Monthly Archives: October 2010

Jimano’s Pizzeria Celebrates Official Grand Opening

Jimano’s Pizzeria celebrated its official Grand Opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, October 23. Members of the Santee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors were on hand to celebrate with owners Matt and Bernadette Miller, Manager Jason McCarty, and the entire Jimano’s team. Although the restaurant has only been open a few short months, the Millers have already stepped up as part of the community. Just two days before the grand opening, the restaurant hosted a fundraiser for Ryan O’Dell, a young Santee boy recently diagnosed with a brain tumor. That effort brought in around $2000 to help the family with medical costs and other expenses.

I had the chance to try out one of Jimano’s deep dish pizzas and definitely enjoyed it – great flavor and just enough spices to give it a nice kick. Several people there were raving about a beef sandwich that comes smothered in melting cheese and stuffed with jalepenos – definitely on the “to try” list.

Jimano’s Pizzeria is located on Mission Gorge Rd. in the center across from the Post Office. Check them out soon.

Matt and Bernadette Miller are joined by members of the Santee Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors

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Santee City Council Candidate Rudy Reyes

After several days offline due to a hard drive crash, we continue with an e-interview with Santee City Council candidate Rudy Reyes. Also because of the hard drive crash, there is no photo currently available.

Scouting Santee: What is your current position?

Rudy Reyes: I work as a consultant Archaeologist

Scouting Santee: Why did you decide to run for Santee City Council?

Rudy Reyes: As a method of repaying the community (firefighters, police, doctors, other people) for its support of me through my dire times. (2003 Cedar Fire)

Scouting Santee: What is it about your background that prepares you to be a member
of the city council?

Rudy Reyes: I ran for County supervisor in 2008, Santee council in 2008, both doing very well. I received two degrees in Archaeology, survey and excavation. I have written Environmental Impact Reports, which are used to make most decisions in politics. Recognised as “hero” of the 2003 cedar fires, public safety is foremost on my agenda. I am a ordained Reverend; no need to lead public astray. I was a A.V.I.D.(college prep.) math teacher/specialist for over a decade working with under privileged children.

Scouting Santee: What have you done to further prepare yourself for being a councilmember?

Rudy Reyes: I have educated myself in both the public aspect as well as taken classes on Resource management, as to run an eco-conservative city, I am trilingual, English, Spanish, French, some local Indian. Have 10 years of being a middle school teacher and three at a college level.

Scouting Santee: What is it that distinguishes you from the other candidates?

Rudy Reyes: Lots. Local “hero”. Recipient of Santee/Lakeside Rotary Scholarship, loved by community. Archaeology degrees, well traveled. Very well educated.

Scouting Santee: What do you consider the top three challenges facing Santee over
the next four years?

 Rudy Reyes:

  1. Fire prevention and public safety
  2. Community service; hospital in Santee, Community Garden
  3. Returning Santee Eco-green self sufficient community; solar panel grid created

Scouting Santee: What do you consider the top successes in Santee over the past few
years?

Rudy Reyes: I consider the Santee lakes water reclamation to be one of the most successful endeavors we have taken. The Santee trolley center was also a great success, allowing commerce to expand.

Scouting Santee: If you are elected, what are your top three goals?

Rudy Reyes:

  1. Fire prevention and public safety
  2. Community service; hospital in Santee, Community Garden
  3. Returning Santee Eco-green self sufficient community; solar panel grid created reducing electric rate in city.

Scouting Santee: What else would you like people to know about you?

Rudy Reyes: As a disabled person and worst injured in the 2003 cedar fires, I want to repay the community for my continued existence. The best way is community service, ensuring proper fire safety and public services to my community.  Please allow me to represent the “Voiceless” of Santee. For more info go to website www.reyesrudy.com

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Santee City Council Candidate Ben Kalasho

 

Ben Kalasho - Candidate for Santee City Council

Today’s interview is with Santee City Council Candidate Ben Kalasho

 

Scouting Santee: What is your current position?

Ben Kalasho: Local Business Owner & C.E.O

Scouting Santee: Why did you decide to run for Santee City Council?

Ben Kalasho: I attended the University of California, San Diego, where I excelled in economics and finance. I want to bring to the table my experience as a business owner and C.E.O. in these challenging economic times.

Scouting Santee: What is it about your background that prepares you to be a member of the city council?

Ben Kalasho: I own and operate two successful businesses, I employ more than 60 local residents, I meet a pay roll and work within a budget, everyday. I attended the University of California San Diego where I excelled in economics and finance. I want to bring to the table my experience as a business owner and C.E.O. in these challenging economic times.

Scouting Santee: What have you done to further prepare yourself for being a councilmember?

