El Monte Valley

SAVE EL MONTE FUNDRAISER APRIL 17

 

East County News Service

April 4, 2017 (Lakeside) – Activists seeking to save El Monte Valley from a proposed sand mining operation are raising money for a legal battle. On Monday, April 17 from 5-10 p.m., a benefit will be held at Eastbound Bar and Grill, 10553 Maine Ave. in Lakeside.

LAKESIDE RESIDENTS SEEK CLEANUP OF DEBRIS IN EL MONTE VALLEY

 

Updated March 28 with a response from Michael Beck at the Endangered Habitats Conservancy and Supervisor Dianne Jacob's office.

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2017 (Lakeside) - A big mess in Lakeside just got worse.  Someone has dumped debris illegally over the weekend along a waste heap from a former sand mining site that residents in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley were already fighting to get cleaned up.

FREE GUIDED FLUME TRAIL HIKE IN LAKESIDE FRIDAY, FEB. 10

 

East County News Service

February 7, 2017 (Lakeside) - Robin Rierdan with the Lakeside Rive Park Conservancy will lead a series of four beautiful hikes through Lakeside. The first is this Friday, February 10th along the Flume Trail in El Monte Valley.  Space is limited and registration is required by Thursday. Register here.

REPTILES OF EL MONTE VALLEY: PRESENTATION OCT. 17 IN LAKESIDE

 

East County News Service

October 1, 2016 (Lakeside) – The U.S. Geological Survey has completed and published its report, “Rare Alluvial Sands of El Monte Valley, California” confirming the rich diversity of reptile species found here.  Jonathan Richmond, PhD, of the USGS will present findings on Monday, Oct. 17 from 7-9 p.m. at the Lakeside Christian Church, 13739 El Monte Rd. in Lakeside.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH ANA NITA ON EFFORTS TO SAVE EL MONTE VALLEY FROM SAND MINING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Listen now! Click the orange button above. (Note, sound files may take a few moments to load.)

July 13, 2016 (Lakeside) -- East County Magazine's show on KNSJ recently sat down with Ana Nita, an investigative journalist and activist who is working on a documentary about controversies involving a proposed sand mine that could have devastating consequences for people and wildlife in Lakeside's picturesque El Monte Valley.

She also discusses apparent conflicts of interest involving Michael Beck, a county planning commissioner with financial ties to the sand mining company, and has called for Beck to resign or be removed. 

As an update, after this interview aired, Supervisor Dianne Jacob's office advised us that she is asking County Counsel for advice on the appropriate way to handle Beck's conflict of interest issue.

Audio: 

VIDEO OF THE MONTH: SAVE EL MONTE VALLEY, THE JEWEL OF SAN DIEGO

 

East County News Service

View the video: https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10201644595153046&id=1724097629

June 12, 2016 (Lakeside) - Billy Ortiz has created a beautiful and moving video of El Monte Valley in Lakeside, which is threatened by a proposed sand mining project. 

SAND MINING PROJECT APPLICANT SUBMITS REVISIONS TO PROPOSAL FOR LAKESIDE’S EL MONTE VALLEY

 

East County News Service

April 18, 2016 (Lakeside) – The developer who seeks to build a sand mine the scenic El Monte Valley in Lakeside that is overwhelmingly opposed by residents has submitted  a scoping letter to the County of San Diego with significant changes to the proposed project.  Click here to view the full document.

COMMUNITY MEETING SEPT. 10 CONVENED BY OPPONENTS OF SAND MINING PROJECT IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

September 7, 2015 (Lakeside) – Residents of El Monte Valley and other community members concerned about a massive sand mining project proposed in Lakeside are invited to join a meeting convened by the Preserve El Monte Action Coalition.  The meeting will be held Thursday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. in the Lakeside Christian Church, 13739 El Monte Road in Lakeside.

The goal will be to help residents frame concerns to address them in writing to the County of San Diego.

