About KNSJ

About KNSJ

HUNTER PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO MISUSE CAMPAIGN FUNDS FOR PERSONAL USE; TELLS MEDIA HE WILL RESIGN FROM CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Congressman Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret

December 3, 2019 (San Diego) -- Congressman Duncan D. Hunter pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal use.  His admission of guilt  comes after months of claiming he was innocent and a target of a political witch hunt. 

The Republican Congressman from Alpine could face up to five years in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine – ironically, the same amount that he and his wife were accused of embezzling from their campaign and spending on a lavish personal lifestyle.  He is slated for sentencing on March 17th and could received a lesser sentence, such as a shorter prison term, probation or community service.  His wife, Margaret, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and will be sentenced in April.

Hunter, a former Marine combat veteran, could have faced decades in prison if found guilty in a trial on 60 federal charges that included wire fraud and falsifying campaign reports to hide theft of funds spent on family vacations overseas, overnight trysts with five mistresses, oral surgery bills and airfare for a pet rabbit, among other illegal uses of campaign donors’ money.

CAJON VALLEY BOARD TO CONSIDER CIVILITY STANDARDS FOR BOARD MEMBERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND EMPLOYEES—WITH STIFF PENALTIES

 

Update: The board adopted both sets of civility standards 3-0, with members Jill Barto and Jo Alegria absent.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by NC-ND

August 13, 2019 (El Cajon) – At tonight’s Cajon Valley Union School District board meeting, the agenda includes proposed governance standards of civility for board members that would allow the district to ask a Grand Jury to remove a board member from office under Government Code section 3060 for engaging in repeated abusive conduct toward other board members, administrators, employees, students or members of the public.

Section 3060 allows a grand jury to take action to remove an elected official for “willful or corrupt misconduct in office” though the statute is vague on what constitutes such actions.

The agenda also includes proposed civility standards for employees and administrators; repeated acts of abusive conduct may result in discipline or ultimately, termination of employment.

Both items were placed on the agenda by Board Chair Tamara Otero, who has publicly clashed with board member Jill Barto on multiple occasions after Barto raised questions on board expenditures including the awarding of a construction contract to a company owned by Otero’s son.

The proposals seek to waive the customary second reading, in order to push through approval on a single vote, while board member Barto is absent due to a family emergency.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: KRISTA POWERS, MT. HELIX PARK FOUNDATION

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: HeART of Mt. Helix

Listen to our interview, originally aired on KNSJ radio, by clicking the audio link.

August 1, 2019 (Mt. Helix) – Krista Powers with the Mt. Helix Park Foundation shared some fascinating history of Mt. Helix and the evolution of the foundation in an interview on our East County Magazine Radio Show. 

She also talked about the upcoming heart of Mt. Helix food, wine and art festival coming up on August 10th.  The benefit event features live music and dancing, art demonstrations, a high-value raffle and auction, food tastings from local restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries and more – all at the mountaintop amphitheater with 360 degree views. This year, the Old Town trolley will shuttle people to the event.

“They come up the mountain and right away, guests walk into a live art experience,” Powers says. Up to Sunset Peak, you can do tastings and enjoy music, after which there will be a live auction with vacation stays and more, cooking demonstration, and even a new VIP seating area with lounge chairs and continued tastings. After sunset, the Good Mojo band will provide dancing under the stars. 

The event helps fund habitat restoration in the park and a wealth of other events held there, including a Halloween Harvest Festival, yoga, astronomy nights, classes, concerts, and a holiday event that this year will including the annual caroling party as well as an event similar to the Christmas markets of Europe.

Audio: 

Interview with Krista Powers-Mt. Helix Park Foundation

THREE FIRES CHAR OVER 30 ACRES IN DULZURA

By Miriam Raftery

May 30, 2019 (Dulzura) – Three wildfires collectively named the #94Fire broke out late this afternoon on State Route 94 between Otay Lakes Rd. and Freezer Rd. in Dulzura.  The fires forced closure of the highway for several hours,  causing severe traffic jams as traffic slowed to a crawl. The route is now reopened, Caltrans reports.

Cal Fire will remain on scene overnight at the largest fire near Gasoline Curve, which burned over 30 acres and is now 50% contained.  The other two fires have both been 100% contained. One burned an acre and the other scorched a third of an acre.

The blazes heighten concerns among residents about a proposed housing development at nearby Proctor Ranch which could result in an estimated 4,000 new residents further clogging evacuation routes.

