By Sue Strom, Advocates of Safe Airport Policies (ASAP)
January 21, 2018 (El Cajon) -- We hope your year is off to a happy and healthy start. However, for those of us concerned about heavy local traffic, safety, noise, toxic air and lead overhead, with protections for homeowners few and far between, the new year is already daunting.
FAA approval for an increase in air traffic... a state of the art flight training center... the lengthening of the 27L training runway...the redesign and enlargement of the Bradley Street interchange off hwy 67... and the development of 9 five acre parcels of land for aviation usage called the Cajon Air Center are all coming together step by step over the next several years to form the perfect storm.
January 21, 2018 (Alpine) -- I don't want future development projects in Alpine to include designs that are not consistent with keeping the small town charm of Alpine. We have already seen many developments in Alpine that make our town resemble our nearest city, El Cajon. I do not want to see conformity in designs that lack character. Examples of this that we have already been forced to accept are the Albertson's shopping center.Albertson's design shows no attempt to fit in to our towns historic rural feel, but instead looks like a typical store one would see in El Cajon. No effort was made to include creative facades, water features, or shade bearing trees.
January 19, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – A new report by humanitarian organizations reveals that Border Patrol agentshave been systemically destroying water bottles left in desert areas for undocumented immigrants in the Arizona desert, condemning people to die of thirst.While its unknown if this is occurring in California, this article in Britain’s The Guardian hit home for me in a visceral way, reminding me of an experience that brought me to tears.
On the 4th of July In 2008, I rode alongwith Border Angels founder Enrique Morones. We discovered sabotage of water bottles his group had left in rugged locations--all slashed open, empty. My article, Dying to Come to America, was published in our very first edition of East County Magazine. Morones vividly described what it is like for people to die of dehydration – hallucinating, throwing off clothes and shoes. We saw the signs of this torment – a woman’s high-heeled shoe cast aside, a man’s crumpled shirt. The heat was triple digits.
I went along to learn about experiences faced by people so desperate to come to America that they rely on water left by benevolent strangers to survive.I learned that coyotes, or human traffickers, often lie to the migrants, telling them it's just a short walk to freedom; some women dressed up to meet their husbands are unaware of the dangers. I choked up, imagining their pain. My story included photos of those slashed water bottles and graves of people--some so very young--who died crossing East County's rugged border mountains in their failed quest to find freedom.
December 15, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- To the GOP: after this week's stunning defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama, the Republican Party of San Diego must take a closer look at itself. It must remind itself what it's true principles are and what it is fighting for. It cannot become so wrapped up with an unwavering support of a candidate that no matter what that candidate might do wrong, they are still willing to support them. A politician is accountable to the people. It's time the Republican Party of San Diego follows the people's lead and holds a candidate responsible for their actions. In Alabama, the GOP had a weak candidate embroiled in controversy and lost a seat that couldn't have been safer for a Republican candidate. Sound familiar?
By Shaun Mullen, with credit to the Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego online news network)
December 11, 2017 (San Diego) - Will Donald Trump fire Robert Mueller? In an era when the unthinkable occurs with numbing regularity, it looks increasingly likely that he will. But will he get away with it?
December 8, 2017 (San Diego) - Large, high-intensity wildfires are an inevitable and natural part of life in California. The destruction of our communities is not. But many of the political leaders we elect and planning agencies we depend upon to create safe communities have failed us. They have allowed developers to build in harm’s way, and left firefighters holding the bag.
By Steve Goble, Councilmember in the City of El Cajon
November 21, 2017(El Cajon) -- Some voices, especially from outside the City of El Cajon, have mischaracterized the City’s temporary prohibition on feeding the public in public spaces. I thought I’d address here why I voted for the temporary ordinance and attempt to clear up any misunderstandings which have been distributed on social media and spoken in public forums.
November 20, 2017 (Sacramento) -- This Thanksgiving, too many American families will have empty seats at their tables due to the Trump Administration’s cruel and indiscriminate deportations. Thousands of other families will be giving thanks while worrying if their loved ones, who are facing imminent threats of deportation, will be around to celebrate with them at the next holiday. These stories, all too common across America, include:
November 10, 2017 (Julian) -- Citizens residing within the boundaries of the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFPD) are proposing for adoption the repeal of the existing annual benefit fee approved in 1984, to be replaced with an annual benefit fee more consistent with current expenses, and to raise the level of service for emergency medical response, fire suppression and related services within the boundaries of JCFPD.
