Residents Urged to Clear Defensible Space, Plan for Family Readiness
May 22, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – California has already seen 1,569 wildfires this year, about 500 more fires compared to the same period last year and 85 percent more fires than in an average year. With the long, hot and dangerous summer a real possibility, County Supervisor Dianne Jacob and public safety officials today urged residents to protect their homes against wildfires by creating a 100-foot buffer zone.
“Now is the time to prepare for what is shaping up as a tougher-than-usual fire season,” said Supervisor Jacob. “The firestorms of 2003 and 2007 taught us that homes with defensible space are far more likely to survive than homes without it.”
By Sholeh Sisson
May 17 2013 (San Diego)-- On May 15, the San Diego Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an ordinance waiving building permit and plan review fees for disabled veterans who need home modifications to accommodate their disabilities.
"We are always looking for ways to improve the lives of those who risk their lives to protect our country," said Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who introduced the measure along with Supervisor Bill Horn.
“The Boulevard Marathon is like the Boston Marathon...[Residents opposed to the wind ordinance] are “like people with a pressure cooker and ball bearings with a bomb, trying to stop the projects…This is economic terrorism.” – John Gibson, Hamann Companies
“You should choose to save our communities, not destroy them—and I was not paid to come and talk today.” – Wendy Shannon, Boulevard resident and neighbor of Hamann’s proposed project
By Sierra Robinson; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report
May 10, 2013 (San Diego)—After more than three hours of heated testimony on Tuesday, San Diego Supervisors opted to delay a decision on a controversial wind ordinance and changes to plans for two backcountry communities until May 15. The postponement came after a lawyer representing rural residents sent a last-minute letter claiming that approval of the project would be illegal.
Congressional legislation aims to halt June 15 closure of FAA tower, others
County News Service
April 23, 2013 (San Diego)--The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday (4/23) urged federal lawmakers to approve pending legislation in Congress that would save the Ramona Airport traffic control tower. The board, on a 5-0 vote, endorsed a pair of bipartisan federal bills that would halt the June 15 closure of the East County facility, along with nearly 150 other towers funded by the Federal Aviation Administration.
By Nadin Abbott
April 12, 2013 (San Diego)— County Supervisors directed the Chief Administration Officer, by a 3-2 vote, to come back in 120 days with options for a comprehensive renewable energy plan, including time and cost estimates. The measure was introduced by Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who believes it is time to stop the ad hoc way of authorizing each proposed energy development.
Jacob, who represents the 2nd district in East County where most of these projects are proposed, said before the vote that this is “a double edge sword” for her. Projects already underway will be grandfathered in and not affected, according to Jacob’s instructions. She emphasized this point to Industry members present who raised opposition to this plan.
FAA POSTPONES CLOSURE OF AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL TOWERS UNTIL JUNE 15, WANTS COUNTY TO TAKEOVER OPERATIONS
April 5, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) --The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it will delay the closures of all 149 federal contract air traffic control towers from April 7 until June 15, including the Ramona Airport and Brown Field locally. The agency says the extra time will allow the FAA to try and resolve multiple legal challenges to the closures.
“The FAA delay is not good enough,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said in a press statement issued this morning. “U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said today that safety is the FAA’s top priority. If that was the case, the federal government shouldn’t even be talking about pulling air controllers out of Ramona. The tower is on the front line of public safety in our region, and closing it would a disaster, especially as we approach the height of the wildfire season.”
By Miriam Raftery
March 29, 2013 (Ramona) – Today, San Diego County has filed a lawsuit seeking declaratory relief and an injunction to halt the U.S. Forest Service from reopening the trail to Cedar Creek Falls from Ramona’s San Diego Country Estates. The suit follows the USFS announcement that it plans to reopen the trailhead April 5th and implement a permit system for visitors. The falls and a natural swimming pool below are considered by some to be the most spectacular natural attractions in East County.
“The lawsuit is in response to the Forest Service’s decision to ignore both the public safety and fiscal concerns raised by the County during the appeal of the permit system plan,” Supervisor Dianne Jacob said in a press statement issued today. “Adequate law enforcement staffing must be in place before the trail is opened back up. Either the Forest Service needs to be able to enforce its own rules, or pay the Sheriff’s Department to do it.”
