Hearing set August 7 at Planning Commission on Controversial Precedent-Setting Project
By Patsy Fritz
August 2, 2015 (Valley Center)--The current controversy over “Lilac Hills Ranch,” a proposed development planned on rugged farmland in Valley Center, focuses on its request to the County to increase the number of homes it could build on its 608 acres. The County General Plan allows 110 and the developer is asking for “entitlements” to build 1,746.
July 21, 2015 (El Cajon)--The City of El Cajon has been stalling for many years on two major projects: the reopening of the East County Performing Arts Center, and the building of a new animal shelter. Major developments regarding the animal shelter were revealed at the July 14 Council Meeting, but in a bizarre, stunning manner.
By Jennifer Nickel, Legislative & Public Policy State Chairman, California Federation of Women’s Clubs
July 14, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Thanks to early conservation efforts, vast areas of prehistoric redwoods have been protected from logging where they survive in our State despite generations of an industrial economy. These redwood forests are now under threat and help is needed if we want these ancient trees to continue into the future.
June 26, 2015 (El Cajon)--For some time now, alcohol retailers in the City of El Cajon have been under pressure to conduct their businesses more responsibly. But despite all their efforts, irresponsible business practices such as selling to minors and already intoxicated homeless people have continued to be a problem.
The El Cajon City Council meeting of June 9 was notable for what happened--and for what did not happen.
As reported in "East County Magazine" on June 12 ("Smoking Hot Debate"), the Council voted 3-1 to support Senate Bill 151, which would increase the legal age to buy tobacco in California from 18 to 21.
What did not happen was a "budget workshop." The City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. For the last four years (2011 through 2014), I have attended the workshops on the first meeting in June, at which time information would be provided to the public regarding the estimated financial results for the current fiscal year, and numbers were available for the proposed budget for the fiscal year commencing the following July 1. The Council would then vote to adopt the budget at the second June meeting.
ByBonnie Gendron, Coordinator and George Courser, Director, Back Country Coalition
As the Salton Sea is siphoned off, toxic dust storms pose health hazards for East County
Photo: Dead fish at Salton Sea; Wikipedia creative commons image by Gentle
June 12, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Ignoring Governor Jerry Brown's threats of hefty fines, several San Diego water districts have actually surpassed their previous years' monthly water use. Lip service by water districts has been tolerated at state level, excuses abound, water waste is evident yet the faucets still flow and massive non-irrigation continues undiminished.
The water use numbers are in - and they are not pretty, or healthy for East County.
By Mickey Kasparian, President, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135
Mickey Kasparian, President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 released the following statement after President Obama’s local news interview regarding Fast Track Authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
June 7, 2015 (San Diego) --Instead of talking into a satellite camera, President Obama should listen to the hard-working families of California who overwhelmingly oppose fast track. He says that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is different than past trade agreements that failed a majority of Americans, but thanks to leaked drafts and a negotiation process that included 600 corporate lawyers, it’s apparent that this deal will be a disaster for everyone but the wealthiest corporations.
The level of secrecy that surrounds TPP is deeply troubling. If this deal is truly good for hard-working men and women, then why can’t we read it? If the President believes this is a great deal, why can’t he prove it to us? American workers deserve to see the uncensored truth of this agreement.
"Why did San Diego County YMCA's board vote in 2013 to have all branches in our region stop issuing affordable youth memberships? Under the new policy, instead of paying just $80 to $100 a year for a child 12 or younger to use the Y’s facilities, users must purchase a family membership at a cost of about $1,000 per year. Are they really saying that if kids' parents aren't interested or can't afford to join, then the Y isn't interested in the kids?" -- Joel Harrison, PhD, MPH
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
June 4, 2015 (San Diego) — The following can be found on the website of the U.S. National YMCA Headquarters:
May 14, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – A group that wants to kick Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill and replace him with a woman has, after months of collecting votes, chosen a successor: Harriet Tubman.
Tubman was the choice of hundreds of thousands of voters in an online poll by Women on 20s that started with 15 worthy candidates. Any of the final four would have been wonderful choices. The other three finalists were former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, Chief of the Cherokee Nation.
Tubman is certainly an excellent choice and risked her life many times for others. Tubman is an especially good choice because with every $20 dollar bill with her likeness on it, we will be reminded about the good that came out of the Civil War.
