July 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Today, Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom issued a proclamation declaring a state of emergency for five southern California counties including San Diego due to damage from severe storms starting July 18 that caused “flash flooding, mudslides, and fires ignited by lightning strikes, resulting in damage to roads, highways, and other infrastructure and the evacuation of residents.” (Read the proclamation: http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=19049 )
The emergency declaration applies to Imperial, Kern, Los Angeles, Riverside, San Bernadino and San Diego Counties.
July 23, 2015 (San Diego ) – While thousands of people protested yesterday outside the American Legislative Exchange Council’s national convention in San Diego, State Senator Joel Anderson (R-San Diego), California chair of ALEC, told Times of San Diego that is “proud” to have San Diego post ALEC’s national convention where legislators exchange ideas, adding, “ALEC takes on difficult, complicated issues and takes on free market solutions.” (View video, top of story)
As for the thousands of protesters, he said derisively, “There’s a naysayer in every crowd,” adding that the protesters “don’t like the free market.” As for criticisms of secret dealings behind closed doors, Anderson retorted, “We can’t respond to every wack-job” and insisted the process is not secretive, as critics claim. Reporter Ken Stone with Times of San Diego pressed Anderson, pointing out that he had been denied access to cover some key sessions.
The protesters included a prominent local business organization as well as labor, environmental, human rights and political reform organizations. They contend that secretive actions conducted behind closed doors by ALEC result in laws that hurt small businesses in America and weaken protections for workers, the environment, and civil rights.
July 22, 2015 (San Diego)--Seeing summer rain in San Diego County is more than a shock — it’s also a good time to remind people to protect themselves against West Nile virus by making sure to mosquito-proof or dump out standing water around their homes.
While no one has been diagnosed with West Nile virus in the county this year, the disease has been more apparent than it has in many years. Midway through 2015, the County’s Department of Environmental Health has already collected more infected dead birds, 61, and mosquito batches, nine, than it did all last year when 11 San Diego County residents were diagnosed with the disease and two people died.
July 22, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:
Update July 21: Supervisors voted unanimously to ask the Obama administration to take action and allow USFS air tankers to land in Ramona.
July 20, 2015 (Ramona)—The U.S. Forest Service is refusing to fly its newest air tankers in and out of Ramona Air Attack Base – and the Board of Supervisors may turn to the White House for help.
On Tuesday, July 21 at 9 a.m. Supervisors will consider a proposal from Chairman Bill Horn and Supervisor Dianne Jacob to appeal the decision to the Obama Administration. With the high-risk fall fire season approaching, they say flying the next-gen tankers in and out of Ramona could help save lives and protect property.
Photo: County crews work to clean up mud flow on Rutherford Road in Ramona, where over 3 inches of rain fell on Sunday.
July 20, 2015 (San Diego) -- The remnants of Hurricane Dolores created record rainfall in San Diego County, taking residents by surprise over the weekend. If your property or small business sustained damage from the weekend’s heavy rains and flooding, the County would like your help to estimate rain damages in our region.
The County Office of Emergency Services is asking storm-affected residents to complete a short damage survey form that will assist the County in collecting damage information and associated costs from the weekend’s heavy rains and flooding.
The information gathered from the surveys will be used to estimate total damages countywide and will determine if enough damages occurred to qualify the region for federal disaster assistance, such as low interest disaster loans from the Small Business Administration for those who are uninsured or underinsured.
July 19, 2015 (San Diego) – The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) will host its annual convention on Wednesday, July 22 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in San Diego. The organization is funded by corporations and pushes state legislators to introduce “model” legislation that it calls “pro-business.” Speakers include Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Scott Walker and Mike Huckabee. The conference also will include other state and national legislators from across the nation.
But progressive organizations are mobilizing thousands of people for a march, rallies and protests against ALEC, which critics say pushes forward anti-worker, anti-environmental measures drafted behind closed doors. Local State Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) chairs ALEC’s California chapter.
July 17, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:
Photos, left: Three of the five special needs children in Zeldin's care.
July 11, 2015 (Rancho San Diego) – Friends describe Debra Zeldin as an “angel.” Twice named the County’s foster parent of the year, she has taken in over 60 foster children, specializing in those with special medical needs. She currently has five children in her care, including a blind, 6-year-old boy for whom she helped obtain a kidney transplant and a 10-year-old girl with muscular dystrophy who just came home from the hospital when Zeldin discovered her van had been stolen. Two of the children use wheelchairs and one is on a tracheotomy curently.
Now Zeldin needs help –and a friend has launched a fundraising drive to raise money for repairs, since the thieves who stole her van had no insurance or assets and Zeldin’s insurance company has informed her that her policy lacked comprehensive coverage.
