Editors Blog

EDITORIAL: STUDENTS AND PARENTS CAN’T AFFORD ANY MORE UC TUITION HIKES

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

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.

THE DEMISE OF LOCAL MEDIA: WHAT IF WE SOON HAVE NO NEWSPAPERS LEFT?

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--As a journalist, I find it disturbing to see the high number of East County media outlets that have closed their doors, slashed content, or sold out to a corporate conglomerate in recent months.  Those remaining are struggling amid a culture of readers that increasing are failing to support the important job of news gathering that is so critical for our democracy—not to mention keeping you informed of breaking news, emergencies and events in your community.

EDITORIAL: PUBLIC RECORDS ACT GUTTED IN STATE BUDGET—ASK GOVERNOR TO RESTORE YOUR RIGHTS

 

 

Update June 20, 2013 4 p.m. -- The Sacramento Bee reports that due to mounting public pressure, the Governor will abandon efforts to weaken the Public Records Act.  The Bee also reports that Democrats plan to push for a state Constitutional amendment to assure public access to government documents and require local agencies to pay the costs, thwarting efforts by local governments that have sought reimbursement from the state for costs of complying with the decades-old law.

 

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

June 20, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A budget now on the Governor’s desk would gut the California Public Records Act, eliminating your right to access  public records.  Donna Frye, president of Californians Aware (CalAware), warns, “This is where we are today, facing a Public Records Act wipe-out unless Governor Brown vetoes that portion of the budget trailer bills and restores all the provisions currently in place.”

CalAware, a watchdog group dedicated to protecting open government, urges  citizens to call the Governor today at (916)445-2841 and ask the following:

EDITORIAL: RESIDENTS COUNTYWIDE SHOULD URGE SUPERVISORS TO BAN WIND TURBINES IN FIRE-PRONE REGIONS

 

County Democrats gut fire protection resolution, while Republican supervisors also fail to protect County residents from wind turbine fires

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--The San Diego Democratic Central Committee this week passed a measure calling on County Supervisors to increase firefighting resources-- but removed a key provision that would have urged lawmakers to ban wind turbines in fire-prone East County.  

Wind turbines have been responsible for starting hundreds of fires around the world, including wildfires, but firefighters cannot fight a fire burning in a 500-foot-tall wind turbine whirling off burning debris. With Supervisors poised to approve a wind ordinance opening the door to numerous turbines in the backcountry, the vote was a major disappointment to residents concerned about the clear threat to public safety posed by wind turbines in our fire-prone region.

EDITORIAL: DON’T LET GOVERNMENT GROUPS HIDE THEIR AGENDAS

Take these steps to restore Brown Act protections at state and local levels

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

July 18, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Criticism is mounting over the state’s suspension of Brown Act protections, which have long required local government boards to provide at least 72 hours public notice of meeting agendas.

EDITORIAL: SUPERVISORS SHOULD DENY PATTERN ENERGY APPLICATION FOR OCOTILLO EXPRESS WIND

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

April 23, 2012 (Ocotillo) – In San Diego earlier this month, the county's planning commission heeded concerns of residents, environmentalists, tribes and health experts who voiced alarm over harmful impacts of industrial wind turbines. Planners voted to postpone enacting a wind ordinance and more fully study the issues. Their remarks made clear that most planners had serious reservations about potential impacts on human health, wildlife, cultural resources, environment, character of rural communities and public lands. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/9354

This was not the case with planners in Imperial County, who ignored a mountain of evidence as well as legitimate community concerns. Their zeal to rubberstamp a project that promises tax revenues and temporary jobs, along with renewable power, clearly came at the expense of public health and safety, protection of resources on public lands, and the long-held rights of Native Americans. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/9173

Imperial Valley Supervisors should reverse their planning commission’s decision and reject Pattern Energy’s proposed Ocotillo Express wind project.  Here are compelling reasons why.

