Politics

THE FINAL SAY: GOV. NEWSOM HAS DECIDED WHICH OF THESE 2020 BILLS WILL BE CALIFORNIA LAW

By Laurel Rosenhall and CalMatters staff, CalMatters

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

Photo:  Gov. Gavin Newsom with first partner, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, and their youngest son, Dutch, during the annual Christmas tree lighting at the Capitol on December 15, 2019. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

October 3, 2020 (Sacramento) - In a year when the coronavirus pandemic upended every aspect of normal life, the impact in the California Capitol was also dramatic. Lawmakers took an unprecedented two-month pause in the spring, when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a statewide order for people to stay home to prevent the spread of the virus. They returned to the Capitol in May, passed a state budget shrunken by the pandemic-induced recession and began setting aside hundreds of bills that would no longer make the cut in this truncated year. Faced with less time to hold hearings and less money to spend on new initiatives, lawmakers chucked an estimated three-quarters of the bills introduced at the beginning of the year.

Abandoned or rejected along the way were bills requiring police to intervene if they see officers using excessive force, allow homeowners to request a forbearance on their mortgages during the pandemic, and launch a “Green New Deal” to fight climate change. 

But even with their reduced workload, lawmakers tackled numerous thorny issues, passing legislation that could impact life in California for years to come — to allow more workers to take paid family leave, make it easier to get mental health care, and ban flavored tobacco, among others. 

Then it fell to Newsom to either sign or veto the legislation by a Sept. 30 deadline. Here’s the final tally on the fates of 20 key bills.

--Laurel Rosenhall and CalMatters staff


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PRESIDENT TRUMP AND FIRST LADY TEST POSITIVE, HAVE SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19

Update 3 p.m.:  The President has been admitted to Walter Reed Hospital.

By Miriam Raftery

October 2, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump have both tested positive for COVID-19. The President announced the positive test results last night on Twitter, adding that he and the First Lady, “will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately” just 32 days before the election.

This morning, White House chief of staff Mark Meadows confirmed that the President has “mild symptoms.” Mrs. Trump has tweeted that she, too, has mild symptoms but is “looking forward to a speedy recovery.” 

The President’s illness follows news that his advisor, Hope Hicks, fell ill with the coronavirus after traveling with the President aboard Air Force One. Diagnosis of COVID-19  throws a monkey wrench into campaign plans.

Both President and Mrs. Trump are reportedly in good spirits according to White House spokespersons. However, at 74 years old, President Trump is in a high risk category due to both age and obesity. 


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READER’S EDITORIAL: MAYOR RACQUEL VASQUEZ MAKING LEMON GROVE THE BEST PLACE TO LIVE

By Chris Ernest Nelson

Retired Mount Miguel High School Teacher

October 1, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Lemon Grove has the “Best Climate on Earth.”  Yes, that’s true enough, but we should not stop there. Mayor Racquel Vasquez is committed to making Lemon Grove also the Best Place to Live.  Since her election in 2016, she has brought to city government a new energy and a commitment to improving the environment for all the residents of Lemon Grove. She is determined to make city government more modern, efficient, fiscally prudent and responsive to public interests.


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LEMON GROVE MAYORAL CANDIDATE JERRY JONES RELEASES FINANCIAL PLAN FOR CITY’S RECOVERY

East County News Service
 
October 1, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – Councilman Jerry Jones, one of four candidates running for Mayor in Lemon Grove, has released a detailed financial plan to address the city’s structural deficit and strive to balance the budget.  While he supports a full cent sales tax increase following community discussion, his budget does not rely on any increased sales tax revenues in a time when sales tax revenues have dropped due to COVID-19. Instead, he is banking on legalization of recreational cannabis and a cannabis tax, as well as digital billboard revenues. He also outlines his priorities for expenditures.
 
Below is his proposal, in his own words:

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PADRE DAM MUNICIPAL WATER DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 
 
 
By Mike Allen
 
Photos, top left to bottom right:  Division II candidates Augie Scalzitti, James Sly and Suzanne Till; Division IV candidate Augie Caires
 
 
September 30, 2020 (Santee) - The 2020 election will have two seats on the Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s five-member board of directors up for a vote, but only one is being contested.
 
The Division II seat that has been held by Augie Scalzitti for four terms dating back to 2000 has two other contenders: James Sly and Suzanne Till. In Division IV, Director Augie Caires is unopposed. 
 
Scroll down for our interviews with all four candidates.

