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‘Voepel Moments’

June 12, 2009 - 1:38 pm

In this week’s story on the Alpha Project’s homeless outreach team, I mention that the city of Santee remains the lone hold-out (along with the county Board of Supervisors) in supporting the regional Plan to End Chronic Homelessness. Santee Mayor Randy Voepel has said there are no homeless people in his city. A January 2008 street count by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless found 13 homeless people in Santee, putting the city third behind Solana Beach (one homeless people) and Del Mar (two), both of which supported PTECH despite their dearth of unhoused.

I’ve never talked to Voepel about this, but’s Kelly Bennett did, back in November 2007. She sent me over the link to Voepel’s explanation as to why he doesn’t support PTECH:

“Basically we don’t have a homeless problem (in Santee), except down by the river, and those people are camped illegally and destroying the environment,” he said. “I’m not a homeless advocate in any way, shape or form.”

Voepel said he’d received very few complaints from his constituents on Santee’s abstention from supporting the plan I wrote about today.

“I believe that the more homeless programs we fund in Southern California, the more people come here and be homeless,” said the man who refers to his city as the La Jolla of East County. “I have a very hard-nosed viewpoint, a very conservative viewpoint. Some people say it’s very un-Christian, but I am a Christian.”

Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and PTECH will move forward with or without Santee’s support. But then Bennett got this wonderful little earful:

And he didn’t stop there, though that was all I’d asked for. Voepel pulled out a lecture on global warming: He’s for it.

Global warming is good, Voepel argued, because “our enemies are on the Equator” — (it’s good when they fry) — and warmer weather gives the region warm days in November like today, and better access to crops from Canada and Alaska.

He said he’s used to articulating the contrarian view on these issues. He’s the wind society needs to keep the sailboat from veering too far to the left, he said.

Damn. Randy—how have you not been on our radar? Frickin’ brilliant! When I told Bennett I had to blog this, she was kind enough to share more “Voepel Moments,” from an October 2007 article about development in Santee:

The city’s parking lots would one day fill with Mercedes, BMWs and Lexuses, Voepel has prophesied over the years. Despite heckling from those who consider Santee more synonymous with Mayberry than the coastal neighborhood of San Diego, some pieces of the dream are coming together.

“I was at my favorite restaurant the other day, and what do you know?” he said. “There was a Lexus next to a Beemer next to a Mercedes. People can laugh all they want, but we are becoming a rich and powerful city.”

Enough said.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Pam permalink
    June 15, 2009 - 8:12 pm 8:12 pm

    Did he really say they don’t have any homeless people except for those homeless people down by the river?

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