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May 2009 Articles




WALK SAN DIEGO HONORS LEMON GROVE'S MAYOR SESSOM WITH SPECIAL AWARD


City of La Mesa and City Heights Community Center also among honorees in San Diego's eastern regions

May 22, 2010 (San Diego) – Walk San Diego’s recent Golden Footprint Awards included a special recognition to Lemon Grove’s Mayor Mary Sessom for “outstanding vision and leadership in promoting walkable communities.”

EDITORIAL: SDG&E TELLS CHAMBER THERE IS "NO RISK FROM FIRES" FROM THE SUNRISE POWERLINK





By Laura Cyphert

East County Community Action Coalition



At an April 2010 event at the East County Chamber of Commerce, Laura McDonald from SDG&E boldly stated that “there are not any fire risks with this project.”



It is not known if McDonald purposely intended to mislead San Diegans (or if she will someday be fined for misleading San Diegans), but what is known is that the “Fire and Fuels Management” section of the environmental impact report identifies numerous significant fire risks associated with the project, and even states that the project will “significantly increase the likelihood of catastrophic fires.”

GULF OIL SPILL REIGNITES QUESTION OF OFFSHORE DRILLING IN CALIFORNIA

 

Federal and state candidates, office-holders from our region wade into the fray

 

 

By Lola Sherman

ECM Editor Miriam Raftery also contributed to this story

 

May 6, 2010 (San Diego) --To drill or not to drill is a question that voters may weigh more heavily following the disastrous explosion April 20 on a British Petroleum oil rig off the Louisiana coast.

 

“Drill baby, drill” is still former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's mantra, even though her state suffered one of the worst oil spills in history. But in California, some elected officials and candidates now say they’ve changed their minds about oil drilling off our state’s shorelines in the wake of the Gulf Coast disaster.

POLICY MATTERS: HOW TO REVIEW YOUR AUTO INSURANCE RENEWAL STATEMENT

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By Dennis Volz

May 2009 (San Diego’s East County)--You can save TONS OF MONEY by just taking a few minutes to look over that annoying little renewal statement that has your insurance bill attached to it.

We sure get a lot of paper these days. It seems that in this paper-LESS society, we shouldn't have quite as much paper as we do. And although we can scan it, archive it, or just throw it away. There is one piece of paper that you'll want to pay attention to -- It’s your Auto Insurance Renewal Statement. You'll get these once or twice a year depending on how often your auto insurance renews. You'll probably also get one whenever you adjust your coverage or change vehicles.

WINGS OVER GILLESPIE AIR SHOW TO FEATURE AERIAL BATTLES JUNE 5-7

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By Marisa Kezirian

May 20, 2009 (El Cajon)—The San Diego Chapter of the Commemorative Air Force, Air Group One will present the 14th annual Wings Over Gillespie Air Show at Gillespie Field in El Cajon on June 5, 6 and 7. Each day of this memorable event will highlight WWII and Vietnam aerial battle re-enactments, in addition to pyrotechnic displays, “bombing” runs, and strafing attacks. (View videos of last year’s show here: http://wingsovergillespie.org/welcome.htm )

HELIX WATER BOARD HOLDS SPECIAL BUDGET MEETING MONDAY; RATE PLAN TO BE UNVEILED WEDNESDAY

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May 31, 2009 (La Mesa) -- The Helix Water Board will hold a special meeting on Monday, June 1st at 8 a.m. to discuss the District's budget.

At the next regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, June 3rd at 2 p.m., the Board has announced it will reveal its new proposal for water rate hikes. The board last week agreed to scrap its original plan and create a new version designed to be more equitable to large residential lot owners.

PEARL HARBOR SURVIVORS HONORED IN LA MESA FLAG DAY PARADE

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May 30, 2009 (La Mesa) – For Robert Ruffato, the sight of Old Glory holds special significance. Ruffato was among 16 survivors of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor who were honored in La Mesa’s Flag Day Parade.

View our photo album from this event: http://www.photoshop.com/user/eastcountymagazine/?wf=share&trackingid=BT...

“I was aboard the U.S.S. Utah at Pearl Harbor. Most of all, it was a big surprise,” he told East County Magazine. “The first indication we were under attack was when they dropped a bomb on Ford Island Naval Air Station. Then they hit our ship with two aerial torpedos. It capsized in 12 minutes. We actually walked down the side of the ship and dove into the water.”

