October 2014 Articles

READER'S EDITORIAL: NOW THAT REPUBLICANS HAVE WON THE SENATE

 

 

By Roger Coppock

November 6, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--Now that the Republicans have won the Senate, we can expect different outcomes from different fragments of the party.

The tea and fruitcake wings of the GOP will want to stage some meaningless dramatic gestures, like another government shutdown or even a presidential impeachment.  Other, smarter, GOP splinter groups will try to stop this, citing the near disastrous ratings dip the party got for the last government shutdown. 

STATEWIDE INITIATIVE RESULTS

 

By Paul Kruze

November 2014 (Sacramento)--So what was on the mind of California voters on Tuesday  in voting on ballot initiatives? 

They approved new water projects and set aside funds for a rainy day. They voted against allowing the state’s insurance commissioner to have authority over insurance rates, also defeating mandatory drug and alcohol testing for medical doctors and caps on malpractice awardsVoters gave their approval for criminal sentences for simple drug possession and other property crimes to be reduced immediately to misdemeanors, but dealt a major blow to the gambling aspirations of three small California Indian tribes  by voting down a measure which would allowed them to build a casino outside the borders of their reservation.

RONN HALL WINS SEAT ON SANTEE COUNCIL; INCUMBENTS REELECTED

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ronn Hall

November 5, 2014 (Santee) -- Santee City Council members John Minto and Rob McNelis have won reelection with  26.02% and 22.79% of the vote respectively with 100% of precincts counted.  But the biggest vote getter was Ronn Hall, who drew 27.39% of the vote to fill a vacant seat on the Council. Hall, an insurance broker, is past President and a current board member of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, with strong name recognition in the community.

Challengers Maggie Acerra and Keshav Damoor, who ran on reform platforms, drew 15.44% and 8.32% of the vote.

Unlike some local cities that are built out, Santee weathered tough economic times with a sound budget due in part to new development including a sports complex that created new property tax revenues.  The fate of remaining undeveloped lands in the city was a key campaign issue, with pending projects including Fanita Ranch, a proposed theater complex, and land around the Carlton Hills Golf Course that recently sold.

MAYOR WELLS, COUNCILMAN KENDRICK SCORE STRONG WINS IN EL CAJON

 

 

Photo: Mayor Bill Wells celebrates victory with suporters; photo by Randy Jordan, R. Jordan Photgraphy

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Russell

November 5, 2014 (El Cajon) -- Mayor Bill Wells thumped two opponents to win 81.6% of the vote, winning reelection handily over Allen Theweny and Jonathan Wright.  Councilman Gary Kendrick took over two-thirds of the vote (64.14%) over his opponent, Elwood Alexander.

The incumbents had the benefit of an improving economy and new policies such as the city's outreach to car dealers to bring more revenues to El Cajon, a city with the county's highest poverty rate.  El Cajon's leaders have also had success in healing relations with the city's large Iraqi Chaldean population, with Mayor Wells speaking out publicly in support of bringing persecuted Christian Chaldean refugees to El Cajon.

NEWCOMERS FAIL IN BID TO WIN SEATS ON GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL BOARD

 

Updated November 5, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- With 100% of votes counted, incumbents Robert Shield and Jim Kelly won reelection on the Grossmont Union High School District Board with 24.31 and 22.58 % of the vote respectively. Dr. Gary Woods, who lost his seat in the last election and consistently voted in a block with Kelly and Shield, is in third place with 22.2%,  beat by a substantial margin over challengers Shirley Anderson (14.39%), Barbara Stevens (11.39%) and Steve Mattia (5.12%).  Woods will fill the vacant seat left by Dick Hoy', who did not seek reelection.

The election outcome will solidify control of the GUHSD board by staunch conservative members opposed to building an Alpine High School or backing Alpine parents' wishes to split up the district and unify with the Alpine Union School District.  The district is currently embroiled in two lawsuits over its obstructionism on turning over funds from two bond measures into an escrow account to assure funds intended by voters for building a high school will be used for that purpose. 

EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE WINS 11 AWARDS FROM SAN DIEGO PRESS CLUB

 

East County News Service

October 29, 2014 (San Diego's East County)-East County Magazine picked up 11 more awards in San Diego Press Club’s 2014 Excellence in Journalism awards on October 28th, bringing our total to 80 journalism awards since our launch in 2008.

This year’s awards including winners in the following categories: breaking news, environment, general news, investigative reporting, political/government, public service/consumer advocacy, criminal justice, health and medicine, radio special reporting and radio feature categories.

To read and hear our award-winning reports, click "read more" and scroll down.

EAST COUNTY VOTING GUIDE: NONPARTISAN INFORMATION FROM EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

 

 

East County News Service

November 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)— East County Magazine has compiled this handy guide for you with links to all of our coverage of local races, as well as some statewide and federal (Congressional) races on your ballot for the election on Tuesday, November 4. 

