Cities

HELIX WATER SETS SPECIAL MEETING JAN. 18 TO FILLL BOARD VACANCY AND VOTE ON MOVING MEETINGS TO EVENINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Directors Mark Gracyk and DeAna Verbecke offered opposing views on how board vacancy should be filled

January 5, 2016 (La Mesa) – At a packed meeting yesterday,  Helix Water Board members aired differing views on how to fill a vacancy left by the resignation last week of newly elected member Lu Tejeda. Tejeda cited conflicts of interest raised by his job with a contractor. 

The new board majority pushed to appoint Dan McMillan, whom Tejeda narrowly edged out by just 185 votes in the four-man race. Both ran on a platform of reigning in rising water rates. 

Director DeAna Verbecke dissented, calling for the district to accept applications and conduct interviews with all interested parties in an open meeting before making an appointment. 

EL CAJON POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES GRANT FOR SPECIAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT AND CRASH PREVENTION

Source:  City of El Cajon

October 31,2016 (El Cajon)--The El Cajon Police Department has been awarded a $170,000.00 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS) for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic related deaths and injuries.  The El Cajon Police Department will use the funding as part of the city’s ongoing commitment to keep roadways safe and improve the quality of life through both enforcement and education, according to a release issued today.

“The El Cajon Police Department is looking forward to working with OTS, our partners in Law Enforcement, and our community stakeholders to reduce injury and death related to traffic collisions,” stated El Cajon Police Lieutenant Randy Soulard. “With an emphasis on the prevention of pedestrian and bicycle-related collisions, we will work collaboratively using a multi-pronged approach in addressing education and enforcement aspects of collision reduction.”

DEMONSTRATIONS CONTINUE OVERNIGHT IN EL CAJON: TEAR GAS DEPLOYED AS PROTEST TURNS VIOLENT

 

2 men wanted for stealing photojournalist’s $15,000 camera Wednesday night

By Miriam Raftery

September 30, 2016 (El Cajon)--Demonstrations continued overnight in El Cajon over the killing of Alfred Olango Tuesday by police.

  After receiving several 911 calls of 50-70 protesters blocking cars and breaking car windows, police declared an unlawful assembly. 10 News reports that tear gas and pepper balls were deployed by police. The station posted video of the incident and reported that protesters also knocked a motorcyclist off a motorcycle. Glass bottles were also thrown at officers. Two arrests were made, according to police.

 “A large group of demonstrators marched through the streets throughout the evening and into the early morning hours,”said Lieutenant Rob Ransweiler.

Police are also investigating theft of a $15,000 camera taken forcibly from a photojournalist.   A video viewed by 250,000 people on social media has led to identification one suspect, San Diego News Video reports.  Public help is requested to identify a second subject shown at the end of a video here: https://www.facebook.com/SDNVtv/videos/918156954956981/

UNREST GROWS IN EL CAJON: MAN KILLED POINTED VAPING DEVICE AT OFFICERS,HAD CRIMINAL RECORD

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, by Rebecca Williamson, during vigil at shooting sight this evening

September 28,2016 (El Cajon) –Amid mounting tensions and protests this evening,  El Cajon Police released updates in yesterday’s fatal shooting of Alfred Okwera Olango.  

The updated information reveals the Olango, an El Cajon resident, drew a vape smoking device from his pocket and pointed it at officers. The release also indicates a Psychiatric Emergency Response Team was unavailable due to being dispatched to another call.

A 10 News investigation found  Olango had a criminal record including  a 2005 arrest in Colorado as a felon in possession of a firearm—a semi-automatic pistol in the vehicle he was driving. He also pled guilty to receiving stolen property and driving under the influence in 1999, as well as selling cocaine in 2001.

In this confrontation, however, Olango did not have a gun or any other weapon.  The Ugandan refugee who came to America  after death threats to his famliy was shot and killed after his sister called officers for help due to her brother's erratic actions.

Tonight, crowds clashed with police.  While organizers of a march and vigil sought to keep the peace, some protesters reportedly threw bottles at police and chased a counter-protester wearing a Trump hat after he shouted racial slurs.

EL CAJON MAKES PROGRESS ON BUDGET AND HOMELESSNESS, STALLS ON DISTRICT ELECTIONS, REJECTS LOCAL HIRING REQUIREMENTS

 

By Jonathan Goetz     

June 27, 2016 (El Cajon)—Last Tuesday, the City of El Cajon adopted a new annual budget, announced its participation in the East County Homeless Outreach Team and recertified its Property and Business Improvement District.