Ben Kalasho: I was raised in Santee and I know Santee’s concerns first hand. I have “Santee Family Values” and I am a member of The Knights of Columbus. I am knowledgeable and experienced and will be responsive to citizen concerns. I received an award from the “East County Small Business Association” for creating more than 40 new jobs in Santee. I have been a local community leader for over 12 years. I Ben Kalasho will be a councilman concerned about the issues, not politics. I am supported by local elected officials from both the  Republican and Democratic parties, but more importantly I am supported by hundreds of local residents. I am walking door to door and working hard to earn your vote.

Scouting Santee: What is it that distinguishes you from the other candidates?

Ben Kalasho: I’m the only candidate who has met a payroll. I’m the only candidate who owns and operates two successful companies where I supervise more than 60 employees. I’m the only candidate who has won an award for job creation in these tough economic times.

Scouting Santee: What do you consider the top three challenges facing Santee over the next four years?

Ben Kalasho: 1) Reduce traffic gridlock and improve traffic flow, 2) Defend Santee from outside agencies using our city as a dumping ground such as the expansion of Las Colinas and 3) Protect Santee from the State raiding our local revenues.

Scouting Santee: What do you consider the top successes in Santee over the past few years?

Ben Kalasho: The development of our commercial and retail sector. The expansion of public Parks and recreation, the improvements on Mast Park. Improvements in public transportation, and improvements in our sales tax base.

Scouting Santee: If you are elected, what are your top three goals?

Ben Kalasho: 1) I would like to see Fiscal responsibility. 2) Improve traffic flow on Mission Gorge. 3) I will work hard to bring a movie theatre in Santee.

Scouting Santee: What else would you like people to know about you?

Ben Kalasho: I would like them to know that Ben Kalasho is a person who has ethics. That Ben Kalasho built his businesses on hard work and integrity; that I’m a leader, and I’m easily reached, and I promote a more transparent form of government. I’d like to see Santee continue to be a great place to raise a family. I will be a councilman concerned about the issues not politics. That I Ben Kalasho will make every decision as a councilman with a full understanding that the Santee residents come first.

To learn more about Ben Kalasho, visit his campaign website.

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Sierra Billock a Contestant for Miss California-USA

Sierra Billock (L) with 2009 Miss Santee Teen Michelle Ehlke

I recently did an email interview with Sierra Billock, who is a contestant for Miss California-USA, 2011. Many might remember Ms. Billock as Miss Santee 2009, and as the force behind the Fashion Rocks the East fundraiser for the Miss La Mesa and Miss Santee Pageants. She is currently in the final stages of preparing for the Miss CA-USA Pageant, but took some time out to answer a few questions.

Scouting Santee: What prompted you to become involved in pageants such as the Miss Santee and Miss California-USA Pageants?

Sierra Billock: Originally I became involved in pageants such as the Miss Santee pageant because I wanted to serve my community in a bigger more impactful way and attend city events as a representative and role model for younger generations. After competing and becoming Miss Santee I realized I enjoyed the competition aspect of the pageant and saw it as a personal challenge. I also knew that I wanted to continue to be involved in my community and expand my involvement to reach individuals across the state of California. I decided to compete for Miss CA USA for these reasons and because I recognize that being Miss California is a job and one that I would be very good at.

Scouting Santee: How has your involvement in these pageants benefited you?

Sierra Billock: Being involved in pageants has benefited my life in many ways. As a contestant I am challenged with consistently re-evaluating myself to improve things like my public speaking and interview skills. Pageants have had a positive impact in my life and have helped me grow into a strong, confident, and hardworking young woman. My involvement has taught me the power of perseverance and the difference one person can make in the world.

Scouting Santee: What opportunities have you had as Miss Santee 2009 that you probably would not have had otherwise?

Sierra Billock: As Miss Santee one of the greatest opportunities I had was meeting a diverse group of people from around San Diego County. Included in this group of people are the directors of the Miss Santee and Miss La Mesa pageants: Alex Kuty, Troy Hartpence and Natalie Hiebing. These women dedicate such a large portion of their time to help empower young women. I admire them for that and am proud to say that I will be joining them this year as the director of the Miss Santee and Miss La Mesa Princess Programs.

Scouting Santee: What are some of your best memories from your time as Miss Santee?

Sierra Billock: All of my best memories from my year as Miss Santee are those I shared with Nicole Ehlke, Miss Santee Teen 2009. Over the year we spent together we grew to be like sisters. In donating over 200 hours of community service we were able to make a lot of good memories. I especially enjoyed meeting all of the young girls and boys in our community who looked up to us as role models. It was truly an amazing experience and to be able to share it with someone else made it even better!

Scouting Santee: Were there things about being Miss Santee that surprised you, or that you were not prepared for?

