Editorials

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

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. 
 

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.

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. 

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.
 

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? 

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.)

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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.
 

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.

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.

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.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WE’VE COME A LONG WAY BABY – OR HAVE WE? EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT: A 100 YEAR WALK IN THE LEGAL BONEYARD

By Helen Horvath

Isn’t it time we made the system work for women instead of the women work for the system?

December 18, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Two of my favorite songs in the fight for equal rights for women include V-Day’s “Break the Chain” and Andra Day’s “Rise Up”.  These songs touch my heartstrings in different ways. I often raise my hands to the sky as I pray for improvements and opportunities for the women in our communities.  Women are not possessions and should not be held back from future success based upon relationship status, religion, or beliefs of others.  Women in our community are professional athletes, mothers, teachers, doctors, attorneys, fast food workers, and a sundry of other occupations.  Many times, women are paid less than their male colleagues. 

Women must always remember that we are beautiful creatures who guide and teach our children, family members, and communities how to break the chain to create opportunities to “be the change” to be impactful.

Let’s face facts: women are often the hearts of our communities. Together women do move mountains. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: COMMUTERS FED UP WITH GRIDLOCK IN SANTEE

By Eid Fakhouri, CPA, CGMA, Commuter and Family Advocate

December 13, 2019 (Santee) -- Look at these photos!  (Inverness Rd. and Carlton Oaks Dr. in Santee taken Dec. 12 at 7:40 a.m.).  Happens ALL the time. 

As you can see from the photos, traffic is backed up all the way down Carlton Oaks Drive almost to Wethersfield.

READER’S EDITORIAL: MY GRANDMOTHER’S STORY – PLEASE BAN VAPING

An open letter to El Cajon City Councilmembers to consider vaping ban Nov. 12

By Amanda McGimpsey, El Cajon

November 6, 2019 (El Cajon) -- My grandmother had a beautiful singing voice.  But I never heard it.

In the 50’s, my grandmother was a social smoker. She was told that smoking was healthy. That it helped her skin. Helped her loose weight. Even that it was good for calming your nerves during pregnancy. That’s what the packaging said and the scientific research on the long-term health effects of smoking wouldn’t be completed for nearly two decades.

READER’S EDITORIAL: TROUBLING QUESTIONS OVER FIRES IN LAKESIDE

By Barry A. Treahy, Lakeside resident and retired firefighter 

 

October 27, 2019 (Lakeside) -- My neighbors in El Monte Valley, Blossom Valley, Lakeside and Barona:

 

Emergency medical and fire protection has been in the news in California this year as it also was in the past.  

READER’S EDITORIAL: LA MESA CITY COUNCIL SET TO APPROVE HAZARDOUS 5G SMALL CELLS TUESDAY

Update: La Mesa's City Council voted 4-1 ton October 22 to approve the 5G measure, with Councilman BIll Baber voted against it.

 

By Susan Brinchman

Photo:  Small Cells on pole in Topanga, CA (Dafna Tachover)

October 20, 2019 (La Mesa) -- URGENT ALERT! The La Mesa City Council will vote on a policy to allow thousands of  very hazardous 4G and 5G small cells (cell towers on poles) to blanket La Mesa's streets, at their public meeting on Tues. 10/22/19, at La Mesa City Council Chambers, 8130 Allison Ave. La Mesa, CA 91942. It starts at 6 PM and  agenda item #7 (see below) will occur sometime later. Note that  scheduling it late in the meeting is a typical ploy used to reduce community input on controversial or harmful agenda items, and oversight. This certainly falls under all of those categories.

READER'S EDITORIAL: CALIFORNIA MUST ACT TO PROTECT MOUNTAIN LIONS

By J.P. Ross and Tiffany Yap | CALmatters

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

Photo:  Mountain lion P-61 was struck and killed on the 405 Freeway in the Sepulveda Pass after being chased by another male cougar on Sept. 7, 2019. National Park Service photo

October 12, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - These are deadly times for California mountain lions.

