Ray Lutz

EL CAJON APPROVES LANDMARK AGREEMENT WITH LIVE NATION TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

Landmark vote sets path to reopen theatre in 2019 for headline acts, though community groups’ use of theatre may be limited

By Paul Kruze

Photo by Miriam Raftery, left: Arich Berghammer, Live Nation, addresses Council prior to historic vote

December 20, 2017 (El Cajon) -- After many community discussions, public meetings and  frustrations over the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) remaining closed for nearly the past decade, the El Cajon City Council last Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary draft agreement for City Manager Doug Williford to ink worldwide concert producer Live Nation as the new manager of the theatre. (Councilman Ben Kalasho was absent, citing an emergency.)

Prior to the landmark vote which longtime councilmember Gary Kendrick has characterized as “the most important vote and the biggest thing to happen to El Cajon. Everybody wins.” He added that Live Nation “has the Midas touch. Every performing arts center they touch turns to gold.”

LISTEN NOW: OUR SEPTEMBER 2017 RADIO SHOWS ARE NOW ONLINE

Our September 2017 radio shows are now online. For links to listen to the shows plus a full list of topics an interviews, click here or click "read more" and scroll down. (Sound files may take a few moments to load).

Our newsmaker interviews included Ray Lutz of Citizens Oversight on the San Onofre nuclear waste settlement and election integrity, judicial candidate Tim Nader, peace activists Nancy Ryan and SueEllen Treadwell. Plus we went on the road to the Ramona grape stomp and covered hot issues across East County, California and the nation.

 The East County Magazine Show airs Mondays and Fridays from 5 to 6 p.m. on KNSJ, 89.1 FM.  Our shows rerun on Tuesdays at 9 a.m. and Saturdays at 8 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.  Read more and listen to our September shows:

CITIZENS OVERSIGHT TO ANNOUNCE TWO MAJOR PROJECTS AT SAN ONOFRE PUBLIC EVENT SUNDAY

 

 

Hear our interview aired earlier this month on KNSJ radio with Ray Lutz, founder of Citizens Oversight, talking about the settlement agreement, by clicking the audio link above.

East County News Service

UPDATE:  Other organizations concerned about San Onofre nuclear waste have issued statements calling today's event as a "sham" and voicing criticisms of the settlement deal. Read more:  http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/critics-call-todays-celebration-settle...

September 23, 2017 (Oceanside) — Citizens Oversight, an El Cajon-based watchdog group, will be announcing formation of a settlement oversight panel to monitor efforts to move nuclear waste from San Onofre to a safer place pursuant to a settlement agreement with Southern California Edison and the California Coastal Commission.  In addition, founder Ray Lutz will unveil a “1,000-year dry storage challenge” that aims to find a long-term solution to the nation’s lack of storage for nuclear wastes. 

Audio: 

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: RAY LUTZ, CITIZENS OVERSIGHT FOUNDER, SPEAKS OUT ON BILL AMENDMENT THAT WOULD NEGATE HIS COURT WIN AGAINST SAN DIEGO’S REGISTRAR OF VOTERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 10, 2017 (San Diego) – After Citizens Oversight sued San Diego’s Registrar of Voters, a judge ruled that in future elections, the 1% manual tally must include mail-in ballots dropped at the polls or received days after the election, as well as valid provisional ballots.  But now a last-minute amendment slipped into Assembly Bill 840 by an organization of election officials  would eliminate that requirement statewide – a move Lutz says puts election integrity at risk and could allow tampering with certain ballots to occur undetected.

Listen to our interview, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM Radio, by clicking the audio link.   Also hear about a major difference in votes cast late vs. early – and why Lutz believes if all the local ballots had been examined, it may have changed the outcome in the Democratic presidential primary.

Audio: 

VOTER's WATCHDOG: CITIZENS OVERSIGHT FILES OPPOSITION TO AB-840, SAYS AMENDMENTS WOULD GUT ELECTION AUDITS IN CA

 

Watchdog group that won lawsuit says last-minute amendment inserted by election officials would allow 40 to 70 percent of ballots to be omitted from audits

By Miriam Raftery

September 1, 2017 (San Diego) --- Citizens' Oversight, a nonpartisan group that focuses on election integrity, announced today that it has filed written comments in opposition to CA AB-840, a bill which will make drastic changes to the one-percent manual tally of elections, which would omit 40% or more ballots from the scrutiny of this important audit process. Local Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) is a coauthor of the bill.

ECM asked Vu late Thursday for comments. Vu replied via email, “The amendment came through and is sponsored by the California Association of Clerks and Election Officials (CACEO) and is supported by the Secretary of State and the County."

