Supervisor Candidates Respond to Alliance Questions

As many of you know, San Diego County District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s term will end in January and two candidates are running for her seat. The Casa de Oro Alliance government affairs committee invited Candidates Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus to send us their responses to three questions. We asked for responses by October 16. Here are the responses we received. 

Casa de Oro Alliance: The Casa de Oro Alliance has worked closely with Supervisor Dianne Jacob, meeting quarterly with the Supervisor and her staff to address issues such as code enforcement, an over concentration of alcohol retail outlets, and a large number of high-risk businesses along the Campo Road business corridor. If elected, how do you plan to actively work with the Casa de Oro Alliance to address ongoing community concerns?

Steve Vaus: As Mayor, my approach has always been to stay as close as possible to the people that I serve. That is one of the numerous reasons Supervisor Jacob has endorsed me.  Accessibility is the key to understanding the concerns and needs in each community, and that will only continue as a County Supervisor. Groups like the Casa de Oro Alliance make a huge difference in the push to get additional resources and bring lasting improvements to a community.  I would regularly meet with the Alliance and ensure that County staff follows through on issues that come up.  Meaningful progress has already been made by the Alliance, but the work isn’t done. The transformation of Casa de Oro isn’t going to happen overnight, and I’m ready to join you for the long-haul effort it’s going to take.  The library is the perfect example.  The land has been secured, but now we need to get it built as soon as possible and to the standards that the community deserves.  The library will hopefully have a ripple effect on the area.

Joel Anderson: While I was in the legislature, I would host “Power Friday” breakfasts with  members of associations or community groups in my district to hear how current  legislation was impacting their industry, advocacy issue or business. This  proactive open-door policy would continue as Supervisor. I believe it is important  to ask those who are closest to the problem their opinion on how to proceed with  decisions that impact them.

Casa de Oro Alliance: The county received a $500,000 grant from SANDAG in late 2018 to write a specific plan for the Casa de Oro Campo Road area. The Casa de Oro Alliance communicates regularly with county staff to monitor and bring attention to important community issues and opportunities related to the project. If elected, how will you ensure this important project will bring much needed infrastructure renewal, land use revitalization and rezoning, and rational public policy to address the density and locations of high-risk businesses and preserve the health and safety of this East County community?

Steve Vaus: A community needs a vision and a sound plan as steps are taken to transform the area.  However, the plan is only valuable when actions are taken to carry it out.  The County has a responsibility to Casa de Oro to follow through on the specific plan when it has been completed, and having an advocate on the Board will help ensure that actions are taken.  This effort is incredibly important, and I will make certain that staff stays on task and on time, and works with the Alliance.  Once completed, we need to secure the necessary funding to make infrastructure changes, and carry out other Board actions at the planning level, including possible zoning changes. My job will be to deliver on what the community wants for their area.

Joel Anderson: I grew up in Casa de Oro and in high school I worked at the old KFC on Campo  Road. So, the work you are doing to improve our community hits close to home for me. I want government to be effective, efficient and accountable. I believe that for any project to be successful you have to set benchmarks and standards for  progress and community input is essential. Per my answer to question one I have always had an open-door policy to receive input on quality of life issues and that  wouldn’t change as your Supervisor. 

Casa de Oro Alliance: In East County, and specifically in Casa de Oro, what would your approach be to address the proliferation and closure of illegal cannabis dispensaries?

Steve Vaus:Marijuana dispensaries are illegal in the unincorporated area and shouldn’t be tolerated.  The Sheriff’s Department, the District Attorney’s Office and other law enforcement agencies would have the lead on the criminal side, and I would work closely with the Sheriff and the District Attorney to crack down on illegal dispensaries. Code enforcement and the office of County Counsel must also send a strong message to the operators and the property owners. In particular, the County must be more forceful in its pursuit of property owners who permit these illegal operations. They cannot be allowed to profit while the community suffers. We have employed this approach in my city with great success.

Joel Anderson: I believe illegal pot shops are one of the greatest threats to our  communities. Everywhere illegal pot shops are brought up, people complain  about how Dianne Jacob has done nothing to stop them. I’ve been told it  frequently takes weeks even months to get the Sheriff to shut them down. As  County Supervisor, I’ll work to create a zero-tolerance policy that shuts them  down in days. I’ll explore with County Code Enforcement and the Sheriff  new ordinances to stop them before they start. I get Dianne lives in a secure  gated community. Most people, like me, don’t so I understand how  damaging illegal pot shops are to a neighborhood.

Future Casa de de Oro Needs You

Guiding Principals Workshop – Virtual Community Meeting

The County of San Diego – Planning & Development Services (PDS) is pleased to announce a virtual community workshop for the Campo Road Corridor Revitalization Plan on Thursday, October 15, 2020.

