By E.A. Barrera
November 27, 2013 (San Diego) – Even now, ten years since the flames have died and the air has cleared, the sight of it all still seems unreal - the earth outside my door in smolders and flames. Waking up that Sunday morning to the sounds of Santa Ana winds and an unpleasant sky, the Great Fires of 2003 were still a world away. They were still off in some remote back-country. Dreadful to consider - but none the less esoteric, and lacking any influence upon my Sunday morning routine.
By Lisa Elkins
The US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has resolved to push ahead with a plan to expand its drone combat weapons system despite the malfunctioning drone that injured two last Saturday on the USS Chancellorsville’s last Saturday off the coast of San Diego. The $4 million aerial and subsonic target drone, Chukar (BQM-74E), which was manufactured by Aerospace giant Northrop Grumman, capable of speeds up to 604 mph, had veered out of control during an operation test. Luckily only two sailors out of the 300 crew members aboard the ship were injured after it was struck by the drone. Investigators at the Naval Base were unable to say why the drone lost control and crashed.
This is the second drone crash to occur in the past week after another unmanned craft malfunctioned and came down over Lake Ontario on Tuesday, prompting the suspension of all drone flights in Central New York.
By Claudia Millerbragg
I am asking you to put human life before money. If you continue with your plans to drain Lake Morena it puts the residents of rural East County at a higher fire risk.
If a fire sweeps through here and property and lives are lost because of the low water levels at Lake Morena are you prepared to live with the fact that your decision to drain the lake contributed towards the destruction?
By Dave Patterson
November 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – On September 24, the County Board of Supervisors threw their support behind a Southern California drone testing zone. This rash decision puts San Diego County at risk for $2.7 billion in liability for the property alone if a Drone goes down and starts a fire in the back country. The County Board of Supervisors need to rethink this position quickly, before the FAA opens our skies to drones for testing purposes, and put us all at risk.
By Tom Budlong
I just mined the Ocotillo project's Environmental Impact Statement issued before the project was approved. The document's job is to predict the project's impacts.
On noise: “Under this worst-case scenario the wind farm would be considered an acceptable land use and…would meet the Imperial County daytime and nighttime noise limits. (p. 4.9-7).
By Cindy Buxton, Chair Forest Committee, San Diego Sierra Club
November 2, 2013 (Cleveland National Forest) – It’s been ten years since the Cedar Fire. Now it’s the beginning of Deer Season. I put this video together years ago from a Power Point on the Cedar Fire from Cedar Gorge, in the first hours and the weeks and months to follow. For the milestone remembered this week, here's another moment, remembering that last night from a world we left behind.
By Cindy Buxton, Chair, Forest Committee of the San Diego Sierra Club
“This is the general “neck of the woods” of the famous Cedar Creek Falls and Three Sisters Waterfall… We are hoping for universal outcry to insist that all parties, SDG&E, the CPUC, and the USFS will embrace this as the golden opportunity to evolve community safety and environmental integrity forward.” – Cindy Buxton
October 21, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- The U.S. Forest Service (USFS) sent out its request for scoping on SDG&E’s Master Permit renewal. The comment period is through November 7th. Document links are provided at the end of this editorial.
The Forest Service, in an attempt to consistently and effectively manage wilderness and wilderness-like portions of their Forest, recommends moving the 626 69kV line that runs up Boulder Creek Road out of these fragile areas and makes this suggestion along with a mile or so wide corridor for study where portions of the line could be moved. But there more to this proposal than meets the eye.
By Dave Patterson, Ramona
This is a wakeup call for everyone that assumes that our jobs and pensions are secure, and that we will be taken care of in our elder years. The fact is that our leadership has bankrupted the nation and we are mostly to blame because of our apathy.
Starting in 1990 I was waving the red flag regarding the National Debt, then $2,000 per capita. No one was worried because it was such a small percentage of gross domestic product (GDP), and besides Ronald Reagan had said, “Deficits don’t matter.”
The crooks and liars gave the green light to the banks and investment firms that proceeded to gamble our wealth and lose it. Now the debt is almost as large as the debt accumulated after WWII, and we have a government that is so big no one wants to deal with it. Our politicians have failed us and now they are saying that Social Security is on the chopping block. Like our other pensions, they have spent it all into oblivion.
