NAACP SAN DIEGO: FIGHTING FOR SOCIAL JUSTICE IN A COVID-19 ENVIRONMENT

ASSESSING THE IMPACT OF COVID-19 ON THE SAN DIEGO AFRICAN AMERICAN COMMUNITY

JIMMIE JOHNSON AND HIS WIFE TEST POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

WHERE TO FIND FIREWORKS IN EAST COUNTY THIS JULY 4TH

FIREWORKS ARE ILLEGAL TO OWN OR USE IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY: HERE ARE SAFE ALTERNATIVES

COUNTY TO BE PLACED ON WATCHLIST DUE TO RISING COVID CASES; IMPACTED BUSINESSES SHOULD PREPARE FOR SHUTDOWNS

LA MESA FARMERS MARKET IS OPEN AGAIN

COUNTY OFFICIALS WARN OF FURTHER RESTRICTIONS AS 474 NEW VIRUS CASES REPORTED

RENEGADES, ROCK HOUSES, AND RESORTS: NEW BOOK CHRONICLES EAST COUNTY HISTORY

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

FIRST ROUND OF RELIEF FUNDS DISTRIBUTED TO 27 LA MESA BUSINESSES DAMAGED DURING CIVIL UNREST

COUNTY EASES RULES FOR WINERIES, BUT IMPOSES CURFEW FOR RESTAURANTS AND BARS

MEXICO OPIUM NETWORK LAUNCHED TO COMBAT GLOBAL OPIOID EPIDEMIC

UC San Diego’s Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies among the key partner institutions for the first-of–its kind, international effort

June 30, 2020 (San Diego) -- Despite being considered the world’s second largest producer of opium and heroin, little is known about poppy cultivation in Mexico. Yet, the opioid crisis remains a huge problem across much of the U.S. and Mexico and COVID-19 appears to have made matters worse: Recent lockdowns have disrupted the flow of synthetic opioids and have ostensibly increased production of heroin in Mexico.

To address the global opioid crisis, the Mexico Opium Network, a first-of-its kind international effort, was recently launched to examine the socio-political challenges posed by illicit poppy crops in Mexico.

KUMEYAAY PROTEST HALTS DYNAMITE BLASTING AT BORDER WALL

 

 

By Helen Horvath

Photo, lefft: Dynamite charges set by the US Corps of Engineers

June 30, 2020 (Campo) – Yesterday, at the end of Tierra del Sol Road in the Campo area, a group Kumeyaay-led people and supporters gathered early in the morning to protest the blasting of Kumeyaay cultural sites.

Many of these protesters were members of the Kumeyaay Original Peoples Alliance, American Indian Movement, and Warriors of Awareness. These groups  participated out of concern for the ancestral history and culture of the Kumeyaay tribes.  Black Lives Matter (BLM) and American Friends Service Committee also participated in the protest in a show of solidarity with local Native Americans. (Photo, right)

SUMMER PRICING REDUCED FOR SDG&E RESIDENTIAL RATEPAYERS: 5% REDUCTION ON GAS AND ELECTRIC RATES STARTS JULY 1

Source: SDG&E

June 30, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) residential customers will see a 5% reduction in summer pricing to help alleviate concerns about higher energy bills due to hot weather and people spending more time at home because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently approved a pricing reduction that will benefit the majority of SDG&E customers – those who are enrolled in the Time-of-Use (TOU)-DR1 pricing plan, SDG&E’s default turn-on plan. The new pricing will go into effect July 1 and run through Oct. 31 and are applied to all three TOU time periods: on-peak, off-peak, and super off-peak. The decrease in summer pricing will be offset by an increase of 4% during winter pricing months, Nov. 1 through May 31.

FOURTH OF JULY WEEKEND FORECAST: FIRE WEATHER AND RIP CURRENTS

By Miriam Raftery

June 30, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – The weather will be warming up over the Fourth of July weekend. But before you head to the beach, be aware that elevated surf is forecast to generate strong rip currents that will be hazardous to swimmers this weekend and next week.

