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Homes

COX TAKES STEPS TO EXPAND INTERNET ACCESS TO HELP THOSE WORKING OR SCHOOLING KIDS AT HOME, ALSO AIDS CUSTOMERS WITH FINANCIAL STRESS DUE TO COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

March 30, 2020 (San Diego) – Cox Communications recently announced steps to keep people and communities connected  during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many are working at home, educating children at home, or facing financial stress.  Those steps include increasing customer bandwidth free, suspending data usage overage fees, not cutting off phone or internet services for people who can’t pay bills due to the pandemic, and waiving late fees. Cox is also offering low-cost fees for new customers including families with children, opening outdoor WiFi hotspots, and more.

Cox assures that its network has capacity to handle a surge in usage trends from business to residential areas, allow quick emergency repairs, and protect employees and customers through social distance.

Below is Cox’s statement on keeping communities connected and helping those who most need connectivity:

GOVERNOR GAVIN NEWSOM ANNOUNCES MAJOR FINANCIAL RELIEF PACKAGE: 90-DAY MORTGAGE PAYMENT RELIEF DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

Newsom announces financial institutions will provide relief for vast majority of Californians; financial institutions agree not to negatively impact credit reports as a result of accepting payment relief

By Miriam Raftery

File photo during rally in Ramona to stop foreclosures during prior mortgage foreclosure crisis

March 29, 2020 (Sacramento) -- Governor Gavin Newsom announced on March 25 that financial institutions will provide major financial relief for millions of Californians suffering financially as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Newsom secured support from Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, U.S. Bank, and Wells Fargo and nearly 200 state-chartered banks, credit unions, and servicers to protect homeowners. (The order does not apply to commercial mortgages, however some cities have adopted broader protections.)

“Millions of California families will be able to take a sigh of relief,” said Governor Newsom. “These new financial protections will provide relief to California families and serve as a model for the rest of the nation. I thank each of the financial institutions that will provide this relief to millions of Californians who have been hurt financially from COVID-19.”

Under the Governor’s proposal, Californians who are struggling with the COVID-19 crisis may be eligible for the following relief upon contacting their financial institution:

GOVERNOR NEWSOM TAKES EXECUTIVE ACTION TO ESTABLISH A STATEWIDE MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS THROUGH MAY 31

Renter must notify landlord within a week of when rent is due, if they can’t pay due to COVID-19, to be eligible for the eviction freeze

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2020 (Sacramento)--Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters in California affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020.

The order prohibits landlords from evicting residential tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts.  It does not protect commercial tenants, however.

It also requires residential renters to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19 such as because of job layoff, cuts in hours, business closures, medical expenses, childcare due to school closures for parents still working in critical jobs, or other impacts related to the pandemic.

The tenant would be required to retain documentation that their inability to pay rent is due to COVID-19, such as termination notices, pay stubs, bank notices, medical bills, or other proof.

SANTEE HALTS EVICTIONS OF RESIDENTS, BUT NOT BUSINESSES, DUE TO CORONAVIRUS IN FIRST VIRTUAL MEETING

By Mike Allen

March 26, 2020 (Santee) -- Responding to a still-evolving global pandemic crisis, the Santee City Council has approved a 60-day temporary suspension on evictions of tenants in the city who prove their financial situation has been damaged by the coronavirus.

The Council approved a temporary moratorium on evictions at its March 25 meeting by a 4-1 vote, with Councilman Rob McNelis opposed. It was the first ever gathering that was done using teleconferencing technology allowing the five elected members and other staffers to “meet” from remote locations.

SAN DIEGO HOME/GARDEN LIFESTYLES MAGAZINE CLOSING - LATEST CULTURE CASUALTY

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

Photo:  San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine was a common staple of grocery checkout lines.

March 26, 2020 (San Diego) - Just as the planting season blooms, San Diegans on Thursday were hit with the latest bad media news:  San Diego Home/Garden Lifestyles magazine is closing after 41 years.