COUNTY SETS HEARINGS ON REDISTRICTING PROPOSED BY GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

 



By Miriam Raftery

Updated March 31 with new info from the County Office of Education.

March 15, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) – The County Committee on School District Organization will hold six hearings to get public input on the Grossmont Union High School District’s proposed shift to electing governing board trustees by districts.  The GUHSD board voted 4-1 to adopt a controversial map and seek a waiver of a public vote despite opposition from members of the public who spoke, some alleging gerrymandering to oust a dissenting board member and break up a vocal minority voting block, as ECM reported.

The six hearings are set for March 17 in La Mesa, March 28 in El Cajon,  April 4 in Alpine,  April 5 in Jamul, April 6 in Lemon Grove, and April 11 in Lakeside.  The public can testify at the meetings and also submit written comments up until April 7.  The County’s committee will vote to approve or disapprove the district’s request at its April 13 meeting. The Alpine hearing was added after ECM and community members asked that Alpine be added as a location due to the many controversies involving the Alpine area.

For the full schedule of meetings, rules and details, click "read more" and scroll down.

To view the San Diego County Office of Education hearings announcement in English, Spanish and Arabic, click here.

To view data on the GUHSD redistricting plan including demographic details and maps, click here.

LA MESA - MT. HELIX SEPTEMBER ACTIVITIES

By Kristin Kjaero

September 1, 2015 (La Mesa) – The delights of the summer are concluding to be supplanted by a rich selection of community offerings for fall. The final performances of the theater and concert season are joined by a variety of classes for every interest, a health fair, a craft fair, e-waste recycling, and outdoor nature and recreation activities galore.

LA MESA POLICE DEPARTMENT RECEIVES GRANT TO FIGHT ALCOHOL-RELATED CRIME

Submitted by the La Mesa Police Department

The La Mesa Police Department has been awarded a $34,363 grant from the California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) to battle alcohol-related crime. This is important to the City of La Mesa in order to increase protection for youth and to keep our community safe.

LA MESA SEEKING VOLUNTEERS TO SERVE ON VARIOUS COMMISSIONS

August 14, 2015 (La Mesa) -- Applications are being accepted for several openings on the City’s Aging and Veterans Commission, Environmental Sustainability Commission, La Mesa Community Parking Commission, and Historic Preservation Commission.

 

“The Mayor and City Councilmembers value the input from our community volunteers,” said Mary Kennedy, City Clerk. “By bringing new ideas to the table and representing the community, you will be helping your City government make the best most informed decisions possible for the benefit of the entire community.”

CONDITIONS MUST BE MET BEFORE LA MESA OKTOBERFEST PERMIT WILL BE ISSUED

Concerns raised over merchants group's solvency and credibility during heated hearing

By Kristin Kjaero

August 3, 2015 (La Mesa) – Whether or not there will be an Oktoberfest 2015 is in the hands of the La Mesa Village Merchants Association (LMVMA).

On Tuesday, the Council voted 4-1 to grant conditional approval for this year’s Oktoberfest, with Council member Ruth Sterling voting against. The deal requires the LMVMA to pay all outstanding debt plus a 25% security deposit and meet a scheduled list of new requirements giving the City oversight of LMVMA’s outside contracts for the event, before an Oktoberfest permit will be issued.

If all deadlines are met, Oktoberfest 2015 will be smaller and shorter: two days instead of three, closing an hour earlier, and held only in the downtown area east side of Spring Street. However, if any deadline is not met, Oktoberfest will be automatically cancelled with no further Council action required--and no refunds.

PEDESTRIAN SUFFERS FATAL INJURIES IN CRASH

August 2, 1015 (La Mesa) -- Yesterday at approximately 8:42 p.m., the La Mesa Police Department received a report of a pedestrian that was struck by a vehicle in the 7500 block of El Cajon Boulevard. 

The pedestrian/victim (61 year old male) was walking across westbound lanes of traffic when he was struck by a 2-door sedan. The driver of the sedan remained at the scene and was cooperative with the investigation. Alcohol was not a factor in the collision.

