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San Diego County

Protesters check-out all LGBTQ+ books in Pride library display

“I’m frankly shocked because eliminating LGBTQ content from libraries is what you might expect in Mississippi, but never here in San Diego”



Rancho Peñasquitos Library, San Diego (Photo Credit: Rancho Peñasquitos Library/Facebook)

SAN DIEGO COUNTY – Two women have mounted a protest against the Pride Month display at the Rancho Peñasquitos Library in Inland San Diego County by checking out every book in the display, many only single copies held by the library.

The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that Rancho Peñasquitos residents Amy Vance and Martha Martin, told head librarian Misty Jones that libraries are open, public spaces for children that should be free of references to gender identity and how adults experience sexual attraction.

“Minor children have the right to belong to a community that respects their innocence and allows families to have conversations about sex and sexual attraction privately, and only when parents deem it appropriate,” Vance and Martin wrote in a June 15 email to Jones after checking out the books in the Pride display.

“Displays such as the one at Rancho Peñasquitos send a powerful message that LGBTQ+ patrons and their allies are respected members of our community,” Jones wrote back to the pair. “They also serve to encourage conversations and dispel misconceptions and stereotypes that often surround the LGBTQ+ community.”

Jones added the display should not be viewed as the library endorsing one group over another.

“Pride displays are much like other displays that recognize other cultures, holidays or causes so that we can recognize the experiences of others and have a more inclusive and equitable society,” she said. “We are proud of our position in encouraging members of our community to learn, grow and celebrate our differences.”

Book bans have increasing become a source of contention across the nation as so-called family conservative groups, including Florida-based Moms for Liberty, which has been designated an extremist anti-LGBTQ+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, battle to get books they deem offensive and inappropriate for minors removed from school libraries and placed in restricted areas of public libraries inaccessible to minors.

The two women responded to Jones writing: “It’s time for the American public libraries to once again be a respectful space for young children to freely explore great ideas that unite and inspire us all, rather than places where controversial and divisive new ideological movements are given free rein to promote their theories and policy positions about sexuality to children without the consent or notification of parents.”

The Union Tribune also reported that San Diego Councilmember Marni von Wilpert, whose district includes Rancho Peñasquitos, said she is working with nonprofit and civic groups to raise enough money to quickly replace the 14 books the protesters checked out.

Rancho Peñasquito Library’s 2023 Pride Display

They include The New Queer Conscience by Adam Eli, Rainbow Parade by Emily Neilson, Gay Rights by Tina Kafka, Goldenboy by Michael Nava, Wild Things by Karin Kallmaker and Pride: An Inspirational History of the LGBTQ+ Movement by Stella Caldwell.

The total replacement costs would be just over $235, according to head librarian Jones.

“I’m frankly shocked by this because eliminating LGBTQ content from libraries is what you might expect in Mississippi, but never here in San Diego,” von Wilpert said. “Denying others the right to read LGBTQ-affirming books is just another way of telling LGBTQ people they don’t belong — and that’s dead wrong. Everyone has the right to read what they want, but absolutely no one has the right to keep others from reading books that reflect their experiences and backgrounds.”

In a phone call with the Blade, a spokesperson for the Rancho Peñasquitos Library confirmed that the maximum number of books a patron can check out at a single time is 50. The Union-Tribune reported the city library system also gives patrons five automatic renewals, unless someone else has requested the book they have out.

If the protesters don’t return the books after five renewals, the matter will be forwarded to the collections division.


San Diego County

Blue envelopes let law enforcement know of communication issues

The program expands on the Sheriff Department’s regional efforts to provide the highest standard of service for San Diego County



Photo Credit: Yvette Urrea Moe/County of San Diego Communications Office

SAN DIEGO – Imagine a scenario in which your loved one is being pulled over or approached by a Sheriff’s deputy and is unable to communicate effectively with the officer. Whether your loved one has an autism spectrum disorder, dementia, becomes anxious around authority figures or is living with another condition that could impact how they react to the deputy, the deputy should be aware.

Often, there are no outward indicators of these conditions, and without this extra information, a deputy might think the person was uncooperative or was acting suspiciously. That is where the Blue Envelope Program comes in with people displaying a Blue Envelope logo on a sticker, pin, a seat belt cover, ribbons, key chains, lanyards, wallet information card or a bracelet. Immediately deputies who see the logo know there is some communication issue to consider.

The free program requires no registration and is voluntary. It includes an actual blue envelope that the person can give to the deputy or any other community service personnel that includes the person’s identification, pertinent documents such as medical information, instructions regarding communication preferences, and for driving, the vehicle registration, proof of insurance and contact information.

“The Blue Envelope Program is part of our commitment to foster connection and understanding of the people we serve,” said San Diego Sheriff Kelly Martinez.

To learn more about the program or to obtain the free materials, visit the Sheriff’s web page.

The program expands on the Sheriff Department’s regional efforts to provide the highest standard of service for San Diego County. A related program is its Take Me Home Program which gives law enforcement quick access to critical information about a registered person with dementia, autism or other developmental disabilities in case they get lost or wander away.

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San Diego County

Make stray pets dreams come true for the holidays

Please visit County Animal Services’ Adoptions page and browse the amazing animals from cats to dogs to rabbits and guinea pigs available now



Santa & furry friend (Photo Credit: County of San Diego Communications Office)

By Yvette Urrea Moe, County of San Diego Communications Office | SAN DIEGO – The County of San Diego Animal Services is extending its fee-waived adoptions through December. On Saturday, Dec. 9, 30 animals got to sing there’s “Snow Place Like Home Fur the Holidays” after special adoption events at both the South and North shelters.