RESIDENTS AND AN ER DOCTOR SPEAK OUT AGAINST SAND MINING IN EL MONTE VALLEY

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2015 (Lakeside) - - Residents, environmentalists and medical experts presented strong evidence for why a proposed sand mining project in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley should not be approved.  Opponents of Enviornmine’s proposed 167-acre project spoke out at tonight’s scoping meeting conducted by the county.’s Planning department.  Public comment remains open until September 14th, after which an Environmental Impact Report will be drafted.

Dr. Christy Walker, an emergency room physician, testified about the confirmed presence of Valley Fever (coccidioides immitis) in El Monte Valley; evidenced in the treatment of both people and pets who contracted the potentially lethal illness in the Valley. She indicated that Valley fever does not just affect the lungs but can affect multiple organs. Her concern is that mining that lift layers of sand to dig the 100' deep, 182 acre wide mining pit would release fungal coccidioides spores d into the air, greatly increasing exposure and infection.

PROPOSES LAKESIDE SAND MINE OWNERS ANNOUNCE AGREEMENT WITH WEST COAST SAND AND GRAVEL INC.

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2015 (Lakeside)--El Monte Nature Preserve, LLC, the company that aims to sand mine El Monte Valley in Lakeside, a designated county scenic view corridor, for the next 30 years announced this week that it has entered into a sand extraction and marketing agreement with West Coast Sand and Gravel, Inc.

READER’S EDITORIAL: THE FUTURE OF EL MONTE VALLEY

 

 

Editor’s note: This essay paints a picture of what El Monte Valley could look like in the future; Sunrise Power Link has been built; solar and sand-mining projects are planned or proposed.

By Rob Foster 

August 26, 2015 (Lakeside)--Early mornings, I like to walk outside with coffee in hand and sit down facing the morning sun. Gazing northeast the scar left from the Sunrise project are clearly seen. Sun lit power towers draped with wires and ten acres of stripped land below scenic El Capitan Mtn. SDG&E promised the ten acre site would be returned to its original undisturbed state. SDG&E destroys the ecosystem leaving an ugly scare in a matter of months. Thank you for the reminder of a broken promise.

 As I look east,  a glare catches my eyes.

COUNTY SCOPING MEETING IN LAKESIDE AUG. 26 ON SAND MINE PROJECT

Credit photo to Billy Ortiz

East County News Service

August 17, 2015 (Lakeside) – The County is preparing an environmental impact report on a massive sand mining project  proposed in El Monte Valley. The first step is to determine the “scope” of issues to be addressed. The County will host a scoping meeting on the project on Wednesday, August 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Lakeside Community Center, 9841 Vine Street in Lakeside.

Members of the public, agencies and organizations are invited to attend and submit comments to assist the in determining the scope and content of the environmental informational impact report.  Details can be found at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/pds/ceqa_public_review.html . To have your comments entered into the official record, you must voice your comments at the public meeting or submit a letter before September 14 to:

LAKESIDE MEETING ON SAND MINING PROJECT JULY 28

 

July 22, 2015 (Lakeside) - Save El Monte Valley, a citizens group opposed to a proposed sand mining project, invites concerned citizens to a community meeting on July 28 at 6 p.m.  The meeting will be held at the Lakeside Christian Church, 13739 El Monte Road in Lakeside.

PETITION TO SAVE SCENIC EL MONTE FROM SAND MINING

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2015 (Lakeside) – Lakeside residents have launched an online petition asking Bill Horn, Chair of the Board of Supervisors, to save El Monte from a proposed sand-mining project.  View or sign petition here.

This ill-conceived, destructive and dangerous project poses a clear public safety threat. It would also destroy a place so beautiful that it’s been designated a county scenic view corridor and a focal point in long-range San Diego River Park preservation plans.  Mining here could also contaminate a major drinking water supply and potentially spread deadly Valley Fever across our region.

LAKESIDE RESIDENTS AND PLANNERS VOICE OUTRAGE OVER SAND MINING PROPOSAL AT HEATED MEETING

 

Story by Miriam Raftery

 

Photo, left: "Would you want these kids breathing that, every day for 15 years?" -- Jessica Webb

 

June 5, 2015 (Lakeside) –  Imagine up to 250 trucks a day – one every minute and a half—hauling sand along a rural  road right in front of your house--five days a week for the next 15 years or more in El Monte Valley, if a sand mining developer has his way.  It gets worse:  noise and dust from sand mining operations clogging the area, kicking up potentially deadly Valley Fever spores lurking in soil here, where several El Monte Valley residents have already contracted the disease. 

