DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS AND EVENTS JUNE 30 - JULY 29

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS CALIFORNIA’S CONCEALED CARRY HANDGUN LIMITS

ASSEMBLY SPEAKER KILLS SINGLE PAYER HEALTHCARE IN CALIFORNIA FOR THIS YEAR

ALPINE RESIDENTS SEEK HELP TO FIND SUSPECTS CAUGHT ON TAPE PLANTING FIRECRACKER UNDER CHILD’S WINDOW

FIRE NEAR MESA GRANDE RESERVATION THREATENS HOMES

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: MORGAN COOK, AWARD-WINNING JOURNALIST, ON HER INVESTIGATION INTO REP. HUNTER

FIND YOUR INNER COWBOY AT THE COUNTY FAIR

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS & EVENTS JUNE 25 - JULY 29

CA GROUPS: SENATE HEALTH BILL "MORE DRACONIAN" THAN HOUSE VERSION

NATIONAL HOUSING EXPERT HIRED AS CEO OF NEW REGIONAL TASK FORCE ON HOMELESS: WALKER LED EFFORTS THAT REDUCED CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS 90% IN UTAH

TRAVEL + LEISURE CHOOSES RAMONA WINERY VINEYARD GRANT JAMES AS #2 WINERY IN U.S. TO VISIT

FOURTH OF JULY FESTIVITIES IN EAST COUNTY

News

SANTEE COUNCIL HOLDS SPECIAL SESSION APRIL 3 TO MAKE EMERGENCY DECLARATION FOR SINKHOLE REPAIRS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Screenshot, NBC  7

April 1, 2017 (Santee) – The Santee City Council will hold a special meeting in April 3rd at 2 p.m. to consider a resolution proclaiming an emergency in order to authorize immediate repair of certain corrugated metal pipe storm drain systems that have caused major sinkholes that threaten to undermine homes.  The sinkholes are located on East and West Hartland Circle and Ryder Court.

GUATAY MAN FOUND DEAD AT WORKSITE IN ESCONDIDO

 

East County News Service

April 1, 2017 (Guatay) – Jack Rafael Ruiz, 66, of Guatay died on March 30th at a home he was working on as a pest control employee at 1526 Oak Hill Drive in Escondido.  According to the Medical Examiner’s office, a coworker left for two hours and upon return, found Ruiz unresponsive on the back patio with head trauma.

SYCUAN BREAKS GROUND ON CASINO EXPANSION INCLUDING NEW HOTEL AND EVENTS CENTER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 31, 2017 (El Cajon) –“This is truly our day. We’re here to celebrate,” Sycuan Tribal Chairman Cody Martinez told a packed house during a groundbreaking on the Sycuan reservation for the tribe’s casino expansion.

The ambitious project will include a 12-story hotel resort with 300 rooms,  adult pool with swim-up bar, kids pool,  gardens including a 420-foot-long “lazy river,” new restaurants , spa,  60,000 in additional gaming space, and a spacious 11,401 square foot ballroom that can double as concert hall seating 1,200 or banquet room  with capacity for 700. The $226 million, 500,000 square foot project is slated to open in 2019.

BIPARTISAN MEMBERS OF SENATE AND HOUSE INTRODUCE BILLS TO REGULATE POT LIKE ALCOHOL, GIVE TAX BREAKS TO MARIJUANA BUSINESSES

 

Rep. Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Republican member of House Ways and Means Committee, joins Rep. Earl Blumenauer as lead sponsor of tax reform bill

East County News Service

March 30, 2017 (Washington D.C.) -- A bipartisan group of U.S. senators and representatives this week introduced seven measures to advance cannabis policy at the federal level. The bills covered a broad range of issues related to resolving tension between state and federal cannabis laws.

CHANGES APRIL 1ST FOR TAXES ON CIGARETTES AND ELECTRONIC VAPING DEVICES

 

Source: State Board of Equalization

March 30, 2017 (Sacramento) -- California voters approved Proposition 56, which increased the excise tax rate on cigarettes and expanded the definition of “tobacco products” to include any type of tobacco, nicotine, little cigars, and electronic cigarettes sold in combination with nicotine.

