ATTEMPTED KIDNAPPING OF BABY AT PARKWAY PLAZA

SANDERS WINS BIG IN NEVADA, EMERGES AS FRONTRUNNER IN DEMOCRATIC PRIMARY

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS WITH CANDIDATES FOR SUPERVISOR SPEAKING OUT ON LAND USE ISSUES, FIRE SAFETY, HOMELESSNESS AND MORE

PROTEST AT LEMON GROVE TOYOTA FEB. 29 TARGETS COMPANY’S SUPPORT OF TRUMP LAWSUIT AGAINST CA OVER EMISSION STANDARDS

COUNTY BOARD RATIFIES COVID-19 EMERGENCY DECLARATION

STATE EXTENDS DEADLINE TO MARCH 31 FOR HEALTHCARE COVERAGE BEFORE HEFTY FINES KICK IN FOR NOT HAVING INSURANCE

ENVIRONMENTALISTS SUE SANTEE OVER CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

BILL WOULD REQUIRE INSURANCE COMPANIES TO WRITE POLICIES FOR HOMES IN AREAS THAT MEET NEW FIRE-HARDENING STANDARDS

POLL SHOWS SANDERS LEADING IN CALIF., BUT BLOOMBERG GAINS—AS CONCERNS RISE OVER BILLIONNAIRE’S TREATMENT OF WOMEN, MINORITIES, AND WALL STREET TIES

COOKING CLASSES, TRUFFLES & WINE DINNER, & A TOAST TO WOMEN'S DAY: ALL AT GIARDINO IN LEMON GROVE

FESTIVALS AND EVENTS: FEB. 22-APRIL 15

50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATES DEBATE ON HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS, EQUALITY AND MORE

News

SUPERVISORS APPROVE ONE-YEAR BAN ON SALES OF VAPING PRODUCTS, ALSO TARGET SMOKELESS TOBACCO

By Miriam Raftery

January 14, 2020 (San Diego) – By a 3-2 vote, San Diego County Supervisors today tentatively approved a moratorium on sales and distribution of electronic cigarette or vaping devices, flavored and smokeless tobacco products. but exempted hookahs.  The board majority also voted to ban outdoor smoking at restaurants. 

If final approval is made on Feb. 28, the regulations will take effect July 1 and run through Feb. 28, 2021. The ban on vaping items could be lifted sooner if the U.S. Center for Disease Control changes its directives, which currently advise consumers to avoid all vaping/e-cigarette use due to sudden and severe lung illnesses.

TWO TEENS KILLED IN LAKESIDE CRASH

Update:  The deceased have been identified as Justin Kyte of El Cajon and Isaac Culkin of Lakeside.

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 15, 2020 (Lakeside) – A teen driver in a Chevrolet Silverado with three teenage passengers struck a tree in Lakeside on January 11, killing the driver and one of the passengers.

According to Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol, the 16-year-old driver was traveling at a high rate of speed at 10:45 p.m. on Willow Road westbound, east of Ashwood Street, when he lost control and struck a large tree.

Kyte, who was not wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene. Culkin, a passenger, was transported to a hospital, but has been taken off life support after sustaining irreversible brain damage; his family decided to donate his organs to save others. A GoFundMe site has been set up to assist Culkin' family.

ACTOR ERIK ESTRADA, LOCAL HEROES AMONG HONORED GUESTS AT CHP COMMAND CENTER OPEN HOUSE

Spring Valley resident Cassie Wells hailed for saving motorist’s life

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Jan. 14, 2020 (San Diego) Actor and real-life cop, Henry Enrique “Erik” Estrada, who played the California Highway Patrol officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello in the 1977-1983 tv show CHiPS, made an appearance at the CHP’s open house of their command center facility in Kearny Mesa on Jan. 10. 

(Pictured: CHP Chief Omar Watson with Erik Estrada - photos by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson)

 “I can get you out of a ticket,” quipped Estrada during his appearance. His humor matched with the celebratory spirit of the day and debut of the facility to the public.

