Politics

JUSTICE DEPT. OPENS HOTLINE FOR SCHOOL OFFICIALS TO REPORT THREATS; ISSA INTRODUCES “STAND WITH PARENTS” RESOLUTION

By Miriam Raftery

October 27, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – Following a rise in complaints by school board members, teachers and school workers over threats of violence, harassment and intimidation, U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland announced plans to convene a meeting with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement leaders to create strategies for addressing this trend.

In a press release, the Dept. of Justice also encouraged education officials to report threats to the FBI’s National Threat operations Center tip line at 1-800-CALL-FBI or via the FBI website at http://fbi.gov/tips. “Threats against public servants are not only illegal, they run counter to our nation’s core values,” Garland states. “Those who dedicate their time and energy to ensuring that our children receive a proper education in a safe environment deserve to be able to do their work without fear for their safety.”

Republicans have criticized Garland for setting up what they term a “snitch line on parents” and seeking to suppress free speech. But in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee, Garland made clear that he has no intention of targeting free speech, which he said is “totally protected by the First Amendment…We are only concerned about violence and threats of violence against school administrators, teachers, staff.” 

In response to the Dept. of Justice announcement, Congressman Darrell Issa, a Republican from the 50th district which includes San Diego and much of East County, introduced the “Stand With Parents” resolution.


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ISSA INTRODUCES BILL TO ALLOW PROOF OF COVID ANTIBODIES AS ALTERNATIVE TO PROOF OF VACCINATION

By Miriam Raftery

October 27, 2021 (San Diego) – Republican Congressman Darrell Issa has introduced a bill that would exempt people who test positive for antibodies against COVID-19 from the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for federal workers and large employers.

The measure, H.R. 5642, is titled the Follow Accepted Science Together (FAST) Act.

“The demand by this Administration for vaccine mandates is a mistake,’ said Rep. Issa, whose district includes much of East County. “The FAST Act follows the science and exempts Americans with COVID-19 antibodies from this unfair White House edit.”


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LEMON GROVE COUNCIL HOSTS WORKSHOP WITH RESIDENTS ON STREET REPAIR PRIORITIES

By Elijah McKee

October 25, 2021 (Lemon Grove) -- Anyone who owns a car hopes to drive on roads that are smooth and safe, for their sake and their community’s. The reality for many drivers in Lemon Grove is the opposite, as they face an array of holes, cracks, and ridges that jostle their daily transit.


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A SHADY DEAL: LEMON GROVE JOINS TREE CITY USA

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Creative commons image via Bing

October 22, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove’s City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to join Tree City USA, a national program that has provided 3.6 million trees to  communities since its inception in 1976. Lemon Grove joins East County’s other cities (La Mesa, El Cajon and Santee) and  3,600 other communities in all 50 states.

Planting a thriving urban forest creates theses benefits for communities, according to Tree City USA, a project of the Arbor Day Foundation:  


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LOCAL ARAB GROUP CALLS ON SUPERVISOR ANDERSON TO APOLOGIZE FOR REMARKS LINKING CAIR TO TERRORISM

By Miriam Raftery

October 22, 2021 (San Diego) – The American Arab Anti-Discrimination (ADC) Committee’s San Diego Chapter has issued a press release denouncing Supervisor Joel Anderson for his statement linking the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) to terrorism.

During an Oct. 7 hearing on his proposal to fund Afghan refugee resettlement costs from frozen Taliban assets and to develop a comprehensive county response plan to assist the refugees, Anderson sought to block CAIR from receiving any county funds.  “Any organization that has any affiliation with terrorism in the Middle East could have to be excluded and CAIR would be part of that group,” he said. View video


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CONGRESSWOMAN SARA JACOBS RECEIVES HOUSE DPCC THOMAS PAINE AWARD RECOGNIZING TOP COMMUNICATORS

East County News Service

October 18, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - The House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee (DPCC) has awarded Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) the prestigious Thomas Paine Award for being among the most effective speakers and communicators in the Democratic House Caucus. Congresswoman Jacobs was one of just five members, out of 220 House Democrats, to receive the award. 


