Editorials

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.

READER’S EDITORIAL: REFLECTIONS ON RECENT EVENTS AND CHALLENGES TO PRESERVE CULTURAL HISTORY IN LA MESA

By Jim Newland, President, La Mesa Historical Society

June 23, 2020 (La Mesa) - The past few weeks’ events and experiences, including those in our local community, can only remind us of our nation’s challenging history of discrimination, violence and racism.  This is a very personal history for many that sadly continues into the present. 


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A BITTERSWEET REOPENING OF THE ICONIC JACUMBA SPA, NOW FOR SALE

By Daniel Smiechowski

June 19, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The East County Jacumba Resort and Spa has fallen victim to uncertain times. Owned for many years by Dave Landman, an affable character who coincidentally owns most of Jacumba and about 800 acres east to Yuma, Arizona, the Spa is currently listed for sale by Coldwell Banker. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY IS WATER SHUT OFF AT CAMPGROUNDS IN MCCAIN VALLEY?

By Ken Danielson

 

Photo, left: Google Earth image of water systems

 

Photo, right by Miriam Raftery:  Lark campground, before construction of Tule Wind

 

June 18, 2020 (McCain Valley) -- Many of you have probably visited the Cottonwood campground at the end of McCain Valley road. (Identical conditions exist at the Lark Canyon Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) park midway to Cottonwood). I’ve been camping there for more than 40 years. Even with the industrialization of the valley. it has remained a gem. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: SMALLPOX SURVIVOR RECALLS THE SCOURGE

As COVID-19 quarantines cause disruptions worldwide, a survivor of a prior pandemic speaks out

By  Roger Coppock

Photo: A case of smallpox in 1886; public domain image via Wikipedia

June 10, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- It fell off me in the shower this morning.  I felt the brief pinch and saw it before it went down the drain.  The little piece of thin  plastic suture used to hold together a former pustule on my skin, hiding it. It has been more than a decade since I saw the last of its kind.  This may, finally, be the last of them all.

As a preschooler, I followed my late father to a research station in New Mexico along the border.  My father was an experimental psychologist who was trying to measure learning in bats.  It was a great adventure, until I caught one of the last cases of Smallpox in North America.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: TIME TO LISTEN AND TO CHANGE RACIAL INJUSTICE IN OUR NATION AND OUR WORLD

By Andy Salmonsen

Photo, left, by Henri Migala:  George Floyd protest in La Mesa May 30 drew many white participants and people of all races marching in solidarity against racism and police violence

June 7, 2020 (Jamul, California) – This week, I spoke with a good friend and fellow musician.  He is truly a great person and a good man.  I could talk about his talent, his humor, and his personality, but that is not what this is about.  I asked if I could mention him in the post and he said yes.  But as I write this, I don’t want to mention his name because that’s not what this is about, and I don’t want to detract from what really matters.  I will call him Mr. C.   Mr. C Is black.  I asked him if I should reference black people or African American and he said black was ok.   Black lives matter.  I asked him that question because I am white, and I don’t know what it’s like to be black.  I have no idea.  72% of us in the United States have no idea what it is like to be anything other than white.

The conversation was about what I thought of the situation in our nation right now regarding George Floyd, and also why had I not posted anything about how I felt.  Mr. C is really feeling this, he is protesting and he if standing up for what he believes.  I listened to him as he told me how he was feeling and how a lot of his white friends seemed to say the same thing I did, “I don’t really post.”  Mr. C and I love each other like brothers, but I think he was wondering who I really was, who was I underneath in my heart and soul?  It brought me to tears hearing his voice and his pain.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: LIVES LOST AMID PANDEMIC AREN’T ALL DUE TO COVID-19: SUICIDES RISE DURING QUARANTINE

By Bettie Wells 
 
Photo: Creative Commons by S.A. via Bing
 
May 10, 2020 (El Cajon) -- I am a mental health care professional. I have worked in the field in many arenas for 25 years. I have worked mainly in trauma-not something I picked for myself, it just worked out that way. I thought I had seen it all in my career until about three weeks ago...Suicide. 
 
As a therapist, I hear about suicide fairly often. It's an important question in a psycho-social interview. I have helped countless people work through their suicidal ideation. It's safe to say that I am not flustered by my clients needing to work though such a dark time in their lives. This last three weeks though, I have been hearing about someone suiciding on average about three times a day now. 
 