BANKS AGREE TO CORONAVIRUS MORTGAGE PAYMENT RELIEF IN CALIFORNIA AMID PUSH FOR EVICTION BAN

By Laurel Rosenhall | CALmatters

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

Photo:  Aerial view of suburban neighborhood street with big villas next to each other in Black Mountain, San Diego, California, USA. 

March 26, 2020 (San Diego) - With 1 million Californians filing for unemployment over the last two weeks, several major banks have agreed to delay foreclosures and offer mortgage relief to homeowners impacted by the coronavirus, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday.

COUNTY'S FAMILY RESOURCE CENTERS, HOUSING AND COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT SERVICES OFFICE SUSPENDING IN-PERSON SERVICES

Photo credit: Twitter @211SD
 
By Katie Cadiao, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
March 19, 2020 (San Diego) –While the (County's Family Resource Center and Housing and Community Development Services) physical offices are closing, the County is committed to continue providing its services during the ongoing health emergency. Most services provided at these facilities are available online, and staff will continue to answer questions via phone or email. 
 
Residents looking to apply for essential services, including food and housing assistance, medical coverage and other vital support programs, can apply for benefits online. They can also call 2-1-1 San Diego and a live representative can help with the application process by phone.
 
San Diegans who are already signed up for benefits, including CalWORKs, CalFresh, Medi-Cal or General Relief benefits, can manage their case online. Existing customers can send required documents electronically via LaterDocs.
 

NEWSOM DID NOT ISSUE A STATEWIDE EVICTION BAN; TENANT GROUPS SAY RENTERS' HEALTH COULD BE THREATENED

By Matt Levin | CalMatters

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

Photo:  Resident Martha Kapla, right, holds a sign during a rally in front of an assisted-living home in San Pablo, California, in December. Nearly 80 elderly and disabled residents were told to be out of the building by the end of January. Photo by Jane Tyska, Bay Area News Group

March 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - As millions of anxious California renters worry about their health and paychecks in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued an executive order that allows cities and counties to stop landlords from kicking out tenants who miss their next rent payment — if local governments want to do so.

GOVERNOR NEWSOM ISSUES EXECUTIVE ORDER TO PROTECT RENTERS AND HOMEOWNERS DURING COVID-19 PANDEMIC

The Executive Order authorizes local governments to halt evictions, slows foreclosures, and protects against utility shut offs through May 31

March 16, 2020 (Sacramento)-- Governor Gavin Newsom today issued an executive order that authorizes local governments to halt evictions for renters and homeowners, slows foreclosures, and protects against utility shutoffs for Californians affected by COVID-19.

The Executive Order comes as Californians are experiencing substantial loss of hours or wages, or layoffs related to COVID-19, affecting their ability to keep up with their rents, mortgages, and utility bills.

“People shouldn’t lose or be forced out of their home because of the spread of COVID-19,” said Governor Newsom. “Over the next few weeks, everyone will have to make sacrifices – but a place to live shouldn’t be one of them. I strongly encourage cities and counties take up this authority to protect Californians.”

SDGE SUSPENDS ELECTRIC AND GAS SERVICE DISRUPTIONS DUE TO NON-PAYMENT AMID COVID-19 ECONOMIC DISRUPTIONS

Helix Water assures customers water is safe from COVID-19

By Paul Kruze

March 15, 2020 (San Diego)-- In an unprecedented move, San Diego Gas and Electric (SDG&E) announced on Friday that it will be suspending disconnections of service for non-payment.

In a news release published on its website, the utility announced, in part, “With the coronavirus pandemic causing significant impact on the economy and people’s livelihoods, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) announced today that it will temporarily suspend service disconnections. The disconnection moratorium will remain in place until further notice.”

The company also has urged customers who are struggling to pay their utility bill due to financial hardships stemming from the coronavirus to call its Customer Contact Center at 1-800-411-7343 to make payment arrangements.

SANTEE IDENTIFIES WHERE IT CAN BUILD NEARLY 2,000 NEW HOUSES

By Mike Allen
 
Photos Credit: City of Santee
 
March 15, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee identified 37 different properties that could accommodate 1,949 new houses as part of a state mandated program to spur the building of affordable housing.
 
At its March 11 meeting, the Santee City Council reviewed the sites identified by city planners as most likely to handle the new units. The majority of the sites are zoned as single family residential, but by increasing zoning densities, a much higher number of living units could be built, which ultimately is the goal, city officials said.
 
Yet the prospect of change, even if it’s financially beneficial, caused some owners to voice their anxieties.

EAST COUNTY REALTORS WILL PROTEST EL CAJON PROPOSAL TO HIKE PROPERTY TAXES WITH SEWER BILL

East County News Service

March 7, 2020 (El Cajon) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), one of San Diego’s largest real estate trade associations for realtors, has announced it is planning to protest a proposal by the El Cajon City Council to add sewer charges to property taxes paid by El Cajon homeowners. PSAR members say they will voice their opposition at the next city council meeting at 3 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, at city hall, 200 Civic Center Way, El Cajon.

REAL ESTATE REALITY: PROTECTING THE NEST FROM UNCOOPERATIVE NEIGHBOR

By Maryanne Jackson real estate Broker CNE, CPRES.

Photo: Cooper's hawk, Freestock creative commons

March 6, 2020 (San Diego's East County)

 Dear Maryanne,

I woke up to a commotion in my driveway. I looked out and noticed tree trimmers trimming a large tree on our property with branches that grow over to the neighboring side. This tree is providing privacy and shade to me! Most important of all the tree is home for a hawk; she has a nest and babies currently in the tree.

I ran out and yelled for the tree trimmers to stop as they were climbing the tree on our side. My concern is we had not discussed this with our neighbors. Shouldn’t we have a voice in the company selected and the time of the service? We want to protect the hawks and we also want to make sure the company is licensed and bonded. What can we do now?

 R.M.

La Mesa, Ca.

MEASURES A AND B FAILING

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 3, 2020 (San Diego) -- Two land use intiiatives on the countywide ballot could influence the future of major housing developments in our region.

Measure B, a developer-backed proposal to affirm a 3-2 vote by Supervisors to build the controversial Newland Sierra housing project at  far higher density than the county general plan allows, is going down in a resounding defeat, with 58.34% voting no and 41.66% voting yes.

Measure A, which would give voters countywide the right to vote on any major housing project that would require a waiver of the general plan, is losing 51% to 49% with 100%of precincts counted by mail-in ballots still to be tallied.  

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB ENDORSES YES ON A , “SAVE OUR SAN DIEGO COUNTRYSIDE” CAMPAIGN

 

 

March 1, 2020 (San Diego) -- Citing the endless parade of misinformation being peddled to defeat Measure A, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob today announced she endorses Yes on A.

“I have no problem with campaigning hard, but some folks against Measure A have gone too far,” said Supervisor Jacob. “I can’t sit back while outrageous and offensive claims are being made. I’m supporting Measure A because it simply ensures that voters, not five elected officials, will have the final say on County General Plan busting projects in the rural and semi-rural areas.”

TOBY THE T-REX TO HAVE NEW NEIGHBORS IN LA MESA

By Jeff Phair
 
February 6, 2020 (La Mesa) -- For two years, Toby the T-Rex dinosaur has been living by himself high on a hill in La Mesa looking at the views of the Coronado Islands, Point Loma, the Cuyamacas, and Table Top Mountain in Mexico.  With the recent approval by the city of La Mesa for the La Mesa Summit Estates subdivision, Toby will soon be having new neighbors.
 
Grading will begin soon on a gated enclave of 30 homes.  Each home will feature a Multi-Generational suite.  The Multi-Generational suite is a second master bedroom with a full bath, a kitchenette, a media center, a stacked washer & dryer, and a separate entrance.  This allows grandparents or a boomerang adult child to live in a supportive extended family environment, but at the same time have a feeling of independence.

LA MESA APPROVES MIXED-USE LA MESA QUARRY RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL PROJECT

By Kathleen Connell

February 1, 2020 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa City Council met on January 28th. The most prominent item on the agenda was a hearing to consider The La Mesa Planning Commission’s approval of The La Mesa Quarry 2 LLC development project, an in-fill mixed-use development at 4400 Palm Avenue on a sloped property near Collier Park.