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TRUMP’S TAX RECORDS SHOW PRESIDENT MIRED IN DEBT, BEHOLDEN TO FOREIGN INTERESTS AND AVOIDED PAYING TAXES FOR YEARS DUE TO BUSINESS LOSSES

By Miriam Raftery

September 29, 2020  (New York) – The New York Times has published an explosive exposé on President Donald Trump’s finances after obtaining 15 years of tax records through 2017, which he refused to make public.  Among the top revelations:


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LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD ELECTION: PART TWO

By Robin N. Kendall

Photo, left to right:  Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson.

September 29, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters in Lemon Grove will fill two full-term seats on the school board from a slate of three candidates. (In a previous story, we reported on the two candidates for the short-term seat.) The three candidates for the full-term seat are Blanca Brown, Yajaira Preciado and Cheryl Robertson. 

In spite of being one of San Diego’s smallest school districts with 4,000 students in grades preschool though middle school, Lemon Grove is a microcosm of what’s happening in schools and homes during the pandemic. Children are trying to study at home with parents instead of qualified teachers, joblessness has taken its toll, and the fight for racial injustice has taken to the streets.

Read on to learn what these three candidates say from the town that claims to have the “best climate on earth” and has a history of combating racial injustice in education. 


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FIVE CANDIDATES VIE FOR THREE SEATS ON LEMON GROVE SCHOOL BOARD

Part 1 in a 2-part series

By Robin N. Kendall

September 20, 2020 (Lemon Grove) -- Voters have many choices this year to fill three open seats on the five-person Lemon Grove School Board. In November of last year, the district was faced with a vacancy when former school board member Katie Dexter resigned. April Leon was appointed to fill the seat until this election, when voters could choose who would serve the remaining two years. Now Leon, the appointed incumbent, is seeking to be elected. Greg Shibley is running against her.

East County Magazine emailed a set of questions to each of the candidates for school board. Below are the responses from April Leon and Greg Shibley, candidates for the short-term seat. In the next story, part 2, we report on the candidates for the full-term seat.


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ECM TO HOST EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE FORUMS

 

Video of district 2 forum is now posted.  Click here to view video. 

Video of the district 4 forum is now posted. Click here to view video.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, top row:  District 2 candidates Humbert Cabrera, Stephanie Harper, Juan Carlos "Charlie" Mercado, Michelle Metschel and Martin Van Dinteren

Second row: District 4 candidates Estela de los Rios, Phil Ortiz, and Dunia Shaba

 

September 19, 2020 (El Cajon) - East County Magazine will host two forums for El Cajon City Council candidates:

District Four:  Monday Sept. 28 at 7 p.m.

District Two: Wednesday, Sept. 30 at 7 p.m.

The forums will be on Zoom and livestreamed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine.  Video will also be posted later on our website for those unable to watch live.  

 

The public can send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org up until noon the day of the forum.

 

Ten candidates are on the ballot in the highly competitive District 2 and 4 races.  (In District 3, Councilman Steve Goble is running unopposed.)

All candidates in District 2 and 4 have been invited. Eight have agreed to participate. In District Two, participants will include Humbert Cabrera, Stephanie Harper, Juan Carlos Mercado, Michelle Metschel and Martin Van Dinteren.  In District Four, participants confirmed are Estela De Los Rios, Councilman Phil Ortiz, and Dania Shaba. The fouth candidate, Billy Thigpen, advised ECM that he is suspending his candicacy and endorsing De Los Rios.

Below is information on all candidates running in Districts 2 and 4. Click each name to view the statement of qualifications submitted to the city of El Cajon.


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VIEW VIDEO OF OUR SUPERVISORS CANDIDATE FORUM

 

September 27, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – On September 21, East County Magazine hosted a candidate forum for San Diego County's District 2 Supervisor race. Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and former State Senator Joel Anderson shared their views on hot issues including COVID-19, housing, homelessness, racial justice/public safety, wildfire preparedness and more.

Video is now posted. You can view the fll forum video by clicking the image at left, or click here: https://youtu.be/o4KtvVquSV4

The forum, held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was moderated by ECM editor Miriam Raftery and supported by a Facebook Journalism Project grant. Scroll down for details on the candidates. 


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SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES FANITA RANCH BEFORE VOTERS CAN WEIGH IN ON NOVEMBER BALLOT

By Mike Allen
 
September 24, 2020 (Sante) -- By a 4-1 majority, the Santee City Council approved the controversial Fanita Ranch development that will add nearly 3,000 homes and about 8,000 residents to a city that has been fighting over the project for most of its 40-year history.