LANE-SPLITTING MOTORCYCLIST KILLED IN LA MESA

East County News Service

Update: The deceased has been identified as Everett Burgess, 31, of Lemon Grove

January 14, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – A Lemon Grove motorcyclist who was “splitting lanes at a high rate of speed in stop and go traffic” on State Route 125 northbound near Spring Street in La Mesa died after a multi-vehicle collision this morning, says Officer Travis Garrow with the California Highway Patrol.

The victim, a 31-year-old Lemon Grove man, was riding a 2013 Suzuki GW250 motorcycle at 7:22 a.m. when he sideswiped a Dodge Challenger driven by a Coronado man, 46.  The motorcyclist then veered left and struck the rear of a 2014 Toyota Corolla driven by an El Cajon man, 39.

WATCH FOR WINDY WEATHER

East County News Service

January 14, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- A storm system will bring gusty winds as well as a chance of rain and mountain snow Thursday into early Friday morning. Winds at 35-45 miles per hour with isolated gusts up to 50-60 mph are in wind-prone mountain and desert passes.

Light rainfall of 1-3 inches is forecast in most locations, with up to 6 inches at higher elevations, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Adam Roser.  The snow level may drop to 5,000 feet, so be prepared if driving in mountain areas.

U.S. BANK ROBBED IN FLETCHER HILLS

By Miriam Raftery

January 13, 2019 (El Cajon) – The U.S. Bank located at 2755 Navajo Road in El Cajon’s Fletcher Hills neighborhood was robbed today at 3:13 p.m. The suspect is described as a white man in his 30s with numerous acne scars on his face, unshaven with a full mustache.  He is approximately 6 ft. 1 inch tall and weighs about 180 pounds. He was wearing a gray long-sleeved shirt, baggy blue jeans and a dark gray hat with mesh on the back.

According to El Cajon Police Lieutenant J. Larson, the suspect walked up to a teller and stated, “This is a robbery, give me all your large bills.”  No weapon was seen.

The teller provided money to the suspect, who fled on foot. He was last seen running south on Fletcher Parkway near the intersection at Navajo Road and Fletcher Parkway.

“The FBI responded to the scene and will be working with the El Cajon Police Department during this investigation,” says Lt. Larson.

ILLEGAL FIRE LANTERNS FOUND IN ALPINE AND SAN CARLOS SPARK FEARS

By Miriam Raftery

 Photo:  burnt remnants of sky lantern found in Alpine, courtesy 10 News

January 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – An East County Magazine investigation back in 2012 led to the State Fire Marshal to issue a bulletin advising that sky lanterns are illegal—and dangerous. Our story led to removal of sky lanterns from local Walmart shelves.

But not everyone is aware of the ban, so use of sky lanterns, which are popular for celebrations in some cultures, continues. The devices include one or more candles sent aloft beneath an open cloth, much like a hot air balloon, posing severe fire hazards. 

ECM news partner 10 News reports that on Saturday, an Alpine family on Japatul Valley Road awoke to find their horses terrified and one horse injured.  In dry brush nearby, they found remnants of a sky lantern with birthday candles attached to popsicle sticks. 

“Thank God it didn't start a fire, but it could have," Lucy Olivier told 10 News. 

CITIES SHOULD ACT ON HOMELESSNESS OR FACE LAWSUITS, NEWSOM TASK FORCE SAYS

By Matt Levin and Jackie Botts, CalMatters

 Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, left, and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who are leading Newsom's task force, have been pushing for some legal leverage to force action on homelessness. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

 

January 13, 2020 (Sacramento) -- Recommendations by Gov. Gavin Newsom's task force on homelessness in California propose a legally enforceable 'mandate to end homelessness' on the November ballot, echo the governor's request for more funding and call for a homelessness czar. 

Declaring that moral persuasion and economic incentives aren’t working to bring people in from the sidewalks, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s task force on homelessness called Monday for a “legally enforceable mandate” that would force municipalities and the state to house the growing number of homeless Californians.