We invited all candidates running in local races listed below to be interviewed, and include print and/or  radio interviews with those who responded.   We also have links to our coverage of debates, candidate forums, analysis, editorials submitted by our readers (ECM does not editorialize), and other relevant information on candidates and ballot propositions. Also see below for links to additional nonpartisan resources for info on these and other races.

Our nonpartisan guide is arranged in three sections: local, state, and federal (Congressional) races, with  the races alphabetical under each section. To view, click "read more" below and scroll down.

SANTEE COUNCILMAN ROB MCNELIS AND CHALLENGER KESHAV DAMOOR: RADIO INTERVIEWS NOW ONLINE

 

Photos: Keshav Damoor, left, and Rob McNelis, right

 

November 3, 2014 (Santee) – Last week, East County Magazine sat down with Councilman Rob McNelis, a realtor who is proud of the city's achievements on his watch, and challenger Keshav Damoor, a UCSD graduate who works with nonprofits on poverty issues and seeks to represent a new generation on the Council. 

The candidates shared their views on smart growth for Santee and the future of the community.  Will there be a theater complex and entertainment center in Santee's future?  What about Fanita Ranch?  Listen to our interviews now:

Keshav Damoor: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/mvfi330sul/Newsmaker-KeshavDamoor-SanteeCouncilx.mp3

Rob McNelis: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/ib0vuopj8h/Newsmaker-RobMcNellis-final-x.mp3

For our previous coverage of these and other candidates in this race, click "read more" and scroll down.

LOCAL CHALDEAN CHURCH APPEALS TO POPE TO SAVE PRIESTS ORDERED TO RETURN TO IRAQ OR FACE SUSPENSION

 

Photo: Father Noel and Congressman Juan Vargas, at Chaldean-American Association banquet Oct. 30

By Miriam Raftery

November 2, 2014 (El Cajon)—Father Noel at St. Peter’s Cathedral in El Cajon is among nine Chaldean Catholic priests ordered to return to Iraq, a situation that likely amounts to a death sentence, or be suspended from the priesthood.

Louis Sako, Patriarch of the Chaldean Church in Iraq, ordered nine priests from the local diocese suspended on October 22 for refusing to return to Iraq, where priests are being tortured and murdered by ISIS terrorists and mass is no longer being held due to the danger.  Now the Eparchy of St. Peter has appealed these suspensions to Pope Francis.

Under church canons, the suspensions are on hold until the Pope issues his decision.

A TALE OF TWO CERT TEAMS

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

October 18, 2014 (Julian)--Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT) are locally-based volunteer teams, there to assist in times of disaster. They are locally managed and they almost always are sponsored by an agency.

Brian Kramer, current administrator of Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Department-sponsored CERT team, told ECM that the County did not recognize a second CERT team in Julian sponsored by Johnny and Dianne Hake, since that team is not affiliated with any government agency.

The Hakes said they operate independently and that they broke off their relationship with the Fire Department over philosophical differences.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN STRUCK AND KILLED IN RAMONA

 

East County News Service

 

November 1, 2014 (Ramona)—A man who ran south across State Route 67 south of Mussey Grade Road was struck by a motorist and killed at 2:27 p.m. today.   “At this time, the pedestrian has not been identified,” said Kevin Pearlstein with the California Highway Patrol.

The unidentified man was struck by a 2014 Chevrolet Silverado driven by a 24-year-old Ramona man.  According to the CHP, the driver was traveling eastbound at 50 miles per hour when he came around a curve and saw the pedestrian running across the roadway in front of him.

OUR SEPTEMBER RADIO SHOWS ARE NOW ONLINE

 

October 31, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)-- East County Magazine Show's September shows are now online.  We covered top local and national issues, from East County election races to to air strikes in Iraq. Our top newsmaker interviews included Supervisor Dianne Jacob on child predator releases, Nathan Fletcher on his new Three Wise Men Foundation helping veterans, Lane Sharman from San Diego Energy Foundation on defeating the Monopoly Protection Bill, Santee Council candidates John Minto and Maggie Acerra, Kristin Kjaero and Dexter Levy from No Term Limits for La Mesa, charitable leaders from Sprites and Boys to Men, Alby Quinlan on the climate change march,  Susan Barron on bringing a cash mob to La Mesa, Jack Shu on transportation justice for East County. Plus hear from local authors, artists, theater producers and more.

To listen to our September shows and view a full list of stories and interviews in September, click here, or click “read more” and scroll down. To listen to future shows, tune in to KNSJ 89.1 FM Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 9 a.m. or listen online live during our broadcasts at www.KNSJ.org.