The sand loads would be transported for use on highways, roadways and other aggregate projects across San Diego County—potentially bringing sand  laden with Valley Fever spores to construction projects near you.  All thanks to a deal cut by Helix Water District to settle litigation over a golf course and water reclamation deal gone sour on land that Helix owned in El Monte Valley, a county-designated scenic view corridor.

This project has the Orwellian-like name “El Monte Nature Preserve” though all parties including the developer concede it is first and foremost a mining operation that will strip bare the valley for decades, lowering the valley floor 30 feet with dredging  far deeper in places, in a project three times wider than Lake Jennings.

SAND MINING PROJECT IN EL MONTE VALLEY ON AGENDA FOR LAKESIDE PLANNERS JUNE 3

UPDATE: Hear our interview on KNSJ radio with Lisa Wood, Lakeside resident and chair of Supervisor Dianne Jacob's youth activites on the river committee.  Wood discusses impacts of the sand mining project, which she believes would be severe, irreversible, and worse than Sunrise Powerlink. 

Listen online now:

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Facebook site dedicated to stopping project

May 29, 2015 (Lakeside) – A controversial proposal for sand mining in scenic El Monte Valley along the San Diego River bed is on the agenda for the Lakeside Planning Group on Wednesday, June 3 at 6:30 p.m. in the Lakeside Community Center (, 9841 Vine St, Lakeside). The applicant is the “El Monte Nature Preserve LLC,” though residents voice concerns the project will be destructive to nature, not preserve it.  View application.

Lakeside resident Billy Ortiz, a videographer who chronicles Lakeside’s beauty for media outlets and the Lakeside Historical Society, opposes the project. He voiced outrage over the plan.

. “If we don’t stop them, our beautiful valley will be destroyed,” Ortiz told ECM.  “We will be there to protest and discourage the project.”

Audio: 

INDUSTRIAL SOLAR PROPOSAL IN EL MONTE VALLEY OUTRAGES RESIDENTS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

A proposed industrial solar farm in Lakeside’s scenic El Monte Valley is stirring up controversy.  Property owner David Pressman/OCI Solar Lakeside has proposed to build a 40-acre solar photovoltaic project with approximately 8,500 solar panels on El Monte Road.  OCI is a Korean company with holdings in the U.S.

A hearing on the plan is set for December 3rd at 6:30 p.m. before the Lakeside Community Planning Group at the Lakeside Community Center.

“Everyone I have talked to too is against it for many reasons.” says photographer Billy Ortiz. “My reason is El Monte Valley is and should always be a scenic corridor, period.” He posted photos of the proposed site and drew some strong responses.

‘ONCE IN A BLUE MOON’ IN LAKESIDE ON OCTOBER 20

 

October 12, 2013 (Lakeside) – Lakeside’s River Park Conservancy’s Once in a Blue Moon Dinner and Auction will take place October 20 from 4 – 8 p.m. at Hazy Meadow Ranch, 15466 El Monte Road, Lakeside.  Discover the beauty of El Monte valley while enjoying live entertainment, sipping cocktails and eating Santa Maria Style barbeque.

FIRE CHARS 110 ACRES IN LAKESIDE

By Nadin Abbott

Photos and videos by Billy Ortiz

View video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFyIKMWlzdE&feature=youtu.be

 July 2, 2013 (Lakeside)—Firefighters from Heartland Fire, the U.S. Forestry Service, Cal-Fire and Lakeside Fire Department have attained 50% containment of a brush fire that consumed at least 110 acres Lakeside as of this evening.  The fire began along El Monte Road in light, flashy fuels this afternoon and burned portions of El Cajon Mountain (El Capitan).

BEST VIDEOS IN EAST COUNTY: BOBCATS IN EL MONTE VALLEY

By Billy Ortiz

View video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0EPuSgKJOY

November 20, 2012 (Lakeside) --Early in the morning on November 15 in El Monte Valley, I was driving slowly like always, hoping to see a cat. Today was my day--I spotted one close to the road, followed it up the mountain a bit and discovered that there was more than one. Much to my surprise, I saw a second and then a  third bobcat to my right. What I didn't realize was that I had gotten  between the mama and one of her young.

