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Dear Randy: Power Plant Problems

Six reasons the Quail Brush Power Plant project is beyond City of Santee control.

You can call up , send emails all over, and reach out in many directions in looking for an answer to a local problem or help with an issue- or we can get that question right to , and he can use his resources and local government know-how to get the best answer around.

Send your questions or comments on any topic, preferably a local issue, to steven.bartholow@patch.com, or leave it as a comment below, and we'll pass it onto Mayor Voepel. He's agreed to shoot for answering one a week, so let's get those questions coming!

Q. My name is Kevin. I have resided in Santee for 28 years. I am writing to request your support in opposing the Quail Brush Power Plant project being considered by the Energy Comission. I believe the project is inappropriate for this city.

A. Kevin, I oppose the power plant and I believe a majority of our City Council members do as well (who would want a power plant on their border?). However there are some issues beyond the City of Santee's control:

1. The power plant is going to be in the Sycamore Landfill.

2. The landfill is within the City of San Diego.

3. The City of San Diego cares nothing about your, or the City's protests.

4. The City of Santee has recently been stripped of $1.5 million by the State of California, due to the ending of Redevelopment Districts.

5. Because the City (400 other Redevelopment Districts as well) has been turned upside down financially, we do not have the estimated $250,000 to fight the power plant in court.

6. If we did go to court and spent the $250,000 plus, in legal fees, we have a 95% chance (based upon preliminary legal opinion) of loosing the lawsuit and only a 5% chance of getting minor concessions.

That is the way I see this issue right now. The City of San Diego is the 400 pound gorilla on our front doorstep. The California Energy Commission is the other 800 pound gorilla at our backdoor. City Staff has attended each meeting and we have submitted our concerns to the Energy Commission.

In the past, we successfully opposed a much larger permanent Power Plant right on the border with MCAS Miramar. We had a strong case then and won. This time we have a weak case, as this is a much smaller peaker plant that will only be used during high grid-load times, estimated to be 10 -12 times a year. The Santee City Council wins most of the lawsuits we enter into because we pick our fights very carefully and fight all the way, win or lose.

This issue would be too expensive to fight with little chance of winning. Once again if anyone wants to pony up $100,000-$250,000 for this fight lets go! This would not be a good use of taxpayer money in these economic times.

As you know I never mince words- the City of Santee will be rolled over on this one, with no hope of stopping a power plant that most other people want. Even if some people don't want it built, a vast majority outside of Santee are happy to have it in a corner of a landfill, away from everybody but a few folks at the west end of town.

