January 28, 2012 (Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 290, the War Memorial Protection Act. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The War Memorial Protection Act—which allows for the inclusion of religious symbols on war memorials—was introduced by Hunter in response to a ruling by the Ninth Circuit which declared San Diego’s Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial unconstitutional. The measure is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Feb. 29 meeting will allow public testimony on Red Tape Reduction Task Force recommendations, including developers’ proposal to eliminate community planning groups and Resource Protection Ordinance
By Miriam Raftery
January 27, 2012 (San Diego)—A lawsuit filed by Californians Aware has succeeded in persuading the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to vacate votes that approved key changes made by a developer-stacked Red Tape Reduction Task Force without public input. The lawsuit alleged that the Board violated the Brown Act by voting on items not listed as action items on the agenda. Now, the County has announced it will hold a public hearing on February 29.
By Miriam Raftery
January 26, 2012 (Palomar) – Last week, we reported that Friends of Palomar Mountain State Park launched a pledge drive to save this beautiful place from closing forever. They asked the state to keep the park open if their group can raise $60,000 to fill the gap between revenues and operating expenses. Already, $16,625 has been raised.
Today, chairman Rick Barclay revealed, “We've received a generous matching pledge challenge from Mr. & Mrs. Robert S. Wilson of Rancho Santa Fe: If we can raise $30,000 in pledges and donations, they’ll match that amount.” Now only $13,375 more is needed to reach the $60,000 total.
President calls for trade reforms to bring jobs back to U.S., tax fairness and more
By Mia Myklebust and Miriam Raftery
January 26, 2012 (San Diego)—The State of the Union address traditionally reviews the condition of our nation and previews the President’s legislative plan for the future. This year, Barack Obama’s speech had added importance as his last State of the Union address before the 2012 election. The incumbent presidents challenges were to address successes of his current term and his long-term goals for a potential five more years.
The President provided evidence that economic recovery is underway. He touted his administration’s success in combating terrorism, eliminating Osama bin Ladin, ending the Iraq War and improving America’s relationships overseas. In addition, he laid out ambitious proposals for “an America built to last.” He issued repeated calls to action, among them:
- Trade reforms and tax credits for businesses that bring jobs back to America
- Tax “fairness” to help middle class Americans
- Invest savings from ending the Iraq war into reducing the deficit and creating jobs
- Creation of a Veterans Jobs Corps
- Prevent high school drop-outs and provide incentives to stop tuition hikes
- End oil subsidies, increase U.S. oil production, and support clean energy technologies
BP and Amonix seek to reap the sun in East County
By Miriam Raftery
January 22, 2012 (Jacumba) – Jacumba, a high desert town with a population of just 561 in the last census, now finds itself at “ground zero” for major energy projects. Already, adjacent and formerly protected federal wilderness areas have been approved by the Department of the Interior for massive wind turbines 40 stories tall.
Now, BP Solar –part of the BP corporation made infamous by the Gulf Coast oil spill, wants to build a massive solar farm on the outskirts of Jacumba. So does Amonix, a major solar corporation. Together, the two solar facilities would cover over 1,300 acres—roughly the size of Balboa Park (1,200 acres), over two square miles.
But many rural residents are far-from-pleased about these new prospective neighbors.
January 26, 2012 (San Diego) – If you or your kids love surfing or swimming in the ocean, now may not be the best time to hit the beach. A great white shark was spotted by surfers off Imperial Beach Tuesday by surfers, including one who photographed the dorsal fin with his cell phone camera.
STOP “DANGEROUS” BUDGET CUTS THREATENING DISABLED PATIENTS, DISABLED SAN DIEGO MAN IMPLORES: RALLY SET FOR FRIDAY
By Miriam Raftery
January 25, 2012 (San Diego) – Raul Carranza has Muscular Dystrophy. He cannot walk, move his arms, eat or even breathe on his own. He requires round-the-clock nursing care—care denied after Medi-Cal slashed his nursing hours due to state budget cuts.
“Last year I moved away to UCLA by myself and lived away from my family for a whole semester,” he said. “Unfortunately I had to come back home to San Diego at the end of December." That's because the state cut his nursing hours, leaving him unable to survive on his own.
Council also approves program to promote composting by local gardeners
January 24, 2012 (La Mesa)—Gearing up for the city’s year-long centennial celebration, 2012 promises to be “a very busy, festive and memorable year,” said La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid during tonight’s State of the City address.
Major revitalization improvements will also take place in the downtown village this year--changes that the Mayor believes will transform the area into a destination for visitors countywide as well as a magnet for new businesses.
