Politics

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION WORKS TO GUT PAYDAY-LENDING SAFEGUARD

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

July 24, 2020 (Washington D.C.) --  The Trump administration released a proposal this week that would make it easier for banks and payday lenders to charge sky high interest rates - despite California laws against predatory lending.

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency wants to overturn the "true lender" doctrine and allow payday lenders to evade state interest-rate caps by listing a bank as the lender.

Lauren Saunders, associate director of the National Consumer Law Center, says this will bring back rent-a-bank schemes and allow companies such as OppLoans and Loan Mart to charge 100% or even 200% in interest.

"It's outrageous at this time of economic crisis that the Trump administration, in action after action, is siding with predatory lenders charging outrageous interest rates that just push people into debt and make it harder and harder for them to feed their family," says Saunders.


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LA MESA MAY SEEK BOND TO FUND PARK UPGRADES, CONSIDERS TOWN HALL ON RIOT RESPONSE AND POLICING ISSUES

By Briana Gomez

July 18, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa City Council Meeting on July 14 reflected an air of unresolved tensions, six weeks after rioting, looting and fires ravaged the community. The Council approved a grant application to help the homeless and addressed other issues, but concerns over police controversies and the riot response remained hot button issues with residents. 


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CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS, ICON OF THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, DIES OF CANCER

“We’ve got to move all Americans towards that place where we can lay down the burden of race and create one America, one multiracial democratic society.”

–Congressman John Lewis, 2013 interview with East County Magazine in San Diego. Hear the full interview.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  President Barack Obama presented Medal of Freedom to John Lewis in 2011.

July 18, 2020 (San Diego) – Congressman John Lewis, famed civil rights leader, has died of pancreatic cancer at age 80. The son of sharecroppers, Lewis drew inspiration from Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks to become a courageous champion in the civil rights movement for more than 60 years.

Calling him the “conscience of the Congress” where he served as a representative from Georgia for over 40 years,  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced his death yesterday and ordered the flag over our nation’s capitol flown at half-mast.

Lewis denounced violence and was arrested more than 40 times for peaceful protests against injustice. In 1965, TV coverage of  a trooper fracturing his skull with a bully club in what became known as Bloody Sunday on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama outraged the nation, leading to swift passage of the Voting Rights Act signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson.

Audio: 


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CAMPA-NAJJAR REPORTS RECORD FUNDRAISING, $1 MILLION FOR BATTLE AGAINST ISSA

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

Photo:  Ammar Campa-Najjar speaks at a debate in February before the primary election. Photo by Chris Stone

July 17, 2020 (San Diego) - Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar reported his best fundraising quarter to date, adding $703,000 to build a $1 million war chest for his battle with former Rep. Darrell Issa in November.


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EMERGENCY SLEEPING CABINS ON AGENDA FOR EL CAJON PLANNING COMMISSION JULY 21

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Screenshots, NBC7: an emergency sleeping cabin in City Heights built by Amikas

July 15, 2020 (El Cajon) – Last year, the nonprofit Amikas built an emergency sleeping cabin as a demonstration project at a church in El Cajon. The group hopes to win city approval to allow similar units to be used to temporarily house homeless people, particularly women, including women veterans, amid the COVID-19 pandemic when local shelter space in East County is insufficient.


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WHAT DID THE WHITE HOUSE KNOW ABOUT RABBI GOLDSTEIN'S CRIMINALITY?

By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

July 16, 2020 (San Diego) - I have more than a few questions about the conduct of the tax fraud case in which Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein is being recommended for probation, rather than a prison sentence, notwithstanding the fact that his pattern of illegal conduct reaches back several decades.


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GREG PALAST, INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST, HOLDS VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR FRIDAY, JULY 17 ON “HOW TRUMP STOLE 2020” WITH SAN DIEGO’S KNSJ RADIO

Source: KNSJ

July 16, 2020 (San Diego) -- Greg Palast, internationally-known investigative journalist, will be making a virtual appearance in San Diego for KNSJ 89.1 FM community radio on Friday, July 17 at 7 p.m.  According to KNSJ general manager Martin Eder, “This is an exclusive interview in San Diego and a fund raiser for KNSJ.  Greg Palast is on tour with his latest book, ‘How Trump Stole 2020. Greg is a no-holds-barred journalist.  He is exactly the kind of watchdog our democracy has to have to survive.  Friday Greg will tell us in detail what his investigations have found.” 

Tickets for this exclusive virtual event can be reserved on KNSJ’s Facebook page.  Tickets are by donation.  No one will be turned away for lack of funds.  Larger donors will be mailed a copy of Palast's book and other premiums to support local community radio KNSJ.


