Green Scene

'HUGE VICTORY FOR CONSUMERS': COUNTY VOTES TO CREATE AGENCY RIVAL TO SDG&E

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  County Supervisor Dianne Jacob renewed her call for the program in her State of the County speech early this year. Photo by Ken Stone

October 15, 2019 (San Diego) - Joining San Diego and cities around the region, the Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to establish a community choice energy program in the county’s unincorporated areas.

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.

SAN DIEGO GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL ANNOUNCES 10TH ANNUAL GREEN HOMES TOUR ON OCT. 19-20

Public tour expands to two days to showcase San Diego County’s most innovative eco-friendly residences

East County News Service

Photo: Straw bale home in Jamul

September 11, 2019 (San Diego) -- The San Diego Green Building Council (SDGBC), a nonprofit organization promoting sustainable building and community practices in San Diego, will host its 10th annual Green Homes Tour on Saturday, Oct. 19 and Sunday, Oct. 20. In response to growing public interest in the green movement and an abundance of groundbreaking projects in the region, the Tour has been expanded this year to two full days, showcasing a diverse collection of the most innovative eco-friendly homes in the San Diego region including several in East County.

GOVERNOR NEWSOM SIGNS ASSEMBLY BILL 1730, GIVING SANDAG MORE TIME TO DEVELOP REGIONAL TRANSPORTATION PLAN

East County News Service

October 11, 2019 (San Diego) -- Late Tuesday night, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1730, which allows SANDAG additional time to develop a “visionary Regional Plan that provides real transportation choices that will enhance connectivity, increase safety and sustainability, and improve quality of life,” according to a SANDAG press release. The agency earlier unveiled ambitious plans to increase mass transit with a long-term vision of adding high speed rail, but has received pushback from some East County and North County officials over SANDAG’s previously announced plans to cut funding for some long-awaited freeway improvement projects such as widening State Routes 52 and improving safety on State Route 67.

FREE CAMPING FOR CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK VOLUNTEERS OCT. 26

East County News Service

October 10, 2019 (Julian) -- You can help maintain Cuyamaca Rancho State Park when you volunteer at a work day on Saturday, October 26 at 8:30 a.m. Learn and register to volunteer below.

 

SANTEE BALKS AT JOINING JPA FOR COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY; APPROVES NEW HOUSING PROJECT

By Mike Allen

Photo: Renewable  energy sources; Creative commons via N.A.

October 10, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee is having second thoughts about joining a joint powers authority with several North County cities to obtain more electrical power from renewable sources.

The proposed entity is a community choice aggregation program for the cities, giving them the ability to buy more power from sources such as solar and wind. Local utility San Diego Gas & Electric would continue to deliver and maintain transmission lines and billing operations, but the CCA would be responsible for buying all power.

LAKESIDE PLANNING GROUP TO HEAR SAND MINE EXPANSION PROPOSAL OCT. 2

By Miriam Raftery

 

October 1, 2019 (Lakeside) – Bob Turner, owner of a sand mine located on Moreno Ave. at State Route 67 in Lakeside, has applied to expand the sand mine. The issue will be heard on Wednesday, Oct. 2 at 6:30 p.m. by the Lakeside Community Planning Group (LCPG) in the Lakeside Community Center. View agenda.

 

The documents on the specific expansion details are not available online. However journalist and Lakeside environmental activist Ana Nita states in an e-mail to ECM tonight,  “Turner is applying to expand the mine below the aquifer level at 80 ft.” The sand mine was reportedly approved in 2017 at a depth of 25 feet.

FEDERAL APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS APPROVAL OF TULE WIND, REJECTS ARGUMENTS THAT PROJECT THREATENS EAGLES

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2019 (Boulevard, Calif.) – The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court decision that the federal government did not violate laws protecting eagles in granting approval of the Tule Wind project.

 

The lawsuit was filed by the Protect Our Communities Foundation, Backcountry Against Dumps, and Donna Tisdale against the U.S. Department of Interior, the Bureau of Land Management, and leaders of both agencies. The project spans federal, tribal, private, state and county lands.  

CAL FIRE ANNOUNCES AVAILABILITY OF FUNDING FOR PROJECTS THAT PROACTIVELY ADDRESS FIRE PREVENTION AND FOREST HEALTH

Souce:  CAL FIRE

September 26, 2019 (Sacramento) - The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) announced the availability of over $80 million for Forest Health and Fire Prevention projects. CAL FIRE is soliciting applications for projects that work to proactively prevent catastrophic wildfires and restore forests to healthy, functioning ecosystems while also sequestering carbon and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

ATTORNEY CHALLENGES EXTENSIONS GRANTED BY COUNTY TO RUGGED SOLAR ON FORMER SOITEC SITE IN BOULEVARD

By Miriam Raftery

September 23, 2019 (Boulevard) – An attorney representing Backcountry Against Dumps (BAD) and Donna Tisdale contends that the multiple use permit for the Rugged Solar project in Boulevard has expired and that extensions granted by the county were illegal.  In his letter dated September 10, 2019, attorney Stephan C. Volker argues that the property’s owner/applicant, Hamann Company and Clean Focus Renewables, cannot built on the nearly 800-acre site located between McCain Valley and Ribbonwood Road unless they apply for a new multiple use permit and additional review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

CLIMATE STRIKE AT LAKE MURRAY TODAY AT 3 P.M. AS PART OF NATIONAL YOUTH-LED CLIMATE ACTION DAY

By Miriam Raftery

September 20, 2019 (San Diego) – In addition to student climate action strikes taking place today across the nation,  East County will be hosting a climate action event at Lake Murray Community Park today at 3 p.m. to stand in solidarity with youth activists on this important issue.