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TWO NEW LAWS AID MOMS IN CALIFORNIA

By Miriam Raftery

Photo credit:  CC by SA

September 24, 2020 (Sacramento) – Two new laws have been signed into law by California Governor Newsom that expand maternity care options and protection for paid family leave. 


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ECM TO HOST SUPERVISOR CANDIDATES FORUM MONDAY, SEPT. 21 ON ZOOM; SEND US YOUR QUESTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With Supervisor Dianne Jacob retiring due to term limits after 25 years, the race to fill her seat is one of the most important elections in years for voters in the 2nd district including East County. Two candidates, Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and former State Senator Joel Anderson are in the November runoff.  


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U.S SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RUTH BADER GINSBURG, 'ADVOCATE FOR EQUALITY AND REASON,' DEAD AT 87

On her deathbed, she told her granddaughter: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

Photo credit:  Supreme Court

September 20, 2020 (San Diego) - Sparking a swift flood of condolences along with fear for what the future holds, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died in her home Friday evening, surrounded by family, due to "complications of metastatic pancreas cancer" at the age of 87.


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FANITA RANCH VOTE, HELP FOR HOMELESS TOP AGENDAS IN SANTEE AND LA MESA THIS WEEK

By Miriam Raftery

September 20, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Will Santee Councilmembers keep campaign promises made to voters when the controversial Fanita Ranch development comes up for a vote this week?  

What actions will La Mesa’s City Council take to address housing and homelessness?

These are the hottest issues on agendas in East County this week. Scroll down for details


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ATTORNEY GENERAL: TRUMP SENT FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT CALIFORNIA MAIL-IN BALLOTS TO VOTERS

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 17, 2020 (Sacramento) – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra warns that voters in California have been sent a mailer by the Trump administration stating that mail-in ballots must “be requested” and that voters must “add postage to the return envelope if needed.” Both statements are false.
 
“Both statements could lead to voter confusion. In California, mail-in ballots will be sent automatically to registered voters starting October 5th — and postage is not needed to return your ballot in our state,” Attorney General Becerra says.

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SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT SEEKS CANDIDATE TO FILL VACANCY ON BOARD

East County News Service
 
September 17, 2020 (Spring Valley) -- The San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District’s Board of Directors is accepting resumes through October 6 to fill a vacant seat in Division 6.  (see map)

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SANTEE MAYORAL CANDIDATES AND A COUNCIL CONTENDER AGREE CITY FACES RACIAL CRISIS, BUT CLASH OVER DEVELOPMENT ISSUES

View full video of ECM’s Santee Mayoral and City Council candidates forum

By Mike Allen

Photo: Santee Mayor John Minto and his opponent, Councilman Stephen Houlahan, City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

Both candidates for Santee mayor and one candidate for District 4 have varying opinions on issues but to one question about the biggest crisis besides traffic facing the city, the three agreed it’s racial intolerance. But the three voiced divergent views on housing and development issues, including controversies involving Fanita Ranch.

The candidates responded to questions at a forum held Sept. 10 via Zoom hosted by East County Magazine. Mayor John Minto and Councilman Stephen Houlahan, who is vying to become Santee’s mayor, along with City Council candidate Samm Hurst appeared at the hour and a half forum moderated by ECM Editor Miriam Raftery.

Dustin Trotter, a construction contractor running against Hurst, declined to appear, saying he had a prior scheduled meeting. He also did not respond to a request for a one-on-one interview via Zoom with ECM’s editor, but has responded to questions from ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be published soon along with in-depth interviews with all Santee candidates.


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LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES TO PARTICIPATE IN FORUM SEPT. 16

 

View video of our Lemon Grove City Council candidates forum:  Click here

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Lemon Grove candidates David Arambula, George Gastil, Liana Lebaron, and Teresa Rosiak

 

August 29, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – All four Lemon Grove City Council candidates have agreed to participate in a candidate forum hosted by East County Magazine on Wednesday, September 16 at 7 p.m. This is your opportunity to learn more about the candidates looking to represent you, as well as to ask questions on issues of importance community.

The forum will be held on Zoom due to COVID-19 and will be livestreamed at https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine.  Video will also be posted later at www.EastCountyMagazine.org and audio will be aired on KNSJ radio. You can send in questions before noon on the 16h to editor@eatcountymagazine.org. ECM editor Miriam Raftery will moderate the forum, which is made possible through a Facebook Journalism Project grant.