Sierra Billock: Having competed five times before obtaining the title and knowing a lot of previous titleholders I pretty much knew what to expect from the job. The only thing that surprised me was that the City of Santee had us pass out surveys at city events to get feedback from attendees. However, being a marketing major, I understood the importance of surveying and how it could affect future events.

Scouting Santee: I understand there are a lot of expenses associated with running for Miss California-USA. How do you handle these expenses?

Sierra Billock: Competing in the Miss California USA pageant is very expensive. The entry fee alone is over $1,500. Then you have to purchase your gown, swimsuit, interview outfit, and everything else you need for competition. In addition to all of that there are pictures and DVDs of the event. In order to pay for all of these costs, I saved a lot of money on my own in addition to holding fundraisers and getting sponsors for the pageant.

Scouting Santee: So, if all goes well, what will the future look like for Sierra Billock?

Sierra Billock: My hope is that I will be Miss California-USA 2011. In that case my upcoming year will be filled with opportunities that only a select group of women have the chance to experience. I would look forward to meeting new people from across our state and serving the Miss CA-USA organization as a representative at charity events and different functions. One of my biggest aspirations is to represent California at the Miss USA pageant next May, which would be a once in a lifetime opportunity. Overall, if I become Miss California my year would be life changing and monumental and I can only hope I get the chance to experience that.

Scouting Santee: Is there anything else you would like to share about your run for Miss California-USA or your time as Miss Santee?

Sierra Billock: I would like to encourage people to come to my golf tournament on Sunday October 24th to help support me in my mission to become Miss California. It will be a very fun event. You may even be able to have me hit your drive for you on one of the holes.

If you are interested in helping Ms. Billock by taking part in the tournament, you can find out more in this article on Santee Examiner. The deadline for signing up is Friday, October 15. You can also contact Susan Billock at 619-820-3514 orSusanBillock@cox.net for information and registration forms.

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Santee City Council Candidate – Shari Groce

 

Shari L Groce - Candidate for Santee City Council

 

This is the email interview with city council candidate Shari Groce.

Scouting Santee: What is your current position?

Shari Groce: I am currently employed as an Aerospace Engineer for a major defense company.  I am a lead with twelve (12) engineers working for me.

Scouting Santee: Why did you decide to run for Santee City Council?

Shari Groce: With 2 open seats on the Santee City Council I want to ensure that Santee continues in the current fiscally responsible direction.

Scouting Santee: What is it about your background that prepares you to be a member of the city council?

Shari Groce: I have worked for over 20 years in the defense industry with increasing responsibility that has included managing multi-million dollar contracts and budgets, overseeing subcontractors, leading groups of engineers to complete projects.  All of the projects that I have managed have come in under budget and on time.

Scouting Santee: What have you done to further prepare yourself for being a councilmember?

Shari Groce: I have been active with youth sports, Boy Scouts, Santee’s COMPOC committee and various other community activities, so I have experienced first hand and have listened to what the residents of Santee want and need in our community

Scouting Santee: What is it that distinguishes you from the other candidates?

Shari Groce: I am the average person in Santee and will bring the perspective of a long time resident, 22 years, who has worked at a regular full time job and raised my family in Santee.

Scouting Santee: What do you consider the top three challenges facing Santee over the next four years?

Shari Groce: The budget problems in Sacramento are putting our local communities at risk by diverting local money back to Sacramento.  Sacramento has caused some of our neighboring communities to vote in sales tax increases to balance their budgets.  With my vote, I will help to manage Santee’s budget to preclude a sales tax increase for our city.  Our small businesses have enough difficulties operating with the federal and state taxes and regulations that a local sales tax increase could cause some of them to close their doors and we cannot afford to lose those jobs.

Scouting Santee: What do you consider the top successes in Santee over the past few years?

Shari Groce: It is difficult to list all of Santee’s successes over the past few years; however, the top success has been the ability of the city council to live within its means by keeping the budget balanced without raising taxes.  The new parks and expansions at the existing parks, Town Center, maintenance of our streets and street lights, these are all successes that every Santee resident can be proud of.

Scouting Santee: If you are elected, what are your top three goals?

Shari Groce:

1. Ensure that Santee’s budget stays within the revenues that are currently generated.

2. Keep taxes and fees low – not initiating any new taxes or fees will help our small businesses grow.

3. Keep regulations on businesses at a minimum – the federal and state governments already over burden our small businesses. We as local elected officials need to get out of the way so they can grow and provide jobs

Scouting Santee: What else would you like people to know about you?

Shari Groce: My husband, Jim, and I have been married for 29 years.  We have two grown and married sons.  Our oldest son and his wife live in Santee while our youngest son joined the USAF.  He and his family reside at Mountain Home AFB; however, he is currently deployed to Iraq so his wife and son are back in East County until his return next spring.

