WILDFIRE INSURANCE CRISIS LEADS COMMISSIONER TO CALL FOR FIRST-EVER STATEWIDE NON-RENEWAL MORATORIUM

HUNTER TO RESIGN AFTER HOLIDAYS: MAY FORFEIT CONGRESSIONAL PENSION

POWAY BOIL-WATER ORDER LIFTED: PUBLIC URGED TO DINE AT POWAY RESTAURANTS TO HELP WORKERS HURT BY SHUTDOWN

MERCY AMBULANCE SKIDS OFF ROAD, LEAVING JULIAN WITHOUT MEDICAL RESPONSE FOR HOURS AS TOURISTS AND RESIDENTS EXPERIENCE “SNOWMAGEDDON”

YOU'RE INVITED TO OUR FEASTING & MERRYMAKING HOLIDAY PARTY DEC. 15!

SEN. ATKINS SAYS NEW TRUMP RULE COULD CUT FOOD STAMPS FOR 700,000 CALIFORNIANS

HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE STRIPS HUNTER OF VOTING IN BIPARTISAN ACTION AFTER GUILTY PLEA

PRESCRIBED FIRE BURNS PLANNED AT CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

MASKED SUSPECTS WANTED AFTER ATTACKING RESIDENT DURING HOT PROWL BURGLARY IN UNINCORPORATED EL CAJON

RAMONA HOLIDAY WINE TRAIL EACH WEEKEND BEFORE CHRISTMAS INCLUDES HOLIDAY SHOPPING, MUSIC, AND WINE TASTING

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

KAISER HEALTHCARE STRIKE TO START DEC. 16

News

GOVERNOR PROPOSES BOND TO FUND BACKUP GENERATORS AND SOLAR PANELS TO KEEP SCHOOLS OPEN DURING POWER OUTAGE

East County News Service

November 21, 2019 (Sacramento) – Schools have been hard hit statewide by utility companies’ repeated power outages intended to prevent lines from sparking wildfires—including rural and mountain school districts in San Diego’s East County. Today, Governor Gavin Newsom proposed steps to remedy the problems, including calling for a $15 billion bond to fund back-up generators and solar panels to keep schools open during unforeseen power outages, as well as other steps.

 

Future proposals may include rethinking the traditional school calendar and building in makeup days to deal with not only natural disasters but unplanned power outages, according to a press release issued today by the Calif. Dept. of Education.

JIMMIE JOHNSON RACES INTO HISTORY, ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Mayor Wells with Johnson at a Jimmie Johnson Day in El Cajon in 2014; photo courtesy city of El Cajon

November 20, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Jimmie Johnson, who made history after winning a seven NASCAR Sprint championships, has announced he is on track to retire next year.  A native of East County honored as a hometown hero locally, Johnson posted a video titled “#Chasing 8  one final time” on his Twitter feed to announce his final season.

In the video, he states, “I’m so thankful for 18 incredible years of racing in NASCAR. The sport has been good to me. It has allowed me to do something I truly love. I showed up chasing a dream and achieved more than I ever thought possible. I’m looking forward to next season and celebrating what will be my last year as a full-time NASCAR Cup driver. I know what this team is capable of, and I hope 2020 is one of the best yet.”  View video:  https://www.facebook.com/JimmieJohnson/videos/562999694531303/

HELIX WATER CONTINUES TO EVALUATE LOCAL DRINKING WATER PROJECT

Source: Helix Water 

 

Image: rendering of East County Advanced Water Purification Project. Source: Padre Dam Municipal Water District’s ECAWP website.

 

November 20, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- On November 5, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, city of El Cajon and County of San Diego formed a Joint Powers Authority to serve as the governing body for the East County Advanced Water Purification project.  A Helix Water District representative will serve as an ex officio, non-voting member of the JPA board. 