Editor's note: We received this editorial from a Canadian reader in response to our coverage of the Ocotillo Wind Energy Project's impacts on our local desert and the people of Octoillo.
By Catherine Bayne, Bayniche Conservancy
We grieve for you and yours, for the desert, the world and for the future. The wind war stories are fundamentally the same from everywhere, the disillusionment pervasive.
How could corruption of such magnitude flourish under the UN? We forgot that, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance"
By Hugh Moore, Treasurer, San Diego County Green Party
Oct. 18, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- I received the attached response to my letter asking my representative, Duncan Hunter, to vote in favor of a resolution to keep the government open and prevent a default on the debt of the United States.
My representative’s response was that he had voted against the resolution stating that it “fails to address some of the most serious issues facing this nation.” So what are those serious issues?
By Parke Ewing
“Our desert home is not really a home any longer, it is just a place to fight wind turbine syndrome, since the turbines crank out profits for huge investment companies and CEO's get big bonuses while the uninformed public is forced to subsidize and allow production tax credits for a wind industry that could care less about renewable energy. Profit is the name of the game here.”—Parke Ewing
October 17, 2013 (Ocotillo) --I am a resident, another citizen forced to live adjacent to an Industrial Wind Turbine Facility. The Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility consists of 112 Siemens 2.3-108 wind turbines, the nacelles are 262.5 feet high, the very tip of a turbine blade at 12 o'clock measures 438' above the desert floor. This hideous project was approved and constructed by Pattern Energy surrounding the community of Ocotillo, California, which according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is designated as a "Marginal Wind Resource" area.
By Nadin Abbott
October 9, 2013 (San Diego) As things go, this is not precisely the best of news. Fidelity has sold a lot of its government debt. So reports the Journal Sentinel. Money market portfolio managers at Fidelity Investments have been selling off their government debt holdings over the last couple of weeks, said Nancy Prior, president of Fidelity’s Money Market Group. While Fidelity expects the debt ceiling issue to be resolved, the Boston-based asset manager said it is taking steps to protect investors.
Prior said that Fidelity no longer holds any U.S. debt that comes due in late October or early November, the window considered by many investors to be the most exposed if the government runs out of money and defaults on its obligations.
Now this is very dangerous news, since it means Fidelity is getting ready for the other shoe to fall. As we have been speaking here of the effects of this Constitutional Crisis, and how a minority of the minority does not believe this is actually serious. How could this affect you and me? We could see a crash, quite brutally honest. This is not good news. In fact, this is very scary news.
READERS EDITORIAL: SOUNDING THE ALARM AS COUNTY BREAKS PROMISES FOR FIRE PROTECTION IN RURAL EAST COUNTY
By Howard W Cook, Jacumba Hot Springs Sponsor Group Chair
September 30, 2013 (Jacumba) -- When the Jacumba Hot Springs Community showed up to attend The Real East County Fire Safe Council(Ken Daubach, President) tonight 09/30/2013 at the Jacumba Hot Springs Fire station, the station was completely dark. Shutdown as it has been frequently in the past month. Likewise, Boulevard Fire Station was also dark tonight as it has been for most of the past several months.
Yet, in the EIR's for all of the recent electrical projects, Eco at Jacumba and the Boulevard substation as well as the Tule wind farm project the Fire Dept. establishment promised 24/7 coverage.
East County doesn't know who in the Fire establishment they can trust.
We had an medical emergency today out at De Anza Resort(probably a fatality). Eventually the station at White Star responded after an hour.
By Patrick Osio
September 27, 2013 (San Diego) – The greater San Diego-Tijuana region has been taught a lesson by a group of young people. The little league players from Chula Vista (Eastlake) and Tijuana placed 2nd and 3rd in the Little League World Series (LLWS) – it may not sound like it, as first and second place would have been greater, but what they accomplished is historic in many respects.
By Dave Patterson, Ramona
September 15, 2013 (San Diego) – In the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act was planted a clause that allows the U.S. military the power to grab U.S. citizens from anywhere, including our homes here in the U.S., and throw us in black prisons forever, no charges needed. This clause was reviewed and supported by our own Congressman Duncan Hunter, who has stated that he thought this clause was necessary and did not apply to U.S. citizens in country.