MAYOR WELLS LEADS EFFORT TO OPPOSE SANCTUARY STATE BILL, LAUNCH “SAFE CITIES” EFFORT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery and Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 31, 2017 (El Cajon )—El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells is leading efforts among local officials opposed to Senate Bill 54, which would declare California a sanctuary state.  Officials from several local cities joined  Wells in a press conference March 29th at the El Cajon Police Department, where about 25 protesters who support the sanctuary measure also turned out.

Opponents of SB 54 claim it would make communities less safe and put federal funds at risk.  They have launched their own website, www.mayorsforsafecities.org

Critics disagree, and one local official contends that backers of the Safe Cities website have disseminated "alternative facts"  that mislead the public on SB 54.

SURVEY SHOWS LA MESA RESIDENTS THINK QUALITY OF LIFE IS GREAT, BUT WANT MORE PARK FACILITIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2017 (La Mesa) – A survey conducted by the city of La Mesa found that 91% of residents rated quality of life in the city as good or excellent, with 87% satisfied with the city’s performance in providing municipal services.

SDG&E IMPROVES BY UPGRADING SERVICE FOR 1,000TH MOBILE HOME CUSTOMER

 

Source:  SDG&E

March 29, 2017 (San Diego) — This week, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) along with local and state officials commemorated the 1,000th mobile home park residence to receive upgraded utility infrastructure. It is part of the Mobile Home Park Utility Upgrade Program that replaces aging energy systems that relied on one master meter for the entire park with new equipment connected directly to individual homes.

THE EPIDEMIC OF RUSSIA SCANDAL DEATHS, DISAPPEARANCES & THAT DAMNED FALLING BATHTUB

 

By Shaun Mullen, originally published at The Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Shaun Mullen was an award-winning editor and reporter who covered the Vietnam War, O.J. Simpson trials, Clinton impeachment, Osama bin Laden and more before turning to blogging and social commentary. He was a five-time Pulitzer Prize nominee, covered 12 presidential campaigns and authored several books. Much of his work is archived and accessible online in the Shaun D. Mullen Journalism Papers in Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library.

March 29, 2017 (Washington D.C.) -- Just because people with connections to Donald Trump’s Russia scandal keep dying or disappearing unexpectedly does not necessarily mean that their heart attacks, assassinations in broad daylight, mysterious exits and other premature departures are any more than an uncanny number of coincidences. (Cough, cough.) But the guy authorities claim was critically injured when his bathtub fell on him on the eve of a court appearance that would have been deeply embarrassing to the Vladimir Putin regime who also happens to be a key witness in a U.S. fraud case took my conspiracy-averse, never-leap-to-conclusions investigative self over the top.

KPBS MOSTLY QUIET ON FEDERAL CUTS, WON’T “CRY WOLF”

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo by Ken Stone: Nancy Worlie and Tom Karlo oversee KPBS and its news operations.

March 28, 2017 (San Diego) -- Three weeks ago, KPBS General Manager Tom Karlo and colleague Nancy Worlie had “face-to-face visits” in Washington with four San Diego members of Congress.

HIGH RATES OF LEAD CONTAMINATION FOUND IN CALIFORNIA CHILDREN

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2017 (San Diego) – Last week, lead contamination was discovered at a school in the San Diego Unified School District.  Testing was done after a service dog refused to drink the water and a film was noticed on the water’s surface.  Now, San Diego Unified School District has announced it will test all local schools’ water systems.

LAKESIDE RESIDENTS SEEK CLEANUP OF DEBRIS IN EL MONTE VALLEY

 

Updated March 28 with a response from Michael Beck at the Endangered Habitats Conservancy and Supervisor Dianne Jacob's office.

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2017 (Lakeside) - A big mess in Lakeside just got worse.  Someone has dumped debris illegally over the weekend along a waste heap from a former sand mining site that residents in Lakeside’s El Monte Valley were already fighting to get cleaned up.

