LAWSUIT CHALLENGES BAN ON ASSEMBLY HEARING VIDEOS IN POLITICAL ADS

WE SALUTE OUR VETERANS THIS MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

LARGE CROWD PROTESTS TRUMP IN SAN DIEGO; 35 ARRESTS INCLUDE CITY ATTORNEY CANDIDATE

PRODUCE PICKS: STRAWBERRIES (CALIFORNIA GROWN)

VOEPEL-TEORA ASSEMBLY RACE HEATS UP

LOCAL REPUBLICAN PARTY SNUBS TRUMP, WITHHOLDS ENDORSEMENT; SD DEMOCRATS MAKE DUAL ENDORSEMENT OF CLINTON AND SANDERS

TRUMP SAYS HE WILL CANCEL PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT, CUT POLLUTION REGULATIONS TO BOOST USE OF OIL AND COAL

EAST COUNTY PERFORMING ARTS CENTER TO OPEN SOON, MAYOR PROMISES

SHERIFF’S WISHBONE THE BEAGLE AND HIS "SMELL AND TELL" BOOK READING JUNE 25 AT EL CAJON LIBRARY

TRUMP TO HOLD RALLY IN SAN DIEGO MAY 27, COUNTER PROTEST PLANNED

NIGHT SKY PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP JUNE 25-26 IN BORREGO SPRINGS

SANTEE STREET FAIR AND CRAFT BEER FESTIVAL MAY 28

News

STORM TO HIT REGION ON TUESDAY

December 17, 2012 (San Diego) – A cold front is predicted to sweep through the county on Tuesday, with moderate to heavy rain and snow accumulating above 4500 feet. Dense fog will make travel difficult in mountain areas at night, the National Weather Service warns. In addition, a wind advisory is in effect for inland valley areas.

The weather is expected to improve Thursday through Saturday, though another storm is possible next Sunday or Monday—and with it, the prospect of a white Christmas for East County’s mountain communities.

6.3 QUAKE OFF MEXICO COAST RATTLES SAN DIEGO COUNTY

December 14, 2012 (San Diego)—Residents across San Diego County were awakened at 2:36 a.m. by a 6.3 earthquake centered 172 miles to the southwest, off the coast of Mexico.

The quake struck at a depth of seven miles.  Aftershocks have occurred, the strongest measuring 4.7.  No tsunami warnings have been issued.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the temblor occurred due to “shallow normal faulting within the oceanic lithosphere of the Pacific plate.” 

WILD WEATHER HITS COUNTY: SNOW IN MOUNTAINS, FLOODING AND ROCKSLIDES ACROSS REGION

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Following today’s heavy rains, snowfall is forecast to blanket local mountains as low as the 4,000 foot level tonight with several inches of snow at higher elevations. 

Flooding caused several serious accidents, including a semi-truck collision in the Bonita area and a fatal school bus –car collision on I-805.  Normally dry culverts and flood channels in the Mount Helix, Spring Valley and Bonita areas overflowed.

MAYOR FILNER AND NAAC ANNOUNCE FREE HOMEOWNERS CONFERENCE DEC. 15 IN SAN DIEGO

Do you qualify for compensation due to wrongful foreclosure in 2009 or 2010? Find out and get help--free

December 13, 2012 (San Diego) -- San Diego’s newly-elected Mayor Bob Filner and the National Asian American Coalition (NAAC) are co-sponsoring what could be the largest Independent Foreclosure Review (IFR) event and resource fair in California this year. 

Under the IFR review, the 14 largest banks/servicers are required to pay homeowners who were improperly foreclosed upon up to $125,000 each in compensation. But since only 5% of homeowners have been properly contacted by the banks and none have received any relief, federal banking regulatory agencies have committed to holding this pre-Christmas event.

RAMONA MECHANIC KILLED IN BUS ACCIDENT

Photo courtesy 10 News

December 13, 2012 (Ramona) – A school bus mechanic, 32, from Ramona has died of injuries following a collision .  The mechanic was working to repair a San Diego Unified School District bus that had broken down on the right shoulder of I-805 southbound under El Cajon Boulevard at 6:55 a.m. when a 2005 Nissan Altima driver lost control in heavy rain and slammed into the bus.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the Nissan driver, a 41-year-old woman, lost control due to her speed on the wet roadway. Her vehicle struck the rear of the bus, trapping the mechanic in the engine compartment and causing serious injuries.

