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KEEP YOUR LANDSCAPE LOOKING GOOD WITH LESS EFFORT

By Melinda Myers

July 1, 2020 (San Diego) - Keep your garden looking its best and reduce your workload by enlisting practices that provide multiple benefits. Your garden will flourish and you’ll have more time to enjoy its beauty.


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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.


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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.

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SUPERVISORS TO HOLD HEARING ON CONTROVERSIAL LILAC HLLS RANCH JUNE 24 AFTER STAFF AND COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY RECOMMEND DENIAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Site of proposed master-planned deveopment that has sparked a firestorm of controversy

June 18, 2020 (Valley Center) -- The San Diego County Fire Authority and County staff have recommended that Supervisors deny the controversial Lilac Hills Ranch mixed-use development project in Valley Center due to concerns over fire safety and evacuation routes. County Supervisors will consider the recommended denial on Wednesday, June 24. Theh project has also drawn strong opposition over the years from community members.

Despite objections from fire authorities, however, the County Planning Commission voted 5-2 to overrule staff and ignore concerns over lack of safe evacuation routes.  Intead, the majority of commissioners recommended that Superivsors allow the developer to pay a $2 million fire protection fee with various escape clauses in order to proceed, with building the project with the homeowners' associatoin paying for annual brush clearing, as the developer has sought.

The meeting begins at 9 a.m. and will be virtual due to COVID-19.


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RENOVATING LIVES DURING COVID19

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

June 10,  2020 (San Diego’s East County) The coronavirus pandemic has exacted a huge economic toll globally and locally.  With an estimated 32 million on unemployment the likelihood of economic changes to all of our lives, is of concern. 

(Courtesy photo of Greg May)

Mortgages might not be paid on time, obtaining future employment may be down the road, this may necessitate the likelihood of having to sell your home. 

“If you lost your job during the pandemic, your future might be uncertain,” said the owner of Renovating Lives’ Greg May. 

Renovating Lives operates in three stages: 1. Evaluation of your home, 2. Renovation, and 3. Sale. May, an Alpine resident who has offices in El Cajon and Arizona, works with homeowners to renovate their properties readying them for sale. 

“I see people panic that they cannot sell their home during a pandemic,” he said. 

But May’s own business experience provides perspective to those that are panicked.

“During this pandemic, we have five houses in escrow,” said May. “Two in Santee, one in El Cajon, one in Escondido, and one in Fallbrook. We have several other projects as well.”


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EL CAJON APPROVES RENT AND UTILITY ASSISTANCE: FUNDS LIMITED TO FIRST 150 APPLICANTS STARTING MAY 26

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

May 22, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Council has approved allocating over $800,000 of its Community Development Block Grant Coronavirus funds for several COVID response programs.  These funds were granted to the City as part of the federal CARES Act.

Per City Council direction, a large portion of the funds will be used for rental and utility assistance to help those most vulnerable to loss of employment.

Due to limited funding, there is a limit to the first 150 eligible applicants. Online and over the phone applications will be accepted through the following service providers beginning Tuesday,May 26, 2020:


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LAWMAKERS PROPOSE SWEEPING RELIEF TO HOMEOWNERS, RENTERS

By Matt Levin | CALmatters

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

Photo:  A for rent sign in front of a cottage in San Diego, Oct. 30, 2018.  Photo by KPBS Staff.

May 17, 2020 (San Diego) - As missed rent payments and delinquent mortgages pile up across the state, California Democratic lawmakers Tuesday introduced a series of sweeping proposals aimed at shielding homeowners, renters and landlords from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.


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REAL ESTATE REALITY: THE NEW NORM: VIRTUAL HOME SALES

By Maryanne Jackson

Photo via Maryanne Jackson

May 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -

Dear Maryanne,

I was wondering what the status is with home sales now.

Are Realtors still listing properties and conducting business as usual?

--Mureen S., Casa De Oro, Spring Valley


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EAST COUNTY REALTORS COLLECTING DONATIONS FOR `RED SHOE DAY’ BENEFITING RONALD MCDONALD HOUSE

East County News Service

May 14, 2020 (El Cajon) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a real estate trade group for San Diego-area realtors with an office in El Cajon, has formed “Team PSAR” to collect donations online until June 4 as part of the annual Red Shoe Day fundraiser benefiting Ronald McDonald House, a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill or injured children being treated at San Diego hospitals.