TRUMPCARE DEFEAT: TRUMP PULLS OBAMACARE REPEAL VOTE: PLAN WAS LOSING CONSERVATIVES AND MODERATES

 

Reprinted with permission from The Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

By Joe Gandelman, Editor-In-Chief, The Moderate Voice

March 25, 2017 (San Diego) -- President Donald Trump did not win bigly in today’s vote — that never occurred — in the House of representatives. The one-two step of repealing Obamacare in favor of what many (not the White House) call Trumpcare and others (Trump’s supporters) call Ryancare simply did not happen. They didn’t have the votes. Cable coverage and stories detailed how the bill was hemorrhaging hard-core conservative Republican and moderate Republican support.

HEALTHCARE VOTE TODAY ON REVISED BILL WITH LESS DEFICIT REDUCTION, ELIMINATION OF MANDATORY MATERNITY AND NEWBORN COVERAGE, OTHER CHANGES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Tweet sent by ex-Bush White House lawyer Richard Painter, showing all-male White Hosue meeting at which vital healthcare benefits for women were stripped from the bill.  Painter says the bill made "Trumpcare even worse."  But Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) says it will "save America."

March 24, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President Trump has demanded that the House of Representatives hold an up-or-down vote today on Republican’s American Health Care Act , stating that if it does not pass, the Affordable Healthcare Act (Obamacare) will remain in place and he will move on to other priorities such as trade reforms.

Lacking enough votes for passage,  Republicans held a closed-door meeting last night on a hastily-revised version of their original plan to woo conservatives with changes such as taking away healthcare coverage for pregnant women and repealing new taxes sooner. The new version  is still estimated to result in 24 million people losing healthcare, but would reduce the deficit by only $150 billion, not the $337 billion in the original bill, according to a revised Congressional Budget Office report.

Healthcare  amendments added to woo the most conservative members of Congress all weaken existing protections.  According to a Washington Post story those stories include:

JUSTICE DEPT. LAUNCHES CRIMINAL PROBE INTO REP. DUNCAN HUNTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – The U.S. Justice Department is conducting a criminal probe into allegations that Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) illegally used campaign finance funds for personal gain, according to a statement issued today by House Committee on Ethics Chairwoman Susan Brooks. (R-Indiana) and Ranking Member Theodore Dutch(D-Florida.)

The statement indicated that the Dept. of Justice has asked  the committee to defer its investigation into potential ethics violations.  The Committee also released  the independent Office of Congressional Ethics (OCE)  report on its findings.  That report reveals that the bipartisan OCE members voted unanimously, 5-0, to recommend that the House Committee on Ethics further review the allegations “because there is  “substantial reason to believe that Rep. Hunter converted campaign funds to personal use to pay expenses that were not legitimate and verifiable campaign expenditures attributable to bona fide campaign or political purposes.”

DEADLINE FOR REQUESTS FOR DISASTER ASSISTANCE IS APRIL 15

 

East County News Service

March 23, 2017 (Sacramento) - State agencies, local and tribal governments, as well as certain private nonprofit organizations, which sustained damage during severe winter storms from Jan. 18 to Jan. 23, have until April 15, 2017, to submit Requests for Public Assistance (RPA).

SUPREME COURT LIMITS PRESIDENT’S APPOINTMENT POWER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2017 (Washington, D.C.) - Since 1898, more than a century ago, over 100 federal employees have served as acting agency heads while the top spot remained vacant and an appointee was awaiting Senate confirmation. But no longer. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled this week that President Barack Obama exceeded his presidential authority when he named Lafe Solomon, general counsel of the National Labor Relations Board, as temporary appointee to head the agency.

ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL AND EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE TO HOST EASTERN SAN DIEGO COUNTY PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST

 

 

Photo by Darin Sefcik:  First place winner in East County Magazine's 2013 photography competition

 

March 15,  2017 (Santee) -- Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R-Santee) and East County Magazine announced today that they are hosting a photography contest that features photographs taken in San Diego’s East County.  The winning photographs will be displayed in Assemblyman Randy Voepel’s Capitol Office and published in East County Magazine.  Categories include wildlife, landscapes, cities and towns, activities, and people. 