READER’S EDITORIAL: AREN’T WE WORTH THE INVESTMENT?

By Jerry Jones, Lemon Grove Councilman

“Let’s first save the city, and then deal with the leadership and trust issues.” – Councilman Jerry Jones

October 4, 2019 (Lemon Grove) -- While I am supporting a city sales tax for Lemon Grove I did oppose the one proposed for last year for a number of reasons. I was very clear in my 11-page PowerPoint that the 1/2 cent was not enough and what I felt next steps should be. At no time did I advocate for disincorporation, though I did call for a discussion on what that would look like. For some people transparency is just a word, not me. I was very clear about the steps needed to address our problem with the end result being a 1 cent tax measure placed on the 2020 ballot. Yes, one cent is a heavy lift but by my calculations and forecast that is what it will take to make us sustainable. I am not a tax kind of guy in principle. For some the word tax is an immutable principle and to be avoided at all cost. The good people of Lemon Grove expect me to protect their asset, that is the city, not force my principles on them. If the facts support a tax that will sustain, benefit the community and improve my home then I will fight as hard as I can to make that happen under the right circumstances. The Citizens initiative, circulating a petition currently, is only 3/4 versus the one cent I proposed but my calculations say that it will work. It just leaves us less to invest than I would have wanted and will require a larger reserve. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: IT’S TIME TO STOP THE MARKETING AND SALES OF VAPING DEVICES AND FLAVORED PRODUCTS USED IN THEM

We applaud the 26 California jurisdictions that have taken these steps and encourage El Cajon to join them.” – Dana Stevens

By Dana Stevens, Community Action Service & Advocacy (CASA)

Photo: Chance Ammirata shared these photos on Twitter of his collapsed lung and lung spots, which doctors attributed to vaping. The 18-year-old Florida student underwent emergency surgery and was told he can no longer do cross country running or scuba diving.

September 20, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Hundreds of people have been hospitalized across the country, including 12 here in San Diego, by a respiratory illness linked to vaping that has claimed eight lives – sadly this number seems to increase daily. If emergency rooms were facing this rush of illness from any other source, it would have been pulled from the shelves within days. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the government agency that regulates tobacco products, describes an outbreak as when two or more people get the same illness from the same food or drink contaminant. Food producers recall their product from the marketplace when the products are mislabeled or causes illness. Vaping devices, the flavored liquid used in those devices, and the liquid form of THC are not regulated by the FDA.  

HOW MUCH MORE DAMAGE WILL BE DONE BEFORE UNDERAGE VAPING IS PREVENTED?

By Dr. Joshua Mansour

September 9, 2019 (San Diego) - The FDA is allowing e-cigarette makers until 2022 to submit their plans for preventing underage access to their products.  But will that be too late?

The underage vaping problem has escalated in recent years, and some consequences are starting to arise. While these devices were and still are marketed as “being safer”, they can lead to nicotine addiction, harmful side effects of frequent nicotine use, irritation to the lining of the lungs and now as shown by countless recent cases, hospitalization.

AB 5 SILENCES YOUR VOICES AND VIOLATES CONSTITUTION SEVERAL WAYS: PLEASE HELP US PROTECT A FREE PRESS

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

I fought a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to protect the rights of freelance journalists.  AB 5 takes that away – and hurts the public by restricting your voices from being heard in local media. 

Note: I grant free reprint rights on this editorial to any publisher who wishes to repost it in its entirety.

September 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A bill to be heard any day now in the  State Senate and then head to the Governor for signature will destroy a free press in California – and we need your help to protect the public’s voices in out media outlet and others. The bill violates the U.S. constitution on multiple grounds.

AB 5 would prohibit media outlets such as ours from paying ordinary citizens to write articles on areas in which they have expertise, or hiring columnists who aren’t professional journalists, or even paying an eyewitness for photos of breaking news such as a wildfire or plane crash. A newspaper also won’t be allowed to pay for a column or editorial  unless the writer owns a journalism business or is an employee.

