Politics

JENNIFER MENDOZA, CANDIDATE FOR LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL: CONTINUITY, POSITIVITY IMPORTANT AT THIS TIME

By Elijah McKee

September 26, 2022 (Lemon Grove) — “I’ve always felt that if you want to make a difference, you need to get involved,” said Jennifer Mendoza, a Lemon Grove City Councilmember currently serving her second four-year term. “You don’t just sit back and complain, and wait for other people to do things the way you want them to do it — you need to get involved.”

Mendoza, who has announced her bid for re-election, is one of five candidates vying for seats on the Lemon Grove City Council this election year. She officially qualified for the ballot last month, and according to her she has been endorsed by the Mayors of Lemon Grove, Chula Vista and San Diego, as well as her own representatives, Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber and Congresswoman Sara Jacobs. 


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HOUSE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES ISSA-SPONSORED BILL TO PREVENT HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND EXPAND DISPLAY OF NATIONAL HOTLINE

By Miriam Raftery

September 25, 2022 (San Diego) -- The House of Representatives has unanimously passed the bipartisan Human Trafficking Prevention Act, introduced by Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) along with Reps. Mace, Jeffries and Bass. The legislation will require display of National Human Trafficking Hotline information in restrooms of all U.S. ports of entry, airplanes, airports, trains, train stations, busses, and bus stations so that victims or anyone who notices a potential victim of human trafficking can reach out for help.  


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ALYSSON SNOW, CANDIDATE FOR LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL: IT’S TIME TO BE THAT LEGISLATOR

By Elijah McKee


September 20, 2022 (Lemon Grove) — “Five years or 15 years is not enough time to keep the deed on these to stay affordable,” said Alysson Snow as she laid out her vision for housing developments in Lemon Grove. “I’m looking for things that are at least 50 years. That they can’t do anything with it that’s not affordable until the expiration of those 50 years.” 

 

Snow leads a newly founded legal clinic through the University of San Diego (USD) called the Housing Rights Project — and she is also one of five candidates vying for open seats on the Lemon Grove City Council this election year. 

 

She officially qualified for the ballot last month, and has been endorsed by the Spring Valley Democratic Club, the San Diego County Democrats, California State Treasurer Fiona Ma, former San Diego Councilwoman Barbara Bry, as well as several current school board members and city councilmembers. 


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BLANCA LOPEZ BROWN, CANDIDATE FOR LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL: EVERY PENNY FROM EVERY DOLLAR FOR A SELF-SUSTAINED SMALL COMMUNITY

By Elijah McKee


September 20, 2022 (Lemon Grove) — “The greatest endorsement that I have and am most proud of is [from] the residents themselves,” said Blanca Lopez Brown, a 15-year member of the Lemon Grove School District Board of Trustees. “It helps to keep me grounded and centered as to why I took this on to begin with.”

 

Brown is one of five candidates vying for seats on the Lemon Grove City Council this election year. She officially qualified for the ballot last month; other endorsers include the Lincoln Club of San Diego. “I am grateful,” she said of the conservative business group’s endorsement. “However, I am here to serve the community of small businesses, residents, and families of Lemon Grove.”


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JESSYKA HEREDIA, CANDIDATE FOR LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL: THE TOWN WE WANT IT TO BE

By Elijah McKee

September 20, 2022 (Lemon Grove) — “The squeakier wheel gets the oil, right? If you come out and say ‘Hey, this is what we need,’ and you’re persistent, things start to change, remarked ” Jessica “Jessyka” Heredia about virtual access to city meetings. She personally live-streams Lemon Grove City Council meetings on Facebook, while calling for an investment in an official video record.

In an interview with East County Magazine, Heredia reflected, “I get lots of views so I know it’s something that should be done and could be done. And I believe it will be done as a result of me coming and doing that. I’m going to continue to advocate for that regardless of whether I’m elected or not.” 

Heredia officially qualified for the ballot last month, and is now one of five candidates vying for seats on the Lemon Grove City Council this election year. She runs a business in El Cajon that has been in East County for 24 years, sat on the City's Community Advisory Committee (CAC) and the Business Improvement District, and runs the Lemon Grove Support Local social media pages. 

