Labor dispute also heats up; Oct. 26 and 27 meetings set as budget woes deepen
By Miriam Raftery
October 20, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Residents in the Dehesa area of unincorporated El Cajon will be losing a firefighting structure engine and a wildland fire engine due starting November 1.
In addition, a three-man engine will be replaced by a two-man paramedic crew—a situation that the San Miguel Firefighters Association (SMFA) contends on its website is “unsafe” but that the District contends is necessary due to dwindling property tax revenues that fund firefighting services.
Cost-of-Living Adjustment is First Since 2009, but benefit may be offset by hike in Medicare premiums for some recipients
October 19, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) -- Monthly Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits for more than 60 million Americans will increase 3.6 percent in 2012, the Social Security Administration announced today.
October 19, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Residents along the construction route for SDG&E’s Sunrise Powerlink Project have lodged noise complaints with the County. Now Supervisor Dianne Jacob has asked that the County revoke a waiver given that authorized SDG&E to fly on Sundays and a holiday weekend. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) also granted permission for the extended hours on federal BLM lands.
“It sounds like the Vietnam War zone out here,” bemoaned Lakeside resident Milt Cyphert, a veteran.
Half a million in Madrid sing Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" as peaceful protest
“Move Your Money” campaign urges transfer of money from big banks to local financial institutions by Nov. 5; “Solidarity” leader Lech Walesa joins forces with Occupy Wall Street
By Miriam Raftery
October 17, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Inspired by the Occupy Wall Street movement and similar demonstrations against financial institutions and corporate power in Spain and Germany, a “Global Day of Protest” on Saturday, October 15 brought millions of people into the streets in protests held in 950 cities worldwide. The largest occurred in Madrid, where an estimated half million Spaniards joined together to sing Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy” and raise hands to show that theirs was a peaceful protest. (Click video to view).
The movement is attracting some strange bedfellows—drawing support this week from labor leaders, Solidarity's Lech Walesa, and even a co-founder of the conservative Tea Party movement.
East County Magazine News Service
October 17, 2011 (El Cajon) – For the second time in less than a month, a car lost control on an East County freeway and crashed into an East County car dealership. Around 2:15 p.m. yesterday, a Honda Civic ran off I-8, severely damaging a pickup truck at Carl Burger Dodge in La Mesa.
Stephen Proctor of El Cajon had just returned from test-driving a vehicle when he witnessed the crash. In an interview with East County Magazine, Proctor saw he saw the car “just racing through the dealership at like 70 mph…He hit a wall and then started pinging off cars.” He added, “I know he totaled his car and did some pretty substantial damage to a truck that he hit first.”
DOWNTOWN AREA TROLLEY STATIONS AND STREETS TO CLOSE FOR TWO WEEKENDS: OCTOBER 21-23 AND OCTOBER 28-30
Additional Long-Term Closures also Announced
HELIX WATER DISTRICT GENERAL MANAGER MARK WESTON RETIRES; BOARD TO GIVE STAFF DIRECTION ON HIRING REPLACEMENT AT WED. MEETING
October 18, 2011 (La Mesa)-- After 10 years as General Manager of the Helix Water District, Mark Weston announced he will retire on December 30. On Tuesday at 6 p.m., the Board will provide staff with directions on recruiting a replacement. The meeting will be held at 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA SUPPORTERS TO MARCH IN PROTEST TUES. OCT. 18 OVER FEDERAL SHUT-DOWN OF CA DISPENSARIES
Protest planned Tues. Oct. 18 at Civic Center
By Jeremy Los
Oct. 16, 2011– A medical marijuana advocate stricken with scoliosis threatened to jump off an overpass above State Route 163 on Friday night after the U.S. Department of Justice announced plans to raid and shut down hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state.
The man is one of thousands of Californians who may now be forced to go without medicines that relieve pain or ease debilitating conditions.
By Russ Lindquist
After police broke up an Occupy San Diego encampment Friday, protestors rallied their forces with a 1,000 member-strong march on Saturday. But while millions are taking notice of “Occupy” protests nationwide aimed at helping Americans who are struggling, at least one East County man struggling with unemployment and homelessness feels disenfranchised by the movement.
October 16, 2011 (San Diego) --"Homeless Harry" sat outwardly calm, but inwardly cringing, late Friday afternoon at the Civic Center downtown during the Occupy San Diego (OSD) protest.
Earlier in the day, a clash between protestors and police left one demonstrator arrested and nearly a dozen others pepper-sprayed. Yet amidst a calm in the aftermath of violence, Harry sat alone silently, head curled down towards the filthy clothes on his torso, hair neatly combed, eyes sunken behind severely sun-worn skin. Later he would candidly bemoan the OSD attendees’ joviality and denounce the overall character of present-day protestors, police, press and pedestrians.
