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THE DEMISE OF LOCAL MEDIA: WHAT IF WE SOON HAVE NO NEWSPAPERS LEFT?

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--As a journalist, I find it disturbing to see the high number of East County media outlets that have closed their doors, slashed content, or sold out to a corporate conglomerate in recent months.  Those remaining are struggling amid a culture of readers that increasing are failing to support the important job of news gathering that is so critical for our democracy—not to mention keeping you informed of breaking news, emergencies and events in your community.

EDITORIAL: PUBLIC RECORDS ACT GUTTED IN STATE BUDGET—ASK GOVERNOR TO RESTORE YOUR RIGHTS

 

 

Update June 20, 2013 4 p.m. -- The Sacramento Bee reports that due to mounting public pressure, the Governor will abandon efforts to weaken the Public Records Act.  The Bee also reports that Democrats plan to push for a state Constitutional amendment to assure public access to government documents and require local agencies to pay the costs, thwarting efforts by local governments that have sought reimbursement from the state for costs of complying with the decades-old law.

 

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

June 20, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A budget now on the Governor’s desk would gut the California Public Records Act, eliminating your right to access  public records.  Donna Frye, president of Californians Aware (CalAware), warns, “This is where we are today, facing a Public Records Act wipe-out unless Governor Brown vetoes that portion of the budget trailer bills and restores all the provisions currently in place.”

CalAware, a watchdog group dedicated to protecting open government, urges  citizens to call the Governor today at (916)445-2841 and ask the following:

EDITORIAL: RESIDENTS COUNTYWIDE SHOULD URGE SUPERVISORS TO BAN WIND TURBINES IN FIRE-PRONE REGIONS

 

County Democrats gut fire protection resolution, while Republican supervisors also fail to protect County residents from wind turbine fires

By Miriam Raftery

August 24, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--The San Diego Democratic Central Committee this week passed a measure calling on County Supervisors to increase firefighting resources-- but removed a key provision that would have urged lawmakers to ban wind turbines in fire-prone East County.  

Wind turbines have been responsible for starting hundreds of fires around the world, including wildfires, but firefighters cannot fight a fire burning in a 500-foot-tall wind turbine whirling off burning debris. With Supervisors poised to approve a wind ordinance opening the door to numerous turbines in the backcountry, the vote was a major disappointment to residents concerned about the clear threat to public safety posed by wind turbines in our fire-prone region.

EDITORIAL: THE PEOPLE OUR GOVERNOR WANTS TO “CRUSH”

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

July 27, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--Standing on a former mountaintop blasted away to build the new Suncrest Substation, Governor Jerry Brown yesterday  praised completion of  the 117-mile Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines—and denigrated 79,000 citizens who have fought against destroying our communities and scenic vistas.

“You have to crush the opposition,”  the Governor said forcefully, after joking that there were more dignitaries inside the celebration than people protesting down the street.

His words are unbecoming of our state’s highest official and an insult to the hard-working people of our region, most of whom couldn’t afford to take off work and attend a protest rally during the work day in this remote spot.  But their concerns are valid, heartfelt and deserve serious consideration, not hate or derision.

Let me tell you about some of those people our Governor wants to “crush.”

EDITORIAL: DON’T LET GOVERNMENT GROUPS HIDE THEIR AGENDAS

Take these steps to restore Brown Act protections at state and local levels

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

July 18, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Criticism is mounting over the state’s suspension of Brown Act protections, which have long required local government boards to provide at least 72 hours public notice of meeting agendas.

After some agencies submitted inflated bills to the state for reimbursement of notification costs, the Legislature recklessly suspended public notice requirements to save money--giving public agencies a license to hide their agendas.

ECM has invoked the Brown Act to force local boards to postpone meetings and reverse actions after they failed to provide notice required by the Brown Act. Any individual or media outlet that has requested to be notified of a board’s meetings has a right to do the same.

What’s being done to restore open government protections—and how can you help?

EDITORIAL: SUPERVISORS SHOULD DENY PATTERN ENERGY APPLICATION FOR OCOTILLO EXPRESS WIND

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

April 23, 2012 (Ocotillo) – In San Diego earlier this month, the county's planning commission heeded concerns of residents, environmentalists, tribes and health experts who voiced alarm over harmful impacts of industrial wind turbines. Planners voted to postpone enacting a wind ordinance and more fully study the issues. Their remarks made clear that most planners had serious reservations about potential impacts on human health, wildlife, cultural resources, environment, character of rural communities and public lands. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/9354

This was not the case with planners in Imperial County, who ignored a mountain of evidence as well as legitimate community concerns. Their zeal to rubberstamp a project that promises tax revenues and temporary jobs, along with renewable power, clearly came at the expense of public health and safety, protection of resources on public lands, and the long-held rights of Native Americans. http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/9173

Imperial Valley Supervisors should reverse their planning commission’s decision and reject Pattern Energy’s proposed Ocotillo Express wind project.  Here are compelling reasons why.

ECM EDITORIAL: CPUC SHOULD REJECT SDG&E’S SCHEME TO MAKE RATEPAYERS PAY FOR WILDFIRES THAT IT CAUSED

 

By Miriam Raftery, Editor

April 5, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)--When ENRON schemed to manipulate markets and defraud ratepayers, its executives went to jail. BP faces billions of dolalrs in fines for causing the Gulf Oil spill.  When automobile manufacturers sold cars with dangerous defects that killed people, it was their shareholders who paid the price. A lost hunter convicted of accidentally starting the Cedar Fire with a flare gun also spent time in jail. 

Why, then, should SDG&E and its publicly traded parent company, Sempra Energy, expect local ratepayers to pay for its uninsured liability costs for the wildfires that it caused, while its executives get off scott free?

ECM EDITORIAL: SAVE COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUPS FROM DEVELOPER-BACKED SCHEME TO SQUELCH LOCAL INPUT

 

SIGN A PETITION! Key vote Feb. 29 could take away your right to be informed and speak out

By Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

“People will never hear about projects until after they’re done if this [elimination of planning groups] goes through.” – Mark Ostrander, chair, Jacumba sponsor group

February 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – I've rarely published an editorial commentary, reserving my opinion for only those matters with the gravest of consequences for East County. One such matter will come before San Diego's Supervisors on February 29, when supervisors will vote on whether or not to eliminate all community planning groups countywide.  They will also weigh other “reforms” aimed at making it easier to pave over paradise--or put a goliath-scale project next door to you--with nobody the wiser until it's too late.

This ill-conceived idea is the brainchild of a “Red Tape Reduction Task Force” stacked with developers. If adopted, it will stifle voices of concerned residents in the early planning phases of major development projects from condo complexes to wind farms. 

Danielle Cook, a concerned citizen in Jacumba, has launched an online petition calling on Supervisors to save community planning groups. I have signed it, and urge all County residents to do the same if you value a democratic process that allows people’s voices to be heard, not just special interests. You can sign the petition here: https://www.change.org/petitions/san-diego-county-supervisor-save-our-planning-and-sponsor-groups.

OPEN LETTER TO THE UNION TRIBUNE: WHY DOESN'T YOUR NEW CITIZENS' EDITORIAL BOARD INCLUDE ANY EAST COUNTY VOICES?

 

 

 

 

 

To: Jeff Light, Editor, San Diego Union-Tribune; jeff.light@uniontrib.com

 

July 24, 2011 (San Diego's East County) -- I applaud the UT for setting up a citizen’s editorial board.  In many ways you’ve achieved a diversity of views ethinically, racially, and politically. But there are some glaring omissions.

 

There is not a single voice representing East County, rural residents,  fire survivors, nor environmental protection interests in the backcountry. 

 

It’s particularly unbalanced to have SDG&E represented on the board, with no one to speak for rural East County folks negatively impacted by the company’s actions.

EDITOR’S BLOG: ECM STORY SAVES LIVES A WORLD AWAY

 

Dear Readers,

 

August 22, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – I hope you’ll take heart from this inspiring news. After writing an article about the plight of flood victims in Afghanistan facing starvation, including women and girls at literacy schools founded by East County’s own Rescue Task Force, I received this heart-warming letter from RTF leaders Gary Becks and Andrea Stone:

“Miriam, you win the Motivating Journalism prize for the day... Probably for the next couple years! Sent your article to our board members and a number of supporters last night. Have just received a commitment to match up to $10,000 in donations …I was / am so impressed at reading your article…Thank you - you have touched many lives... and hearts.”

