Citizens’ Report Shows Developers Buying Santee City Council Votes

by on September 4, 2020 · 14 comments

in Environment, San Diego

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Citizen Report Shines Light on Corruption

From Preserve Wild Santee

A new report, “A Money Laundering Web: Who is Buying Santee City Council Votes” traces the flow of funds from the development industry through intermediaries with the intent of purchasing favorable decisions.

The report documents substantial flows of money from Fanita Ranch and Carlton Oaks Golf Course Development interests flowing directly to Santee elected officials campaign and allied PACs.

The report reveals hundreds of thousands of dollars in “unitemized receipts” in need of explanation.

“City Council votes should not be for sale,” stated Van Collinsworth, PWS Director.

The report’s flow chart allows citizens on either side of the land use struggle to clearly identify their allies and opponents on two key pending development applications: 3,008-units on Fanita Ranch and about 300-units of high-density homes on the Carlton Oaks Golf Course floodplain.

The political history of the Fanita Ranch land use struggle includes numerous potential developers, a trail of money laundering with enforcement fines, city council decisions challenged by the public, litigation and public votes.

The struggle has recently intensified with a potential approval hearing for the Fanita Ranch project in the immediate future simultaneous with a citizen qualified Measure N that would impact the proposed Fanita Ranch and Golf Course project applications.

Santee City Councilman Stephen Houlahan, (preservewildsantee.org) and over 8,000 Santee residents petitioned to place (savesantee.com) Measure N, The Santee General Plan Protection Initiative and Measure Q, The Santee Term Limits Initiative on the ballot.

“The overall goal of this effort is to provide Santee citizens with a voice on key land use decisions and to fight the corruptive influence of developers upon city council members that leaves citizens disenfranchised from key government decisions and mired in traffic gridlock,” stated Van Collinsworth. An informed citizenry allows the opportunity for truly reflective decisions.

Conservation of Fanita Ranch in northern Santee as an extension of Mission Trails Park has been a goal of local residents and regional environmental organizations for at least 26 years. Stopfanitaranch.com

Preserve Wild Santee is a community environmental organization working to protect and enhance our region’s quality-of-life. By engaging in land use decisions, we produce a more healthy community with cleaner air, greater recreational opportunities, more scenic views, less traffic congestion and more informed decisions from our public officials.

Priority Project: Conservation of Santee’s majestic Fanita Ranch as a recreational extension of Mission Trails Regional Park.

 

 

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar Dan Bickford September 4, 2020 at 3:24 pm

Van Collinsworth, Stephen Houlahan and the Preserve Wild Santee have ZERO evidence that anything illegal or nefarious happening with anything they are presenting here. Just the same absolute disgusting baseless accusations meant to tarnish the reputations of our City Council.
They, and you, should be ashamed to publish such lies and falsehoods.
Please show us where there is ANY basis for collusion or illegal act.

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Avatar Chris September 5, 2020 at 12:42 pm

You seem angry.

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Peter Peter from South O September 5, 2020 at 1:31 pm

You’d be angry too if you were a member of the ‘publican central committee. Imagine having to defend the evil every day; it would wear on you.

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Avatar jumpingsheep September 5, 2020 at 7:52 pm

I mean… saying “not illegal” is used by all politicians to cover up immoral behavior every single time. Thats not a reason to believe you any more than them.

Checks and balances is a foundation block of our country as is not trusting government. In fact not trusting government pretty much overrides everything else. Silence them the right way with proof not words.

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Avatar Van Collinsworth September 4, 2020 at 3:53 pm

John Minto, Santee Mayor, Campaign and Fundraiser hosted by Golf Course Housing Developer at Carlton Oaks Golf Course.

Key Video Points – Fund Raiser and Election Kick-Off

2:20 Housing Developer, Fanita Ranch introduced as host
2:58 John Chen, Golf Course Housing Developer introduced as host
3:49 Mike Aiken, Golf Course Housing Director gives speech endorsing Minto
10:24 Mayor Minto jokingly admits he asks for funds frequently for his elections from these people in attendance.
14:34 Minto states he wants to defeat the General Plan Initiative. (Side Note: If defeated, the voters of Santee, CA will not have a say on General Plan Amendments even though 4,000+ citizens signed the initiative.)
15:52 Minto calls developers “the good people” and discounts the residents of Santee.
16:18 Minto states he supports the developers because they support him.
21:42 City Councilman Rob McNelis, on Minto’s behalf tells all attendees to write checks to John Minto.
22:51 Minto’s Treasurer tells all attendees to “write those checks” and he will cash them.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnZb54GBrE8&lc=Ugy8uH5FWmiG_UZTL5t4AaABAg.9CrkxrckdHT9Crpxs15708&fbclid=IwAR2Y4BzgEqZCTiMaqSF8utQn53e9XXyX2oeeIPUQuUxuwJVWfYrPDUSIGPM

