JOIN EAST COUNTY DINING CLUB JANUARY 25 FOR A RUSSIAN-UKRANIAN FEAST AT VILLAGE HOUSE KALINA

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB IS GUEST SPEAKER AT LA MESA CHAMBER BREAKFAST FEBRUARY 21

NEW STORMS HEAD TOWARDS OUR REGION

CONTROLLED BURN NEAR PINE VALLEY STARTS TUESDAY

EL CAJON POLICE ARREST PEOPLE FOR FEEDING HOMELESS IN WELLS PARK ON MLK WEEKEND

LEADERS FROM SAN DIEGO TO UNITED NATIONS DENOUNCE TRUMP’S SLUR AGAINST IMMIGRANTS FROM NATIONS OF COLOR

RALLY CALLS ON HUNTER TO RESIGN

SANTEE BANS SMOKING ON TRAILS, TAKES FIRST STEP TO DISTRICT ELECTIONS

STORMS CAUSE DEADLY LANDSLIDES IN SANTA BARBARA, DUMP UP TO 6 INCHES OF RAIN IN SAN DIEGO’S MOUNTAINS

THE NEW TAX LAW AND YOU: REP. SUSAN DAVIS TO HOLD INFORMATION FORUM ON JAN. 13 AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE

GRAND JURY ISSUES SUBPOENA IN CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION OF CONGRESSMAN HUNTER, UNION-TRIBUNE REPORTS

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

News

IN CASE YOU MISSED THIS NEWS...

ECM has searched high and low to find the most under-reported important national and state news stories that may impact you or your family.  Here are our picks:

  • AARP order investigation concerning its marketing (of deceptive healthcare plans sold to seniors)
  • UC Could Cut Enrollment
  • UC may cut some admission requirements
  • Arraignments set for Cheney, Gonzales in Texas
  • Health insurers offer to accept all applicants—with conditions
  • New rules would discount global warming as risk factor for endangered species 

Read on for some surprising details: 

Video Documents American War Heroes Sleeping On San Diego Streets

homeless sleeping next to the U.S.S. Midway aircraft
carrier museum, Downtown San Diego

With all the vehicles on the streets of America sporting those little yellow “Support
Our Troops,” ribbons, it is truly ironic that we have more than 200,000
veterans who are homeless.  But not many Americans realize it. 

Mark Schulze and Patty Mooney, of Crystal Pyramid Productions, a San Diego
video production company, shot footage at the 20th anniversary of Stand Down
in 2007 for the Veterans Administration (VA).  Stand Down is a three-day
event that allows homeless veterans to come in off the streets for a shower,
hot meals and a change of clothing. 

SYCUAN DONATES $300,000 TO SHARP GROSSMONT HOSPITAL AT FUNDRAISING GALA

Event Raises More Than $600,000 for New Robotic Surgery Program

November 15, 2008 (SAN DIEGO)  — Grossmont Hospital Foundation
hosted its Carnevale di Venezia Annual Gala on Saturday, Nov. 1, at
the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina to help raise money for Sharp Grossmont
Hospital.  The event netted more than $600,000 dollars, which will support
the hospital’s new da Vinci® Robotic Surgery program.

The Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation formally presented the hospital with
a $300,000 contribution during the event, as the tribe’s chairman, Daniel
J. Tucker, made the announcement.

FIRE RELIEF FUNDRAISER SET FOR SAT. NOV 8

"Do you think the victims of the fires of 2003 & 2007 be allowed
to go
homeless?" asks Randy Seol of the musical group Strawberry Alarm Clock.

This Saturday, November 8 from 3 to 8 p.m., Seol is organizing a benefit
fundraiser to meet and hear musical groups slated to perform at a benefit
concert next March.(The concert was originally set for October 4th but was
postponed due to permit issues.)

Budget Crisis Hits Home

State workers in East County struggle to cope with prospect of huge pay cuts, lay-offs; Judge orders Sept. 12 hearing on Governor’s wage-slashing orders

By Miriam Raftery
Photos by Aida Canonizado

November 4, 2008 (El Cajon)--Mildred Scarber, a state employee who works at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in El Cajon, was shocked to learn that Governor Schwarzenegger has ordered all state employees’ pay rates slashed to the federal minimum wage: just $6.55 an hour.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY TURNS BLUE:  MORE REGISTERED DEMOCRATS THAN REPUBLICANS, REGISTRAR REPORTS

Democratic voter registration volunteers cheer as Party
Chair Jess Durfee announces San Diego County now has more registered Democrats
than Republicans.

NOVEMBER
2, 2008 (San Diego) —
“We have, after 24 years, returned San Diego
County to the blue column,” San Diego County Democratic Party Chairman
Jess Durfee announced at a press conference today.