The County invites the community to participate in the workshop to provide input in this planning process:

What:            Guiding Principles Community Workshop for the Campo Road Corridor Revitalization Plan

When:           4:00pm – 5:30pm Thursday, October 15, 2020

Where:          Virtual Workshop 

Directions on how to attend will be available on the project website – http://bit.ly/cdoplan

If you have any questions, please contact Josh Menvielle, the project manager:

Chinese Healthcare in Casa de Oro

Weng’s Acupuncture and Herbs Clinic in Casa De Oro is another example of a business owned and operated by people who live and work in the Casa de Oro area. In 1994, Dr. Weng and two of her daughters built the Wellness Center at 9972 Campo Road. They still practice together there to this day.

Dr. Weng, who is originally from Taiwan, settled in Rancho San Diego and raised her three daughters there. After graduating from Valhalla High School, Dr. Audrey,  became a chiropractor and acupuncturist, and Dr Vivian, now an acupuncturist, came to work with their mother. Glowing recommendations about these three great practitioners can be easily found online.

Because they healthcare is considered essential, the Wellness Center did not close down at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. Instead, a few changes to be in compliance with the new California regulations were made. For example,  HEPA filters were installed and extra disinfecting protocols were implemented. The number of people allowed in the building at one time was also reduced. The changes allow the practice to continue to meet local healthcare needs

It is important we take care of ourselves during this difficult time. Many people find acupuncture and chiropractic therapy helps to relieve stress and the often associated pain.

“We feel privileged to serve our community during this time and feel extremely grateful for the support that we have received in return. Thank you for supporting our small business. Our intention is to continue to provide you with quality healthcare for decades to come. We are wishing that you and your family stay healthy and remain positive during this challenging time,” said Dr. Weng.

They also reminded us to check on the older members in our families and community. Due to social isolation there is an upsurge in anxiety.
Thank you doctors, for these good reminders. Let us remember to take care of ourselves and each other. Weng’s Acupuncture and Herbs Clinic offers another way to stay healthy while supporting one of our local businesses.

New 7-Eleven Refreshes Casa de Oro

Firas Hana and his family would like to welcome you to the new 7-Eleven on
the corner of Campo Rd. and Conrad Dr. in Casa De Oro.

This is not just any 7-Eleven. It has all the latest franchise equipment only found in a few other stores.  For example the coffee station is plumbed for espresso coffee and the beans are ground freshly for each cup. The ability to offer fresh baked cookies made on site every day is only shared with one other store  – their 7-Eleven in Chula Vista.

Casa de Oro is lucky the convenience of a cookie fix is now available whenever the urge hits. A lemonade slurpee, may hit the spot perfectly when the heat on and need something refreshing!

Firas and his family live in the area, very close to the store, and particularly
wanted to have a 7-Eleven in our neighborhood. Living in the area, Firas is a great believer in the potential for positive growth in Casa De Oro. He likes the good mix of business people and neighbors all stopping in at the store.

The whole family is involved in welcoming their customers, making
everyone feel safe and at home, and keeping the store spotlessly clean.
They want you to know they are in the neighborhood for the long haul.


The Casa De Oro Alliance would like to invite everyone to welcome them to the neighborhood!

Casa de Oro Specific Plan Project Moving Forward

County Needs More Community Feedback

County planners and consults are continuing to develop a Specific Plan for Casa de Oro  but now need input from area businesses, landowners, and community members.

A county webpage dedicated to the CDO Specific Plan project was established to allow community review of the project deliverables at CDO Revitalization Project Plan. The site includes a conceptual plan developed by the Casa de Oro Alliance to identify issues and outlined a vision for community revitalization.

The project is divided into two phases so far. The first phase, included a professional study to further identify land use issues and challenges facing Casa de Oro. This study was largely used y the County to justify and request the SANDAG grant of $500,000 now funding the larger project itself. 

The second phase included detailed analysis of the current Casa de Oro corridor building stock, infrastructure, lot sizes, and other land use components. Phase One also includes a financial analysis of potential development costs, an analysis of existing traffic and parking, as well as community feedback collected at the Casa de Oro Fall Festival  last year and during a community workshop earlier this year.

Members of the Casa de Oro Alliance are concerned the visibility of the project is limited within the community. In addition, business owners and land owners need to become more aware of the project and its possible implications for Casa de Oro. As a result, county staff assured the CDO Alliance to soon return with a more detailed plan for Phase Three of the project, to include additional community input. 

The Casa de Oro Alliance, government affairs committee will be organizing and facilitating more meetings with area community groups to make them more aware of the project and solicit more community feedback as the plan is developed and completed.

Watch for invitations to virtual events in the coming future to provide your opinions on how Casa de Oro is developed into the decades ahead. If you would like to become more involved in the development of a specific plan for Casa de Oro, please join our government affairs committee by contacting the Casa de Oro Alliance at casadeoroalliance@gmail.com.

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.