ECM EDITORIAL: CPUC SHOULD REJECT SDG&E’S SCHEME TO MAKE RATEPAYERS PAY FOR WILDFIRES THAT IT CAUSED

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

April 5, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--When ENRON schemed to manipulate markets and defraud ratepayers, its executives went to jail. BP faces billions of dolalrs in fines for causing the Gulf Oil spill.  When automobile manufacturers sold cars with dangerous defects that killed people, it was their shareholders who paid the price. A lost hunter convicted of accidentally starting the Cedar Fire with a flare gun also spent time in jail. 

Why, then, should SDG&E and its publicly traded parent company, Sempra Energy, expect local ratepayers to pay for its uninsured liability costs for the wildfires that it caused, while its executives get off scott free?

ECM EDITORIAL: SAVE COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUPS FROM DEVELOPER-BACKED SCHEME TO SQUELCH LOCAL INPUT

 

SIGN A PETITION! Key vote Feb. 29 could take away your right to be informed and speak out

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

“People will never hear about projects until after they’re done if this [elimination of planning groups] goes through.” – Mark Ostrander, chair, Jacumba sponsor group

February 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – I've rarely published an editorial commentary, reserving my opinion for only those matters with the gravest of consequences for East County. One such matter will come before San Diego's Supervisors on February 29, when supervisors will vote on whether or not to eliminate all community planning groups countywide.  They will also weigh other “reforms” aimed at making it easier to pave over paradise--or put a goliath-scale project next door to you--with nobody the wiser until it's too late.

This ill-conceived idea is the brainchild of a “Red Tape Reduction Task Force” stacked with developers. If adopted, it will stifle voices of concerned residents in the early planning phases of major development projects from condo complexes to wind farms. 

Danielle Cook, a concerned citizen in Jacumba, has launched an online petition calling on Supervisors to save community planning groups. I have signed it, and urge all County residents to do the same if you value a democratic process that allows people’s voices to be heard, not just special interests. You can sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/petitions/san-diego-county-supervisor-save-our-planning-and-sponsor-groups.

OPEN LETTER TO THE UNION TRIBUNE: WHY DOESN'T YOUR NEW CITIZENS' EDITORIAL BOARD INCLUDE ANY EAST COUNTY VOICES?

 

 

 

 

 

To: Jeff Light, Editor, San Diego Union-Tribune; jeff.light@uniontrib.com

 

July 24, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- I applaud the UT for setting up a citizen’s editorial board.  In many ways you’ve achieved a diversity of views ethinically, racially, and politically. But there are some glaring omissions.

 

There is not a single voice representing East County, rural residents,  fire survivors, nor environmental protection interests in the backcountry. 

 

It’s particularly unbalanced to have SDG&E represented on the board, with no one to speak for rural East County folks negatively impacted by the company’s actions.

EDITOR'S BLOG: GUHSD COMMITTEE SHOULD CHECK REAGAN RECORD ON NATIVE AMERICAN ISSUES BEFORE NAMING ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL FOR FORMER PRESIDENT

By Miriam Raftery
 

"Your comments about American Indians indicate that your knowledge about us, and about the historical relationship between Indian governments and the United States, is lacking to the point of being shameful." -- American Indian Movement of Colorado, in an open letter to President Ronald Reagan, 1988

 

May 13, 2010 (Alpine) – Alpine's Native American tribal members were not invited to serve on a committee to recommend a name for Alpine’s planned new high school. A Union-Tribune editorial published during  debate over whether to build a 12th high school observed, “The Viejas and Sycuan Indian tribes consider Alpine to be their community. The tribes fully understand how important education is…They are important allies to have when taking on a forgetful district bureaucracy.”

EDITORIAL: WHY DIDN'T SAN DIEGO COUNTY POST ANY INFO ABOUT THE QUAKES AT ITS "EMERGENCY" WEBSITE?

 

 

 By Miriam Raftery, Editor

www.EastCountyMagazine.org

 

April 6, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – More than 24 hours after a 7.2 earthquake jolted our region, triggering more than 100 aftershocks, why has the County of San Diego failed to post a single mention of the recent quakes on its so-called “emergency” website at http://www.sdcountyemergency.com/

LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: A MIRACLE IN MEMPHIS





By Miriam Raftery



“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”

-- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.