PASSAGES: CIVIL RIGHTS LEADER CARROL WAYMON, 1925-2020

By Miriam Raftery

Memorial service has been moved to Bethel Baptist Church on Jan. 24. See details below.

Photo: Carrol Waymon PhD, watching the inauguration of President Barack Obama during a celebration at the Malcolm X Library in San DIego in January, 2009.

January 12, 2020 (San Diego)--San Diego’s most prominent civil rights leader, Carrol Waymon PhD, passed away in early January at age 94.  As executive director of San Diego’s first human rights agency, the Citizens Interracial Committee, he was a tireless fighter for justice who broke down many barriers for people of color.

Born May 15, 1925, Waymon was the grandson of a slave and son of a Methodist minister.  He was one of seven children, including his sister, the late jazz musician Nina Simone. While working on the Los Angeles Human Relations Agency in 1964, he was asked by San Diego's City Council  to come to San Diego and help address racial issues. He moved here and never left,  leading the Citizens Interracial Committee and devoting his life to attaining equal rights for all.

ECM interviewed Waymon in January 2009, during a local viewing of the inuauguration of Barack Obama, our nation’s first African-American president.  For Waymon, who once served as San Diego’s delegate to the funeral of Martin Luther King, Jr., Obama’s election was a major milestone hailed by Waymon.  “It is incredible to me. I couldn’t imagine at that time in 1968 that we’d have a black president 40 years later,” he said.

PASSAGES: “HAWK WATCH” WILDLIFE RESEARCHER JOHN DAVID BITTNER DIES AFTER FALL IN SAN PASQUAL VALLEY

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2020 (Ramona) – John David "Dave" Bittner, 75, of Julian was known to many for the “Hawk Watch” programs he led for decades at the Wildlife Research Institute in Ramona that he founded, and later at the Begent Ranch.  On Thursday, Bittner died of a 50-foot fall suffered while rappelling down to replace batteries and memory cards in a camera near a Golden Eagle nest in the Bandy Canyon area in the San Pasqual Valley.

“We will miss him dearly and are so thankful for his work and dedication to saving wildlife and their special habitat,” the Wildlife Research Institute posting on its Facebook page.  The institute, of which Bittner served as director, pledged to continue hosting Hawk Watch and planned an impromptu memorial service this morning at the Begent Ranch.

Bittner and his wife,Leigh, had a passion for protecting wildlife and purchased 3,000 acres that they donated to the county to buy the Ramona Grasslands preserve and sell property to the Nature Conservancy as a wildlife preserve. That is home to many raptors, including bald eagles.

SAN DIEGO ZOO AND SAFARI PARK TO DONATE ADMISSIONS FROM SUNDAY, JAN. 12 TO HELP AUSTRALIAN WILDLIFE AMID FIRES

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2020 (San Diego) – All paid admissions to the San Diego Zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park this Sunday, Jan. 12 will be donated to help San Diego Zoo Global’s efforts to save wildlife in Australia amid deadly brush fires.

Over 15 million acres have burned in Australia’s deadly wildfires – nearly 10 times the 1.8 million acres scorched in California’s fires last year. A quarter of a million people have been forced to flee, Reuters reports.

Scientists at the University of Sydney have estimated that as many as a billion animals may have perished, putting some species at risk of extinction. The bush fires have killed tens of thousands of marsupials found nowhere else on earth including koalas and kangaroos, as well as birds such as glossy black cockatoos, reptiles and amphibians.

ALPINE UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT WARNS OF STRANGER IN TRUCK APPROACHING STUDENTS

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2020 (Alpine)—The Alpine Union School District is warning parents about two separate incidents Tuesday afternoon and again today, both involving a stranger in a truck approaching young students.

"Today, a Joan MacQueen Middle School student reported being approached by a stranger in a white-greyish four-door truck with tinted windows on Victoria Drive and Sneath Way. We have met with the Alpine Sheriff’s Deputies and have requested extra patrols at our schools. Deputies will be present after school today, and the detectives are investigating," a letter posted to the Joan MacQueen Middle School’s Facebook page reads.