June 27, 2015 (San Diego)--Congressman Juan Vargas and Mark Arabo will be featured in an hour-long special, “Crossing Jordan—Escape from Terror” on Fox News detailing their work to help facilitate safe passage for religious minorities out of Iraq and Syria, and to secure their freedom.
The program anchored by Bret Baier premiered Friday night and will air again on Saturday, June 27 at 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time and on Sunday, June 28 at 6 p.m. Pacific Standard time.
File photo by Jim Pelley: Vallecitos Lightning Fire
June 26, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – CAL FIRE Captain Kendal Bortisser and County Fire Chief Tony Mecham advise that a plan is in place to ensure additional fire protection for the San Diego region in anticipation of dry thunderstorms and lightning predicted to move through Southern California this weekend.
June 26, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – In a historic ruling, the U.S. Supreme Court majority has ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all 50 states, protected under the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution.
President Barack Obama likened the decision to “justice that arrives like a thunderbolt,” declaring, “When all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.”
The high court, ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, was asked to decide two issues: can individual states ban same-sex marriage and must all states honor same-sex marriages for weddings performed in other states.
Justice Anthony Kennedy, a Republican appointed by Ronald Reagan, wrote the majority opinion in the 5-4 opinion, joined by the court’s four liberal justices.
Photo: Protest at Senator Feinstein's office, from the Citizens Trade Campaign Facebook page
June 25, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The controversial fast-tracking of the Trans Pacific Partnership international trade pact passed the Senate by a slim one-vote margin. California’s Senator Dianne Feinstein voted for the fast-tracking, while Senator Barbara Boxer voted no.
Fast-tracking gives President Obama broad latitude to negotiate the trade pact, after which Congress will have only an up or down vote, with no opportunity to make changes. Opponents have voiced concerns over secrecy of the proceedings. The proposed pact has not been made public, nor have members of Congress been allowed to have copies.
Nicole “Kali” Gochmanosky, southern California organizer for the Citizens Trade Campaign, a group opposed to fast-tracking the TPP, had this to say regarding the extensive media coverage of the vote and protests targeting Feinstein.
June 25, 2015 (San Diego)--The San Diego Latino Film Festival has issued a call for entries for its 2016 event. The deadlines are September 11 for early entry, October 9 normal entry, and November 13, late entry. Entry fees range from $15-$25 for early entries up to $40-60 for late entries.
The 23rd annual festival will be held March 10-20, 2016. The festival seeks entries for short films and feature films. Last year’s festival was attended by an audience of 21,500 actively-engaged film lovers, filmmakers, actors, programmers, distributors, industry representatives, and journalists.
June 24, 2015 (San Diego) – Clergy members and Iraqi community leaders held a prayer vigil on June 18th, calling for release Iraqi Chaldean Christians held in the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention center.
Since the rise of ISIS, many Iraqi Chaldean Christian have fled to neighboring countries. Some have been fortunate enough to make it across the Mexico-US border. But many of these Christians have now been imprisoned in the detention center for up to four months without any indication of imminent release, despite testimony from Christian family members in San Diego that can vouch for their identity.
June 15, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Helix Water District’s Board of Directors will vote on whether or not to close the campground at Lake Jennings in Lakeside. The vote is set for Wednesday, June 17th at 2 p.m. at the board meeting at the district’s headquarters, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa.
The vote is slated despite huge gains made in stemming financial losses, from $200,000 in 2013 to just $24,000 this year, plus increased profitability of other attractions and activities with potential for more, including state approval to add kayaks just last month.
Director Kathleen Coates-Hedberg urges the public: “If you want to see Lake Jennings Campground stay OPEN for the future and would like to voice your opinion, please come to the Board meeting or send an email to our Board Secretary and she will forward to Board Members. Board Secretary, Sandy Janzen, Sandy.Janzen@HELIXWATER.org.”
June 10, 2015 (San Diego)- San Diego’s Board of Supervisors yesterday postponed action until July 21st on a controversial proposal to restrict protesters in the Waterfront Park outside the County Administration Building. The County claims its goal is to protect free speech rights while also protecting rights of the growing number of others using the new waterfront park for activities such as weddings, picnics, concerts, yoga and children’s play.
Supervisors voted to delay action and ask staff to re-examine the proposal after the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter calling the action “probably unconstitutional” as written, also noting that the City of San Diego has no permit requirements for free speech activities. Members of the public and Supervisor Dianne Jacob also voiced concerns about the proposed ordinance.