On Sunday and Monday,  breezy winds, warmer conditions and low relative humidity will create elevated fire weather conditions, says meteorologist Casey Oswant with the National Weather Service. The conditions are “favorable for fast-moving grass fires,” Oswant cautions.

WINERY OWNERS SAY SHUTDOWN OF BARS UNFAIR TO RURAL WINERIES, THREATENS TO CRUSH BURGEONING WINE INDUSTRY

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Outdoor patio at Vineyard Grant James in Ramona provides ample social distancing for wine-tasting guests

June 29, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – East County’s once-thriving wine industry is struggling under COVID-19 restrictions – and some local wineries may die on the vine now that the county has once again shut down all bars effect July 1, including wineries and breweries.

Now, some winery owners are criticizing the shutdown as overly broad and unfair,  since many rural wineries have outdoor patios or spacious tasting rooms and have been providing ample social distancing – unlike urban bars and crowded venues such as the Gaslamp District.

COUNTY ORDERS SHUTDOWN OF BARS, WINERIES AND BREWERIES, HALTS REOPENING OTHER BUSINESSES

By Miriam Raftery

June 29, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County’s Health and Human Services Agency today ordered  bars, wineries and breweries to shut down starting July 1 to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The county also halted reopening of any additional businesses until at least August 1, due to a spike in cases locally.

Although Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this week ordered bars in six counties to close and recommended closures in eight other counties, San Diego was not on those lists. However local officials made the decision to shut down the alcohol establishments after nearly 500 new cases were reported yesterday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic. Also, 7% of test results reported yesterday were positive, up sharply from the 4.1% rate over the prior two weeks.

Concerns are also rising over hospital capacity, since San Diego has taken some patients from neighboring Imperial County, where 23% of tests have come back positive in recent days prompting the state to order a return to a full lockdown there.

Today, Riverside County’s hospital ICU units hit 99% capacity, forcing hospitals to resort to surge mode, converting other hospital bed areas into ICU units to accommodate COVID-19 patients. San Diego could be asked to accept yet more patients from its neighbor to the north if Riverside's surge in cases continues.

SURVIVING ON THE EDGE: A LOCAL MUSIC COMPANY AND COMMUNITY NONPROFIT FIND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS IN A COVID-19 WORLD

Part 1 of a 2-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson

 

By Helen Horvath

 

Photo:  Dr. Leonard Thompson, CEO and Michelle Thompson, Sr. Vice President, M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records

 

June 29, 2020 (San Diego) -- In this first of a two-part interview with Dr. Leonard Thompson III, CEO of M.A.N.D.A.T.E Records and Communications Director of the NAACP San Diego, Dr. Horvath and ECM discuss COVID-19’s impact upon his business and the mission of the NAACP. 

 

M.A.N.D.A.T.E’s acronym means “Making A Necessary Difference at the End.”

HAM RADIO OPERATORS CONTINUE LEARNING DESPITE SOCIAL DISTANCING: LOCAL VOLUNTEERS PROVIDE VITAL COMMUNICATION DURING EMERGENCIES

By Rob Freeburn

Photo by Sharon Freeburn:  “Using portable radio equipment in Alpine, radio operator Rob Freeburn reaches out to radio operators on the US East Coast."

June 27, 2020 (Alpine) --  On Saturday, 6/27/2020, San Diego East County ham radio enthusiasts transmitted radio signals from homes, backyards and parking lots to connect with other radio enthusiasts across North America to compete against each other and to practice emergency radio communications. Although the results are not yet tabulated, East County radio "hams" always do well in the competition because the remote backcountry and higher elevation make East County an ideal radio operating location. Radio hams in Crest, Alpine, Descanso, Mt Laguna, Ramona, Julian, and Campo turn in some of the highest scores in the United States. From East County, the most sought-after radio contacts were in Delaware and Prince Edward Island on the East Coast of Canada. 

FEDERAL GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES NEW GUIDELINES TO MAKE MORE ORGANS AVAILABLE FOR TRANSPLANTS

Source: U.S. Health and Human Services

June 28, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Thursday, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) published an updated solid organ transplant guideline to assess donors and monitor recipients for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B virus, and hepatitis C virus infections. This guideline reflects advances in transplant technology and safety that can increase the number of organs available for transplants.