FATAL MOTORCYCLE CRASH

December 13, 2012 (San Diego) – Rosalio Cardenas, 29, has died of injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident yesterday at 7:51 a.m. on Highway 15 northbound near University Avenue. 

According to the California Highway Patrol, two motorcyclists were splitting lanes in heavy traffic when the Harley Davidson motorcycle driven by Cardenas slowed and was struck by the rider of the Hyosung motorcycle.  Both riders were ejected. Cardenas landed in front of a Freightliner semi truck and was struck by the right front tire.

MAJOR ACCIDENTS AND FLOODING: I-805 SOUTH

December 13, 2012 (Bonita) 8:35 a.m. -- Avoid 805 through the Bonita and Southbound areas this morning, where major flooding is reported by CHP and at least two serious accidents have occurred.  At I-805 south in Bonita, a four-vehicle collision has occurred including a semi-truck, CHP report.  At I-805 and Meade, IPN reports an accident involving two school buses with a driver trapped in the engine compartment.

COUNTY SUPERVISORS VOTE TO RESTRICT ROLE OF COMMUNITY PLANNING AND SPONSOR GROUPS

Local planning group members and residents voice concerns over stifling of powers for communities and heavy influence of developers

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – By a 5-0 vote, San Diego’s Board of Supervisors this week unanimously voted to  place limits on the powers and influence of community planning group and sponsor group members.   

The action follows recommendations made by a developer-stacked Red Tape Reduction Task Force, which had sought to eliminate planning and sponsor groups completely.  Supervisors previously voted to retain the groups, but make some changes.  But changes approved this week are sparking concern and outrage among many local planning and sponsor group members, as well as the public that they serve.

One local planning representative is even calling for a ballot measure to shift power from Supervisors back to local planning group members and the people in rural communities.

GROSSMONT HIGH GRADUATE AMONG VICTIMS OF OREGON SHOPPING MALL SHOOTING

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2012 (El Cajon ) – Cindy Waddell graduated from Grossmont High School in 1976 and later lived in Scripps Ranch, earning her nursing degree from San Diego State Universtiy before moving to Oregon. Also known as Cindy Passalacqua and later Cindy Yuille, she lost her life in a shooting rampage yesterday at the Clackamas Town Center shopping mall near Portland, Oregon.

Former neighbor Linda Hughes recalled the slain woman as a “devoted mother, a sweet person,” ECM news partner 10 News reports. She was working as a hospice nurse in Oregon at the time of her death.

MAJOR INJURIES IN FERTILIZER TRUCK COLLISION IN ALPINE

December 12, 2012 (Alpine)—Major injuries are reported at a collision on I-8 east at Tavern Road in Alpine.  According to the CHP website, a  black Lexus struck a semi-truck from behind, then plummeted off the roadway. 

The truck, which lost an axle, was hauling fertilizer.  A major gouge in the roadway is reported at the CHP website and the right lane is blocked. A helicopter has been called to the scene and SDG&E has also been dispatched due to damage to a power pole.

WORKERS RALLY TO PROTECT THE SAFETY NET FOR RETIREES

By Nadin Abbott

December 10, 2012 (San Diego)-- The mood was defiant as workers from throughout San Diego County converged at 750 B Street in downtown San Diego for a rally to protect Social Security and the rest of the social safety. This event was one of a hundred rallies held today around the nation urging Congress not to slash benefits as the "fiscal cliff" deadline approaches. Several rallies were held locally, including protests at San Diego’s Congressional members offices as well as downtown.

PROPANE TANKS EXPLODE, CAUSING FIRE THAT DAMAGES EXTERIOR OF GINGHAM’S RESTAURANT IN LA MESA VILLAGE

Neighbor who reported fire says rooster crowing alerted him to the blaze

By Miriam Raftery

December 9, 2012 (La Mesa) – “It sounded like really big thunder,” ECM writer and La Mesa resident Ariele Brooks said of propane tank explosions that damaged the exterior of Gingham’s Restaurant on La Mesa Boulevard downtown.  “First my back door rattled two times about 5 or 10 minutes apart…Nothing was out there, so I thought maybe it was an explosion.  But then there was this very loud sound.”

Another neighbor, Bob James, told La Mesa Today that a rooster crowing awakened him. Spotting flames, he called 911.  "The rooster is a hero!" he proclaimed. (No word on whether the plucky foul who saved the downtown village will sway councilmembers on the merits of owning roosters, which is currently prohibited in La Mesa.)