“We are seeing something quite strange, and unique. We are watching national leaders contact each other though the media and do media diplomacy.” – Nadin Abbott
By Nadin Abbott
September 12, 2013 (San Diego) -- Yesterday, Russian President Vladimir Putin had an editorial accepted and published by the New York Times. This diplomacy by newspaper is highly unusual, and the editorial was a remarkable piece of writing.
The first part of the essay made me think back to the end of World War II:
READER'S EDITORIAL: AN ENVIRONMENTALIST'S VIEWS ON THE MAYORAL RESIGNATION AND MEDIA COVERAGE OF THE EVENTS
By Mike Bullock
I was sent this link to an article about Friday’s events: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/13831. It seems to me that the article is more balanced that the UT coverage. The article has a link to the audio of both the Filner and the Gloria speech.
Bob was an elected mayor, stepping down to avoid losing all of his personal savings and wealth to legal fees and settlements. His message to his constituents deserved to be printed in the UT as a complete transcript. (I would have liked to have been able to cut and paste from the transcript, which I assumed would be published.) But I forget. The UT is no more a newspaper than Fox News is a news channel. The UT’s purpose is not to inform but to persuade. There are parts of Bob’s speech which the UT does NOT want you, or others, to hear.
By Art Pulaski, California Labor Federation Executive Secretary-Treasurer
September 2, 2013 (San Diego) – “Fifty years ago this week, union workers joined with civil rights leaders and progressive activists to march on Washington for good jobs and equal rights for all. Dr. Martin Luther King’s call for America to “rise up” and demand equality -- both economic and racial -- was a seminal moment in our nation’s history. This Labor Day much has changed since 1963. But sadly, too much remains the same.
By Jeffrey Meyer
August 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – There is an unprecedented human drama unfolding in Africa that should stop every one of us in our tracks. It is a vision into humanity's future, where we are heading and how we will exist throughout the remainder of this century. This is about choices, by all of us and where those decisions will lead us.
By Doug Deane
August 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – As you know, I was the Chairperson for the Grossmont Union High School District’s 2011 Boundary Study, and I appeared as a witness before the Grand Jury's Education Committee on 11/14/12. I am disappointed by many aspects of the GUHSD's July 25th response to the Grand Jury's report, and as the Boundary Committee Chair, I believe that I have a responsibility to clarify some misstatements and errors in the GUHSD Response to that report.
By Dave Jones, California Insurance Commissioner
July 30, 2013 (San Diego) – In case you missed it, last week I recommended that Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Cross of California should be excluded from California's Small Business Health Benefits Exchange.
On July 1, Anthem will increase rates on small employers 7.2%, the third unreasonable rate increase imposed on small employers this year alone. The 12-month cumulative increase for these Anthem customers is 17.6%; had Anthem reduced its rate increase to a reasonable level as I requested, policyholders would have seen $37 million in savings.
By Connie Frankowiak, Julian
July 29, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The loonies in the U.S. Government now think it is a great idea to arm those drones patrolling the Mexican and Canadian borders and if these drones start slaughtering and maiming their citizens like other countries on the planet then America will end up at war with their two neighbors.
By Dave Patterson
July 26, 2013 (Ramona) – Beginning in 2012 the stories about the misuse of drone technology have been frightening. Starting with the revelation that we have been killing hundreds of civilians and children in places that we are not at war, to the government using the border drones to surveil American citizens. Worse yet, there appears to be an unholy alliance between our nation and Pakistan because there is now evidence that our drones are killing people that are not terrorists, but instead political enemies of the Pakistani regime.
By E.A. Barrera
July 16, 2013 (San Diego) – On the continued fight over forcing the Mayor to resign - It is not too smart to call a press conference, like the one Briggs, Frye and Gonzales called yesterday in an attempt to use the media to force San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to resign, then attack the media for asking legitimate questions.
I believe Bob Filner should resign for the good of San Diego, but if he survives this thing, it will be due to his opposition playing such heavy handed politics - from the left and the right - that the public decides this is all just another power grab and there is no difference between Bob and his adversaries.
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
July 11, 2013 (San Diego) – Lee Patisson, a young Navy diver, bitten himself while trying to protect his dog, was recently forced to kill a pit bull that was attacking his pet dog.