Currently, more than 110,000 patients in the United States are waiting for an organ transplant.

CA AND OTHER STATES ORDER BARS CLOSED IN SOME AREAS; SAN DIEGO CRACKS DOWN ON VIOLATORS AS COVID-19 CASES RISE

Imperial County put back on full lockdown as positive test rates soar to 23%

By Miriam Raftery

June 28, 2020 (San Diego) – Across the U.S., states and counties that reopened broad sectors of their economies are rolling back some business re-openings as COVID-19 cases spike. On Friday, the governors of Florida, Texas, and California all ordered total or partial shutdowns of bars in efforts to slow the spread. 

Today, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state has ordered bars in six counties to shut down and recommends that bars be closed in eight additional counties.

So far, San Diego is not on either of those lists and bars remain open, though that may change as the county's rate of hospitalizations from COVID-19 climbs.

AMID PANDEMIC, EL CAJON ENDS LEASE WITH CRISIS HOUSE, PUTTING SERVICES FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS AT RISK

By Miriam Raftery

“It’s very likely that we won’t be able to provide the same level of service that we do today….The County has no walk-in services for the homeless, and pretty soon that’s going to be the way it will be in El Cajon.” – Mary Case, Executive Director at Crisis House (photo, left)

June 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve an early lease termination agreement to oust Crisis House from city-owned property at 1034 Magnolia Ave. For the past 26 years, the city has leased the property to Crisis House for a dollar a year, recognizing the value to the community of the services provided by Crisis House, which has a mission to “break the cycle of poverty, domestic violence and homelessness and strengthen families and individuals so that they can thrive and transform their lives.”

The city wants Crisis House gone from is current location near the new Hampton Inn hotel.  So the Council-approved measure offers Crisis House $700,000 if it vacates the property by September 30th. That amount diminishes to just $350,000 by year’s end and $150,000 by March 31, or zero if Crisis house remains until the lease expires on June 30, 2021.

But Mary Case, Executive Director of Crisis House, says that’s not enough time to find an affordable space, adding that the action will almost certainly mean major cuts in services.

PANDEMIC INFECTS SANTEE’S BUDGET, CAUSES $1 MILLION HIT TO SALES TAXES

By Mike Allen
 
June 28, 2020 (Santee) -- The city of Santee will sustain an estimated loss of $1 million in sales taxes in the coming fiscal year starting July 1, as a result of so many stores being closed or only partially open due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

FDA WARNS AGAINST THESE HAND SANITIZERS WITH TOXIC, DEADLY INGREDIENT

By Miriam Raftery

View Spanish version of the FDA warning

June 28, 2020 (San Diego) – The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns consumers not to use any hand sanitizer made by Eskbiochem, a Mexican company, and sold under various brand names in the U.S. that are still on store shelves.

These sanitizers contain methanol, or wood alcohol, which when absorbed through skin or ingested can be toxic. Substantial exposure to methanol can cause permanent blindness, seizures, coma, permanent damage to the nervous system or death.

The hand sanitizers were sold under the brand-names All-Clean, Esk Biochem, CleanCare, Lavar, Saniderm, and The Good Gel. Some products tested had as much as 81% methanol.

KAISER PERMANENTE TAKES NEW ACTIONS TO FIGHT RACISM AND PROMOTE EQUITY

The actions, including a $60 million joint investment with LISC and $40M in grant funds, will support over 2,000 Black-owned businesses or businesses owned by other underrepresented individuals. Kaiser’s action also addresses deeply entrenched structural racism, as well as the trauma and economic inequity it creates.

June 27, 2020 (Oakland, CA)-- Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest integrated health system, announced a series of actions – including $60 million in joint investments and $40 million in grant funding – to address systemic racism and lack of economic opportunities that have persisted for far too long and prevented communities of color, and especially Black communities, from achieving total health. This announcement comes as Kaiser Permanente deepens its 75-year commitment to equity and inclusion and sends a clear message that the organization stands with those who are fighting for equity and social justice.  View Kaiser’s Economic Opportunity Fact Sheet.