COUNTY ANNOUNCES NEW AGRICULTURAL LANDS CONSERVATION PROGRAM: APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED NOW THROUGH MARCH 1
January 23, (2012)--The County of San Diego is initiating a new agricultural conservation pilot program known as the Purchase of Agricultural Conservation Easement (PACE) program. The PACE program is intended to promote the long term preservation of agriculture in the County. The program is based on the framework of what is traditionally referred to as a Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) program.
By Miriam Raftery
January 21, 2012 (Alpine) – The Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) is holding a series of public hearings on proposed land use changes that could impact about four percent (3,000 acres) of all lands in the APCG planning area. The properties are among some 77,000 acres countywide of privately owned lands within Cleveland National Forest.
January 24, 2012 (Jamul) – The citizens of Jamul, a small rural town in eastern San Diego Country, have launched of a community website at www.Jamul.com. The new site includes community news, emergency alerts, history, resources, events and more.
The site’s purpose is to provide all those living and working in Jamul and the surrounding area with a comprehensive informational resource.
January 25, 2012 (San Carlos)—A teen driver with four passengers in a Dodge Charger struck a Dodge SUV carry a family with three young children last night on Badin Drive near Jackson Drive. The crash, which occurred around 8:30 p.m., injured eight people.
Update January 29, 2012: The San Diego Medical Examiner's office has identified the victim as Derek anthony Millsap, who lived with his family in Escondido.
January 24, 2012 (Escondido) – A 22-year-old Escondido driver was killed tonight after racing another vehicle, causing a shutdown of multiple lanes on I-15 south late this afternoon.
January 24, 2012 (San Diego) – A Sig Alert has been issued for Highway 94 west near Federal Blvd. due to a rollover accident. At least one victim is reportedly trapped, according to the CHP website. Two lanes are blocked and traffic is impacted in both directions.
Update January 24, 2012: Richard Hiel has been found, the Sheriff reports today.
January 23, 2012 (El Cajon)—The San Diego Sheriff seeks public help to locate Richard Hiel, 83, who suffers from early onset dementia and diabetes. He was last seen driving a red 2000 Ford Ranger pickup truck (license CA 6A11090) away from his residence today at 2 p.m. at 2040 Marlinda Way in the unincorporated area of El Cajon. He was wearing a beige raincoat and uses a cane to walk.
Is duck-hunting training for dogs a wise use of public land and water, or just plain daffy?
By Miriam Raftery
January 23, 2012 (Jamul) – Last week, ECM reported on controversy surrounding sporting groups’ plans to create the Honey Springs Sporting Dog Training Facility in the Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area, a state-owned preserve. Neighbors were shocked to learn that dog training ponds would be filled with 2.4 million gallons of groundwater a year. So was the local planning group and the area’s rural fire department, which relies on the same water supply to fight fires.
Now state and county officials have both confirmed that groundwater will be the key factor in determining whether or not the project moves forward.
Update January 24: The victim has been identified as Amanda Jean Blessum, according to the Medical Examiner's office.
January 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)Update 5:30 p.m.--A 19-year old Ramona woman driving a silver Kia Spectra was killed in a collision with a Propane truck at 2:10 p.m. on San Vicente Road, jsut east of Wildcat Canyon Road near the Lakeside/Ramona boundary.
"Due to her unsafe speed for conditions (wet roadway), she failed to maintain control of her vehicle," said Officer Brian Pennings with the California Highway Patrol. "She crossed over the solid double yellow line directly into the path of a 2010 International Propane truck."
January 23, 2012 (Mount Laguna)--The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for the Mount Laguna Recreation Area water system located on Sunrise Highway, Mt. Laguna, CA 91948 effective immediately.
The drinking water system has tested present for total coliform bacteria and absent for E.coli.
January 22, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A high wind warning has been issued by the National Weather Service starting Monday at 6.a.m. through Tuesday at 4 p.m. A wind watch will remain in effect through Wednesday. Gale force winds may be strong enough to cause property damage and traffic hazards for motorists, the NWS warns.
January 22, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is offering absolutely free tax preparation and e-filing services in East County. Volunteers will staff these locations from February 1, to April 17, 2012.
”The centers are open to all East County residents, primarily seniors and low-income,” says Maureen Keeling, a volunteer in the program. Scroll down for a list of locations and phone numbers to call for appointments.
January 21, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued an urgent high wind warning for San Diego County mountains and deserts. The warning is in effect from now through 10 p.m. tonight as a strong storm moves through the region.
