Editorials

The opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of East County Magazine.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WOMEN’S LIVES AT RISK

By Maxine Johnson

January 30, 2016 (San Diego’s East County) — The “pro-life” movement ignores the lives of expectant mothers—and that’s both heartless and dangerous. Nobody should force their religious views onto a woman with a life-threatening pregnancy, or a woman who learns her child has an incurable, debilitating defect such as the thousands of women in Brazil who contracted Zika virus and gave birth to babies with severe brain damage.  In some Latin American countries, women have no choice even if they contract Zika in the first trimester – since abortion is illegal but the disease is rampant.  

READER’S EDITORIAL: OPEN LETTER TO BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT: DO YOUR JOB TO PROTECT OUR PUBLIC LANDS FROM PRIVATE INTERESTS

 

After a takeover of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon by armed militia members, local wildlife biologist Renée Owens has sent an open letter to Bureau of Land Management directors and staff in Burns, Oregon.

"Your inaction to stop them only emboldens such criminal activity, and makes you vulnerable to a lawsuit by others such as myself whose public land rights and interests have been violated," she writes. 

Below is the full text of her letter:

READER’S EDITORIAL: NOW IS THE TIME TO WELCOME REFUGEES, NOT SHUT THEM OUT

 

By Rebecca Paida

December 13, 2015 (San Diego)--Now is the time to welcome refugees, not shut them out. Given the recent controversy over refugees, I am compelled to write about my refugee story and call on cities to create an inclusive Citizen Commissions on Refugee and Immigrant Affairs.

READER’S EDITORIAL: INNOCENT LIVES LOST DUE TO POLITICS OF HATE

 

 

By Madge Will

 

Photos: Murdered victims of massacre at Planned Parenthood in Colorado include young mother, Iraq War veteran, and police officer

December 1, 2015 (San Diego)—Victims of the latest mass shooting at a Colorado Planned Parenthood clinic weren’t abortion doctors or  patients. Ke’Arre Marcell Stewart, an Iraq War veteran, had just learned he was about be a father for the third time. Jennifer Markovsky, a young mother of two, came to support a friend. Garrett Swasey, a police officer who responded to the attack, also died. Another dozen were injured by bullets fired randomly, some outside the clinic’s walls.

All who have spewed hate under the guise of “pro-life” share blame for the loss of those three innocent lives. 

These young people's futures were snuffed out by a deranged gunman who was likely incited to violence by the hateful rhetoric of politicians, religious zealots and  media personalities vilifying Planned Parenthood and all who work there or come seeking healthcare services.

READER'S EDITORIAL: CHARGERS AND RAIDERS TOSS HAIL MARY

 

By Tony Manolatos

November 11, 2015 (San Diego)--With Mayor Kevin Faulconer in New York speaking to NFL owners about the City & County's stadium plan in Mission Valley, and building on momentum that has been growing in San Diego for months, the Chargers and Raiders have thrown a Hail Mary to try and shift support to their Carson stadium project.

READER’S EDITORIAL: NEW HOUSE SPEAKER PAUL RYAN GOES AFTER POOR PEOPLE’S MONEY

 

By Tommy Tidrow

November 8, 2015 (Washington D. C.) – New House Speaker Paul Ryan and his friends in Congress (most of whom have signed the Republican operative Grover Norquist’s “No New Taxes” pledge) have come up with a plan to fund a highway bill by privatizing the part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) tasked with collecting back taxes from individuals who owe as little as $200 dollars in unpaid income tax. 

The measure would have private collection agencies act on behalf of the government to collect delinquent taxes.  These are the people who have been sued for predatory practices, harassment and misrepresentation for years.    

These debt collectors will not be going after billionaires and corporations who put $150,000,000,000 Billion dollars in off-shore tax havens like the Cayman Islands.  Nor will there be any reform to the tax code that allows giant corporations like General Electric to pay no taxes at all.

READER’S EDITORIAL: THE STORY OF A FLORIDA COMPANY TAKEOVER OF JACUMBA’S WATER

 

By Howard W Cook, former chair, Jacumba Sponsor Group

Photo: Lake Jacumba

 

November 1, 2015 (Jacumba Hot Springs)--A massive project poses an unprecedented risk to Jacumba Hot Springs' water supply. 

BACKGROUND

Jacumba Hot Springs is an old town going back to 1860 and blessed with a productive hot spring and several other good wells. It is located 70 miles East of San Diego on Old Highway 80 in a valley spread out on both sides of the border. Its high desert transition zone location at 2800 feet just before nearby Interstate 8 plunges to the desert seem an unlikely place for a water takeover by Nextera, a Florida Green Energy developer.

READER'S EDITORIAL: BLACK JURORS NEED NOT APPLY

 

By Roderick T. Long, Creative Commons license

October 27, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - If you’re black, you may have trouble getting on to a jury.

The way in which jurors are chosen in the United States is intended to ensure an unbiased jury; and part of that process is the right of “peremptory challenge,” by which the prosecution and the defense are each allowed to reject a certain number of potential jurors without having to prove them unfit. But some prosecutors, especially in the southern states, appear to be using this procedure not to prevent bias but to guarantee it. (“Exclusion of Blacks From Juries Raises Renewed Scrutiny,” New York Times, 16 August 2015).

READER'S EDITORIAL: WHEN THE SERVANTS BECOME THE MASTERS

 

By Sylvia Sullivan

October 22, 2015 (La Mesa) -- Anger and frustration filled the overflowing room of irate ratepayers at the recent Helix Water District meeting.

The meeting started off tense but restrained as the public sat politely listening to the almost hour long staff presentation. When told the consultant, from Raftelis Financial Consultants, Inc. would make another presentation the people had enough. The discussion became as heated as the temperature in the room.

READER'S EDITORIAL: LAST NIGHT'S BOARD MEETING ON HELIX WATER DISTRICT WATER RATES 5-YEAR PLAN

 

By Kathleen Coates-Hedberg, Helix Water District board member

October 10, 2015 (La Mesa)--I got to the Board Room at 4:30p.m. and the parking lot was filling up and I parked on the street. When the meeting started at 5 p.m. it was a full house, every seat was filled and the people were lined outside the door and people were standing in rows near on the sides. At least 150 members of the public were in attendance, several TV crews (KFMB, KUSI & FOX that I saw) and we all echoed the pledge of the allegiance to the flag together. I was hopeful and optimistic that the meeting was going to go well...oh how wrong I was.

READER'S EDITORIAL: SHOULD AN ELECTED OFFICIAL'S RELIGION TRUMP THE CONSTITUTION?

 

by Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof (1st Amendment, US Constitution)

September 8, 2015 (San Diego)-- A Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage after she was jailed Thursday for defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples, the Union-Tribune reported.

READER'S EDITORIAL: WHY PUBLIC EMPLOYEES SHOULD FOLLOW THE LAW, NOT THEIR PRIVATE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS

 

By June Wise

September 3, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) -- A Kentucky county clerk, Kim Davis, has stirred controversy for defying a federal court order to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court declared marriage a constitutional right for same-sex couples. She claims giving gay couples licenses to wed would violate her religious beliefs, yet she has refused to resign. Today, a  judge  ordered her jailed for contempt of court.

If government  workers  could refuse to  serve the public  anytime  a law conflicts with their private religious views, that would be a dangerous and trouble-prone path.  Divorce, birth control, war, and blood transfusions are all prohibited in some religions.  Some faiths ban immodest dress, adultery, consumption of caffeine or alcohol, musical instruments, celebrating birthdays, serving certain foods, and seeking psychiatric care.  

Should public employees in jobs with responsibilities for such matters be able to refuse to follow laws governing all of these issues and more?

READER’S EDITORIAL: VALHALLA HIGH SCHOOL HAS WAITED 40 YEARS FOR CLASSROOM IMPROVEMENTS

Alpine lawsuit unsuccessful in attempting to block needed upgrades at Valhalla

By Mary Beth Kastan

September 2, 2015 (Rancho San Diego)--Students returning to Valhalla High School in Rancho San Diego will be joined on campus by some unusual guests: construction crews with heavy equipment.

Despite the noise and dust, we’re excited to see a long-awaited campus modernization project finally underway. Thanks to bond funding provided by East County voters through Proposition U, the 49 classrooms in our 155,000-square-foot main building will be fully renovated for the first time since the school opened more than 40 years ago.

ON THE TRAIL WITH GARRY MCCLINTOCK: A MEMOIR

 

By Marty Jorgensen

September 1, 2015 (Descanso) -- When I think of Garry McClintock, what I will remember more than anything else is his attitude towards life.  He was always upbeat and positive, and full of curiosity of the world around him.  He had the inner and spiritual strength to continue to carry that on despite his long illness. When you spoke with Garry you always felt that he was really interested in what you had to say, and you always seemed to go away better for it.  His shop was always somewhere that you could not only buy a saddle or tack or have it repaired but a place where you could find out what was happening, in Descanso or in the equestrian community.  It was as much a social center as it was a saddle shop.  And I cannot remember him in any conversation ever saying a bad thing about anybody.

READER’S EDITORIAL: THE FUTURE OF EL MONTE VALLEY

 

 

Editor’s note: This essay paints a picture of what El Monte Valley could look like in the future; Sunrise Power Link has been built; solar and sand-mining projects are planned or proposed.

By Rob Foster 

August 26, 2015 (Lakeside)--Early mornings, I like to walk outside with coffee in hand and sit down facing the morning sun. Gazing northeast the scar left from the Sunrise project are clearly seen. Sun lit power towers draped with wires and ten acres of stripped land below scenic El Capitan Mtn. SDG&E promised the ten acre site would be returned to its original undisturbed state. SDG&E destroys the ecosystem leaving an ugly scare in a matter of months. Thank you for the reminder of a broken promise.

 As I look east,  a glare catches my eyes.

READER'S EDITORIAL: THE TRAGIC DEATH OF KATHRYN STEINLE IN SAN FRANCISCO: WHAT IS MISSING FROM THE NARRATIVE?

 

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

Photo: Creative Commons image by Rama

Updated August 6, 2015 (San Diego's East County) --As the narrative goes, Juan Francisco López-Sánchez, an illegal immigrant with a long criminal history in the United States, who had been deported several times, was to be deported again; but San Francisco’s sanctuary law delayed handing him over to the Immigration and Nationalization Service. López-Sánchez claims he found the gun and was shooting at sea lions, not Ms. Steinle. There is no evidence that he was trying to rob Ms Steinle, nor even confronted her, so his claim may be true. However, an investigation found that the gun was stolen from a federal agent’s car. Whether López-Sánchez actually was the person who stole the gun from the car or how he obtained the gun is unclear at this time. In either case, he is still guilty of manslaughter, whether shooting at sea lions, at tin cans, or in the air, his actions, together with his previous criminal history, should get the maximum sentence.

However, what is missing from the narrative is why it was so easy for López-Sánchez to get a gun.

READER'S EDITORIAL: WHERE'S THE LEAPFROG LEAPING NEXT?

 

Hearing set August 7 at Planning Commission on Controversial Precedent-Setting Project

By Patsy Fritz

August 2, 2015 (Valley Center)--The current controversy over “Lilac Hills Ranch,” a proposed development planned on rugged farmland in Valley Center, focuses on its request to the County to increase the number of homes it could build on its 608 acres. The County General Plan allows 110 and the developer is asking for “entitlements” to build 1,746.

READER'S EDITORIAL: WHICH IS THE SLOWEST? MOLASSES, GLACIERS----OR THE CITY OF EL CAJON?

 

By Robert Clark

July 21, 2015 (El Cajon)--The City of El Cajon has been stalling for many years on two major projects: the reopening of the East County Performing Arts Center, and the building of a new animal shelter. Major developments regarding the animal shelter were revealed  at the July 14 Council Meeting, but in a bizarre, stunning manner.

READER'S EDITORIAL: YOUR HELP NEEDED TO SAVE REDWOODS FROM POACHING

 

By Jennifer Nickel, Legislative & Public Policy State Chairman, California Federation of Women’s Clubs

July 14, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - Thanks to early conservation efforts, vast areas of prehistoric redwoods have been protected from logging where they survive in our State despite generations of an industrial economy.  These redwood forests are now under threat and help is needed if we want these ancient trees to continue into the future.

READER'S EDITORIAL: WILL SUPREME COURT OVERTURN 200 YEARS OF AMERICAN PRINCIPLES BY ESTABLISHING TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION?

 

READER’S EDITORIAL:  WILL SUPREME COURT OVERTURN 200 YEARS OF AMERICAN PRINCIPLES BY ESTABLISHING TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION?

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

READER'S EDITORIAL: STRONGER ALCOHOL LAW PREVENTS PROBLEMS IN EL CAJON

 

By Pastor Rolland Slade, Meridian Baptist Church

June 26, 2015 (El Cajon)--For some time now, alcohol retailers in the City of El Cajon have been under pressure to conduct their businesses more responsibly. But despite all their efforts, irresponsible business practices such as selling to minors and already intoxicated homeless people have continued to be a problem.

READER’S EDITORIAL: WHY DIDN’T EL CAJON HOLD A BUDGET WORKSHOP BEFORE ITS JUNE 23 BUDGET PRESENTATION, AS IT HAS IN THE PAST?

 

By Robert Clark  

 The El Cajon City Council meeting of June 9 was notable for what  happened--and for what did not happen.

As reported in "East County Magazine" on  June 12  ("Smoking Hot Debate"), the Council voted 3-1 to support Senate Bill 151, which would increase the legal age to buy tobacco in California from 18 to 21.