Commission allows repowering of Escondido plant
“Today’s rejection of Quail Brush is not only a victory for the environment. It’s a victory for our community. It sends a message that San Diego County shouldn’t rely on old-school, power plant technology and that we can accelerate our efforts to develop renewable, cleaner forms of energy, like rooftop solar and fuel cells.”—Supervisor Dianne Jacob
March 21, 2013 (San Diego) – Before a packed audience in San Diego today, the California Public Utilities Commission unanimously denied SDG&E’s requests to build Quail Brush and Pio Pico, gas-powered peaker plants near Mission Trails Regional Park and in Otay Mesa. The Commission did, however, authorize repowering of an existing but idle gas plant in Escondido.
SUPERVISORS ASK YOU TO CONTACT FAA , OPPOSE IMMINENT CLOSURE OF RAMONA AIR TRAFFIC TOWER CRUCIAL FOR FIREFIGHTING: COMMENT DEADLINE IS TOMORROW
By Nadin Abbott, photos Tom Abbott
March 12, 2013 (San Diego)—Today, Supervisor Dianne Jacob urged citizens in San Diego County to contact the Federal Aviation Adminstration (FAA) at Closurecomments@FAA.GOV and oppose closure of the Ramona Airport’s air traffic control tower, a vital component in fighting wildfires and protecting safety of firefighting crews. Tomorrow at 1 p.m. Pacific Standard Time is the deadline for comments.
The Board learned that the Federal Aviation Administration has targeted the Ramona Air Traffic Control Tower for closure as as early as April 7. This means, according to Cal Fire Battalion Chief Ray Cheney, that the airport would revert back to an “uncontrolled airport, where pilots have to avoid each other and announce their intentions.”
This was the way it was back on June 21, 1995 when there was a midair collision between a United States Forest Service Beechcraft and an NTSB air tanker, leading to the deaths of the air tanker crew. An open space, instead of a controlled space, will increase the risk of mid-air collisions, since a “controlled airport controls the air traffic sequencing.”
HOMES FOR OUR TROOPS SEEKS COMMUNITY HELP BUILDING HOMES FOR TWO DOUBLE AMPUTEE VETERANS IN EL CAJON
"We're here for two of our American heroes." -- Supervisor Dianne Jacob
By Miriam Raftery
March 4, 2013 (El Cajon ) – Army Sergeant Odin Ayala and Marine Corporal Travis Greene each lost both legs serving in combat. But they were all smiles on February 23 at the groundbreakings of their new , specially adapted homes in El Cajon-- thanks to the efforts of the nonprofit Homes for Our Troops.
“Our motto is rebuilding homes, rebuilding lives,” said Tim McHale with Homes for our Troops. The group seeks donations as well as volunteers to help build these homes and more. Local community groups and businesses can also adopt a room, partnering in efforts to help these wounded veterans and others.
COUNTY TO EXAMINE ENERGY FINANCING OPTIONS; COULD CLEAR WAY FOR MORE CLEAN ENERGY PROJECTS INCLUDING PACE PROGRAMS
Information provided by County News Services
February 28, 2013 (San Diego)--The County Board of Supervisors this week launched an analysis that could lead to more rooftop solar and other small-scale alternative energy projects across the region. At the urging of Vice-Chairwoman Dianne Jacob and Supervisor Dave Roberts, the board unanimously voted to initiate a detailed look at financing options for homeowners and businesses interested in installing energy-saving systems.
“We’re fortunate to live in one of the sunniest regions in the nation, but the tools needed to help pay for solar panels and related technology are out of reach for many property owners,” said Jacob. “We’re hoping the analysis will help us lift the financial cloud hanging over solar, particularly for homeowners.”
By Miriam Raftery
Photos: Supervisor Dianne Jacob spells out her goals for future; Dave Roberts, left, prepares to take oath as his children look on.
January 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For the first time in 19 years, a new County Supervisor, Dave Roberts, has been elected. At yesterday’s swearing in ceremony, East County Supervisor Dianne Jacob also made history, becoming the longest serving woman on the Board.
Jacob made clear that she hopes to have an ally in the newly elected Supervisor—particularly on energy issues and protection of the backcountry. Roberts pledged support for preserving open spaces and working to develop a county utility as an alternative to SDG&E.
December 6, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--County Supervisor Dianne Jacob is again asking the California Public Utilities Commission to reject an attempt by San Diego Gas & Electric to bill its customers for the uninsured cost of the region’s 2007 wildfires and any future wildfire caused by the utility.
“I remain outraged at SDG&E’s incessant attempt to slap ratepayers with a massive invoice for the 2007 wildfires that scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in rural San Diego County,” Jacob wrote today in a letter to CPUC President Michael Peevey. “The notion that SDG&E cannot afford the costs of these fires is nonsense.”