I-15/SR-52 CONNECTORS CLOSED SUNDAY MORNING

 

November 1, 2014 (San Diego)--Caltrans advises motorists that northbound and southbound Interstate 15 (I-15) connectors to eastbound/westbound State Route 52 (SR-52) will be closed Sunday morning from 3 to 7 to repair damaged guardrail.

SYCUAN FUNDS “SCARY” HALLOWEEN MAILER AGAINST GUHSD BOARD MEMBERS KELLY & SHIELD

 

View flyer here.

East County News Service

October 31, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A flyer that landed in mailboxes just in time for Halloween features images of a haunted house and a cemetery-–along wtih a message urging recipients to “Look inside…At the scary report on the Grossmont Union High School District Board Members Jim Kelly and Robert Shield,  IF YOU DARE…” 

The flyer supports challengers Shirley Anderson and Barbara Stevens in the election, which has six candidates running including incumbents Kelly and Shield.  The mailer was paid for as an independent expenditure by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

$5,000 REWARD FOR ANIMAL ABUSE WHISTLEBLOWERS

 

PHOTO: Workers can help report abuse of farm animals with a new national tip line. Photo credit: Kathy Milani/Humane Society of the United States.

By Monique Coppola, Public News Service-CA

October 31, 2014 (Ramona)-- Whistleblowers in California could earn up to a $5,000 reward if their tip leads to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in the abuse of farm animals. The Humane Society of the United States has just launched a national tip line where callers can report animal abuse at farms, slaughterhouses or livestock auctions.

ON THE SILVER SCREEN: COLD AS ICE (WHITE BIRD IN A BLIZZARD)

 

By Brian Lafferty

October 31, 2014 (San Diego) – For a film directed by Gregg Araki – well-known for anarchic, usually erotically charged films like The Living End (1992), The Doom Generation (1995), and Mysterious Skin (2004) – White Bird in a Blizzard is unusually peaceful. While small traces of his trademarks – teenage angst, sex, and homosexuality – appear, his latest film is his most accessible by far. Whether that's refreshing or disappointing will depend on how much you're willing to readjust your expectations.

SHOULD LA MESA "PASS THE J?"

 

By Leon Thompson

October 29, 2014 (La Mesa) – Medical Marijuana dispensaries are prohibited by code in La Mesa.  Proposition “J” The measure would require that City officials issue an operating permit and business registration to any dispensary applicant who demonstrates compliance with location requirements and presents a plan for compliance with operational requirements.

CHEERS! RAMONA ART AND WINE FESTIVAL IS NOV. 1 AT THE AMY STRONG CASTLE

 

 

October 31, 2014 (Ramona)-- The second annual Ramona Art and Wine Festivals iwll be held at the historic Amy Strong Castle on November 1st.

Guests will enjoy tasting handcrafted wine from area wineries and food prepared by area chefs. Artists will display and sell their work. Highlighting the event is a live auction of wine barrels painted by local artists.

POWAY CENTER FOR PERFORMING ARTS PRESENTS "WOODSTOCK THE CONCERT" NOV. 22, 45 YEARS AFTER THE ORIGINAL

   
       
 

 

…And Here’s Some Woodstock Trivia, Just for Fun

October 30, 2014 (Poway – It was muddy. It was peaceful. History was made.  “An Aquarian Exposition: Three Days of Peace and Music” in 1969 came to be known simply as “Woodstock,” the name of the town 43 miles from Max Yasgur’s 600-acre dairy farm in the Catskills of New York. On November 22, the Poway Center for the Performing Arts presents a live tribute to Woodstock, which became the definitive nexus for the counterculture generation. The event will feature local San Diego musicians Eve Selis, Tim Flannery, Berkley Hart, Back to the Garden Band, and dozens of special guests. Surprises are guaranteed!

SKATE, TRICK-OR-TREAT AND SHOP AT VIEJAS ICE RINK'S OCTOBER 31ST GRAND OPENING

 

October 31, 2014 (Alpine)– Viejas Outlets kicks off the holiday season a little earlier this year with the October 31st opening of the popular Viejas Ice Rink – the largest outdoor ice rink in Southern California.

MCWHIRTER RESPONDS TO CANDIDATE QUESTIONS IN LA MESA

 

East County News Service

October 31, 2014 (La Mesa)—Guy McWhirter cancelled his radio interview last week, stating that he needed to assist his daughter, who is expecting a baby soon.  He asked for questions to respond to in writing. 

You can hear the radio interviews with the other four candidates, and read highlights from their interviews here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/la-mesa-candidates-air-depth-views-interviews-east-county-magazine

 

For McWhirter’s written responses to our questions, click “read more” and scroll down.

