By Jeffrey Meyer
April 15, 2014 (San Diego County) - The Keystone pipeline proposal has hit a Nebraska stop sign, but it has deeper problems than right-of-way issues across the United States. After all, the controversial proposal for transporting Alberta’s tar sands across America was never just about the pipeline. Just ask the thousand students who rallied in front of the White House recently, who were willing to be arrested to make their point.
By Robert Clark
April 14, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - On April14, evidence was completed in the murder trial of Kassim Alhimidi. Jury instructions were scheduled by Judge William McGrath for 2:30 p.m, and closing arguments will begin April 15 at 9 a.m.
By Robert Clark
Photo: Shaima Alawadi
April 6, 2014 (El Cajon)--The body of Shaima Alawadi, 32, was found by her daughter Fatima (then 17) on March 21, 2012. She told El Cajon police that she was asleep upstairs, heard her mother "squeal," followed by the sound of broken glass. She thought perhaps her mother had dropped a plate, and waited about ten minutes before going downstairs.
By Robert Clark
April 6, 2014 (El Cajon)--The recent spate of earthquakes in our area may have been triggered by an explosion at El Cajon Superior Court on March 25, when the prosecution's case against Kassim Alhimidi blew up during a hearing concerning pre-trial motions. The trial began April 1, and testimony has strongly confirmed an opinion I formed some time ago that the evidence against Alhimidi is so shaky an immediate acquittal would be in order.
By Craig E. Kleffman
April 5, 2014 (San Diego County) - San Diego’s chief law enforcement officer is District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. In 2012 she ran for Mayor. Her associate, Ernesto Encinas — a retired San Diego Detective — conspired with a foreign national to secure illegally about $200,000 in a foreign campaign contribution. Approximately $100,000 went to a campaign committee, while the other $100,000 or so funded the campaign’s online presence.
by Roy L Hales
Stanford University has just published a glowing report about how Wind Farms “can provide a surplus of reliable clean energy to society.” I almost posted it. It is important to publish information that does not fit your beliefs but, in this case, I decided to voice my skepticism instead.
By Kathleen Connell
March 8, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will soon make a decision on how to replace the power from San Onofre. This is a decision with consequences for generations to come. The choice is local clean energy such as rooftop solar, energy efficiency, and conservation or natural gas power plants, i.e., fossil fuel generation. Local clean energy fights climate change, doesn’t pollute our air, already supports hundreds of well-paying local jobs, and lowers electricity bills. Natural gas power plants ramp up greenhouse gases, worsen air quality, average only 10-20 permanent employees, and raise electricity bills for all of us because they are funded by ratepayers and cost anywhere from $1 billion to $5 billion each. And we are shackled to these monuments of the past for decades.
By Mark Duchamp, World Council For Nature
March 1, 2014 (Denmark)--The World Council for Nature (WCFN) has been informed that Danish taxpayers’ money is being spent to the tune of €2,665,688 to spy on associations and citizens’ groups of windfarm victims (present or potential). The name of the program is “Wind2050 – Multidisciplinary study on local acceptance and development of wind power projects” (1). It is administered chiefly by the Danish multinational company Vestas, the Danish government, and Denmark’s Aarlborg University. Its aim is to break the resistance of windfarm neighbors and opponents to Big Wind in Denmark and around the world. Note: in Denmark alone there are more than 200 associations of neighbors fighting the windfarm scourge, and Vestas’ profits have taken a big plunge.
“The most perfect political community is one in which the middle class is in control, and outnumbers both of the other classes.”-- Aristotle (384 BCE – 322 BCE)
By Pat Zaharopoulos
February 28, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- A healthy democracy must have a strong middle class because the middle class stabilizes a nation and also helps its economy by buying the products made by those with capital. But in today’s America, the rich are getting richer, the middle class is shrinking, poverty is raising and young Americans can no longer attain the American Dream. We need a taxpayer-middle class revolt to restore a better balance of income, benefits and taxation.
By E.A. Barrera
February 28, 2014 (San Diego)--I was proud to support David Alvarez and his campaign for Mayor. His life is an inspiration and his future is the future of San Diego. But now it is time for all San Diego Democrats to come together, and grow beyond our basic base of supporters. There are floods of Independents and Republicans out there disgusted with the modern Tea Party-dominated GOP. The new Confederacy has taken hold of the Republican Party, leaving millions of Americans ready to join with the Democrats in reasonable dialogue and solutions to our nation's future problems.
By Mary Wang
February 17, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Last fall, the City of El Cajon passed a Deemed Approved Ordinance (DAO) in an attempt to resolve some of the alcohol-related issues many business owners and residents have been experiencing over the years in our community.
Photo: Proposed Chaparral County, shown in green
By Libby Belle
Why rural East County communities should secede from San Diego County
February 14, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – In more ways than I can count, San Diego Supervisors have shown disdain for the people of East County, the environment, and the character of our communities. Supervisor Dianne Jacob is a notable exception, fighting to protect us from fire hazards and destructive energy projects. But time and time again, she’s outvoted by four Supervisors who don’t live in East County, and don’t care if they destroy what makes our region special.