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LA MESA COUNCIL CANDIDATES CLASH IN LIVELY FORUM HOSTED BY EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE: VIEW VIDEO

October 15, 2021 (La Mesa) -- Four candidates participated in a lively forum last night hosted by East County Magazine on Zoom and streamed live on Facebook.  Mejgan Afshan, Kathleen Brand, Patricia Dillard and Laura Lothian participated. (Note, Lothian joined a minute late due to techincal issues and is not shown in the screenshot)

shared their diverse views on issues including homelessness, equity/police reforms and public safety,  affordable housing and development, the downtown district and neighborhood revitalization, the potential for a new library and/or community meeting space, public health mandates, the role of the new Arts and Culture Commission, and candidates' endorsements.

Each candidate gave a two minute opening statement and a one minute closing statement. (Two other candidates, Jim Stieringer and Michelle Louden, did not participate in the forum but Stieringer sent candidate information. Read more about the candidates at https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/ecm-host-la-mesa-city-council-candida... .

View forum full screen by clicking the Youtube image above or this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=htVd2cSh-2E

You can also share this link on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine/videos/981838262677468

Hear radio versions of the forum broadcast on KNSJ (part 1 and part 2) by clicking the audio links below.



Audio: 


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SANTEE COUNCILMEMBERS WEIGH WHETHER TO LEGALIZE AND STRICTLY REGULATE MARIJUANA BUSINESSES

Prospect of a pro-pot industry ballot measure leaves some members fuming

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Kathleen Lippett

October 14, 2021 (Santee) -- The Santee City Council held a third workshop Oct. 13 examining whether to allow cannabis businesses in their city, while making it clear they aren’t fond of the prospect


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL APPROVES APARTMENTS ON OLD POLICE HEADQUARTERS' SITE AND CREATES COMMISSION TO SUPPORT ARTS, CULTURE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Image, left: Artist's rendering of the apartment project slated to be built on the former police station site on Allison Avenue

Oct. 14, 2021 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa City Council voted 3-0  on Tuesday to approve  development of the old police headquarters' site, where an apartment project is slated for construction.

Mayor Mark Arapostathis, Vice Mayor Jack Shu, and Councilman Colin Parent voted in favor. Councilman Bill Baber abstained due to a conflict of interest. One seat remains vacant, with a November 2 special election set to fill the vacancy.

The council also approved creation of an arts and culture commission during the October 12th Council meeting.

In addition, Juneteenth, a new federal holiday, will now be officially observed in La Mesa, commemorating the emancipation of African Americans from slavery. The order reached Galveston, Texas, on June 19, 1865.


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ECM TO HOST LA MESA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES FORUM THURSDAY, OCT. 14

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Participating candidates, left to right: Mejgan Afshan, Kathleen Brand, Patricia Dillard, and Laura Lothian

October 13, 2021 (La Mesa) – East County Magazine will host a virtual forum for La Mesa City Council candidates running to fill the vacancy left by Dr. Akilah Weber’s election to the state Assembly. The candidates will be Thursday, October 14 at 7 p.m.  It will be recorded via Zoom and livestreamed on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/EastCountyMagazine. A podcast will also be posted at www.EastCountyMagazine.org after the forum.

Six candidates are running and four have agreed to participate: Mejgan Afshan, Kathleen Brand, Patricia Dillard, and Laura Lothian. A fifth, Jim Stieringer, provided detailed information on his experience and goals if elected.

Find information on  these five candidates below.


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"HOW DUMB CAN A NATION GET AND STILL SURVIVE?"

 

Peril by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa (Simon & Schuster, New York, 2021, 482 pages)

Book Review by Dennis Moore

          “We have much to do in this winter of peril.” -- President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in his inaugural address, January 20, 2021, at the United States Capitol

October 12, 2021 (San Diego) -- Peril, by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa is the scariest book that I have read among my more than 400 book reviews, for it portends the destruction of our democracy as we once knew it. The publishers of this well written book, Simon & Schuster, states: “The transition from President Donald J. Trump to President Joseph R. Biden Jr. stands as one of the most dangerous periods in American history.”