The development includes a 3-story, 21 unit apartment building with parking beneath and a separate office building. The Council voted unanimously to follow staff's recommendation and upheld the Planning Commission’s approval. The project is now in the site development plan stage.

REAL ESTATE REALITY: WINTER HOME SALES OFTEN BRING SERIOUS BUYERS

By: Maryanne Jackson Real Estate Broker
Photo Credit: Miriam Raftery
 
January 31, 2020 (San Diego's East County)
 
Dear Maryanne,
 
I am wondering if there are advantages to selling our home in the winter months rather than waiting until the springtime?
 
Martha H. Spring Valley
 
Dear Martha,

HOT TOPICS: EL CAJON REALTORS GROUP DISCUSSING MEASURES A, B AND FIRE INSURANCE JAN. 31

East County News Service
 
January 24, 2020 (East County) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a real estate trade group for San Diego-area realtors with an office in El Cajon, will host a presentation on Measures A and B, two March primary ballot measures that address housing development in semi-rural and rural, unincorporated areas of San Diego County, starting at 9 a.m., Friday, Jan. 31, at its PSAR East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. The public is invited to attend.
 
PSAR is recommending a no vote on Measure A and yes vote on Measure B for the March California Primary Election. Speaking on Measures A and B will be Tony Manolatos, a political consultant and principal with Manolatos Nelson Murphy.
 
Voting by mail begins Feb. 3 and Election Day is a month later.

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.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE BUILDING CODE CHANGES TO MAKE NEW HOMES IN FIRE-PRONE AREAS MORE RESISTANT TO WILDFIRES

By Miriam Raftery

 

January 16, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego Supervisors today gave preliminary approval to change the county’s building code in order to require fire-resistant construction of all new homes in areas with moderate to high wildfire risk in unincorporated areas. The standards are tougher than those mandated by the state.  A final reading of the ordinance is scheduled for January 29.

 

The changes were proposed by East County’s two Supervisors, Dianne Jacob and Jim Desmond. Jacob said she hopes the new requirements will serve as a “model for fire protection” statewide, also saving lives during wildfires.

 

San Diego County has been devastated by numerous major wildfires, including the 2003 Cedar Fire and 2007 firestorms which killed 17 people and destroyed thousands of homes, causing billions of dollars in property damage.

REAL ESTATE REALITY: INSPECTION WOES--IT’S GOOD TO KNOW

By Maryanne Jackson Real Estate Broker

January 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)  

Dear Maryanne,

My wife and I are considering selling our home in Spring Valley and purchasing 

a larger home in the same area. We will need to use the proceeds from the sale to UPSIZE.

Is it recommended to hire a home inspector prior to putting our home up for sale? 

If so, what is the advantage of us putting the 450.00 out to do this. Will the buyer still need to get their own home inspection during the escrow investigation process?

Eric J. Spring Valley, CA

EL CAJON DESIGNATES HALL FAMILY RANCH HOUSE AS LOCAL HISTORIC RESOURCE

Source: City of El Cajon

December 19, 2019 (El Cajon) -- On Tuesday, December 10th, the El Cajon City Council approved designation of the Hall Family Ranch House, built in 1886, as a local historic resource. The property includes a single-family residence with a detached garage located on Provo Street in El Cajon. The 133-year-old home features a Folk Victorian architectural style. 

REAL ESTATE REALITY: WHO PAYS WHAT ON A REAL ESTATE PURCHASE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?

By Maryanne Jackson Real Estate Broker

December 10, 2019 (San Diego’s East County)

Dear Maryanne,

Can you clarify for us whom pays for what on a property purchase/sale in Southern California?

Joel B and Jessica M.

THE HOLIDAYS CAN BRING ADDED RISKS FOR HOMEOWNERS: HERE’S HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF

 

By Michael Evans

Reprinted with permission from Bankrate.

Photo:  Fazeful/Getty Images 

December 2019 (San Diego) -- We all love classic holiday comedies in which characters tumble down staircases, battle wildlife intruders and fight tooth and nail against burglars. But in the real world, holiday disasters can leave homes in ruins and families in mourning.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, one in 32 holiday tree fires result in fatalities. Between 2013 and 2017, holiday tree fires caused around $10 million in property damage each year. During the same period, fire departments across the country responded to nearly 800 fires per year caused by holiday decorations other than trees.

TURN MILKWEED PODS INTO WORKS OF ART

By Melinda Myers

Photo credit: Melinda Myers, LLC. Common milkweed is making a comeback in part because it’s an important food source for the monarch butterfly. The milkweed’s seedpods can be crafted into wreaths, art and more.

December 9, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Homemade gifts are a wonderful way to show you care. Making them from items grown in your garden adds that extra personal touch. And just like the plant, decorations and gifts made from milkweed pods are gaining in popularity.

Considered a weed by some, common milkweed is making a comeback as more gardeners are growing this important food source for monarch butterflies. Harvest the seedpods and craft them into wreaths, stars and indoor holiday trees.

SUPERVISORS CHANGE LANGUAGE ON BALLOT MEASURE SUBMITTED BY OPPONENTS OF NEWLAND SIERRA, ADOPT DEVELOPER’S DESCRIPTION

Project would include 2,135 homes to help meet housing demand plus retail and commercial development; opponents cite concerns over traffic, evacuation during wildfires, and loss of wildlife habitat

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2019 (San Diego) – Over 100,000 residents signed a petition opposing the controversial Newland Sierra housing development approved by Supervisors, qualifying an initiative to appear on the March 2020 ballot after to let voters decide whether or not to allow the massive project.  But after the developer, Newland Communities, threatened legal action if neutral wording wasn’t changed, Supervisors voted 3-2 to adopt ballot language changes nearly identical to changes demanded by the developer.

The action angered environmentalists and planning groups opposed to the project, who only learned of the proposed changes when the matter showed up on an agenda days before the Nov. 19 vote.   Supervisors met twice in secret closed-door meetings, first voting down the changes 3-2. But then Supervisor Greg Cox changed his mind, joining with Kristin Gaspar and Jim Desmond to approve the developer-backed wording. Both Gaspar and Desmond have taken campaign contributions from Newland.

COLDWELL BANKER WEST MERGES WITH ASCENT REAL ESTATE, CREATES ONE OF SAN DIEGO’S LARGEST BROKERAGES, 15 OFFICES, 1,000 SALES AGENTS

East County News Service

November 27, 2019 (San Diego's East County) – Coldwell Banker West (CBW), one of San Diego County’s largest real estate brokerages with East County offices located in El Cajon and La Mesa, has announced a merger with San Diego-based Ascent Real Estate. The merger was jointly announced by Peter Mendiola, CBW president, and Penny Nathan, president/CEO of Ascent, who will become a partner of CBW. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

COUNTY GETS $1.7 MILLION TO HOUSE PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

By José A. Álvarez, County of San Diego Communications Office

Nov. 25, 2019 (San Diego) The County Health and Human Services Agency was awarded more than $1.7 million in federal funds to house people with disabilities.

The $1,753,026 comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which awarded more than $130 million to 325 housing authorities across the nation. The County was one of 25 California counties and cities, including Oceanside, to receive this type of federal housing grants.

EARTHTALK®: DO LAWN CHEMICALS CAUSE CANCER IN DOGS?

From the Editors of E - The Environmental Magazine
 
November 24, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that lawn chemicals can cause canine cancer, and if so, how can I protect my dog? --Bill W., Ithaca, NY
 
Unfortunately, the answer may very well be yes. A 2012 study published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal, Environmental Research, found that exposure to certain lawn care products, such as the nearly ubiquitous herbicide 2,4-Dichlorophenoxyacetic acid (2 4-D for short), increases dogs’ chances of developing Canine Malignant Lymphoma (CML) by 70 percent. When ingested repeatedly, 2 4-D acts as an endocrine disruptor, mutating a dog’s white blood cell count allowing malignant tumor cells to replicate unchecked. While obviously worrisome for dogs and those of us who love them, the implications for people aren’t good either, given the similarities between the onset of CML in canines and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in humans.

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