LEMON GROVE COUNCIL CANDIDATES SHARE VIEWS

 

 

Photo (top left to lower right): Howard Cook, Jerry Jones, Jennifer Mendoza, and Stephen Browne

 

By Jordan Schaffner

October 31, 2014 (Lemon Grove)—Five candidates are in the running for the Lemon Grove City Council: incumbents Howard Cook and Jerry Jones, along with challengers  Anna Sessom Baker, Stephen Browne, and Jennifer Mendoza. Baker did not respond.

The other candidates’ responses are posted below, highlighting their goals on issues ranging from transportation to public safety.

LA MESA CANDIDATES AIR IN-DEPTH VIEWS IN INTERVIEWS WITH EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

 

Four of the five candidates sat down for in-depth radio interviews with East County Magazine. 

Hear their full interviews here (listed in the order they aired on KNSJ); or to read highlights click "read more" and scroll down:

Patrick Dean: http://kiwi6.com/file/bchwu7qbqx 

Pete Gregorovic: http://kiwi6.com/file/78puh4vuq3

Bill Baber:  http://kiwi6.com/file/t8a9fxd7io

Mary England: http://kiwi6.com/file/qn2jcyft15

Updated 11/1/14: Bill Baber has clarified his position on recusals and raised questions over possible conflicts of interests by Mary England.  See his remarks in the text below.

Update October 31, 2014: Guy McWhirter, who was not available for a radio interview, provided written responses to our candidate questions today, after the story below was published. Read his responses here.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: L. to R.: Bill Baber, Patrick Dean, Mary England, Pete Gregorovic, Guy McWhirter

October 30, 2014 (La Mesa) –La Mesa has two open seats on its City Council, since long-time Councliman Ernie Ewin is retiring and Councliman Mark Arpostathis is running for mayor.  Five candidates are running—and the winners could swing the Council in new directions for the future.   Overall, this year's pack of candidates brings extensive experience and enthusiasm to the contest to represent the citizens of La Mesa.

TRUNK OR TREAT OFFERED FRIGHTS AND DELIGHTS

 

By Robert Gehr

October 30, 2014 (El Cajon)--As the sun dropped low into the horizon and darkness began to envelop the land last night, evening twilight brought out hordes of costumed people - young and old alike - competing for candy  at Trunk or Treat, El Cajon’s fun-filled trick or treat Halloween festivity.

NEW AMERICANS MUSEUM HOSTS DIA DE LOS MUERTOS EXHIBIT NOV. 1 TO HONOR RITA HAYWORTH

 

                                             

By Ariele Johannson

October 30, 2014 (San Diego)--Brightly colored flowers of scarlet, white, orange, violet, yellow, and blue adorn the carpet where student immigrants from as far away as Europe are seated. The friendly group here in the Exhibition Gallery at New Americas Museum is preparing the flowers for a unique exhibit to celebrate Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead on Saturday, November 1, 2014.

The New Americans Museum is creating an altar for the late  dancer and film star Rita Hayworth to be exhibited November 1st from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., along with other open museums and galleries celebrating Dia de los Muertos at Liberty Station that day.

Dia de los Muertos at Liberty Station runs from 1:00 to 8:00 p.m., when galleries and studios are open to the public, some with demonstrations, workshops, altars, and “Meet the Artists” events. There will be performances and live music, food trucks, sugar skulls, face painting throughout the day. Admission to the galleries and studios is free.

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

 

October 30, 2014 (San Diego's East County)-- East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen about important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a wide variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

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

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

October 30, 2014 (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.

READER'S EDITORIAL: WHY TAXPAYERS COULD LOSE IF EL CAJON LEASES ECPAC TO ROCK CHURCH

 

Update Nov. 8, 2014 -- Prior to publishing this editorial we contacted Mayor Wells for comment. He did not respond at the time but today contacted us to state that he did not estimate the renovations at $5.5 million.  He clarified,  "The renovations will actually be closer to $2.5 Million. If we are to lease space to the Rock their costs would only be what is above and beyond what we would normally do for the renovations. The costs associated with running the theater have roughly been $600,000/year. The expected negotiation with the Rock could bring in approximately $250,000 per year."

 

By Robert Clark

October 27, 2014 (El Cajon) --   The October 7 interview with Bill Wells, Mayor of El Cajon, contained a real bombshell. He said that renovations to re-open the East County Performing Arts Center would cost $5.5 million, with the Rock Church paying "much" of the cost.

WATER PROJECT UNDERWAY IN RANCHO JAMUL ECOLOGICAL RESERVE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Jill Terp, Rancho Jamul Ecological Preserve, looking west toward the preserve from the Dulzura Creek area.

October 27, 2014 (Jamul) – Grading is underway for a waterline project at the Rancho Jamul Ecological Preserve.

SCIENCE AND HEALTH HIGHLIGHTS

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