By Miriam Raftery
January 1, 2013 (San Diego)—“The Vietnamese community in San Diego is in need of a strong sense of identity in order to unite in the revitalization of our social and economic life,”Frank Vuong, president of the Little Saigon San Diego Foundation, writes.
He hopes to see the Vietnamese community become a cultural asset for our region by putting it on the map. So the Foundation has launched a petition to designate a Little Saigon District in San Diego’s Talmadge/Kensington area along El Cajon Boulevard between Euclid and Highland Avenues.
December 29, 2012 (San Diego)—A federal lawsuit has been filed by Celeste Deborah Cooney, who alleges that radiation from a bank of smart meters left her unable to reside in her home. Defendants in the suit include the SDG&E, the State of California, Attorney General Kamala Harris, California Public Utilities chairman Mi chael Peevey, and Itron Inc., manufacturer of smart meters used in San Diego.
Cooney, a former bank vice president in Massachusetts, moved to San Diego to pursue a new career as a musician. She performed at prominent locations including the Queen Mary and the Ritz Carlton. But in April 2011, she developed a ringing in her ears, a “shock to her heart”, numbness, chest pain, heart palpitations and sleep problems that she attributes to a bank of smart meters at an apartment complex near her home in La Jolla.
Norwegian kicker Havard Rugland trains in San Diego with coach Michael Husted
December 26, 2012 (San Diego) – More than a million people have viewed Norwegian Havard Rugland’s YouTube video showing off his amazing kicking skills, says kicking coach Michael Husted, a former NFL kicker working wtih Rugland in San Diego. It’s also earned him the attention of NFL coaches and a workout with the New York Jets—even though he’s never played in a football game before.
View Havard Rugland's "Kickalicious" YouTube video here, in which he kicks footballs not only through goalposts on fields, but also into the waiting arms of a colleague in a moving car, on a skateboard, and atop a hill.
Husted, who has been training Rugland in recent weeks, is not surprised that the video has generated plenty of ‘buzz’ in both the media and the NFL.
December 23, 2012 (Rancho San Diego) – From 8 p.m. last night until 2 a.m. this morning, deputies and officers from the San Diego County Avoid 15 Task Force conducted a DUI sobriety and driver license checkpoint near the 2800 block of Jamacha Road in the uninincorporated area of El Cajon. A total of 34 vehicles were sent into secondary screening and 10 field sobriety tests were conducted on drivers. Two DUI arrests were made along with three felony arrest for possession of a controlled substance, and eight citations. In addition, four vehicles were impounded at the checkpoint--one because the driver's license was suspended or revoked and three because the drivers were arrested.
December 21, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Congresswoman Susan Davis, La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid, and El Cajon Councilman Gary Kendrick were among the elected officials who joined in our “Feasting & Merrymaking” party over the weekend—and shared some special news for our community.
Our guests also enjoyed live jazz by the amazing Chris Klich trio, fabulous food by chef Patrick Dean and the Grove Pastry Shop, wines from La Serenissima and San Pasqual wineries, plus an East County trivia game and prize drawings.
December 19, 2012 (San Diego)– The U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus today announced that Rep.-Elect Scott Peters has been assigned to serve on the House Armed Services Committee. The move strengthens San Diego’s representation on the committee, where Democrat Susan Davis and Republican Duncan D. Hunter are already members.
“Our military and defense industry is a large and critical part of our regional economy that employs hundreds of thousands of San Diegans,” said Peters, who defeated Rep. Brian Bilbray in the November election. “As the Representative for the new 52nd District, which is home to seven military bases, serving on Armed Services is an important assignment and an honor.”
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.
READER’S EDITORIAL: HAS THE TIME COME FOR ALPINE TO DECLARE INDEPENDENCE FROM THE COUNTY BY INCORPORATING?
By Lou Russo
“We in Alpine …seem to be saddled with governments that cannot or will not serve us, but instead seem to serve everyone else but us.”—Lou Russo
“When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
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.
VIP guests include Congresswoman Davis, Mayor Art Madrid and many more!
This year's festivities will take place on Sunday, December 16 from 2-6 p.m.
Savor delicious foods prepared by Chef Patrick Dean and Grove Pastry Shop, enjoy wine tasting by La Serenissima and San Pasqual Winery as well as live jazz music by Chris Klich of Grossmont College Music Dept. Plus we'll have prizes and surprises!
$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.
“We’re going to see that every community has power.” – Bob Filner
By Miriam Raftery
December 4, 2012 (San Diego) – From day one in his administration, Bob Filner has made clear that it won’t be business as usual for the city’s powerbrokers. To emphasize that point, he hosted not one, but a series of inaugural parties including celebrations in disadvantaged neighborhoods. One such festive event took place last night at the Jacob Center in the Euclid area of east San Diego.
“We’re going to see that every community has power, “ Mayor Filner, wearing a Hawaiian lei, told an enthusiastic and ethnically diverse crowd. He pledged to include faces from the Latino, African-American and Asian communities working in his mayoral office and city bureaucracy through appointments to the boards and commissions that “do the work of the city.”
November 14, 2012 (Cuyamaca) -- Due to a change in weather, this week’s controlled burn planned for McCain Valley was cancelled. Instead, Cal-Fire will hold a prescribed burn on Wednesday, November 15 in the Middle Peak area off Highway 79 and Mild Ranch Road in the Cuyamaca area. Smoke will be visible from the Julian and surrounding areas, Mike Mohler at Cal-Fire advises.
AS COUNT CONTINUES, SOME RACES NARROW WHILE OTHERS WIDEN; JUST 7 VOTES SEPARATE CANDIDATES IN ONE EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
By Bill Weaver
November 13, 2012 (San Diego)—On Election Night, several important races in San Diego and East County were too close to call. Counting is underway of mail-in and provisional ballots at the County Registrar of Voters, where about 210,000 ballots countywide remain to be counted.
By Bill Weaver
November 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—Leaders in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College are speaking out to thank voters for passing Prop V, a $398 million bond measure that passed by about 56.5 percent.
“We’re pleased that voters understand the critical facilities and technology upgrades needed to better educate and train our students in today’s ultra-competitive world,” said Governing Board President Bill Garrett.
Prop V will fund upgrades, repairs and renovations to classrooms, roads, labs and infrastructure, including helping to meet the needs of our region's many veterans.
By Buck Schott
November 9, 2012 (San Diego) –Some of the biggest winners and losers in this election weren’t candidates—though they’ll clearly be feeling the impacts of the election outcomes.
So who in town needs crying towels, and who should be popping champagne? From our region’s not-so-influential media mogul to techie geeks who proved social media can help defeat special interests, here are our picks for the biggest post-election winners and losers:
November 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – In startling contrast to numerous national polls that had predicted a near-tie in the presidential race, President Barack Obama won a sweeping victory. Obama captured 303 electoral votes, Romney 206, winning not only Democratic strongholds, but also nearly all swing states. According to CNN, the President also trounced Romney in the popular vote by more than a million vote margin.
Similarly, Democrats gained power in Sacramento and San Diego, taking control of the Council and Mayor’s office with wins looking increasingly likely to oust Congressman Bilbray and seat a Democrat on the all-Republican Board of Supervisors.
What lessons can be learned from the outcomes?
By Nadin Abbott and Miriam Raftery
November 7, 2012 (San Diego)—Today, Carl DeMaio called Congressman Bob Filner and conceded defeat, then wished the Mayor-elect good luck.
With this concession, one of the most divisive races in recent San Diego memory is over. Filner will be inaugurated on December 3.
With the victory of Sherri S. Leightner at 54% over her challenger Ray Ellis with 46%, the City Council will also be in Democratic hands, though FIlner has pledged to consult with people who opposed him as well as those who supported him as he sets up his administration.
By Miriam Raftery
November 7, 2012 (San Diego) – By a slim margin, Democrat Dave Roberts is ahead of Republican Steve Danon with 100% of precincts counted, though provisional ballots remain. Roberts would replace Republican Supervisor Pam-Slater Price, who is retiring and made a cross-party endorsement of Roberts.
“Tuesday's election is historic in two ways,” a press release from Roberts’ campaign said this morning.”It is the first time in 17 years there has been a new person elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and Dave Roberts will be the first Democrat elected as County Supervisor in 19 years. The last Democrat to serve on the Board of Supervisors was Leon Williams who served until 1994.”
8 of 11 awards recognize ECM's in-depth coverage of energy issues in our region
By Miriam Raftery
October 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Continuing our proud tradition, East County Magazine was once again among the top recipients of honors at tonight’s San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards. All entries were in the Daily Newspapers and Websites category, going up against the major print newspapers and online news sites in our region.
The majority of the honors recognized ECM's in-depth coverage of the impacts of major energy projects, including industrial wind turbines, on local rural, mountain and desert communities. ECM editor Miriam Raftery won nine awards, including a first place award in general news for Silence of the Lambs: U.S. Government authorizes killing of endangered bighorns in path of wind project. Raftery and ECM intern Mia Myklebust shared an additional first place award in the public service/consumer advocacy category for Jacumba: A town surrounded. That story focused on the impacts of major energy projects on a small rural community.
Scroll down to see our full list of winners and read the winning entries.
October 22, 2012 (Lemon Grove)--Sheriff’s deputies responded to a radio call of a possible carjacking in Lemon Grove at 3:30 a.m. A taxi driver had been flagged down earlier by two men at 12th Street and Imperial Avenue in San Diego, then drove them to Lemon Grove on Highway 94 and stopped at North Avenue and Olive Street.
“One of the subjects allegedly hit the driver on the head with the butt of a black semi-automatic handgun,” said Sergeant Luis Chavezz with the Sheriff’s office. “The driver and the subject wrestled over the gun as the other subject allegedly began hitting the driver with his fist. The driver was able to exit the taxi and fell on the street. One of the subjects alledgedly kicked the driver on the head and then got back inside the taxi.”
