San Diego

VARGAS, ARABO IN FOX NEWS SPECIAL: CROSSING JORDAN

 

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.

CAL FIRE, MILITARY STAND BY IN READINESS FOR LIGHTINING FIRES

 

By Miriam Raftery

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.

GAY MARRIAGE LEGAL NATIONWIDE: SUPREME COURT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: The Moderate Voice

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.

FAST-TRACK OF TPP TRADE PACT PASSES SENATE BY ONE VOTE

 

East County News Service

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.

LATINO FILM FESTIVAL ISSUES CALL FOR ENTRIES

 

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.

IRAQI CHRISTIANS WHO FLED ISIS ARE IN DETENTION CENTER AT OTAY: LOCAL LEADERS CALL FOR RELEASE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

East County News Service

Photos of rally by Peter Mansour

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.

CLOSE LAKE JENNINGS CAMPGROUND DESPITE FINANCIAL PROGRESS? HELIX WATER BOARD VOTES WEDNESDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

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.”

SUPERVISORS POSTPONE ACTION ON WATERFRONT PARK FREE SPEECH RULES UNTIL JULY

 

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Russell

“It is the basic tenet of all Americans to speak truth to power without restriction or regulation.” – David Patterson, U.S. veteran and Ramona resident (photo, left, by Janis Russell)

View video of complete hearing (item 7): http://sdcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=1682

 

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.

MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN A TEEN’S LIFE! HOST FAMILIES WANTED FOR EXCHANGE STUDENTS

 

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.”

Audio: 

COUNTY SEEKS TO RESTRICT FREE SPEECH, PROTESTERS, PHOTOGRAPHY AND MORE IN PUBLC PARKS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

 

 

 

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 ordinance proposed for consideration on Tuesday’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.”

LAKESIDE RESIDENTS AND PLANNERS VOICE OUTRAGE OVER SAND MINING PROPOSAL AT HEATED MEETING

 

Story by Miriam Raftery

 

Photo, left: "Would you want these kids breathing that, every day for 15 years?" -- Jessica Webb

 

June 5, 2013 (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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

READER'S EDITORIAL: UNCERTAIN TIMES IN AND OUT OF SAN DIEGO

 

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

Reprinted with permission from The Moderate Voice

http://themoderatevoice.com/205076/uncertain-times-in-and-out-of-san-diego/

May 16, 2015 (San Diego) — Uncertainty, thy name is San Diego.

California’s jewel-like second largest city, with its 70 miles of sparkling beaches, is now facing two cliff hangers in a century rife with uncertainty.

SAN DIEGO ENERGY DISTRICT NOW OFFERING MEMBERSHIPS

 

Hear our interview with Ashley Mazanec, membership  manager, San Diego Energy District

Listen now:  http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/siq4bd2kzz/Newsmakers-_Ashley_Mazanec-SDEnergyDistrctFdn.mp3

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.

COUNTY PROVIDES UPDATE ON BOULDER CREEK ROAD GRADING AND CLEANUP

 

By Miriam Raftery

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.

RURAL AND PINE VALLEY FIRE DISTRICTS JOIN COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY

County News Service

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.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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:

LOCAL

STATE

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

April 8, 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:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

CONGRESS PASSES MEASURE TO ALLOW SELLING OFF NATIONAL FORESTS AND OTHER PUBLIC LANDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Cleveland National Forest, courtesy National Forest Service

April 6, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—The Republican-controlled House and Senate have passed measures that would allow the sale or outright giveaway of most public lands –including national forests, federal wildernesses and  wildlife preserves and Bureau of Land Management properties.  Only Republicans voted for the language slipped into a non-binding budget resolution—which passed without a single Democratic vote. 

The shocking news is revealed in a New York Times editorial by Will Rogers, president of the Trust for Public Lands, titled “Our Land, Up for Grabs.”  

While it’s unlikely that President Barack Obama would support such an extreme measure, if a Republican president is elected in 2016 and Republicans maintains control of both houses of Congress, losing our cherished public lands such could be a very real possibility.

Here in San Diego County alone, that could mean the demise of:  Cleveland National Forest,  Otay Mountain Wildnerness, Hauser Wilderness, Pine Creek , Carrizo Gorge, Sawtooth Mountains Wilderness , Agua Tibia Wilderness, San Diego National Wildlife Refuge, San Diego Bay National Wildlife Refuge , Tijuana Slough National Wildlife Refuge, McCain Valley National Recreation Area and more.