Respectfully submitted,

Randy Voepel

Mayor, City of Santee

Doug Curlee February 20, 2012 at 10:29 PM
rudy.. could you possibly be any more juvenile about all this?.. to answer my own question... yes, i suspect you can be much, MUCH more juvenile.. grow up. doug
rudy reyes February 20, 2012 at 11:25 PM
I put it up because it is a truth of times! Republicans trying to speak on woman issues without women in the discussion, while they approve of destroying humanity/nature through power plants!
Retha Knight February 21, 2012 at 03:26 PM
A peaker plant, are you kidding me? 11 smoke stacks from hell spewing carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide and other cancer causing air pollutants into the air. The Quail Brush gas generated power plant is not just at the city dump in some secluded place called Sycamore Canyon. The Quail Brush power plant is a couple blocks from Santee little league baseball fields, West Hills High School, hundreds of homes and will adversely affect the entire Santee valley. It also borders Mission Trails Regional Park which includes Cowles Mountain and scenic parts of the San Diego River. This treasured natural parkland belongs to every citizen in San Diego county. There is no argument that will take away the adverse health affects this proposed power plant will have on the population surrounding it. No matter how much land is promised to expand Mission Trails Regional Park the toxic pollution will still be there! Our elected public servants on the San Diego and Santee city councils should stand up and protect the citizens and park lands against the obvious pollution Cogentrix will bring if this power plant is built.
Retha Knight February 21, 2012 at 03:38 PM
Public meeting tonight @ Pinnical Peaks at 6:30, 5:45 if you would like dinner (no host) see meetings in Santee patch. We must unite and contact the CEC to stop this power plant. Also go to: stop the santee powerplant @wordpress.com.
Motivated Santee Citizen February 21, 2012 at 09:48 PM
When is the next walk scheduled for?
Western Council February 21, 2012 at 11:47 PM
Hey Rudy please come to the meeting :)
Retha Knight February 22, 2012 at 05:57 AM
Next walk this Saturday, 02/25/12 to pass out infomational flyers. Meet at Pinnacle Peaks 10:15 am. We will all be affected by the pollution the Quail Brush power plant will bring to our neighborhoods. Spread the word!
rudy reyes February 22, 2012 at 07:46 PM
The people don't know their True power!!! http://a7.sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc7/s320x320/421374_288614301206102_152196238181243_774797_477574843_n.jpg
Retha Knight February 23, 2012 at 06:26 AM
We had a nice turn out last night. Jack Dale of the Santee City Council and Bob Keisling with GUHSD were there. We requested that we be allowed to post banners on Mission Gorge Road by Santee town center to inform our community about the proposed Quail Brush power plant. We will see what comes of this request... If our city council truly does not want this power plant at the gateway of our community there will be signs. We will see if our elected public servants really care about the air quality of our city and health of it's citizens young and old. West Hills High School, Mission Trails Regional Park
Retha Knight February 23, 2012 at 07:41 AM
We don't need lip service Mayor V. "Political" signs or banners aren't allowed.? Hmm, the taxpaying public's health, well being and protection of their property are a "political matter? Wrong-- they are a basic rights that elected officials are supposed to protect. At campaign time aren't your names plastered all over every major artery in the city? Of course that's different.
Joe Spencer February 23, 2012 at 07:57 AM
I've held off on commenting much on this topic because I have not had enough information. First off, if your "group" would bother attending the City Council meeting to voice your concerns instead of sitting on your computer and complaining on this website...maybe you all might have a better understanding of things. At tonight's City Council meeting there was exactly ONE individual who spoke to the Council. ONE. The meeting prior to tonight...there was also just ONE individual who spoke to the Council. ONE. So let me ask you this question...why would you all choose to meet on TUESDAY nights when the City Council Meeting falls on a WEDNESDAY night? Wouldn't it have been more productive for you to have a strong showing at the City Council Meeting so that each one of you could let your concerns be heard? Perhaps its just easier to sit and type a bunch of complaints and point fingers rather than going to the source you are complaining about and seeking understanding or seeking to convince them to help. Maybe I'm expecting too much common sense. Next...obviously the City Council cares....did you not say that Jack Dale came to your meeting last night? Does that not signal to you that they care? If you expected them all to be there...or any other meeting....that can't happen. There are laws against that. If you want to take the time to learn about that law...google BROWN ACT. (CONTINUED)
rudy reyes February 23, 2012 at 08:05 AM
joe, thats what ive been trying to tell this group but they/HOA doesnt seem ready to speak at councils yet! I have patiently been showing them how and where. I was at a endorsement for county supervisor meeting to night and apologize to the community for not being present.
Joe Spencer February 23, 2012 at 08:21 AM
CONTINUED FROM ABOVE POST Next...for the record...They Mayor stated it at the last meeting and he emphatically stated it again tonight...he is OPPOSED to this project. Santee already has the Women's Jail and the Trash Dump he doesnt want anymore. Jack Dale was also very vocal about his opposition. So the City Council DOES care about this...and IS working to do something about it. They took ACTION tonight as well. The Mayor directed city staff to work on a report that establishes the city's opposition to this project. This report will be presented at the March 21st City Council Meeting. There will be an open session discussion for public comments and then a closed session discussion which will involve legal costs to fight this and what the chances are to succeed and what the ramifications are. So they have informally spoken and said they are opposed to the project. They have done their homework on it by having Jack Dale not only meet with your group but also San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and the East County Chamber of Commerce. Now they have directed staff to complete a report and put it on an upcoming agenda for action. Seems to me they are handling the matter very appropriately. (CONTINUED)
Joe Spencer February 23, 2012 at 08:28 AM