In Tuesday’s incident, a vehicle described as a white lifted truck similar to a Toyota Tundra reportedly followed two young girls down a private dead-end road.

HELP NEEDED FOR 6-YEAR-OLD JAMUL BOY IN COMA AFTER CAR WRECK

By Miriam Raftery 

January 9, 2020 (Jamul)—A 6-year-old Jamul boy is in a medically-induced coma due to serious injuries suffered in a car accident on December 27th with his father and two cousins. His aunt, Britney Judd, has organized a GoFundMe page to help raise money to pay for Eli Ontiveros' expensive medical care.  The family hopes to locate and thank bystanders who saved Eli from a burning vehicle. 

According to the GoFundMe page, Eli suffered fractures to his clavicle, sternum, and six ribs. He also has damage to his lungs and brain. “Right now the goal is to get him off of ventilation and to get his breathing on his own,” the GoFundMe page states.

DEPUTIES SHOOT REPORTEDLY SUICIDAL SUSPECT IN LEMON GROVE

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2019 (Lemon Grove)—A man reported by a family member to be threatening suicide at a home in Lemon Grove was shot by multiple Sheriff’s deputies on January 6th.  The shootings occurred after the man removed a revolver from inside his jacket, according to Lt. Michael Blevins, who indicated that the man did not fire the weapon.

Shane Felix, 34, was treated at the scene by deputies for gunshot injuries until paramedics arrived. He was transported to a hospital and underwent successful surgery; he is expected to survive, according to Blevins.

CBS 8 reports that Felix had a prior conviction for arson and is expected to be arrested for assault with a deadly weapon and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, once he is medically cleared.

LA JOLLA PHYSICIAN PULLS PLUG ON PETITION DRIVE TO RECALL GOV. GAVIN NEWSOM

 

Dr. James Veltmeyer says he’ll try again at some unspecified future date, but first he needs $5 million to hire a signature-gathering firm. File photo

By Ken Stone

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

January 9, 2020 (San Diego) -- A La Jolla doctor has ended his long-shot effort to recall Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Unlike 2003, when Darrell Issa spent nearly $2 million for signature-gathering efforts that led to the ouster of Democratic Gov. Gray Davis, Dr. James Veltmeyer said his recall bid against the current Democrat could raise only $90,000.

BORDER PATROL LAUNCHES PILOT PROGRAM TO COLLECT DNA SAMPLES FROM MIGRANTS

East County News Service

January 8, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has initiated a 90-day pilot program starting yesterday to assess the impact of proposed regulatory changes that would require collection of DNA samples from many individuals in CBP custody, including minors.  The pilot program will be limited to the Detroit area and the Eagle Pass port of entry in Texas. 

DNA will be collected from people ages 14-79 who are apprehended and processed in Detroit.  At the Texas location, the DNA collection will be done on individuals who seek admission to the U.S. and are subject to further detention or proceedings.

According to CBS News  the action is the first phase of a sweeping five-part, three year Department of Homeland Security initiative “to obtain DNA profiles from virtually all migrants in U.S. custody, whether or not they've committed crimes.”

CHP SEEKS MAN ACCUSED OF CAUSING WRECK THAT KILLED WOMAN, INJURED TWO OFFICERS

By Miriam Raftery

January 8, 2020 (San Diego) – The California Highway Patrol warns that a suspect accused of killing a woman in an accident near Temecula, then fleeing the scene and later escaping from law enforcement may be in the San Diego area. Antone Wayne Bayard, 23, of Anza is also accused of injuring two CHP officers during his escape.

On Twitter, the CHP posted, “Bayard is believed to be in the Temecula/San Diego area with plans to flee to Mexico.”

STORIES OF THE DECADE: 2009-2019

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- Our site was in its infancy when the past decade began in 2009, just three months after our launch. What a difference a decade makes! 

We've been there through it all, covering the burning issues impacting our region:  fire protection, energy projects, housing, homelessness, immigration, healthcare, actions of local city councils, school boards, and more. 

