East County News Service
October 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—The most controversial project in memory in East County was the construction of the 500kV Sunrise Powerlink, which was built despite objections of a coalition representing 79,000 people--though the route was changed amid public outcry.
Now, a new set of 500 kV power lines are proposed through San Diego’s East County and Imperial County as part of the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) which is currently available for public review and comment at www.drecp.org. The plan aims to open 22 million acres up for energy development including vast swaths in our region.
WILL HUESO'S ARREST END HIS POLITICAL CAREER? NOT NECESSARILY, BASED ON POLITICIANS BUSTED ON PAST DUI CHARGES
By Miriam Raftery
August 23, 2014 (San Diego)--As we reported Friday, State Senator Ben Hueso, a Democrat whose 40th district includes the southern portions of San Diego and East County as well as Imperial and Riverside counties, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Sacramento. The Senator has issued an apology and will appear in court this week.
Adding to Hueso’s woes, the Sacramento Bee has posted a photo showing Hueso partying with the Latino Caucus, shirt tail untucked, shortly before his arrest. It was tweeted by fellow legislator Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who later deleted the image. A reporter at the Sacramento Bee also reportedly received an audio file purporting to be loud singing on a capitol balcony during the evening revelry.
Will Senator Hueso’s arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol spell the end of his political future? Not necessarily, based on an examination of records of prior legislators faced with similar charges.
By Miriam Raftery
July 22, 2014 (Ocotillo)—A Summary of Violations has been issued to Ocotillo Wind Express (OWE) for alleged violations of state law due to hydraulic oil leaks observed during a complaint investigation, Sandy Nax at the Department of Toxic Substances Control with the California Environmental Protection Agency in Imperial County confirmed today.
San Diego has sixth highest rate of valley fever in California; concerns voiced that Imperial County cases may be under-reported
By Janice Arenofsky
July 13, 2014 (San Diego)--More than 160 scientists, researchers and regional activists met in Phoenix on April 5th to learn about and exchange views on the human and economic costs of Coccidioidomycosis (valley fever). Due to recent national and local media coverage of the valley fever epidemic across the Southwest and formation of a Cocci Congressional Task Force headed by two U.S. House Republicans from California and Arizona-- Kevin McCarthy and David Schweikert--the 58th Annual Meeting of the Cocci Study Group brought together a historic number of attendees.
Keynote speaker Steven Holland, MD, deputy director for intramural clinical research at the National Institutes of Health, spoke about human DNA mutations that leave a percentage of people especially vulnerable to valley fever, mycobacterial disease and Job’s Syndrome (immune-mediated disease). Holland concluded that in certain extreme cases of cocci, bone marrow transplants should be considered. He anticipates receiving more referrals of seriously ill cocci patients from Arizona and California physicians.
WAS IT FRAUD? EXPERTS RAISE SERIOUS QUESTIONS AFTER LOW FIRST-YEAR ENERGY PRODUCTION AT OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT
Elected officials suppressed key report, failed to halt project or recover taxpayer dollars
“It was heartbreaking to see this project desecrate such a historically and culturally significant landscape, and it’s even worse when you find out that it was built on false claims by the developer, and with the assistance of the BLM. "-- Anthony Pico, Chairman, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians
An East County Magazine special investigation
By Miriam Raftery
April 30, 2014 (Ocotillo) – An international wind energy expert has concluded that Pattern Energy appears to have defrauded the federal government in order to obtain lucrative tax subsidies for a wind energy development in southern California that has failed to live up to the developer’s claims.
“I believe we have a clear case for the False Claims Act,” Nicolas Boccard told East County Magazine, after reviewing full first-year wind production data for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility on U..S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land. The project produced only about half of the energy that Pattern claimed it would produce—far below levels deemed viable for a wind project, a second expert confirms.
These dismal results are no surprise to Boccard, who predicted in a report written before construction of the project was completed that Ocotillo lacks sufficient wind speeds to sustain a viable wind energy project.