November 6, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- I have lived in Lemon Grove since 2005. I appreciate the small town feel of the folks who live here.
We have seen a controversy recently, as medical marijuana retailers have attempted to locate their businesses in Lemon Grove wherever they desire – whether that be near a daycare facility or a school or the like.
November 3, 2017 (El Cajon) -- I am speaking on behalf of thousands of Chaldean's in and around the San Diego community that all agree that Ben Kalasho DOES NOT and SHOULD NOT be allowed, by any media outlet, to speak on behalf of the Chaldean community. We do not like the type of person, who he is or the values that he holds.
After President Donald Trump drew criticism for not calling families of U.S. soldiers killed in Niger, he accused former presidents of not calling fallen soldiers’ families to offer condolences, though all other presidents did so. Trump then insulted the widow of Army Sgt. La David Johnson, saying he “knew what he was signing up for," failed to praise Johnson as a hero, and left her crying after his call. Trump called the Congresswoman who reported his remarks a liar, even after the slain soldier’s mother confirmed the Congresswoman told the truth. Other families of soldiers killed confirm Trump never called them. Now Gold Star mother Candie Glisson has penned this open letter to the President, originally published by Common Defense PAC:
October 19, 2017 (Washington D.C.) -- My son was killed in Iraq. Here’s my message to Trump: On October 4th, 2017, four of our troops were killed in an ambush in Niger. For twelve long days, we didn’t hear a word from this Commander in Chief. Twelve days. Total silence.
The national anthem protests demonstrated by players using their platform on the NFL gridiron are protests against racial injustice, not the flag or military. I'd argue that if civil rights activists, including athletes like Muhammad Ali and Jackie Robinson, watched the NFL now, they'd applaud these patriotic men.
By Vinny Lavalsiti
Editor, The Summit newspaper, Grossmont College
Photo: Washington Redskins players kneeling in game against Oakland Raiders; cc by Keith Allison
October 11, 2017 (San Diego) -- When sports collide with politics, it's a beautiful thing to see. Well, for me at least. I do realize that there are the average Joes out there with their beer helmets who like to sit in their recliner for eight hours and watch nothing but football. I’ve been there! But please keep an open mind when reading the following.
October 8, 2017 (San Diego) -- As an Army veteran and constituent of Rep. Duncan Hunter (CA-50), I was shocked by Hunter’s recent calls for preemptive war with North Korea. I spent twenty-seven years in uniformed service to my country, and I expect a combat veteran like him to be far more cautious about committing us to actions that we all know would result in the death of hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of innocent civilians. It would also put tens of thousands of Americans in uniform in mortal danger.
October 8, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - This letter is in response to the articles covering the recent shooting in Las Vegas.
The second amendment of the United States Constitution states: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." Obviously the need for a state militia has been replaced by the National Guard and Coast Guard whereby trained military personnel are entrusted with the defense of this country against domestic enemies. Their weapons are tightly controlled and safeguarded.
October 7, 2017 (San Diego) — Firearms Policy Coalition (FPC) has issued the following statement concerning calls for new bans and regulations on firearms and firearm accessories:
In depraved acts of self-centered posturing, politicians who do not respect our Constitution are leveraging the recent tragedy in Las Vegas to push for more unconstitutional bans and restrictions on common, semi-automatic firearms, ammunition, and accessories.
October 7, 2017 (San Diego) - According to an article in the San Diego Union-Tribune, “The Trump administration on Friday moved to roll back the federal requirement for employers to include birth control coverage in their health insurance plans, vastly expanding exemptions for those that cite moral or religious objections (Robert Pear. “Birth Control Mandate Rolled Back”, October 7, 2017, page A1). People believe that health insurance is a bonus offered by employers. Not true! To understand this, one has to understand both the history of employer-based health insurance and what a pay/wage packet is.