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POWAY MAYOR VAUS PROPOSES PLAN TO LET FITNESS ACTIVITIES AND WORSHIP SERVICES USE PARKS DURING COVID-SHUTDOWN

 

Update July 15, 2020: The Poway City Council today unanimously approved this plan.

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2020 (Poway) –  Poway Mayor Steve Vaus has proposed a “Sharing Outdoor Spaces” plan to “allow local fitness biz & houses of worship to use areas in our parks until indoor restrictions lifted.” Vaus announced the plan on Twitter, which the Poway City Council will vote on tomorrow during an 11:15 a.m. meeting. View agenda.

The action comes after the state on Monday issued a order required all houses of worship, gyms, yoga, dance and other fitness organizations to cease all indoor activities until further notice in order to mitigate the further spread of COVID-19.

“Similar to how we recently assisted Poway restaurants by providing picnic tables, I propose we help houses of worship and fitness-oriented businesses (yoga, Pilates, dance class, gyms, etc.) by providing space for their activities in our parks,” the Mayor’s proposal states, noting that the state has not banned such activities from taking place outdoors. Outdoor activities are considered less risky by health officials since the virus dissipates more quickly in sunshine and since people are not breathing recirculated air.


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EL CAJON STARTS SMALL BUSINESS GRANT PROGRAM, ALLOWS BUSINESSES SUCH AS BARBERS, SALONS AND RETAILERS TO MOVE OUTDOORS

City also weighs possibility of allowing city parks, such as Prescott Promenade (photo) downtown, to be used for outdoor faith services and business operations

By Kendra Sitton

July 14, 2020 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Council today unanimously approved a plan to allocate almost $2.5 million for a Business Grant Program benefitting primarily nonessential businesses forced to close during the pandemic.

The city also took action to help many businesses and activities move outdoors, after the state shut down many indoor operations due to a spike in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.


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LEMON AID: LEMON GROVE APPROVES CARES ACT FUNDING TO HELP SMALL BUSINESSES AND RECOUP COVID-19 COSTS TO CITY

Council also votes to place cannabis tax on ballot

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

July 14, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – By a unanimous vote, Lemon Grove’s City Council on July 7 approved a staff proposal for allocation of federal CARES Act funding. The city will receive $480,774 through the county and another $334,243 through the state. The lion’s share will be spent to help small businesses. A substantial portion will also offset city costs related to COVID-19, while a small sliver of the funds will be spent on homeless services.

 


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HELIX WATER TO VOTE WED. ON RAISE FOR GENERAL MANAGER

By Miriam Raftery

 

Photo: Creative Commons via Bing

 

July 14, 2020 (La Mesa) – Helix Water District’s board of directors will vote this Wed., July 15 at 5 p.m. on a proposal to give a 5 percent annual raise for General Manager Carlos Lugo. The raise would be effective Feb. 1, 2021 for each year though 2023.


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LA MESA AUTHORIZES RESTAURANTS TO SET UP OUTDOOR DINING AREAS

By Miriam Raftery

File photo, taken prior to the pandemic: Curbside, one of La Mesa's newest eateries, was designed for only limited outside seating. The new executive order could enable restaurants such as Curbside to expand onto sidewalks or streets, with permission of the City Manager and adherance to other laws.

July 9, 2020 (La Mesa)  -- The La Mesa City Manager today issued an executive order under emergency powers granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The order temporarily allows use of public and private outdoor areas by eating establishments for dining, after county health officials banned indoor dining for three weeks starting July 6 due to a growing number of coronavirus cases including some tied to restaurants and bars.

Restaurants must obtain written authorization from the Director of Community Development and comply with all social distancing and other COVID-19 related health orders, as well as all other laws. This includes city and county emergency orders, state laws such as Alcoholic Beverage Control rules, and federal laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Per the executive order, there is no City fee charged or permit required for businesses that receive authorization to use public and private outdoor areas for dining.  Businesses interested in obtaining written authorization for temporary use of public and private outdoor areas should contact Allyson Kinnard, Senior Planner at akinnard@cityoflamesa.us.


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EAST COUNTY CHAMBER OF COMMERCE ANNOUNCES CANDIDATE ENDORSEMENTS FOR NOVEMBER GENERAL ELECTION

East County News Service

July 8, 2020 (El Cajon) – The 600-member San Diego Regional East County Chamber of Commerce has announced its endorsement support of several East County candidates running for office in the Nov. 3 general election. The political races range from seats in the U.S. Congress to special districts, including city council and county supervisor races.


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EAST COUNTY REALTORS GROUP TO HOST SAN DIEGO MAYORAL ONLINE FORUM JULY 31

East County News Service

July 6, 2020 (San Diego) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), one of the largest real estate trade groups for San Diego area realtors with an office in El Cajon, is inviting all San Diego-area realtors to participate in an online mayoral forum from 2 to 4 p.m., Friday, July 31, over the Zoom meeting platform with Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria, two candidates for the open seat for San Diego mayor in the November general election.


