El Cajon, CA
Broken clouds
Broken clouds:
64.4 °F

Articles by Mike Allen

In his first state of the city address last week, Santee Mayor John Minto outlined a vision that puts a priority on several capital improvement projects and saving money on the city’s growing pension liabilities.

The goals set were honed along with his fellow councilmen and management staff at a workshop held last year.

Santee’s City Council banned smoking on its city trails and took the first steps to changing to district elections at its meeting last week.

While the amendment to an existing ordinance bans smoking and vaping on trails such as the Walker Preserve and near Mast Park, the council didn’t expand the ban to all city parks and open spaces.

That was the prevailing sentiment of nearly all speakers at the Jan. 10 meeting.

Padre Dam Municipal Water District, already charging among the highest water rates in the nation, is proposing yet another five-year rate increase that officials say is necessary to maintain the agency’s services.

In a 12-page notice sent out to all of Padre Dam’s 24,000 customers, the district outlined the rate increases depending on use, and the rationale supporting the increases.

The San Miguel Fire Protection District has been busy of late, taking a number of steps towards the date when it will become a stand-alone agency, and terminate all connections to Cal Fire, which currently provides its fire protection services.

Despite the deluge of rain in recent weeks, officials at the Padre Dam Municipal Water District continue working on a regional water reclamation program that converts sewage discharge into drinkable water.

Judging from a Feb. 9 town hall meeting hosted by newly elected City Councilman Ben Kalasho, the biggest problem facing El Cajon is a surge in the homeless population.

At a packed assembly estimated at 80 residents held at the El Cajon Police Station, a majority questioned Kalasho about what the city is now doing to address the growing numbers of unsheltered neighbors, and what more can be done.

After a five- hour meeting that stretched into the early morning hours of Jan. 26, the Santee City Council appointed former member Brian Jones to take his old job from an applicant field of 34 residents.

The council voted 3-1 to appoint Jones from an applicant field of 34 residents to the seat left vacant when John Minto was elected mayor in November. The position has about two years remaining, and Jones said he plans to run for the state Senate seat now held by Sen. Joel Anderson who will be termed out in 2018.

The Santee City Council decided to appoint a new member to its five-member board and hold an open interview process scheduled for its next meeting, Jan. 25.

At its Jan. 11 meeting, the first of the New Year, the council addressed the issue of replacing the seat vacated when John Minto was elected mayor in November. In the motion that passed 3-1 with Rob McNelis opposed, the council agreed to appoint a new member following a public interview process.

Santee neighbors to the controversial Castlerock housing project aired a variety of grievances to city officials and the developer recently, many questioning how it ever got approved.

While the 415-unit residential project next to Santee Lakes has been planned for about a decade and approved by both the cities of San Diego and Santee three years ago, residents have been logging complaints since grading began in July.

Grantville-based Groundswell Brewing Co., only three years old and a minor player in San Diego’s booming craft beer industry, stepped up its game recently by buying most of the assets of failed Twisted Manzanita Brewing Co.

While President Kevin Rhodes declined to reveal the price paid for Twisted Manzanita’s beer making equipment, he was definitely thrilled about the prospects of greatly expanding his brewery’s operations.