CITIZENS SEEK BALLOT PROPOSAL TO MAKE SAN DIEGO POLICE REVIEW BOARD INDEPENDENT

 

East County News Service

January 11, 2016 (San Diego) – A ballot proposal has been filed with the San Diego City Clerk on behalf of 20 civic organizations that endorse a Charter Amendment for an independendent Community Review Board on Police Practices. On January 13th at 9 a.m. the City Council's Rules Committee will consider whether or not to refer the measureto the full City Council for placement on the 2016 ballot.

CITIZENS' OVERSIGHT FILES MOTION TO HAVE SAN ONOFRE CPUC JUDGE DARLING REMOVED

 

Darling named in felony search warrants, initiated phone calls with SCE executives, now defends new CPUC President Picker from oversight committee requests

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2015 (San Diego) – Citizens' Oversight filed legal documents on July 14th with the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), making the case for reassignment of Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Melanie Darling from the sanctions phase of proceedings on the San Onofre Nuclear plant.  The July 14 motion would remove Darling from hearing the investigation into sanctions for violations of ex parte rules during the San Onofre proceeding--an action which could have substantial impacts for ratepayers statewide..

EL CAJON COUNCIL APPROVES BID PROCESS FOR UPGRADES TO REOPEN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 10, 2015 El Cajon)--El Cajon’s City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to start the bidding process for long-awaited repairs needed to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center,, which has been closed for over five years.   Staff estimates the repairs will cost $2.92 million dollars.

EL CAJON COUNCIL POISED TO APPROVE PLANS, BID SPECS FOR REPAIRS TO REOPEN PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

East County News Service

March 6, 2015 (El Cajon) – The East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) has been closed for five years, in need of roofing repairs and other renovations.  On March 10, El Cajon City Council’s consent calendar includes approval of plans and bid specifications for ECPAC improvements.

SAN ONOFRE SETTLEMENT APPROVED, LOCAL GROUP PLEDGES COURT BATTLE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 2, 2014 (San Onofre) - By a unanimous vote, the California Public Utilities Commission has approved the $3.3 billion San Onofre settlement. No public comment was allowed at the hearing, which was held in San Francisco despite the fact that the ratepayers impacted all live in Southern California.

CITIZENS OVERSIGHT SUES CPUC OFFICIALS ON BEHALF OF RATEPAYERS; ALLEGES BILLING FOR POWER NEVER PRODUCED AT SAN ONOFRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –Citizen's Oversight and the law firm of Aguirre & Severson have filed a Federal lawsuit against two top public utility officials and Southern California Edison (SCE) for allegedly violating the constitutional rights of SDG&E ratepayers and SCE ratepayers by taking over  $3 billion without just compensation. 

View lawsuit here: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1518

EL CAJON HEARS VIEWS ON ECPAC PARTNERSHIP WITH ROCK CHURCH

 

Council also adopts fees for second-hand shops

By Janis Russell

September 10, 2014 (El Cajon)- At yesterday’s El Cajon City Council meeting,  many people expressed their views once again on the city’s proposed long-term lease of East County Performing Arts Center to Rock Church—with the majority present opposed to the deal.

PROTEST PLANNED THURSDAY OVER MEGA-CHURCH PLAN TO LEASE ECPAC; LEGAL ACTION TO HALT DEAL THREATENED IF CITY PROCEEDS

 

 

City rejected earlier proposal by citizens' group

Theater managers speak out, object to City's actions, CityBeat reports

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2014 (El Cajon) – Citizens Oversight Panels (COPS) is organizing a rally tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. outside the East County Performing Arts Center at 210 East Main Street in El Cajonon to protest a proposed partnership between the City of El Cajon and Rock Church to lease the theater. 

“We will be delivering a 30-plus page letter spelling out the legal case against the city should they go ahead with their plans to lease this public theater to the Rock Church, which is clearly unconstitutional,” says Ray Lutz, founder of COPS, on a Facebook page for the event. “Come and support the reopening of ECPAC as a performing arts and entertainment center and not as the new location for a mega church.”

ROCK CHURCH PLAN TO LEASE EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ART CENTER ON COUNCIL AGENDAY TODAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 12, 2014 (El Cajon)—El Cajon’s City Council will vote at today’s 3 p.m. meeting on directing staff to pursue a draft final agreement with Rock Church for establishing a partial lease of the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC).  The deal would also authorize Rock Church to lease land adjacent to the theater to construct a new building for the church that would be partially available for city use.

The measure is on the consent calendar, however ECM has received several e-mails from community members who are concerned  about separation of church state issues and about the long-term loss of the theater for public use during a significant number of hours each year.  They want to see any leasing decisions halted until the city follows up on its promises to hire a professional theater management company.

READER'S EDITORIAL: STOP THE UNFAIR SAN ONOFRE SETTLEMENT

 

By Ray Lutz, Citizens Oversight Projects

July 5, 2014 (El Cajon)-- Please take a look at this video presentation I created to be presented to the CPUC.  http://youtu.be/2umrwqLz_MI

The proponents of the $3.3 billion settlement proposal have met with the CPUC commissioners and their advisors in private meetings.  They would not allow me to make this power-point presentation at the recent public meeting. However, we are allowed to have private meetings of the same length as those granted to the proponents.

COUNCIL READIES TO SEEK TENANTS FOR EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Updated April 11, 2014 (El Cajon) – By a unanimous vote, the El Cajon City Council on Tuesday asked the City Manager to prepare a request for proposal for groups seeking to rent or lease space at the East County Performing Arts Center. 

The theater has been closed for several years, in need of major repairs. Recently Council voted to allocate funds for renovations and is now moving forward to attract additional tenants in hopes of reopening the theater  next year.

But some community members testified that they believe the city should first make good on its promise to hire a professional theater management company, before making commitment to lock in time blocks for groups such as the Rock Church, which wants to use the theater for church services on Sundays.

SETTLEMENT REACHED OVER SAN ONOFRE: RATEPAYERS TO RECEIVE REFUNDS IF CPUC APPROVES DEAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2014 (San Diego)—After the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations (SONGS) were shut down in 2012 due to faulty steam generators, San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) and Southern California Edison (SCE) continued to charge ratepayers for the costs associated with replacing those generators.  Edison later announced permanent decommissioning of the nuclear facility in June 2013 due to serious safety problems.

Ratepayers will be receiving refunds from SDG&E and Edison for those charges, if a joint settlement agreement announced today is approved by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC).  The settlement was reached SCE, the CPUC Office of Ratepayer Advocates, and The Utility Reform Network (TURN).

RAY LUTZ SETTLES SUIT WITH CITY OF SAN DIEGO OVER VOTING REGISTRATION ARREST

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 18, 2013– Former Congressional candidate Ray Lutz of El Cajon was arrested in November 2011 for attempting to register voters at the Civic Cente Plaza downtown.  This week, Lutz announced he has entered into a settlement with the City in which his arrest record will be expunged and the City will agree not to arrest people in the future for peaceful political activity in public spaces of private property.

"Our goal was to send a clear message and require that the city admit they were wrong. This is about as close to an admission of guilt you can get from the city. We want to make sure this never happens again,” said Lutz.

CITIZENS OVERSIGHT SAYS CPUC VIOLATED OPEN MEETING LAWS



Demand Letter is the First Step to Legal Action



June 16, 2013 (San Diego) -- Citizens' Oversight, an organization that encourages citizens to take an active role in oversight of their democracy, submitted a demand letter to the California Public Utilities Commission on June 11 alleging that the CPUC violated open meeting laws by halting the group’s representative, Ray Lutz (photo, left), from videotaping  a recent public meeting on the San Onofre nuclear plant held in San Francisco.  The watchdog group’s letter seeks removal of the CPUC’s administrative law judge from the proceedings and other remedies.

Martha Sullivan with the Coalition to Decommission San Onofre said, "It was disheartening to see the CPUC judge presiding over this investigation of multi-billion dollar regulated utilities be more concerned with their privacy than allowing the Southern California public to observe the evidentiary hearings."

LUTZ FILES SUIT FOR FALSE ARREST WHILE REGISTERING VOTERS



Case tests "Pruneyard" Supreme Court Decision when applied to public areas

September 14, 2012 (San Diego) – El Cajon activist Ray Lutz, founder of the watchdog Citizens Oversight organization, filed suit on Sept. 13, 2012, alleging a false arrest on November 29, 2011, while he was registering voters in San Diego's Civic Center Plaza, effectively the town square of San Diego.

ECPAC FOUNDATION MAKES ITS CASE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2012 (El Cajon)– At a press conference on June 22, members of the new ECPAC Foundation provided details to media on their proposal to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) in time for the city’s centennial celebration in November.

Leaders presented City Manager Doug Williford with their 60-page plan in a meeting that extended from a planned 10-15 minutes to an hour and a half.  Foundation members expressed optimism, noting that Williford asked many questions and showed genuine interest in plans to revive the theater with innovative and cost-effective improvements.

EL CAJON ISSUES TO BE FOCUS OF EAST COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CLUB APRIL 19

April 9, 2012 (El Cajon) -- The East County Democratic Club will have two speakers focused on El Cajon at its meeting at 7 p.m. on April 19 at Coco’s Restaurant, 1025 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon. 