SAN DIEGO COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY BACKS AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN “CITIZENS UNITED” DECISION

December 7, 2012 (San Diego)--In a stunning unanimous vote Tuesday, the San Diego City Council supported a Constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed virtually unlimited corporate donations to political campaigns. The vote was 8-0 to limit the power of money in politics, with one absent councilmember not voting.

The resolution asks Congress to begin the process to amend the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission “so that the expenditure of corporate money to influence the electoral process is no longer a form of constitutionally protected speech.”

BROWN ACT IS BACK IN FORCE: OPEN GOVERNMENT REQUIREMENTS RESTORED

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—The public’s right to know what’s on the agenda for local government boards is now fully restored--thanks to a provision tucked within the fine print of Proposition 30, the tax measure to aid schools passed by voters in November.  

Back in July, the cash-strapped California Legislature suspended a section of the Brown Act that required local government boards to post agendas at least 72 hours before a meeting.  Because the law required the state to reimburse local governments for such costs, the state simply eliminated citizens’ right to know what actions government bodies had scheduled.

“Since the election, the Brown Act mandate is fully back in force and agencies can no longer claim reimbursement for mandated costs.  That's a side effect of the passage of Prop 30,” Terry Francke, general counsel at Californians Aware (CALAWARE) told ECM.

RED FLAG ALERT ISSUED FOR HIGH FIRE DANGER: HIGH WINDS AND FOG ALSO FORECAST

December 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning  starting tonight at 6 p.m. through Tuesday at 2 p.m. for San Diego’s inland valleys.  A red flag alert means conditions for wildfire danger are high.

In addition, a high wind warning has been issued from now through 4 p.m. Monday by the National Weather Service in San Diego.  A dense fog advisory has also been issued for tonight and tomorrow morning.  Use caution if you must drive during these conditons.

Backcountry residents concerned about potential proactive electricicty shutdowns due to high winds can monitor SDG&E's website for updates at http://www.sdge.com/tools/windspeed-dashboard

"TOTAL PEA SOUP": HEAVY FOG ON MAJOR FREEWAYS IN EAST COUNTY

December 8, 2012 (La Mesa)--East County freeways are socked in by fog described as "pea soup" by ECM journalist Paul Kruze. Kruze reports zero visibility at 10:10 p.m. through La Mesa including the junction of Interstate 8 and State Route 125. Kruze said he relied on speed bumps to avoid going off the roadway due to the thick fog.

The National Weather Service has forecast heavy fog for tonight across much of the county, as well as high winds.  Avoid driving if possible and be sure to use low beam settings on your headlights if you encounter fog.

U.S. SUPREME COURT TO HEAR 2 SAME-SEX MARRIAGE CASES, INCLUDING PROP 8 APPEAL FILED BY EX-SAN DIEGO SENATOR HOLLINGSWORTH

San Diego’s County Clerk “ready to respond immediately”; marriages could resume soon if court finds Prop 8 challengers lack legal standing to appeal

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2012 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Supreme Court today announced that it will review  two cases involving same-sex marriage, including an appeal by petitioners seeking to overturn Proposition 8 including former San Diego State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth. 

California voters initially voted to legalize same-sex marriage, but later passed Proposition 8 which banned same-sex marriages. California’s Attorney General refused to appeal Prop 8 to the Supreme Court after the 9th circuit court of appeal found it unconstitutional. Thus other petitioners appealed including Hollingsworth, leader of the group Protect Marriage, asking the high court to strike down the 9th court ruling.

TRASH FACILITY ON FIRE IN EL CAJON

Firefighters removed 500 tons of trash to extinguish the blaze 

By Nadin Abbott and Miriam Raftery

Photos by Billy Ortiz and Nadin Abbott; view video by Billy Ortiz

December 7, 2012 (El Cajon) -- A large fire is now under control at a Waste Management facility at 1001 West Bradley Avenue near Gillespie Field in El Cajon. 

"There are flames shooting out of a big pile of trash," Councilman Gary Kendrick told ECM shortly after the fire was reported at 5:48 p.m. to Heartland Fire dispatch.  "It smells pretty bad and there is a lot of smoke."  The facility is a transfer station, he said, adding that a large number of emergency vehicles are at the scene.