April 23, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--As San Diego’s population grows, a new report finds that the region’s shifting demographics are driving an urgent need for major public transit investments and a halt to highway expansions. A move toward investments in transit would protect air quality, prevent suburban sprawl and support demographic and land use trends toward pedestrian-friendly communities.
Editor’s note: A similar version of this letter was also sent to Supervisor Dianne Jacob’s office.
April 12, 2015 (Deerhorn Valley) -- In the outer rural areas we are spread out over a very large area. We have only two paved roads (Honey Springs and Deerhorn Valley Rd.), and from that intersection it is 15 miles and 20 minutes to reach the fire station in Jamul. Most of us live off of secondary roads like Mother Grundy Truck Trail, Bratton Valley, and Sierra Cielo. These are dirt roads that are privately maintained (or not). The additional distance on rutted roads can add another 20-plus minutes of drive. And that's when you know where you're going. Some roads are almost impassable for a large vehicle.
The story, however, is not about the sexual harassment suit just filed against Sergeant Richard Gonsalves of the El Cajon PD. (That suit is described in Miriam Raftery's ECM posting of March 10, 2015.) The U-T story was published on March 6, 2004, about a suit filed against El Cajon Sergeant Gary Ryno for sexual harassment by four current or former women employees of the Department. The suit also claimed that "Ryno conspicuously wore female undergarments to work . . ." As of today, I have been unable to determine the outcome of the suit, but will keep searching.
In another incident reported in the Los Angeles Times on May 22, 2007, former El Cajon police officer William Taylor was sentenced to five years in prison "for demanding sexual favors from women he had arrested."
March 12th, 2015 (Viejas) - A huge throng of people from all over came to say goodbye to Roy Cook in the gym at the heart of the Viejas Reservation on Saturday. Roy died suddenly and we are overwhelmed with a sense of loss. It was comforting to hear from so many friends how they were touched by his magic. The prayers, the songs, the Honor Guard, the Soaring Eagles, the drums building up to heaven and the wailing releasing our anguish. We cried in each other's arms.
The first day I met Roy Cook was at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Jamul Casino in 2005. I was proud and happy for the Jamul Indian Village and perplexed by the angry faces marching with signs on the street. Roy sensed the vicious opposition would eventually delay the project and he was right. He told me some of the history of the Jamul Band. He said they were the poorest of the poor. Their little village had dirt roads, their homes had dirt floors.
That encounter changed my life because Roy spoke with such certainty and compassion I began reading everything he wrote. The words lifted off the pages like they were written in my heart. Being indigenous became more than a card I carried in my wallet.
By Ben Kalasho, Founder and President, San Diego East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce
March 1, 2015 (El Cajon)--When news broke six days ago of more than 200 Assyrians kidnapped by (Da’ash) ISIS, I was on a telephone conference with my high profile contacts on the ground in Kurdish Controlled Areas of Northern Iraq discussing the destruction of Iraqi antiquities dating from the 9th Century BC by ISIS thugs. The report came to me that over 200 Assyrians were kidnapped in the town of Tal Tamr in the Hasaka Province, and other villages in Syria including Tal Hurmoz, Tal Shamiram, Tal Rumman, Tal Nasra which are home to many Assyrians and Syriacs.
"When you can no longer hide and you have not obeyed the law, just ask your friends in Congress to bail you out. This is what this Bill represents."
By Jim Wiegand
February 16, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) --For those that do not believe America has lost its way, all one has to do is look at the relationship between the wind industry and Washington D.C. Unbiased observers will see a shell game democracy funneling out untold billions for a highly destructive and inefficient "energy strategy". One of the primary benefactors of this arrangement is a Washington based group of panhandlers know as the wind industry. But this industry's windfall set up with Washington is threatened because word of this industry's undisclosed impacts is reaching the public.
Another stinging defeat for Grossmont. Court orders $42M to be set aside for Alpine High School.
