Politics

CAJON VALLEY TRUSTEE JILL BARTO FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST DISTRICT, SUPERINTENDENT, AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 28, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Longtime Cajon Valley Union School District Board member Jill Barto on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the district, Superintendent David Miyashiro and four trustees over what her attorney, Mike Aguirre, alleges are violations of her civil and First Amendment rights.

The suit alleges that since she was re-elected to her seat on the Board of Trustees in November 2018, she experienced retaliation and had her civil rights violated by Miyashiro and others after she questioned Miyashiro’s use of district funds and his travel at district expense.

“The School District Board Superintendent and four other board members have retaliated against Plaintiff and conspired against her in violation of her First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution,” the suit alleges. “Defendant’s retaliatory conduct has repeatedly tried to prevent Plaintiff from fully representing the constituents that elected her to the Board,” it continues. The suit lists does 1-50, leaving open the possibility of adding other defendants.


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SENATOR JONES HONORS THREE LA MESA BROTHERS WHO EARNED NATIONAL EAGLE SCOUT AWARDS

Jacob, Joshua and Noah Epperson of La Mesa completed three local community projects

East County News Service

Photo:  pictured with Senator Brian Jones are Jacob, Noah and Joshua Epperson during a ceremony in Senator Jones' El Cajon District office.

November 27, 2019 (El Cajon) - Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) yesterday met with and presented official Senate Certificates of Recognition to three local brothers who all earned their National Eagle Scout awards on the same day last month.


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WHO WANTS TO BE THE NEXT LEMON GROVE COUNCILMEMBER AND PLANNNG COMMISSIONER? HERE ARE ALL THE APPLICANTS

By Miriam Raftery

November 26, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – The Lemon Grove City Council will hold a special meeting on December 2 at 6 p.m. to interview applicants to fill vacancies on the City Council and Planning Commission.  A wide range of people have applied for these positions, bringing a diversity of skills and backgrounds. 

Here are summaries of each applicant's primary qualifications and aspirations:


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CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTERS ENDORSE STEVE VAUS FOR SUPERVISOR IN DISTRICT 2



 

East County News Service

November 23, 2019 (San Diego) – The CAL FIRE firefighters union has endorsed Poway Mayor Steve Vaus for Supervisor.

“We recognize that Steve has a proven ability to bring people together to get things done. Most importantly, he truly cares about helping the hard-working men and women protecting our community,” says Patrick Walker, Vice President of CAL FIRE Local #2881 10th district.


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REGISTRAR URGES ACTION IN POSTCARDS TO VOTERS

Voting for President? Make sure your ballot has the option you want!
 
 
By: Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
November 24, 2019 (San Diego) - Postcards showed up in the mailboxes of 1.8 million registered San Diego County voters last week, alerting them to political party rules on voting for president in the March 3, 2020 primary election.

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FPPC CLOSED COMPLAINT AGAINST ROSIAK AND WITHDREW WARNING LETTER

 

Update Nov. 25, 2019:  Lemon Grove has confirmed that it has no records of any prior complaints filed against any other candidates for violation of campaign contribution or disclosure requirements in the past 10 years.

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Earlier this month, we reported that the city of Lemon Grove has filed a complaint in Superior Court accusing Rosiak of misdemeanors in her 2018 campaign over campaign contributions and disclosure requirements, but Rosiak accused the city of improperly targeting her for political retribution.  Rosiak told ECM, “The FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) cannot provide help or an opinion, but my filings were received by them and they have no issues with me.” 

The city contends that Rosiak borrowed money from her campaign and didn’t pay it back within 30 days, nor disclose expenditures on her behalf totaling over $100.  The city claims Rosiak violated state and city laws.

ECM asked the FPPC for a record of any FPPC complaint against Rosiak and the resolution, and the FPPC has now responded.

The FPPC confirmed that did send  a warning letter on July 13, 2018 regarding a missed filing deadline of form 470 in her campaign for Lemon Grove City Council. However, that warning letter was later withdrawn on July 16, 2018 after Rosiak stated she had sent a copy of the statement to the County Registrar’s office 10 days before the deadline via U.P.S. When notified by the Registrar that it had not arrived, she emailed a copy of the paperwork which she had retained.


