California

NEW STATE LAW BANS CALIFORNIA FROM COOPERATING WITH FEDS ON INDEFINITE DETENTION

 

 

Sweeping measure also applies to other laws that violate Constitution or state law

By Miriam Raftery

October 7, 2013 (Sacramento) – In a rare show of bipartisanship, Governor Brown has signed into a law a bill that passed the Legislature almost unanimously.  The measure makes California the third state to nullify provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) allowing indefinite detention of citizens.

However California’s law goes farther, banning state cooperation with federal authorities on enforcement of any federal law that violates the U.S. Constitution, the California Constitution or California law.  The bill also prohibits use of state funds for such purposes.

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL GRANTING DRIVER’S LICENSES TO UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2013 (Sacramento )— Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today signed AB 60, making California the tenth state in the U.S. to grant undocumented immigrants the right to obtain driver’s licenses.

Studies done by the DMV and AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that unlicensed drivers were more likely to be involved in fatal crashes than validly-licensed drivers. Advocates believe that AB 60 will help make the roads safer by broadening the state’s effort to ensure that all California drivers are properly trained, tested, licensed and insured.

2 LOCAL OFFICERS RECEIVE MEDAL OF VALOR FROM GOVERNOR FOR SAVING LIVES IN LAKESIDE SHOOTING

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 30, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Spears and San Diego Police Officer Michael DeWitt risked their lives to save two deputies who were shot and wounded by a child molestation suspect in Lakeside last September.  The deputies, Ali Perez and Craig Johnson, both survived thanks to their colleagues’ heroism.

On Thursday, Governor Jerry Brown and Attorney General Kamala Harris presented the Medal of Valor – California’s highest law enforcement award – to Deputy Spears and Officer DeWitt for their courage above and beyond the call of duty.

LIFEGUARD SERVICES SAY REPORTED SHARK SIGHTINGS NOT CONFIRMED

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 3, 2013 (San Diego) – Yesterday a local scanner tracking service reported several apparent shark sightings off Torrey Pines Beach. In the interest of keeping readers safe we posted the report promptly with no way to obtain confirmation on the holiday weekend.

 ECM today has reached both state and city lifeguards who say they are unaware of any reports.  It now appears our usually credible source was inaccurate and we regret the error.

We could not get verification prior to posting our initial report on Labor Day evening when we were simultaneously reporting on a live shooter on Mt Helix near my own home office, flash flooding in the backcountry, a wildfire in La Posta and additional weather-related incidents.  This story was posted by a bleary-eyed editor in the early pre-dawn hours who got no sleep due to the shooting incident here including  eight wakeup phone calls from emergency authorities that continued until 3:30 a.m.

For those interested in the history of shark attacks in our area and California overall, below are some fascinating facts. 

AIRPORT TRAVELERS MAY HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO WHOOPING COUGH

 

July 24, 2013

A four-month-old child who travelled out of San Diego Lindbergh Field may have exposed fellow travelers to pertussis, a highly contagious respiratory illness which is also known as whooping cough, according to San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) officials.

The child, who was up-to-date with vaccinations for his age, travelled with a parent from San Diego to Norfolk, Virginia on Friday, July 19. The child was seen by medical staff at Rady Children’s Hospital shortly before leaving. Tests later confirmed the child had pertussis.

CALIFORNIA BUDGET APPROVED ON SCHEDULE BY LEGISLATURE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2013 (Sacramento) – For the first time in recent years, the California Legislature approved a budget that is not only on time, but a week ahead of deadline.  The budget, pushed through by the new Democratic supermajority of two-thirds in both houses, includes substantial increases in funding for education, healthcare, students, and the courts. The budget awaits the Governor's signature.

The budget projects $97.1 billion in general fund revenues. It includes $96.3 billion in spending for the 2013-14 fiscal year starting July 1 and maintains a $1.1 billion resere, also paying down debt accumulated during the recession.

