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January 30, 2021 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include



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


La Mesa Police Department ill-prepared to respond to May protest-turned-riot, consultants find (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The La Mesa Police Department was ill-prepared to respond to the riot that broke out the last weekend in May, an outside consultant concluded, and lacked the leadership, communication skills, training and policies that likely could have de-escalated the situation and prevented officers and civilians from being harmed.

Hundreds attend largely maskless El Cajon concert by controversial religious figure Sean Feucht (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Hundreds of mostly maskless Christian revelers gathered in an El Cajon park Sunday for a free concert led by evangelical musician Sean Feucht, who has garnered controversy during the coronavirus pandemic by leading massive “Let us Worship” rallies in defiance of public health guidelines. El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, who delivered the concert’s opening prayer, told the Union-Tribune he thinks the event was important because it gave people hope…

County distributes COVID patients’ addresses to police agencies (Voice of San Diego)

For the past nine months, public health officials have provided local law enforcement with lists showing the home addresses of individuals who’ve tested positive for COVID-19. The county has simultaneously fought the release of outbreak data to the general public.

El Cajon mayor’s business built on contract with healthcare provider at center of criminal investigation (San Diego Union-Tribune)

…Wells established Broadwell Health in 2016 and quickly began providing outsourced psychologists and psychiatrists to Borrego Health…Now the foundation that gave Wells his start as an entrepreneur is the subject of a criminal investigation. In October, state and federal agents raided multiple offices of Borrego Health and its billing contractor, Premier Healthcare Management of El Cajon… Wells said he and his company have no connection to the joint investigation by the FBI and state Department of Justice.

The transition from Trump to Biden is already being felt in San Diego (San Diego Union-Tribune)

It’s only been a few days, and already the official transition of power in Washington, D.C., has touched San Diego in concrete ways.

Two people hospitalized after bar fight in El Cajon(NBC San Diego)

Two people had to be taken to the hospital after a bar fight Friday night in El Cajon. One of those people injured is a local soldier who is supposed to deploy to Iraq soon. Police were called to the Junction Bar and Grill at about 11 p.m….There were multiple injuries reported; only two were transported to a hospital…Right now bars are not supposed to be open in San Diego county because of the stay-at-home order, but the mayor of El Cajon has instructed police to not enforce COVID-19 restrictions. 

After years of running elections, Michael Vu, San Diego’s registrar of voters, takes on a new role (San Diego Union-Tribune)

On the heels of running one of the most difficult elections in his 24-year career, San Diego County Registrar Michael Vu says he is ready to face new challenges. Vu, who has been Registrar of Voters since 2012, was promoted to assistant chief administrative officer of the county, officials announced Friday.

Woman sues City of La Mesa for police projectile injury during protest (10 News)

… Delane Hurley, 51, alleges she was walking through downtown La Mesa on May 30 when she stopped to watch the rally unfolding between protesters and law enforcement, according to the complaint… Hurley says she was trying to escort an elderly woman from the area when she was struck in the right cheekbone by the projectile..she was later taken to a hospital for treatment of her injuries, which included "damage to her cheekbone and surrounding nerves and tissue, as well as nerve damage”…"Ms. Hurley was doing nothing wrong, was not part of the rally, and yet she was shot in the face by a police officer who apparently was firing a dangerous weapon into a crowd of people in an area where many innocent bystanders were located," the lawsuit states.

La Jolla Salon Operator Sues CA Over COVID-19 Restrictions (Patch)

California has shut down salons through its regional stay-at-home order, which was extended late last month.

State Grant Program Awards Three SD County Tribes Funding for Climate Change (Times of San Diego)

A state program granted $250,000 to the Pala Band of Mission Indians, the Rincon Band of Luiseno Indians and the San Pasqual Band of Mission Indians Thursday to help them combat climate change in their communities.

Coronado Man Arrested And Charged For Taking Part In U.S. Capitol Insurrection (KPBS)

Jeffrey Alexander Smith was arrested Wednesday for allegedly taking part in the Jan. 6 siege in Washington, D.C., with court documents outlining that he was identified via text messages he sent and pictures and videos uploaded to social media that depicted him among the throng of rioters storming the Capitol.


Blue Shield will oversee California’s troubled COVID-19 vaccination effort (Los Angeles Times)

 Following a shaky rollout of the state’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, advisors to Gov. Gavin Newsom have struck a far-reaching agreement with Blue Shield of California for the health insurance company to oversee the distribution of vaccine doses to counties, pharmacies and private healthcare providers.

A huge piece of California's Highway 1 near Big Sur collapsed into the ocean (CNN)

California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) officials said in a statement Friday a debris flow from the hillside above the roadway "overwhelmed drainage infrastructure, flowed across the highway, and eroded the road resulting in the complete loss of a segment of Highway 1" at Rat Creek, about 15 miles south of Big Sur, a mountainous stretch of the state's central coast.

Could a homegrown coronavirus strain be partly to blame for California’s surge? (Los Angeles Times)

California scientists have discovered a homegrown coronavirus strain that appears to be propagating faster than any other variant on the loose in the Golden State. Two independent research groups said they stumbled upon the new strain while looking for signs that a highly transmissible variant from the United Kingdom had established itself here. Instead, they found a new branch of the virus’ family tree — one whose sudden rise and distinctive mutations have made it a prime suspect in California’s vicious holiday surge.

How Joe Biden’s immigration plan works, and what it would mean for California  (Sacramento Bee)

President Joe Biden on his first day in office sent Congress an extensive immigration proposal that could have big implications for California, which is home to the largest undocumented immigrant population in the nation.

Poll shows 71% of Californians want to get vaccinated. That may not be enough (San Francisco Chronicle)

 A majority of Californians are ready and willing to get the coronavirus vaccine, a new poll conducted by the California Health Care Foundation found. But many groups remain hesitant.

Macy's To Close California Stores In 2021 (Patch)

… The California stores slated for closure are at Hilltop Mall in Richmond and Parkway Plaza in El Cajon, according to USA Today. Macy's is also the parent company of Bloomingdale's, and plans to close its store in Santa Monica.

Napa man charged with stockpiling weapons may have been targeting Newsom (KTLA)

A Northern California man has been charged with stockpiling weapons, including pipe bombs, U.S. prosecutors said Wednesday, and the FBI said he sent texts that could be seen as threats against the governor’s office and social media companies.

‘Sharp decline’ in COVID cases among L.A. firefighters after vaccinations (Los Angeles Times)

The number of Los Angeles firefighters testing positive for the coronavirus has dropped significantly since the city fire agency began offering its members vaccinations, Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas said in a memo to firefighters this week.


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