Our coverage has led to expansion of veteran's services in rural East County, saved local state parks from closing, stopped community planning groups from being abolished, and got fire stations closed during fire season reopened.  We've documented major social movements of the era, from the Tea Party to Occupy, from gay rights to gun rights. We've covered the issues of refugees from around the world, Native American tribes, immigrants at the border, Iraqi and Syrian immigrants in our local communities. We've covered national issues felt locally, such as healthcare reform controversies, government  shutdowns, climate change and impeachment. 

We've also had in-depth coverage of local land use issues, such as sand mines, major housing projects, and industrial-scale wind and solar.  ECM chronicled the achievements of local sports stars with East County ties, from Tony Gwynn to Jimmie Johnson.

We've covered election campaigns and political candidates, education issues, natural disasters from earthquakes to wildfires, power outages, extreme weather, shocking crimes, reform movements, our growing wine industry, historical milestones such as centennials celebrated by local cities, and so much more. 

We took a trip down memory lane, and invite you to join us.

Here are the top stories we covered in the past 10 years:

LA MESA POLICE SEEK WITNESSES TO CRASH NEAR GROSSMONT CENTER: INJURED PEDESTRIAN UNIDENTIFIED; DRIVER ARRESTED

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2020 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police seek witnesses to a serious injury accident that occurred at 6:16 p.m. at the intersection of Grossmont Center Drive and Center Drive.  Police also seek the identity of the victim, a white male pedestrian in his 50s who was struck while crossing the street by a 2004 Nissan SUV.

The victim suffered a compound fracture to his lower right leg and a fractured left hip, according to Lt. Brian Stoney. “Unfortunately he did not have any identification on him and we have not been able to positively identify him at this time,” he said.

IRAN ATTACKS U.S. MILITARY BASES IN IRAQ IN RETALATION FOR KILLING OF GENERAL SULEIMANI

 

By Miriam Raftery

Rebecca Jefferis-Williamson contributed to this report

January 7, 2020 (San Diego) – The U.S. Department of Defense confirms that Iran has launched air attacks on two U.S. military bases in Iraq housing American and coalition forces. Over a dozen missiles launched from Iran targeted the Al Assad air base in Baghdad and a second base in Irbil.

ECM has obtained video sent by a source in Iraq who asked not to be identified for fear of retaliation. The source indicated the video was taken by an Iraqi national inside the Al Assad base during the attack. The same video appears on international media including Canada and England. A local translator in El Cajon told ECM panicked voices heard on the video are shouting “Watch out!” and “One God, one Allah,” a phrase spoken by Muslims when they believe death may be imminent.

There is no official word yet on casualties.

The attacks were in retaliation for the U.S. assassination of Iranian Major General Qassim Suleimani last week in Iraq, whom Defense Secretary Mark Esper has said was in Baghdad to coordinate attacks on U.S. forces and coalition partners. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said Suleimani posed a “imminent threat” to Americans, but neither Esper nor Pompeo provided specific evidence of the threat.

Critics have said the killing of the Iranian commander via a drone strike violated international law by targeting a sovereign nation’s military leadership.

LAWSUITS MOUNT AGAINST NEW CALIFORNIA LABOR LAW, AB 5

Judge issues injunction on behalf of independent truckers; freelance journalists and other gig worker groups also file legal challenges
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
January 6, 2020 (San Diego) – A new law making it harder for businesses to classify workers as independent contractors instead of employees took effect January 1st. Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher, the bill’s author, aims to provide more workers with benefits such as healthcare, unemployment insurance and the option to unionize. But a flurry of lawsuits are challenging the measure as unfair and constitutional.  

SDG&E BEGINS UNDERGROUNDING POWER LINES IN JULIAN, PROJECT WILL ALLOW CRITICAL FACILITIES TO REMAIN POWERED DURING SHUTOFFS

East County News Service

January 7, 2020 (Julian) – SDG&E has begun construction to place powerlines underground east of downtown Julian along Banner Road (State Route 78) and Cape Horn Avenue).