Given the four-year term lengths for councilmembers in Lemon Grove, Jennifer Mendoza is the only current official whose seat could be challenged this year. However, Councilmember Jerry Jones decided to retire after nearly 20 years as a councilmember, creating an open seat and the possibility for two new faces to join the dais. 

For elections within San Diego County this year, every active registered voter will automatically be granted a mail ballot. They will begin being sent out on October 8, and early voting via ballot drop boxes will begin October 10. All in-person poll centers will be open from November 5 through Election Day on November 8. 

In the Lemon Grove field, Councilmember Mendoza has announced her bid for reelection and is the only incumbent in the race. The other four candidates include Heredia, as well as Blanca Brown, Stephanie Klein, and Alysson Snow.  East County Magazine sat down with all five women for in-depth interviews in order to learn more about them and their campaigns. Watch for profiles of all five candidates to be posted in our Communities section for Lemon Grove.


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CRIMINALS AND FUGITIVES AMONG HOMELESS HOUSED THROUGH COUNTY’S MOTEL VOUCHER PROGRAM IN EL CAJON

By Miriam Raftery

September 23, 2022 (El Cajon) Some people placed in El Cajon motels under the County of San Diego’s motel voucher program for the homeless had extensive criminal histories or were fugitives with arrest warrants, according to a statement issued by El Cajon Police Department. ECPD made the discovery after reviewing arrest records tied to the program.

“The number of criminal drug dealers and fugitives using the County’s motel voucher program is disturbing,” Police Chief Mike Moulton said. “Community safety is my primary concern and the El Cajon Police Department is more than willing to assist the County with better ways of vetting those utilizing their program, if that’s what’s needed.”


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EAST COUNTY CHAMBER ANNOUNCES ENDORSEMENTS

East County News Service

September 23, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) -- The San Diego Regional East County Chamber of Commerce Announces Additional Endorsements for the 2022 General Election.

Below is the full list of local candidates now endorsed by the board of directors (*newly announced candidates are designated with an asterisk):


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GOVERNOR SIGNS DR. AKILAH WEBER’S BILL TO REVOKE LICENSES OF PHYSICIANS CONVICTED OF SEXUAL MISCONDUCT WITH A PATIENT

East County News Service

 

September 22, 2022 (San Diego) – Governor Gavin Newsom has signed Assembly Bill 1636, the Patient Protection Act, into law. The measure was authored by Assemblymember Akila Weber, M.D.. (D-San Diego) whose 79th Assembly district includes portions of East County.

 

“AB 1636 will preserve confidence in the medical profession by ensuring physicians convicted of sexual misconduct with a patient would automatically have their license revoked and cannot acquire or have it reinstated,” said Assemblymember Weber.

 

“The heinous behavior of abusing patients goes against everything physicians stand for and should not be tolerated. This legislation is essential to protect patients and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship.”


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SD DEMOCRATIC LEADER RODRIGUEZ-KENNEDY HIT WITH RAPE SUIT; COUNCILMAN WHITBURN ACCUSED OF NOT INTERVENING

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Oscar David Rendon alleges he was assaulted in August 2021. At the urging of a college professor, he reported the incident to San Diego police in March 2022, his lawsuit says. Image via Facebook

September 22, 2022 (San Diego) - A former San Diego City College student body president is accusing local Democratic Party leader Will Rodriguez-Kennedy of sexual assault and also named San Diego Councilman Stephen Whitburn as a defendant.


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REP. SARA JACOBS’ "END VETERAN HUNGER ACT" PASSES HOUSE VETERANS AFFAIRS COMMITTEE

East County News Service

September 21, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – The End Veteran Hunger Act authored by San Diego Congresswoman Sara Jacobs’ (CA-53) passed the House Veterans Affairs Committee today. It now advances to the full House for consideration. 

 


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EL CAJON MAYOR SPEAKS OUT ON HIS ACCOMPLISHMENTS, GOALS IF REELECTED, AND CHALLENGES FACING THE CITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

View full interview, recorded for the East County Magazine Radio Show on KNSJ, by clicking image at left

September 21, 2022 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells has served as Mayor for nine years, and on the City Council and  Planning Commission before that.  A healthcare professional, he brings a unique perspective to issues such as homelessness. He’s running for eelection and this week, sat down for an exclusive interview in which he discussed his accomplishments, key challenges facing the city, and his goals if reelected. He also spoke out on the city’s conflicts with the county over a homeless motel voucher program.

