to comply with a state law urging cities to adopt district elections.

SANTEE BANS SMOKING ON TRAILS, TAKES FIRST STEP TO DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 

By Mike Allen

January 12, 2018 (Santee)--Smoking or vaping on Santee’s city trails such as the Walker Preserve and near Mast Park will no longer be legal following the City Council’s amending its code at its Jan. 10 meeting.

The newly amended law, that also bans smoking electronic cigarettes in the same areas, takes effect after the second reading of the measure Jan.24.

With the vote, Santee joins the rest of the 18 cities and San Diego county in prohibiting smoking on public trails, which is an obvious fire hazard. But the change didn’t go far enough for nearly all the speakers who testified before the council took its vote.

SANTEE WANTS A HIGH-END HOTEL, BUT MAY NOT HAVE A PLACE TO BUILD IT

 

By Paul Kruze

December 29, 2017 (Santee) – Santee’s City Council would like nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of El Cajon and lure a large hotel chain to build a business-class hotel in the growing city. But at Council’s December 13th meeting, it became evident that the biggest question these days is not whether the sprawling community could support such an investment, but rather where to put it. So says a San Francisco-consultant firm that was hired by Santee last Spring to develop a feasibility study on what it would take for it to happen in short order.

SANTEE COUNCIL CHOOSES CINEMARK FOR THEATRE MULTIPLEX; APPROVES TRAFFIC FLOW PLAN WITHOUT MAST BOULEVARD EXTENSION

 

By Paul Kruze

Link to audio of Santee City Council Meeting, Oct. 25, 2017

November 3, 2017 (Santee) -- Cinemark Theatres won unanimous approval from the Santee City Council Wednesday to operate a multiplex movie theater. The multiplex theater is to be built on a seven-acre parcel purchased last spring from the County of San Diego near the Santee Town Center shopping mall and Parc One apartment complex at 320 Town Center Parkway.

SANTEE COUNCIL TO HEAR MOVIE THEATRE PROPOSALS, WEIGH MOBILITY STUDY AT WEDNESDAY’S MEETING

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 25, 2017 (Santee) – The Santee City Council will hear proposals from two companies vying to build the city’s first multiplex movie theatre at today’s 7 p.m. meeting. In addition, the agenda includes  a hearing on adopting a mobility element that could include expansion of Mast Boulevard to Santee, as well as bike lanes and other items.

SANTEE CITY COUNCIL TO SEND LETTER TO SHERIFF GORE REQUESTING CHANGE IN CONCEALED WEAPONS POLICY

 

East County News Service

 

July 17, 2017 (Santee) – In a 5-0 unanimous vote, the Santee City Council has authorized Mayor John Minto to send an official letter from the council to San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore requesting a change in Gore’s internal policy regarding the issuance of concealed weapon permits. Specifically, the council is asking Sheriff Gore to accept self-defense or personal protection to fulfill California’s requirement of “good cause.” 

SANTEE COUNCIL VOTES TO ACQUIRE LAND FOR MOVIE THEATERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 21, 2017 (Santee) – For the past 20 years, Santee has lacked an indoor movie theatre, having only a drive-in that’s a throw-back from the ‘50s. But soon, city residents will be able to choose from multiple films to view without leaving town or parking at the drive-in venue.

SANTEE CITY COUNCIL APPOINTS BRIAN JONES TO FILL VACANCY

 

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Eight finalists in Santee council appointment await questions from council.

January 26, 2017 (Santee) -- Brian Jones, a former state Assemblyman and ex-Santee Councilman, is returning to his old job again. He was appointed by the City Council after a five-hour interview process that began last night and stretched into the early morning hours

SANTEE COUNCIL SEEKS APPLICANTS TO FILL VACANCY: COUNCIL DIVIDED OVER OPTIONS

 

By Mike Allen

January 15, 2017 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council is seeking a fifth member to fill out the two years remaining on Mayor John Minto’s term after he was elected in November, vacating his Council seat. At the Council’s January 11th meeting, the four members decided to appoint Minto’s successor rather than hold a special election that was deemed too costly.

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