Fundraiser a success, but more help is needed: “wish list” provided for families who lost homes
By Miriam Raftery
October 17, 2012 (Jacumba/Boulevard)—Ray Ritter, 2, and his parents are among nine families who lost everything in the Shockey Fire last month. The home they were renting burned to the ground and they had no insurance. But that’s just the latest in a string of tragedies for the Ritters.
“Dad died September 14,” Monica Ritter told ECM. “His memorial service was Sept. 20 and on the 21st, our house burned down.”
ECM met the Ritter family at a fundraiser for Shockey Fire victims held last Friday at the Jacumba community center, where firefighters and community members turned out to raise $1,378.59. The Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation had already given over $3500 to the families during recovery after the fire—but now fire victims need additional help to rebuild their lives as the cold season draws near.
October 17, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Nearly 50 industrial-scale renewable energy projects are planned in San Diego’s East County and neighboring Imperial County. San Diego Supervisors will vote Dec. 5 on a wind ordinance that could open vast tracts of scenic areas and rural communities to skyscraper-sized wind turbines to harness renewable power. There are costs, however, to ther environment and risks to health and safety of residents, including heightened fire danger.
On Thursday, Oct. 18, ECM editor Miriam Raftery will be the guest speaker at the East County Democratic Club, making a presentation on impacts these big energy projects pose for on our region. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Coco’s Restaurant, 1025 Fletcher Parkway in El Cajon. Program starts at 7 p.m., if you wish to purchase dinner, arrive at 6 p.m.
If you would like a presentation on wind energy issues to your organization, contact email@example.com to arrange for a speaker or a Powerpoint presentation that you may use.
October 15, 2012 (Alpine) – The Alpine Union School District today sent an email alert from Superintendent Tom Pellegrino warning of an older man who has twice attempted to persuade a female student to get in his car. Below is the warning sent by the Superintendent today:
By Janis Mork
October 12, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)- In the November election, community planning association (CPA)/community planning group races countywide give voters few choices. Most are not competitive – with either the exact number of candidates as seats vacant or in several cases, fewer candidates than openings. That means many vacancies will be filled by appointments approved by Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
The moral of the story? If you want to have a say-so in development projects planned for your area, run for office! Your odds of getting elected are high, based on this year’s low number of candidates. Plus if your planning group has fewer candidates than seats open, you can ask to be considered for appointment to fill a vacancy.
By Miriam Raftery
Photo by Spark Photography / Provided by KPBS
October 6, 2012 (San Diego) – Broadcast journalist Gloria Penner, a pioneer in local broadcasting and a leading voice at KPBS radio/TV station on the San Diego State University campus for more than half a century, died today of pancreatic cancer. She was 81.
Her death comes just days before the Women’s History Museum was slated to hold a special tribute to Penner at an October 13 “Broads in Broadcasting” celebration of women who broke through the barriers in the broadcast world.
Property owners, campers urged to take precautions to stem spread of infestation
By Miriam Raftery
September 23, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –A voracious new pest is gnawing its way through East County. The gold-spotted oak borer has already killed over 21,500 trees in San Diego’s inland regions. Infestations have been found on federal, state, private and Native American lands across 1,893 square miles.
“Has anyone driven through Japatul into Julian lately? We did last weekend and it was a very SAD sight! Almost all of the Oaks are BARE SKELETONS or half brown and going fast,” Jerry Williams of Deerhorn Valley wrote in an e-mail to ECM.
PACE PROGRAM LAUNCHES IN SAN DIEGO: BUSINESSES CAN NOW PAY FOR CLEAN ENERGY INVESTMENTS SUCH AS SOLAR VIA PROPERTY TAXES-- WITH NO UP FRONT COSTS
September 19, 2012 (San Diego)—A new state program to help business owners invest in solar and other energy-saving projects with zero up-front costs launched yesterday in San Diego County.
The Property Assessed Clean Energy Program (PACE) enables commercial property owners to use their properties as collateral for energy upgrades—and to pay off those costs through their property tax bills.
By Miriam Raftery
August 22, 2012 (San Diego)—Some people just don’t learn. Back in January, San Diego Supervisors got sued for hiding information from the public about a developer-backed scheme to eliminate community planning groups. The Board backed down to avoid a trial, vacated votes and held a hearing with proper public notice and open—though heated--public testimony.
Now history has repeated itself. San Diegans for Open Government has filed a lawsuit alleging that Supervisors once more violated the Ralph M. Brown Act. According to the suit, this time the County failed to post an agenda for Supevisors' June 26, 2012 agenda on the County website for the 72-hours required by state law. Supevisors further failed to postpone the meeting, took action on agenda items and refused to allow members of the public to address Supervisors on a key agenda item.
August 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Seven lightning-sparked fires that burned more than 22,000 acres are all fully contained, Cal Fire reports this morning. No structures were lost, though four firefighters were injured. Below are full details on the fires provided by Cal Fire.