Area rep also sought to help place foreign exchange students
By Miriam Raftery
Hear our radio interview on KNSJ with Karen Toledo from the ISE (Click audio link, top left)
June 10, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Families are wanted to host international exchange students in East County and across our region, says Karen Toledo, assistant manager for the International Student Exchange (ISE) locally. An area rep is also sought to help place the many students eager for local homes for the next semester—and those who place 7 students or more will be rewarded with a trip to Ireland.
Toledo, a Lemon Grove resident knows first-hand the joys of the program, having hosted over 100 foreign exchange students at her own home. She’s also traveled the world – visiting students she formerly hosted to experience their cultures, too.
“It’s an amazing experience…I’m a single mom and I was hosting two at a time…I’ve traveled to many of their homes and stayed with them,” says Toledo, who cites Spain and Brazil as recent places she has visited. “They treat you so well when you come, because they are so thankful that you treated their kids so well and they had an amazing year.”
Photos: Rural residents rallied for protection from wind turbines after explosions; faith-based community leaders sought justice for immigrants outside County Administration Building at site that may soon be restricted for free speech rallies.
June 6, 2015 (San Diego)—For years, community groups and activists have rallied outside the County administration building where Supervisors meet to protest or urge support for various causes, from immigrant rights to stopping environmentally damaging projects, with rally organizers ranging from civil liberties advocates to conservative Tea Party groups.
But under a new ordinanceproposed for consideration onTuesday’s agenda, people wishing to exercise First Amendment rights may be restricted to designated “free speech zones” at the new Waterfront Park around the building, where you won’t be able to bring a megaphone, microphone, or even a chair on which to sit. There will be noise limits and gatherings of 200 or more must obtain permits—meaning you’ll have to predict how many will show up for your event, or risk paying fines.
That’s not all. The proposed ordinance would go farther, changing codes regarding selling and advertising for all county parks and recreation facilities to regulate “other issues such as commercial photography, noise levels, and the prohibition on posting or affixing materials on park property.”
Photo, left: "Would you want these kids breathing that, every day for 15 years?" -- Jessica Webb
June 5, 2015 (Lakeside) – Imagine up to 250 trucks a day – one every minute and a half—hauling sand along a rural road right in front of your house--five days a week for the next 15 years or more in El Monte Valley, if a sand mining developer has his way. It gets worse: noise and dust from sand mining operations clogging the area, kicking up potentially deadly Valley Fever spores lurking in soil here, where several El Monte Valley residents have already contracted the disease.
The sand loads would be transported for use on highways, roadways and other aggregate projects across San Diego County—potentially bringing sand laden with Valley Fever spores to construction projects near you. All thanks to a deal cut by Helix Water District to settle litigation over a golf course and water reclamation deal gone sour on land that Helix owned in El Monte Valley, a county-designated scenic view corridor.
This project has the Orwellian-like name “El Monte Nature Preserve” though all parties including the developer concede it is first and foremost a mining operation that will strip bare the valley for decades, lowering the valley floor 30 feet with dredging far deeper in places, in a project three times wider than Lake Jennings.
May 26,2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:
May 17, 2015 (San Diego) – If you’re looking for an alternative to SDG&E for buying your electric power, you can now become a member in the San Diego Energy District. In an interview on KNSJ in April, Ashley Mazanec told us a dozen businesses have signed up so far. Ratepayers can enjoy lower rates and know their energy is coming from clean energy sources, according to Mazanec. Locally produced energy can also reduce the need for new power lines, improving wildfire safety.
San Diego has a feasibility study underway and Solana Beach has moved forward to become a community choice city. The San Diego Energy District is reaching out to additional communities and hopes to build support in other local cities such as La Mesa, El Cajon , Santee and Lemon Grove as well as with County Supervisors. Individual property owners can sell surplus power back into the grid. Entities such as nonprofit orgnaizations, school districts, Native American tribes and businesses can also join the grid.
May 15, 2015 (Cleveland National Forest) – Last month, we reported that the County had begun a major cleanup of dirt dumped inside Cleveland National Forest along Boulder Creek Road, an area proposed for federal wilderness desgnation, following an East County Magazine investigation.
Now County communications specialist Gig Conaughton has provided follow-up information in response to our questions on whether piles would be completely removed, whether the dirt contained invasive or flammable weed species, and whether a similar cleanup would be done following similar grading by SDG&E.
May 14, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Shortly after the release of a grand jury report that commends the County for making significant improvements to rural firefighting by unifying a patchwork of independent agencies, the Board of Supervisors approved a series of administrative steps toward bringing two more rural fire districts under the umbrella of the County Fire Authority.
May 13, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:
May 7, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:
April 29, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:
April 23, 2015 -- (San Diego’s East County)-- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include: