FIRS LOCAL ZIKA VIRUS BIRTH DEFECT REINFORCES TRAVEL ADVISORY

OUT OF THE LABS AND INTO THE STREETS: MARCH FOR SCIENCE APRIL 22

TRUMPCARE DEFEAT: TRUMP PULLS OBAMACARE REPEAL VOTE: PLAN WAS LOSING CONSERVATIVES AND MODERATES

HEALTHCARE VOTE TODAY ON REVISED BILL WITH LESS DEFICIT REDUCTION, ELIMINATION OF MANDATORY MATERNITY AND NEWBORN COVERAGE, OTHER CHANGES

JUSTICE DEPT. LAUNCHES CRIMINAL PROBE INTO REP. DUNCAN HUNTER

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: BORREGO SUPER BLOOMS

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

ECM WORLD WATCH: NATIONAL AND GLOBAL NEWS

DESTINATION EAST COUNTY: TOP FESTIVALS & EVENTS MARCH 24 - APRIL 15

ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL AND EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE TO HOST EASTERN SAN DIEGO COUNTY PHOTOGRAPHY CONTEST

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: LOIS KNOWLTON AND BONNIE BARANOFF SPEAK OUT ON HELPING HOMELESS IN LA MESA

ARMED ROBBERY SUSPECT TURNS SELF IN

News

BATTLE OF THE WATCHDOGS: WILL THE REAL CONSUMER CHAMPION PLEASE STAND UP?

 

By Miriam Raftery

Anderson
Lutz

October 10, 2008 (Assemblyman Joel Anderson considers himself a watchdog for taxpayers.  His opponent, Ray Lutz, founded a citizens’ watchdog group.  Both claim to represent the public interest.  The differences in their views reflect a core question being asked more and more amid today’s challenging economic times:  just what is the proper role of government?

LOCAL RESIDENTS JOIN NATIONAL PROTEST OF WALL STREET BAIL-OUT BILL

By Miriam Raftery

September
26, 2008 (El Cajon) -
East County residents angered by the Bush administration’s
proposed $700 billion bail-out bill for Wall Street financial firms took to
the streets yesterday as part of a national protest action organized by True
Majority.  Thousands protested across the nation (photo: New York protest,
taken by Jeremy Scahill.)

“Many people in the evening rush hour honked. Even more gave thumbs
up or flashed peace signs.” said Wren Osborn, who participated in a protest
at Chase and Nidrah in El Cajon.  View a video from Channel 10 news with
interviews from the El Cajon event: www.10news.com/video/17562521/index.html?taf=sand.

PENDLETON FIRE 100% CONTAINED

October 9, 2008 (Camp Pendleton) 9:30 a.m. -- A wildfire that began late yesterday afternoon at Camp Pendleton is now 100% contained, though firefighters continue to douse hotspots.

"Between 900 and 1,000 acres have burned," Major Kristen Lasica, Public affairs officer told East County Magazine last night. ECM activated our wildfire alert system last night after learning that aircraft including super scoopers were grounded for the night with the fire then 0% contained.

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HUNTER OPENS DOOR FOR SMALL BUSINESS CONTRACTORS

Border Fence creates opportunities for some, but draws criticisms from others, with waivers of environmental reviews

by Gayle Early

Gayle Early.

October 1, 2008 (El Cajon) - Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office hosted an informal briefing by the Army Corps of Engineers on September 18 on the status of the border fence construction and possible subcontracting opportunities for local businesses. Mary Spencer, the Army representative in the Small Business Association, also offered pointers on how to apply for contracts.

"HISTORIC" AGREEMENT SIGNED: ALLOWS NIGHT-FLYING HELICOPTERS TO FIGHT WILDFIRES ON STATE LANDS IN EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

San Diego Fire Chief Tracy Jarmon shakes
hands with CAL-FIRE Chief Howard Windsor as Mayor Jerry Sanders looks on

October 1, 2008 (El Cajon) -- “This
is a historic occasion,”  said Fire Chief Howard
Windsor with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL
FIRE).  Speaking at the San Diego Sheriff’s facility at Gillespie
Field in El Cajon, Windsor announced an agreement with San Diego Fire-Rescue
Department allowing CAL FIRE use of San Diego City-owned helicopters to fly
night firefighting missions on state wild lands in East County. 

HEALTHCARE FOR ALL BILL PASSES- GOVERNOR THREATENS VETO

By Miriam Raftery

September 8, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) – A landmark bill to
provide guaranteed universal healthcare coverage for every man, woman and
child in California (including medical, dental, mental health and eye care
coverage) has been approved by the State Legislature.   Governor
Arnold Schwarzenegger has until September 30th to sign the measure, SB 840
by Senator Sheila Kuehl, into law.  But the landmark healthcare reform
measure is at risk of becoming a casualty of the state budget impasse; Governor
Schwarzenegger has threatened to veto all bills because the Legislature has
not yet approved a budget.

