By Robert Clark
October 27, 2014 (El Cajon) -- The October 7 interview with Bill Wells, Mayor of El Cajon, contained a real bombshell. He said that renovations to re-open the East County Performing Arts Center would cost $5.5 million, with the Rock Church paying "much" of the cost.
“The claim of the administration and teachers' union that an Alpine separation would result in insolvency is a Halloween season scare tactic.” – Michael Waterman
By Michael Waterman, an East County attorney and writer
October 29, 2014 (La Mesa)--The state of the Grossmont School Board is not good. It's abysmal. Last year the County Grand Jury essentially charged the board majority with duping voters over the promised Alpine High School. In August the County Board of Education voted 5-0 to recommend to the State Board of Education that Alpine be allowed to break away from the District and build its own high school. This month a lawsuit was filed against the District which aims to stop bond spending on new projects until the State Board weighs in on the Alpine secession petition and a concomitant division of assets between Grossmont and Alpine.
By George Barnett, Alpine
October 27, 2014 (Alpine)--Alpine’s Steve Hunyar has been staking-out positions this week on “dirty politics coming to “little old, sleepy Alpine”, and has been attacking AUSD board members Eric Wray and Glenn Dickey.
By Ben Locke, Alpine
October 24, 2014 (Alpine) - With the election nearing, even in Alpine, I have seen some negative campaigning. I would like to provide my opinion on Lou Russo.
By Marcia Tolin
Editor’s note: La Mesa Today reports that Guy McWhirter has admitted to funding the negative mailers targeting his opponent, Mary England, and funneling the money through the non-local “Public Safety Advocates” PAC. England in fact has the endorsement of La Mesa’s police, fire and public employees’ associations. The same PAC sent a negative mailer on an Alpine candidate. The mailer was similar in style to a second mailer sent anonymously, which listed endorsements for other candidates by 115 Alpine residents, some of whom have denied making the endorsements.
October 24, 2014 (La Mesa)--For the first time that I can remember, defamatory mailers or “hit pieces” have been delivered in La Mesa from big money and outside interests. Mary England who has the only endorsement by the La Mesa Police Officers’ Association is being attacked by a “PAC”, or Political Action Committee calling itself “Public Safety Advocates” out of Encinitas. The PAC is specifically targeting just one candidate, the only woman and the one with the most experience running in a field of five for the two open seats on the La Mesa City Council. Why now and for this position? Who is really behind this?
If we follow the money, we don’t have to look very far. Public records (Form 496) shows a contribution from Guy McWhirter, who donated $5,000 on 10/13/2014. The “Public Safety Advocates” who have thus far put out three hit pieces on Mary have received their money not only from Guy McWhirter, but from many builders and developers, and a local Diamond dealer, CK Diamonds who is owned by Charles “Chuck” Kaderabek from El Cajon.
By Kristin Kjaero
October 20, 2014 (La Mesa) -- Don’t be fooled by Prop K. La Mesa voters have a term limits proposal for City Council on their ballots, but it’s unnecessary, undemocratic, and won’t work as advertised.
This election we'll have a majority with two years or less experience on our City Council. Yes, you read that correctly: no matter who wins, there will be two new people, plus a third half way through a first term - all without term limits in place.
And although it’s called the “three consecutive terms limit,” Prop K would actually allow candidates to run again after sitting out one 4-year cycle. The only thing it would limit is voters’ choices.
By: Ernie Susi, President, San Diego County Probation Officers Association;
Ben Kelso, President, San Diego Black Police Officers Association;
Alan R. Alvarez, President, National Non-Partisan Latino Peace Officers Association for Law and Order; and
Kevin McQuillen, President Fraternal Order of Police (San Diego Lodge #10)
October 11, 2014 (San Diego)--We expect judges to understand public safety issues. We hope they come to the bench with a track record of experience and supporting law enforcement and the community. In the November election there’s only one contested Superior Court Judge race, seat #25. The obvious choice is clear: Deputy Attorney General Brad Weinreb.
By Jeffrey Meyer
Photo: State Senator Joel Anderson
October 9, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - The upcoming November election for Senate District 38 has become both an electoral and ethical quagmire. It is a situation with few solutions but one that demands to be understood.
The ethical morass is rooted in the recent reports about the involvement of our district’s State Senator Joel Anderson with a shadowy lobby group that has corporations like Google and Microsoft scrambling to separate themselves from its membership.
By Barbara Nigro
October 3, 2014 (Julian)--PROPOSITION “P” will be on the November 4th ballot. Resident-voters will have an opportunity to staff the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District with paid Firefighter-Paramedics. This would ensure that a Paramedic is always in the District and able to respond within minutes.
The first in a series of essays from No Term Limits in La Mesa to examine the underlying assumptions and principles around term limits, whether they are “needed” or work as claimed, and just what side effects they may bring with them.
By No Term Limits in La Mesa
September 24, 2014 (La Mesa)--Proponents of term limits claim that term limits are needed because incumbent advantage makes it impossible for a challenger to win. But is this assumption really the case?
Originally published in La Mesa Today
By Anthony D. Mc Ivor
September 19, 2014 (La Mesa)-- In November, La Mesa voters will decide whether to change the Municipal Code and put into law a significant new ordinance. The ordinance will tell us – and future generations of La Mesa voters – who we can vote for, who we can’t and when.
READER'S EDITORIAL: AN OPEN LETTER TO THE U.S. FISH & WILDLIFE SERVICE: NO "TAKE" PERMITS FOR EAGLES IN EAST COUNTY
By Charles and Laurie Baker, Santee
Photo: Bald eagle at Lake Cuyamaca
September 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--We are writing this letter because we are opposed to the United States Fish and Wildlife Service possibly granting 30-year Bald and Golden Eagle Permits to companies who build wind and solar farms. NO permits, especially those for 30 years, should be granted to these so-called "green" energy farms. They harm eagles, didn't study the impacts, and violate Federal laws.
READER'S EDITORIAL: MUNICIPALITIES HAVE NO BUSINESS ENGAGING IN BUSINESS WITH RELIGIOUS ORGANIZATIONS
By Tom Comeau
August 30, 2014 (El Cajon)--There's always been a steady assault by religious groups of all stripes, on the separation of church and state, but what El Cajon doesn't need is for the City Council to initiate such activity as in its proposed contract with the "Rock Church" (do they worship rocks?) for the utilization of the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) for religious purposes. The Council cannot dodge the issue of the church/state violation when it agrees to allow a church to utilize 'public property' for what is clearly religious purposes. Included in this agreement is the proposed erection of an additional building on 'public property' to serve the needs of this religious group, with the generous proviso that the building would revert to the city at the end of its use by the religious group.
Photo: View of Oak Creek/Boulder Creek area taken by Cynthia Burnham from her home, where she reports seeing an SDG&E helicopter hovering "very low" for at least 10 minutes.
An open letter sent to the California Public Utilities Commission, U.S. Forest Service/Cleveland National Forest, Congressman Duncan Hunter and Supervisor Dianne Jacob:
By Cindy Buxton
Dear CPUC, Foresters, Congressmen, and Supervisors:
August 31, 2014 (Boulder Creek)--Several residences and visitors to the Cleveland National Forest lately between Descanso and Julian in the Boulder Creek area have complained about low flying helicopters. These were seen hovering over people's back yards by only a few hundred feet. Subsequently we are to learn in the East County Magazine that several other residences identified the helicopters belonging to SDG&E, also experienced this to the point that horses were so frightened that they were injured. One of the helicopters seen by several residences along Boulder Creek Road had a visible camera on the front and apparently was not necessarily in line with the ROW (right of way) for the TL626 line.