REACTIONS AND CONCERNS VOICED OVER SAN ONOFRE SHUTDOWN

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 9, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – As ECM reported on June 7, the San  Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations  (SONGS) will be shut down permanently.  Reactions locally range from celebration among activists pushing for the closure to concerns over stored nuclear fuel, job losses, and a new bill that could ramp up pressure for approval of other energy projects including large-scale wind and solar projects in East County.

SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR PLANT TO CLOSE PERMANENTLY

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

June 7, 2013 (San Onofre) – Southern California Edison (SCE) announced today that it will permanently decommission both reactors at its troubled Onofre nuclear generation plant.  (SCE has made this decision due to the uncertainty brought by the increased requirements for safety from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). 

“Looking ahead,” said Ron Litzinger, SCE’s President, “we think that our decision to retire the units will eliminate uncertainty and facilitate orderly planning for California’s energy future.” 

The nuclear waste on-site will remain there in dry cask storage—encased in stainless steel and concrete—until national leaders come up with a permanent storage solution, Patch.com reported.

READER’S EDITORIAL: STOP POISONING OUR COMMUNITY! HERBICIDE SPRAYING IS WIND INDUSTRY’S TOXIC SECRET

 

 

“Pattern Energy is going to pollute what it couldn't destroy… Monsanto’s Roundup is an herbicde cousin  to Agent Orange--the defoliant sprayed in Viet Nam that harmed a generation of veterans and their children… This herbicide—a neurotoxin--is going to get carried downwind. Did Pattern fail to notice that there is still a community with children here in spite of its industrialization of the area with 112 turbines and a substation?”

By Linda Ewing, Ocotillo resident

Photo: Sahara mustard, a “weed” the BLM wants to eradicate with toxic herbicides

May 14, 2013 (Ocotillo) -- Herbicide Mitigation? What is that? I heard these two disturbing words and felt panic.

I knew instinctively that it was going to have something to do with this Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility because nothing good has come from this controversial project since the day Pattern Energy uttered its first words of deception to the town of Ocotillo. Since the day the company first tried to convince us that its massive 438 foot-tall industrial-sized wind turbines were good for the economy.  And yes, the very same day we realized that human lives were disposable and irrelevant in the statistical world of giant wind turbine developers.

WHAT HAPPENS IF SEQUESTRATION OCCURS ON FRIDAY?

By Miriam Raftery

White House releases list of cuts to California

“By God, across-the board cuts are the worst and most cowardly way to approach this situation.” –Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

"Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools ...slash military health care and the Border Patrol ...Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?" -- President Barack Obama

February 25, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – If Congress can’t agree by Friday, automatic sequestration cuts will take place in nearly all federal programs.  Half will hit the military, the other half will slice domestic programs. 

Both sides agreed in prior debt negotiations that the cuts were so severe that neither party would actually let them take place--and that the sequestration trigger would force Congress to come up with a more sensible plan before the March 1 deadline.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.  Sequestration appears likely to occur on Friday--and the impacts are apt to be felt by every American, from long waits at airports to cuts in programs impacting students, senior citizens, the military, national parks, the unemployed, health programs, and much more.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said cuts will  even harm the readiness of U.S. troops in the military.

COURT HEARS ARGUMENTS IN DESERT PROTECTIVE COUNCIL’S CASE OVER WILDLIFE THREATS POSED BY OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT

UPDATE: February 28, 2013 -- Judge Curiel has denied the plaintiff's motion for summary judgment.  Plaintiff's have not yet announced whether they will file an appeal.  View decision here

 

The codes are quite clear …You can’t take a Swainson’s hawk. Not even one…There is also no take for Peregrine falcons and owls. If turbine curtailment  is good enough for golden eagles, it should be good enough for these species, too.” ----Laurens Silver, attorney for plaintiffs

It is not the BLM’s role to enforce state law…All through downtown there are glass buildings that could cause a take.” – Marissa Piropato, attorney for the U.S. Bureau of Land Management

By Miriam Raftery

Maris Brancheau also contributed to this report

February 27, 2013 (San Diego) – Is the federal government turning a blind eye to violations of state laws intended to protect raptors (birds of prey) and other wildlife at the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility?   That’s the contention of a lawsuit filed by the Desert Protective Council, an environmental group, and others against the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, Pattern Energy and others.