LA MESA - MT. HELIX AUGUST ACTIVITIES

By Kristin Kjaero

August 1, 2015 (La Mesa) – What a vibrant community we live in! August boasts five free concerts, three free movie screenings, two theater productions, the annual Helix High All Class Picnic, and the annual heART of Mt. Helix. There are free clubs for every age and interest at the La Mesa Library, a broad range of activities at the La Mesa Adult Enrichment Center, and a number of classes at the La Mesa Community Center start in August. For those who love nature there are a number of activities as Mission Trails Regional Park and the Water Conservation Garden, and for the fitness oriented there are several walking groups, aquatics, and even a boot camp. Get out and find your bliss, and while you’re at it meet your neighbors.

VILLAGE MERCHANTS BEGIN SELLING BOOTHS FOR OKTOBERFEST

No permit, no debt repayment plan yet, but the clock is ticking

By Kristin Kjaero

June 9, 2015 (La Mesa) – Although the City Council sent them back to the drawing board with a requirement that means they must come up with a repayment plan for $37,229 they owe the City before any new special event applications from them will be processed, the La Mesa Village Merchants Association yesterday evening sent e-mails to all 2014 Oktoberfest vendors soliciting applications and payments for booth rentals for a 2015 Oktoberfest.

The e-mail states, “Even though it was very hot during the day, the event was a great success. We hope that you feel the same way and will consider joining us again this year.”

The Merchants group owes the City $33,996 for Police, Fire and other support services provided for the 2014 Oktoberfest, and said at the last City Council meeting that they’d spent the revenue from it on Christmas in the Village instead of paying back the City’s General Fund.

The e-mail gives the vendors a date, time, fees for booth rental (ranging from $500 for crafters up to $2,100 for food vendors plus $100 cleaning deposit), and where to send their checks, but does not mention the debt issue or problems with their previous application which triggered a City Council policy change regarding special event applications and permits.

LA MESA FLAG DAY PARADE MAY 30

May 20, 2015 (La Mesa) --   The American Flag will be flown proudly at the 18th annual La Mesa Flag Day Parade on Saturday, May 30th. The parade will begin at 10:00 a.m. led by the United States 3d Marine Aircraft Wing Band through the downtown La Mesa Village.  Enjoy this year’s Grand Marshal: Sharp Grossmont Hospital Celebrating 60 years in La Mesa. View the many floats, military vehicles, active and retired war heroes, equestrian units, service clubs, and youth groups.  Arrive early to see two pre-parade concerts, La Mesa Middle School and Parkway Middle School bands, at 9:00 a.m. along the La Mesa Boulevard parade route.

PARK STATION: WILL THE THIRD TIME BE A CHARM?

May 14, 2015 (La Mesa) -- Park Station is coming before the La Mesa Planning Commission for the third time since the application was first submitted in 2008. The hearing will be held on May 20 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The first time it was kicked to the curb on the basis of height and density. The second time everyone -including the applicant- was stunned when the American Legion Hall withdrew their co-application during the hearing, requiring the Kitzman’s to come up with a new plan.

SDSU ART PROFESSOR AWARDED GUGGENHEIM FELLOWSHIP

 

By Jack Haworth. Photos by permission of the artist, Kim Stringfellow.

Professor Kim Stringfellow of the School of Art + Design at San Diego State University has been awarded the 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship for her latest research project called, The Mojave Project.

“For me, the Guggenheim Fellowship is one of the most honorable recognitions possible for an artist and photographer,” Stringfellow said. “Some really important projects have been done on Guggenheim fellowships so it means a lot to join this group of fellows.”

Of the 3,100 applicants this year, the Fellowship awarded 175 recipients an average of $43,000 each to assist them with their work.

SDSU TO REVIEW POLICE TRAFFIC STOP DATA

May 6, 2015 (San Diego) -- San Diego State’s School of Public Affairs will analyze existing traffic stop data gathered and provided by the San Diego Police Department for 2014 in an effort to understand the relationship between race, age, and gender on the likelihood and outcome of being subject to a traffic stop. The research project is the first of its kind to include interviews with stakeholders, members of the community, and members of the police force.

EDCO PRICES LIKELY TO INCREASE IN LA MESA

By Kristin Kjaero

May 5, 2015 (La Mesa) -- The La Mesa City Council voted 5-0 April 28 to issue a public notice of a possible rate increase for both residential and commercial trash pickup in La Mesa. The public hearing will occur at the June 23 City Council meeting in the 7:00 p.m. time certain slot for hearings.

EDCO President and CEO Steve South made the presentation to the Council. The company is requesting 3.6% and 1.5% increases for residential and commercial, respectively. That translated to a 68-cent increase for residential from $19.09 to $10.77, and an increase of $1.45 from $99.29 to $100.74 for commercial.