This book is scary for all the revelations made in it about the former president, which is ongoing in the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 attempt at a coup at the Capital Building in Washington, DC, and the ties between former President Trump and his supporters. The co-author of this book, Robert Costa, gives a riveting audio presentation to NPR, which readers can listen to by clicking here.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL TO WEIGH FUTURE OF FORMER POLICE STATION SITE, CREATION OF ARTS AND CULTURAL COMMISSION AND MORE ON OCT. 12

By Miriam Raftery

October 10, 2021 (La Mesa) – On Tuesday, October 12 at 6 p.m., the La Mesa City Council will consider several key matters including:

  • A hearing on the proposed leasing and development of the former police station site at 8181 Allison Avenue for a mixed use development including apartments ITEM 10.pdf
  • Second reading of a proposal to establish an Arts and Culture Commission ITEM 8.pdf
  • Rezoning 9000 Wakarusa Street from residential to commercial, at the request of Sharp Grossmont Hospital ITEM 9.pdf


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EL CAJON MAY OPPOSE COUNTY’S PROPOSED MICROENTERPRISE HOME KITCHEN OPERATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

October 10, 2021 (El Cajon) – On Tuesday, October 12, the El Cajon City Council will consider a city staff proposal to ask County Supervisors to opt out of the state’s Microenterprise Home Kitchen Operations (MEHKO) program. The proposal before the City Council, item 12 on the agenda, comes after Supervisors Joel Anderson and Nora Vargas introduced a MEHKO measure in September that was approved in concept by Supervisors, as ECM reported

The county measure asked staff to draft an ordinance by January 12 to legalize home kitchen operations to prepare, sell and serve up to 30 meals per day, or 60 meals per week and earn a maximum annual revenue of $50,000. Meals would be limited to foods that are consumed the same day that they are prepared.


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SUPERVISORS ADOPT PLANS TO HELP AFGHAN REFUGEES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of the Pentagon: U.S. troops help evacuate Afghan refugees

October 8, 2021 (San Diego) – San Diego Supervisors voted unanimously this week to adopt a proposal by East County Supervisor Joel Anderson to have the County Office of immigrant and Refugee Affairs work with refugee resettlement agencies to assist with a wave of Afghan refugees arriving in our region. The board also approved Anderson’s plan to ask the federal government to spend part of $9.5 billion in frozen Taliban assets to pay for refugee resettlements.

In addition, Supervisors approved a proposal by Supervisor Terra Lawson-Remer to create an Afghan Resettlement Task Force.

With the Taliban takeover of the country, those who helped American troops as translators or in other capacities faced risk of death if they remained, as did women’s rights and human rights advocates. Many fled Afghanistan with few personal possessions.

Anderson stated, “I am thankful that my colleagues recognize the importance of this measure that will ensure San Diego County is ready to welcome these refugees into our communities.” He added that his East County district has a large population of Afghans and others with Middle Eastern heritage.”


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JUDGE BLOCKS OTAY RANCH DEVELOPMENT, ORDERS COUNTY TO REVERSE APPROVAL DUE TO WILDFIRE DANGERS

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

October 7, 2021 (Proctor Valley) – A San Diego Superior Court judge today ordered the County of San Diego to vacate its 2019 approval of portions of the Otay Ranch Village 14 and Planning Areas 16/19 in Proctor Valley south of Jamul near Chula Vista, due to the danger of wildfires in an area that has already had many severe fires.

Judge Richard S. Whitney found that the County’s environmental impact report failed to assess the increase wildfire risk, nor offer any mitigation to reduce those increased risks if the controversial master-planned community were built. 

California Attorney General Rob Bonta intervened on behalf of the people of California to support a lawsuit filed by environmental groups challenging the project.  Bonta praised the decision, stating, “Today’s ruling by the Superior Court affirms a critical fact: Local governments have a responsibility to address wildfire risks associated with development projects at the front end. Doing so will save dollars—and lives—down the line.”