Think about that--on average three times a day, I hear about someone killing themselves. In my 25 years working in this field, I have never once experienced this much suicide happening all at once.

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READER'S EDITORIAL: WHY ARE NURSING HOMES LOOKING FOR IMMUNITY DURING COVID-19?

By Marcel Gemme

Image via Pixabay

May 5, 2020 (San Diego) - Nursing homes and other senior living facilities have been some of the hardest-hit communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.  As countless news stories emerge about outbreaks at nursing homes, the best guess that anyone has so far as to the total number of coronavirus deaths from nursing homes is 10,000.  


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READER’S EDITORIAL: THE MAN WHO WORE A KKK HOOD TO A SUPERMARKET...IS THIS WHO WE ARE WHEN WE THINK NOBODY IS WATCHING?

By E.A. Barrera 

May 5, 2020 (Santee) -- I grew up in San Diego's East County. I lived and went to school in Lakeside. Over the years I lived in Santee, the SDSU College area, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Hillcrest, La Mesa, Lemon Grove, El Cajon and Julian. I currently own a home in Lakeside.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: NATIONWIDE VOTE-BY-MAIL NEEDED TO PROTECT OUR DEMOCRACY

By Al Chavarria

April 24, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- The most important element of our nation is our democracy. The right to vote is as basic of a right as we have. The right to have your voice heard in a nation of multiple voices shouting at the same time. The only way to decide on who will be our leaders is for the majority to decide and the only to do that is to vote! Simple and Patriotic, right?

So obviously with the current pandemic, the only safe way to achieve this in this coming election, is to VOTE BY MAIL. All  states need to prepare now and they should not be afraid to implement this strategy for fear of losing elections.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: PEOPLE’S LIVES TRUMP THE DOW JONES DURING PANDEMIC

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH, retired epidemiologist
 
April 23, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- So Senator Jones claims America exceptionalism because our Constitution begins with “We the People,” in his recent editorial on restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nice sentiments, but what is the reality? 
 
According to Senator Jones, “‘We the People’ established a Constitution with a Bill of Rights that enshrines the liberties that cannot be permanently taken from us. Just because we’re in an emergency doesn’t mean we hand over our freedoms to the government absolutely and indefinitely.” 
 
First, no one is talking about handing over our freedoms indefinitely. However, if we rely on our “intuitive genius” President and people like Senator Jones rather than experts on infectious diseases we may actually hand over more than our freedoms--threatening our health and our lives.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: VIEW “PLANET OF THE HUMANS” MOVIE THIS EARTH DAY

By Renée Owens

April 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This year is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! How can you honor Mother Earth while sheltering at home? Perhaps the most powerful thing you can do right now is sit back and watch a movie. Specifically, the groundbreaking documentary Planet of the Humans, just aired and free to watch on Youtube. A decade in the making, produced by Berkeley University Professor Ozzie Zehner and Michael Moore, it reveals astonishing and profound revelations about the green energy movement that I guarantee you will have never heard before.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIANS MUST ENSURE INFRINGEMENTS ON LIBERTIES DURING PANDEMIC ARE ONLY TEMPORARY

By State Senator Brian Jones
 
Originally published in the San Diego Union-Tribune; reprinted with permission of the author
 
April 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- In his 1987 State of the Union address, President Ronald Reagan clarified the difference between the U.S. Constitution and those of other countries:
 
“Many countries have written into their constitution provisions for freedom of speech and freedom of assembly. Well, if this is true, why is the Constitution of the United States so exceptional? Well, the difference is so small that it almost escapes you, but it’s so great it tells you the whole story in just three words: We the People. In those other constitutions, the government tells the people of those countries what they’re allowed to do. In our Constitution, we the people tell the government what it can do, and it can do only those things listed in that document and no others.”
 
Last week, President Donald Trump unveiled new guidelines to help states begin to lift the social distancing guidelines that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended since mid-March. Given that state and local governments have acted in accordance with, or gone well beyond, federal guidance to this point, “stay at home” orders may begin to ease May 1 in some places but may continue for weeks or months in others.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: UNDERSTANDING AB5 IN CRISIS

The State that started out saying “we need to protect these workers” is now refusing to send the same workers money that Congress specifically appropriated for independent contractors.