By George J. Janczyn
October 16, 2011 (San Diego) -- The following story is reprinted with permission from http://GrokSurfSanDiego.com.
The United States Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the City of San Diego, will begin installation of the next deep monitoring well site. The drilling and well installation is being done by USGS Research Drilling Unit, which aids USGS scientists throughout the western United States.
SDG&E QUIETLY REMOVES DISPUTED SUNRISE POWERLINK “WATER FILLING STATION” IN THE SAN CARLOS AREA OF SAN DIEGO
By George J. Janczyn
October 18, 2011 (San Diego) -- Last spring we learned via John Pilch (President, San Carlos Area Council–SCAC) that SDG&E was filling water tanker trucks from street fire hydrants for use as construction water for the Sunrise Powerlink Project, and more recently, that they had expanded the operation with construction of a “water filling station” behind a San Carlos shopping center (click here for the filling station story) to fill even more tanker trucks.
October 14, 2011 (San Diego) - A SIG alert has been issued and Highway 163 has been shut down at University Avenue. According to the CHP website, a man is threatening to jump off a bridge at 10th Street.
ECM news partner 10 News reports the man is a mental patient with a bag next to him, on the outside of the guard rail. A negotiator is at the scene.
Sheriff and Hazmat team called to scene
By Miriam Raftery
Update October 19, 2011: The San Diego Medical Examiner reports the body was a 65-year old man who died of smoke inhalation. His identity has not yet been released.
October 14, 2011 (Spring Valley) – A fire that engulfed an apartment complex at 3536 Sweetwater Springs Boulevard early this morning was initially suspected of being set to cover up a murder. However, authorities now say that they have ruled out foul play.
“The Sheriff has been called because several persons reported hearing gunshots,” said Leonard Villareal at San Miguel Fire Department. He confirmed that a body was found in a second-story apartment and approximately seven people suffered injuries.
October 14, 2011 (San Diego) – San Diego Police issued a warning yesterday to Occupy San Diego protesters camped at the Civic Center Plaza downtown to remove their belongings. While participants may continue to stage a sit-in as long as they wish, camping out will no longer be permitted.
This morning, police arrested one man and removed tents and personal belongings that remained. Many of the demonstrators have moved to Balboa Park, though it is unclear how long police will permit campers to remain. The protest attracted upwards of 2,000 or more last Friday night in a march through downtown, including many East County participants.
October 14, 2011 (San Diego)--The public is invited to the funeral service for San Diego Police Officer Jason Prokop, who was killed in an off-duty traffic collision on I-15 October 1 while he was rendering aid to a motorist. The service will be held on Sasturday, October 15 at 11 a.m. at the Rock Church, 2277 Rosecrans St., San Diego.
“I urge the Commission to treat SDG&E’s proposal the same way SDG&E has treated East County in recent years: Ignore it. Reject it. Trash it.” – Supervisor Dianne Jacob
By Miriam Raftery
October 13, 2011 (El Cajon)—East County residents didn’t mince words in voicing nearly unanimous opposition to a 17% rate hike proposed by SDG&E over the next three years. At a hearing held by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) at El Cajon’s City Council Chamber last night, dozens of residents urged administrative law judge John Wong to recommend that the CPUC deny SDG&E’s proposed $1.5 billion hike--or take advice of two watchdog groups that recommendeda rate decrease after their audits found SG&E inflated its costs.
Supervisor Dianne Jacob, speaking first, got a rousing ovation from the crowd. She voiced outrage over the rate hike and accused SDG&E of poor fiscal policy, a pattern of deception, and exorbitant bonuses paid to executives after the company was found responsible for wildfires that scorched our region. View Supervisor Jacob's letter to the CPUC.
October 13, 2011 (El Cajon)—A woman was struck by a pickup truck and killed in the 600 block of East Washington this evening at 7:50 p.m. According to El Cajon Police, she was wearing dark clothes while crossing the street with a companion. The victim is believed to be a Middle Eastern woman in her 40’s, according to Lt. Frank La Haye.
October 13, 2011 (La Mesa) – University Avenue in La Mesa has been reopened after authorities found no explosives in an abandoned U-Haul truck. Damian Payne, a 35-year-old transient, has been arrested and charged with auto theft and possession of stolen property.
The U-Haul had been stolen on October 8 in Santee, according to a press release issued by La Mesa Police.
October 13, 2011 (La Mesa) – An investigation is underway into an abandoned U-Haul truck with a broken window in a no-parking zone near the new La Mesa Police Station at 8085 University Avenue.
“We blocked off the 8000 block of University Avenue at Spring Street and Baltimore Drive,” Lt. Dan Willis at La Mesa Police told ECM. He added that witnesses reported seeing the driver jump from the vehicle carrying black duffel bags and run away. The man was dressed in a black shirt and black pants.