Katie Eder, a 19-year-old climate justice activis, and the executive director of Future Coalition is a helping to coordination the coalition of youth-led organizations organizing and mobilizing today’s climate strike in over 500 U.S. cities and 100 nations.

“I’m proud to announce that the US Climate Strike youth coalition has finalized a set of bold demands,” she says. Too often, we think about solutions in a very small-minded way, inside the box, way. We don’t have time to stay in the box. We need to be more innovative with our solutions and ask for what we need, not what we think could be possible or has been possible in the past.”

NEW EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR TAKES HELM AT SD FARM BUREAU

By David Ross, Valley Roadrunner

Photo:  Hannah Gbeh is the new executive director of the San Diego County Farm Bureau. She considers it to be her dream job.

September 20, 2019 (San Diego) - Hannah Gbeh has taken over at San Diego County Farm Bureau as the new executive director. “This is a dream come true for me. I sat on the Farm Bureau board of directors for three years and often thought how much I would love this job. So when it became available I immediately applied.”

SANTEE GETTING ON BOARD THE CCA TRAIN WITH COASTAL CITIES

By Mike Allen

September 19, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee and Carlsbad would seem to be strange bedfellows, given their geographical locations and the latter being twice the size in population. But the cities are moving closer to joining forces to form a new entity to purchase more of their power from renewable sources starting in 2021.

FREE TROLLEY, BUS AND TRAIN RIDES OCTOBER 2

Riders can win prizes including free transit for a year.  Ditch rush-hour traffic, save gas and take a ride!

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 17, 2019 (San Diego) – Metropolitan Transit Service (MTS) and the North County Transit District (NCTD) are offering offer free rides to the public on all three trolley lines and fixed line busses, as well as the Coaster and Sprinter train service on Wednesday, October 2, which is also California Clean Air Day. 

PEARSON BROTHERS WINERY RETURNS TO EAST COUNTY – WITH A TASTING ROOM IN A WILDLIFE SANCTUARY

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2019 (El Cajon) -- What could be more heavenly than wine made from wildflower honey, orange zest, cane sugar and vanilla?  How about this news: the creators of honey-wines known as “Saccharo” have moved their Pearson Brothers Winery back to its roots, returning to East County.

They now have a new tasting patio in a wildlife sanctuary open as of Sept. 21, as well as a wine club, and recipes for cocktails featuring their sustainably-produced Saccharo honey wines in several new varieties.

COUNTY BOARD VOTES TO MOVE AHEAD ON COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY

By Tracy DeForeCounty of San Diego Communications Office

Image credit:  Shutterstock

September 12, 2019 (San Diego) - The County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 Tuesday to continue exploring the idea of getting into the business of buying and selling electricity. Supervisors Kristin Gaspar and Jim Desmond opposed the motion.

20TH ANNIVERSARY CONCERT NOV. 16 BENEFITS WATER CONSERVATION GARDEN

East County News Service

September 11, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Since 1999, The Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College has been at the forefront of saving water and other natural resources. To celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Garden is hosting a benefit concert on Saturday, November 16th. 

LA MESA APPROVES COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY PLAN AS WRITTEN

Motion to amend voted down 3/2, final resolution passes unanimously

By Jonathan Goetz

September 11, 2019 (La Mesa) – The City of La Mesa is one step closer to competing with SDG&E on electricity acquisition, after approving the first reading of a resolution authorizing specifics on a joint power agreement, or JPA, with the cities of San Diego, Chula Vista, Encinitas and Imperial Beach at its September 10 meeting. It still requires a second reading in La Mesa and ratification in the other cities. The specifics can be found here. https://www.cityoflamesa.us/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Item/4095?fileID=8858

HOW HOT WILL IT GET WHERE YOU LIVE?

By Miriam Raftery

 

Roger Coppock contributed to this story

 

September 8, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Extreme heat is poised to rise steeply in frequency and severity over the coming decades, bringing unprecedented health risks for people and communities across the country. That’s the disturbing finding of the Union of Concerned Scientists in a just-issued report titled Killer Heat in the United States: Climate Choices and the Future of Dangerously Hot Days.

PASSAGES: JIM BELL, ECOLOGICAL DESIGNER 1941-2019

Graduate of El Capitan High in Lakeside became global advocate for sustainable design

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 6, 2019 (San Diego) - Jim Bell, ecological designer and internationally recognized expert on sustainable development who twice ran for mayor of San Diego, passed away in hospice at his home on July 31 at age 77 from complications of a stroke.