By Barbara Bry, San Diego mayoral candidate

April 15, 2020 (San Diego) -- We all want to protect workers. But, so-called “Gig” workers (independent contractors) are often underpaid and left out of important safety net programs like unemployment insurance. This has always been the case, but historically it was a relatively small portion of the workforce.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: SHARING HOPE

By Dadla Ponizil
 
April 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- As we grind through the difficult days of the pandemic, I'd like to share some hope.  My daughter, the fashion designer, is making protective masks--dyed with turmeric and beet juice, and they are lovely.
 
In every city around the nation, feats of valor, creativity and grace are being accomplished every day. We will win this battle. This gives me hope: the power of our teamwork and solidarity. 

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READER’S EDITORIAL TERRA-GEN’S CONTROVERSIAL CAMPO WIND TURBINE PROJECT APPROVED BY DEPT OF INTERIOR OVER STRONG OBJECTIONS OF IMPACTED TRIBAL MEMBERS

Decision bypasses Campo’s tribal regulations and land use planning protections: Legal challenges are in the works

By Donna Tisdale, President of Backcountry Against Dumps

April 9, 2020 (Campo and Boulevard, California)-- Against strong opposition, including many tribal members, the Department of Interior just approved the Record of Decision (ROD) for Terra-Gen’s controversial Campo Wind project with 60-586 ft tall 4.2 megawatt (MW) turbines on Campo Tribal lands in rural San Diego County.

These turbines are taller than the tallest skyscraper in San Diego and twice as powerful as existing Kumeyaay Wind and Tule Wind turbines that already generate nuisance level adverse impacts for neighbors! To add insult to injury, the ROD was signed by the Assistant Secretary, which means we lose the right to appeal that approval.

Legal challenges are in the works.

Campo Wind is opposed by neighbors as well as by a qualified number of voting Campo Tribal members, but Campo leaders have ignored two valid tribal petitions: 1) to terminate Campo Wind ; 2) to remove their leadership for failing to hold the vote to terminate[1]. Turbines are planned far too close to homes and offices and can restrict the number and placement of new homes for current and future residents.

Campo’s elections are set for April 17th, with strong hope that leaders will be voted in who will act to better protect their people and resources, and to stop Campo Wind dead in its tracks.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: HOW I COPE DURING THESE UNPRECEDENTED TIMES

By Daniel J. Smiechowski, San Diego
 
Photo:  Invasion and bombing of Normandy, France, which the author’s mother survived during World War II (CC by SA image)
 
April 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- I understand the gravity of our situation in maintaining personal health, finances and a host of other considerations during this unprecedented time of national and global catastrophe. I have not changed one single behavior except for perhaps understanding more acutely the folly of mankind.
 
My entire life has been devoted to personal philosophical reflection, social psychology and participating in athletics, the past forty years traveling the earth in search of triathlon. A couple of weeks ago, I was at my second home in France just exiting the country before all hell broke loose. I ran in an event and placed first in my age group. It was a happy time being among friends and family, respected by the French nation. 
 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: HERE LIES STAND UP COMEDY (1966-2020)

 

By Darryl Littleton

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- Stand Up Comedy is dead!   Official cause of death – Coronavirus with Trump complications.  After a lengthy illness due to the politically correct sanctions, and despite recent signs of resurgence (thanks to Netflix), Stand Up finally succumbed this month from the prescription of no public gatherings over 10 people.  That dose was barely enough for a club staff, much less a show.   Not a Stand Up show, anyway.   Not a real one.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: TO COMBAT COVID-19, WE SHOULD MOBILIZE OUR MILITARY TO BUILD HOSPITALS AND ASK FACTORIES TO PRODUCE VITAL SUPPLIES

By Ammar Campa-Najjar, candidate in the 50th Congressional District
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - Make no mistake: I’ve lived in a war zone.  We are at war with the Coronavirus. People are scared, unsure and know the worst is yet to come. Working parents are sheltering in place with their children, small businesses struggling to meet overhead costs. 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: ABORTION IS A 1ST AMENDMENT ISSUE

Response to Sylvia Sullivan’s “pro-choice dangerous descent” (Feb. 16, 2020) 
 
By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH
 
February 24, 2020 (San Diego) – Sylvia Sullivan’s Reader’s Editorial makes a number of points that reflect more a rigid ideology rather  than valid arguments on abortion, from claims of violence at clinics to medical, social and economic considerations regarding abortion. As I make clear below her editorial ignores some compelling reasons for pro-choice. However, what I haven’t seen in her editorial is that abortion should be considered a 1st Amendment issue given that almost all pro-lifers base their position on the Bible.
 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: AMERICAN BASEBALL – SIGNS OF THE TIMES

By Greg Dunne 
                                                 
February 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Baseball made the front page of the Wall Street Journal this week with the Astros’ scandal about cameras in the outfield stealing signs from opponents, especially in their 2017 World Series vs. the Dodgers. 
 