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Avatar Nora M September 4, 2020 at 3:54 pm

Looks pretty consistent with this video on YouTube

“Key Video Points – Fund Raiser and Election Kick-Off
2:20 Housing Developer, Fanita Ranch introduced as host
2:58 John Chen, Golf Course Housing Developer introduced as host
3:49 Mike Aiken, Golf Course Housing Director gives speech endorsing Minto
10:24 Mayor Minto jokingly admits he asks for funds frequently for his elections from these people in attendance.
14:34 Minto states he wants to defeat the General Plan Initiative. (Side Note: If defeated, the voters of Santee, CA will not have a say on General Plan Amendments even though 4,000+ citizens signed the initiative.)
15:52 Minto calls developers “the good people” and discounts the residents of Santee.
16:18 Minto states he supports the developers because they support him.
21:42 City Councilman Rob McNelis, on Minto’s behalf tells all attendees to write checks to John Minto.
22:51 Minto’s Treasurer tells all attendees to “write those checks” and he will cash them.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnZb54GBrE8&lc=Ugy8uH5FWmiG_UZTL5t4AaABAg.9CrkxrckdHT9Crpxs15708&fbclid=IwAR2Y4BzgEqZCTiMaqSF8utQn53e9XXyX2oeeIPUQuUxuwJVWfYrPDUSIGPM

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Avatar Nora M September 4, 2020 at 4:06 pm
sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks September 4, 2020 at 8:55 pm

I mean, really, is anyone surprised? This IS what America Capitalism is all about. Why else would there be ‘donations’ for ‘campaign funds’ or ‘meetings’ in places where a hotel room is $1,000 a night and you can’t get a dinner for under $250?

Bribery by another name is all. Sucks to not be able to afford your own city councilman, or congressman for that matter.

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Janet Garvin September 5, 2020 at 12:34 am

Please tell me what other reason real estate developers, building industry contractors, project owners who all have big projects awaiting approval in Santee and dark money PACs would have for donating such huge amounts of money to Santee Mayor Minto, Council Members Koval, McNelis and Council Member Elect Trotter except to influence their decisions? The public deserves to know who is paying for their votes and just how much they are really paying. It may be legal, but is it ethical? Hardly! Some people still believe character matters.

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Avatar Nora M September 5, 2020 at 10:04 am

I don’t understand how they can legally vote on these projects when Gov Code 84308 prohibits officers from soliciting, accepting or directing campaign contributions of more than $250 from any party, participant or agent of a party or participant, while a proceeding is pending before the officer’s agency and for three months following the date of that decision. It’s called PAY-TO-PLAY Contribution Restrictions.

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sealintheSelkirks sealintheSelkirks September 5, 2020 at 11:00 am

Nora, it’s like what our illustrious billionaire Secretary of Education who had never stepped foot into a public school said recently (and I paraphrase), ‘We expect to get results from our contributions.’

Laws don’t matter to the wealthy or wannabe wealthy, they can afford to ignore or circumvent them at their convenience. It’s both pitiful and disgusting at the same time that greed always seems to be paramount with this class of people.

sealintheSelkirks

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Avatar Van Collinsworth September 6, 2020 at 8:24 am

From Form 497 filed 8/26/2020:
Foreign Investor attempting to buy a golf course housing General Plan exemption contributes $10,000 to try to prevent residents from voting on a favorable decision by city council.

You get the traffic – he gets the profits.

Fight Corruption – Vote Yes on Measures N and Q

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Avatar Stu September 23, 2020 at 12:09 pm

So Van, what happens if this wins? Isn’t Fanita Ranch still going to be built per the GP terms? Doesn’t that mean significantly higher density product crammed into smaller areas? What’s your end game here?

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Avatar Hayden September 28, 2020 at 3:09 pm

Stop developers from ruining our home. Simple as.

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