HOME INVASION IN LAKESIDE LEAVES 3 PEOPLE HOSPITALIZED

Photos, video and story by Billy Ortiz

October 5, 2012 (Lakeside)—Shots rang out at 6:24 yesterday morning after an intruder stabbed a resident in the 15000 block of El Monte Road in Lakeside.  According to Sergeant Tom Poulin with the Santee Sheriff’s Department, as the intruder was fleeing the scene in the car he was attempting to steal from the resident, the resident shot off a couple of gun rounds.

PRESERVATIONISTS SCORE A VICTORY ON EL CAJON MOUNTAIN

 

August 14, 2012 (El Cajon) – The San Diego River Park Foundation has succeeded in acquiring 157 acres on scenic “El Capitan” (El Cajon) Mountain in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley, a designated county scenic view corridor.  The victory is sweet for preservationists, since a portion of the mountain has been marred by Sunrise Powerlink and this will protect much of what’s left for future generations.  It’s nicknamed El Capitan for its resemblance to the landmark in Yosemite Valley. 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK: BOBCAT IN EL MONTE VALLEY

By Billy Ortiz

March 9, 2012 (Lakeside) – Most every day I like to drive down El Monte Rd in Lakeside. It reminds me of how it used to be in the old days with wide open fields, some farming and the best part is all the wildlife in the area--golden eagles, hawks and falcons, wild turkeys, deer and every once in a while a mountain lion or a bobcat.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: A MID-WINTER HIKE IN LAKESIDE

 
January 24, 2012 (Lakeside) -- What could be more beautiful than a mid-winter’s sunrise over an East County mountainside? 

 

Photographer Billy Ortiz shot these stunning images while hiking in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley, along El Capitan, over the Lunar New Year, marking an idyllic start to this Year of the Dragon.

 

HELIX WATER DISTRICT MAY CLOSE THE TAP ON THE EL MONTE VALLEY PROJECT


by George J. Janczyn

Reprinted with permission from GrokSurf's San Diego

Update: Helix directors have voted to suspend the El Monte Valley Recharge project. 

September 4, 2011 (Lakeside)--This Wednesday, September 7, the Helix Water District Board of Directors will consider a staff recommendation to suspend the El Monte Valley Project.

 

The project is a groundwater recharge and recovery operation that would generate 5,000 acre feet of water per year using an advanced recycled water purification process known to water professionals as Indirect Potable Reuse (IPR).

READER’S VIDEO EDITORIAL: SAVE EAST COUNTY’S EAGLES

By Billy Ortiz

View video of eagle chick shot April 21, 2011 in Lakeside's El Monte Valley:  http://youtu.be/G__OAP57RW4

I am sending this in hope of raising awareness of our Golden eagles here in San Diego County. Recently these magnificent eagles have come under attack by the construction of the Sunrise Powerlink. This could be the last time we see footage like this video of an eagle chick here in Lakeside, California and in many other parts of the San Diego's East County.

FOR THE BIRDS: LAKESIDE EXOTIC BIRD BREEDER FIGHTS TO SAVE HER FLOCK

Owner attributes deaths to helicopter flyovers for SDG&E Sunrise Powerlink Construction

“The mitigation will be handled by the courts. Well by then, they will all be dead.” – Catherine Gorka, Pampered Parrots owner

 

“SDG&E should do the right thing TODAY to protect these endangered birds, up to and including relocating the birds to a safe location...It is unconscionable that they would knowingly allow the deaths to occur instead of proactively doing the right thing.” – Laura Cyphert, East County Community Action Coalition

August 11, 2011 (Lakeside) – “The house was shaking. It terrified me,” Catherine Gorka, owner of Pampered Parrots in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley, recalls the first flyover above her home and aviaries by an SDG&E helicopter working on Sunrise Powerlink on February 25, 2011. “I was waiving my arms, calling out for them to stop.”

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