DINO MOUNTAIN ROARS TO LIFE AT THE SAN DIEGO ZOO'S WILD ANIMAL PARK

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Story by Marisa Kezirian Photo by Ken Bohn, San Diego Zoo

 

May 31, 2009 2009 (Escondido)--For a limited time this summer, the San Diego Zoo’s Wild Animal Park offers its exceptional exhibit, Dino Mountain. The mechanical robotic dinosaurs come to life and give viewers a true life experience of being up close and personal with some of the most amazing creatures of all time.

 

SDG&E TEAMS WITH GOOGLE TO PROVIDE ENERGY USAGE DATA TO CUSTOMERS

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May 30, 2009 (San Diego) San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E) has announced a partnership with Google that, by the end of this year, will enable SDG&E customers to obtain their daily energy usage information via the popular Web site with Google’s new Google PowerMeter gadget (http://www.google.org/powermeter/ ). The data will be made available through SDG&E’s digital smart meters, which are being installed for all customers over the next two years.

SCHOLARSHIPS OFFERED FOR DISABLED STUDENTS IN I.T. ONLINE TRAINING

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May 29, 2009 (San Diego)—“We will be awarding 20 scholarships for our second class, which is scheduled to begin at the end of July,” said Cindy Lennon, special projects coordinator for Able-Disabled Advocacy. “Applications are due on June 15th.” So far, 19 students have signed up in six tracks for online IT training.

NEW VETERANS' CEMETERY APPROVED AT MIRAMAR, MAY OPEN BY LATE 2010

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May 29, 2009 (San Diego) – Congressman Bob Filner, Chairman of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, announced today that the Department of Veterans Affairs has chosen a San Diego firm, Van Dyke Landscape Associates, to design a newly-approved Miramar Satellite Cemetery.

"Progress at last!” said Congressman Filner, who chairs the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. “We need to move this along as quickly as possible. Veterans’ families should not be required to travel to the Riverside National Cemetery to pay respect to their loved ones.”

SEMPRA ENERGY UTILITIES EARNS TOP RANK IN NATIONAL CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY--BUT SOME LOCAL RATEPAYERS EXPRESS SHOCK AND DISSATISFACTION

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May 28, 2009 (San Diego) – Sempra Energy’s California utilities, Southern California Gas Co. (The Gas Company) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), rank No. 1 in customer satisfaction among the largest U.S. investor-owned energy utilities, according to a recent survey by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). But some local ratepayers expressed shock at that report, citing popular uprisings against Sempra’s proposed Sunrise Powerlink and planned shut-off of power to backcountry areas, as well as admissions by Sempra that its power lines have been linked to 167 fires in the past five and a half years.

RESCUE TASK FORCE ISSUES URGENT PLEA TO HELP VICTIMS OF HONDURAS EARTHQUAKE; ORPHANAGE SPONSORED BY EL CAJON GROUP HAS BEEN HARD HIT

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May 28, 2009 (El Cajon)--Rescue Task Force (RTF) and World Emergency Relief (WER) are responding to the 7.1 earthquake that struck Honduras at 2:20 AM this morning.
“The orphanage that WER-CA sponsors has sustained heavy damage to the dormitory,” Gary Becks at Rescue Task Force informed East County Magazine.

“Thirty-six of our orphans have been moved into the office and the dining area. Jose, our local warehouseman’s home was destroyed. He, his wife and baby are the first of probably many to move into our WER warehouse.” He added, “We need help!!! This is a 9-1-1 call for help from our friends in Honduras of so many years. We are responding on faith. Please, can you help send this team?”

BIG HIT: ALPINE LITTLE LEAGUE HONORS VIEJAS

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May 28, 2009 (Alpine)-- The Alpine Little League presented a plaque to the Viejas Tribal Council on May 27th, expressing the organization’s appreciation for the Tribe’s ongoing support of their efforts to promote youth sports in the Alpine area community.

ANONYMOUS DONOR TO MATCH UP TO $20,000 TO STOP SUNRISE POWERLINK: WESTERN FUNDRAISER SET FOR MAY 30 AT HAZY MEADOW RANCH, LAKESIDE

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May 28, 2009 (Lakeside)—Donations raised at Saturday’s fundraiser to “Sunset the Sunrise Powerlink” will be matched up to $20,000, organizers have announced. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, May 30th at Hazy Meadows Ranch, 15466 El Monte Road, in Lakeside and costs $5.

SPECIAL ELECTION ANALYSIS: WHAT MESSAGE WERE VOTERS REALLY SENDING TO SACRAMENTO POLITICIANS? AND WHAT SHOULD BE DONE NOW TO SOLVE CALIFORNIA’S BUDGET CRISIS?