The project aims to reduce wildfire risk and allow key facilities to remain open during safety power shutoffs, according to a press release issued by SDG&E.

“Unlike overhead power lines, underground lines do not present a fire risk during high winds and elevated fire danger conditions. Facilities that will benefit from the undergrounding work include: the post office, county branch library, Julian Union High School, Julian Charter School, Julian Elementary School and the CAL FIRE Station, as well as a county public works maintenance yard and a school bus yard,” the utility states. Existing overhead power lines in the area will remain, as they are needed to continue serving some customers.

REP. HUNTER TO RESIGN JANUARY 13: OFFICE TO REMAIN OPEN TO HANDLE CONSTITUENT SERVICES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Miriam Raftery:  Duncan D. Hunter in 2014 debate

Update: There will be no special election due to the timing of Hunter's resignation and the high cost of a special election, given that this race is already on the March primary ballot and November general election.  Federal law requires both primary and run-off elections to fill a Congressional vacancy.

January 7, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter today announced he will resign effective close of business on January 13th.  Hunter made the announcement in letters sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and to Governor Gavin Newsom.

Hunter’s District Chief of Staff Michael Harrison informed ECM that services for constituents will not be interrupted.  ““The office will remain open throughout a vacancy, no matter how long it may take.  Constituents can continue contacting the office with any of their needs, they also have Senators Feinstein and Harris as resources as well,” he stated in an e-mail today. 

Ten candidates have filed to run for Hunter’s seat in the March primary election. The top two will advance to a run-off election in November, so the seat will be vacant until a new representative is sworn in, in January 2021.

The Republican Congressman’s resignation letters cite his service first as a Marine combat veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan and later, in Congress, where he was elected in 2008 to fill the seat formerly held by his father. He praised his father, Duncan Hunter, and growing up I East County for instilling values of “liberty, the value of patriotism, and what a strong and secure border can bring to a community.”

TEN CANDIDATES QUALIFY FOR MARCH BALLOT IN RACE TO REPLACE HUNTER

 

Update:  Minutes after publication of this article, Hunter announced plans to resign January 13.

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2020 (San Diego) – Rep. Duncan Hunter has not yet resigned, despite saying he would do so after the holiday following his guilty plea to conspiracy to spend campaign funds for personal use.  But he didn’t file to run for reelection. Instead, voters will have 10 candidates to choose from.

The contenders include two Democrats, four Republicans, three no-party-preference candidates, and a Peace and Freedom party member. They’re vying to finish in the top two spots in the March primary in order to advance to a November run-off election.

Here’s a look at how some of the major candidates’ campaigns are taking shape:

CVUSD FILES COUNTERSUIT AGAINST TRUSTEE JILL BARTO

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

ECM Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

January 3, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The Cajon Valley Union School District (CVUSD) has filed a countersuit against Trustee Jill Barto. The suit was filed in response to Barto’s federal lawsuit alleging violations of her civil rights and First Amendment rights. Barto filed her complaint in late November against the District, the other four trustees and Superintendent David Miyashiro, as ECM reported.

Barto’s suit accused the district, Superintendent and trustees of retaliating against her after she pursued an outspoken agenda of questioning questioning fellow board members and the Superintendent over hefty expenditures, including global travel by the Superintendent and promotional videos.  In her campaign materials she said, “My belief is that a school board should be answerable to taxpayers. The board should not simply be a rubber stamp committee, which it often times is.”

The district’s countersuit alleges that in 2019, the District received a complaint from an employee alleging that Barto was harassing her and “created a hostile work environment.” It also states that the Board of Trustees formed an Ad Hoc Committee to investigate the employee’s complaint. The countersuit does not directly identify any district employees by name and does not directly the names of the ad hoc committee.

BALLOT MEASURE PROPOSES MANDATORY TREATMENT AND HELP FOR HOMELESS WHO COMMIT CERTAIN CRIMES

neighbor without a homeBy Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Dave Myers: A homeless person sleeping outside City Hall in La Mesa.
 