LUNCH AND DINNER FUNDRAISERS IN SUPPORT OF NEPAL EARTHQUAKE VICTIMS

May 3, 2015 (La Mesa) — Himalayan Cuisine, on the corner of El Cajon Blvd. & Baltimore Dr., 7918 El Cajon Blvd. #P, La Mesa, 91941,  will hold two fundraising events next week to help raise funds to aid victims of the devastating 7.8 earthquake and subsequent aftershocks that struck Nepal on April 25.  The lunch and dinner events will be held Tuesday, May 5 and Thursday, May 7.  

The $10 lunch will be served from 11:00AM - 3:00PM on both days, with $5 of the fee going directly to help survivors in Nepal.  For dinner, a small $2 donation can be added to the bill to assist in relief efforts.  If you can’t make it for the fundraising events, you can still drop by any day to donate and say hello.  

LA MESA MAY ACTIVITIES

By Kristin Kjaero

April 30, 2015 (La Mesa) – With all the activities available this month, there has to be something for everyone here.

Events range from star gazing party on Mt. Helix to a free boot camp, s SANDAG public workshops on regional growth plans through 2050, what is arguable the community's most popular event, the La Mesa Flag Day Parade (if you're not in it, you're probably watching it)... and oh, so much more.

LA MESA REPORTS ON COMMERCIAL VACANCY

April 29, 2015 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa has once again updated its economic development webpage with refreshed Commercial Space Availability Reports. According to the most recent reports, dated April 2015, there is approximately 146,000 square feet of retail space available in the City; 150,000 square feet of office space; and 37,000 square feet of industrial space.  Retail vacancy is down over 20% from April 2014 and office vacancy is down roughly 14%. 

SANDAG OPENS PUBLIC COMMENTS ON NEW REGIONAL PLAN, ANNOUNCES HEARINGS: SEEKS LOCATIONS IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 25, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) has released a $200 billion, 35-year regional growth plan for the county titled "San Diego Forward: The Regional Plan."   The plan lays out visions for transportation, sustainability and growth through 2050 including higher density land use along transportation corridors.

Several public hearings will be held including a May 13th hearing at 6 p.m. in La Mesa’s community center.  But thus far, no hearings have been schedule in East County’s mountain, desert or rural areas.

East County Magazine asked the County why no hearings are scheduled in those areas. We pointed out that rural, mountain and desert areas lack public transit, making it difficult for residents to travel long distances to attend hearings in San Diego or even La Mesa.  In response, the County indicated it could hold additional workshops potentially if a community group to partner with could be found.

NEPAL EARTHQUAKE DEATH TOLL CONTINUES TO RISE AS LOCALS WATCH, WAIT AND LOOK FOR WAYS TO HELP

By Bonnie Baranoff

April 27, 2015 (La Mesa) -- It’s a beautiful, sunny day in Southern California as patrons enjoy lunch and dinner at Himalayan Cuisine, and shopping at the Himalayan Bazaar in La Mesa. But on the other side of the world in Nepal and in parts of India and China, the scene is much different: it’s raining, it’s dark, and it’s destroyed.

Mr. Khem Kharel, owner of Himalayan Cuisine in La Mesa and a native of Nepal, says that his immediate family in Kathmandu--his 84 year old mother, his brother, brother’s wife and other family members--are thankfully “fine, just scared” and hungry. He has been in touch with his family, briefly, by phone, two times since the epicenter of the massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck the remote village of Barpak, in the northern-central Gorkha District, about 50 miles northwest from Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu on April 25. The latest numbers report more than 4,400 deaths.

SUPERVISOR JACOB ADDRESSES LA MESA CHAMBER MEMBERS

Source: La Mesa Chamber of Commerce

April 23, 2015 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Chamber members and local business owners joined together on Tuesday, April 14th to learn of upcoming Chamber activities and hear from the guest speaker, Supervisor Dianne Jacob. 

Supervisor Jacob shared her accomplishments from the past several years, discussed new ordinances for agricultural activities within the county and shared her new passion, The Alzheimer's Project: A Call To Arms.

The Supervisor shared the startling statistics of the negative and detrimental impact of this disease. Supervisor Jacob also informed the audience that not only does Alzheimer's impact the deterioration in the health of the patient, but it has a huge negative impact on the family members that are care givers. She is encouraging partners on this project and challenged groups to come on board and be a part of this project.