He says his commitment is to "trying to do what’s right" while" listening to everyone's point of view."


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NY ATTORNEY GENERAL FILES SUIT AGAINST TRUMP OVER FINANCIAL FRAUD, SENDS CRIMINAL REFERRAL TO U.S. DEPT. of JUSTICE

By Miriam Raftery

September 21, 2022 (New York) – Today, New York Attorney General Leticia James filed a civil fraud lawsuit against former president Donald Trump, his family members and the Trump Organization for alleged financial fraud.

“We’re also making a criminal referral to the U.S. Department of Justice,” James announced. On Twitter, she posted, “There aren’t two sets of laws for people in this nation: former presidents must be held to the same standards as everyday Americans.”

Her office has also referred the matter to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York and to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to investigate possible state and federal criminal laws.


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SUPERVISOR ANDERSON SENDS LETTER REMINDING EAST COUNTY CITIES OF LAST CHANCE FOR HOMELESSNESS FUNDING

$5 million remaining in the second round of funding; applications due Oct. 11 

Source: Supervisor Joel Anderson

 

Photo by Robert Gehr: homeless person in downtown El Cajon

 

September 16, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) — District 2 Supervisor Joel Anderson sent letters out on Friday, September 16, 2022 to the East County cities in his district—El Cajon, Poway and Santee—reminding them of an opportunity for funding from the County to help in their efforts with addressing homelessness. According to Anderson, there is more than $5 million remaining in the second round of funding from the Capital Emergency Housing Solutions Grant Program—a program unanimously approved by the Board of Supervisors this spring.


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DISTRICT ATTORNEY WON’T FILE CHARGES AGAINST DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR RODRIGUEZ-KENNEDY, CLOSES INVESTIGATION

East County News Service

Photo by Miriam Raftery: Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, March 2020 primary night

September 16, 2022 (San Diego) – The  San Diego District Attorney’s office has closed its investigation into alleged sexual assault by County Democratic Party Chairman William Rodriguez-Kennedy.

Rodriguez-Kennedy today issued a statement saying he’d been “cleared of wrongdoing.”  He has been on leave since May, pending the outcome of the investigation.

DA spokeswoman Tanya Sierra on Friday told Times of San Diego, an ECM news partner, “After a thorough review, we determined that no charges could be filed in this case. We do not discuss our charging decisions except to say that we can only file charges when we believe we can prove them beyond a reasonable doubt.”


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LMSV TO FILLL VACANCY ON SCHOOL BOARD BY APPOINTMENT: OCT. 14 DEADLINE TO APPLY

By Susan Taylor

Photo: Map of LMSV Trustee District 4

September 16, 2022 (La Mesa) -- A new trustee to the La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board is needed. At the Board’s September 6 meeting, Sarah Rhiley, District 4 Trustee, announced her immediate resignation.  This left the Board with two ways to fill the vacancy.  It could hold a special election, or it could appoint a new School Board member.

 In a special meeting held on September 12, the board voted unanimously that an appointment will be made to fill out the remainder of Rhiley’s term through December 2024.

The process for applying to be appointed as trustee is posted on the LMSV website at https://www.lmsvschools.org/board/#board-vacancy. The application is available online and must be submitted no later than October 14 at 4:45 p.m to be considered.


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EL CAJON VOICES CONCERNS OVER COUNTY PLACING HOMELESS IN MOTELS WITHOUT NOTIFYING CITY

 

“This is an emergency, as far as I’m concerned.” – El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells

By Miriam Raftery and Shiloh Ireland

Photos by Shiloh Ireland

September 16, 2022 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells held a press conference Wednesday in front of the Travelodge Motel at 426 West Main Street, one of six El Cajon motels where the County of San Diego has placed homeless people temporarily under a voucher program.

“It’s very frustrating that the County never bothered to let us know about using of El Cajon’s motels as homeless shelters,” said Wells. The city learned of the program only noticing changes in calls for public safety around some of the motels. “This is an emergency situation,” Wells says.

City Manager Graham Mitchell states in a news release,“Not only did we notice an increase in crime and need for medical responses around some of these motels, our police officers started noticing new homeless individuals, along with drug dealers who prey on them, and open drug use.”