By Brian J. Trautman
August 25, 2014 (Ferguson, Missouri)--The police response to public protests in Ferguson, Missouri in the wake of the deadly August 9 shooting of Michael Brown, Jr., an unarmed eighteen-year-old black man killed by a white police officer, was a prime illustration of the hyper-aggressive nature of policing in America today. The residents of Ferguson fed up with hostile and abusive police behavior continue to flood the streets to demand justice for Mike Brown and other victims of police brutality. They have been joined in solidarity by people of conscience in other cities (e.g., Oakland, NYC). Their anger and frustration was exacerbated by the heavy-handed tactics used against the mostly peaceful protestors in Ferguson during the first week or so of the demonstrations – tear gas, rubber bullets, smoke, deafening sirens as well as assault rifles fixed on protestors were some of the violent methods employed by law enforcement. In addition, a mandatory curfew imposed by the Missouri governor, verbal threats of physical harm from police, and arrests of journalists, among other ill-advised and counterproductive reactions, only escalated the tensions between protestors and police.
Editor’s note: This editorial was submitted by a rural firefighter who asked that his name be withheld due to fear of retaliation for speaking out on this issue that affects the safety of us all. The editorial came in response to our story, “Why are so many fire stations closed—and what’s being done to boost staffing?” Our story revealed a shortage in volunteer firefighters paid a minimal stipend. Recruitment rates are lower than loss rates as newly trained volunteers are hired away by Cal Fire and other agencies. Read our original story here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.
August 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --I think this was a great article; being in the fire service for more than 20 years I can tell you I think you missed one key area.
Trained personnel is a key part of firefighting. The county lacks the ability to retain the people they train. This means they continue to have new people that lack experience. Without experience and training you will come into a situation that you will possibly kill firefighters.
By Robert Clark, El Cajon
July 21, 2014 (El Cajon)--There are three things that should happen (but probably will not) at the El Cajon City Council meeting on July 22.
By Steve Green
“…professed “FCI supporters” are not disclosing their current goals - regulations even more restrictive than the 1993 FCI, taking even more of our property rights.”—Steve Green
July 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--I am a property owner surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest on Boulder Creek Road. My land represents the majority portion of my personal financial holdings. Up until 1993, county regulations allowed property owners in my area to divide their lands into 20 acre parcels. We lost this ability in 1993 when voters approved the Forest Conservation Initiative (FCI).
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.
READER'S EDITORIAL: OPEN LETTER TO SUPERVIORS--ADOPT STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS ON FOREST CONSERVATION INITIATIVE LANDS
By Lou Russo
June 20, 2014 (Alpine)--I am a 10+ year resident of Alpine, an 8+ year member of the Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) and a 6+ year member of the San Diego Rural Fire District (SDRF) Board of Directors.
READER'S EDITORIAL: SHOULD CALIFORNIA'S POOREST SCHOOLCHILDREN BE INTEREST FREE LENDERS TO THE STATE?
By Gloria Roma
June 12, 2014 (San Diego)--Should California's poorest schoolchildren be the interest free lenders of first resort to the state? I don't think so, but they are. For the past 10 years, the state has been diverting the property taxes that were allocated to schools to cover the state's other obligations. Most counties still report the property taxes are going to schools, even though they are not getting there. This violation of the public trust hurts our schools and our state.
By Lawrence S. Wittner
June 12, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--National officials certainly assume that war has a future. According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, world military expenditures totaled nearly $1.75 trillion in 2013. Although, after accounting for inflation, this is a slight decrease over the preceding year, many countries increased their military spending significantly, including China, Russia, and Saudi Arabia. Indeed, 23 countries doubled their military spending between 2004 and 2013. None, of course, came anywhere near to matching the military spending of the United States, which, at $640 billion, accounted for 37 percent of 2013’s global military expenditures. Furthermore, all the nuclear weapons nations are currently “modernizing” their nuclear arsenals.
READER'S EDITORIAL: NEW SEXUAL ASSAULT CLIMATE SURVEY RECOMMENDATION: NOT AN EXCUSE FOR MORE ADMINISTRATIVE BLOAT
By Laura Finley
June 9, 2014 (San Diego)--In April 2014, the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault issued a series of recommendations for college and university campuses related to responding to and preventing sexual assault. Given that one in five college-aged women endure a sexual assault, the White House is to be applauded for prioritizing this issue and for organizing the task force. But of course, it should be so simple to recommend that campuses do the right thing.
