After multiple public comments at recent City Council meetings concerning the rise of panhandling and homeless loitering in Santee, the Council will hear a report from staff on the issue at the meeting at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
The report (see attached meeting agenda) says that there are four types of transient activities that are increasingly causing concern with Councilmembers: Panhandling, overtaking public park areas, riverbed camping and scavenging. The city prefers to refer to those taking part in those activities as "transients," instead of the more vague term, "homeless."
This issue may even re-ignite the smoking in the parks debate. Recommendations from city staff include banning smoking at city parks and putting a weekday restriction on alcohol in city parks. Other recommendations include banning "single sale" beverages on future alcohol licenses, stepped up policing efforts, and amending the soliciting ordinance to prohibit aggressive conduct.
City staff also wants to inform the community about transient activities. An article from an Oklahoma City newspaper was inserted into the agenda that describes a man that claims he earns $60,000 a year panhandling.
Other agenda items include:
• Santee has been awarded a $168,750 Safe Route to School grant which will be used to create a planning project that will help raise funds to implement proposed improvements to the walkability of Santee, especially important efter being rated as the least-walkable city in the County in a report released last year. Staff recommends partnering with the nonprofit group WalkSanDiego to complete this project.
• The Santee Parks and Recreation Committee (SPARC) has proposed creating a sub-committee known as the Santee Public Art Comittee to advise SPARC and the City Council on matters concerning art is Santee's public spaces.
Public art possibilities would include murals, sculpture, mosaics, waterworks and more. A set of guidelines and criteria for public art in Santee is included in the agenda packet (see attached PDF). According to the agenda, criteria for art to be placed in a public place would include aesthetic quality and artistic merit, relationship to the community, compatibility, fabrication, handling and installation. The artworks may be chosen by competition, invitation, or direct selection or purchase.
• The council will vote to rescind a construction bid on the city's massive storm drain project. It is likely that council will direct staff to re-bid the project and to get repayment from Bert W. Salas, Inc., for costs incurred by the city.
City Manager Reports
• 35 Santee city employees will receive awards and accolades for years of service.
• Santee Sheriff Captain Lisa Miller will deliver a report on staffing levels. This is part of an ongoing series of reports educating the public and council in preparation for city budget shortfalls. Sheriff services cost the city of Santee $11.6 million in Fiscal Year 2012-13 and will rise to $13 million by FY 2014-15.
• The council will discuss integrating Santee into a Recycling Market Development Zone, designed to create jobs and develop markets from materials diverted from landfills. The city of Chula Vista administers the southern zone of the market and wants to expand to include Santee. It will cost the city nothing.
If you want to publicly comment on any topic, fill out a speaker slip at the beginning of the meeting.
See the attached PDF for the full agenda details or click here to download.