Meet the New Casa de Oro Library Branch Manager

Devin McClain-Tran has been named the new Casa de Oro Library Branch Manager. Although no library branches in the county are open, the majority of employees are working from home, completing professional development training webinars and other projects.

Devin McClain-Tran, Manager,Casa de Oro Branch Library

All branch book drops are closed, and the due date for any previously checked-out material is April 30. No late fees will be assessed. The branch is getting a good cleaning while closed by the custodial staff, who are still on the job. County Officials will decide when the library will reopen.

Alliance Says Goodbye and Hello

The Casa de Oro Alliance would like to thank Brenda Simmons and Lieutenant Jerry Hartman for their service to our community.

Brenda Simmons, who provided critical professional skills and personal time and commitment during the infancy of the what is now the CDOA, until last year served on the CDOA Board of Directors. Brenda chaired the CDOA Advisory committee, until recently when she announced her decision to resign in order due to the demands of her new role as leader of the Institute of Public Strategies. Many members of the Board of Directors voiced their thanks for Brenda’s service to the Casa de Oro Community and wished her good fortune in her new position.

Lt. Hartman recently announced his retirement as a San Diego County Deputy Sheriff. While never formally a member of the CDOA Board of Directors, Lt. Hartman, a native of Casa de Oro, proved a consistent and engaged champion of CDOA. Lt. Harman encouraged Casa de Oro and area communities to work with law enforcement for positive change. His many years of experience working and communicating with the public were valuable assets he generously shared with CDOA. We wish “Jerry” a happy retirement, knowing he will be missed.

Thom Hiatt, the owner of a local marketing firm, was recently welcomed as the newest member of the CDOA Board of Directors. Thom became involved with CDOA giving his time and talents working with the community outreach and economic development committees.


Looking for Friends? CDO Library is too.

As a new, non-profit organization, Friends of the Casa de Oro Library needs new members. The organization’s main goal is to support the library’s many wonderful programs for children and adults. Your membership will help with that and give us library-loving citizens who can help inform the community of all that the library offers. 

Friends of the Casa de Oro Library

When the quarantine is lifted, stop by the Casa de Oro Library at 9805 Campo Road and check out this great, local resource. While you’re there, find a book to borrow, sign up for a program, purchase a used book in our book sale area, and fill out a membership form.

Membership is inexpensive at $5 per individual, $10 per family, $15 for business and only $100 for a lifetime membership. You can leave a check or cash in the secure library lockbox, or mail a check to the following address:

Friends of the Casa de Oro Library
9805 Campo Road
Spring Valley, CA 91977

Decorations Appear on Kenwood Corner

Did you drive by the corner of Kenwood and Campo Road before the isolation order? Joan Forbes, a creative and talented carpenter, made the beautiful doves that were hung on the Kenwood corner­­ fence this past December. CDO Alliance Beautification Committee members, in conjunction with their monthly trash clean-up, assisted in hanging the doves. It was great fun and the fence looked very festive.

Joan then made and donated wooden hearts for St. Valentine’s Day. Thanks to Ms. Kelli Pallitto, a teacher at Spring Valley Academy, students painted the hearts with incredible designs and hung them for the public’s pleasure in February. Partnering with the students inspired the Beautification Committee to continue to decorate the corner monthly. In March, Ms. Forbes generously provided shamrocks which the middle-schoolers decorated and hung. In April, painted eggs are now posted.

If you have not parked your car, walked the fence and looked at the students’ work, I urge you to do so. You will be impressed with our young artists, I am sure. When we asked the community whether we should leave the artwork up all month or take it down after each holiday, the overwhelming consensus was to leave it up. Comments from community members included the following:

  • “Keep them up!”
  • “Thank you for beautifying our neighborhood.”
  • “Keep them up for the month– it looks like a lot of hard work went into them.”
  • My son loves to drive by and see his work, keep them up!

With the COVID-19 outbreak, the community cleanups and the schedule for changing out the fence decor is suspended. Many members of the Beautification Committee are considered elderly, although we do not feel that way, but we are self-isolating and with the schools closed, we do not know what will happen in the months ahead. Rest assured, as soon as we can get back to a regular schedule, we will be out there with the students continuing this project. Until then, see updates on our Facebook page.

CDO Elementary Students Show Off Art in Balboa Park Museum Exhibit

Artist in Residence Program Bears Fruit

The auditorium at the San Diego Museum of Art (SDMA) in Balboa Park buzzed with excitement on Saturday, February 22, as an art exhibit reception for 4th and 5th graders from Casa de Oro Elementary was in full swing. It was the culmination of a unique six-week Artist in Residence program provided by the museum. Arts Education Council (AEC) members provided free bus transportation for students and their parents to the museum to view the exhibition, organized and showcased the artwork, and provided food for the reception. The students acted as tour guides for their families, sharing their personal art experience while proudly presenting their work —acrylic landscapes, colorful art tiles and ethnic masks.