Editor’s Note: This essay was written  several years ago following my trip to Memphis on the anniversary of King's death, but its message remains as timely now as it was then.

 

MEMPHIS – The shadow of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. looms large in Memphis, where Martin Luther King was assassinated thirty years ago. But his message transcends time and place, as I was poignantly reminded last year during a visit to the place where King drew his final breath.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

Dear Readers,

 

We're thankful for our wonderful readers, our talented writers, and our generous donors and sponsors.  We're also grateful for the beauty of our backcountry and for the privilege of reporting on our area's many hidden treasures and surprising sights--such as wild turkeys and sectacular fall colors which you may spot if you travel East County's backroads this holiday weekend. We hope this season finds  you in good spirits--and we wish you all a  happy and healthy Thanksgiving!  

--Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

REMINDER : NO POSTING AD LINKS IN COMMENTS ON STORIES!

Dear Readers, 

 

It's great to see so much community dialogue on our stories. However, we need to remind everyone to  please respect our rules.  The "comments" feature is for discussing news articles and events - not posting links to ads for businesses.  We will be delete comments (or portions) that are blatantly promotional, especially when unrelated to the news topic.  Repeat offenders may be banned--particularly spammers.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.

 

Miriam Raftery

Editor

 

 

 

HEALTHCARE SYSTEM ON THE OPERATING TABLE

Dear Readers: June 15, 2009--President Obama held a townhall meeting this week and also spoke to the American Medical Association promoting his proposal to create a government healthcare system that would compete against the private health insurance system. "If you love your healthcare plan, you can keep it," Obama pledged.

 

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MEMO TO ARNOLD: A SCRIPT TO SAVE KALEEFORNIA, NOT TERMINATE IT

An Editorial By Miriam Raftery
Editor, East County Magazine

June 3, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)—If California ever needed an action hero at the helm, it’s now. Instead, Arnold has taken the “girlie man” way out –balancing the budget on the backs of the poor by proposing to eliminate healthcare for children and welfare-to-work programs. He also wants to close 80% of state parks, release prisoners, and slash school spending.

EDITOR'S BLOG: FROM MUCKRAKING TO GROUNDBREAKING: FIRE STATIONS FOR EAST COUNTY--BUT STILL NONE FOR SAN DIEGO

March 11, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--The term "muckraker" has often been applied derisively toward media that dredges up evidence of official misconduct or neglect. But sometimes, muckraking--and a bit of public shaming--produces reforms by alerting the public and elected officials of a need to be filled.

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BE SURE YOUR HOME IS SAFE

Dear Readers:

(Nick Schuler)

Please make this your New Year's resolution: Be sure your home is safe for you and your loved ones during this winter season.

If you own a fireplace, have your chimneys checked before burning fires in this cold winter. These photos, taken at home in Valley Center, were the result of a chimney fire. These images reminded me of my days working at the Idaho Statesman, where an editor of ours had just finished writing a story on the importance of having chimneys swept and cleaned. Unfortunately he failed to heed his own advice, and had a chimney fire that nearly burned down his own home.

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A SEASON FOR REFLECTION

Dear Readers, 

December 1, 2008 (La Mesa) — The East County Toy & Food Drive was founded 33 years ago by Stony Stone and a group of local businessmen to make the holidays brighter for children in need.

This year, your help is needed more than ever.  Stony suffered a serious health crisis several weeks ago and remains in rehabilitation.  His illness falls in a year when more children than ever need help.  Amid these tough economic times, many families have lost homes or jobs.  Some can't afford to put food on the table. 

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PROUD PARENT--LOOK WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR "BABY!"

This is a FANTASTIC resource for those of us in the East County...Well done!

— Carole Kennedy, President, California Faculty Association, SDSU

 

Very cool! This magazine is filling a real void!

— Jamie Reno, award-winning Newsweek journalist

 

Thank you so much for the unexpected yet timely alert regarding the fire yesterday.  We saw the smoke but were left completely uninformed. Then suddenly I received your email on my Blackberry!   I'm referring you to many others.

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