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REP. DAVIS INCLUDES LANGUAGE IN NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT TO END MILITARY HUNGER

By Debbie L. Sklar, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego News Association

Photo:  Rep. Susan Davis celebrates her victory at Golden Hall on Nov. 6. Photo by Chris Stone

July 2, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The House Armed Services Committee passed new legislation by San Diego Rep. Susan Davis on Wednesday to end military hunger.


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AMID PANDEMIC, EL CAJON ENDS LEASE WITH CRISIS HOUSE, PUTTING SERVICES FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE VICTIMS AT RISK

By Miriam Raftery

“It’s very likely that we won’t be able to provide the same level of service that we do today….The County has no walk-in services for the homeless, and pretty soon that’s going to be the way it will be in El Cajon.” – Mary Case, Executive Director at Crisis House (photo, left)

June 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to approve an early lease termination agreement to oust Crisis House from city-owned property at 1034 Magnolia Ave. For the past 26 years, the city has leased the property to Crisis House for a dollar a year, recognizing the value to the community of the services provided by Crisis House, which has a mission to “break the cycle of poverty, domestic violence and homelessness and strengthen families and individuals so that they can thrive and transform their lives.”

The city wants Crisis House gone from is current location near the new Hampton Inn hotel.  So the Council-approved measure offers Crisis House $700,000 if it vacates the property by September 30th. That amount diminishes to just $350,000 by year’s end and $150,000 by March 31, or zero if Crisis house remains until the lease expires on June 30, 2021.

But Mary Case, Executive Director of Crisis House, says that’s not enough time to find an affordable space, adding that the action will almost certainly mean major cuts in services.


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PANDEMIC INFECTS SANTEE’S BUDGET, CAUSES $1 MILLION HIT TO SALES TAXES

By Mike Allen
 
June 28, 2020 (Santee) -- The city of Santee will sustain an estimated loss of $1 million in sales taxes in the coming fiscal year starting July 1, as a result of so many stores being closed or only partially open due to the global Covid-19 pandemic.

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EL CAJON VOTES TO INCREASE FUNDS FOR POLICE DEPARTMENT

By Miriam Raftery

June 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Council members received hundreds of comments sent via email on the city’s proposed budget, nearly all weighing in on police funding following a nationwide wave of protests over police violence and racial injustice issues.   

Many of the commenters argued for “defunding” or shifting some funds away from police into investments in the community or alternatives to handle mentally ill and homeless people, though many others voiced support for El Cajon Police and supported raising the department’s budget.

The Council unanimously voted for a $120,000 increase for the police.

“The motivation is to keep all the citizens safe,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told ECM.


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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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JONES' MEASURE REDUCING LICENSING BURDENS ON CALIFORNIANS PASSED BY SENATE

East County News Service

 

June 25, 2020 (Sacramento) -- A measure by State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) to reduce the licensing burden on working Californians was unanimously approved by the Senate yesterday.


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EL CAJON EASES REQUIREMENTS FOR SIDEWALK CAFES AMID COVID RESTRICTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

June 25, 2020 (El Cajon) – Owners of reopened restaurant are struggling to generate profits while complying with social distancing requirements of six feet between tables due to COVID-19. Now the El Cajon City Council has unanimously voted to make it easier for eateries to expand outdoors.

The Council approved a second reading on June 23 of an emergency ordinance passed unanimously June 9. It allows restaurants to skip cumbersome conditional-use permit requirements for sidewalk dining. The new ordinance will remain in effect through the end of this year, but an extension or option to make it permanent may be considered later on.

Previously, a conditional use permit, or CUP, required extra fees and delays due to an environmental review, followed by approval of both the Planning Commission and the City Council.


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COUNTY TO CONTINUE VIRTUAL BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETINGS

By Michelle Mowad, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo: County News Center

June 22, 2020 (San Diego) -- Due to the restrictions on gatherings in response to COVID-19, in-person participation at the County Board of Supervisors meetings on Tuesday, June 23 and Wednesday, June 24 will not be permitted. The public can watch the meetings live online or on television. They can submit eComments or request to speak via teleconference.

{Click "Read more" to see the convenient ways to tune in. Whether it's online, TV or phone, and/or more information on how to submit public comment.}


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COMPETING RALLIES IN SAN DIEGO: TRUMP BOAT PARADE AND BLACK LIVES MATTER MARCH

By Henri Migala

 

June 20, 2020 (San Diego) -- Reflecting the sentiments of the entire country, San Diego hosted competing rallies on Saturday, June 13: a pro-Trump boat parade on San Diego Bay, and a Black Lives Matter rally at the embarcadero.