 What did not happen was a "budget workshop." The City Council meets on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month. For the last four years (2011 through 2014), I have attended the workshops on the first meeting in June, at which time information would be provided to the public regarding the estimated financial results for the current fiscal year, and numbers were available for the proposed budget for the fiscal year commencing the following July 1. The Council would then vote to adopt the budget at the second June meeting.

READER'S EDITORIAL: EX-SMOKER TELLS TOBACCO'S TOLL - AND ASKS FOR A BAN

 

By Robert Gehr

Photo: U.S. Health & Human Services

June 13, 2015 (El Cajon)  In response to your article, Smoking hot debate: El Cajon Council votes to support raising age for tobacco use, I ask: 

  • Why are tobacco companies seemingly allowed by our government to produce a highly adulterated, toxic product which is very addictive that can maim and kill people?
  • Why do they contribute heavily to political campaigns?
  • Why are they allowed to be in business at all?

READERS' EDITORIAL: HOW EAST COUNTY WILL PAY FOR SAN DIEGO'S WASTE WATER

 

By Bonnie Gendron, Coordinator and George Courser,  Director,  Back Country Coalition

As the Salton Sea is siphoned off, toxic dust storms pose health hazards for East County

Photo: Dead fish at Salton Sea; Wikipedia creative commons image by Gentle

June 12, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--Ignoring Governor Jerry Brown's threats of hefty fines, several San Diego water districts have actually surpassed their previous years' monthly water use. Lip service by water districts has been tolerated at state level, excuses abound, water waste is evident yet the faucets still flow and massive non-irrigation continues undiminished.

The water use numbers are in - and they are not pretty, or healthy for East County.

READER'S EDITORIAL: PETITION TO CHARGERS TO REMOVE MARK FABIANI FROM NEGOTIATIONS

READER’S EDITORIAL: PRESIDENT OBAMA, IF TPP IS GOOD FOR HARD WORKING MEN AND WOMEN, WHY CAN’T WE READ IT?

 

By Mickey Kasparian, President, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 135

Mickey Kasparian, President of United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 released the following statement after President Obama’s local news interview regarding Fast Track Authority for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

June 7, 2015 (San Diego) --Instead of talking into a satellite camera, President Obama should listen to the hard-working families of California who overwhelmingly oppose fast track. He says that the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is different than past trade agreements that failed a majority of Americans, but thanks to leaked drafts and a negotiation process that included 600 corporate lawyers, it’s apparent that this deal will be a disaster for everyone but the wealthiest corporations.

The level of secrecy that surrounds TPP is deeply troubling. If this deal is truly good for hard-working men and women, then why can’t we read it? If the President believes this is a great deal, why can’t he prove it to us? American workers deserve to see the uncensored truth of this agreement.

READER'S EDITORIAL: ARE SAN DIEGO COUNTY YMCA'S GRADUALLY LOSING THEIR HISTORICAL MISSION?

 

"Why did San Diego County YMCA's board vote in 2013 to have all branches in our region stop issuing affordable youth memberships? Under the new policy, instead of paying just $80 to $100 a year for a child 12 or younger to use the Y’s facilities, users must purchase a family membership at a cost of about $1,000 per year. Are they really saying that if kids' parents aren't interested or can't afford to join, then the Y isn't interested in the kids?" -- Joel Harrison, PhD, MPH

By Joel A. Harrison, PhD, MPH

June 4, 2015 (San Diego) — The following can be found on the website of the U.S. National YMCA Headquarters:

READER'S EDITORIAL: UNCERTAIN TIMES IN AND OUT OF SAN DIEGO

 

By Joe Gandelman, Editor-In-Chief , The Moderate Voice

Reprinted with permission from The Moderate Voice

http://themoderatevoice.com/205076/uncertain-times-in-and-out-of-san-diego/

May 16, 2015 (San Diego) — Uncertainty, thy name is San Diego.

California’s jewel-like second largest city, with its 70 miles of sparkling beaches, is now facing two cliff hangers in a century rife with uncertainty.

READER’S EDITORIAL: HARRIET TUBMAN A FITTING CHOICE FOR $20 BILL

 

By Leon Thompson

May 14, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – A group that wants to kick Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill and replace him with a woman has, after months of collecting votes, chosen a successor: Harriet Tubman.

Tubman was the choice of hundreds of thousands of voters in an online poll by Women on 20s  that started with 15 worthy candidates.  Any of the final four would have been wonderful choices. The other three finalists were former first lady Eleanor Roosevelt, civil rights activist Rosa Parks, and Wilma Mankiller, Chief of the Cherokee Nation.

Tubman is certainly an excellent choice and risked her life many times for others.  Tubman is an especially good choice because with every $20 dollar bill with her likeness on it, we will be reminded about the good that came out of the Civil War. 

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