Assisted living facility shut down
The owner of an assisted living residence on Ewing Street is facing 22 misdemeanor counts related to substandard conditions of the facility. Charges include one count of willful cruelty to an elder and three counts of unlawful maintenance of a public nuisance.
Mark Rogers, 59, operated the facility that housed 11 residents — all elderly or disabled adults — until the city shut it down. He was arraigned on Sept. 10. The city had been investigating the home since November 2018 and had found conditions that included piles of trash, beds with rat feces, toxic gas leaking from a water heater and a home that smelled of urine, according to prosecutors.
Rogers is also accused of using the residents for cheap labor and then submitting fake invoices to the property manager to reimbursed for thousands of dollars in repairs.
Rogers is ordered to appear in court on Oct. 10.
Gomez announces run for Congress
On Saturday, Sept. 14, San Diego City Council President and District 9 representative Georgette Gomez officially kicked off her campaign for Congress. Gomez is running for the 53rd District seat that will be open for 2020 candidates following Rep. Susan Davis’ announcement that she will be retiring after her current term is up.
The campaign rally for Gomez, held at the United Domestic Workers Union Hall on Seminole Drive, was attended by a diverse coalition of supporters from labor, LGBTQ groups, Muslim American rights organizations and more.
Gomez is starting her campaign with support from 51st congressional district Rep. Juan Vargas, who represents the southern border regions of San Diego and Imperial counties.
“She is the most prepared person running in this district by far,” Vargas said of Gomez in a speech at the campaign event.
Gomez also made her case that she is the most qualified candidate, touting her successful City Council run, unanimous election to council president by her colleagues and her leadership at Metropolitan Transit System (MTS).
“Someone born in Barrio Logan, I never thought I’d be a person running for City Council, but I did,” she said. “And today, we launch our campaign to congress.”
Other potential Democratic candidates running for the open seat include activist Ray Lutz, founder of the watchdog Citizens’ Oversight Projects, who formed an exploratory committee on Sept. 12. Sarah Jacobs, a one-time policy advisor to Hillary Clinton, has also tossed in her name for the seat.
On the other side of the isle, Right To Try Foundation president and former school board candidate Famela Ramos announced on Sept. 6 that she will run for Davis’ seat. Her run is seen as a long shot campaign in the Democratic-leaning district, which went for Rep. Davis a walloping 69.1% to 30.9% in 2018.
With the City Council District 9 seat now up for grabs, there will likely be a slew of potential candidates announcing bids in the next few weeks. Gomez has already endorsed one candidate to fill her spot on the council — San Diego Community College District representative Sean Elo, who announced his bid in a tweet on Sept. 16.
“My love for City Heights & District 9 came the moment I started doing work in the community. Nearly a decade later, I am honored to have been asked to step forward & serve to continue the great work being done in the district,” he tweeted.
Student housing community forum
College Area residents are invited to attend a community forum regarding TOPAZ — a proposed mixed-use student housing project to be located on two adjoining parcels located at 5824 and 5838 Montezuma Road, just west of College Avenue. The existing improvements on these parcels include the McDonald’s restaurant and the adjacent Aztec Shopping Center to the east.
The forum will take place during the regularly scheduled College Area Community Council Project Review Committee meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m. at Faith Presbyterian Church, 5070 Campanile Drive.
Developers Pierce Education Properties, L.P. and their architects will make a short presentation and then will solicit community input. The developers will not be seeking action of any proposed project by the Project Review Committee at this meeting, but rather desire to engage the community in a conversation about the future of these parcels. Refreshments will be served.
Alvarado Hospital has been recognized by Becker’s Hospital Review, for the second consecutive year, as one of the “100 Great Community Hospitals” for 2019.
Alvarado currently holds a five-star rating from CMS for quality healthcare, has been a recipient of the Healthgrades Patient Safety Excellence Award for the past five consecutive years, and was awarded an A Grade for Hospital Patient Safety by The Leapfrog Group earlier this year.
Coastal Cleanup Day seeks volunteers
The 35th annual Coastal Cleanup Day is nearly here. I Love A Clean San Diego (ILACSD) is seeking 8,000 volunteers to help beautify more than 100 sites across San Diego County on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 from 9 a.m.–noon. Volunteers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to sign up for a site in their neighborhood and help leave a positive impact on the entire region. Online registration is now open at CleanupDay.org.