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LA MESA TASK FORCE ADOPTS AGGRESSIVE SCHEDULE IN HOPES OF GETTING POLICE OVERSIGHT BOARD ON BALLOT

By Kendra Sitton

Photo: Jack Shu has proposed a ballot measure to create a police oversight commission for La Mesa.

June 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- In a meeting Wednesday, June 17, the Citizen Oversight Task Force set a plan in motion that could culminate in a November ballot initiative to bring a strong police oversight commission to La Mesa.

After missing several meetings due to the coronavirus, the group resumed meeting in the wake of mass protests and riots over the La Mesa Police Department’s mistreatment of the Black community.


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CITY OF LA MESA HIRES NEW ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER CARLO TOMAINO

East County News Service
Photo: Tomaino, Carlo - Assistant City Manager
Source: City of La Mesa, California
 
June 16, 2020 (La Mesa) -- After an extensive, national recruitment process, Carlo Tomaino has been chosen for the Assistant City Manager position for the City of La Mesa,. Mr. Tomaino comes to La Mesa after thirteen years at the City of Lake Forest, California where he was the Economic Development/Housing Manager for the past three years. Mr. Tomaino was responsible for Lake Forest’s economic development programs, including business attraction and retention strategies, marketing outreach, and communication. He coordinated the economic development function with city departments and outside agencies.

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LA MESA SETTLED SUIT WITH HELIX HIGH STUDENT IN OFFICER USE OF FORCE INCIDENT

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Student walk-out at Helix Charter High School in January 2018 

June 15, 2020 (La Mesa) – The San Diego Union-Tribune reported Friday that the City of La Mesa quietly signed an agreement back on Sept 5, 2019 to settle a lawsuit filed by a Helix Charter High School student over a use-of-force incident shown on a video that went viral.  


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COVID-19 BECOMES KEY ISSUE IN EAST COUNTY ELECTIONS

Candidates for Congress, county supervisor, cite voter concern  

By Emmet Pierce

Photos,  top left to lower right:  Darrell Issa, Ammar Campa-Najjar, Georgette Gomez, Sara Jacobs, Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus

 

June 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As East County residents struggle to recover from the health and economic impacts of COVID-19, the pandemic is becoming a key issue in the November election.

ECM spoke with candidates for our region’s top tier races, where three open seats will mean new leadership for the first time in decades in two of our region’s Congressional districts as well as East County’s county supervisorial district.


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PROTEST AFTERMATH: SANTEE COUNCIL SAYS IT HAS TO DO BETTER JOB

By Mike Allen

June 14, 2020 (Santee) -- Santee’s City Council looked at itself in the mirror after a fortnight of national protests and rioting following the death of George Floyd, and found the reflection wasn’t all that great.

Stunned by an outbreak on several nights of blatant racist taunts and violence, allegedly by outsiders, the leaders of the predominantly white city said they need to conduct some serious soul-searching about their attitudes regarding race.

“Maybe this city has buried its head in the sand for too long,” said Mayor John Minto. “If the perception that (racism) is here, then it’s here.”

Councilman Rob McNelis, who has often publicly denied allegations of racism in the city, said he took full responsibility for being among those who did indeed ‘bury his head,’ unwilling to look at how many people of color say they are treated.


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LA MESA COUNCIL VOTES FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION OF PROTEST AND RIOT RESPONSES; HEARS HEATED COMMENTS FROM PUBLIC

By Briana Gomez

Photo by Paul Kruze: Officers guarding City Hall, where the City Clerk's office was set afire during the riot  on May 30

The City of La Mesa held a heated livestream city council meeting Tuesday with council members socially distanced via zoom,  the first public meeting since the May 30 riots that followed protests for black lives.

The Council unanimously voted to have an outside investigator review police, fire department and other city agencies’ actions during the protest and rioting that ended with multiple businesses looted, vehicles burned, two banks and a historic building burned down.  

Council members reviewed their agenda before public comments, most of which criticized the La Mesa Police Department for its recent treatment of the black community, perceived mismanagement of what began as a peaceful protest, and for not preventing the city from burning down during riots that ensued.


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EXCLUSIVE: ECM INTERVIEWS LA MESA MAYOR AND POLICE CHIEF ON PROTEST PREPARATIONS AND RIOT RESPONSES

 

By Miriam Raftery

Videography by Paul Kruze

June 10, 2020 (La Mesa) – Hours after the city of La Mesa released a timeline and incident narrative on the May 30-31 protest over police violence and the riot that ensued, ECM editor Miriam Raftery and contributing editor Paul Kruze conducted exclusive interviews with Mayor Mark Arapostathis and La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez yesterday at the La Mesa community center, seeking answers to questions on protest preparations and riot responses.


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