DANGERS OF LIVING NEAR CELL PHONE TOWERS RAISED

La Mesa Council holds hearing Nov. 5 on proposal to erect cell phone tower in Lake Murray area

By Miriam Raftery

When Mom asked me to look into possible health hazards posed by cell phone panel antennas that a church in her neighborhood wants to put up, I expected to find reassuring facts to allay Mom’s concerns.  Instead, I found deeply disturbing data that makes me wonder why the public is not being informed about health risks—and why our government seems intent on covering up troubling truths.

EARLY VOTING LINES

Why does a County with 4,261 square miles have only 1 early voting place? Two San Diego Assemblymembers call for changes after ECM inquiry

By Miriam Raftery

Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña vowed to take action in Sacramento to require that San Diego have more early voting locations to avoid long lines in the future.

November 2, 2008 (San Diego) — San Diego County stretches 65 miles from north to south, and 86 miles from east to west, covering 4,261 square miles. We are the sixth largest County in America, with a population over 3.1 million people. So why do we only have one early voting location, at the Registrar of Voters office, which is a two-hour drive from some portions of the County? And why must people wait four or more hours to vote once they arrive?

HUNGRY IN EAST COUNTY

Story and photos by Gayle Early

November 1, 2008 (La Mesa/Spring Valley) - It’s 7:00 a.m., third Saturday of the month. The line behind Crosspointe Life Church in La Mesa snakes through the parking lot and all the way down the alley. Feeding America, a nonprofit agency formerly known as Second Harvest, has dropped off its monthly food distribution here in La Mesa, where demand from hungry people seeking food has leaped 103% this quarter. Volunteers also picked up fresh produce and staples from Albertson’s and are setting up tables. Distribution starts at 9:00 a.m. It’s chilly. Many are camped out in chairs, huddled with blankets, surrounded by retractable shopping carts, canvas and plastic bags, bins, cardboard boxes, even laundry baskets with which to carry food home. If they have a home. It’s a long wait.

FIRE OFFICIALS SAY SHOCKEY FIRE CAUSE CAN'T BE DETERMINED; PRAISE CAMPO RESIDENTS FOR SAVING HOMES

By Miriam Raftery

Cal Fire Captain Richard Stephan

October 27, 2008 (Campo) - The cause of the Shockey Fire,
which burned approximately 400 acres on October 15, will likely never be conclusively
determined, California Fire and Forestry  (Cal Fire) officials informed East County Magazine’s
editor during a recent visit at Campo’s fire station.

ETHICS, BUDGET CUTS, & CHOOSING NEW CHANCELLOR TOP ISSUES IN GROSSMONT-CUYAMACA COMMUNITY COLLEGE BOARD RACE

By Miriam Raftery

The
race: 
Four candidates are running for two seats on the Grossmont-Cuyamaca
College Board of Trustees.  Challengers Mary Kay Rosinski and Moe Bakeer
face off against incumbents Tim Caruthers and Bill Garrett, board president.  ECM
interviewed Rosinski, Caruthers and Garrett; Bakeer did not respond to interview
requests.

Remember "L" is on "La Mesa" ballots

City faces low reserves; bond rating, city jobs at stake if measure
fails to pass

By Kristin Hobbs Kjaero

The proposition

Proponents call it the “Vital City Services Measure,” and opponents
call it a “Pension Tax.” The impartial ballot analysis identifies
it as a “general tax,” which means revenue would go into La Mesa’s
general fund and “the City would not be legally bound to use this tax
revenue for any special purpose or for any specifically identified special
services, facilities or programs.”

STATE OF DISUNION:  WAR VETERANS SPEAK OUT AGAINST MILITARY ABUSE OF TROOPS IN LOCAL STOP ON NATIONAL TOUR

By Miriam Raftery

Editor's Note:  Military authorities declined to speak with East County Magazine regarding this story. We also requested permission to interview veterans at Balboa Naval Hospital to obtain a diverse range of views on conditions in mlitary service.  Our request was denied.

 

October 18, 2008 (San Diego)--Army intelligence officer Selena Coppa has risked her freedom to speak out.  “One of my soldiers died. He had PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome),” she said.  “It was ignored.”  

After she revealed the truth about the soldier’s death, Coppa told East County Magazine, her commanding officer threatened her.  “He said if he’d known what I was going to do,  he would have put me in Walter Reed in the mental ward and made sure I never got out.  Then what would happen to my little girl?”

Coppa and Hess accuse the U.S. government and military officers of neglecting soldiers with serious mental health problems and of fostering a climate of intimidation against those who speak out.