I’m pretty much standing alone on my views of this scandal. I’m sure even baseball historians will say my views on this matter are absurd. When did the time-honored tradition of stealing signs in baseball become a bad thing? I guess in 2020 when the entire Astros team had to apologize for stealing signs in the World Series of 2017.
 
I’ve been a baseball fan for a long time, dating back to the 1960s when I was a kid. I have followed baseball and its history ever since, which always made the game so great for me. The history of the game was always a big part of the game as a player and as a fan. So, now that technology is helping a team steal signs, stealing signs is not the “art form” that it used to be? And now you have to be politically correct and apologize for it? 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: ON SUSAN B. ANTHONY’S 200TH BIRTHDAY, BEWARE OF MEN RUNNING IN THE 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT WHO OPPOSE WOMEN’S RIGHTS

“Men, their rights, and nothing more; women, their rights, and nothing less. I declare to you that woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand. Independence is happiness.” – Susan B. Anthony

By Hope C. Justice

Photo: Susan B. Anthony, public domain image, drawing by J.E. Baker, Boston

February 15, 2020 (San Diego) – Today is the 200th birthday of Susan B. Anthony, who fought tirelessly to win the constitutional right for women to vote- a victory finally attained 100 years ago. She also fought for equal rights for women – a battle that two centuries later, has still not been won.

Alarmingly, as we see an erosion of protections for women across the nation in everything from equal pay to violence against women to reproductive health, we have men running for Congress here in California's 50th  Congressional district whose voting records indicate that they are dangerous for women. 

Two of them, Brian Jones and Darrell Issa, have long legislative records of voting against freedoms for women and touting policies that belong in the Stone Age, not the modern era. A third Republican, Carl DeMaio, is less extreme but still opposes full equality in pay and health services access. (Mercifully, there are other choices in this race, including at least two candidates who support equal rights for women.)


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READER’S EDITORIAL: PRO-CHOICE DANGEROUS DESCENT

By Sylvia Sullivan

February 16, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- This year marks the Roe v Wade Supreme Court decision 47th anniversary. While mourning the deaths of over 61 million babies, it is also time to reflect on the direction of the pro-choice movement. For years those who defended a woman’s right to abort her baby were thought to be merely confused or misinformed.

Although, some disturbing incidents occurred in front of abortion clinics between pro-lifers and those against. Pro-choice young punks kicking a little old lady as she knelt in prayer. Or spewing the vilest language at pro-life teen girls as well as spitting in their faces. Pro-choice activists cheering a plane banner that proclaimed late term abortionist, George Tiller, a “national treasure!" These incidents were believed to be from extreme fringe elements but not representative of most of the pro-choice supporters.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO SANTEE OFFICIALS: LET’S PAUSE HOUSING DEVELOPMENT AND SOLVE TRAFFIC CONGESTION FIRST

By Eid Fakhouri, CPA, Santee resident and commuter advocate
 
Photo by Eid Fakhouri, taken January 23, 2020
 
January 31, 2020 (Santee) - We see this traffic everyday on city roads (Carlton Oaks, Inverness, Mast, West Hills) that are 1/2 mile from the on ramps.
 
This is just to show you that even on a beautiful day without any accidents, traffic is still backed up. The bottom line here is our city roads are not made to handle the traffic.
 
We understand there are a lot of vehicles coming from all over the region to Highway 52, but let's not exacerbate the problem.
 
Our land will always be available; it is not going away.  And yes it may be developed one day. But there is no need to race to add to the problem until our infrastructure can handle it. 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: MEASURE A WILL REDUCE FIRE RISK IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

By Nona T. Barker and Richard W. Halsey

Photo: 2007 firestorms in San Diego County, courtesy of La Mesa Fire Dept.

January 22, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As we watch Australia burn, many Californians remember the fear they felt as fires raged near their homes in recent years. Fires are a fact of life in much of California, but there are steps we can take to reduce the damage to people, property and our regional economy. One important commonsense step is to avoid building new houses in areas at the highest risk of burning.