The four candidates are:


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LEMON GROVE DRIVE THRU 2020 CENSUS EVENT SEPT. 18

East County News Service

September 16, 2020 (Lemon Grove) - The city of Lemon Grove and U.S. Census Bureau will be present to help you complete the 2020 census survey, answer any questions you have about the census, and will be giving away census swag to those that complete the survey at the Lemon Grove Recreation Center.

The Lemon Grove drive-through census event wil take place this Friday, September 18 from 1-4 p.m.


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LEMON GROVE MAYORAL CANDIDATES SET TO DEBATE MONDAY, SEPT. 14

 

View a videotape of the forum now posted :

Youtube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wVtSH4cwfEQ

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine/videos/10219161150363190

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right:  Councilman Jerry Jones, Kamaal Martin, Mayor Racquel Vasquez, Chris williams

September 5, 2020 (Lemon Grove)—On Monday, September 14 at 7 p.m., all four candidates running for the Lemon Grove City Council have agreed to participate in a candidate forum.  The forum will be virtual via Zoom. You can watch it live via livestreaming at https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine, and send in questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org now through up to 2 p.m. the date of the forum. 

For those unable to watch live, a video will also be posted later on our news site at www.EastCountyMagazine.org and audio will be aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio at a date to be announced.

(Lemon Grove's City Council candidates will be in a separate forum on Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.)

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The four mayoral candidates are Mayor Raquel Vasquez, Councilman Jerry Jones, financial professional Kamaal Martin, and businessman Chris Williams. Below are more details on each candidate and links to their websites, as well as highlights of key issues.


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VIEW INTERVIEWS WITH LA MESA COUNCIL CANDIDATES KRISTINE ALESSIO AND LAURA LOTHIAN

By Miriam Raftery

September 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – ECM held ZOOM virtual interviews with La Mesa City Councilwoman Kristine Alessio and realtor Laura Lothian, who were unable to attend our candidate forum last week. The candidates discussed the major issues facing La Mesa including the city’s response to protests, housing and homeless, downtown redevelopment, help for local businesses, racial justice and policing and more. 


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SANTEE COUNCIL GRANTS LANTERN CREST 50 NEW UNITS, DEFERRAL ON IMPACT FEES; APPROVES CHANGE ORDER FOR TV STATION

By Mike Allen
 
Photo:  50 unit addition to Lantern Crest Senior Living.
 
September 10, 2020 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council unanimously approved a 50-unit addition to the Lantern Crest Senior Living nursing home that included granting the developer a zoning change as well as deferring the payment of about $1 million in impact fees.

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2020 LA MESA CITY COUNCIL VIRTUAL CANDIDATE FORUM SEPT. 23 HOSTED BY METHODIST CHURCH

East County News Service

 
September 9, 2020 (La Mesa) - Six candidates. Two seats. Find out where La Mesa’s City Council candidates stand on important issues.

 

La Mesa First United Methodist Church will host a Virtual La Mesa City Council Candidate Forum on Wednesday, September 23, 2020, at 6:45 p.m. The forum will be held via Zoom and moderated by Pastor Christian DeMent.


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HOW ARE CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES RESPONDING TO THOSE IN NEED DURING VALLEY FIRE IN EAST COUNTY?

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ammar Campa-Najjar watches as Valley Fire encroaches on his community

September 6, 2020 (San Diego’s East County)7:30 p.m. – As the Valley Fire chars a devastating swath across the 50th Congressional district, scorching over 5,500 acres and forcing evacuations in many communities, the two candidates vying to represent the district have responded differently – one doing little to assist those in need, the other retweeting dozens of messages and rolling up his sleeves to help others – even after evacuating his own family.

Darrell Issa, who lives in North County outside of the district he hopes to represent, retweeted just three messages about the fire—the last over 12 hours ago. The messages included an early evacuation order 23 hours ago, but no updates when several broad, new evacuation orders were issued. He retweeted one of several road closure announcements, as well as a notice on how to get help evacuating large animals.

Ammar Campa-Najjar, by contrast, took actions personally to help others, organizing relief efforts and posting several dozen social media updates on the fire-- despite being left without power and evacuating his own family from the fire threatening his Jamul home.