A NUTTY STORY: SQUIRREL’S STASH SENDS THREE RAMONA RESIDENTS TO HOSPITAL WITH CO POISONING

Acorn-clogged heater, CO detector created grave danger

December 7, 2012 (Ramona)--Three people were taken by ambulance to UCSD to be treated for high levels of carbon monoxide yesterday. Fortunately, they were released later and are expected to recover. But their ordeal is a reminder of the importance of inspecting and maintaining furnaces, as well as having a working carbon monoxide detector, County officials warn.

At approximately 9:30 a.m. Thursday, a 911 call was made from the 24000 block of Highway 78 reporting a medical emergency of a patient that was possibly cardiac in nature. Shortly after a second person in the same household became ill, the person making the 911 call became unresponsive to dispatchers. 

FORMER COUNCILWOMAN JILLIAN HANSON-COX SENTENCED TO 30 MONTHS, ORDERED TO PAY $4.8 MILLION IN RESTITUTION

Money spent on lavish personal expenditures as well as community causes

By Miriam Raftery

December 6, 2012 (El Cajon) – “What I did was so shameful, and I will have to live with what I did for the rest of my life,” former El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox stated tearfully at her sentencing hearing last Monday.  Federal judge Michael Anello sentenced her to 30 months in prison after she admitted embezzling money from her former employer and failing to report the income to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).  Hanson-Cox is also ordered to pay more than $3.6 million in restitution to her ex-employer, Century Design Inc. (CDI) and another $1.2 million to the U.S. Treasury. 

“While embezzling millions of dollars from CDI, former Councilwoman Hanson-Cox not only traded on her reputation as a public official but also betrayed every citizen who expected her to act honestly in both her private and public affairs,” said U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy.

PASSAGES: MARIA HEIMPEL, HELIX LANGUAGE TEACHER AND HUMANITARIAN

Memorial service planned December 8 in Lakeside

December 6, 2012 (San Diego's East County) – Maria Ines Heimpel, who taught  languages for more than three decades at Helix High School in La Mesa and volunteered for humanitarian causes in San Diego and Tijuana, died peacefully in her home on November 27, 2012.

Her lifelong concern for those in need led to her involvement with a clinic and an orphanage in Tijuana. She also participated as an interpreter with the Mercy Outreach Surgical Team, a group of doctors performing free surgical procedures for poor children in Mexico.

“She was a people person and as a teacher, genuinely interested in each of her students, going out of her way to help them,” fellow teacher and  friend Jean Costa said.  “She was a positive influence on the lives of so many young people and on the lives of people who knew her.”

SUPERVISOR JACOB ASKS CPUC TO OPPOSE SDG&E’S WILDFIRE COST-RECOVERY "SCHEME"

December 6, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--County Supervisor Dianne Jacob is again asking the California Public Utilities Commission to reject an attempt by San Diego Gas & Electric to bill its customers for the uninsured cost of the region’s 2007 wildfires and any future wildfire caused by the utility.

“I remain outraged at SDG&E’s incessant attempt to slap ratepayers with a massive invoice for the 2007 wildfires that scorched hundreds of thousands of acres in rural San Diego County,” Jacob wrote today in a letter to CPUC President Michael Peevey. “The notion that SDG&E cannot afford the costs of these fires is nonsense.”

REPORT: TOUGH TIMES FOR U.S. WINTER TOURISM INDUSTRY IF CLIMATE CHANGE GOES UNADDRESSED

$1 Billion Loss Experienced By Winter Sports Industry, Future Impacts Could be Larger; Consequences for states including CA listed

December 6, 2012 (San Diego's East County)– A new economic analysis details how the $12.2 billion winter tourism industry spread out across 38 states has experienced an estimated $1 billion loss and up to 27,000 fewer jobs over the last decade due to diminished snow fall patterns and the resulting changes in the outdoor habits of Americans, according to the new study prepared for the nonprofit groups Protect Our Winters (POW) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

Potentially, diminished snowfall could have impacts here in San Diego, where mountain areas such as Julian, Mount Laguna, Cuyamaca and Palomar Mountain thrive on tourism during the winter months.

LA MESA POLICE COMMENCE SPECIAL TRAFFIC ENFORCEMENT PROGRAM

December 4, 2012 (La Mesa) – More traffic enforcement and safer streets are coming to La Mesa in the coming year.  Increased special traffic enforcement measures are on tap as a result of a recent $55,000 grant awarded by the Office of Traffic Safety to the La Mesa Police Department. The La Mesa Police Department is dedicated to keeping our roadways safe through both enforcement and education.