INTERVIEW WITH JIM BELL, ECOLOGICAL DESIGNER

Plus Part I in a series of essays on attaining sustainability for our region

April 4, 2015 (San Diego) – Last month, we sat down for an in-depth interview on our radio show with ecological designer Jim Bell, an internationally recognized expert on sustainable development. You can hear the interview, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM, here: http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/fgoysx432j/Newsmaker-JimBell-SustainblePlanForRegion2015.mp3

Bell has a plan to make the San Diego and Tijuana region sustainable in terms of energy, water, food, and more.  Currently he is working to distribute 20,000 free copies of his newest publication, Consciousness and Knowledge, throughout our region including 10,000 in Spanish.  You can download a copy here.  

Director of the Ecological Life Systems Institute and the San Diego Center for Appropriate Technology,  Bell is also the Sierra Club’s representative on the City of San Diego’s Regional Advisory Energy Committee.  He has lectured at the World Conference of the Society of International Development in Mexico City, the American Institute of Architects’ California conference, and many other prominent events.  A past mayoral candidate, he is the author of “Achieving Eco-nomic Security on Spaceship Earth” as well as many other articles and papers on creating sustainable economies.

Below is the first in a series of essays by Bell on how we can achieve sustainability in our region.

CAL FIRE ENDS NO-BURN PROCLAMATION

Update April 5, 2015 (San Diego's East County) -- Cal Fire has ended the no-burn proclamation due to improving conditions, higher humidity and availability of fire resources..

April 4, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Effective immediately, Cal Fire has issued a no-burn proclamation suspending burning permits and other uses of open fire, except for campfires in established campfire facilities in public campgrounds.

The order is due to the “extreme menace” posed by critical fire weather and acute dryness of vegetation and/or fire suppression forces being heavily committed to control fires, according to Dave Nissan, Deputy Chief of Cal-Fire’s San Diego unit.

PASSAGES: ACCLAIMED POTRERO POET STEVE KOWIT

 

April 3, 2015 (Potrero) – Steve Kowit, well-known poet, author, teacher and Potrero resident, passed away this morning following heart surgery  Kowit taught at Southwestern College and San Diego State University, mentored many, and inspired a generation of local writers through his teaching, readings and writings.

He was distinguished by his many awards for poetry, which include the National Endowment Fellowship in Poetry, two Pushcart Prizes, the Atlanta Review Poetry Prize, the Ouroboros Book Award, the 2006 Tampa Review Poetry Prize, and most recently the San Diego Theodore Geisel Award.

COUNTY SELLS NAMING RIGHTS TO FIRE TRUCKS

 

A little April Fool's Day fun.

By Betty Burns

April 1, 2015 (San Diego)—Seeking to prevent fire stations from closing again this season due to budget cuts, the County of San Diego announced today that it has sold corporate naming rights to fire trucks.

Hooters Restaurant was the first to sign up for this opportunity, also agreeing to provide Hooters waitresses to serve firefighters at their base camp during wildfires.

COUNTY CHANGES AMBULANCE SERVICE WITHOUT PUBLIC NOTICE: PUBLIC SAFETY ADVOCATES VOICE ALARM



Ambulance responses in our region raise alarms:  Part I in a series

By Miriam Raftery

March 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – What if you had a medical emergency and the nearest ambulance had to come from Imperial County or other distant places up to an hour away?  That’s the very real prospect facing rural East County residents under a stealth change in ambulance service approved by a county bureaucrat with no public notice, no hearing, and no vote by the Supervisors.

While some aspects of coverage stand to improve under the contract, adding more in-district ambulances and newer equipment, there are some major concerns raised by local safety advocates with regard to mutual aid and staffing.

MISSING SPRING VALLEY WOMAN

 

Update March 21: Linda Adene Snow-Biggers has been found safe and unhramed, the Sheriff reports.

East County News Service

March 20, 2015 (Spring Valley) – The Sheriff seeks public help to locate a missing Spring Valley woman.  On Wednesday, March 18th,  Linda Adene Snow-Biggers walked away from her home at 2601 Sweetwater Road, where she lives with her husband.  She was last seen walking barefoot by a neighbor, wearing a white sun dress.  She is 53 years old, six feet tall, weighs 160 pounds, and has brown hair and green eyes.

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