Simon Mayeski, board member of Common Cause, a citizen's watchdog organization committed to holding government officials accountable, will discuss his perspective on El Cajon's city government and its lack of representation of the many resident ethnic groups and women.  Ray Lutz, National Director and founder of Citizens Oversight Project Committee (COPS), which acts as a governmental watchdog and helps empower local citizens to make changes in their community, will report his observations of significant events at recent City Council meetings.

CITIZENS OVERSIGHT SUBMITS COMPLAINT TO GRAND JURY ALLEGING MAYOR SANDERS' EMBEZZLEMENT IN SNAPDRAGON CASE

District Attorney and Mayoral Candidate Bonnie Dumanis Unlikely to Prosecute Due to Political Ties to Sanders, Complaint says

February 26, 2012 (San Diego) - Today, Ray Lutz, national coordinator of Citizens Oversight Projects (COPS - Citizens Oversight, Inc.), submitted a complaint to the San Diego County Grand Jury regarding the claim that Mayor Jerry Sanders committed felony embezzlement by selling promotional signage to Qualcomm, allowing them to change their sign to "Snapdragon" during one NFL football game and two college bowl games for only $1000.

LUTZ FILES CIVIL RIGHTS SUIT AGAINST BUILDING MANAGER OVER ARREST WHILE REGISTERING VOTERS AT CIVIC CENTER PLAZA

 

Goldman Sachs is majority owner of property management firm headed by Senator Feinstein’s husband

Story by Miriam Raftery, photos by Ron Logan

November 30, 2011 (San Diego) –Startling ironies came to light today in the case of Ray Lutz, an East County political activist and former Democratic Congressional candidate arrested yesterday for refusing to move a voter registration table out of the Civic Center Plaza.

LEGAL EXPERTS BLAST SAN DIEGO FOR ARREST OF RAY LUTZ, FORMER CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE, OVER VOTER REGISTRATIONS AT CIVIC CENTER PLAZA


“This is what they do in banana republics and undemocratic societies.”—former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, calling arrest a violation of the Civil Rights Act and the First Amendment


By Miriam Raftery and Ron Logan

OOPS! THEY DID IT AGAIN: SDG&E CHOPPER DROPS A SECOND TOWER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Dennis Richardson
June 10, 2011 (San Diego)—Just four days after its sky crane dropped a Sunrise Powerlink tower 200 feet, a second transmission line tower has toppled in the Imperial Valley.
 

Following last Monday’s accident, SDG&E promised in a press release that the company was “taking immediate steps…to investigate what occurred today in order to ensure that this does not happen again.”

 

But it did happen again. Today at 8 a.m.,  the Sun Bird Erickson Air Crane helicopter was placing the fifth of five towers near Plaster City when three of the helicopter’s four hooks released.  Dangling by just one hook, the 15,000 pound tower was lowered to the ground and released, where it tipped over.  Fourtunately, no one was injured in either incident.  But residents of East County, where construction of Powerlink is also underway, are voicing concerns over safety of workers and the public.

A PIECE OF RESISTANCE: RATEPAYERS PROTEST POWERLINK IN ALPINE

 

$1.8 billion, the cost of the Powerlink, could fund 90,000 individual 5kW systems which would generate nearly a half million kW (450,000 kW) per hour, opponents say.

 

Story and photos by Ron Logan

March 1, 2011 (Alpine) – Tuesday morning, Sempra Energy and SDG&E encountered more pushback to their Sunrise Powerlink construction in downtown Alpine.

 

The Powerlink construction, which will take about two years to construct and is scheduled for completion in 2012, has drawn criticism at every step of the process, including hundreds of Alpine residents who have turned out at past hearings to voice overwhelming opposition to the project.

DID SCHOOL DISTRICT VIOLATE CONSTITUTION BY HOLDING EVENT AT CHURCH?

Multiple locations on district campuses were available, but GUHSD chose to use church instead, ECM research reveals

 

By Miriam Raftery

Jeremy Los contributed research for this report

February 18, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, a national nonprofit organization, says that it’s “problematic” and likely unconstitutional for the Grossmont Union High School District to host a school event at Sonrise Church, a fundamentalist place of worship in Santee.

HOSPITAL BOARD REFUSES TO GIVE SEAT BACK TO STIERINGER, DECLARES POSITION VACANT

By Miriam Raftery

 

November 15, 2010 (La Mesa) – In closed session this morning, Grossmont Hospital District's  Board unanimously found that Jim Stieringer should not get his old seat on the board back.  Stieringer resigned Novembe 5th, then tried to resuscitate his old job by asking to have his resignation rescind after the Board refused to consider his application for a $60,000 a year staff job, amid questions over legality and  conflict of interest concerns.

 

With Stieringer's Hospital District career in limbo akin to life support, today the District pulled the plug.  

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