By Sal Casamassima, Chair – Alpine High School Citizens Committee
February 17, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - On January 22 Judge Joel Pressman of the California Superior Court, delivered a huge victory to the supporters of a high school in Alpine. Judge Pressman issued a preliminary injunction that requires the Grossmont Union School District (GUHSD) to set aside $42 Million of Prop U bond money that would be used toward the construction of the long-overdue Alpine High School. GUHSD must set aside $14 Million immediately and another $28 Million on January 15, 2016. Although the $42M is less than the $70M needed to build a school on the Lazy A site it nevertheless represents a major victory for Alpine. This article will discuss why the court issued this injunction and its importance in preserving our ability to fund construction of the high school.
Response by Donna Tisdale to Supervisor Dave Roberts’ opinion published in East County Magazine
“In defense of rural residents and non-renewable resources, our non-profit group Backcountry Against Dumps is preparing to file suit challenging the County’s misguided and ethically challenged Soitec approvals.” – Donna Tisdale
February 12, 2015 (Boulevard)--When Dave Roberts was elected to replace retiring Supervisor Pam Slater-Price, I had hoped he would live up to his campaign claims of being community oriented and environmentally aware. Instead, Roberts has voted several times against Supervisor Dianne Jacob, over her well-reasoned objections to harmful projects in her District 2, and over well-documented community concerns, in order to support the financially biased and factually challenged claims made by vested interests and politically-pressured-County Staff, that these massive wind, solar, and transmission line projects are actually needed, are sustainable, and are compatible with rural community character and existing uses.
February 10, 2015 (San Diego)--The directive from Sacramento to policy-makers across California is unambiguous: to meet strict state mandates, we must allow for more renewable energy projects within our county.
February 2, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--There's a Vanishing Act that's been going on in East County for decades. Critics say it's a bad show because the actors don't reappear. They just disappear . . . Forever.
January 19, 2015 (San Diego) -- Dr. King painted his vision of economic justice with clear visuals:
In San Diego County 300,000 families lack economic security. Many of these families may technically have access to education, food and housing but in very real terms their wages do not afford them the ability to truly attain the American dream.
By Jeffrey Meyer, San Diego 350 Volunteer, #HighWaterLine#ChalkSD
“In 2050, if current trends continue, sea level will be 12-18 inches higher. Beaches will shrink and some will disappear completely. Fragile sea cliffs will collapse. Coastal properties will be flooded with increasing regularity. More frequent high waves and rough surf will increase the potential for significant damage…The military, port and airport may also be affected.” – San Diego’s Changing Climate: A Regional Wakeup Call (San Diego Foundation report)
January 17, 2015 (San Diego)--A few weeks ago, San Diego coastal cities were given a stark reminder of the threat to public safety and our $15 billion a year tourism industry by increasing tides and coastal flooding. With this problem becoming more severe, year after year, the lack of substantive coastal infrastructure planning can become a countdown to disaster.
January 14, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--The headlines make our hearts ache and our minds race. What can we do?
Alienated youth are joining radical groups for meaning and identity in the face of social instability and lack of opportunity. When their sense of self is not developed because they lack attention and understanding from stressed parents, they are even more vulnerable. Parents struggle increasingly to spend time with their kids when they must work extra hours and jobs at low wages to barely meet expenses. Such stress can also lead to addictive escapes, abuse, and ruptured marriages, leaving kids without the kind of emotional support they need.
Photo: Je Suis Charlie rally in support of slain French journalists, by Claude Truong NGOC, creative commons
Editorial originally published in Le Monde January 8, 2015 and on the U.S. Embassy website in Paris
January 9, 2015 (Paris)--Wednesday’s barbaric attack on the journalists and staff of Charlie Hebdo, as well as on policemen guarding them, shocked and saddened the entire world. As we pause to mourn the loss of life, I am reminded of how the people of France showed their support to us in the aftermath of 9/11. On September 11, Americans were in a state of shock as we tried to come to grips with that terrible loss and our own grief and a growing sense that our world would be different from that moment on. I remember seeing Le Monde’s headline that day: “We are all Americans”, and how much those words meant to me that day as an American, a New Yorker and a friend of France.
December 15, 2014 (Julian) -- For 6 years the U.S. Congress creates a tome that would challenge a weight lifter at a cost of millions to come to a conclusion that most Americans knew already that Bush, Cheney, Powell, Tenet, Rice, Rumsfeld and CIA agents and their contractors were involved in war crimes for years and the U.S. Congress knew it; so much for the rule of law and checks and balances.