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MORE PUBLIC PLACES SHUT DOWN DUE TO VISITORS CROWDING ATTRACTIONS, IGNORING SOCIAL DISTANCING

By Miriam Raftery

March 24, 2020 (San Diego) – As COVID-19 continues its rapid spread in San Diego and people eager to exercise or socialize crowd into outdoor public spaces, more are shutting down including most local beaches as well as many parks and trails.

Here’s the latest on what’s open and closed.

While it's best to stay home if you have space to exercise and get fresh air there, if you do venture out to public spaces, be sure to maintain social distance of six feet from anyone not in your famliy and so that the few remaining places to enjoy nature won’t be shut down, too. No groups of 10 or more are allowed anywhere in the state.  The Sheriff has said that those violating social distancing rules may be arrested, fined, and jailed.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS WITH CANDIDATES FOR SUPERVISOR SPEAKING OUT ON LAND USE ISSUES, FIRE SAFETY, HOMELESSNESS AND MORE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Update: Brian Sesko, the fourth candidate in this race, has now completed an interview with ECM after the deadline for this article (Due to an email issue he said he did not receive the original invitation.)  You can hear his radio interview and read hiighlights at https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/hear-our-interview-brian-sesko-lakesi....

February 20, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Magazine sat down for in-depth interviews with three of the four candidates running for County Supervisor in District 2 to replace Supervisor Dianne Jacob, who is retiring due to term limits.  Full audio recordings are now posted below, along with highlights of candidates' thoughtful responses.

The candidates showed sharp differences on issues including protecting open spaces, housing, energy development, sand mining, homelessness, public safety, fire protection, and more.

  • Former State Senator Joel Anderson says fixing roads and providing attainable housing for the next generation are his top priorities. He touts his legislative experience working across the aisle on many bills and says he’ll lobby Sacramento for more funds for the region.
  • Poway Mayor Steve Vaus, who is also president of SANDAG, wants to focus on public safety, infrastructure, building housing and preserving open spaces. He urges voters to look at his record in Poway, which ranks high in public safety, open spaces, and meeting housing needs.
  • Kenya Taylor, an expert in health and human services who has worked on programs across the backcountry, wants to put public safety and health concerns first, plus create economic opportunities and rebuild the middle class. She opposes sprawl development and voices concerns over projects such as sand mines and wind farms close to homes.

(A fourth candidate, Brian Sesko, a homebuilder and chair of Lakeside's Community Planning Group, did not respond to our interview request, but did participate in an earlier candidate forum which ECM covered; you can read about that forum and view video by clicking this link.)

Scroll down for highlights, in alphabetical order by candidates under each topic, by clicking "read more"  or click the audio links to our full 45-50 minute interviews originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM.

Audio: 


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'AN EXPLICIT ACT OF WAR': U.S. KILLS SENIOR IRANIAN MILITARY OFFICIAL QASEM SOLEIMANI IN BAGHDAD DRONE STRIKE

 

"It's like Iran killing the head of the CIA or the Mossad on foreign soil."

Major General Qasem Soleimani, pictured here on April 11, 2016, was reportedly killed Friday in Iraq.

Major General Qasem Soleimani, pictured here on April 11, 2016, was reportedly killed Friday in Iraq. (Photo: Khamenei.ir/cc)

This is a developing story... check back for updates...

by Eoin Higgins,

January 2, 2019 (Baghdad) -- A drone strike believed to be from the U.S. military at or near the Baghdad airport reportedly killed Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Major General Qasem Soleimani, an act that observers warned could mark a significant step toward a hot war in the region.


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HIGH WIND WARNING TONIGHT

East County News Service

December 17, 2019 (San Diego's East County)--A high wind warning is in effect for local mountains through 10 p.m. tonight. Gusts of up to 70 miles an hour in mountain areas.  A wind advisory is also in effect for inland valleys, where gusts up to 50 mph are forecast due to strong Santa Ana winds blowing east/northeast.

Driving may be hazardous, especially for high profile vehicles and blowing dust may reduce visibility. Area residents are advised to secure loose objects around homes.


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

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery: 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.


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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.


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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

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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.


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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.”


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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.


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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.


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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"

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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.


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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.


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