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Dear Randy: Prospect Avenue's Missing Sidewalks

Mayor Voepel: "The highest priority for past redevelopment and improvements in the City has always been determined by business considerations."

Read more about the fate of fixing parts of Prospect: Funds for Prospect Avenue Redevelopment Hang in the Balance

You can call, 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 Mayor Randy Voepel, 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.

Q. I have been a resident of Santee for 45 years... If you have children or grandchildren you would know what I'm talking about when I say walking on Prospect Avenue west is embarrassment to Santee... Our street DOES NOT have side walks... Why is that a growing city like Santee has not taken the time to think about families safety. Please take this in consideration- walk a mile or two on Prospect to see what I'm talking about.

A. Santee has built many City improvements over the years using our Redevelopment Commission and tax increment money (Government talk for: our share of property taxes. NOTE: was 80 percent now 17). The highest priority for past redevelopment and improvements in the City has always been determined by business considerations. In other words, in order to prosper, we have had to pick the projects that would yield the most economic return for the City and our citizens.

Your section of Prospect Ave. has long been lower on the "economic" return list for City developments. We do have a project (the State of California is trying to steal that money from us as well) on the east side of Prospect Avenue, in the industrial area, that would upgrade the infrastructure greatly to improve business (jobs) and attract more investment into Santee.

Unfortunately for you and your neighborhood, that project will not upgrade your area, as once again the necessity of generating tax increment (taxes) outweigh neighborhood needs.

Also, the State of California has done away with Redevelopment Districts and stripped the City of Santee of five million plus dollars just as your neighborhood was moving up the priority lists. Redevelopment is essentially dead in local cities in California as the State stole that money (passed laws in the dark of night). If our City Council had not built all of the shopping centers, office parks, restaurants, low and higher income housing projects, etc., we would be in deep trouble today economically, instead of relatively well off.

I am sorry that due to State of California actions and past Santee priority decisions, we will not be able to upgrade your area in the foreseeable future.

Please, at least give me credit for being candid, as always, with everybody in town.

Randy Voepel

Mayor, City of Santee

sheeple herder December 01, 2012 at 04:23 PM
Wonder if Randy is thumbing through the voter logs to see if he should even "listen" to this person. Disagree with the king, you get ostracized....
rudy reyes December 01, 2012 at 04:41 PM
Lame duck mayor! Rather then try to fix the situation, he blamed state funding! As mayor he should be willing to raise funding for citizens
Mary December 01, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Why not assess a one-time surtax on the property owners along the Prospect Business Corridor for sidewalks. It would improve the value of their property. Why do you think the people of California should improve the value of their property? Or maybe institute some city legislation that business property owners have 3 years to install sidewalks and appropriate and approved landscape for their property. Any new business requiring permits should be required to pay for 10 feet of sidewalk ror every 10 feet of storefront as part of their commitment to our city. The fees would go into a special “lock-box fund” and eventually pay for missing sidewalks in residential areas.
Jake Mahamood December 01, 2012 at 05:56 PM
It seems to me the City of Santee is building nothing but "low Income" housing and not fixing any infrastructure south of Mission Gorge. Something needs to be done on west prospect before a pedestrian or cyclist gets hit. Its just a matter of time and it seems the city has been forewarned.
Kevin Rundle December 02, 2012 at 02:41 PM
Mayor Vopel does not believe that life or voters exist south of Mission Gorge Road. When another student at Pride Academy gets hit by a car or killed partially due to the substandard street and complete lack of safe sidewalks he should explain to the student's parents that, "Your section of Prospect Ave. has long been lower on the "economic" return list for City developments. It's time we explain to the Mayor and the council that the "voting return" south of Mission Gorge Road will no longer go their way.
Shay Olivo December 03, 2012 at 07:20 PM
I know which portion of Prospect Avenue they are referring to, it is west of Fanita Road and it is the reason my kids will not walk to school - it is not safe. The businesses are well up the other side of Prospect Avenue, so we get shafted on this side? I am thankful for the Mayor's candidness in answering, however a solution (or at least a fundraising idea, something!) would have been nice instead of a "too bad, so sad". People living off of the west side of Prospect pay property taxes and live and spend money in Santee, since when does that not warrant care for their children's safety? My kids ask to ride bikes to Big Rock Park (which is a straight shot for us) and I would love to do that as a family but don't feel safe. Not only that, but drainage is horrible on that portion of Prospect Avenue also, so when it rains people hydroplane, making it even less safe! Frustrating.
SanteeYouth December 03, 2012 at 07:23 PM
It seems as though Randy is taking an economic approach to this situation, which I agree with. While the city should be investing in infrastructure, this investment should yield growth and economic prosperity. I agree with Mary that property owners should care for the surrounding area and be responsible for a certain amount of infrastructure. However, the area in concern may be largely residential, and I don't think we want to charge citizens the sky-high price to install sidewalks. Lets empathize with Randy's decisions making process to understand why he decides the way he does give Randy suggestions as to how we can fix problems rather than calling him a "lame duck".
dirtgurly December 03, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Shaylynn -- Actually they are referring to the portion of Prospect that is east of Cuyamaca, where all the businesses are, BUT I completely agree with you! I actually live on Prospect, and there are SO many portions of the street that have no true sidewalks, and being that it is such a busy street, where cars CONSTANTLY SPEED, I find it ridiculous that this is the case.
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just my opinion December 06, 2012 at 11:25 PM
Does our mayor really care about making Santee a more presentable place to live? Doubt it. Check out a past post Nov 7-2011 "parking on the lawn" when he said parts of Santee look like HIcksville. Even the code enforcement dept doesn't force their own laws.
Mary B June 05, 2013 at 03:46 PM
What would the Mayor think if all the tax paying/generating residents of those residential areas on the "lower economic return list" just up and left the the city for greener pastures. Poof, their goes a big section of the property tax base as well revenue generation for local businesses. Things should be quid pro quo, not just provide for the needs of the highest revenue generators at the expense of alot of others. I for one would move out of this god forsaken s%$t hole if I could.

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