EDITOR'S MESSAGE: DO YOU KNOW HOW TO SAVE SOMEONE WHO IS CHOKING? THESE TIPS WORK--I KNOW, BECAUSE I'VE USED THEM

 

 

Dear Readers,


The tragic death of two-year-old Bentley Do, who choked on a gumball, evoked strong memories. I once saved my  son from choking on a pizza crust by using the Heimlich Maneuver (abdominal thrust) even though I’d never taken a first aid course and had only seen it on TV. I also vividly recall my Mom saving a friend’s toddler who snatched a gumball out of a candy tray and was choking. Mom flipped the child upside down and thumped his back. Thankfully the gumball popped out.

 

Please take a moment to read how to provide emergency treatment for choking. Don’t count on emergency help to arrive in time. You need to take immediate action. Also learn how to save yourself from choking if you are alone. Besides learning the techqniques below, be sure to child proof your house to keep small objects out of young children’s reach--and avoid a preventable choking tragedy.

EDITOR'S BLOG: GUHSD COMMITTEE SHOULD CHECK REAGAN RECORD ON NATIVE AMERICAN ISSUES BEFORE NAMING ALPINE HIGH SCHOOL FOR FORMER PRESIDENT

By Miriam Raftery
 

"Your comments about American Indians indicate that your knowledge about us, and about the historical relationship between Indian governments and the United States, is lacking to the point of being shameful." -- American Indian Movement of Colorado, in an open letter to President Ronald Reagan, 1988

 

May 13, 2010 (Alpine) – Alpine's Native American tribal members were not invited to serve on a committee to recommend a name for Alpine’s planned new high school. A Union-Tribune editorial published during  debate over whether to build a 12th high school observed, “The Viejas and Sycuan Indian tribes consider Alpine to be their community. The tribes fully understand how important education is…They are important allies to have when taking on a forgetful district bureaucracy.”

EDITOR'S BLOG: WHY ISN’T IT NEWS WHEN A DEAD BODY IS FOUND IN EAST COUNTY?

By Miriam Raftery, Editor
 

April 28, 2010 (Deerhorn Valley) – Five days after a man’s dead body was found by motorists on Deerhorn Valley Road following a night of freezing temperatures, San Diego Sheriff Bill Gore has not bothered to issue a press release. Neither has the County Medical Examiner. The Sheriff’s office has not returned a call from ECM requesting information on the man, who carried no identification.  

 

Why aren’t local authorities interested in getting public help to identify the deceased stranger?

 

EDITORIAL: WHY DIDN'T SAN DIEGO COUNTY POST ANY INFO ABOUT THE QUAKES AT ITS "EMERGENCY" WEBSITE?

 

 

 By Miriam Raftery, Editor

www.EastCountyMagazine.org

 

April 6, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – More than 24 hours after a 7.2 earthquake jolted our region, triggering more than 100 aftershocks, why has the County of San Diego failed to post a single mention of the recent quakes on its so-called “emergency” website at http://www.sdcountyemergency.com/

LIGHT IN THE DARKNESS: A MIRACLE IN MEMPHIS

By Miriam Raftery

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.”
-- Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.


Editor’s Note: This essay was written  several years ago following my trip to Memphis on the anniversary of King's death, but its message remains as timely now as it was then.

 

MEMPHIS – The shadow of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. looms large in Memphis, where Martin Luther King was assassinated thirty years ago. But his message transcends time and place, as I was poignantly reminded last year during a visit to the place where King drew his final breath.

HELP THE HOMELESS IN SAN DIEGO: HOLIDAY CATALOG, AUCTION, & A PARTY FOR HOMELESS CHILDREN

Dear Readers,

December 14, 2009 (San Diego) -- Did you know that 200 homeless people a year die on the streets of San Diego? That’s what a counselor who works with the homeless told me at our holiday party last night. Children account for 39% of all homeless people nationally—and families are the fastest growing segment. This holiday season, as most people are opening gifts and enjoying warm meals, nearly 10,000 homeless men, women and children are living on the streets or in their cars, enduring bitter cold, hunger, and hopelessness. Many have lost their jobs and homes in this difficult economy. Fortunately, there are some things that each of us can do to help this holiday season.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

Dear Readers,

 

We're thankful for our wonderful readers, our talented writers, and our generous donors and sponsors.  We're also grateful for the beauty of our backcountry and for the privilege of reporting on our area's many hidden treasures and surprising sights--such as wild turkeys and sectacular fall colors which you may spot if you travel East County's backroads this holiday weekend. We hope this season finds  you in good spirits--and we wish you all a  happy and healthy Thanksgiving!  

--Miriam Raftery, Editor, East County Magazine

REMINDER : NO POSTING AD LINKS IN COMMENTS ON STORIES!

Dear Readers, 

 

It's great to see so much community dialogue on our stories. However, we need to remind everyone to  please respect our rules.  The "comments" feature is for discussing news articles and events - not posting links to ads for businesses.  We will be delete comments (or portions) that are blatantly promotional, especially when unrelated to the news topic.  Repeat offenders may be banned--particularly spammers.

Thanks for your understanding and cooperation.

 

Miriam Raftery

HEALTHCARE SYSTEM ON THE OPERATING TABLE

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Dear Readers: June 15, 2009--President Obama held a townhall meeting this week and also spoke to the American Medical Association promoting his proposal to create a government healthcare system that would compete against the private health insurance system. "If you love your healthcare plan, you can keep it," Obama pledged.

 

But if you're uninsured or under-insured, you would be able to opt into a government system, which also aims to save money for businesses strapped by rising healthcare costs for workers. (View video of the healthcare townhall meeting: http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/obamaforamerica/gGGGTv. View video of AMA address: http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/obamaforamerica/gGGGkD.) A healthcare for all plan is also moving foward in the California Legislature. Republicans, meanwhile, have announced plans to unveil their own alternative proposal. We'll have in-depth analysis later this week, but meanwhile we bring you two editorials with divergent points of view.

MEMO TO ARNOLD: A SCRIPT TO SAVE KALEEFORNIA, NOT TERMINATE IT

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An Editorial By Miriam Raftery
Editor, East County Magazine

June 3, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)—If California ever needed an action hero at the helm, it’s now. Instead, Arnold has taken the “girlie man” way out –balancing the budget on the backs of the poor by proposing to eliminate healthcare for children and welfare-to-work programs. He also wants to close 80% of state parks, release prisoners, and slash school spending.

Granted, a grid-locked Legislature, Republicans who pale at the words “raise revenues,” Democrats who were split on ballot initiatives and fed-up voters who failed to pass the measures have left him few easy choices. But Arnold has one ace left in the hole: star power. Here’s how he can use it to debut the most important road show of his career: “Save Kaleefornia.”

EDITOR'S BLOG: FROM MUCKRAKING TO GROUNDBREAKING: FIRE STATIONS FOR EAST COUNTY--BUT STILL NONE FOR SAN DIEGO

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March 11, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--The term "muckraker" has often been applied derisively toward media that dredges up evidence of official misconduct or neglect. But sometimes, muckraking--and a bit of public shaming--produces reforms by alerting the public and elected officials of a need to be filled.

BE SURE YOUR HOME IS SAFE

Dear Readers:

(Nick Schuler)

Please make this your New Year's resolution: Be sure your home is safe for you and your loved ones during this winter season.

If you own a fireplace, have your chimneys checked before burning fires in this cold winter. These photos, taken at home in Valley Center, were the result of a chimney fire. These images reminded me of my days working at the Idaho Statesman, where an editor of ours had just finished writing a story on the importance of having chimneys swept and cleaned. Unfortunately he failed to heed his own advice, and had a chimney fire that nearly burned down his own home.

A SEASON FOR REFLECTION

Dear Readers, 

December 1, 2008 (La Mesa) — The East County Toy & Food Drive was founded 33 years ago by Stony Stone and a group of local businessmen to make the holidays brighter for children in need.

This year, your help is needed more than ever.  Stony suffered a serious health crisis several weeks ago and remains in rehabilitation.  His illness falls in a year when more children than ever need help.  Amid these tough economic times, many families have lost homes or jobs.  Some can't afford to put food on the table. 

PROUD PARENT--LOOK WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING ABOUT OUR "BABY!"

This is a FANTASTIC resource for those of us in the East County...Well done!

— Carole Kennedy, President, California Faculty Association, SDSU

 

Very cool! This magazine is filling a real void!

— Jamie Reno, award-winning Newsweek journalist

 

Editor's Message

Photo by Miriam RafteryDear Readers,
Back
in the Dark Ages before Internet and cell phones, chatting over the back fence
with neighbors was the cool way to get news  Think of
this site as your virtual back fence: a place to share your views with neighbors
all over East County!

Welcome

Photo by Miriam RafterySeptember 2008

Dear Readers,

 

Back in the Dark Ages before Internet and cell phones, chatting over the back fence with neighbors was the cool way to get news  Think of this site as your virtual back fence: a place to share your views with neighbors all over East County!

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