January 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) -- A proposed ballot measure titled California’s Compassionate Intervention aims to strike a balance between criminalizing homelessness, deemed by many including some courts, as too harsh, and ignoring the impacts of crimes committed by homeless people on communities – an approach the author sees as too lenient. 
 
Mike Gatto, a Los Angeles attorney and former Democratic Assemblyman, believes his initiative “radically changes the state’s approach to homelessness.”

LAWSUITS NAME DECEASED EAST COUNTY PRIESTS AS ALLEGED CHILD ABUSERS

By Miriam Raftery
 
January 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Multiple lawsuits filed against the Catholic Diocese of San Diego and many local parishes allege past childhood sexual abuse by several local priests, including at least three who served in East County.
 
The litigation was filed on behalf of alleged victims previously unable to sue due to the statue of limitations, but a new law, AB 218, allows victims of child sexual abuse to file a suit up to age 40; the previous limit was age 26. Victims have three years from January 1st of this year to take legal action.
 
The alleged abuse occurred in the 1960s and 1970s.  All of the accused priests have since died.  According to Irwin Zalkin, attorney for the plaintiffs, the diocese routinely moved priests accused of abuse, often to desert communities where “they thought that the people there – mostly Hispanic – would not speak up.”  

READER’S EDITORIAL: TO SOLVE HOMELESSNESS, CALIFORNIANS MUST TREAT CERTAIN CRIMES AS CRIES FOR HELP

By Mike Gatto, Special to CalMatters 

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

January 6, 2020 (Los Angeles) -- Those of us who have watched a friend or family member wrestle with addiction or cope with mental illness recognize that certain acts are a cry for help. 

For one of my friends, it was getting into a car accident while under the influence, with her young children inside.

TWO FLU DEATHS AND NEARLY 1,400 LOCAL CASES REPORTED IN PAST WEEK

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

January 5, 2020 (San Diego) -- Influenza cases reported last week in San Diego County rose to a season high of 1,390 cases, the County Health and Human Services Agency announced on January 2nd.

Two additional flu deaths were identified in the region, bringing this season’s total to 10.  A 77-year-old man died Dec. 24, and a 75-year-old man died Dec. 21. Both died from influenza A, and both had underlying medical conditions.

HEARING FEB. 3 ON PROPOSAL TO RELEASE YET ANOTHER SEXUALLY VIOLENT PREDATOR IN JACUMBA HOT SPRINGS; COMMENTS DEADLINE IS JAN. 17

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2020 (Jacumba Hot Springs) – Despite recent protests over the highly disproportionate percentage of sexually violent predators placed in rural East County, the Department of State Hospitals is proposing to place yet another in Jacumba Hot Springs.  A hearing will be held Feb. 3 at 9 a.m. in San Diego Superior Court (1100 Union St., Dept. 2202) to determine whether Michael Poulsom should be placed at 45612 Old Highway 80, Jacumba Hot Springs, a community of just 561 residents, according to the 2010 Census.

Poulsom is diagnosed with Pedophilia Disorder. In 1985, he was convicted in Georgia of child molestation with two victims. In 1989, he was convicted in San Diego County of a lewd act on a child under 14. In 1995, he was convicted again locally for a lewd act with a fourth victim, also under 14 and served 15 years in prison. Prior to his release, the San Diego County District Attorney’s office filed a petition to have Poulsom civilly committed to a state hospital as a Sexually Violent Predator . He was committed, underwent treatment and petitioned for conditional release, which was opposed by the San Diego D.A. and the hospital. A year later he filed for release into the conditional release program for sex offenders, which the Dept. of State Hospitals supported over the objections of D.A. Summer Stephan.

The public may submit comments between Jan. 3 and Jan. 17 to be considered by the court. You can email comments to sdsafe@sdsheriff.org, or call (858)495-3619. Comments may also be mailed tol the SVP Release/Safe Task Force at 9425 Chesapeake Drive, San Diego, CA 02123.  Comments will also be accepted at the hearing.

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