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.
November 26, 2014 (Santee) -- An explosion shook the country when Obama unconstitutionally decreed amnesty for millions of illegals. Untold millions more await to join the invasion since Obama refuses to secure the borders. Obama also claims our immigration system is broken. It is now. He has broken it by his lawlessness in refusing to enforce the immigration laws. As generations of legal immigrants can attest the system did work. It still could within the legal process of securing the borders and updating the regulations where needed.
University of California's Regents just voted to hike tuitions 25% over the next five years. As a graduate of the UC system and a parent of two recent UC graduates, I have seen first-hand the negative impacts of recent tuition hikes. I fear the latest hikes will make college an impossible dream for many students and an onerous burden for many more.
As a student decades ago, I was able to graduate from UC by working during the summers, with some help from my parents.My husband, whose father died young, also managed to afford a UC education with help from family and later, I worked to help put him through law school at UC Davis.
Later, as parents ourselves, we saved for over 20 years to set money aside for our children’s college funds, based on what financial experts advised would be enough when they were born.
But it wasn’t even close, due to the staggering tuition increases at the UC campuses that have already occurred in recent years. Our piggy bank, so to speak, was soon empty.
by David Ragland with Wayne Adams, Mahdis Azarmandi and Mark Lance
Photo by Jamelle Bouie, Creative Commons on FlickR
November 14, 2014 (Ferguson MO) -- It’s been over 100 days since Darren Wilson killed unarmed young African American Michael Brown and the world is watching and waiting to hear the forgone conclusion of white officer Wilson’s non-indictment. Many expect a violent reaction from an angry community when there is no indictment.
Photo from San Diego's Changing Climate: A Regional Wake-Up Call
By Jeffrey Meyer, Poway, SanDiego350 volunteer
November 13, 2014 (San Diego)--With the recent release of a new United Nations report on the global impact of climate change, we are given still another chilling warning that we are facing catastrophe unless we accelerate efforts to confront this crisis. The release of this report comes on the heels of a court decision rejecting the San Diego County climate action plan and the ongoing development of this state-mandated plan by the City of San Diego. It raises the stakes for everyone and compels us to reach higher and dig deeper for community solutions to this crisis.
November 6, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Now that the Republicans have won the Senate, we can expect different outcomes from different fragments of the party.
The tea and fruitcake wings of the GOP will want to stage some meaningless dramatic gestures, like another government shutdown or even a presidential impeachment. Other, smarter, GOP splinter groups will try to stop this, citing the near disastrous ratings dip the party got for the last government shutdown.
November 3, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Special District Board elections may not be sexy and certainly don’t get the press of federal races or even that of some of our municipal elections, but they are nonetheless extremely important for setting policy in the San Diego region. If anything the lack of attention paid to these districts adds to the importance of these elections. If the “sunlight” of media attention is the best disinfectant for a democracy, than it is easy to see why special districts can be breeding grounds for nepotism and corruption. The lack of public attention increases the importance of electing to these boards people of high integrity who will act as independent advocates for rate payers.
Update Nov. 8, 2014 -- Prior to publishing this editorial we contacted Mayor Wells for comment. He did not respond at the time but today contacted us to state that he did not estimate the renovations at $5.5 million. He clarified, "The renovations will actually be closer to $2.5 Million. If we are to lease space to the Rock their costs would only be what is above and beyond what we would normally do for the renovations. The costs associated with running the theater have roughly been $600,000/year. The expected negotiation with the Rock could bring in approximately $250,000 per year."
By Robert Clark
October 27, 2014 (El Cajon) -- The October 7 interview with Bill Wells, Mayor of El Cajon, contained a real bombshell. He said that renovations to re-open the East County Performing Arts Center would cost $5.5 million, with the Rock Church paying "much" of the cost.
“The claim of the administration and teachers' union that an Alpine separation would result in insolvency is a Halloween season scare tactic.” – Michael Waterman
By Michael Waterman, an East County attorney and writer
October 29, 2014 (La Mesa)--The state of the Grossmont School Board is not good. It's abysmal. Last year the County Grand Jury essentially charged the board majority with duping voters over the promised Alpine High School. In August the County Board of Education voted 5-0 to recommend to the State Board of Education that Alpine be allowed to break away from the District and build its own high school. This month a lawsuit was filed against the District which aims to stop bond spending on new projects until the State Board weighs in on the Alpine secession petition and a concomitant division of assets between Grossmont and Alpine.
October 27, 2014 (Alpine)--Alpine’s Steve Hunyar has been staking-out positions this week on “dirty politics coming to “little old, sleepy Alpine”, and has been attacking AUSD board members Eric Wray and Glenn Dickey.
Editor’s note: La Mesa Today reports that Guy McWhirter has admitted to funding the negative mailers targeting his opponent, Mary England, and funneling the money through the non-local “Public Safety Advocates” PAC. England in fact has the endorsement of La Mesa’s police, fire and public employees’ associations. The same PAC sent a negative mailer on an Alpine candidate. The mailer was similar in style to a second mailer sent anonymously, which listed endorsements for other candidates by 115 Alpine residents, some of whom have denied making the endorsements.
October 24, 2014 (La Mesa)--For the first time that I can remember, defamatory mailers or “hit pieces” have been delivered in La Mesa from big money and outside interests. Mary England who has the only endorsement by the La Mesa Police Officers’ Association is being attacked by a “PAC”, or Political Action Committee calling itself “Public Safety Advocates” out of Encinitas. The PAC is specifically targeting just one candidate, the only woman and the one with the most experience running in a field of five for the two open seats on the La Mesa City Council. Why now and for this position? Who is really behind this?
If we follow the money, we don’t have to look very far. Public records (Form 496) shows a contribution from Guy McWhirter, who donated $5,000 on 10/13/2014. The “Public Safety Advocates” who have thus far put out three hit pieces on Mary have received their money not only from Guy McWhirter, but from many builders and developers, and a local Diamond dealer, CK Diamonds who is owned by Charles “Chuck” Kaderabek from El Cajon.
October 20, 2014 (La Mesa) -- Don’t be fooled by Prop K. La Mesa voters have a term limits proposal for City Council on their ballots, but it’s unnecessary, undemocratic, and won’t work as advertised.
This election we'll have a majority with two years or less experience on our City Council. Yes, you read that correctly: no matter who wins, there will be two new people, plus a third half way through a first term - all without term limits in place.
And although it’s called the “three consecutive terms limit,” Prop K would actually allow candidates to run again after sitting out one 4-year cycle. The only thing it would limit is voters’ choices.
By: Ernie Susi, President, San Diego County Probation Officers Association;
Ben Kelso, President, San Diego Black Police Officers Association;
Alan R. Alvarez, President, National Non-Partisan Latino Peace Officers Association for Law and Order; and
Kevin McQuillen, President Fraternal Order of Police (San Diego Lodge #10)
October 11, 2014 (San Diego)--We expect judges to understand public safety issues. We hope they come to the bench with a track record of experience and supporting law enforcement and the community. In the November election there’s only one contested Superior Court Judge race, seat #25. The obvious choice is clear: Deputy Attorney General Brad Weinreb.
October 9, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The upcoming November election for Senate District 38 has become both an electoral and ethical quagmire. It is a situation with few solutions but one that demands to be understood.
The ethical morass is rooted in the recent reports about the involvement of our district’s State Senator Joel Anderson with a shadowy lobby group that has corporations like Google and Microsoft scrambling to separate themselves from its membership.