CUYAMACA COLLEGE RETRACTS ENFORCEMENT OF BAN ON POLITICAL MESSAGES IN FACULTY OFFICE WINDOWS

By Miriam Raftery

Obama Sticker in WindowOctober
14, 2008 (El Cajon) -
After English professor Timothy Pagaard posted a small
Barack Obama sticker on the outside of his office window at Cuyamaca College,
he was astounded to receive a warning from the Dean on September 27th ordering
him to remove his message in support of the presidential candidate.

7th DISTRICT FIGHT - EMERALD VS. BOLING:  YOUR RINGSIDE GUIDE

Accountant April Boling refuses to comment on allegations of “illegal and unethical bookkeeping”; opponent Marti Emerald shares vision for San Diego’s future

By Joseph Rocha

October 15, 2009 (San Diego)--Touted  as “The Troubleshooter vs. the Accountant” by local media,  San Diego’s 7th District Council race sounds more like a build-up to a Saturday night cage fight than a hotly contested political contest..  But the issues at stake will impact many residents in San Diego’s eastern region, since the district includes Allied Gardens, City Heights, Del Cerro, Grantville, Redwood Village/Oak Park, Rolando, San Carlos, the SDSU college area, and Tierrasanta.  At stake:  fire protection for our region, energy and water issues, outsourcing of public jobs, responsibility to taxpayers, integrity and openness of our City government. 

HIGHWAYS OPEN, FIRES 100% CONTAINED IN CAMPO AND RANCHO BERNARDO; FIREFIGHTERS STILL BATTLE JULIET BLAZE

October 14, 2008, 11:00 p.m. -- All major highways in San Diego County are open tonight.
The Juliet Fire, which burned 3,980 acres in the Oceanside area after spreading from Camp Pendleton, is now 60% contained and evacuation orders in Fallbrook have been lifted. The Shockey Fire in Campo is 100% contained after burning 200 acres. A small fire in Rancho Bernardo has also been extinguished. A red flag alert for high fire danger remains in effect through 10 p.m. Wednesday night.

NEW FIRES BREAK OUT IN RANCHO BERNARDO AND OCEANSIDE, I-5 CLOSED

October 14 (12:30 p.m.) - Santa Ana winds are fueling new fires in several
portions of San Diego County, forcing closure of several major highways and
evacuations in the Rancho Bernardo, Oceanside, Fallbrook and Campo areas last
night and today.

Police have ordered evacuation of homes on the west side of a fire on a hillside
at Camino del Norte and Camino San Bernardo in the 4S Ranch area near Rancho
Bernardo. Two helicopters are dropping water on the flames; fire engines and
ground crews are also dousing hot spots. Details and video: www.cbs8.com/stories/story.143243.html.

FIRE NEAR CAMPO 50% CONTAINED, HWYS 94 AND 8 CLOSED, 400 EVACUATED

October 13 (Campo) 9:30 a.m. -- Three hundred homes have been ordered to evacuate due to a 100-acre wildfire that began at Highway 94 near Shockey Truck Trail. The blaze has burned 100 areas on both sides of 94 and is 50% contained. No structures have been lost. Evacuation centers have been established at at the Potrero Library and Mountain Empire High School.

4,000 FLEE FIRES IN PENDLETON, OCEANSIDE, FALLBROOK

Fire in North County. Photo by Corina Squires

October 14 (Camp Pendleton) 12:10 p.m. - The third blaze in there weeks to
strike Camp Pendleton has charred over 1,500 acres, forcing evacution of over
4,000 people from Oceanside as well as base housing. Some schools in Oceanside
may be closed tomorrow, ECM has learned.

The Juliet fire forced evacuation of Serra Mesa Housing and San Luis Rey Housing
on the base, authorities at Camp Pendleton told ECM. As flames spread to the
northeast tonight, a second fire broke out near Fallbrook. The City of Oceanside
has announced that mandatory evacuations are now in effect for the East end
of Sleeping Indian to include Wilshire, Indian Trail, Hidden Valley and Camino
Baja Cerro.

SDG&E THREAT TO CUT POWER DURING FIRE DANGER SPARKS HEATED OUTCRY AMONG EAST COUNTY RESIDENTS

Large crowd likely at CPUC meeting Tuesday in San Diego

By Miriam Raftery

October 13, 2008 (San Diego’s East County) - Backcountry residents
are reacting with shock,  praise and outrage to a notice sent by San Diego
Gas & Electric (SDG&E) to 45,000 customers warning that power lines
may be shut off when fire danger is high.  With red flag warnings issued
by the National Weather Service through Tuesday night, thousands of East County
and North County residents may find themselves without power Monday or Tuesday.

“Many of my neighbors are up in arms. The guy next to me has about 280
acres, and he’s about ready to storm Washington,” said Bill Root,
an Alpine resident who relies on power from SDG&E to pump well water that
sustains his horses and other livestock as well as his family. 

