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Part three in our four-part Year in Review





Term Limits for Supervisors

Photo credit: Leon Thompson

County workers launched a drive in July to put an initiative on the June 2010 ballot requiring term limits for County Supervisors, some of whom have been in office for more than two decades, including East County's Supervisor Dianne Jacob (photo). By year’s end, the measure qualified with ample signatures to let voters decide whether Supervisors should be limited to eight-year terms.



Heroic rescue

Photo credit: City of El Cajon

Bystanders rescued an 84-year-old man from this vehicle. The driver had struck a fire hydrant and became trapped with his head underwater beneath the flow.  The good samaritans flipped the vehicle onto its side, enabling the man to breathe.  El Cajon and La Mesa fire and rescue personnel later used jaws of life to free the man, who was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for trauma.


Pearl Harbor veterans honored

Photo credit: Miriam Raftery

Veterans of the attack on Pearl Harbor were honored as grand marshals in La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade, an annual tradition that was nearly canceled due to budget cuts until citizens raised money to save their parade.








Final honors for Agent Rosas

Photo credit: Deborah Craig

The funeral of slain Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas graphically brought home the impact of border violence in our region. A teen boy was recently convicted of the murder near Campo, which triggered an increase in federal resources to boost border security. 






Healthcare reform rallies

Photo credit: Billionaires for Wealthcare San Diego

The national healthcare reform debate spurred millions of Americans to take to the streets. Local residents rallied for and against measures being considered in Congress. In San Diego, a street theater group called Billionaires for Wealthcare turned up at Congresswoman Susan Davis’ office, staging a counter-counter protest to mock those rallying against to healthcare reform.  On Christmas Eve, the U.S. Senate passed a healthcare reform bill that was significantly watered down from a stronger House version.  Next up: a conference committee will decide on a compromise measure, to be sent back to both houses of Congress for a final vote early this year.

Go, grannies, go!

Photo credit: Splash

What could be more endearing than a team of octogenarians winning four national gold medals? Why, winning a fifth one – as the Splash basketball team , which includes players from East County, accomplished at the National Senior Games this year.






Meg Whitman visits East County

Photo credit: Joel Ryerson

It’s not often that a gubernatorial candidate makes a public appearance in East County. In August, Republican Meg Whitman spoke at Cuyamaca College. The former E-Bay CEO pledged to run California like a business and create jobs. She called for more cuts in state spending, also pledging to strive for “excellence in education.” But some educators questioned how she could achieve both goals, since deep budget cuts for education have left many districts and colleges straining at the seams—including Cuyamaca College, where enrollment is up to 10,000 students but the school is only getting state funding for 7,000. (photo:  Whitman, right, with Chancellor Cindy Miles, left.)





We’ll drink to this: Ramona winemaker wins awards

Photo credit: Leon Thompson

East County winemaking is coming of age. Johnny Schwaesdall of Schwaesdall Winery picked up two gold medals in Temecula’s wine competition—putting Ramona squarely on the map as an up-and-coming winemaking region.






All That Jazz

Photo credit: Takayuki Higuchi

Grossmont College music instructor Chris Klich has performed around the world during his 26-year career, including many of the top performance venues for jazz.   In an exclusive interview with ECM Takayuki Higuchi, he recalled highlights of his career and shared insights into the East County music scene.


Sheriff rolls out sonic weapon

Photo credit: Mike Russell, Liberty One Radio

This was our shot seen round the world!  After Mike Russell sent us this snapshot of a sonic weapon spotted at a healthcare rally outside Congressman Susan Davis’ office, ECM launched an investigative report.  We revealed that these devices had been brought out to other local events—and that the Poway manufacturer was willing to sell sonic weapons to lifeguards and radio stations. Our report prompted an international outcry, comments worldwide and 25,000 hits to our story—resulting in the Sheriff announcing he had disabled the sonic weapons feature.




Sheriff candidates trade shots

Photo credit: Leon Thompson


Sheriff Bill Gore squared off against challengers Jim Duffy, Bruce Ruff and Jay LaSuer in a rough-and-tumble debate over who will be our next top lawman in the County.  East County editor Miriam Raftery co-moderated the debate in El Cajon along with radio talk-show host Rick Amato.




A tempest at a T.E.A. party

photo credit: Leon Thompson

2009 saw the rise of “Taxed Enough Already” parties hosted by conservatives opposed to Obama administration policies, including this demonstration at the Civic Center ampitheater in downtown El Cajon.






A School board learns a lesson

Photo credit: Gayle Early

Hundreds of irate parents and citizens turned out to chastise the La Mesa Spring Valley School Board for censoring a live speech by President Obama for schoolchildren. “If you were students in my class, you would not pass,” one teacher informed the Board. Public outrage ultimately prompted apologies from three Board members, including Rick Winet, shown in this photo.


Viejas holds a block party

Photo credit: Leon Thompson

Festivals and street fairs are among the most enjoyable attractions in East County, including a new major event added this year—the Viejas Block Party. Entertainment ranged from rock and roll concerts courtesy of Magic 92.5 radio to a group of graffiti artists who transformed a blank wall into a vibrant piece of art. The first-time, free event proved a success, drawing thousands of visitors.


Firefighting budgets burned

Photo credit: Cal-Fire

East County dodged a bullet this year with no major wildfires, thanks in large part to the dedicated efforts of Cal-Fire (shown here battling a structure fire in Valley Center). But during a September hearing chaired by State Senator Christine Kehoe in San Diego, a panel of firefighting experts testified that deep budget cuts have left our firefighting resources statewide stretched dangerously thin.


Kids pitch in on environmental cleanup

photo credit: Kristin Hobbs-Kjaero
Children and adults pitched in to help clean up East County lakes and rivers, including these youngsters helping out at Lake Murray on Coastal Cleanup Day.


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