STORM DOUSES COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2019 (San Diego) – The first winter storm of the season has dumped snow on Mt. Laguna and Palomar Mountain, also bringing lightning strikes, heavy rainfall and flooding to some parts of San Diego County.

Sheriff Bill Gore tweeted a photo (left) with this message:  “Yes there is a bit of snow on Laguna but it is melting fast and the roads are dangerous. This is not the time for your winter outing.”

THE RAINS ARE COMING; GET YOUR FREE SANDBAGS AT COUNTY, CAL FIRE STATIONS

By Gig Conaughton, County of San Diego Communications Office

November 19, 2019 (San Diego) - The first rains in months are bearing down on San Diego County, meaning this could be a good time to stock up on free sandbags.

The County of San Diego and CAL FIRE are providing free sand and bags to residents in unincorporated areas at numerous fire stations around the county.

WOMAN HOSPITALIZED AFTER BIZARRE OUTBURST IN LEMON GROVE

East County News Service

November 19, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – A woman has been hospitalized after a disturbing outburst in Lemon Grove Sunday shortly before 11 a.m.  Several residents called to report the woman was yelling that she had a gun and that someone had stolen her children. She reportedly banged on the door of a stranger’s home in the 2600 block of Mercury Drive.

According to the Sheriff’s media relations department, “When deputies arrived, a 24-year-old transient matching the description of these calls became assaultive towards them.  Deputies were forced to use a less lethal bean bag round on the woman to take her into custody.  The woman was taken to a local hospital for treatment.”

WINTER STORM TO BRING SHOWERS AND SNOW

By Miriam Raftery

November 18, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- The first winter storm will impact southern California Tuesday through Thursday, says Alex Tardy with the National Weather Service.

A cold upper level storm will interact with tropical moisture on Tuesday bringing precipitation. The cold air from this northern stream storm will arrive early Wednesday and allow snow to develop in the mountains.

STEELE CANYON CHARTER RENEWAL REJECTED BY GUHSD; PRINCIPAL GRILLED BY BOARD

 

By Ana Nita

View video including interview with Mark Robak and GUHSD board hearing on the Steele Canyon charter issues: click image at left or visit  https://youtu.be/9cZj0ZmsKzY

November 18, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Steele Canyon High School encountered a set back last week, when the Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD) board decided not to accept the charter’s application for reauthorization, following allegations that school’s governing board and charter committee violated the law and acted undemocratically. 

The charter school in Spring Valley landed in hot water with the district and the parents after a newly elected board member discovered significant discrepancies between the old and the new bylaws up for vote two weeks ago in the governing board. Mark Robak, a local businessman, joined the board on October 9 and by the end of the month, he was sending petitions to the school principal and the district objecting to irregularities with the authorization process and the bylaws.

RED FLAG WARNING SUNDAY, BUT RAIN IS ON THE WAY

East County News Service

November 16, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- The San Diego National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for Sunday, Nov. 17 from 1 a.m. to 6 p.m.  for inland valleys and foothills.  Winds of 20-30 mph are forecast, with gusts up to 50 mph and humidity around 10%. 

Rain is possibly by Tuesday, however, with an increasing likelihood of rain Wednesday through Friday.

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

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

By Miriam Raftery

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

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

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

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

IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: WEEK 1 WRAP-UP

By Miriam Raftery

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

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

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

 

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

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Roger Stone, CC by NA

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

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

TB CASES REPORTED IN LOCAL JAILS AND A BRIDGE SHELTER FOR HOMELESS

 

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

Image Credit: CDC.gov

November 15, 2019 (San Diego) - Three unrelated cases of tuberculosis have been reported in the region, the County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) announced today.

Two cases were reported at San Diego County Sheriff’s detention facilities and the third was a person who arrived from out of town after being diagnosed and spent time at the City of San Diego bridge shelter, which serves single adults who are homeless.