“The tragic murder of George Floyd and so many others has reverberated around the world, pushing us to demand overdue change to a status quo that keeps communities of color in the margins and holds us all back as a society,” said Greg A. Adams, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. “As a country, this is a moment to define who we are and what we stand for. We must take strong action to stop the physical, psychological, economic and social impacts of inequity and systemic racism so that we can create healthier communities where everybody, regardless of their skin color, can feel safe and thrive.”

CHEERS! WINERIES REOPEN ACROSS EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Ramona Ranch Winery's winemaker is cheered by news that wineries and vineyards can now reopen to visitors.

June 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Wineries are reopening across our region, after three months of curbside-only services due to COVID-19. Some owners have been hard-hit by the economic loss, but now welcome the opportunity to welcome back visitors.

Now you can once again enjoy sipping wine on a mountain patio  overlooking vineyards or in an urban tasting room. Some are offering food pairings, special sales and other incentives to welcome back visitors – with social distancing and other changes per state health rules.

ILLEGAL POT SHOPS RAIDED NEAR SCHOOLS AND HOMES

East County News Service
 
June 26, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – More than a thousand pounds of marijuana products, six firearms, and over $221,000 in cash were seized Thursday following search warrants served at six illegal dispensaries and three homes. The raids took place in Lakeside, unincorporated El Cajon and the city of San Diego, conducted by investigators from the county Sheriff’s department and San Diego Police.

EL CAJON VOTES TO INCREASE FUNDS FOR POLICE DEPARTMENT

By Miriam Raftery

June 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Council members received hundreds of comments sent via email on the city’s proposed budget, nearly all weighing in on police funding following a nationwide wave of protests over police violence and racial injustice issues.   Many of the commenters argued for “defunding” or shifting some funds away from police into investments in the community or alternatives to handle mentally ill and homeless people, though many others voiced support for El Cajon Police and supported increasing the department’s budget.

The Council unanimously voted for a $120,000 increase for the police.

“The motivation is to keep all the citizens safe,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told ECM.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

June 25, 2020 (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: 

LOCAL

STATE

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

SANTEE ADOPTS RESOLUTION DENOUNCING RACISM, CONSIDERS INCLUSIONARY HOUSING LAW

 

By Mike Allen

June 25, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s leaders decided they needed to make a public denunciation of racism, hate speech, and intolerance in response to a flurry of recent ugly incidents in their predominantly white city.

At the June 24 City Council meeting, Mayor John Minto said the unanimously passed resolution condemning racism will be a guiding principle as the city confronts its past.

“We acknowledge that we’ve had problems but we’re not going to allow those problems to stop us from moving forward and doing better,” Minto said.

LACK OF DATA COLLECTION BLOCKS EFFORTS TO ASSESS COVID-19 IMPACTS ON LOCAL MIDDLE EASTERN COMMUNITIES

By Briana Gomez

Photo, left: Doris Bittar

“Arab Americans are largely considered Caucasian, other, or unknown.  We are a disappeared minority, rendering us nearly invisible in the media and in medicine.” – Doris Bittar, President, Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee, San Diego chapter

June 25, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Minority communities across the US are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. For example, nearly 67% of cases in San Diego are among Latinos and Hispanics, who comprise only 30% of the population, according to County Health Department  figures as of June 20.  But a lack of data on Arab and Middle Eastern Americans makes it impossible to accurately assess impacts of the pandemic on this population locally and nationally.

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

June 25, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - East County Magazine's World Watch helps you be an informed citizen on important issues globally and nationally. As part of our commitment to reflect all voices and views, we include links to a variety of news sources representing a broad spectrum of political, religious, and social views. Top world and U.S. headlines include:

U.S.

WORLD

 

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

CAJON VALLEY UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT’S BUMPY ROAD TO A POST COVID-19 SCHOOL YEAR

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

June 24, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The Cajon Valley Union School District Board of Trustees has approved a plan to re-open its 27 schools this fall, after going to state-mandated distance learning program in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The final plan approved by the board on June 11, however, looks different from what had been envisioned by the district’s Superintendent, Dr. David Miyashiro. The original plan would have had students continue to use internet teleconferencing exclusively, as they have been since mid-March.