So were Pattern's lofty wind speed claims nothing more than spin?
January 30, 2014 (Carrizo Mountain)—The Jacumba Hikers will be hitting the trail this Saturday at 8 a.m. for an “extreme” hike to Painted Gorge/Carrizo Mountain. Heat and movement over time has created fantastic shapes and colors as the sun illuminates and plays shadows upon this geologic wonder.
Meetings set in Julian on November 11 and December 4
By Miriam Raftery
November 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Should unmanned drone aircraft testing be allowed over San Diego and East County?
San Diego’s entire Congressional delegation thinks so. All five members have signed a letter supporting efforts by Inyokern to have the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) declare our region an unmanned aircraft systems test site,The Drone News reported on October 26. San Diego Supervisors have also voiced support for the proposal, directing staff to write a letter in support. Supervisor Dianne Jacob has said she supports the concept to provide jobs and fire monitoring.
But now a citizens action group called Back Country Voices has formed to oppose drone testing here. The The group plans two meetings, one at the Julian Library on November 11 at 6 p.m. and the second on December 4 at 6 p.m. Objections include safety and privacy concerns over drone surveillance, impacts of drones on the environment, bird migrations, and the deaths of innocent civilians including thousands of children worldwide inadvertently killed by drones.
By Miriam Raftery
October 25, 2013 (Ocotillo) – Wind turbines in Ocotillo went offline on October 21 for several days due to SDG&E maintenance on Sunrise Powerlink, according to Matt Dallas with Pattern Energy . Flashing red lights on the turbines that normally warn aircraft of the 500-foot-tall structures have also been dark, raising questions of safety for pilots at the site near the Borrego airport.
By Miriam Raftery
September 8, 2013 (Ocotillo) – A new dust storm, flooding and more white foam flowed through Ocotillo today, heightening residents’ concerns about impacts of Pattern Energy’s Ocotillo Express Wind Energy Facility on this desert community.
At 4:40 p.m. a storm hit, sending massive amounts of dust into the air, this time coming directly from project access dirt roads created by Pattern Energy, according to Jim Pelley, who shot this video. Soon after, a storm brought flash flooding, which residents claim is worsened by drainage changes made by the wind developer. The flood brought a repeat of an unknown white sludgy substance washing across the desert floor and into the town.
“The white foam is back moving across the project. It was a bit eerie,” said Pelly, who took video of today’s white foam flood as well.
RANCHO SAN DIEGO RESIDENT NAMED HEALTH SECTOR "NAVIGATOR" FOR SAN DIEGO, IMPERIAL COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGES
July 1, 2013 (El Cajon) – Rancho San Diego resident Ann Durham, Director of the Health Workforce Initiative based at Grossmont College, has been named Deputy Sector Navigator (DSN) for Health for the San Diego/Imperial Region.
The appointment, announced this week by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office Division of Workforce & Economic Development, means that Durham will have expanded responsibilities and budget under the "Doing What Matters" program.
READER’S EDITORIAL: STOP POISONING OUR COMMUNITY! HERBICIDE SPRAYING IS WIND INDUSTRY’S TOXIC SECRET
“Pattern Energy is going to pollute what it couldn't destroy… Monsanto’s Roundup is an herbicde cousin to Agent Orange--the defoliant sprayed in Viet Nam that harmed a generation of veterans and their children… This herbicide—a neurotoxin--is going to get carried downwind. Did Pattern fail to notice that there is still a community with children here in spite of its industrialization of the area with 112 turbines and a substation?”
By Linda Ewing, Ocotillo resident
Photo: Sahara mustard, a “weed” the BLM wants to eradicate with toxic herbicides
May 14, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Herbicide Mitigation? What is that? I heard these two disturbing words and felt panic.
I knew instinctively that it was going to have something to do with this Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility because nothing good has come from this controversial project since the day Pattern Energy uttered its first words of deception to the town of Ocotillo. Since the day the company first tried to convince us that its massive 438 foot-tall industrial-sized wind turbines were good for the economy. And yes, the very same day we realized that human lives were disposable and irrelevant in the statistical world of giant wind turbine developers.
