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  • Political candidates, public meet in ‘Paradise’

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    By the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce
        ​Candidates seeking office or already elected practiced “Politics in Paradise” on Aug. 30 at the Cuyamaca College Water Conservation Garden in El Cajon!
        ​Information spiced with good humor marked the meet-and-greet evening in the beautiful garden at 12122 Cuyamaca College Drive West.  Good food and wine tasting encouraged lively conversation.
    Area residents mingled easily with about 20 candidates seeking office on Nov. 6 for the state legislature and local city councils, fire districts, the Grossmont Healthcare District, water districts,  school boards, planning groups and college and school districts.
        “I always find it interesting,” said Mark Clifton of Clifton Independent Mercedes Sales and Service in El Cajon, glancing around. “I like to stay connected with our local community.”
    The San Diego East County, Alpine Mountain Empire, Lakeside, La Mesa and Santee Chambers of Commerce and the San Diego East County Development Council partnered to present the event aimed at getting candidates and the public together.
    Ronn Hall, a Santee City Council candidate, said “Paradise in Politics” was an important opportunity to meet people and make contacts.
        ​In addition to candidates,  incumbents and those who already won their seats in the 2018 Primary Election were there to support General Election candidates and talk with residents.
        ​“I think these are great events,” said Kathleen Hedberg, president of the Helix Water District. “Candidates are reaching out to other candidates and businesses.”
        ​Richard Edwords of Kamps Propane, a member of the Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber of Commerce, had a honey booth at the event. Edwords, a Chamber Ambassador, said he talked with quite a few candidates or incumbents.
    “It was interesting to hear them talk,” he said. “I just take it with a grain of salt and go from there.  There were some good people.”
        ​Each candidate was allowed to make brief comments ---- no more than a minute.
    Barry Jantz, chief executive officer of the Grossmont Healthcare District ----another Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber member, was the program moderator. 
        ​“This is the best turnout I think we’ve had,” Jantz told everyone. “We’ve got a slew of candidates.  This is about direct engagement.  This (candidate comment) is not a stump speech.”
    Some of the most notable candidate quotes included:
        ​“I have been given real concerns and I have real solutions.”
        ​“We’ll make this even better in two years.”
        ​“Promises made. Promises kept.”
        ​“People tell me they want me to fill potholes, increase public safety and have more places to shop.”
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