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HUNTER DUMPS LEGAL TEAM

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2019 (Alpine) – Indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter has fired his three trial attorneys a month before his federal corruption trial is slated to begin Jan. 22.  Hunter wants former District Attorney Paul Pfingst to represent him – but now the U.S. Attorney is asking the court to disqualify Pfingst over a conflict of interest since Pfingst’s law firm  (Higgs, Fletcher & Mack) represented witnesses who testified to the grand jury that later indicted Hunter.


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IMPEACHMENT HEARING HIGHLIGHTS: WEEK TWO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: President Donald Trump with Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who donated a million dollars to Trump's campaign but provided damning testimony implicating Trump and top officials in illegal activities.

November 22, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – The second week of impeachment hearings before the House Intelligence Committee brought drama and surprises. Below are highlights of key witness testimony and summation statements from the Committee's top Democrat and Republican Senators.

Ambassador Sondland: “Was there a quid pro quo?...The answer is yes…Everyone was in the loop.”


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COUNTY ASKS D.A. TO PROBE JOEL ANDERSON’S CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SUPERVISOR RACE; HIS CAMPAIGN CALLS ALLEGATIONS “BOGUS”

Anderson has long history of campaign finance issues, special interest ties

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Major donors Gregg and Debby Hamann with Anderson at his 2008 holiday party

November 16, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The County has asked the District Attorney’s office to investigate allegations of criminal campaign finance violations by Joel Anderson's supervisorial campaign, in response to an inquiry made by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the newspaper reported.


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SANTEE LEANS TO CURFEW ON COUNCIL MEETINGS, GIVES CITY MANAGER NICE RAISE

By Mike Allen
 
November 15, 2019 (Santee) -- Public speakers at Santee City Council meetings currently may have to sit for more than three hours before they can state their beefs to the city in a public forum.
 
But the Council is considering changing that format, along with a few other things, including establishing a curfew on how long meetings run.

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IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: WEEK 1 WRAP-UP

By Miriam Raftery

November 15, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – The House Intelligence Committee held its first open impeachment hearings this week into allegations that President Donald Trump abused his powers by withholding military aide from the Ukraine and potentially committing bribery for personal gain. The President is accused of pressuring Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

You can view full video coverage and highlights of the impeachment hearings on C-Span at https://www.c-span.org/impeachment/.

Below are summaries and highlights of this week’s testimony, as well as reactions from leading Congressional Democrats and Republicans:

 


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ROGER STONE FOUND GUILTY OF DEATH THREAT AGAINST WITNESS, LYING TO CONGRESS DURING RUSSIA PROBE TO COVER UP FOR TRUMP

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Roger Stone, CC by NA

November 15, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – “You are a rat.  A stoolie. Prepare to die,” long-time Trump ally Roger Stone texted to a witness slated to appear before the House Intelligence Committee regarding Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump-Russia ties. The  trial revealed damning evidence not only against Stone, but also evidence discrediting statements made by Donald Trump in which Trump denied discussing hacked emails during his presidential campaign.

The witness, radio host Randy Credico, was Stone’s intermediary to Wikileaks and Julian Assange to obtain details on e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee that were damaging to Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 political rival.  Stone also urged the witness via e-mail to follow the actions of “Godfather II” character Frank Pentangeli, who lied to Congress to avoid incriminating Mafia boss Michael Corleone.


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ROSIAK CLAIMS LEMON GROVE COMPLAINT IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

By Miriam Raftery

November 14, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Teresa Rosiak has run for Lemon Grove’s city council and mayoral positions in the past, but did not win election. She’s also been a vocal critic at council meetings and is a potential candidate in 2020.  The city has filed a complaint in Superior Court accusing Rosiak of misdemeanors in her 2018 campaign over campaign contributions and disclosure requirements, but Rosiak accuses the city of improperly targeting her for political retribution.

“The city again is not using the taxpayer’s dollars properly,” says Rosiak (also known as Rosiak-Proffit) in an e-mail to ECM, adding, “They want me to be discredited since I am outspoken and they will do this regardless of the cost to the taxpayers.”

Rosiak, a former Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce president, is a fiscal conservative. The Council majority is Democratic.  She has criticized the Council on spending priorities, dipping into budget reserves, litigation in which the city has been embroiled over assault allegations against Councilman David Arambula, and has called for resignations of Arambula,  Mayor Racquel Vasquez and City Manager Lydia Romero.


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WHAT SHOULD LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL REQUIRE OF APPLICANTS TO FILL VACANCY? COMMUNITY WEIGHS IN; FORUM FOR APPLICANTS NOV. 13

By Miriam Raftery

November 12, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove is now accepting applications for appointment to fill the vacancy on the City Council left by the resignation of Matt  Mendoza, who moved to Florida for his job.

The appointment process raises questions over what criteria should be considered, beyond basic residency and age requirements, in choosing the next councilmember.


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JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNNG GROUP’S TUESDAY AGENDA INCLUDES COTTONWOOD SAND MINE AND SAVE OUR SAN DIEGO COUNTRYSIDE INITIATIVE

East County News Service 

November 11, 2019 (Jamul) – The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group’s meeting tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. will include preliminary discussion of both the Cottonwood Sand Mine and the Save Our San Diego Countryside Initiative. The latter is a county-wide ballot measure that would require voter approval before Supervisors could waive General Plan density developments for residential projects in rural areas. There will also be an update on the Jamul Casino.


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WATERGATE REVISTED: IN THE MIDST OF IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

 

My Watergate Scandal Tell-All: How I Unwittingly Caused This Historic Event, by Bruce Givner (ExecuProv Press, Santa Ana, California, 2019, 258 pages.)

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“This is a story I’ll tell to my students many times. Internships can make history!”

  • Larry J. Sabato, Director, UVA Center for Politics

November 8, 2019 (San Diego) - The Watergate story never dies. It has become more and more intriguing (and popular) as time goes by. It has evoked comment many a time when a Washington D.C. official becomes entangled in a self-styled web of deception. Watergate is no longer the name of a hotel and office complex. It is more than a proper noun that branded a piece of property and cemented its “title” in numerous pages of history books. It is now the go-to reference to identify any scandal, though its origin was first reserved for the most sordid political scandal our nation has ever witnessed – at least up until the writing of this book. In that respect, it ranks right up there in significance with Teapot Dome, Wounded Knee and Gettysburg.


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LEMON GROVE SALES TAX MEASURE QUALIFIES FOR BALLOT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: George Gastil, former Lemon Grove Councilmember who spearheaded the petition drive

November 8, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – The Registrar of Voters confirms that the Lemon Grove sales tax measure has qualified to appear on the March 2020 ballot. If approved, the initiative would increase the city’s sales tax by three-fourths of a cent to 8.5 percent, the same as neighboring La Mesa.

According to the Registrar, 1,987 signatures have been verified as valid, substantially more than the 1,482 required for the measure dubbed the "Lemon Grove Security Initiative."

Advocates for the measure posted on their “Sweeten Lemon Grove” Facebook page, “Shoutout to all of the volunteers who circulated 233 petitions and to every person who provided their signature in support of the measure.”

The stakes are high for Lemon Grove residents and businesses.


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COURT ORDERS MATT MENDOZA DEPOSITION IN LAWSUIT AGAINST LEMON GROVE

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Superior Court Judge Richard S. Whitney on October 25th approved a motion to compel a deposition of Matt Mendoza in the case of Christopher Williams vs. Davis Arambula and the City of Lemon Grove. The order was issued just days before Mendoza resigned from the Lemon Grove City Council and announced that he had moved to Florida.

The Judge initially ordered $1,500 in sanctions to be awarded to Williams, but later removed the sanctions.

Williams has accused Arambula of assaulting him  in July 2017, following a discussion at Arambula’s home regarding cannabis dispensary applications submitted by Williams to the city.  Arambula has claimed he acted in self defense, but never notified the Sheriff. A Sheriff report was filed after Williams received treatment of serious injuries at a hospital emergency room.