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SANTEE COUNCIL APPROVES FANITA RANCH HOUSING ONCE AGAIN

By Mike Allen

Photo:  view of Fanita Ranch site, looking south from State Route 67

September 15, 2022 (Santee) -- Fanita Ranch, the 3,000-unit residential development that has gone through multiple iterations and designs since the city was founded, was approved once again by the Santee City Council after a four and a half-hour meeting Sept. 14.

This approval, on a 4-0 vote with Councilman Rob McNelis recused due to his property benefiting from the project, comes on the heels of the Council’s 2020 approval of the same project. That was followed by a lawsuit from environmental groups, a referendum that put the issue on this November’s ballot, and a court-order rescinding the 2020 approvals due to wildfire evacuation concerns. The Council used the court’s decision to negate its earlier approval and remove the initiative from the upcoming ballot.

Because Fanita Ranch complied with Santee’s Essential Housing Program, a law the city adopted in August 2021, city officials said last night that approval of the new plan presented last night did not entail amending the city’s General Plan, and hence, there is no requirement to hold a public vote.


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JONES DENOUNCES $1.4 BILLION LOAN TO PG&E AND POTENTIAL RATE HIKES IN BILL SIGNED BY GOVERNOR TO KEEP DIABLO CANYON NUKE PLANT OPEN

“Those of us living in San Diego County already pay the highest  electrical rates in the nation, and they’ll go even higher with an added bill from Diablo Canyon cost.” –Senator Brian Jones

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Diablo Canyon; Creative Commons license by Tracey Adams

September 9, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) has issued blistering condemnation of SB 846, a bill signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom which aims to keep open the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant for five years beyond the scheduled 2025 closure date. But the bill also authorizes a $1.4 billion loan to the plant’s operator, Pacific Gas & Electric, and opens the door for potential rate hikes statewide.

“”I voted against electricity rate hikes and the $1.4 billion gift to PG&E – I did not vote against Diablo Canyon and nuclear power,” says Senator Jones, in an editorial sent to media outlets.


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ECM INTERVIEWS ARNIE LEVINE, CANDIDATE FOR EL CAJON MAJOR

By Miriam Raftery

September 2, 2022 (El Cajon) – Arnie Levine is a realtor running for the El Cajon mayoral seat.  He wants to  revitalize El Cajon as a "new city."   His priorities include reducing homelessness and lack of housing affordability, protecting public health, supporting the arts, and according to his website, "restoring hope" to all El Cajon residents.

ECM’s editor, Miriam Raftery, interviewed Levine for the East County Magazine Radio Show on KNSJ.   Hear audio, view video, or read highlights from our interview below.  You can also learn more at his website: https://arnielevine4elcajoncamayor.com/.

Audio: 


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SEN. JONES' BILL TO PROTECT OFF-HIGHWAY COMPETITIONS PASSES LEGISLATURE

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

Photo:  a dirt bike race. Photo via Pixabay

September 1, 2022 (San Diego) - A bill by Sen. Brian W. Jones that protects off-highway vehicle competitions on public lands in California passed in the Legislature and heads to Gov. Gavin Newsom for final consideration.


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COUNTY SUPERVISOR JOEL ANDERSON HEARS COMMUNITY CONCERNS DURING TOWN HALL MEETING IN JULIAN

By Henri Migala

August 31, 2022 (Julian) -- Joel Anderson, County Supervisor for District 2, held a Community Coffee Town Hall meeting in Julian on August 11.  Approximately 100 residents filled Julian’s historic town hall to discuss issues of concern, ranging from fire safety and road improvements to animal control and the exceptionally high cost of fire insurance, and many other matters of concern to residents.


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SUPERVISORS VOTE 4-1 TO SUPPORT JACOBS BILL TO PROTECT DATA ON REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

By Miriam Raftery

August 30, 2022 (San Diego) – San Diego County Supervisors voted 4-1 earlier this month for a resolution to support the “My Body, My Data Act” introduced by Congresswoman Sara Jacobs, a Democrat whose 53rd district includes portions of San Diego and East County.  The bill, if enacted, would protect the privacy of reproductive health data nationwide.


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NO CHALLENGERS FOR TWO SANTEE DISTRICTS, SO COUNCIL OPTS TO APPOINT

By Mike Allen

August 28, 2022 (Santee) -- In a first for the city of Santee, two incumbent members of the City Council were appointed to another four-year term and will avoid the November election, because no challengers in either district filed papers to challenge them.