By Patricia Landis, former board member, Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District
October 7, 2017 (Julian) -- I am a retired psychologist and not a journalist or investigative reporter. As a psychologist, my job was to listen. Maybe that is why so many individuals come and tell me “what’s going on.” I have become a repository of information about our fire department and I believe I need to share what I am hearing because it affects the lives of all of us living in the Julian-Cuyamaca fire district.
September 28, 2017 (La Mesa) --The City Council is understandably embarrassed by its serial fumbles on Little Flower Haven’s future. Having the four lawyers who sit on the dais (three Councilmembers and the City Attorney) publicly schooled by a lone attorney from Silvergate Development must have hurt. Most folks can understand that.
But the peevish attempt to shift culpability for the Little Flower fiasco by discrediting and then threatening to abolish the Design Review Board (DRB) resists all understanding. Burying the DRB in the Planning Commission would be a significant loss for residents. Here’s why.
By Duncan McFetridge, Director, Cleveland National Forest Foundation
September 21, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) - Cleveland National Forest Foundation’s lawsuit against the county’s attempt to subdivide the Hoskings ranch near Julian brings out three extremely important points:
By Sarah Heck, 2017 Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors President
Photo by Miriam Raftery: Flooded apartment in San Diego’s City Heights after a storm drain backed up
September 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- Unless Congress takes action, the government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will expire on Sept. 30. While NFIP isn’t a household name, it’s often the only flood insurance available in a given market. That’s important, because if a property is in a 100-year floodplain, lenders will typically require flood insurance as part of the mortgage approval process.
September 4, 2017 (Alpine) -- Imagine a picnic under a shade tree in a cool grassy park, relaxing with friends and the whole family, while the kids play on swings and slides, the teens on the skateboard ramps, there are fire pits, barbecues, restrooms, fountains, dog frisbee, seniors playing bocce ball and 24/7 access, right here in Alpine..
By Jennifer Mendoza, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Lemon Grove
August 18, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- Less than a year ago, the voters of Lemon Grove narrowly approved an ordinance to allow Medical Marijuana Dispensaries (MMD) to operate in our city. This ordinance was written by a coalition of MMD businesses and proponents. This same coalition is now unhappy with some of the language and restrictions they wrote into the ordinance. They wish to force the city to hold a special election in 2017, so that they can change the language.
Statement by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of California
August 17, 2017 (San Diego) -- Our country’s greatest strengths are the diversity of its people and the principles of equal dignity and inclusion that unite us all. There are troubling events planned in our state in the coming weeks. This is an incredibly painful and difficult time for millions of Californians.
For those who are wondering where we stand – the ACLU of California fully supports the freedom of speech and expression, as well as the freedom to peacefully assemble. We review each request for help on a case-by-case basis, but take the clear position that the First Amendment does not protect people who incite or engage in violence.
July 31, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- Once upon a time in America, the circus came to town with the elephants everyone loved. Those midsummer days are gone. After 146 years as a circus -- older than baseball and Coca-Cola -- Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus closed this year after retiring its five huge stars in 2016 to join 27 others at the Ringling Brothers Center for Elephant Conservation in Florida. The oldest is 70; the youngest, three; many were born in captivity. Ringling spends about $65,000 a year on each elephant. No such luck in the smaller circuses still roaming the country. No such luck for those still in "the wild," where poaching, disease and deforestation spell death for the endangered elephant.
July 20, 2017 (Pauma Valley) -- Living in the peace and quiet of San Diego County rural lands has been a great joy since our retirement in 1997. It certainly is a different world from Point Loma. It is like being in heaven having 3-4 deer, within a flock of 20 wild turkeys, greet my wife, myself, our cat and dog in our yard.
In my first summer after high school, my introduction to our forest lands was with the Laguna Hotshots, fighting forest fires in the 1950's. We were re-introduced to fire in the 2003 and 2007 fires near our home.
Seeing the SDG&E steel poles, stacked in a field in Pauma Valley, caused me to reflect. Those wires are potentially dangerous and lethal; similar wires have caused ignition in other places including the 2007 firestorms.
Photo: Creative commons image by Amin Eshaiker, via Wikipedia
June 24, 2017 (Alpine) -- I am an Alpine resident who attended the Alpine Community Planning Group meetings in September 2016 and again in May 2017. What follows are some of my thoughts about both meetings.