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TWENTY ATTORNEYS GENERAL FILE COMPLAINT WITH POSTAL COMMISSION TO BLOCK DEGRADING OF POSTAL SERVICE DELIVERY STANDARDS

East County News Service 

Photo: Creative Commons by ND via Bing

October 7, 2021 (Oakland) -- California Attorney General Rob Bonta today joined a coalition of 20 attorneys general in an administrative complaint to ensure proper agency consideration of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy’s full 10-year strategic plan, which attempts to permanently slow U.S. Postal Service (USPS) delivery standards for first-class mail nationwide. 


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COUNTY'S ANNUAL REPORT: NEW CHALLENGES, ESSENTIAL SERVICES

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

October 6, 2021 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego’s newly released 2020-21 Annual Report shows the County responding to new challenges while continuing to deliver its essential services.


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THOUSANDS MARCH IN SAN DIEGO TO SUPPORT AND PROTECT REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS FOR WOMEN

By Henri Migala, Miriam Raftery (photographs and video by Henri Migala) 

 

October 4, 2021 (San Diego) – An estimated 10,000 people participated in the Women’s March in San Diego on Saturday, October 3, joining similar events in nearly 500 cities across the nation.  This year, organizers titled the event “March for Reproductive Rights” including protecting access to safe and legal abortions. Many voiced concerns over the erosion of those rights in recent years and fears that conservatives on the Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade. 


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STATE SENATOR BRIAN JONES DISCUSSES HIS LEGISLATION SENT TO GOVERNOR, WILDFIRE SAFETY AND OTHER TOPICS

By Miriam Raftery

View full video of Zoom interview 

Hear audio from our radio show on KNSJ (updated with status on bills signed into law)

Updated October 7, 2021 with status of bills signed or vetoed

October 3, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Last week, East County Magazine editor Miriam Raftery

Interviews State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) via Zoom.  The Senator discussed his legislative accomplishments in getting several bills passed by the Legislature and onto the Governor’s desk.

 Several have been signed into law, including a measure to help homeless students get resources, a bill to protect foster children from human trafficking, and another to require that conservancy hearings remain private unless a judge finds a compelling reason to make them public.

Others remain pending, including a bill require personal protective gear for social workers during a pandemic, and more.

The Senator also spoke out on concerns over what he views as not enough clearing of forest lands to prevent devastating wildfires, even though funds for the clearing have long been allocated. In addition, he raised criticisms over the state’s homelessness policies and concerns about crime.

Audio: 


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WHAT DO CALIFORNIA’S NEW HOUSING LAWS MEAN FOR EAST COUNTY?

Rural areas and historic districts are exempt from landmark laws that change single-family zoning to allow more housing in some communities
 
By Brian Schrader
 
October 2, 2021 (San Diego) — In September, Governor Gavin Newsom signed two new housing bills into law. The main bill, titled SB-9, and its companion bill SB-10 are the work of California Senator and San Diego native Toni Atkins.  Together, they represent the most sizable shift in California land use policy in recent decades. 

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BIDEN TAKES STEPS TO PROTECT DREAMERS, AIMS TO REOPEN DACA APPLICATIONS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via San Diego Immigrants Rights Consortium

October 1, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – A federal district court judge in July declared the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program illegal in part because the Obama administration did not allow public comments by publishing the rule in the Federal Register. Judge Andre Hanen let stand the program for those already enrolled, but blocked new applications.

So now the Biden administration’s Department of Homeland Security has published the regulation, which is open for public comments until November 29.  The department has also appealed the court decision.


