READER'S EDITORIAL: MUNICIPALITIES HAVE NO BUSINESS ENGAGING IN BUSINESS WITH RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
By Tom Comeau
August 30, 2014 (El Cajon)--There's always been a steady assault by religious groups of all stripes, on the separation of church and state, but what El Cajon doesn't need is for the City Council to initiate such activity as in its proposed contract with the "Rock Church" (do they worship rocks?) for the utilization of the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) for religious purposes. The Council cannot dodge the issue of the church/state violation when it agrees to allow a church to utilize 'public property' for what is clearly religious purposes. Included in this agreement is the proposed erection of an additional building on 'public property' to serve the needs of this religious group, with the generous proviso that the building would revert to the city at the end of its use by the religious group.
Photo: View of Oak Creek/Boulder Creek area taken by Cynthia Burnham from her home, where she reports seeing an SDG&E helicopter hovering "very low" for at least 10 minutes.
An open letter sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, U.S. Forest Service/Cleveland National Forest, Congressman Duncan Hunter and Supervisor Dianne Jacob:
By Cindy Buxton
Dear CPUC, Foresters, Congressmen, and Supervisors:
August 31, 2014 (Boulder Creek)--Several residences and visitors to the Cleveland National Forest lately between Descanso and Julian in the Boulder Creek area have complained about low flying helicopters. These were seen hovering over people's back yards by only a few hundred feet. Subsequently we are to learn in the East County Magazine that several other residences identified the helicopters belonging to SDG&E, also experienced this to the point that horses were so frightened that they were injured. One of the helicopters seen by several residences along Boulder Creek Road had a visible camera on the front and apparently was not necessarily in line with the ROW (right of way) for the TL626 line.
By Brian J. Trautman
August 25, 2014 (Ferguson, Missouri)--The police response to public protests in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the deadly August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, Jr., an unarmed eighteen-year-old black man killed by a white police officer, was a prime illustration of the hyper-aggressive nature of policing in America today. The residents of Ferguson fed up with hostile and abusive police behavior continue to flood the streets to demand justice for Mike Brown and other victims of police brutality. They have been joined in solidarity by people of conscience in other cities (e.g., Oakland, NYC). Their anger and frustration was exacerbated by the heavy-handed tactics used against the mostly peaceful protestors in Ferguson during the first week or so of the demonstrations – tear gas, rubber bullets, smoke, deafening sirens as well as assault rifles fixed on protestors were some of the violent methods employed by law enforcement. In addition, a mandatory curfew imposed by the Missouri governor, verbal threats of physical harm from police, and arrests of journalists, among other ill-advised and counterproductive reactions, only escalated the tensions between protestors and police.
Editor’s note: This editorial was submitted by a rural firefighter who asked that his name be withheld due to fear of retaliation for speaking out on this issue that affects the safety of us all. The editorial came in response to our story, “Why are so many fire stations closed—and what’s being done to boost staffing?” Our story revealed a shortage in volunteer firefighters paid a minimal stipend. Recruitment rates are lower than loss rates as newly trained volunteers are hired away by Cal Fire and other agencies. Read our original story here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.
August 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --I think this was a great article; being in the fire service for more than 20 years I can tell you I think you missed one key area.
Trained personnel is a key part of firefighting. The county lacks the ability to retain the people they train. This means they continue to have new people that lack experience. Without experience and training you will come into a situation that you will possibly kill firefighters.
By Robert Clark, El Cajon
July 21, 2014 (El Cajon)--There are three things that should happen (but probably will not) at the El Cajon City Council meeting on July 22.
By Steve Green
“…professed “FCI supporters” are not disclosing their current goals - regulations even more restrictive than the 1993 FCI, taking even more of our property rights.”—Steve Green
July 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--I am a property owner surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest on Boulder Creek Road. My land represents the majority portion of my personal financial holdings. Up until 1993, county regulations allowed property owners in my area to divide their lands into 20 acre parcels. We lost this ability in 1993 when voters approved the Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI).
By Ray Lutz, Citizens Oversight Projects
July 5, 2014 (El Cajon)-- Please take a look at this video presentation I created to be presented to the CPUC. http://youtu.be/2umrwqLz_MI
The proponents of the $3.3 billion settlement proposal have met with the CPUC commissioners and their advisors in private meetings. They would not allow me to make this power-point presentation at the recent public meeting. However, we are allowed to have private meetings of the same length as those granted to the proponents.
READER'S EDITORIAL: OPEN LETTER TO SUPERVIORS--ADOPT STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS ON FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE LANDS
By Lou Russo
June 20, 2014 (Alpine)--I am a 10+ year resident of Alpine, an 8+ year member of the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) and a 6+ year member of the San Diego Rural Fire District (SDRF) Board of Directors.
READER'S EDITORIAL: SHOULD CALIFORNIA'S POOREST SCHOOLCHILDREN BE INTEREST FREE LENDERS TO THE STATE?
