To the editor:
The General Election on November 6 will provide an opportunity for American adults to decide what policies and leaders are best for this country. The local competition for Santee mayor between Randy Voepel and Rudy Reyes will determine the direction and quality of life of city residents, including myself.
The passing of certain propositions will also create an immense impact in the future of many. In particular, Proposition 30 which would enforce taxes to fund the education system, and Proposition 34, which would enforce life imprisonment as the maximum punishment for people that are found guilty of murder, instead of the death penalty.
Because he is in favor of Proposition 30 and Proposition 34, and his expressed desire to “repay the community for saving his life,” my vote will go to Reyes.
Randy Voepel has been the mayor of Santee since the year 2000, and Rudy Reyes encourages “new blood” in Santee leadership for several substantial reasons.
Reyes is regarded as a hero because of his courage during the 2003 Cedar Fires. He placed the safety of his family over the safety of himself when he guaranteed the safety of his family before he escaped the rapid fires. After bringing his family to safety, Reyes was forced to run through the wildfires because his car would not start; consequently, roughly 70 percent of his body was burned. After 28 surgeries, Reyes recovered and began to work to repay the citizens of the San Diego County.
Reyes is at a slight disadvantage competing against Voepel, who is the incumbent and recognized from his previous years as the mayor of Santee.
Voepel has made claims such as “Santee’s crime rate is one of the lowest in the County,” according to the Voter Information Pamphlet. In reality, since the 2011 mid-year numbers, the violent crime rate has risen a massive 42 percent, “one of the largest jumps in the county," according to an article in Santee Patch.
Reyes looks for the best for not only the citizens of Santee, but also the environment. Reyes is education-oriented which is reflected through his policy beliefs and actions. For example, Reyes wants to educate the issue of sustainable energy and follow Germany’s structure of going solar, in order to protect not only the environment but also the economy.
Reyes values education, as reflected through his decision to support Proposition 30. The education system is extremely important and influential, yet usually does not receive the attention deserved. Proposition 30 would fund the education system primarily by increasing the sales and use tax by ¼ of a cent for four years, and increase personal income tax (PIT) on annual earnings over $250,000 for seven years. There would be a new state account created called the Education Protection Account (EPA), which would guarantee that the correct funds are provided to the schools. In addition, there would be independent audits every year to ensure the money is only spent toward educational funding.
If this measurement fails, the spending reductions for schools and community colleges would be roughly five million dollars. I have already noticed the difficulty of obtaining certain classes at Grossmont College before this possible drastic reduction. With the failure of this proposition passing, many students would be significantly negatively impacted. I appreciate that although Reyes has already earned his educational degree in Archeology, he still takes into consideration how drastically this proposition will affect students.
Reyes has also shown support for Proposition 34, which seeks to replace the death penalty with life imprisonment. Although there is an initial “one-time state cost of roughly $100 million for grants to local law enforcement agencies to be paid over the next four years,” according to the Official Voter Information Guide, there would be sources to contribute to the state funding. For example, there would be a requirement for the inmates to work while in prison. The inmates may also be required, by the courts, to “make payments to the victims of crime." By enforcing the repayment to the victim, the criminal is doing more to alleviate the offense, than if the punishment is death.
By voting yes to Proposition 34 the reduction of the cost of deathrow inmates and of costly murder trials would benefit the state. This proposition also provides the benefit of avoiding the loss of an innocent life due to misjudgment. My belief is that with life imprisonment as the maximum punishment, the inmates will be forced to spend the remainder of life reflecting on why freedom is no longer an option. Death is a freedom, an escape.
The outcomes of this upcoming election can severely alter the lives of the people of Santee for the better or worse. My vote will go to Rudy Reyes because of his genuine nature to show an appreciation for life. I am fortunate to have a candidate that agrees with my beliefs, and that truly wants to better the city of Santee. Reyes looks for the best solutions to give back to the people and environment. I believe Reyes would be honest to the people and follow what a mayor really should do, which is to sincerely look out for the people of the city.
- Lara Grossmith, 19, Santee resident and Grossmont College student
Comment: What do you think about the Mayoral race? Who do you support?