So why should we continue to give them our tax dollars?
Let me list just a few of the ways that the County has abdicated its responsibilities to East County residents:
February 9, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – On January 24, ECM published two reader’s editorials – one pro-life and one pro-choice in view, related to the anniversary of the Roe v.. Wade Supreme Court ruling legalizing abortion. The reader’s pro-choice editorial addressed crisis pregnancy clinics that the author termed “fake” abortion clinics that she asserted “frighten and mislead” women who are pregnant.
Josh McClure at the East County Pregnancy Care Clinic has sent a rebuttal disputing points in the “fake” clinics editorial, though that piece did NOT reference the ECPCC by name and addressed issues of crisis pregnancy clinics only generally. Still in the interest of fairness and accuracy, here are the key points raised by McClure.
By E. A. Barrera
I was not an early supporter. I backed Nathan Fletcher in the primary and was not initially happy with Alvarez' victory. I felt he was too young; too tied to the left-wing of the Democratic Party; and would not be able to defeat Kevin Faulconer and the downtown lobbyists.
Editor's note: A local clinic has disputed portions of this editorial . For details, click here.
By Sylvia Hampton
January 24, 2014 (San Diego)--Since the January 22, 1973 Roe v. Wade Supreme Court Decision striking down all state laws prohibiting doctors from performing abortions, the anti-abortion forces have done everything in their power to make abortion as difficult to obtain as possible. Hundreds of state laws have been passed and then struck down by the courts because they placed an undue burden on women or were simply medically unsound. So the crusaders resort to trickery and bearing false witness.
By Sylvia Sullivan
January 24, 2014 (Santee)--55 million babies have died in the U.S. since the infamous Supreme Court Roe v Wade ruling 41 years ago this month. It is beyond a national tragedy. It is a choice of descent into barbarism.
Because of the ghastly numbers of dead babies, it may be difficult to see that the pro-choice side is on a downward spiral. Clinics continue to close as state after state pass pro-life bills. Young people faced with the scientific reality of the humanity of pre born babies, are decidedly a more pro-life generation.
By Jim Wiegand
January 18, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --The golden eagle is a species in rapid decline and most of this demise has been a relatively recent event. The primary reason for their population crash has been the development of wind energy in the habitat of this species. None of this has been publicly acknowledged.
By Grey Feathers
January 8, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- Three years ago today, Gabriele Gifford was shot in the head. She was rushed to the hospital where we thought she would surely die. The same hospital where I would be treated after my heart attack a few month later in the hot summer of 2011.
There was a Lunar Eclipse that summer that plunged Tucson into the deepest darkness conceivable and it seemed the chill of the legendary Shadow Wolf of Native American lore had been unleashed upon my world.
This morning Gabby wrote in the New York Times that for the first time she can will her right arm to move and it obeys. After years of persistent physical therapy she is making steady progress. The news brought me to weeping for joy.
READER'S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON THE MEANING OF CHRISTIANITY AND RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS - A REACTION TO THE MT. SOLEDAD CROSS CONTROVERSY
“…devote your time, energy, passion, and money to making sure that everyone has decent shelter, food, education, and medical care. That will be the true monument to Christianity.” – Joel A. Harrison
By Joel A. Harrison
January 8, 2014 (San Diego) -- In a 20-year saga that never ends, on December 12 U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled that the cross atop Mount Soledad was unconstitutional. Burns ordered the cross removed within 90 days; but then stayed that order until all appeals have been exhausted. And on December 19 an article in the San Diego U-TA reported an appeal is underway.
A similar controversy in East County several years ago was resolved when a cross atop Mt. Helix was transferred from public ownership to a private group of area homeowners. (Privatization is not an appropriate option for Soledad, since the site is a U.S. military memorial.) Instead of rehashing the Constitutional pros and cons, I would like to reflect a moment on my view of the meaning of Christianity—and the most appropriate monuments to faith and humanity.
READER’S EDITORIAL: SHOULD EMPLOYERS BE ABLE TO EXCLUDE BIRTH CONTROL FROM HEALTH INSURANCE COVERAGE?
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
December 11, 2013 (San Diego)--The Obama administration has asked the Supreme Court to decide whether for-profit companies can be forced to provide full contraceptive coverage for their employees despite religious objections from their owners. Many people believe that health insurance is something offered by employers, a sort of bonus. In fact, it is part of what I have known as one’s “wage package.”
By E.A. Barrera
November 27, 2013 (San Diego) – Even now, ten years since the flames have died and the air has cleared, the sight of it all still seems unreal - the earth outside my door in smolders and flames. Waking up that Sunday morning to the sounds of Santa Ana winds and an unpleasant sky, the Great Fires of 2003 were still a world away. They were still off in some remote back-country. Dreadful to consider - but none the less esoteric, and lacking any influence upon my Sunday morning routine.