The Artist in Residence program is an intensive arts education experience in which the students are encouraged to use creative thinking, imagination, and innovation in various projects using different mediums. The six, 1.5 hour weekly lessons at Casa de Oro Elementary were taught by Colette Tamayo, an enthusiastic, knowledgeable instructor with a degree in Fine Arts from San Diego State University. Ms. Tamayo was hired by SDMA and is funded by the SDMA Arts Education Council. 

In addition to the art instruction and show, the program included an additional visit to the museum for the students to tour the gallery’s, to learn about artists, art history and museum programs, and to view exhibits. For many students, this was their first time in a museum. The program seeks to familiarize young people with the museum and encourages a lifelong interest in the arts.

The Arts Education Council is a voluntary organization whose primary mission is to provide comprehensive art education lessons for children in the Cajon Valley and La Mesa-Spring Valley School Districts. As well as supporting the artist in residence program, art-loving members of the AEC enjoy attending luncheons and exhibits, attending interesting art lectures, and visiting museums. The AEC is always looking for members that share a passion for art and kids’ education and would like to invite members of the Casa de Oro Alliance to join the organization.

If you are interested in providing art education to deserving young people from CDO and contiguous areas, contact Lydia Cee, a CDO Alliance member, at rentlamesa@aol.com. 

New Bus Benches and Bins

After several months of interagency meetings and discussion, there are new, covered, solar-lighted bus benches on Campo Road. An evaluation of bench placements ensures accessibility for those with physical challenges, and the covers should make any waiting time more comfortable during hot or inclement weather. 

Larger and more attractive trash receptacles were placed by the County, and Edco Disposal has made a commitment to empty them regularly. Since the monthly first Saturday community clean-ups won’t resume until the isolation order is lifted, let’s all make sure any trash you see is stashed in these new containers.

A special thank you goes out to Vince and Wannetta Sherrod for taking the lead on these projects.

Sheriff Storefronts Welcome – But 911 Still Best Bet for Emergency

The San Diego Sheriff’s storefronts are not what they seem to be, according to Lieutenant Jerry Harman, of the Rancho San Diego Station. The community shares two storefronts. One is located in the Spring Valley Center at 531 Sweetwater Road, while the other is in the Casa De Oro Plaza at 9736 Campo Road. Sometimes they are empty and therefore not very good places to report crime.

“The most important thing to remember with our storefronts is that we do not dispatch deputies from these locations. These locations were graciously provided to us by the then Houck Properties and now Pacific Properties and we fully appreciate the opportunity to be closer to our communities. Our deputies utilize the offices as a way to stay closer to their beats when doing reports, handling correspondences, taking a quick break, using the bathroom, cooling off or warming up depending on the season,” Hartman shared.

According to Lt. Hartman, deputies meet at the storefronts “to round table the handling of situations, training, debriefing incidents and enforcement strategies”.  As a result, and for for security purposes the offices are not open to the public, and deputies are not always there. Sheriff staff is also not assigned to work at the storefronts.

Lt. Hartman asks the public not to drive to the storefront to report a crime. “If you see a patrol car there, then there is probably a deputy there,” he shared. Because a deputy may not always be at the storefront, if you are a victim of a crime, your best action is to call 911, and for a non-emergency call 858-5656-5200.

If you are visiting one of the storefront shopping centers and become the victim of a crime or if you witness a crime, knock on the storefront door if you believe a deputy is there, otherwise call 911.

“The most important thing to remember with our storefronts is that we do not dispatch deputies from these locations.”

County Code Compliance Official Highlights July General Meeting

Tom Causey, the County Code Compliance Officer assigned to monitor Casa de Oro privately-owned areas, spoke at the General Assembly Meeting of the Alliance on July 18.  As a Code Compliance Officer, Causey responds to calls of community members, giving priority to those concerns involving health and safety issues. He works to find solutions in conjunction with other county agencies.  Causey investigates violations on private property, and the Department of Public Works oversees violations located on easements, on school property, on Helix water district property, and on other public areas.

Some of the types of cases that Causey investigates include violation of zoning ordinances and building codes, grading and clearing issues, inoperable vehicles, unsafe structures, and noise.  In the Casa de Oro business area, Causey has been instrumental in the removal of illegal flag banners and “A-frame” signs, as well as temporary signage. He was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Alliance for his efforts.

Although prior to his and additional staff being hired a backlog of several hundred cases piled up, he currently is addressing about 140 cases, which includes 72 CDO cases filed this past year and about 35 new cases each month.  Each case begins with a determination of whether a violation exists. If so, a warning ticket is written and a discussion is held to inform the owner of the needed remedy. Another inspection is then held weeks later, and if no action has been taken, a ticket is written.  After a two-week appeal period, if there has been no response or corrective action taken, a fine is issued. The fine amount is doubled every two weeks, to a maximum of $10,000 if the violation is not corrected. Obviously, it is to the community and the owner’s advantage to work with Causey to quickly bring their property into compliance!

If you believe there is an issue which Causey should investigate, you may e-mail him at the following address:  Thomas.Causey@sdcounty.ca.gov

All are welcome to attend the next General Assembly meeting on September 19.