Santee City Council

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.

OUT OF TOWN MONEY FLOWS TO SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATE

 

East County News Service

Photos, left to right: Stephen Houlahan, Mason Herron, and Dustin Trotter

November 7, 2016 (Santee) — Santee City Council candidate Mason Herron has raked in $58, 246 in campaign contributions from 131 individuals, of whom only 6 live in Santee, including himself.  That’s 95% of donations coming from outside Santee.

READER’S EDITORIAL: SELLING OUT SANTEE WITH A DEVELOPERS’ DELIGHT CAMPAIGN

 

By Van K. Collinsworth, Executive Director/Resource Analyst

savefanita@gmail.com

October 31, 2016 (Santee)--Analysis shows 98% of Santee City Council candidate Mason Herron's donors are from outside of Santee; much of these contributors are easily identified as being traffic gridlock producing development interests. (CA Form 460’s are required disclosures.)

In contrast,  Stephen Houlahan has not taken any developer dollars and 76% of his contributors are Santee residents.

OPEN SEATS IN SANTEE DRAW 2 MAYORAL AND 3 COUNCIL CANDIDATES: BALLOT STATEMENTS AVAILABLE

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 23, 2016 (Santee) — Long-time Mayor Randy Voepel is running for the state Assembly and is not seeking reelection.  Two Council members are running to lead the city as Mayor: retired police detective John Minto real estate/mortgage professional Rob McNelis.  A special selection will be held to fill the Council seat of whoever wins the mayoral race, since these terms are not expired.

In addition, three candidates are running for the Council seat being vacated by Jack Dale, who is retiring.  Stephen Houlahan is president and co-founder of Save Mission Trails, which led the successful effort to stop the Quail Brush gas-fired power plant. He is also a registered nurse. Dustin Trotter, a carpenter, owns a door and trim company and has been an active community volunteer in organizations such as the Santee Santas and Santee Food Bank. Mason Herron is legislative director for Assemblyman Brian Jones and has also worked as a policy consultant.

MIXING AND MINGLING WITH LOCAL ELECTORAL CANDIDATES AT POLITICS IN PARADISE

 

By Janis Russell

July 4, 2016 (Rancho San Diego) - The East County Chamber of Commerce hosted its annual ‘Politics in Paradise’ at the Water Conservation Garden on July 1st. This year, instead of a panel of speakers, the public got to mix and mingle with the local candidates. Then, throughout the night, candidates came up in three different groups to introduce themselves and explain why they’re running.

RESTAURANT PROPERTY APPROVED FOR CONDOS IN SANTEE

By Mike Allen

November 4, 2015 (Santee)--Bowing to a clear change in traffic patterns along Mission Gorge Road, the Santee City Council unanimously approved changing the zoning and granting development of a 113-unit condominium project at the 3.78 acre site previously occupied by Pinnacle Peak restaurant (which moved to Lakeside), and still the location of the Omelet Factory last month.

The Council heard from about a dozen residents of nearby homes who raised concerns of overwhelming traffic delays and parking problems that could result from the new project, but Council members declined to set any new conditions or changes to the developer’s plan.

ACTIVISTS ASK SANTEE COUNCIL TO BAN PUPPY MILL PETS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2015 (Santee) – At last night’s Santee City Council meeting, 24 people came to show support for asking that dogs from puppy  mills be outlawed for sale in Santee.   The group is waiting to see if Council will agree to add the item to its agenda.

Sydney Cicourel, west coast director for The Puppy Mill Project, told Council members that her organization has gathered 3,000 signatures on a petition in support of the ban.  The group has been protesting at Pups and Pets, a Santee store that Cicourel says purchases dogs in from puppy mills where the animals are kept in “deplorable” conditions that are unsafe and unsanitary, often in stacked wire cages.

SANTEE HIKES FIRE FEES FOR COMMERCIAL AND INDUSTRIAL PROPERTY OWNERS

By Miriam Raftery

July 8, 2015 (Santee)—The Santee City Council has voted to raise the Fire Benefit Fee for all commercial and industrial properties to a maximum of $492 per building, per year.  Parcels with multiple buildings will owe the fee for each building. The highest increase faced by any property owner would be $1,800, staff told Council.