CA PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION OPENS INVESTIGATION INTO POWER OUTAGES

By Miriam Raftery
 
November 14, 2019 (San Francisco) --  The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Wednesday opened an investigation to examine recent Public Safety Power Shut-off (PSPS) events and ensure utilities are held accountable for their actions.  
 
The electric utilities under investigation are Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), Southern California Edison (SCE), San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), Liberty Utilities/CalPeco Electric, Bear Valley Electric Service, and Pacific Power, a division of PacifiCorp. In September and October 2019, the state’s investor-owned electric utilities, notably PG&E, SCE, and SDG&E, proactively de-energized power lines during high wildfire danger weather conditions to reduce the risk of utility infrastructure starting wildfires. 

PROPOSED COTTONWOOD SAND MINE PROJECT DRAWS UNIFIED OPPOSITION FROM RANCHO SAN DIEGO RESIDENTS AT SCOPING MEETING

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Meeting audio: tinyurl.com/RSDCottonwoodMine11042019

Photo: Elizabeth Urquhart, Stop Cottonwood Sand Mine, speaks to a full house during scoping meeting.

November 14, 2019 (Rancho San Diego) -- If the proposal to replace Cottonwood Golf Course with a sand mine were to be decided by local Rancho San Diego residents, Beverly Hills investor and developer Michael Schlesinger and applicant Greg Brown would be hearing a loud chorus of “nay” votes.

Some 300 local residents crowded into the multi-purpose room at Hillsdale Middle School on Monday night, November 4th to vent their strong opposition to the project in a public scoping meeting called by the County of San Diego Planning and Development Services Department. View county handout and fact sheet. The scoping meeting is required to get public input on what should be included in an upcoming Environmental Impact report.

ROSIAK CLAIMS LEMON GROVE COMPLAINT IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

By Miriam Raftery

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

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

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

SUPERVISOR JACOB SOUNDS ALARM OVER STATE’S PLAN TO RELEASE ANOTHER SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS, NEAR BOULEVARD

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo:  Thomas Cornwell, 41, convicted of lewd acts on children under age 14, has been diagnosed with pedophilic disorder
 
November 14, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Supervisor Dianne Jacob, in a letter to Calif. Attorney General Xavier Becerra, cites disturbing statistics regarding sexually violent predators released in East County.  Of 12 released countywide in the past 15 years, nine were sent to East County. Five of the 12 violated conditions of their release and four were sent back to state mental hospitals, according to Jacob. Yet the state is proposing to release two more sexually violent predators into our region.

POLICE SEEK VEHICLE THAT KILLED PEDESTRIAN, THEN FLED SCENE IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Surveillance video of suspect vehicle

November 6, 2019 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Police Department is seeking a small silver four-door sedan that may have damage to the bumper, hood and windshield. The vehicle struck a man at the intersection of East Chase and Lincoln Avenue on November 6 around 6:24 p.m.

A passerby started CPR on the victim, who was unresponsive. Medics transported him to Sharp Memorial Hospital via ambulance, where he was pronounced dead.

EL CAJON POLICE ASKS PUBLIC’S HELP TO SOLVE ARMED CARJACKINGS AND ROBBERIES; TWO VICTIMS INJURED

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2019 (El Cajon) –A band of four or five young men in their teens or 20s, wearing masks and armed with handguns and long guns, carjacked multiple passenger vehicles this morning. They also robbing a bystander on a sidewalk of his backpack.

 In one incident, a couple confronted a suspect in their parked car and a struggle ensued. The man was struck with a gun and the woman, who clung to her vehicle, was dragged a short distance when the suspect drove off and fled the scene. Both suffered minor injuries and the woman was taken to a hospital, says Lieutenant Randy Soulard.

All of the crimes occurred between 5 a.m. and 6 a.m. this morning.