90 mph gusts--hurricane force--are possible, the NWS warns. Strongest winds are forecast for mountain crests and desert slopes. Sustained gusts of 25 to 35, with additional gusts up to 65 mph are likely.
Supervisors accused of approving items not on agenda regarding cutting red tape for development projects
By Terry Francke, General Counsel, Californians Aware
January 20, 2012 (San Diego)--Californians Aware has filed suit against the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, challenging its decision at a meeting last month as a violation of the Ralph M. Brown Act, the state’s open meeting law for local government.
The petition, filed today in San Diego County Superior Court, cites the Board’s immediate approval of a slate of recommendations from an advisory committee on cutting red tape in development approvals.
January 20, 2012 (January 20, 2012 ) Lakeside –A memorial service will be held January 27 for Ryan Carter, the 12-year-old Lakeside boy stabbed to death by a playmate, age 10.
The defendant has been charged with murder and felony assault, but because of his young age his case will be handled in the juvenile justice system, where he could face detention until age 25.
January 19, 2012 (San Diego) – The Regional Task Force on the Homeless seeks volunteers to help with its annual countywide point-in-time count of homeless people in our region. Titled the “We all County Campaign,” the count will be held on Friday, January 27 from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. To volunteer, sign up at http://www.rtfhsd.org/pitc/weallcount-registration/.
Forming teams is encouraged, but not required. Another 200 volunteers are needed to reach this year’s goal of 750 volunteers.
January 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – If you’re seeing smoke over our local mountains, don’t panic. Cal-Fire confirms that it is assisting the Rancho Cuyamaca State Park with a controlled burn today.
IPN indicates the burn is at the Middle Peaks area of the Park.
Crowd reacts warmly to news that CPUC denied SDG&E charge as "illegal"
Photo by Bob Silvern
January 18, 2012 (San Diego) -- Over sixty San Diegans angered by SDG&E’s proposed tax (network use charge) on rooftop solar customers protested at the company’s Energy Innovation Center open house today, pleading: “Please don’t take our sunshine away.”
Unbeknownst to protesters, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) issued a ruling during the same hour rejecting SDG&E’s proposal after concluding that the proposed charge would be illegal.
January 19, 2012 (San Diego) – Tonight, the Coalition for Reproductive Choice will commemorate the 39th anniversary of the landmark Roe v. Wade decision. Speakers will give international and local perspectives on the battle over reproductive rights. The event will be held at the Joe & Vi Jacobs Center, 404 Euclid Avenue in San Diego.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision legalized most abortions, finding that the Constitutional right to privacy protects a woman’s choice to end a pregnancy before the viability stage. But today, a national ban on abortion is a very real prospect. All current Republican presidential candidates favor outlawing abortion. Some would prohibit abortion when a mother’s life is at stake or when she is raped. The Supreme Court is just one vote away from repealing Roe v. Wade, so legality of abortion in the U.S. will hinge on the next president’s appointment of a justice to fill a future opening on the high court.
CPUC TO HOLD HEARING IN JACUMBA JAN. 24 ON ECO SUBSTATION AND NEW TRANSMISSION LINES PLANNED FOR BOULEVARD
January 19, 2012 (Jacumba) – The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) and assigned Administrative Law Judge Hallie Yacknin will hold a hearing in Jacumba on January 24. The public may testify with comments on SDG&E's proposed $285 million 60-85 acre ECO Substation and 13 miles of new 138kV transmission lines planned for Boulevard.
The hearing will be at Jacumba Highland Center, 44681 Old Highway 80 in Jacumba on Tuesday, January 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. View hearing notice.
By Miriam Raftery
Updated January 20, 2012 to include SDG&E's response to the CPUC decision.
January 18, 2012 (San Diego) – A controversial proposal by San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to impose a “network use charge” on homeowners and business owners for rooftop solar production has been rejected by the California Public Utilities Commission.
“Thankfully, the CPUC saw through the utility’s distortions,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said in a statement issued today. Jacob said the proposal was unfair and that it was “designed to kill off competition from solar providers."
Update: The device has been found to be harmless. "Itw as either debris or a device made to look like an explosive," said Maurice Luque with San Diego Fire. Also, the device was on Conrad in San Diego, not Conrad on Mount Helix.
January 18, 2012 *(San Diego's East County) – The Metro Arson Strike Team from San Diego Fire Department, along with a representative from the federal Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agency, has been deployed to a home at 4549 Conrad, Chris Hoffman with the ATF has confirmed to East County Magazine.
According to Incident Page Network, a suspicious device in front of the home has triggered the investigation and multiple homes on the street are being evacuated.