We've trained many citizen journalists here at East County Magazine -- including some who won journalism awards. We've run many paid pieces written by community members, too, to include a broad diversity of voices. But we won't be able to do so anymore if this becomes law.

This violates the First Amendment of the Constitution which guarantees freedom of the press and your freedom of speech.

READER'S EDITORIAL: RECENT VAPING DEATH MAKES FDA THREE-YEAR PLAN FOR YOUTH RESTRICTIONS FEEL LIKE A MILLENIUM

How much more damage will be done before the fix is in?

 

By Joshua Mansour, M.D.

 

Photo via Creative Commons

August 27, 2019 (San Diego) - Despite the recent vaping death, the FDA is still allowing e-cigarette makers until 2022 to submit their plans for preventing underage access to their products.  But is that too late?  While e-cigarettes and vaping were initially intended to help adults quit smoking traditional cigarettes, they have managed to entice younger individuals to pick up this dangerous habit.  The colorful packaging, different flavors, and seemingly harmless. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: SUPERVISORS’ APPROVAL OF 4G / 5G ORDINANCE WITH NO SETBACK FROM HOMES FAVORS INDUSTRY OVER RESIDENTS

By Susan Brinchman, Director, Center for Electrosmog Prevention

Photo: Creative Commons

August 13, 2019 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Supervisors voted unanimously on Wed., Aug. 7th, in "done deal fashion", for a  4G / 5G "Small Cell Wireless Ordinance" for the unincorporated areas of San Diego County that favors industry over residents. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: BEWARE OF DRUGS LACED WITH DEADLY CAREFENTANIL AND FENTANYL

By Shauna Krout

 

Photo:  Carfentanil, an elephant tranquilizer, is turning up in street drugs—and its killing users (Creative Commons)

 

August 8, 2019 (San Diego) - Overdoses are happening everywhere, all over the country. In our current society, the streets are filled to the brim with laced heroin that’s often mixed with carfentaniland other fentanyl analogs. Dealers are now adding it to street pressed pills, cocaine, meth and marijuana too. 

READER’S EDITORIAL: “SOME ARE DOWN MEMORY LANE, SOME ARE ON FIRE.”

By Preston Brown

 

Photo: Preston Brown, copyright (c) 2019

 

July 23, 2019, (San Diego’s East County) -- Recently at the Board of Supervisors hearing on the Otay Ranch V14 Project, “Adara," all the issues of land use in the wildland urban interface (WUI), environmental protection, conservation, urban planning, housing sprawl, fire safety and the County process for granting approval came together in this one project proposal for Proctor Valley in the Jamul Dulzura Sub Area Plan jurisdiction. 

 

Some people have a knack for hitting the bull’s eye. That would be our Supervisor Dianne Jacob of the 2nd District. Dianne spoke first and her first question was this. ‘Do you folks have any fire insurance?’ ‘Have you been able to get fire insurance?’ This was a memorable moment. The room just froze. A proposal for 1,119 new high-density housing sprawl in a very high fire prone area in California and no one had thought about fire insurance.

READER’S EDITORIAL: COLIN PARENT – YOUR BIAS IS SHOWING ON FARMER’S MARKET

Who does Colin Parent really serve?

An Open letter to the La Mesa City Council and City Manager

By Marcia Tolin, La Mesa resident

July 23, 2019 (La Mesa) -- I am a bit taken back by this recent post on a thread on NextDoor regarding the Farmer’s Market before tonight’s vote on which of four proposals to adopt.  The scare mongers are out there in full force and one of your colleagues is spear heading it.  If you have not seen this link and web page, I encourage all of you to look at it.  https://www.colinparent.org/farmersmarket

It seems to me that Councilmember Parent is using the "power of his elected position" to garner support for the Market in the Village. Also he is using the City's current Farmer's Market marketing collateral and slogan on his website for the Farmer's Market and slogan and data on his Social Media and outreach.  In addition, he is using the City of La Mesa Logo with the Farmer's Market "logo" while he is sitting on the dais in pushing his agenda and exhibiting his bias. 

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