According to a San Diego U-T story: “Pattison said he wants to make it clear that he did not shoot the dog without exhausting what he felt was every other means. He tried grabbing its collar and hitting it with his fists. The dog was undeterred. He ran inside and got his shotgun, and struck Bodi [the pit bull] with the butt of the gun five or six times. . . Pattison said Bodi was often tied up on his neighbor’s front doorstep, but the dog was known to break loose . . . He said it was the second time in about a month that the dog had attacked Bolt [Pattison’s dog]. Pattison does not face any charges. Wayne [the dog’s owner] has been cited for failure to keep the dog leashed and failure to protect the public.” (Man Who Killed Pit Bull Says He Is No Hero, July 4, 2013).
Update June 20, 2013 4 p.m. -- The Sacramento Bee reports that due to mounting public pressure, the Governor will abandon efforts to weaken the Public Records Act. The Bee also reports that Democrats plan to push for a state Constitutional amendment to assure public access to government documents and require local agencies to pay the costs, thwarting efforts by local governments that have sought reimbursement from the state for costs of complying with the decades-old law.
“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”
By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine
June 20, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A budget now on the Governor’s desk would gut the California Public Records Act, eliminating your right to access public records. Donna Frye, president of Californians Aware (CalAware), warns, “This is where we are today, facing a Public Records Act wipe-out unless Governor Brown vetoes that portion of the budget trailer bills and restores all the provisions currently in place.”
CalAware, a watchdog group dedicated to protecting open government, urges citizens to call the Governor today at (916)445-2841 and ask the following:
By John Mattes, Much Better Choices
Who should pay for San Onofre fiasco? The answer is obvious. Shareholders collect dividends while ratepayers pay tens of millions of dollars a year for a defunct nuclear plant. It's time for the PUC to step up.
There may be lots of questions yet to be answered about Southern California Edison's permanent shutdown of its San Onofre nuclear plant, but here are a couple about which there's no doubt. Who's responsible? Edison, 100%. Accept no argument that it did the best it could in overseeing a $700-million generator replacement project, but accidents happen. This wasn't an accident: It was the product of what Edison claims was its rigorous oversight of contractors.
The troubling history of our U.S. shadow factory -- and how we have lost rights in the name of security
By Nadin Abbott
June 13, 2013 (San Diego) Edward Snowden shook the power elites in Washington D.C. with his revelations that the National Security Agency (NSA) is spying on Americans. He released documents such as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) order to the British newspaper, The Guardian, sending high-level U.S. government officials demanding his prosecution.
By Supervisor Dave Roberts
June 13, 2013 (San Diego)--On May 15th, the Board of Supervisors approved an ordinance that establishes a rigorous process to install wind turbines. By a 4-1 vote, Supervisors agreed to strict guidelines. Our action did not approve a single, specific project.
My vote to adopt the ordinance came after much careful consideration.
As Dr. Dan Silver of the Endangered Habitats League said during his testimony, "wind energy presents a conundrum."
On one hand, I am very supportive of renewable energy to reduce greenhouse gasses. On the other, I am concerned about the significant, unmitigable impacts of large wind turbines.
By Bill Weaver
May 24, 2013 (Alpine--originally written May 14, 2013) -- I am disappointed to report that new information has recently surfaced that indicates that Propositions H and U Bond funds have been grossly misused by the GUHSD, and that this misuse has been the subject of a cover-up by the GUHSD Trustees and Administrative staff. A "smoking gun" has been discovered that points toward unethical and non-transparent behavior by District staff, presumably under the direction of the Trustees.
You will see from the content in the attachment that District bond construction funds have been mismanaged at best, and GUHSD fiscal policies and decision-making are a train wreck. The attachment shows that the District's ongoing bond management practices and accounting procedures have cheated taxpayers and burdened the district with unsustainable district "OPEX" Operating Expenses.
By Jim Bell
My goal in releasing this commentary is to introduce the Net-Meter Option to the public as a cost-effective way to increase local electricity supply and price security instead of investing ratepayerâ€™s dollars into SDG&E/SEMPRAâ€™s Sunrise Power Link, a proposed 16-story tall transmission line that SDG&E and its parent Company, SEMPRA, are pitching to the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). If built, the Power Link transmission line would run 150 miles from San Diego to Mexicali, Mexico, running through numerous state parks, wild life habitat areas and private properties. Read More