The Jamul-Dulzura area is already ranked by Cal Fire as among the 1% worst communities in the state for evacuation during a wildfire due to lack of adequate evacuation routes.  By contrast, Paradise, California, which was leveled by a firestorm last year and killed over 80 people, was ranked among the worst 5%--so Jamul/Dulzura is even more dangerous.

TRUMP ATTORNEY SENTENCED TO 3 YEARS IN PRISON, IMPLICATES PRESIDENT IN FELONY CRIMES

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2018 (Washington D.C) – President Donald Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, was sentenced today to three years in prison after pleading guilty to crimes and admitting to prosecutors that Trump ordered him to commit felony crimes regarding payoffs to hide affairs. Cohen further provided evidence that the President was actively negotiating with Russia on business dealings during the campaign, contrary to what the president told voters at the time, the New York Times reports.

Cohen pled guilty to crimes filed under two separate cases, one filed by U.S. Justice Department prosecutors in New York and the other by Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller.

While Mueller recommended leniency for Cohen due to his cooperation with the probe into illegal election interference,  federal prosecutors in New York indicated Cohen was uncooperative in their investigations. Investigators also seized computer and other records of Cohen.

In court, Cohen said of Trump, “I felt it was my duty to cover up his dirty deeds.” He apologized to the American people and said his loyalty to Trump “led me to choose a path of darkness over light.”

Judge William H. Pauley III stated that Cohen’s crimes were serious and implicated “insiduous harm to our democratic institutions.”

LUND TRAILS MUNOZ IN COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION RACE

 

 

Update June 6, 2018 -- With 100% of precicnts counted and only late mail-in and provisionals remaining, Munoz is up with 56.73% over Lund with 43.07%.

 

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz; photo by Jonathan Goetz

June 5, 2016 (San Diego's East County) -- Incumbent County Board of Education member Alicia Munoz has fended off a challenge by East County Chamber of Commerce president and community college instructor Eric Lund.  Munoz, who had heavy backing from the American Federation of Teachers, has 57.46% of the vote over Lund's 42.34%, with 20% of precincts reported.

"It's been a good learning experience. This is my first time running and I'll be more prepared next time," Lund told East County Magazine.

FLEX ALERT: ALL CALIF. RESIDENTS ASKED TO CONSERVE POWER TODAY FROM 2 TO 9 PM

Twitter

 

East County News Service

June 20, 2017 (San Diego)—California residents are asked to save power from 2 to 9 p.m. by turning off unnecessary lights and appliances and setting air conditioning to turn on at 78 degrees or higher. The Flex Alert, issued by the Califiornia Independent Systems Operator that manages the power grid, aims to prevent blackouts during high power demand periods.

FILMMAKER TO DOCUMENT “RACE TO REPLACE DUNCAN HUNTER”

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – A pack of candidates are lining up to challenge Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) for the 50th Congressional seat.  Now, filmmaker  Mike Garcia, has announced that he is producing a documentary titled “The Race to Replace Duncan Hunter.”

Hear our interview with Mike Garcia, originally aired on KNSJ radio, by clicking the audio link and scroll down for details.  Garcia talked about his vision for the film and what key issue he believes could flip this red district blue in 2018—or sooner, should there be a special election if the seat becomes vacant.

Hunter is viewed as vulnerable for the first time in this conservative-leaning district, since he is under investigation by the Justice Department for using some $60,000 of campaign funds for personal expenses.

Audio: 

Mike Garcia, filmmaker, on "The Race to Replace Duncan Hunter"

RESCUES AND A SMALL FIRE AT THREE SISTERS FALLS

 

East County News Service

Photo: Hikers at trailhead to Three Sisters Falls (file photo)

June 20, 2016 (Julian) – Yesterday, a small vegetation fire off Boulder Creek Road a half mile from Three Sisters Falls near Julian was swiftly doused. Palomar Hot Shots, helicopters, U.S. Forest Service and a Cal Fire air tanker attacked the blaze when it had charred only a quarter of an acre at mid-morning yesterday.

BREAKING UP IS HARD TO DO: GROSSMONT VOTES FOR TRUSTEE DISTRICTS, BYPASSING PUBLIC VOTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Controversial plan outrages Alpine voters, Chaldeans and other district residents

Photo: Priscilla Schreiber will be forced off the board in November if the county approves the GUHSD's redistricting proposal.

February 25, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – Grossmont Union High School District voted 4-1 to ditch district-wide elections and break up the district into five areas that will each elect its own trustee. (View map)  The board also voted to ask the San Diego County Committee on School Board Reorganization to waive a requirement that would ordinarily allow the public to vote on redistricting.