By Lisa Elkins
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has resolved to push ahead with a plan to expand its drone combat weapons system despite the malfunctioning drone that injured two last Saturday on the USS Chancellorsville’s last Saturday off the coast of San Diego. The $4 million aerial and subsonic target drone, Chukar (BQM-74E), which was manufactured by Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman, capable of speeds up to 604 mph, had veered out of control during an operation test. Luckily only two sailors out of the 300 crew members aboard the ship were injured after it was struck by the drone. Investigators at the Naval Base were unable to say why the drone lost control and crashed.
This is the second drone crash to occur in the past week after another unmanned craft malfunctioned and came down over Lake Ontario on Tuesday, prompting the suspension of all drone flights in Central New York.
By Claudia Millerbragg
I am asking you to put human life before money. If you continue with your plans to drain Lake Morena it puts the residents of rural East County at a higher fire risk.
If a fire sweeps through here and property and lives are lost because of the low water levels at Lake Morena are you prepared to live with the fact that your decision to drain the lake contributed towards the destruction?
By Dave Patterson
November 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – On September 24, the County Board of Supervisors threw their support behind a Southern California drone testing zone. This rash decision puts San Diego County at risk for $2.7 billion in liability for the property alone if a Drone goes down and starts a fire in the back country. The County Board of Supervisors need to rethink this position quickly, before the FAA opens our skies to drones for testing purposes, and put us all at risk.
By Tom Budlong
I just mined the Ocotillo project's Environmental Impact Statement issued before the project was approved. The document's job is to predict the project's impacts.
On noise: “Under this worst-case scenario the wind farm would be considered an acceptable land use and…would meet the Imperial County daytime and nighttime noise limits. (p. 4.9-7).
By Cindy Buxton, Chair Forest Committee, San Diego Sierra Club
November 2, 2013 (Cleveland National Forest) – It’s been ten years since the Cedar Fire. Now it’s the beginning of Deer Season. I put this video together years ago from a Power Point on the Cedar Fire from Cedar Gorge, in the first hours and the weeks and months to follow. For the milestone remembered this week, here's another moment, remembering that last night from a world we left behind.
By Cindy Buxton, Chair, Forest Committee of the San Diego Sierra Club
“This is the general “neck of the woods” of the famous Cedar Creek Falls and Three Sisters Waterfall… We are hoping for universal outcry to insist that all parties, SDG&E, the CPUC, and the USFS will embrace this as the golden opportunity to evolve community safety and environmental integrity forward.” – Cindy Buxton
October 21, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) sent out its request for scoping on SDG&E’s Master Permit renewal. The comment period is through November 7th. Document links are provided at the end of this editorial.
The Forest Service, in an attempt to consistently and effectively manage wilderness and wilderness-like portions of their Forest, recommends moving the 626 69kV line that runs up Boulder Creek Road out of these fragile areas and makes this suggestion along with a mile or so wide corridor for study where portions of the line could be moved. But there more to this proposal than meets the eye.
By Dave Patterson, Ramona
This is a wakeup call for everyone that assumes that our jobs and pensions are secure, and that we will be taken care of in our elder years. The fact is that our leadership has bankrupted the nation and we are mostly to blame because of our apathy.
Starting in 1990 I was waving the red flag regarding the National Debt, then $2,000 per capita. No one was worried because it was such a small percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), and besides Ronald Reagan had said, “Deficits don’t matter.”
The crooks and liars gave the green light to the banks and investment firms that proceeded to gamble our wealth and lose it. Now the debt is almost as large as the debt accumulated after WWII, and we have a government that is so big no one wants to deal with it. Our politicians have failed us and now they are saying that Social Security is on the chopping block. Like our other pensions, they have spent it all into oblivion.
Editor's note: We received this editorial from a Canadian reader in response to our coverage of the Ocotillo Wind Energy Project's impacts on our local desert and the people of Octoillo.
By Catherine Bayne, Bayniche Conservancy
We grieve for you and yours, for the desert, the world and for the future. The wind war stories are fundamentally the same from everywhere, the disillusionment pervasive.
How could corruption of such magnitude flourish under the UN? We forgot that, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance"
By Hugh Moore, Treasurer, San Diego County Green Party
Oct. 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- I received the attached response to my letter asking my representative, Duncan Hunter, to vote in favor of a resolution to keep the government open and prevent a default on the debt of the United States.
My representative’s response was that he had voted against the resolution stating that it “fails to address some of the most serious issues facing this nation.” So what are those serious issues?
By Jim Bell
My goal in releasing this commentary is to introduce the Net-Meter Option to the public as a cost-effective way to increase local electricity supply and price security instead of investing ratepayerâ€™s dollars into SDG&E/SEMPRAâ€™s Sunrise Power Link, a proposed 16-story tall transmission line that SDG&E and its parent Company, SEMPRA, are pitching to the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). If built, the Power Link transmission line would run 150 miles from San Diego to Mexicali, Mexico, running through numerous state parks, wild life habitat areas and private properties. Read More