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CONSERVATIVES CALL FOR DEEPER CUTS, PROGRESSIVES LAUNCH CAMPAIGN TO ALLOW MAJORITY TO MAKE BUDGET DECISIONS IN SACRAMENTO

By Miriam Raftery

Voters resoundingly defeated Propositions 1A-E at the polls, passing only 1F, a measure to freeze legislators’ pay when the state is running a deficit. But what message was the public really trying to send to elected representatives? Does the public want deeper cuts in state spending (and if so, where?) or do voters want an option not presented on their ballots: raisng revenues to protect vital state services?

EDITORIAL: RESULTS IN CALIFORNIA ARE NOT WHAT YOU’RE BEING TOLD

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By David O. Atkins

As most political junkies are aware, California just held a special election two days ago in which voters were asked to approve measures to close our enormous budget deficit by borrowing against the lottery, stealing from children's education and mental health services programs, and agreeing to a painful spending cap in exchange for moderate, regressive tax increases.  Voters overwhelmingly rejected those measures, approving only one proposition denying legislators the ability to raise their own salaries during bad budget years.

ARTISTS NEEDED TO PAINT UTILITY BOXES--AND BEAUTIFY DOWNTOWN EL CAJON

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May 28, 2009 (El Cajon)--Art - and the community it creates – is at the heart of igniting culture, communicating history and values, stimulating economic development, and building community pride. Transform common utility boxes into works of public art for all to enjoy through UArt: Downtown El Cajon’s Utility Art Box Program. If you’re an art lover and/or community enthusiast, here's an opportunity to volunteer your artistic talent to UArt and share your community spirit, helping to beautify the downtown El Cajon landscape for years to come. You’ll also help deter graffiti from downtown neighborhoods and celebrate the uniqueness of place and people.

EAST COUNTY COMMUNITY LEADERS REACT TO CA SUPREME COURT UPHOLDING PROP 8; NEW LAWSUIT FILED IN FEDERAL COURT BY LAWYERS IN BUSH V. GORE SEEKS TO REINSTATE GAY MARRIAGE

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By Miriam Raftery May 27, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – The California Supreme Court ruled this week to uphold Proposition 8 banning gay marriage, though the court also held that gay marriages that occurred before Prop 8’s passage will remain valid. (View the high court opinion here: www.courtinfo.ca.gov/courts/supreme/). In East County and across the state, leaders on both sides of the controversial issue weighed in with their views. Meanwhile in Los Angeles , a new lawsuit filed in federal court by former opposing counsels in Bush v. Gore seeks to reinstate gay marriages in California.

EDITORIAL: THE PROPOSED BAD NEW FIRE FEE (TAX)

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By Bob Cederdahl

 

May 28, 2009 (La Mesa)--I believe it is in the community's best interest to vote NO on the Benefit Assessment District proposed by the San Miguel Fire District. It is unreasonable. Here’s why:

ANDERSON PROPOSES TAX BREAKS FOR VETERANS

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May 28, 2009 (San Diego's East County)--“I spent 26 years serving my country in the US Navy, and I would do it again,” said Arthur Armagost, an Alpine resident and veteran. “But it pains me to see men and women I served with leaving California when they retire. They spent their entire careers stationed in California but can’t afford to live here anymore.”

State Assemblyman Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) agrees with Armagost and is leading an effort to make California friendly to veterans and military retirees.

A BLOCK OF NEW BILLS FROM MARTY BLOCK

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May 28, 2009 (Lemon Grove)--Freshman Assemblymember Marty Block (D-Lemon Grove) has been busy. During his first few weeks in Sacramento, Block introduced 23 bills that he believes will “make a difference for our communities.” Block added, “ In these difficult times for our state budget, I made sure to only author legislation that will have no impact to the state’s General Fund.”

ACLU THREATENS LAWSUIT AFTER RAMONA SCHOOL BANS SIXTH GRADER’S PRESENTATION ON HARVEY MILK

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May 27, 2009 (Ramona) – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has sent a demand letter to the Ramona Unified School District alleging that a school policy on sex education was used to illegally censored a sixth grader’s classroom presentation about Harvey Milk earlier this month. The ACLU contends that the District violated Natalie Jones’ free speech rights when it refused to allow her to give the presentation in class. Instead, the school improperly required classmates to get parental permission to see the presentation during a lunch recess.