November 3, 2012 (Sacramento) – State officials have started mailing notices to tens of thousands of San Diego County property owners warning that they will soon be billed $150 annually to help shore up Cal Fire’s budget. Budget cuts have dropped the number of firefighters per engine, among other cutbacks in wildfire protection.
Residents of Alpine, Dehesa and other communities in Jacob’s Second District report receiving the notices in recent days. They consider the new fire tax an unfair burden, noting they already pay state property taxes to help fund public safety and often community fees for additional fire protection.
By Miriam Raftery
An ECM Special Report
October 13, 2012 (El Cajon)—The San Diego Grand Jury has launched an investigation into possible misuse of bond funds by the Grossmont Union High School District’s board majority, muliple sources have confirmed to East County Magazine.
“We’re in a Grand Jury investigation about Alpine,” GUHSD board trustee Priscilla Schreiber told ECM. Schreiber said she learned of the probe “by accident” while in the District’s office. Schreiber has been a vocal critic of the Board majority (Trustees Gary Woods, Jim Kelly, and Robert Shields) for blocking construction of a high school for Alpine while allowing diversion of school bond funds for costly new projects not mandated in two bond measures, Prop H and Prop U. Both measures were approved by voters and specifically called for a new high school in Alpine.
Survivor Resource Center at Jacumba Library Will Be Open through Saturday
A Local Assistance Center (LAC) for residents who suffered losses in the Shockey Fire will be open starting Wednesday at the Jacumba Library, 44605 Old Highway 80, 91934.
The Assistance Center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 26, 27, 28 and 29. It is open to anyone who lost a home, suffered property damage or is otherwise impacted by the Shockey Fire. The site will assist residents with information, basic needs, and referrals to programs and services.
PACE PROGRAM LAUNCHES IN SAN DIEGO: BUSINESSES CAN NOW PAY FOR CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENTS SUCH AS SOLAR VIA PROPERTY TAXES-- WITH NO UP FRONT COSTS
September 19, 2012 (San Diego)—A new state program to help business owners invest in solar and other energy-saving projects with zero up-front costs launched yesterday in San Diego County.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) enables commercial property owners to use their properties as collateral for energy upgrades—and to pay off those costs through their property tax bills.
DEPT. OF ENERGY TO ISSUE PRESIDENTIAL PERMIT FOR ENERGIA SIERRA JUAREZ CROSS-BORDER TRANSMISSION LINES
By Miriam Raftery
August 19, 2012 – Yesterday the Federal Register included notice that the U.S. Department of Energy has announced it will issue a Presidential permit to Energia Sierra Juarez U.S. Transmission, LLC (ESJ) to construct, operate, maintain and connect a 230 kV electric transmission line across the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego’s East County. Read the notice: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-08-17/html/2012-20234.htm
By Nadin Abbott
August 11, 2012 (El Cajon)--The mood at the Cuyamaca College Water Conservation Garden was relaxed. People came to have good food, drink, and listen to some of our local politicians debate in a friendly forum.
Participants were Congressman Bob Filner (D-50th), currently running for Mayor of San Diego, California Senator Joel Anderson (R-36th District), Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-77th District) and County of San Diego Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
Energia Sierra Juarez Substation and Cross-Border Transmission Lines Also Approved in East County
By Miriam Raftery
“This will impede firefighting efforts to a frightening degree…a wind-drive fire is not going to stay in the backcountry. We must not roll the dice…There are other, safer alternatives….I also have serious problems about an energy policy that depends on the stability of Mexico.” –Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who voted against both projects
“I’m opposed to green energy…I don’t think the Department of Energy should be putting subsidies in this….but the state has mandated renewable and we have to comply.” – Supevisor Bill Horn, who voted for both projects
August 9, 2012 (San Diego) – The irony was enormous. San Diego’s Board of Supervisors yesterday spent much of the morning debating whether cell phone towers five feet taller than current ones would mar community character on Mount Helix. In the afternoon, three of the five Supervisors then threw county height limits to the winds—voting to approve 500-foot-tall industrial wind turbines in scenic McCain Valley over the objections of numerous backcountry residents.
By a 4-0 vote, Supervisors also approved a power substation and cross-border transmission lines designed to bring power up from the massive Energia Sierra Juarez wind project proposed in Mexico.
June 13, 2012 (San Diego)-- Long-time County Supervisor Dianne Jacob spent Election Day in her East County District meeting with constituents and hoping for a win at the ballot box for a record sixth time. No other Second District supervisor has served over two terms.