CALIFORNIA OUTDOORS Q&As

By Carrie Wilson 

December 4, 2012 (San Dieg's East County) -- The California Fish and Game Department has provided the following answers to questions commonly asked about hunting and fishing in California.

When Fishing with Kids, What's Required?

Question: I was always taught as a kid fishing in the streams in the high Sierras and Mother Lode lakes that a child under 16 had to count their catches under their licensed parent’s or other adult’s license on site.

My question is, can a child capable of catching their own fish without assistance from an adult catch a limit of trout, for example, separate from a licensed adult? I see this come up with parents who want to take their kids fishing (and the kids really want to learn how to fish!), but the parents are not interested enough to buy a fishing license.

STATE GRANT ENABLES SANTEE TO UPGRADE TRAFFIC SAFETY SOFTWARE

December 4, 2012 (Santee) - On November 1, 2012, the City of Santee started work to upgrade the City’s collision analysis software.  Funding for this program was provided by a $34,000 grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The project will upgrade the City’s traffic collision analysis software to improve efficiency in collision data collection, analysis, and ultimately improve traffic safety. The grant will assist in efforts to deal with traffic safety problems and to reduce the number of persons killed and injured in traffic collisions. 

SABOTAGE SUSPECTED AT SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR POWER PLANT

Despite disturbing finding, Edison seeks to restart trouble-prone nuclear facility

Hearing Nov. 30 in Laguna Hills as nine cities voice concerns over safety issues

By Miriam Raftery

November 30, 2012 (San Diego)—Southern California Edison has notified the Nuclear Regulatory Commission of possible sabotage at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating facility, after finding coolant poured in the oil reservoir of an emergency backup generator at Unit 3, Energy News reports.

The FBI is taking over the investigation and criminal charges are possible, according to a plant employee who spoke under condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals, Huffington Post reported yesterday. The NRC has confirmed that Edison reported potential sabotage,Energy News reported.

"The FBI is aware of the alleged security incident that occurred at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating (SONGS) Station.  The FBI is presently reviewing the facts and circumstances concerning this incident," Special agent Darrell Foxworth with the FBI told ECM. "At this time there is no indication that this incident is terrorism related."

Previous news stories have speculated that a disgruntled employee could be the culprit due to recent layoff announcements.

Failure of emergency generators at Fukushima were key factors in that plant’s meltdown last year.  A meltdown at San Onofre would force evacuation of San Diego, portions of East County and also parts of Orange and Riverside counties and could potentially leave the region contaminated for generations.

PASSAGES: FORMER GUHSD BOARD PRESIDENT LARRY URDAHL, RESPECTED PUBLIC EDUCATION ADVOCATE

By Miriam Raftery

December 1, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Larry Urdahl, a former Alpine resident who served as President of the Grossmont Union High School District Board and as a Trustee from 2004-2008, has died of liver cancer on November 28 at a hospital in Sedona, Arizona.  Urdahl also served as president of the Alpine High School Citizens Committee.  A long-time advocate for public education, he stood up against the GUHSD board majority on behalf of students and parents, fighting for a new Alpine High School in Alpine and against conversion to a charter district.

“Larry and fellow Grossmont Board member, Priscilla Schreiber, tirelessly fought for our high school and we are all indebted to them for getting us so close to that goal,” Sal Casamissima, current president of the AHSCC, wrote in an email today.

WATER AUTHORITY BOARD APPROVES LANDMARK SEAWATER DESALINATION PROJECT

Carlsbad plant expected to produce first water in 2016

December 1, 2012 (San Diego) -- , 2012 (San Diego)--The San Diego County Water Authority’s Board of Directors on Thursday voted to approve a landmark agreement to purchase up to 56,000 acre-feet of water annually from what will be the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad, Calif.  The plant is expected to start producing up to 50 million gallons a day in 2016.

LAWYERS CLUB TO HONOR JUDICIARY IN EAST AND NORTH COUNTIES

December 1, 2012 (San Diego) -- Lawyers Club of San Diego will host two special events to honor the judiciary of East and North Counties.  Lawyers Club, a bar association founded in 1972 with the mission “to advance the status of women in the law and society,” now has more than 1000 members and celebrated its 40th anniversary this year.  Register for these events at:  www.lawyersclubsandiego.com

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