“Eastern San Diego County is full of beautiful scenery and iconic landmarks, and I can’t wait to showcase photos of our wonderful community in our State’s Capitol,” Voepel said.  

Miriam Raftery, Editor of East County Magazine said, “We’re pleased to partner with Assemblyman Voepel to showcase the best of East County’s beautiful scenery, unique communities, people, wildlife, and activities.” 

Click "read more" or scroll down for for details:

NEW CARRY-ON RESTRICTIONS FOR FLIGHTS INTO U.S. DUE TO TERROR THREATS USING EXPLODING ELECTRONIC DEVICES

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2017 (San Diego) -- The United States has issued new flight restrictions due to intelligence reports that terrorist groups plan to smuggle explosives onto airlines in electronic devices.

If you’re flying into the U.S. aboard certain foreign airlines from 10 countries in the Middle East and vicinity, you won’t be allowed to carry on any electronic device larger than a cell phone.

SPRING RAINS ARE COMING, GET SOME FREE SANDBAGS

 

By Gig Connaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

March 21, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - So, spring has arrived — and the rains are coming back! The National Weather Service is predicting rain this week for San Diego County, possibly heavy Wednesday.

Which means it’s also a good time to check to see if you need any free sand and/or bags to help protect your home and property from the weather.

TRUMP’S ORDER 13769: HOW IT’S GETTING RID OF VISA HOLDERS AND IMMIGRANTS WHO HAVE NO IDEA IT EXISTS

 

By Steven Riznyk,  immigration attorney, San Diego

March 21, 2017 (San Diego) -- It is interesting to note that a lot of Green Card and visa holders are still not aware of Presidential Order 13768 as the travel ban took over the news. However, Steven Riznyk’s law firm, San Diego Biz Law, has been receiving calls from clients nationwide and worldwide who are affected by this section. They are afraid to travel, are denied entry at the border, and lose their airfares as well as vacation times. 

People don’t realize, states Steven Riznyk, how Presidential Order 13768 is affecting their family members and employees. Regrettably, and what is more surprising, states Mr Riznyk, is that a lot of visa and Green Card holders have no idea this Order is in effect, and are blindly traveling outside our borders, never to return. 

Green Card and Visa Holders are unaware that if they have a criminal record of any kind they require an approved waiver from the CIS (=immigration department) or Governor’s Pardon (for more serious offences); otherwise, they are leaving the United States, possibly never to return. Although people think that they only have a 5 or 10-year bar with certain offences, the reality is that they are not automatically allowed in after the time has elapsed; they often have to present a case. People without a valid waiver will find themselves unable to visit sick or dying relatives or otherwise travel outside the United States. 

KALASHO THREATENS LAWSUIT OVER EL CAJON’S PROPOSAL TO LIMIT NUMBER OF ITEMS A COUNCIL MEMBER CAN ADD TO AGENDA

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

View video:  This agenda item can be viewed from 1:06:16 through 1:57:45

March 17, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council spent a full hour Tuesday debating a proposal by Mayor Bill Wells that aims to save Council time and staff resources by limiting how many items a Council member could place on an agenda single-handedly to just one per quarter, a maximum of four a year.  To bring forth any additional item, a Council member would have to gain support of one additional member. 

But that raises potential Brown Act violations andconcerns over suppressing citizen’s representation, the American CIvil Liberties Union (ACLU) warns in a letter sent to the City's attorney, Mayor and  Council members..

Newly elected Councilman Ben Kalasho strenuously objected to the proposal, leading to a testy exchange in which he threatened to sue Wells and fellow Council members to protect what he views as his right to represent his constituents.  Several members of the public also spoke out,  all opposed to sttifling their representatives’ ability to put items of concern on the agenda.

BILL WOULD BAN MINORS FROM MARRYING IN CALIFORNIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2017 (Sacramento) – A bill introduced in the state Capitol would prohibit anyone under 18 from getting married.

California is currently tied with Tennessee for the sixth highest rate of marriages by minors in the nation, even though some safeguards already exist to protect young would-be brides and grooms. But the state already has laws in place to prevent would-be Romeo and Juliet couples from getting hitched without their parents’ permission.

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