Jacob won re-election outright in the primary with over 50% of the vote, defeating challenger Rudy Reyes, an archaeologist and Cedar Fire victim who championed fire safety issues. Jacob received 28%, while Reyes received 22%.
Still have an absentee ballot? You can drop it off at any polling place.
By Miriam Raftery
June 5, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) -- In the final days and hours before the election, East County candidates have been pounding the pavement and blitzing cyberspace in the push to get their messages out. So have backers and opponents of ballot propositions.
At Viejas, the tribal council donated space for phone bank volunteers to make calls in support of Prop H, an Alpine school bond measure.
79th Assembly candidate Mary England, a Republican, spent this morning waving at morning commuters with an entourage of sign-toting supporters.
Residents Urged to Clear Defensible Space Ahead of Peak Fire Season
May 27, 2012 (Jamul) – On May 22, Cal Fire and County officials, including County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, gave a tour with the homeowners of a correctly cleared space around a Jamul home. With vegetation drying out and summer drawing near now is the best time to make sure homes are protected by 100 feet of defensible space. Cal Fire Chief, Thom Porter led the tour and provided a map of high-risk areas that have not burned recently.
By E.A. Barrera
May 23, 2012 (San Diego) -- Steve Danon has been active in Republican politics since his days as College Republican president at San Diego State University. He has worked for Republicans ranging from Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Ron Roberts to Congressman Brian Bilbray.
He is one of a new generation of youthful conservative leaders emerging in San Diego that include Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher and City Councilman Kevin Faulconer (both of whom have endorsed Danon).
Survivors of Human Trafficking/Commercial Sexual Exploitation Among Those Getting Help
March 18, 2012 (San Diego) -- Four new regional projects have received more than $1.7 million in federal funding for the first time thanks to efforts by County Housing and Community Development, the lead agent for the Regional Continuum of Care. The new projects will provide transitional and long-term housing and support services for homeless people.
March 11, 2012 (El Cajon) – The Grossmont Union High School District will be dedicating three new pools throughout the district this spring thanks in part to funding provided by Proposition U.
The Granite Hills High School Aquatics Facility will be the first to be dedicated on March 27 from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. with the official ribbon cutting at 4:30 p.m. The special guest will be Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
SUPERVISORS GET AN EARFUL FROM PUBLIC AND PLANNERS OVER PROPOSAL TO AX PLANNING GROUPS; VOTE SET FOR MARCH 28
“The only reason to consider gutting planning groups is to give free rein to every developer who wants to overwhelm a rural town—and keep the locals in the dark.” -- Patsy Fritz
By Miriam Raftery
March 1, 2012 (San Diego) – It wasn’t quite a public flogging, but it came close. Rural residents and their community planning representatives showed up at a County Board of Supervisors’ meeting yesterday to verbally excoriate those considering recommendations made by a developer-stacked “Red Tape Reduction Task Force. The Task Force wants to eliminate community planning groups(CPGs) or discourage participation through measures such as eliminating indemnification of planners against lawsuits, imposing term limits, and eliminating the County’s Resource Protection Ordinance.
“None of the Red Tape Reduction Task Force members were required to submit conflict of interest statements,” observed Boulevard Planning Group Chair Donna Tisdale. “They failed to disclose huge vested interests and profits to be made. That is illegal.”
LEGAL ACTION BY FIRE VICTIMS SEEKS TO BLOCK SDG&E EFFORT TO FORCE RATEPAYERS TO PAY WILDFIRE COSTS INCURRED BY UTILITY
2 other utilities have withdrawn requests to make ratepayers pay for wildfire damages
By Miriam Raftery
February 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—A motion has been filed on behalf of 2007 wildfire victims whose properties were destroyed or damaged in the 2007 Witch Creek, Guejito and Rice Canyon Fires caused by San Diego Gas & Electric Company’s power lines.
The motion claims SDG&E did not provide proper notice to the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) about a proposed “wildfire expense balancing account” – a rate hike that would force the public including fire victims to pay SDG&E’s uninsured liability costs for massive wildfires that it caused.
By Miriam Raftery
February 4, 2012 (Jamul)—Revelations that public funds have been awarded to a private hunting club to develop hunting dog training ponds in the state-owned Hollenbeck Canyon Wildlife Area has heightened controversy over the project.
Whether that's a positive use of funds (collected from poaching fines) or a boondoggle, however, depends on one's perspective.
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.