“This is really a per building fee,” Councilman Jack Dale observed, “whether you’re 500 square feet or you’re Costco.”

SANTEE COUNCIL TO WEIGH ELIMINATING CAMPAIGN FINANCE RESTRICTIONS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 5, 2015 (Santee) – Currently, only individuals may donate to campaigns for Santee City Council and Mayoral candidates.  But on July 8th, the Council will consider eliminating that restriction and allow donations from entities such as corporations, political action committees or organizations to donate to campaigns for city officials.

RONN HALL WINS SEAT ON SANTEE COUNCIL; INCUMBENTS REELECTED

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ronn Hall

November 5, 2014 (Santee) -- Santee City Council members John Minto and Rob McNelis have won reelection with  26.02% and 22.79% of the vote respectively with 100% of precincts counted.  But the biggest vote getter was Ronn Hall, who drew 27.39% of the vote to fill a vacant seat on the Council. Hall, an insurance broker, is past President and a current board member of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, with strong name recognition in the community.

Challengers Maggie Acerra and Keshav Damoor, who ran on reform platforms, drew 15.44% and 8.32% of the vote.

Unlike some local cities that are built out, Santee weathered tough economic times with a sound budget due in part to new development including a sports complex that created new property tax revenues.  The fate of remaining undeveloped lands in the city was a key campaign issue, with pending projects including Fanita Ranch, a proposed theater complex, and land around the Carlton Hills Golf Course that recently sold.

SANTEE COUNCILMAN ROB MCNELIS AND CHALLENGER KESHAV DAMOOR: RADIO INTERVIEWS NOW ONLINE

 

Photos: Keshav Damoor, left, and Rob McNelis, right

 

November 3, 2014 (Santee) – Last week, East County Magazine sat down with Councilman Rob McNelis, a realtor who is proud of the city's achievements on his watch, and challenger Keshav Damoor, a UCSD graduate who works with nonprofits on poverty issues and seeks to represent a new generation on the Council. 

The candidates shared their views on smart growth for Santee and the future of the community.  Will there be a theater complex and entertainment center in Santee's future?  What about Fanita Ranch?  Listen to our interviews now:

Keshav Damoor: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/mvfi330sul/Newsmaker-KeshavDamoor-SanteeCouncilx.mp3

Rob McNelis: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/ib0vuopj8h/Newsmaker-RobMcNellis-final-x.mp3

For our previous coverage of these and other candidates in this race, click "read more" and scroll down.

HEAR INTERVIEWS WITH SANTEE COUNCILMAN JOHN MINTO AND CHALLENGER MAGGIE ACERRA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East County News Service

East County Magazine invited all five candidates running for Santee City Council to be interviewed on our radio show on KNSJ.  Two have participated thus far. (We hope to add more soon, so check back.)

 Incumbent Councilman John Minto, a former detective and chair of the East County Economic Development Council, says Santee is enjoying a robust economy and takes pride in his accomplishments, such as creating a public-private partnership to build a sports park and creating jobs.

Challenger Maggie Acerra, a budget and finance specialist, says she is running to be a voice for the people, increase public awareness of upcoming issues, and believes the council is too cozy with developers.

Hear our interviews ( note: audio files may take a few moments to load):

Maggie Acerra interview: http://kiwi6.com/file/dubmlczdpo

John Minto interview: http://kiwi6.com/file/9a9jrsqh0b

SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATES SHARE VIEWS ON GROWTH, HOMELESS, RENT CONTROL AND MORE

 

 By  Leon Thompson

 

 

Photo, left to right: John Minto, Rob McNelis, Maggie Acerra, Ronn Hall, Keshav Damoor

September 11, 2014 (Santee) – Santee City Council candidates introduced themselves to the Santee Mobile Home Owners Association on Saturday, drawing sharp distinctions betweenchallengers who seek to represent citizens, youth, and smart growth vs. incumbents on a council long dominated by business and development interests.

Mobile home owners make up more than 10% percent of registered Santee voters and they turn out to vote in huge percentages.  Mobile home owners tend to be engaged and well informed, leading to some very pointed questions. 

Two incumbents and three challengers are running for three seats on the Council.  Council member John Ryan will not be running for reelection, leaving one seat open.

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