By Gloria Roma
June 12, 2014 (San Diego)--Should California's poorest schoolchildren be the interest free lenders of first resort to the state? I don't think so, but they are. For the past 10 years, the state has been diverting the property taxes that were allocated to schools to cover the state's other obligations. Most counties still report the property taxes are going to schools, even though they are not getting there. This violation of the public trust hurts our schools and our state.
By Lawrence S. Wittner
June 12, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--National officials certainly assume that war has a future. According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, world military expenditures totaled nearly $1.75 trillion in 2013. Although, after accounting for inflation, this is a slight decrease over the preceding year, many countries increased their military spending significantly, including China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, 23 countries doubled their military spending between 2004 and 2013. None, of course, came anywhere near to matching the military spending of the United States, which, at $640 billion, accounted for 37 percent of 2013’s global military expenditures. Furthermore, all the nuclear weapons nations are currently “modernizing” their nuclear arsenals.
READER'S EDITORIAL: NEW SEXUAL ASSAULT CLIMATE SURVEY RECOMMENDATION: NOT AN EXCUSE FOR MORE ADMINISTRATIVE BLOAT
By Laura Finley
June 9, 2014 (San Diego)--In April 2014, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault issued a series of recommendations for college and university campuses related to responding to and preventing sexual assault. Given that one in five college-aged women endure a sexual assault, the White House is to be applauded for prioritizing this issue and for organizing the task force. But of course, it should be so simple to recommend that campuses do the right thing.
READER’S EDITORIAL: BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION AT 60: NEED FOR RECOMMITMENT TO INTEGRATION & SUPPORT FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
By Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber
"We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust.... We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better." -- Thurgood Marshall
June 7, 2014 (San Diego)--On May 17th 1954, the United States Supreme Court unanimously overturned the separate but equal doctrine of the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision after arguments presented by Thurgood Marshall - then a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Court concluded that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no place and that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. The activism generated to enforce the Brown decision was a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement and led to further state and federal anti-discrimination legislation.
My colleagues and I commemorated the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education this week with a resolution as a reminder of the significance and the achievements of this Civil Rights milestone. (View video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq9YhN6qX70) My hope is that we don’t let this anniversary deceive us into thinking we’ve fulfilled the hopes of Brown or that work of eliminating inequities in education is behind us.
Emphasizing home flammability, as well as vegetation management, can save more homes during wildfires.
By Richard Halsey, Director, The California Chaparral Institute
May 24, 2014 (San Diego) – Local, state, and federal fire agencies are urged to expand their fire education efforts. Currently, the primary, and sometimes the only message citizens hear is to clear native vegetation ("brush") from around their homes. While creating defensible space is a critical component of fire risk reduction, it fails to address the main reason homes burn - embers landing on flammable materials in, on, or around the home, igniting the most dangerous concentration of fuel available, the house itself.
By Colleen Murphy, RN
May 15, 2014 (La Mesa)--Vote Yes on Proposition H to continue one of San Diego’s and East County’s greatest success stories --Grossmont Hospital. This premier model of public/private partnership with Sharp HealthCare combines the public resources of a state-of-the-art community hospital with a nationally recognized nonprofit healthcare system.
By Betty Stieringer
The physicians, nurses and technicians of Sharp HealthCare are unsurpassed in their skill, professionalism and patient care. Why, then, is there opposition to Measure H?
An open letter to Supervisor Dianne Jacob
By Lou Russo
Photo: Alpine fire April 14, photo by Billy Ortiz
April 14, 2014 (Alpine) -- As I watched the news today, and as I watch the City of Carlsbad news conference, a flood of memories return. In particular, I am reminded of the Cedar fire, but also all the places currently at risk; e.g. Fallbrook, San Marcos, Bonsall, Camp Pendleton. I spent over 20 years in that area, including years off Hwy 76 in Oceanside, near Bonsall.
Many of those cc'd on this email lived through the Viejas, Cedar, Horse, etc. fires here in Eastern Alpine; many of them lost their homes.
As I write this, Jim Easterling has forwarded to the Alpine Community Planning Gruop (ACPG) members that Alpine currently has one, let me repeat that, one fire truck left in Alpine...the rest have all left to support other agencies.
As I type this, out my back window I can see the wind traveling west, right down the Sweetwater River canyon...which borders Cleveland National Forest and all its fuel. As I write this, there is currently a fire in Lakeside, a few exits down the freeway.
May 2, 2014 (Sacramento) - Assembly Member Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) issued the following statement in response to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine against Donald Sterling:
by Robert Dodge, MD
April 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- This past Thursday, April 24th, historic lawsuits were filed against the U.S. and the eight other Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) of the world to meet their treaty obligations to disarm by the courageous tiny island nation Republic of the Marshall Islands.
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:
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