BIRD TALK: THE CACTUS WREN

 

By Greg Dunne

February 21, 2013 (Lake Jennings) --   Many birds call both California and Arizona their home.  Although our state bird, the California Quail, crosses over into other states, it does not cross over to our neighbor to the east in Arizona.  However, the Arizona state bird, the Cactus Wren also calls our East County its home.

The Cactus Wren can be found here occasionally in Southern California. This particular Cactus Wren I photographed at Lake Jennings. It was having a good time making itself known; its loud alarm call “tek-tek-tek-tek” as it gets louder and louder towards the end.  It seems to me that wrens can throw their voices. This would make sense because wrens will try to distract you from their nest by making themselves heard as they move farther and farther from the nest.

CA NATIVE AMERICAN HERITAGE COMMISSION ISSUES REPORT BACKING VIEJAS AND QUECHAN CLAIMS OF OCOTOILLO WIND SITE HARM TO SACRED SITES

 

Commission urges CA Attorney General to file suit if mitigation requests not met

Update February 12, 2013: A hearing set for February 15 in San Diego has been postponed.

By Miriam Raftery

January 22, 2013 (Ocotillo ) – The California Native American Heritage Commission (CNAH) has issued a report in support of the Viejas Band of the Kumeyaay Indians and the Quechan Indian Nation claims that the Bureau of Land Management failed in its duty to protect cultural resources including human remains and sacred sites at the Ocotillo Express Wind Facility.  The draf staff report details a disturbing pattern by the BLM, Pattern Energy and a project archaeology consultant of ignoring tribal concerns and failing in its duty to protect cultural resources.

The tribes petitioned the NAHC to investigate and conduct a public hearing to consider tribal requests to declare the entire 12,500 acre site a ‘sanctified cemetery’.  Tribes also seek to have the project halted to assess damage and want agencies to consult with tribes to agree on mitigation measures to prevent further harm to a broader region. The case has broad national significance, with hundreds of millions of acres of public lands slated for renewable energy projects.

The NAHC has cancelled a Public Hearing that had been scheduled at the State of California Building on Front Street in Downtown San Diego for February 15, offering no explanation for the indefinite postponement.

CALIFORNIANS CAN NOW SELL CERTAIN HOMEMADE FOODS

 

January 6, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)  -- Love to cook and want to earn some extra money? 

The California Homemade Food Act, AB 1616, took effect January 1. It allows people to sell certain items cooked in their home kitchen, such as cookies, churros, dried fruits and pasta.   Those who wish to sell homemade foods must take a class and obtain a permit from the Health Department, though no inspection of kitchens is required.

There are restrictions on the types of foods allowed and where you can sell them.Sale of baked goods with cream, custard or meat fillings are not allowed due to higher spoilage rates.  You also can’t sell outside of your county, with certain exceptions.  Sale at farmers markets is allowed, provided rules for individual farmers markets are met.  You can also sell over the Internet, but only to buyers who live in California. 

DID YOU CASH IN ON BLACK FRIDAY OR CYBER MONDAY DEALS?

Save Your Receipts – You Might Owe Use Tax

November 27, 2012 (Sacramento) -- Many California consumers are already cashing in on early Black Friday and Cyber Monday specials offered online or via smart phone applications. Michelle Steel, Third District Member of the State Board of Equalization (BOE), reminds you to save your receipts because you may owe use tax for your pre- and post-holiday shopping sprees.

ASSESSING THE OBAMA VICTORY AS WELL AS OUTCOMES IN CALIFORNIA AND SAN DIEGO COUNTY

November 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –  In startling contrast to numerous national polls that had predicted a near-tie in the presidential race, President Barack Obama won a sweeping victory.  Obama captured 303 electoral votes, Romney 206, winning not only Democratic strongholds, but also nearly all swing states.  According to CNN, the President also trounced Romney in the popular vote by more than a million vote margin.