STEELE CANYON HIGH SCHOOL COMPARED TO VENEZUELA AMID ALLEGED UNDEMOCRATIC CHARTER RENEWAL AND BYLAWS UPDATES

GUHSD to hold hearing tonight at 6 p.m. on Steele Canyon's charter renewal

By Ana Nita

View video of Nov. 6 Steele Canyon governing board meeting:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ByIxjGKYLUI 

November 13, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- Steele Canyon High School is yet another charter that landed in hot water recently, following allegations of violating the law and acting undemocratically to undermine parents’ rights. The accusations are signed by two of its governing board members – Vice-Chair Timothy Abbott and newly installed board member Mark Robak. Both are both accusing the charter committee of excluding parents from decisional power during the process of renewing the charter’s authorization with Grossmont Union School District, the school’s sponsor. 

Abbott and Robak are also battling with the school’s governing board about new changes in the bylaws that were allegedly included without proper notification and which are  “undemocratic,” according to Robak. “Similar examples may be found in Venezuela and Cuba,” wrote Robak in a letter of protest sent on October 30 to Scott Parr, CEO of the governing board and Principal at Steele Canyon High School (SCHS).

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

By Miriam Raftery

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

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

IMMIGRANTS’ ADVOCATES CALM FEARS AFTER PUBLIC CHARGE RULES PUT ON HOLD

Suzanne Potter, California News Service
 
Photo: Immigrant children, creative commons image via S.A.
 
November 8, 2019 (Sacramento) - Immigrants' rights groups are working to calm fears in the migrant community - after a judge blocked President Donald Trump's changes to the public charge rules last month. 

LEMON GROVE SALES TAX MEASURE QUALIFIES FOR BALLOT

By Miriam Raftery

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

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

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

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

The stakes are high for Lemon Grove residents and businesses.

COURT ORDERS MATT MENDOZA DEPOSITION IN LAWSUIT AGAINST LEMON GROVE

By Miriam Raftery

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

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

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

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

By Miriam Raftery

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

FROZEN RASPBERRIES RECALLED FOR POSSIBLE HEPATITIS A CONTAMINATION

By Tom Christensen, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
Photo: Packages of berries that were sold at several local Aldi stores that have been recalled for possible hepatitis A contamination (CDC.gov)
 
November 7, 2019 (San Diego) - Frozen raspberry products recalled for possible hepatitis A contamination were sold in eight Aldi supermarkets in San Diego County and contained in yogurt parfaits served at cafeterias in the Escondido Union School District, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced Friday. There have been no illnesses reported due to exposure to these products.

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

By Miriam Raftery

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

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

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

SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB LISTENS TO COMMUNITY CONCERNS IN JULIAN

Emergency fire and medical protection, SDG&E planned outages top list of concerns

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, contributed to this report

View video of townhall: https://tinyurl.com/JacobsJulianTownHall

Photo, left, by Paul Kruze:  Supervisor Dianne Jacob and SDG&E Vice President Eugene "Mitch" Mitchell fielded audience questions.

November 7, 2019 (Julian) -- Supervisor Dianne Jacob ventured into a potential firestorm when she held a scheduled town hall forum at the Julian Town Hall on October 25th in downtown Julian. Jacob’s town hall coincided with the anniversary week for the infamous 2003 Cedar Fire and 2007 Witch Creek firestorms which devastated the eastern San Diego backcountry. Up to then, both were the two worst wildfires in California history.

But the irony didn’t stop there. Moments before the town hall was set to begin, word reached the venue that a brush fire erupted near Witch Creek between Ramona and Julian. This prompted County Fire Authority/Cal Fire Chief Tony Mecham to bolt out of the town hall where he was slated to speak in order to respond to the fast-moving fire.

“We are all on edge,” acknowledged Jacob, who chairs the county’s Unified Fire Council and outlined major investments made by the county to improve fire safety. “But we are better prepared than ever before.”

That contention, however, was disputed by the president of the former Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District (JCFD)'s  board of directors, as multiple fire engines and an ambulance roared past the town hall en route to the Sawday Fire in Ramona.

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