HIGH FIRE DANGER, SANTA ANA WINDS STARTING TONIGHT

CAL Fire gears up with extra airpower, asks homeowners to take defensive
steps;
SDG&E may cut power in high-risk areas

Story and photos by
Miriam Raftery

October 12, 2008 (El Cajon) - CAL Fire has issued a warning that the
danger of wildfire is high due to forecasts of Santa Ana winds starting tonight
combined with already hot, dry conditions in San Diego’s East County.

“We
provide the offense,” CAL Fire Batallion Chief Ray Chaney said at a press
conference this morning, where reporters received a briefing on preparations
being made to battle a major conflagration.  “It’s up to homeowners
to provide the defense.”

Great Debates: Congressional Candidates Square Off

Duncan Hunter
Mike Lumpkin

52nd
Congressional district candidates face off in a series of five debates. Here's
your chance to learn first-hand where candidates stand--or even ask a question
yourself!

Former U.S. Navy Seal Commander Mike Lumpkin, a Democrat,
battles ex-USMC Captain Duncan D. Hunter, Republican, and Libertarian Mike
Benoit to replace retiring Congressman Duncan Hunter in debates Oct. 7, 8,
12, 22 and 28.

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WATER, PACE OF DEVELOPMENT TOP CONCERNS IN CAMPO/LAKE MORENA PLANNING GROUP RACE

By Miriam Raftery

Lake Morena

October
6, 2008 (Campo) -
Concerns over the impacts of new and proposed
major developments on water supplies and community character have divided community
members in this rural region.  

Tensions ran high at a forum for Campo/Lake Morena Planning Group candidates
held on September 29th,  where community members posed tough questions
for candidates on two opposing slates, plus independents with sharply different
visions for future growth.

A FIERY ARGUMENT

Fire Chief, City and County leaders debate pros and cons of fire
tax

By Miriam Raftery

2007 San Diego wildfires destroyed over 3,400 structures
and killed 15
people (photo: La Mesa Fire Dept.)

October
1, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) -
“We have to stop turning to others
to solve our problems,” said Ron Roberts, Chair of  San Diego’s
Board of Supervisors.  He urged voters to support Proposition A, the fire
parcel tax initiative on the November ballot.

 “The most recent state budget had money for 150 new fire trucks.
We expected 15.  We were told we would get five,” Roberts added,
noting that during the 2007 firestorms, only three aircraft fought fires locally
during the crucial first 24 hours: all San Diego city and county helicopters. 

BATTLE OF THE WATCHDOGS: WILL THE REAL CONSUMER CHAMPION PLEASE STAND UP?

 

By Miriam Raftery

Anderson
Lutz

October 10, 2008 (Assemblyman Joel Anderson considers himself a watchdog for taxpayers.  His opponent, Ray Lutz, founded a citizens’ watchdog group.  Both claim to represent the public interest.  The differences in their views reflect a core question being asked more and more amid today’s challenging economic times:  just what is the proper role of government?

LOCAL RESIDENTS JOIN NATIONAL PROTEST OF WALL STREET BAIL-OUT BILL

By Miriam Raftery

September
26, 2008 (El Cajon) -
East County residents angered by the Bush administration’s
proposed $700 billion bail-out bill for Wall Street financial firms took to
the streets yesterday as part of a national protest action organized by True
Majority.  Thousands protested across the nation (photo: New York protest,
taken by Jeremy Scahill.)

“Many people in the evening rush hour honked. Even more gave thumbs
up or flashed peace signs.” said Wren Osborn, who participated in a protest
at Chase and Nidrah in El Cajon.  View a video from Channel 10 news with
interviews from the El Cajon event: www.10news.com/video/17562521/index.html?taf=sand.

PENDLETON FIRE 100% CONTAINED

October 9, 2008 (Camp Pendleton) 9:30 a.m. -- A wildfire that began late yesterday afternoon at Camp Pendleton is now 100% contained, though firefighters continue to douse hotspots.

"Between 900 and 1,000 acres have burned," Major Kristen Lasica, Public affairs officer told East County Magazine last night. ECM activated our wildfire alert system last night after learning that aircraft including super scoopers were grounded for the night with the fire then 0% contained.

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HUNTER OPENS DOOR FOR SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTORS

Border Fence creates opportunities for some, but draws criticisms from others, with waivers of environmental reviews

by Gayle Early

Gayle Early.

October 1, 2008 (El Cajon) - Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office hosted an informal briefing by the Army Corps of Engineers on September 18 on the status of the border fence construction and possible subcontracting opportunities for local businesses. Mary Spencer, the Army representative in the Small Business Association, also offered pointers on how to apply for contracts.

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