WHY WAIT TO GO SOLAR? SOLAR EXPERIENCE SEPT. 7 IN RANCHO SAN DIEGO

By Megan Lacy
 
September 4, 2019 (Rancho San Diego) - Join your East County neighbors for a powerful Q&A with nationally certified energy practitioners and nonprofit experts to find out how you can go solar and secure the 30% federal tax credit in 2019 before it sunsets. Learn the latest technologies, how solar works, if solar will work for your home, battery storage and integration, available state and federal incentives and much more.

SOLAR EXPERIENCE WITH THE EAST COUNTY CHAMBER SEPT. 25

By Miriam Raftery

September 4, 2019 (El Cajon) – You’re invited to join the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce at a “Solar Experience” lunch and learn on Sept. 25 from 12 to 1 p.m. at the Chamber’s Business Resource Center, 201 S. Magnolia Ave. in El Cajon.  

SEPTEMBER SPECIAL EVENTS IN COUNTY PARKS

East County News Service

September 1, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – There’s something for everyone coming up at County Parks in San Diego’s inland region.  Upcoming September special events include a star party, picnic with goats, a park after dark hike, guided day hikes, kayaking, birdwatching, Monarch butterfly metamorphosis,  wilderness trek, junior ranger activities, snake interpretive program, history of wolves, and a fiddling performance.  Scroll down for all of these hot happenings and more.

TALKING TRANSPORTATION: HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS WITH COLIN PARENT AND KRISTINE ALESSIO

By Miriam Raftery

August 30, 2019 (La Mesa)  The future of transportation has sparked debate across our region. SANDAG and MTS are both moving forward on goals to boost transit access with options such as better trolley and bus service with high-speed rail as a long range option.

But what about reducing traffic gridlock and meeting transportation needs of residents in areas that currently lack adequate transit options?  Should building massive housnig projects in the backcountry that add to traffic gridlock be curtailed? 

Recently,  East County Magazine’s radio show interviewed La Mesa Councilmembers and attorneys Colin Parent and Kristine Alessio on transit issues. Parent  is director of Circulate San Diego and Alessio is the Vice Chair of SANDAG’s regional planning committee.  

Click here to hear our full interview, originally aired on KNSJ radio, and scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 

EARTHTALK: MAKING YOUR OFFICE ECO-FRIENDLY: THE EASY WAY

By Stephanie King, EarthTalk

Photo:  Jesus Corrius, Flickr CC

August 28, 2019 (San Diego) - As we become more educated about our impact on the natural world, more and more of us are looking to try and lower our environmental footprint. We might make the switch (at least partially) to a plant-based diet. We might walk to places we previously drove to. We might avoid taking holidays abroad.

MEDITATIVE MUSICAL EXPERIENCE ON COWLES MOUNTAIN SEPT. 15

East County News Service

August 27, 2019 (San Diego) -- On September 15th at 3:00 p.m., people from all over San Diego will be taking a SilentHike — a musical journey into mindfulness at Cowles Mountain. SilentHikes are a new concept from MindTravel — an immersive music and meditation experience company created by composer and concert pianist Murray Hidary (see his TedX talk here).

During the SilentHike session, MindTravelers will wear wireless headphones and embark on a hike with music, guidance and thoughtful commentary from Hidary. All the components – music, words, silence, visual cues – work synergistically to help participants connect with themselves and the world around them.

JACUMBA HIKERS HIT THE TRAIL WITH HIKES SEPT. 21-OCT. 26

By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2019 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – As fall and cooler weather approaches, the Jacumba Hikers have released a schedule of upcoming hikes from Sept. 21 through Oct. 26. The hikes range from easy to hard to destinations that include peaks in Anza Borrego, Kitchen Creek Falls, Jacumba’s fall festival, Valley of the Moon, Devil’s Canyon and Carrizo Creek. Below is the full schedule with details, and be sure to read the group’s safety tips

LAST DAY FOR PUBLIC COMMENT ON PLAN TO DECIMATE FEDERAL FORESTS

By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – A radical proposal by the Trump administration’s U.S. Forest Service would allow logging and road building on up to 75% of our nation’s public forest lands without environmental review or public input.  

Today is the deadline for public comments, which you can submit at this link: : https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FS-2019-0010-0001

The proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act established in 1970 would allow the agency to also ignore impacts on climate change, habitat, and recreational use of federal forests such as Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County and federal forests surrounding national parks such as near Yellowstone and Sequoia.

SAN DIEGO FOUNDATION CONNECTS, PROTECTS AND INCREASES ACCESS TO NATURE WITH $458,454 IN GRANTS

Source: San Diego Foundation 

August 24, 2019 (San Diego) — The San Diego Foundation recently announced $458,454 in grants for 13 programs that will connect, protect and improve access to nature, especially for the San Diego region’s most park-poor and underserved communities.

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