For more information about Shari Groce, you can visit her website.

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Santee City Council Candidate – Rocky Qualin

Rocky Qualin - Candidate for Santee City Council

This is the first in a series of email interviews with candidates for Santee City Council. Candidates were emailed a questionnaire to fill out. That questionnaire and the candidate’s answers are presented below. Rocky Qualin is one of eight candidates for three council seats.

Scouting Santee: What is your current position?

Rocky Qualin: Senior Vice President at KPS Insurance Services

Scouting Santee: Why did you decide to run for Santee City Council?

Rocky Qualin: I want Santee to continue to strive for: Accountability, Transparency and Good Governance.  To balance budgets, keep costs down and insure long term financial stability

Scouting Santee: What is it about your background that prepares you to be a member of the city council?

Rocky Qualin: In my career as a Banker, and now at KPS Insurance Services, I have analyzed and budgeted financial statements for companies well above 100 Million dollars. I know with that background I can help the city cut costs, maintain budgets, forecast financial growth and make the tough decisions needed to sustain financial prosperity.

Scouting Santee: What have you done to further prepare yourself for being a councilmember?

Rocky Qualin: I have been on the board of several Associations (Camp Jack, Engineering and General Contractors Association and the Associated General Contractors of America, to name a few) and have helped to provide essential products and services to the people and business of San Diego

Scouting Santee: What is it that distinguishes you from the other candidates?

Rocky Qualin: I am a Santana High School graduate, a San Diego State Graduate, a Santee resident, a homeowner and tax payer.  I live here with my wife and raise my two children here.  I have friends and family in Santee and I care what happens in this town. With my education and professional experiences, I know I am qualified to be a councilperson.

Scouting Santee: What do you consider the top three challenges facing Santee over the next four years?

Rocky Qualin:

  • Balancing budgets and keeping costs down
  • Development
  • The Las Colinas expansion

Scouting Santee: What do you consider the top successes in Santee over the past few years?

Rocky Qualin: The Development of Trolley Center.  It allows the citizens of Santee to work, shop, play and eat in their own town. It provides a destination place for the community to gather and enjoy

Scouting Santee: If you are elected, what are your top three goals?

Rocky Qualin:

Santee’s Fiscal/Economic Vitality- Jobs and our Quality of Life: During this period in our economy we need to manage limited financial resources while keeping our citizens informed. Increase prosperity and the resulting tax base by: streamlining regulation, holding the line on taxes and attracting quality companies.  We need to encourage business investment, making sure the public services, streets, sidewalks, parks, reflect a lively community where people want to live, work, shop and play

Accountability, Transparency and Good Governance: Full disclosure in all its transactions, programs and projects is one way of inviting the citizen to engage their local government officials to a more meaningful partnership towards better governance.  Full disclosure will pave the way for local residents to share their efforts in bringing about desirable development outcomes for their localities. After all, development is a shared responsibility

Public Safety Services and Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness: Our Public Safety relies upon professionals and citizens working together to continue to make Santee safer. Start and/or continue a neighborhood Watch Program. Neighbors looking out for each other.  Visit the Santee City website and see how you can contribute as a citizen.

Scouting Santee: What else would you like people to know about you?

Rocky Qualin: I grew up in Santee and graduated Santana High School.  I then graduated from SDSU with a degree in Finance and began my career as a corporate Banker for 11 years and I am now a Senior Vice President at KPS Insurance Services Inc.  Santee is where I raise my family and I want to ensure long term financial stability for our city.

Jack Welsh Jr. (Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981-2001) had a philosophy regarding his company.  Keep your customers happy, keep your employees happy and manage your cash flows. I believe that translates into managing a city.  Keep your constituents happy (by being honest and having transparency in finance and governance), Keep your city employees happy (by being fair and honest) and manage the city cash flow (maintain a balanced budget).

You can learn more about Rocky Qualin at his website. My thanks to Mr. Qualin for participating in this interview.

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Santee City Council Candidates

With election day only weeks away Santee residents have  a number of choices to make that could greatly influence the directions the city takes over the next four years. Over the next few days I will be posting a series of email interviews with the candidates for city council. I am also planning to do the same with the candidates for Santee School District Board and Padre Dam Municipal Water District Board, but the city council comes first. Before I begin with the interviews, a quick overview of the candidates for the 3 seats on the council, in alphabetical order.

Janet Enright – Retired Administrative Officer

Shari L. Groce – Aerospace Engineer

Ben Kalasho – Business Owner/CEO

Rob McNelis – Santee Business Owner

John W. Minto – Incumbent

Rocky Qualin – Business Consultant

Rudy Reyes – Archaeologist/Scientist/Educator

John Ryan – Longshoreman.

Tomorrow our first interview, with Rocky Qualin.

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