The two are  vying to fill the seat vacated by Duncan Hunter, who has been sentenced to prison for diverting $250,000 in campaign finance donations to personal use, but has not yet begun his sentence due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


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SANTEE COUNCIL AND MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM SET FOR SEPT. 10

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left to right: Mayor John Minto and challenger Stephen Houlahan; City Council candidates Samm Hurst and Dustin Trotter

September 5, 2020 (Santee) – East County Magazine will host a forum on Thursday, Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. for candidates running for Santee Mayoral and City Council races. To date, Mayor John Minto and mayoral challenger Stephen Houlahan have both agreed to participate.  In the race for an open City Council seat, Samm Hurst has confirmed she will participate; Dustin Trotter said he had a scheduling conflict for the forum. All candidates in both races have also now done separate interviews with ECM reporter Mike Allen, which will be posted soon.

The forum will be virtual on Zoom. You can watch the livestream at https://www.Facebook.com/eastcountymagazine and send questions to editor@eastcountymagazine.org. A videotape of the forum will be posted later on www.EastCountyMagazine.org and the forum will also be broadcast at a later date on KNSJ radio.

East County Magazine thanks the #FacebookJournalismProject for a grant to help support our virtual candidate forums during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below are details on the candidates (listed in alphabetical order for each seat) and key issues:


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BIDEN AND TRUMP VISIT KENOSHA AFTER SHOOTINGS PROMPT NEW WAVE OF PROTESTS

By Miriam Raftery
All photos by Les Brown
Photo (left): Jacob Blake Sr., August 29
 
September 3, 2020 (Kenosha, WI) – Both President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden made visits this week to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where yet another controversial police shooting of a Black man and later, the shooting deaths of two protesters by an armed white teenager now facing first degree homicide, have fueled further civil unrest.
 
On August 23, 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer. The shooting, which occurred in front of Blake’s young children, has left him paralyzed. According to the police officers’ union, officers were called out due to a domestic violence dispute involving Blake, who resisted arrest and was shot at point-blank range as he pulled open the door to enter a vehicle. Although police have said they believed Blake had a knife in the vehicle, Blake’s family says he was unarmed.

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HOMEFED YANKS FANITA RANCH PLAN BEFORE COUNCIL VOTE

 

By Mike Allen

 

Cancelling Magnolia extension, as proposed, would remove key evacuation route for wildfires, critic says

August 30, 2020 (Santee) -- Fanita Ranch, the 3,000 unit residential project planned for Santee’s northwest quadrant, is being delayed by developer HomeFed Corp. to make some significant changes, including removing an extension of a key arterial serving the project.

In a letter posted on the Fanita Ranch Facebook page last week, Jeff O’Connor, the company’s vice president, said HomeFed requested the delay “to remove the extension of Magnolia Avenue from the project in order to direct those funds towards the improvements to SR-52.”


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES TO APPEAR IN VIRTUAL CANDIDATE FORUM THURSDAY, SEPT. 3

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: La Mesa City Council candidates Allan Durden, Colin Parent, Mark Papenfuss, Kristine Alessio, Jack Shu, and Laura Lothian.  Four of the six candidates have agreed to participate.

August 29, 2020 (La Mesa) – Six candidates are vying for two seats on the La Mesa City Council. East County Magazine invited all candidates to participate in a candidate forum this Thursday, September 3 at 7 p.m. Have a question for the candidates?  You can send it to editor@eastcountymagazine.org by 12 noon on Thursday.

Four of the six candidates have confirmed they will participate.  Shown in the photo above, they are Allan Durden, Mark Papenfuss, Councilman Colin Parent, and Jack Shu.  Councilmember Kristine Alessio and Laura Lothian are not available but agreed to do an interview with ECM via Zoom, which we will post when completed.

The forum, held virtually via Zoom due to COVID-19,  will be live-streamed on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine   Video will also be recorded and posted at www.EastCountyMagazine.org after the forum. We thank the #FacebookJournalismProject for supporting our virtual candidate forums during the pandemic.

Below is information on all candidates running, listed in alphabetical order:


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

GIVE INPUT ON FIXING UP THE NEIGHBORHOOD

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  Don Dussault Park in Fallbrook

August 29, 2020 (San Diego) - The County is asking residents and nonprofits working in the unincorporated areas for ideas on how to improve their communities. Three forums are planned Aug. 31, Sept. 1 and 2.

Those ideas may qualify for Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds. The federal entitlement grant program provides annual grants to states, cities and counties. Applications for County CDBG funds are being accepted now through Dec. 1.


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Local news in the public interest is more important now than ever, during the COVID-19 crisis. Our reporters, as essential workers, are dedicated to keeping you informed, even though we’ve had to cancel fundraising events. Please give the gift of community journalism by donating at https://www.eastcountymedia.org/donate.

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