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SHERIFF REVERSES COURSE, HALTS EVICTIONS AMID PANDEMIC

Action brings relief for renters, but fears for landlords facing mortgage payments

By Miriam Raftery

May 7, 2020 (San Diego) – San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore announced today that he is temporarily halting enforcement of evictions.    

Earlier this week, the Sheriff began issuing eviction notices to around 160 tenant for evictions already in progress before the COVID-19 shut-down orders. But after reportedly receiving political pressure from the Governor’s office and at least one Supervisor, the Sheriff reversed course.


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LET’S GROW TOGETHER SAN DIEGO: NEW STAY-AT-HOME GARDEN RESOURCES FROM MASTER GARDENERS

East County News Service  
 
April 24, 2020 (San Diego) -- San Diegans looking to plant their first Victory Gardens, refresh some tired succulent beds or maybe teach their children how to grow food from seed can get their garden questions answered any time of the day thanks to Let’s Grow Together San Diego, a free online effort  launched this week by the University of California Master Gardener Program in San Diego County.
 
Need to get rid of weeds? Grow herbs for cooking? Plant spectacular roses or bring butterflies to your backyard? Folks still staying close to home can visit www.MasterGardenerSD.org   and take their pick from how-to videos and dozens of articles on all kinds of flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees plus tips on saving water. Since it will be a while before the Master Gardeners can make presentations at large county-wide events, their refreshed website is filled with targeted information to help San Diegans required to stay-at-home.
 
Let’s Grow Together San Diego is meant for gardeners of all ages and skill levels. There are fun projects for caretakers who want to get seniors back into the garden and for parents needing some home-school lessons. Beginning gardeners are offered step-by-step instructions and even seasoned pros will find in-depth details on hundreds of plant species. And many of the video lessons are offered in Spanish.

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STAY VIGILANT AND WATCH OUT FOR FINANCIAL SCAMS DURING PANDEMIC

SDCCU® warns: scammers are taking advantage of people’s vulnerability during the current uncertain economic environment resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic
 
East County News Service
 
April 16, 2020 (San Diego) — The COVID-19 pandemic is resulting in an uncertain economic environment, which is creating fear and anxiety for many. With that, scammers are out in full force actively pursuing such vulnerability, exploiting heightened anxieties and generating new fraud strains. San Diego County Credit Union® (SDCCU®) wants to remind everyone to stay vigilant during these unprecedented times and to not fall victim to several common financial scams currently being monitored by authorities—such as loan modification and foreclosure scams, lending scams and investment related scams.

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START YOUR GARDEN RIGHT

An ounce of preparation while you're sheltering at home can yield a summer of garden bounty

Courtesy of Soil Science Society of America

April 16, 2020 – Gardeners, are you eager for winter to lose its icy grip? There’s no time like the present to improve your garden knowledge! Soils Matter, Soil Science Society of America’s science-based blog, provides insights to starting off the garden season.


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HOW EAST COUNTY REALTORS GROUP IS COMMUNICATING WITH ITS MEMBERS DURING COVID-19

East County News Service

April 13, 2020 (El Cajon) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), one of San Diego’s largest real estate trade associations for San Diego-area realtors with an office in El Cajon, is making efforts to keep its members informed during the coronavirus crisis.


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PHOTO OF THE WEEK: YELLOW ROSE

East County News Service
 
April 12, 2020 (El Cajon) -- Robert Gehr sent in this photo of one of many beautiful roses in bloom right now which surround the white Gazebo at Judson Park at the corner of Magnolia & Park Ave., near downtown El Cajon.

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SDG&E OFFERS BILL DISCOUNT PROGRAMS TO HELP CUSTOMERS IN NEED

Company Encourages Customers Impacted by COVID-19 to Take Advantage of 30% Bill Savings and Other Available Assistance

 April 8, 2020 (San Diego)  – With the coronavirus pandemic causing financial hardships for many individuals and families in the region, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is encouraging those in need to apply online for bill discount programs, which can save them 30% or more off their monthly utility bill.

SDG&E offers bill discount programs to support customers year-round. Many people who previously could not take advantage of these income-based programs may now be able to do so due to lost wages. Those who recently lost their job, even if they are receiving unemployment benefits, may also be eligible for CARE and FERA.


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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:


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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:


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.


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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.
 

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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.


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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.”


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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.


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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.

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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.


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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.


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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.  


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