READER’S EDITORIAL: BROWN V. BOARD OF EDUCATION AT 60: NEED FOR RECOMMITMENT TO INTEGRATION & SUPPORT FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT
By Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber
"We must dissent from the indifference. We must dissent from the apathy. We must dissent from the fear, the hatred and the mistrust.... We must dissent because America can do better, because America has no choice but to do better." -- Thurgood Marshall
June 7, 2014 (San Diego)--On May 17th 1954, the United States Supreme Court unanimously overturned the separate but equal doctrine of the 1896 Plessy v. Ferguson decision after arguments presented by Thurgood Marshall - then a lawyer for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The Court concluded that, in the field of public education, the doctrine of separate but equal has no place and that separate educational facilities are inherently unequal. The activism generated to enforce the Brown decision was a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement and led to further state and federal anti-discrimination legislation.
My colleagues and I commemorated the 60th Anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education this week with a resolution as a reminder of the significance and the achievements of this Civil Rights milestone. (View video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qq9YhN6qX70) My hope is that we don’t let this anniversary deceive us into thinking we’ve fulfilled the hopes of Brown or that work of eliminating inequities in education is behind us.
Emphasizing home flammability, as well as vegetation management, can save more homes during wildfires.
By Richard Halsey, Director, The California Chaparral Institute
May 24, 2014 (San Diego) – Local, state, and federal fire agencies are urged to expand their fire education efforts. Currently, the primary, and sometimes the only message citizens hear is to clear native vegetation ("brush") from around their homes. While creating defensible space is a critical component of fire risk reduction, it fails to address the main reason homes burn - embers landing on flammable materials in, on, or around the home, igniting the most dangerous concentration of fuel available, the house itself.
By Colleen Murphy, RN
May 15, 2014 (La Mesa)--Vote Yes on Proposition H to continue one of San Diego’s and East County’s greatest success stories --Grossmont Hospital. This premier model of public/private partnership with Sharp HealthCare combines the public resources of a state-of-the-art community hospital with a nationally recognized nonprofit healthcare system.
By Betty Stieringer
The physicians, nurses and technicians of Sharp HealthCare are unsurpassed in their skill, professionalism and patient care. Why, then, is there opposition to Measure H?
An open letter to Supervisor Dianne Jacob
By Lou Russo
Photo: Alpine fire April 14, photo by Billy Ortiz
April 14, 2014 (Alpine) -- As I watched the news today, and as I watch the City of Carlsbad news conference, a flood of memories return. In particular, I am reminded of the Cedar fire, but also all the places currently at risk; e.g. Fallbrook, San Marcos, Bonsall, Camp Pendleton. I spent over 20 years in that area, including years off Hwy 76 in Oceanside, near Bonsall.
Many of those cc'd on this email lived through the Viejas, Cedar, Horse, etc. fires here in Eastern Alpine; many of them lost their homes.
As I write this, Jim Easterling has forwarded to the Alpine Community Planning Gruop (ACPG) members that Alpine currently has one, let me repeat that, one fire truck left in Alpine...the rest have all left to support other agencies.
As I type this, out my back window I can see the wind traveling west, right down the Sweetwater River canyon...which borders Cleveland National Forest and all its fuel. As I write this, there is currently a fire in Lakeside, a few exits down the freeway.
May 2, 2014 (Sacramento) - Assembly Member Steven Bradford (D-Gardena) issued the following statement in response to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s lifetime ban and $2.5 million fine against Donald Sterling:
by Robert Dodge, MD
April 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- This past Thursday, April 24th, historic lawsuits were filed against the U.S. and the eight other Nuclear Weapons States (NWS) of the world to meet their treaty obligations to disarm by the courageous tiny island nation Republic of the Marshall Islands.
By Jim Bell
My goal in releasing this commentary is to introduce the Net-Meter Option to the public as a cost-effective way to increase local electricity supply and price security instead of investing ratepayerâ€™s dollars into SDG&E/SEMPRAâ€™s Sunrise Power Link, a proposed 16-story tall transmission line that SDG&E and its parent Company, SEMPRA, are pitching to the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC). If built, the Power Link transmission line would run 150 miles from San Diego to Mexicali, Mexico, running through numerous state parks, wild life habitat areas and private properties. Read More