Similarly, Democrats gained power in Sacramento and San Diego, taking control of the Council and Mayor’s office with wins looking increasingly likely to oust Congressman Bilbray and seat a Democrat on the all-Republican Board of Supervisors. 

What lessons can be learned from the outcomes?

PROPOSITION 30 PICKED UP A MAJOR WIN FOR EDUCATION FUNDING IN CA

By Bill Weaver

November 7, 2012 (San Diego)—Governor Jerry Brown has announced victory for Proposition 30. The ballot measure will raise income taxes on the wealthiest citizens in the state and temporarily increase the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent to fund K-12 schools, community colleges and state universities. Prop 30 is expected to raise more than $6 billion in revenue. If it had not passed, schools and colleges would have suffered significant trigger cuts in state appropriations.

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILLS TO HELP FARMERS ADAPTING TO CLIMATE CHANGE

By Lori Abbott, California News Service

October 8, 2012 (Sacramento)-- California farmers trying to adapt to climate change are getting some support. Governor Jerry Brown has signed two bills that will help the state reach its greenhouse gas reduction goals. The bills create a public process for determining how cap-and-trade revenue will be spent, with some of the revenue going to sustainable agriculture activities.

LARGE FIRE NEAR CA MEXICO BORDER IN THE BOULEVARD AREA

Update, 6:20 p.m.: Smoke south of I-8 is from fire on the Mexican side of the border, per CalFire. A Border Patrol agent told ECM the fire was about two miles south of the international border. 

July 24, 2012 (San Diego Border) -- ECM editor, Miriam Raftery reports seeing a large fire in the area of Boulevard at the California/Mexico Border. The fire is centered south of Jewel Valley Road in Mexico. Smoke and flames can be seen for miles. Please stay advised for further information.

ALPINE HISTORICAL SOCIETY SHOWCASED DURING HISTORY DAYS

 
By E.A. Barrera
 
"Each one remembers only in part. Seldom is an incident, a character, or a scene with all the lights and shadows peculiar to it alone remembered entirely by any one person. Thus the fabric of history must be a weaving together of many memories to pattern the whole cloth."
Beatrice La Force, August 2, 1971
 
June 25, 2012 (Alpine) --  As Alpine celebrated its heritage during the first weekend of June, it can be noted with some irony that the conditions which forged this community into existence are still ever present and not going away. A 100 years from now, what will be remembered about Alpine during these early days of the 21st Century?

FARM BILL: SOME GOOD, SOME BAD FOR CALIFORNIA

 
June 20, 2012 (Washington, D.C.)The U.S. Senate is taking up the Farm Bill, which will set the nation's food policy for the next five years. The legislation's title - the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2012 - includes the word "reform," although some California farmers question the amount of reform it contains.

Dave Runsten, policy director for the Community Alliance with Family Farmers, supports eliminating direct payments to farmers who may or may not plant crops. He adds that the bill shifts much of that money into federally subsidized crop insurance. 

STATE PARKS FOUNDATION LENDS A HAND TO KEEP PALOMAR PARK OPEN

 
June 2, 2012 (San Francisco) -- Efforts by a local group to keep Palomar Mountain State Park open were given a shot in the arm with a $20,000 grant from the California State Parks Foundation (CSPF), the San Francisco based charitable organization dedicated to protecting, enhancing and advocating for California's magnificent state parks.

 

BAJA LEGENDS, BY GREG NIEMANN (SUNBELT PUBLICATIONS, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA, 2002, 260 PAGES.)

 
Book Review by Dennis Moore

May 12, 2012 (Baja)--Greg Niemann, author of Baja Fever, and life-long Baja Buff who has traveled all over the peninsula known as Baja California in Mexico, has written a well-researched and easy-to-read history of the people and resorts that make Baja what it is today.
 
What is Baja anyway? “Baja,”  which means “Lower” in Spanish, refers to an 800-mile long peninsula separated from Mexico’s mainland by the Gulf of California – or the Sea of Cortez, if you prefer. The peninsula is comprised of two Mexican states, Baja California (Norte), with Mexicali as capital, and Baja California Sur, whose capital city is La Paz. To make it easy Norte means “North” and Sur means “South.”