White Rabbit Candy Sold in California Recalled Due To Melamine Contamination

September
29, 2008 (BURLINGAME, CA) -
The California
Department of Health and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration are urging consumers
not to eat White Rabbit Candies sold in California.  Queensway Foods Co.
of Burlingame, California is recalling White Rabbit Candy after tests revealed
that some of the products are contaminated with melamine--the same deadly toxin
in infant formula that has hospitalized 50,000 children in China since September,
killing several infants. Melamine in pet foods also killed thousands of U.S.
cats and dogs in 2007.  

NEW BLACKWATER PROTESTS MARK ANNIVERSARY OF NISOUR SQUARE SHOOTINGS

Congressman Bob Filner and Assembly candidate Ray Lutz of East County speak out against Blackwater at Otay Mesa Rally

Story and photos by Gayle Early

Sign from a military families organization opposed to Blackwater.

October 1, 2008 (Otay Mesa) – In September 2007,  17 people were shot to death in the Nisour Square traffic circle in Baghdad, Iraq, by Blackwater Worldwide security guards contracted by the U.S. State Department. Two dozen more civilians were seriously injured, including a lawyer shot in the back four times as he tried to run away. Marking the anniversary, about 150 protestors demonstrated outside Blackwater West’s new Otay Mesa Naval Training Facility on Sunday, September 14, raising concerns about the private military contractor’s presence in San Diego and along an international border already rife with tension.

LOCAL RESIDENTS JOIN NATIONAL PROTEST OF WALL STREET BAIL-OUT BILL

By Miriam Raftery

Click for larger versionSeptember
26, 2008 (El Cajon) – East County residents angered by the Bush administration’s
proposed $700 billion bail-out bill for Wall Street financial firms took to
the streets yesterday as part of a national protest action organized by True
Majority.  Thousands protested across the nation (photo: New York protest,
taken by Jeremy Scahill.)

“Many people in the evening rush hour honked. Even more gave thumbs
up or flashed peace signs.” said Wren Osborn, who participated in a protest
at Chase and Nidrah in El Cajon.  View a video from Channel 10 news with
interviews from the El Cajon event: www.10news.com/video/17562521/index.html?taf=sand.

FDA ALERT: DEADLY TOXIN FOUND IN COFFEE & TEA; CANDY & INFANT FORMULA MAY ALSO BE TAINTED

AppleMark  September
25, 2008 (SAN DIEGO) -
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued
a consumer alert today warning that numerous products have been found to be
contaminated with melamine – the same deadly toxin that killed thousands
of cats and dogs in contaminated pet food last year. 

DRIVER SENTENCED FOR THREATENING PEACE ACTIVISTS IN RAMONA

By Miriam Raftery

September
23, 2008 (RAMONA) -
Keith Alan Davis, a Ramona man who drove his pickup
truck toward a group of anti-war protesters n June, has been sentenced to probation,
ordered to take anger-management classes and must perform 20 days of community
service.

“This is America. You can’t just go running people over, but let’s
not just hogtie people and throw them in prison, either,” said Dave Patterson,
organizer of the Ramona “Enough” anti-war protests held each Sunday
at noon in downtown Ramona and other County locations.  “If you
put him in jail, he can’t support his family,” added Patterson,
who believes the verdict is fair. “Maybe the guy driving can be rehabilitated.”

7 BANDS HOLD CONCERT TO HELP FIRE VICTIMS OCT 4

ROC For Fire Relief Concert and Fire Expo Helps Neighbors, Celebrates
Heroes

Saturday, October 4th, 2008
12:00pm to 10:00pm
Lakeside Rodeo Grounds, Lakeside
www.rocsd.net
Listen to music from
the bands.

 

October 1, 2008 (Lakeside) - “Relief is still needed in a serious way,” said Randy Seol of
the band Strawberry Alarm Clock, a longtime San Diego resident who watched
in horror with the rest of us as our county was ravaged by the 2003 and 2007
wildfires. Some fire survivors are now losing their FEMA trailers; many
are struggling in severe financial and emotional need to rebuild their lives,
he added. 

A PURR-FECT PLACE

At new Tiger Trails haven in Alpine, rescued tigers run, swim for first time

By Miriam Raftery

September 17, 2008 (ALPINE) – Q: What happens when you take four captive-bred tigers and turn them loose in a facility large enough for them to run freely for the first time?

A: A cat-aclysmic event complete with romping, frolicking and caterwauling, much to the delight of media members and donors invited to watch the grand opening of Tiger Trails in Alpine.  View our short video clip.

THE GREENING OF LA MESA - MAYOR ART MADRID SHARES HIS VISION

By Miriam Raftery

Mayor Madrid (R) with Shane Shaw of E-Village
Beneath solar panel display at “Sustain La Mesa” festival

Crowds flocked to view cooking demonstrations on solar ovens,
visit with solar energy experts, get tips on water-saving landscaping and more
at Sustain La Mesa, the City’s first annual Environmental Awareness Festival
on September 13th in Harry Griffith Park.