Unfortunately, the urge to maximize profits seems to outweigh common sense for many big developers. Time and again, developers have requested amendments to the county’s General Plan to build massive sprawl housing projects in fire-prone areas of San Diego County. Our General Plan is a guide to sustainable growth in San Diego County. Despite the 13 years, millions of dollars, and widespread public input and support that went into developing the plan, our Board of Supervisors has shown time and again that it is inclined to support sprawl developments in our backcountry.

Measure A would put a stop to this short-sighted behavior. Under Measure A, voters get a direct voice in deciding whether large proposed housing developments that would increase zoned residential density in fire-prone rural and semi-rural areas can be built.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: AL FRESCO DINING AND HEALTHY CHOICES DURING SAN DIEGO 2020 RESTAURANT WEEK

By Dana Stevens, Executive Director, Community Action Service & Advocacy
 
January 21, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - Let’s embrace healthy living in 2020, as we head into San Diego’s 2020 Restaurant Week (January 19-26). Let’s dine at restaurants that offer smoke-free outdoor dining patios as well as healthy, fresh, delicious food.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIA’S NEW GIG WORKER LAW IS DISRUPTING THE MUSIC INDUSTRY AND THREATENING ALL PERFORMING ARTS

 
By Brendan Rawson
Originally published by CalMatters
 
Musician Alphonso Horne performing with the band, Sammy Miller and the Congregation, at San Jose Jazz in 2019. (Photo, Robert Birnbach, courtesy San Jose Jazz.)
 
January 14, 2020 (Sacramento) -- California has overreached in its effort to address the challenges in today’s tech platform gig-work economy. 
 
The live music sector, the progenitor of the term “gig” work, is being swept up by this law. The irony would be comical if it were not such a serious problem.
 
There are some worthy arguments to be made for Assembly Bill 5 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, San Diego Democrat. It could improve the lot of workers trying to piece together a living in this expensive state. It should help capture unemployment taxes from unscrupulous employers misclassifying workers as independent contractors. 
 
However, the law has created a tangle of red-tape and administrative expense for large portions of California’s cultural sector.

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READER’S EDITORIAL: OPEN LETTER TO SANTEE COUNCIL MEMBER LAURA KOVAL - PUBLIC INTEREST MOTIVATES PRESERVE WILD SANTEE

By Van Collinsworth, Director, Preserve Wild Santee
 
January 14, 2020 (Santee) -- At the last meeting, the new Vice-Mayor Laura Koval waited until after I had addressed the council and returned to my seat to suggest that Preserve Wild Santee and/or other environmental organizations work is financially motivated. To be clear, and as has always been the case, I will engage with any council member at the podium to address their directed remarks, as I did with the mayor. From my perspective, waiting until I cannot respond to make this suggestion of financial motivation, demonstrates the weakness of your position.
 

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READER’S EDITORIAL: SHOULD WE LIMIT FREEDOM OF PEOPLE WHO CHOOSE TO BE HOMELESS?

By Steve Goble, El Cajon Councilman

January 14, 2020 (El Cajon) -- This has lots of good information. Thank you for this article, “Cities Should Act on Homelessness or Face Lawsuits, Newsom Task Force Says.”   

What I don't see the state officials addressing yet is, "What about a person's freedom to not live under a roof?"

The Council meeting today will have a comprehensive discussion on our efforts and results to-date on programs addressing homelessness.


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READER’S EDITORIAL: TO SOLVE HOMELESSNESS, CALIFORNIANS MUST TREAT CERTAIN CRIMES AS CRIES FOR HELP

By Mike Gatto, Special to CalMatters 

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

January 6, 2020 (Los Angeles) -- Those of us who have watched a friend or family member wrestle with addiction or cope with mental illness recognize that certain acts are a cry for help. 

For one of my friends, it was getting into a car accident while under the influence, with her young children inside.


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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.

READER'S EDITORIAL: WE MUST NOT EQUATE SEXUAL HEALTH TO DEVIANT SEXUAL BEHAVIOR

By Daniel Smiechowski, Bay Ho  

December 20, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) -- The recent hearing in a San Diego courtroom to release another sexual predator in Jacumba Hot Springs is another bridge too far. Eleven of fourteen county sexual predators are already in rural East County. It’s clear that demographics play a role in further stigmatizing this dusty ramshackle outpost in San Diego’s high desert.


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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.

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