(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE POST) If you are unaware...it appears someone connected with this project contacted the East County Chamber of Commerce for support. Since Santee has it's own chamber they contacted our city to find out what their position was. That will obviously be handled at the upcoming meeting. BUT in the meantime I HIGHLY suggest you have your group contact the East County Chamber of Commerce by phone (619) 440-6161 or by email eccham@eastcountychamber.org and let your voices be heard. If they have a meeting I would suggest organizing your group to go to that.
Retha Knight February 23, 2012 at 08:33 AM
Joe, The Santee city council has said that we are barking up the wrong tree and we should go to the San Diego City Council meetings since this pp is in SD and not in Santee. You might be satisfied with their answers, I think they could do more if they wanted to. Everyone I have talked to was not even aware of the Quail Brush power plant. We went to the site visit at MTRP on January 25th. I've been to two of the Santee council meetings and spoken at one. Some of us do plan to go to SD city council meeting next week (Rudy can you give the info again, you left before I could give you my e-mail). We are also have a writing, calling campaigne going on with the CEC and other agencies. We also have other speakers coming next week. This is a grass roots group without funding. All the flyers we have passed out to the community are coming out of our pockets. We are growing in numbers. Complaining no. You think smoking is bad for your health? Well no park in Santee will have clean air if this power plant is built and you won't just be able to walk a short distance away to get away from the pollution!
Joe Spencer February 23, 2012 at 08:47 AM
Retha...read what I wrote again. I am not against your effort to stop this. In fact I may come out to a future meeting. Yes you should be going to the San Diego City Council...it's their project though it is in our yard so to speak. What I am satisfied with is the discussion and the action they took tonight...and the fact that it is on the agenda for March 21st. How can you not be satisfied with that progress? Is Mayor Voepel supposed to go sit out front of Mayor Sanders house and protest? Obviously I support efforts to fight causes like this. I just think that you need effective leadership to guide and educate people. You need to educate people on the issue and you certainly need to educate people on the art of public speaking. When your speaker is up in front of whatever agency they need to understand how to be effective communicators. They need to learn when to speak and when to be quiet and listen without interrupting others.
rudy reyes February 23, 2012 at 04:55 PM
dot politics! microcosim of santee http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H6b70TUbdfs
Motivated Santee Citizen February 23, 2012 at 09:10 PM
I agree that the people opposed to this project need to go before the San Diego City Council as well as the Santee City Council. I would really like to see the entire Santee City Council show up at the San Diego City council meeting in protest of this project. I would vote for someone that did that and just didn't tell us that "we are barking up the wrong tree."
rudy reyes February 23, 2012 at 10:04 PM
hello??? shouldn't have too, but that's what i have been doing!! www.reyesforsupervisor.com
Joe Spencer February 23, 2012 at 11:32 PM
Motivated....as I wrote above the entire city council cannot show up at anothe rmeeting like you suggest. There is a law entitled the Brown Act that prevents it. They can't even get together in a group of 3 or more (since 3 makes a quorum) to simply talk about this issue. At this point coming to the Santee City Council is the least important. They seem to be on top of this and against the project. I think the bigger concentration needs to be on San Diego City Council and also East County Chamber of Commerce for reasons I listed in a post above.
Western Council February 25, 2012 at 03:38 AM
The quail brush project in now on the city of Santee homepage. We should go to council meetings please:) There may be some division between our views but we need to go to the meetings and shake hands on common ideas :)
rudy reyes February 25, 2012 at 05:22 AM
contact me if you want info on meeting next week, san diego and county!
Retha Knight February 28, 2012 at 03:34 PM
Stop the Santee Power Plant! ** CEC PUBLIC ADVISOR, JENNIFER JENNINGS, TO ATTEND meeting Tonight ** Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 5:45 pm no-host dinner - 6:30 pm meeting at Pinnacle Peak (7927 Mission Gorge Road) To view a more accurate site map of where the proposed Quail Brush power plant is to be built go to : www. Stop the Santee Power Plant.wordpress.com
rudy reyes February 28, 2012 at 04:36 PM
http://sphotos.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash4/s320x320/374335_10150404543191505_529931504_8130661_1386274067_n.jpg
Steven Bartholow (Editor) February 28, 2012 at 05:18 PM
Santee Patch will be meeting with Cogentrix representatives on Thursday, the company that is lobbying to construct and operate the plant. Please leave any questions you would like relayed to Cogentrix as a comment to this story: http://patch.com/A-rkWr or email steven.bartholow@patch.com.
Retha Knight March 01, 2012 at 07:06 AM
Does Cogentrix think it is ok to mislead the public into thinking this power plant is in the middle nowhere, when it is in fact on the border of Mission Trails Regional Park and just a few hundred yards from the city of Santee's West Hills High School, West Hills Park & Little League Baseball Fields, Calrlton Oaks Golf Course and Hundreds of homes. Why did they not post an aerial map to show the true location of the proposed power plant instead of the misleading picture of Sycamore Canyon from hundreds of yards away.
Retha Knight March 01, 2012 at 07:11 AM
Will Cogentrix still purchase and donate the 40 acres to Mission Trails Regional Park adjacent to the Sycamore Canyon Landfill when the proposed Quail Brush power plant is denied by the CEC?
Motivated Santee Citizen March 02, 2012 at 11:20 PM
Steve, Please update us on the meeting with Cogentrix yesterday.
Steven Bartholow (Editor) March 02, 2012 at 11:44 PM
The meeting went well, a few points were clarified and Cogentrix's view of the project and interaction with the Santee community was laid out. I'm going to need the weekend to go over my notes and info they gave me to congeal it into a new article. They are in communication with the City of Santee and members of the City Council and are well aware of how the project is viewed by much of Santee. I should be able to answer or at least clarify Cogentrix's view of many of the questions readers posed. More coming soon...
Retha Knight March 09, 2012 at 06:02 AM
STOP THE SANTEE POWER PLANT RALLY is planned from 6:00 am to 9:00 am on Monday, March 12th. to catch the morning commute at West Hills and Mast Blvd. Bring a sign & Rally public awareness & support. Together we'll send the message loud and clear: NO POWER PLANT HERE! www.stopthesanteepowerplant.org

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