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LEMON GROVE TO APPOINT NEW COUNCILMEMBER TO FILL VACANCY: APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED NOV. 11-21

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – At a special meeting last night, Lemon Grove’s City Council voted to fill the vacancy left by Matt Mendoza’s resignation through appointment.  Applications will be accepted starting Monday, Nov. 11 through Thursday, Nov. 21 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.


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LEMON GROVE COUNCILMAN MATT MENDOZA RESIGNS, REPLACEMENT PROCESS IS ON TONIGHT’S AGENDA

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove Councilman Matt Mendoza resigned Monday after moving to Florida due to his work for Boeing.  The Council will meet tonight in a 6:30 p.m. public session to discuss options for filling the vacancy. The  Council originally planned a closed-door meeting but changed to an open session after the San Diego Union-Tribune raised questions about the legality of a closed-door process, the newspaper reported.

The resignation comes at a critical time for the city, which has been forced to dip into its financial reserves.  An initiative to raise sales tax by three-quarters of a cent has just qualified for the ballot – a measure that Mendoza, a conservative, has said he supports.  He told the Union-Tribune that his greatest regret has been the inability of the city to attract enough new businesses to attain fiscal stability. The city has even faced calls from some to consider disincorporation, or giving up cityhood to revert to county control.

Mendoza’s departure comes just weeks before a December 19, 2019 jury trial in a lawsuit against the city of Lemon Grove and Counclman David Arambula is set to commence.  Judge Richard Whitney authorized Cory Briggs, attorney for plaintiff Chris Williams, to take a deposition from Mendoza but so far, Mendoza has been unavailable for that deposition, Candid Chronicle reports.   


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COUNTY BOARD APPROVES 4 SATELLITE VOTING LOCATIONS


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DEPUTY SHERIFFS ENDORSE BRIAN JONES FOR CONGRESS

East County News Service
 
November 5, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- The Deputy Sheriffs’ Association of San Diego County (DSA) has endorsed State Senator Brian Jones for Congress in the 50th District. Jones is one of three Republicans challenging indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

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RAY LUTZ OPTS NOT TO RUN FOR CONGRESS IN 53RD DISTRICT; WILL LEAD DEVELOPMENT OF BALLOT IMAGE AUDITING PLATFORM, AUDITENGINE.ORG

By Miriam Raftery

November 4, 2019 (El Cajon) – Ray Lutz announced today that he will not run for the 53rd Congressional district seat being vacated by the retirement of Susan Davis, after earlier forming an exploratory committee for the race. Lutz, an engineer and founder of the Citizens Oversight watchdog group based in El Cajon, previously challenged Duncan Hunter in the 52nd Congressional district before redistricting shifted his residence into the 53rd.

Lutz has long been an activist on election integrity issues, including training the public to provide oversight of election audits. Now Lutz says he intends to focus on developing an auditing service to be available by the 2020 elections. It will allow election officials, candidates, and oversight groups to conduct a thorough and independent review of any election that uses paper ballots and equipment that creates ballot images.


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TRUMP THREATENS TO END FEDERAL AID TO CALIFORNIA TO FIGHT WILDFIRES—AFTER OFFERING RUSSIA HELP TO STOP WILDFIRES IN SIBERIA

Critics accuse President of putting partisan politics above saving lives and aiding disaster victims

By Miriam Raftery

Updated 9 p.m. with comments from Alpine Fire Chief Paskle

 

Photo screenshot off NBC video:  Easy Fire started near the Ronald Reagan Valley in Simi Valley and threatened homes in Ventura County

 

November 4, 2019 (San Diego) – Days after California Governor Gavin Newsom praised the federal government for its rapid response to catastrophic wildfires and power outages affecting millions of our state’s residents, President Donald Trump on Sunday threatened to cut off all future federal funding to California.  


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NEW YORK TIMES REPORTER DISCUSSES TRUMP TAX STORY

East County News Service

November 4, 2019 (San Diego) – Inewsource and the San Diego Press Club will host Susanne Craig, investigative reporter with The New York Times, for a conversation about the state of journalism from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 7 at the Museum of Photographic Arts in Balboa Park, 1649 El Prado, San Diego. Admission is free but reservations are requested. The program is part of the Press Club’s “Nuts & Bolts” series. For more info, visit www.sdpressclub.org.