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BIDEN ADMINISTRATION FORGIVES PARTIAL STUDENT LOANS OF THOSE EARNING UNDER $125,000

White House fires back at critics who had federal loans forgiven too

By Miriam Raftery

August 27. 2022 (Washington D.C.) – If you have a federal student loan and earn less than $125,000 a year, you are eligible to have $10,000 forgiven – or $20,000 if you were a recipient of a Pell Grant awarded to help low-income students attend college.

President Joe Biden announced the plan this week, also extended a pause on student loan repayments until December 31. In addition, Biden’s plan caps future repayments at 5% of your monthly income, down from the current 10% threshold.

An application for the partial student loan forgiveness will be posted later this year; borrowers can sign up at https://www.ed.gov/subscriptions to receive updates on the federal student loans.


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CALIFORNIA BALLOT MEASURES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

By Ben Christopher and Sameea Kamaal, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

August 27, 2022 (Sacramento) - Much is expected of the California voter. 

In any given election year, we may be asked to dust off our labor lawyer hats, brush up on oil and gas regulations, reacquaint ourselves with decades of tax policy, or analyze infrastructure funding. We may have to weigh the moral pros and cons of capital punishment, marriage equality or pig protection and — over and over again — oversee all things dialysis clinic.

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CANDIDATES TO CONSTITUENTS TOWNHALL SEPTEMBER 18 IN ALPINE

East County News Service

August 10, 2022 (Alpine) – Voters are invited to a “Candidates to Constituents Town Hall” on Sunday, September 18th, 2022 at the Alpine Community Center from 1 to 4 p.m. Doors open at 12:45 p.m. Food and beverage provided. The event is hosted by Alpine resident Anne Tillmond and features local, state & federal candidates Barbara Bry, Steven Houlahan, Joseph Rocha as well as special guest candidate for S.D. County Superior Court Seat 36, Commissioner Peter Singer.

Below is information on the candidates featured, provided by Tillmond:


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TOP SECRET AND CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS FOUND BY FBI IN SEARCH OF TRUMP’S FLORIDA HOME

Judge weighs unsealing redacted affidavit to show justification for granting search warrant

By Elijah McKee and Miriam Raftery

August 18, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) removed over 20 containers including 11 sets of classified documents during a search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on August 8. Trump’s removal of documents from the White House and his handling of top secret information has potentially serious national security implications, as well as potential criminal liability, though thus far Trump has not been charged with any crime.

A property receipt made public this week  reveals that the documents found by the FBI include four sets marked “top secret,” three sets of “secret” documents, three “confidential” sets, and one set of “top secret and sensitive compartmented information (TS/SCI). The latter is a category that even some people with top secret clearance cannot access, such as nuclear secrets and details on U.S. intelligence gathering operations overseas.


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COUNTY LAUNCHES EXPERIENCE THE OUTDOORS PROGRAM

 

By Andy Tolley, County of San Diego Communications Office

August 17, 2022 (San Diego) - County Board of Supervisors Chair Nathan Fletcher, parks officials and others officially kicked off “Experience the Outdoors,” on August 10th, a campaign to give more San Diegans opportunities to enjoy nature and the County’s regional parks.


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BIDEN SIGNS AMBITIOUS BILL TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE, REDUCE DEFICIT AND LOWER HEALTHCARE COSTS

By Miriam Raftery

August 17, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – President Joe Biden has signed the Inflation Reduction Act, calling it “one of the most significant laws in our history.” He added, “With this law, the American people won and the special interests lost.” The bill cuts prescription drug costs for Medicare and has healthcare savings for many others, provides tax breaks and rebates for households and companies investing in clean energy, funds IRS collections from tax dodgers and levies new taxes on some corporations, also aiming to sharply reduce the federal deficit.


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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL APPROVES CONTROVERSIAL URBN LEAF DISPENSARY, REVERSING PRIOR DENIAL

By Henri Migala

August 12, 2022 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa City Council voted Tuesday to approve a Conditional Use Permit and allow Urbn Leaf to build a cannabis (marijuana) dispensary at 7901 Hillside Drive. The Council unanimously voted 5-0 to repeal its earlier approval of an appeal that had blocked the project, after applicant Urbn Leaf filed a legal challenge.


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