However, after documents from a private meeting involving some 40 district employees at the Marriott Coronado Resort and Spa on June 6 and 7 were leaked to parents and to East County Magazine, Miyashiro’s vision began to unravel. Some 100 parents throughout the district quickly organized and descended on school district headquarters on June 9 for what was supposed to be a one hour board workshop to approve the measure.

HIT AND RUN DRIVER IN GOLD HONDA CIVIC INJURES PEDESTRIAN IN SPRING VALLEY

East County News Service

June 24, 2020 (Spring Valley) – A 45-year-old man suffered major injuries when he was struck by a gold Honda Civic around 5:52 p.m. yesterday at Troy Street east of Central Avenue in Spring Valley. The driver fled the scene in the vehicle.

The victim was standing in the driveway of the Goodland Acres Park when the vehicle veered off course to the right, striking the pedestrian, says Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol.

EUROPEAN UNION MAY BAN U.S. TRAVELERS DUE TO FAILURE TO REDUCE COVID-19

San Diego has eight community outbreaks, reopenings halted

By Miriam Raftery

Image:  Comparison of U.S. and European Union COVID-19 cases based on Johns Hopkins University medical data.

June 25, 2020 (San Diego)—If you’re planning a European vacation anytime soon, you may be out of luck. The European Union is looking to reopen to tourism from countries with low rates of the virus, travelers from the U.S. are expected to be banned, along with travelers from Brazil and Russia, the New York Times reports.

COVID-19 has largely diminished in Europe thanks to swift and aggressive actions by government in nations hard-hit there in late March. By contrast, cases have skyrocketed in the U.S., which had a similar number of cases in late March as Europe. But President Donald Trump never ordered a national lock-down or made masks mandatory; the U.S. was also late disseminating testing and sent inadequate numbers of personal protection equipment to medical providers.

The U.S. has had 11.3 million cases to date, more than any other nation on earth.  Over 120,000 Americans have died of COVID-19, which is more lives lost than from World War.

EL CAJON EASES REQUIREMENTS FOR SIDEWALK CAFES AMID COVID RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

June 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – Owners of reopened restaurant are struggling to generate profits while complying with social distancing requirements of six feet between tables due to COVID-19. Now the El Cajon City Council has unanimously voted to make it easier for eateries to expand outdoors.

The Council approved a second reading on June 23 of an emergency ordinance passed unanimously June 9. It allows restaurants to skip cumbersome conditional-use permit requirements for sidewalk dining. The new ordinance will remain in effect through the end of this year, but an extension or option to make it permanent may be considered later on.

Previously, a conditional use permit, or CUP, required extra fees and delays due to an environmental review, followed by approval of both the Planning Commission and the City Council.

DOWN IN FLAMES: SUPERVISORS REJECT LILAC HILLS RANCH OVER WILDFIRE DANGER

By Miriam Raftery
 
June 24, 2020 (Valley Center) – The Lilac Hills Ranch, a proposed 1,742-homes development in rural Valley Center, has been a lightning rod of controversy for the past 15 years. In 2016, over 64 percent of voters rejected the project when Measure B went down in flames. Today, County Supervisors agreed with recommendations by staff and fire officials, rejecting the project due to the danger of residents becoming trapped should a major wildfire force evacuation.

DESPITE LOSING BUILDING TO ARSON, RANDALL LAMB ASSOCIATES JOINS EFFORT TO HELP OTHER BUSINESSES DAMAGED DURING RIOT

The Phair Company and Lions Club of La Mesa also make major contributions

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Flames engulf Randall Lamb Associates building

June 24, 2020 (La Mesa) – Among the many local companies stepping forward with donations to help businesses damaged by looting, vandalism or arson on May 30-31, one name stands out. The Randall Lamb Associates’  building burned to the ground, yet its owners have generously given $5,000 to help others rebuild their businesses and their lives.

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