Coastal Cleanup Day covers more than just the shoreline. ILACSD focuses the majority of its cleanup efforts along inland waterways and canyons. With 80% of marine debris coming from inland territories, volunteers learn first-hand the importance of keeping trash out of the region’s waterways, which can carry trash and pollutants directly to the ocean through the storm drain system. In 2018, 9,174 volunteers removed over 148,000 pounds of trash, recyclables, and green waste from San Diego and Tijuana regions that otherwise would have polluted the beloved coastline and the Pacific Ocean.
ILACSD invites volunteers to take waste reduction into their own hands by pledging to “Bring Your Own” reusable items when they register at CleanupDay.org. Each volunteer who brings a reusable water bottle, work gloves, and/or a bucket to collect litter significantly reduces the need for single-use bags and disposable gloves. Prizes will be awarded to the best decorated buckets entered into this year’s Bling Your Bucket contest.Volunteers are encouraged to download the Clean Swell app to be used in place of paper data cards to track the debris collected on event day. The app is free and available to download for both iOS and Android devices.Sony Electronics has returned to sponsor this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day Photo Contest where volunteers have the opportunity to win a Sony Cybershot Camera.
City receives tech award for 5G implementation plan
The city of San Diego has received the Outstanding IT Project Award by Government Technology, a magazine and online site focused on information technology in the public sector, at the Los Angeles Digital Government Summit. The city won the award on Tuesday afternoon for its cutting-edge approach to implementing 5G technology by using data analytics and Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to create a suite of tools to support the permitting and installation of 5G small cell nodes.
“The 5G mobile network is regarded as the next-generation standard for wireless communications,” said Erik Caldwell, the San Diego’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer. “This award not only shows how we are ahead in building a foundation for this technology, but how we are doing it right.”
The city’s project was developed in September 2018 after the Federal Communications Commission required municipalities to make their assets, such as street lights, available for 5G equipment distribution. Using GIS, the City created an internal, interactive map to identify which street lights were available to mount small cells, and built a publicly available map for telecommunications vendors to research and request usage of available street lights. In addition, they made a dashboard to monitor the submittal process by vendors and a mobile editing application allowing field staff to recommend asset location and attribute changes to improve database accuracy.
“The suite of tools has sped up our workflow significantly and gives us more accurate data,” said Jonathan Behnke, the San Diego’s Chief Information Officer. “Before it was created, the city did not have a dynamic mapping interface to research what types of equipment were on all the street light poles. We hope our model inspires other cities as they permit the installation of 5G small cells.”
MTS to hold Free Ride Day
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District (NCTD) announced that the agencies will hold the region’s second “Free Ride Day” on Wednesday, Oct. 2. Fixed-route bus and rail services will be free for everyone to use.
Free Ride Day is being held in conjunction with California Clean Air Day also on Oct. 2, and SANDAG iCommute efforts to promote Rideshare Week, Sept. 30–Oct. 4, to educate people about the sustainable transportation choices available in the San Diego region.
“Last year, MTS recorded a 17% increase in passenger trips on Free Ride Day. It was a great success to get that many San Diego residents to shake up their routine and choose transit,” said Mona Rios, MTS Board Vice Chair and Councilmember for National City. “Choosing transit is absolutely critical for this region as we all strive to meet our climate action goals. We need to do everything we can to get people to use alternative modes of transportation.”
SANDAG Vice Chair and Encinitas Mayor Katherine Blakespear encouraged all single riders to consider giving carpool, vanpool, or transit a try during Rideshare Week.
“Making the change even one day a week will take cars off the road and increase sustainability and quality of life in the San Diego region,” she said.
Free Ride Day will be valid on all MTS and NCTD fixed-routes services including buses, the Trolley, SPRINTER and COASTER (Amtrak Rail 2 Rail, MTS Access and NCTD LIFT paratransit are not part of this promotion). Passengers will not need a Compass Card or valid fare for either system. MTS and NCTD services will operate on a normal weekday schedule. Participants who plan to choose transit on Free Ride Day are encouraged to RSVP through the MTS Facebook page event, or online at the Free Ride Day webpage. When they do, they’ll receive reminders about Free Ride Day, tips for taking transit, and more.
“Last year, MTS logged 53,000 extra passenger trips on Free Ride Day and the Sycuan Green Line Trolley’s ridership spiked 37%,” said MTS chief executive officer Paul Jablonski. “We want even more residents this year to try it out and experience the thriving network of transportation options in San Diego.”