TAKE A STAND IN THE SAND: PROTESTERS SEEK TO SAVE OCOTILLO & OTHER PUBLIC LANDS FROM DESTRUCTION SATURDAY MORNING
By Miriam Raftery
August 9, 2012 (Ocotillo) -- Ove 360 million acres of public lands are targeted for industrialization with renewable energy development. Among the first of these large-scale projects is Ocotillo Wind, a 12,500 wind project now under construction just over the San Diego-Imperial County line on the border of Anza-Borrego Desert State Park that has left horrified residents convinced this is anything but green.
"Ocotillo is the beginning--and must be the end. San Diego mountains and wilderness are next for destructive energy projects," reads a flyer that asks the public to join in a "Take a Stand in the Sand" event on Saturday, August 11 at 7 a.m.
Indeed, today San Diego Supervisors voted to approve the Tule Wind project in McCain Valley, the first of several industrial wind projects proposed in San Diego's East County.
By Miriam Raftery
July 24, 2012 (Ocotillo) – On Friday the 13th of July, foaming floodwaters rushed through the town of Ocotillo, leaving a white chemical residue behind on lawns, streets, and the surrounding desert floor.
Despite numerous complaints to federal, state and local officials, however, nothing has been done to test the residue or correct a drainage pattern altered by Pattern Energy’s construction at the adjacent Ocotillo Express industrial wind site on Bureau of Land Management property.
The flooding is the latest in a long string of problems tied to Pattern and its subcontractors, which residents say have exhibited a pattern of breaking rules that protect public health and safety, with seemingly no serious consequences.
A NEW PATH (PARENTS FOR ADDICTION TREATMENT & HEALING) RECEIVES A MISSION SUPPORT GRANT FROM ALLIANCE HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION
Ducheny Chastises Vargas for "Special Interest" Favors
May 5, 2012 (San Diego) -- Congressional Candidate Denise Moreno Ducheny took issue with Senator Juan Vargas's recent voting record and called on the Senator to back a strong set of foreclosure protection bills being discussed in the Senate this week. "The recent voting record of my opponent is a disservice to the residents of San Diego and Imperial Counties," Ducheny said in a statement. "He should be spending more time focusing on the needs of his constituents, not just those special interest groups who write his campaign checks."
February 1, 2012 (Ramona) – The California Department of Fish and Game announced today that its wardens have arrested Jacob Thogmartin, 26, of Ramona on suspicion of setting a fire in a wildlife area filled with hunters early Saturday morning. The blaze, which extended into the night, charred 650 acres.
ECONOMIC IMPACT OF SAN DIEGO AND IMPERIAL COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGES TO PRESENTED TO STATE LEGISLATORS JAN. 30
January 26, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--A study has found that the nine community colleges in San Diego and Imperial counties contribute a whopping $6.6 billion to California’s economy each year, provide jobs to thousands of county residents, and increase the pay students receive as the result of completing their education.
The company financed $53.7 million in loans to local small businesses
PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT ON LARGEST HABITAT CONSERVATION PLAN AIMED AT “BALANCING” RENEWABLE ENERGY DEVELOPMENT & DESERT CONSERVATION
July 31, 2011 (Sacramento) -- The Federal and State Renewable Energy Action Team (REAT) launched a joint environmental review for the Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP or Plan) that seeks to streamline permitting of renewable energy facilities for seven counties in the California desert, including San Diego and Imperial Counties.
Public meetings are set for August 16 and 24, with written comments encouraged for those who cannot attend.
May 8, 2010 (Washington, D.C.)-- On May 6, President Obama issued a major disaster declaration for California, making federal funds available to help communities rebuild after the April 4, 2010 earthquake.
April 20, 2010 (Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Congressman Bob asked President Barack Obama today to grant California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s request for a Federal Disaster Declaration that would help make funds available for Imperial County to rebuild after the April 4 quake that shook the valley.