CA POISED TO SET PRECEDENT, DEMAND CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN CITIZENS UNITED RULING

 Legislature to weigh resolution calling for end to unlimited corporate political spending

March 17, 2012 (Sacramento) – On March 20, the California Assembly Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing and vote on Assembly Joint Resolution 22. The resolution calls for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that allowed corporations to spend unlimited sums to influence elections.

If the Legislature approves the measure, as expected, California would be among the first states to formally call for an amendment. The effort is part of a national movement taking place in more than 1,000 cities and towns across America.

GOVERNOR BROWN CITES ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS, CHALLENGES IN STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

Republicans draw fire for criticizing speech—before it was written or delivered

January 22, 2012 (Sacramento ) – Governor Jerry Brown laid out his vision for restoring California’s reputation as a leader in innovation, job creation and renewable energy in his State of the State speech last week.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

 
January 18, 2012 --  (San Diego’s East County)--East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media.  This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:
   

 
 
 
 
STATE
  • California lawmakers take another crack at single payer healthcare bill (Sacramento Bee)
  • Jerry Brown’s budget demands would strip demands, payments from local governments (Sacramento Bee)
  • Education magazine gives California a “C” for its students (Sacramento Bee)
  • California in eye of Internet piracy storm (San Francisco Chronicle)
 
LOCAL

  • Can $20 a head “cash mobs” save local shops? (U-T San Diego)
  • E. County leaders like their politics unbuttoned (U-T San Diego)
  • Parents protest, but are told school attendance boundaries won’t change (La Mesa Patch)
  • San Diego County Water Authority challenges rate (KPBS)
  • Stuck in traffic, long awaited Park Place project awaits fifth study (La Mesa Patch)
  • Chaldeans launch community newspaper (U-T San Diego)
  • Chickens finally okayed in Santee (U-T San Diego)
  • 5 involved in Sweetwater District probe plead not guilty (10 News)
  • Sweetwater says workers stole from cafeterias (U-T San Diego)
  • Campaign limits proposed for Southwestern and San Diego Schools (U-T San Diego)
 Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.

STATE AGENCIES FAIL TO MAKE THE GRADE IN CALAWARE’S THIRD PUBLIC RECORDS AUDIT

 

March 23, 2011 (Carmichael, California)– For the third time in five years, Californians Aware (CalAware) has tested state agencies’ responses to very basic requests for public records. Analysis of the results found no measureable improvement overall-with agencies overall averaging a C+--and many flunking requirements of California’s open government laws.

 

“What, if anything, will Governor Brown do to make further improvements?” asks Emily Francke, executive director of CalAware.

TRACE RADIATION FROM JAPAN REACTORS COULD REACH CALIFORNIA FRIDAY, UNITED NATIONS SAYS

Core damage confirmed at 3 reactors; spent fuel rods a rising concern at 4th;
U.S. urges evacuation within 80 kilometers (50 Miles) around stricken plants

March 16, 2011 (San Diego) – The United Nations has released a forecast indicating a radioactive plume from damaged Japanese nuclear reactors at Fujushima Daiichi cold reach the Aleutian Islands off Alaska on Thursday and Southern California late on Friday, then east to Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and likely points beyond.

 

The U.N. has not issued a statement on how much radiation the plume could contain, however numerous other experts have indicated that amounts are expected to be small and below levels likely to harm human health. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is setting up additional radiation monitors on the West Coast as a precaution. An existing monitor in San Diego is currently non-operational, according to the EPA’s RadNet real-time radiation monitoring database online.

 

Murray Jennex, a nuclear expert at San Diego State University, told by ECM of the non-operational monitor locally, called back a short time later to reveal, “We’re going to set up monitoring here and try to get real numbers."

PUBLIC MEETINGS ON REDISTRICTING ANNOUNCED FOR VOTERS IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

March 9, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Census data released yesterday shows California’s population grew 10% over the past decade. The public now has an opportunity to voice opinions on how districts should be redrawn for state legislative, county supervisorial, and city council districts. View census data at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/
 

 

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