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SANTEE STILL WANTS COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY, BUT NOT WITH NORTH COUNTY ALLIANCE

By Mike Allen
 
October 28, 2019 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council voted for the second time to establish a community choice energy program, but put the brakes on joining a joint powers authority being formed with the cities of Carlsbad, Del Mar and Solana Beach.

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CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS JOINS SPEAKER PELOSI ON CONGRESSIONAL DELEGATION TRIP TO AFGHANISTAN AND JORDAN

East County News Service

Photo: Congresswoman Davis at U.S. Institute for Peace forum on democracy and women's rights in Afghanistan

October 23, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee, made an unannounced visit to Afghanistan and Jordan with a high-level bipartisan Congressional delegation led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The delegation met with top diplomats, military leaders and troops, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, and King Abdullah II of Jordan.

“I was pleased to be a part of this delegation trip designed to strengthen relationships with our allies and discuss national security issues, especially in light of the deepening crisis in Syria after Turkey’s military incursion and increased violence by the Taliban,” said Rep. Davis, a  San Diego Democrat whose district includes portions of East County. “This delegation trip provided members with the latest information on the ground and will inform us as we continue to create U.S. policy toward the region.”


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BIPARTISAN SAN DIEGO WATER BILL INTRODUCED BY REPRESENTATIVES HUNTER, DAVIS AND PETERS

East County News Service

October 23, 2019 (San Diego) – San Diego Congressional members Scott Peters, Duncan Hunter and Susan Davis have introduced bipartisan federal legislation to simplify permit requirements to operate the Point Loma Wastewater Treatment Plan, with a goal of providing purified, recycled drinking water for the San Diego region and reducing ocean pollution.

The bill, H.R. 4611, the Ocean Pollution Reduction Act II, was introduced in the House on October 4, 2019.


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DUNCAN HUNTER'S WIFE SEEKS APRIL SENTENCING; DELAY COULD HELP PROSECUTORS

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

Photo:  Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, are seen in La Mesa at 2014 Polonia United event for Polish-Americans in the San Diego region. Photo by Miriam Raftery

October 22, 2019 (San Diego) - Giving prosecutors more time to bolster their corruption case against Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, the congressman’s wife has asked that her federal sentencing be delayed four months.


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CAJON VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT SPENDS OVER A HALF MILLION DOLLARS ON PROMOTIONAL VIDEOS

Superintendent and school board president refuse to answer questions on videos; recent flash mob video cost over $21,500

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor; Miriam Raftery, Editor, also contributed to this report.

Photo: Superintendent David Miyashiro in CVUSD flash mob video

Update:  Shortly after publication of this report, the CVUSD belatedly responded  to ECM's California Public Records Act requst for documentation of any financial or enrollment benefits received by the district due to its promotional videos on YouTube.  Naomie Rodrigues sent an e-mail advising that "NO SUCH DOCUMENTS EXIST" but noted that some videos were published on the County Department of Education's website.  View our article on her reply and the district's lagging responses to other records requests. 

 

October 16, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The internet has revolutionized video marketing. From small businesses to government agencies, organizations can now harness resources at YouTube and other online portals to directly market messages to a target audience.

The Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) has utilized its Youtube channel and other social media portals to disseminate professionally produced video marketing and promotional messages for its school projects and World of Work career path program.

Utilizing taxpayer money, the district has produced and promoted impressive videos such as “A Day in the Life of a Cajon Valley Bus Driver,” “Education and business leaders from Vista and Colorado tour Cajon Valley,” an invitation to a Grandparents Day event, Fall Festivals, Madison Avenue Elementary Lemonade Fundraiser, and numerous WoW (World of Work) videos. The District also produces a monthly “broadcast” with news and events directed to school personnel and staff.

Hefty costs

But critics say the CVUSD is making too much of a good thing, since these videos produced by the district have come with a high price tag.

According to information provided to East County Magazine by the CVUSD in response to a public records request, from July 2014 (when David Miyashiro became Superintendent) through June 30, 2019, the district has spent over half a million dollars -- $576,289.60 to be exact -- on marketing and promotional videos.


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