READER’S EDITORIAL: COUNCIL CHOOSES NOT TO ENDORSE PREFERENTIAL SALE OF SOME COMMERCIAL PRODUCTS OVER OTHERS
By Kristin Kjaero
October 13, 2011 (La Mesa) -- Re: "Reader’s Editorial: The Shame of La Mesa -- Council Votes Against Fair Trade, Bows to Corporate Interests Over Helping People," in which Meg Jensen expressed her disappointment at their decision to decline a proposal by the Fair Trade Towns USA ("FTT").
October 13, 2011 (Spring Valley) –A 16-month-old child apparently drowned in a backyard pool in the 1200 block of El Kelton Boulevard in Spring Valley.
The County of San Diego, Department of Environmental Health (DEH) has issued a Boil Water Order and Public Notification for Wynola Farms Water District located at 4470 Highway 78, Julian, CA 92036 effective immediately.
The drinking water system has tested present for E.Coli and total coliform bacteria. The presence of E.Coli bacteria indicates that the water may be contaminated with human or animal wastes.
By Miriam Raftery
October 12, 2011 (Santee)—Without a squawk of opposition from the audience, the Santee City Council voted 3-2 to let city residents keep chickens. Roosters, however, are still banned, since only hens for egg production are allowed.
October 12, 2011 (El Cajon) -- You can be a part of the party – and history. Excitement is growing as plans continue for the City of El Cajon's Centennial Celebration in 2012, organizers report. The exact date of the City's 100th Birthday is Monday, November 12, 2012, but events are in the planning stages for the months leading up to that date.
The Centennial Celebration Committee, led by Councilmember Jillian Hanson-Cox, is now accepting volunteers.
Update October 23: ECM News partner 10 News reports that the victim was Kyle Wyborn Pearson, 42, according to a spokesman with the Imperial County District Attorney's Office. Pearson had missed a pretrial hearing on charges that he killed a Caltrans employee in a hit-and-run car accident.
Jim Pearson told ECM that his brother was "a great man." Kyle Pearson "served our nation in the Navy and was kind in all things," he added. The victim was "very bright" and was also a musician who loved living in San Diego, according to his brother. "He is now gone, and we miss him greatly."
Ruling today on smart meter opt-out for SDG&E customers sparks added interest among local ratepayers
By Miriam Raftery
October 11, 2011 (El Cajon) – SDG&E wants to hike utility rates by over 17% in the next four years. Tomorrow, East County residents will have a chance to voice their views on the proposal at two hearings held by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). The public meetings will be held at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m. at the El Cajon City Council Chambers, 200 East Main Street in El Cajon.
An East County Magazine poll of readers has found that thus far, 93% of the 275 who voted think the CPUC should deny SDG&E's rate hike request. TAKE OUR POLL: Should the CPUC approve SDG&E's rate hike?
The rate hike is opposed by the CPUC’s own Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA), which conducted an audit that found SDG&E inflated its costs. The DRA recommended that SDG&E lower—not raise—its rates.
Update October 12: A second cougar sighting occurred today within a mile of the school.
October 11, 2011 (Poway) – Chaparral Elementary School in Poway has sent a warning letter to parents advising that the Sheriff’s Department reported that a mountain lion, also known as a cougar, had been seen in the neighborhood this morning.
October 11, 2011 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa City Manager Dave Witt has announced the selection of 25-year La Mesa Police Department veteran Edward (Ed) Aceves as the City’s new Chief of Police.
Witt said that Aceves competed against candidates from outside the organization and proved that he has exceptional qualities that will help him succeed in his new position. Aceves has served as Police Captain, overseeing each of the Police Department’s three divisions during his tenure. Last month he was appointed acting Chief of Police upon the retirement of Chief Alan Lanning.
"There are an estimated 1.4 billion people living in poverty and existing on less than $1.25 a day...Good news is that you can do something about this!" --La Mesa Fair Trade
October 10, 2011 (La Mesa)—On Tuesday, La Mesa’s City Council will consider a resolution to declare the community a “Fair Trade"city.
About two dozen cities nationwide have already been designated "Fair Trade Towns USA" including Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and other major cities as well as smaller communities such as Taos, New Mexico and Burlington, Vermont. Supporters have established a website at http://lamesafairtrade.blogspot.com.
CABLES STRUNG ACROSS ROADS IN OCOTILLO BY POWERLINK HELICOPTERS ENDANGER OFF-ROAD VEHICLES, MOTORCYCLIST CONTENDS
By Miriam Raftery
October 9, 2011 (Ocotillo) – ECM has received photos and an e-mail from Jim Pelley, a motorcyclist who reports finding metal cables strung two feet off the ground across roadways in Ocotillo frequented by off-road vehicle enthusiasts.
The cables were attached to an SDG&E helicopter “pulling cables from tower to tower,” Pelley reports.”This is a serious situation and I am worried that someone will not see this cable and a serious accident will result with either the off road vehicle or the helicopter.”