“It took me almost a year to get this event,” Mayor Art Madrid
told East County Magazine, then shared  his vision for a greener
La Mesa in the future. 

CANDIDATE FORUMS & BALLOT INITIATIVE PRESENTATIONS

Voter LogoThe
League of Women Voters of East San Diego County and the American Association
of University Women of La Mesa-El Cajon will sponsor a series of nonpartisan
public forums to educate voters about candidates plus the pros and cons of
initiatives on the November ballot.  Come meet the candidates, ask questions,
and learn more about the issues – free!

A Firestorm of Controversy - Still No County Fire Department Five Years After Cedar Blaze

Ballot measure will ask voters to approve tax for fire services

By E.A. Barrera



"Given the existing high-risk conditions that are projected to continue into the future, destructive firestorms will certainly occur again. Yet, even armed with this knowledge and after the Cedar Fire wake-up call, the San Diego region is woefully unprepared." - San Diego County Grand Jury, May 29, 2008

September 1, 2009 (East County)--October will mark the first anniversary of the Witch Creek Fires and fifth anniversary of the deadlier Cedar Fire.  Four years have passed since voters overwhelmingly approved Proposition "C" which called for a Countywide Fire Department.  Yet the County of San Diego is still at the nascent stage of organizing collective fire departments of the region into one unified command structure.

DYING TO COME TO AMERICA - Immigrant Death Toll Soars; Water Stations Sabotaged

By Miriam Raftery

Border AngelsSeptember 1, 2008 (Holtville)--“These people came here looking for opportunity. Not one of them expected to die,” said Enrique Morones, erecting a hand-made wooden cross at a gravesite marked only by a brick engraved with the name Jane Doe.

A few years ago, there were twenty bricks in this pauper’s graveyard at Holtville in Imperial County, final resting ground for immigrants who died crossing the U.S.-Mexican border in San Diego and Imperial Counties.  Now there are 656. 

Tough Medicine, Part I

Grossmont Hospital Investigations Raise Oversight Concernts, Criticisms

By Sara McInerney, staff writer, and editor Miriam Raftery

September 14, 2008 (La Mesa)--Revelations of preventable patient deaths and alleged neglect at Sharp Grossmont Hospital have led some community leaders to demand increased oversight even as new complaints of patient care at Grossmont surface.

Grossmont is one of four hospitals in San Diego County assessed the maximum allowable fine by state health regulators for preventable errors that caused patient deaths, injuries, or were likely to cause serious harm.

Medicare and Medi-Cal are considering cutting their reimbursement for the hospital by October 15.  Federal, state and county regulators are currently investigating the hospital.   The hospital has submitted plans to correct deficiencies, including improving training and communications, and is awaiting a revisit by the California Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Tough Medicine, Part II

Community Leaders Call for New Hospital in East County:
Long Waits in Grossmont ER, Patient Deaths Heighten Urgent Need

By Sara McInerney, Staff Writer

September 18, 2008 (La Mesa)--Government investigations into at least three preventable patient deaths at Sharp Grossmont Hospital have raised serious questions about the facility’s capacity to service the needs of East County’s growing population.

Closure of the El Cajon Valley Emergency (full service) Hospital and a Kaiser facility, both in El Cajon, have exacerbated pressures on Grossmont, East County’s only remaining hospital.  In addition, Grossmont ceased being a designated trauma center in the 1980s, leaving East County with no trauma center.  Designated trauma patients are now transported via helicopter or ambulance to Sharp Memorial Hospital in San Diego.

Budget Crisis Hits Home

State workers in East County struggle to cope with prospect of huge pay cuts, lay-offs; Judge orders Sept. 12 hearing on Governor’s wage-slashing orders

By Miriam Raftery
Photos by Aida Canonizado

Mildred
Scarber, a state employee who works at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
in El Cajon, was shocked to learn that Governor Schwarzenegger has ordered
all state employees’ pay rates slashed to the federal minimum wage: just
$6.55 an hour.

“This drops my pay by two-thirds,” said Scarber, a salaried employee
who has worked at the DMV for eleven years. “Previously our pay roughly
came to $18 an hour.”  In addition, the Governor has eliminated
all overtime – so Scarber also loses the $100 to $300 a month she typically
earned helping staff the ever-busy DMV office. 

City Attorney Mike Aguirre Takes Action on Wildfire, Water & Energy Issues

City Attorney Mike Aguirre

In an exclusive issue with East County Magazine, San Diego City Attorney
Mike Aguirre discusses lawsuits and other actions to protect our region from
wildfires, assure a reliable water supply, and compel San Diego Gas & Electric
Company (SDG&E) to meet legal requirements for renewable energy production. 

Q:  What compelled you to file a  lawsuit against
SDG&E over
the recent wildfires that devastated East County and San Diego? 

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