CONGRATULATIONS, GRADUATES! VALEDICTORIANS NAMED, GRADUATION TIMES LISTED FOR GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

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May 28, 2009 (El Cajon) – On Thursday, June 4, and Friday, June 5, 2009, approximately 5,224 senior students from nine comprehensive high schools, two charter high schools and three alternative high schools in the Grossmont Union High School District will be donning caps and gowns for commencement exercises.

Below is the schedule of graduation dates, times, and locations, plus students honored as valedictorians and salutatorians for their academic achievements.

VIEJAS COOLS DOWN WITH FREE “POWER OF NIGHTFIRE” SHOW—AND AN INTERACTIVE WATER FOUNTAIN

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ALPINE, Calif. — May 28, 2009 — As the weather begins to heat up and children get out of school, Viejas offers a place to beat the heat with an array family-friendly events. The annual Power of Nightfire show will feature performances at 9 p.m. every Thursday through Sunday, until Labor Day. The unique performance intrigues the audience with water fountains, lasers, pyrotechnics, special effects and intricate choreography. The show tells the story of an ancient Kumeyaay Indian who saved his people from the evil “water spirit” and brings the valuable water back to his village. The show, which is free and open to the public, is suitable for all ages.

HAYES CONFIRMED AS DEPUTY SECRETARY OF INTERIOR AFTER GOP SENATORS LIFT BLOCK ON NOMINATION; POWERLINK BATTLE NOW ELEVATED TO NATIONAL LEVEL WITH EX-SEMPRA LOBBYIST OVERSEEING KEY DECISIONS

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By Miriam Raftery

May 27, 2009 (Washington D.C.) –David J. Hayes, a former lobbyist for Sempra Energy/SDG&E, has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior. His nomination proceeded after an earlier block by Republican Senators from Alaska over oil and gas leases was lifted. Both California Senators, Barbara Boxer and Diane Feinstein, voted in favor of Hayes’ nomination.

SATURDAY NIGHT FIGHT: WARGODS V AT VIEJAS

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May 27, 2009 (Alpine)--MMA Veteran Vernon “Tiger” White will face one of Temecula Team Quest’s stand out Lew Polley at Wargods “Five” at the Viejas Casino in Alpine, California on Saturday, May 30th. Doors open at 5:30 for the event, which starts at 6:30 p.m.

 

LABOR VICTORY: SD SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO KEEP 10,000 CONTRACTING JOBS LOCAL UNDER PROP S, REQUIRE CONTRACTORS TO PROVIDE HEALTH BENEFITS TO WORKERS

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By Miriam Raftery

”We cannot survive as a city if 75% of our children are coming out of families living in poverty…This is saying that our city is not going to live in poverty.”—Shelia Jackson, President, San Diego School Board

May 27, 2009 (San Diego) – “Today, the School Board affirmed the vision of the future—that when tax dollars are spent, they should be spent to benefit the community,” Tom Lemmon, San Diego Building Trades and Construction Trades Council, told East County Magazine moments after the San Diego School Board meeting last night. By a one-vote margin, the Board adopted a Construction Careers Project Stabilization Agreement (PSA) requiring that all 10,000 jobs for school improvements under Proposition S must go to local workers, pay living wages, and provide healthcare insurance for employees.

 

CHALDEAN VIRTUOSO JOINS GROSSMONT SYMPHONY IN "MIDDLE EAST MEETS WEST" CONCERT MAY 29

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May 26, 2009 (El Cajon)--The Grossmont College Symphony Orchestra will present “Middle East Meets West,” starting at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 29, at the St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church, 1627 Jamacha Way in El Cajon. Special guest artist will be Luay Yousif, violinist. Yousif, born in Baghadad in 1979, has performed with the Iraqi National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. He has lived in the U.S. since 2007, and is currently the director of music for St. Peter Chaldean Catholic Church.

EQUALITY TORCH RELAY SET IN EAST COUNTY JUNE 6

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May 27, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)—“This is a time where we need equality,” says Eve Parker, lead organizer of the East County Equality Torch Relay slated for June 6th in Santee, El Cajon, La Mesa and Lemon Grove. The relay is part of a county-wide event for supporters of equal rights for gay and lesbian people. “I am actually a heterosexual, but I felt so strongly that I believe it is important that I stand up and take the lead,” said Parker. She points to the women’s rights and Civil Rights movements of the past, noting that it took the support of men and white Americans to help secure equal rights for women and African-Americans.

The June 6th date for the relay commemorates the anniversary of the Stonewall riots in New York, events that many consider to be the start of the gay rights movement. Organizers say the Equality Torch Relay event aims to "inspire courage" and foster reflection on impacts of discrimination.

 

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