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SUPERVISORS CONSIDER CHANGE TO WITHDRAW PERMITS AFTER TWO YEARS OF INACTIVITY

Source: County of San Diego

September 30, 2021 (San Diego) - The County of San Diego has provided notice of intent to amend the County Zoning Ordinance and County Subdivision Ordinance to automatically withdraw inactive permits after two consecutive years of inactivity. The proposed ordinance amendments can be reviewed at https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/sdc/pds/Public_Review_Non-CEQA.html


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES PARTICIPATE IN VIRTUAL FORUM

East County News Service

September 30, 2021 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa First United Methodist Church hosted a candidate forum for those running to fill a vacancy left on the La Mesa City Council when Dr. Akilah Weber won election to the state Assembly.  The election is November 2, with ballot drop-off locations available starting Oct. 25. View the forum at https://www.facebook.com/groups/2852523438206427/permalink/4288325947959495/.

Four of the six candidates participated in the forum; Michelle Louden and Jim Stieringer did not participate.

The candidates running are:


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NEWSOM SIGNS ELECTION REFORMS, INCLUDING TO MAKE MAILING BALLOTS TO ALL REGISTERED VOTERS PERMANENT

East County News Service

September 28, 2021 (Sacrament) -- Governor Gavin Newsom signed a package of legislation yesterday to increase voter access and strengthen integrity in elections, including a bill to send all registered voters a vote-by-mail ballot.  Voters will have options to mail-in ballots, drop off ballots at designated locations, or still vote at polling places if they prefer.


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NEWSOM'S CALL NOW: CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE PASSES TOP 21 BILLS OF '21

By CalMatters staff, CalMatters

Photo:  Andre m., CC SA 3.0

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

September 24, 2021 (Sacramento) - The second year of the coronavirus pandemic in California was shaped by two political undercurrents at the state Capitol: a budget awash with cash, thanks to a booming stock market and federal aid, and a looming recall election asking voters to throw Gov. Gavin Newsom out of office.  


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REP. JACOBS CASTS LOCAL DELEGATION'S ONLY 'NO' VOTE ON DEFENSE BILL, CITING END OF AFGHAN WAR

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Rep. Sara Jacobs speaks on the House floor this week. Screenshot from video

September 24, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - Rep. Sara Jacobs was the only member of the San Diego congressional delegation to cast a vote against the 2022 defense funding bill on Thursday, citing the end of the war in Afghanistan.


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SUPERVISORS COOK UP RECIPE FOR SMALL HOME KITCHEN BUSINESSES

East County News Service

Image Credit: Shutterstock 

 

September 15, 2021 (San Diego) -- The County Board of Supervisors voted today to move forward with plans to legalize microenterprise home kitchen operations, or MEHKOs. MEHKOs are defined by California law as a small retail food facility, operated from a private home.


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NEWSOM WINS BIG: RECALL FAILING BY 2 TO 1 MARGIN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Gavin Newsom earlier today, via his Twitter feed

September 14, 2021 (San Diego) – Major networks including CNN, CBS and NBC have called California’s gubernatorial recall election, with voters statewide resoundingly rejecting efforts to recall Governor Gavin Newsom. As of 8:30 p.m., the recall is failing by a 67.8% “no” to 32.1% “yes” margin with more than half of all votes tallied.

The recall is losing by wide margins even in conservative counties such as Orange, Riverside, and San Bernadino. In San Diego County, early results show 60.63% voted against recalling Newsom, with 39.37% in favor of the ouster effort.


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TUESDAY IS THE LAST DAY TO VOTE

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

September 14, 2021 (San Diego) - Tuesday, Sept. 14 is the deadline to cast your ballot in the California Gubernatorial Recall Election. You can do so now at one of 221 voting locations around the county or the Registrar’s office until 8 p.m.


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DECISION TIME: THREE WAYS THE CALIFORNIA RECALL ELECTION COULD GO

By Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters

Photo:  Gov. Gavin Newsom supporters hold up signs urging voters to vote “no” on the recall during a campaign event at the IBEW-NECA training center in San Leandro on Sept. 8, 2021. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

September 14, 2021 (Sacramento) - For nearly 25 years, Gov. Gavin Newsom rose the ranks of California politics without ever losing an election, buoyed by connections to powerful San Francisco Democrats and a willingness to take risks — like sanctinoing same-sex marriage — that put him at the vanguard of his party.


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