“We want to give everyone the joy of spending their holidays with a new furry, feathered or scaly friend. And to make it an even better gift, we are waiving adoption fees through the year,” said Department of Animal Services Director Kelly Campbell. “We have so many wonderful dogs and cats waiting for their forever homes.”

Family with new cat and Santa

All dogs and cats adopted from County shelters will be spayed or neutered, microchipped and have vaccinations and a one-year license for dogs in the service area.

Santa, Man and Pup

Please visit County Animal Services’ Adoptions page and browse the amazing animals from cats to dogs to turtles, roosters, pigs, rabbits and guinea pigs available now, then stop by to meet your favorites. Adoptions are completed at the shelter on a first come, first serve basis.

Two women and two dogs

County Animal Services’ top priority is providing excellent care in its shelters while finding good homes for every healthy and treatable animal.

While the goal is to find the right fit for animals and their permanent adopter to form a lasting and loving bond, animal fostering is another opportunity for animals to learn how to be in a home and socialize with people and other animals.

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San Diego County

Monica Montgomery Steppe sworn in as new San Diego supervisor

Supervisor Steppe will represent the Fourth Supervisorial District for the remainder of the current term ending in January 2027



Supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe was sworn in by her father-in-law Cecil Steppe and joined by her husband Steve while reciting her oath. She becomes the county’s first Black woman supervisor. (Screenshot/YouTube San Diego County Government)

SAN DIEGO – A new member of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors was sworn in Tuesday at the County Administration Center.

Supervisor Monica Montgomery Steppe will represent the Fourth Supervisorial District for the remainder of the current term ending in January 2027.

Supervisor Steppe was sworn in by her father-in-law Cecil Steppe and joined by her husband Steve while reciting her oath. She becomes the county’s first Black woman supervisor.

“We know that today marks a momentous occasion in our county’s history, filled with promise, filled with hope and filled with progress,” Supervisor Steppe said. “As I stand before you, deeply humbled and immensely grateful, l am acutely aware of the weight of responsibility and the honor to be chosen by the people as the first Black woman to serve on the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in the history of this county. I am truly honored.”

District 4 voters selected Steppe to fill the vacant board seat during the Nov. 7 special election. She previously served as a council member for the City of San Diego.

“This moment also belongs to every person who dared to dream, who fought against adversity and believed in the possibility of a more inclusive and equitable future for our community,” She said. “I stand on the shoulders of countless individuals who paved the way, breaking barriers and clearing the path for diversity, representation and for change.

Steppe, whose new supervisorial district includes the LGBTQ+ neighborhood of Hillcrest, was endorsed in the special election race by Out California State Senate President Toni Atkins and openly gay Assemblymember Chris Ward who represents the 78th Assembly District which includes the cities of Coronado, Del Mar, Imperial Beach, San Diego and El Cajon.

Steppe was born and raised in San Diego and spent most of her life in District Four. She served on the San Diego City Council, representing over 160,000 San Diegans and was chair of the Budget & Government Efficiency Committee– overseeing the process for the City’s $5.2 billion dollar budget. She’s also on the San Diego City-County Reinvestment Task Force, the board of MTS, the San Diego Workforce Partnership, and the San Diego Housing Authority.

An attorney by trade, Steppe has a deep connection with the San Diego community. She began her education at Pacific View Leadership Elementary. After completing her undergraduate degree at Spelman College, she returned to San Diego to earn her Juris Doctor from California Western School of Law.

Before entering elected office, she dedicated her life to public service law. She fought for families to stay in their homes during the foreclosure crisis in the Great Recession, worked at the ACLU of San Diego & Imperial Counties as a Criminal Justice Advocate, and served as a Senior Policy Advisor at the City of San Diego with specific focus in the policy areas of criminal justice reform and public safety, neighborhood revitalization, workforce development, small business development, equal opportunity contracting, and youth services.

District 4 includes the following areas: Alta Vista, Azalea Park, Balboa Park, Bankers Hill, Bay Park, Bay Terraces, Birdland, Broadway Heights, Casa de Oro – Mount Helix, Chollas Creek, Chollas View, City Heights, City of La Mesa, City of Lemon Grove, Civita, Clairemont Mesa, College Area, El Cerrito, Emerald Hills, Encanto, Hillcrest, Kensington-Talmadge, Lincoln Park, Linda Vista, Lomita Village, Mid-City, Middletown, Mission Hills, Mission Valley, Montezuma Mesa-SDSU, Morena, Normal Heights, North Bay Terraces, North Clairemont, North Park, Oak Park, Old Town, Paradise Hills, Portions of Grantville, Portions of Kearny Mesa, Portions of Spring Valley, Rancho San Diego, Rolando, Serra Mesa, Skyline, University Heights, Valencia Park, and Webster.

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San Diego County

Queer family-friendly Halloween event causes uproar in Encinitas 

The homophobic and anti-trans/queer backlash against the event was spread online and across multiple social media platforms



Los Angeles Blade/TransFamily Support Services graphic

ENCINITAS, Ca. – A Halloween event, “Boo Bash,” billed as the “queerest free Halloween party for youth and families,” sponsored by the TransFamily Support Services, which is hosting the event, has one North San Diego County school district in an uproar.

The controversy started last month when a flyer advertising the event, described as a “Spooky Block-Style Party” with food trucks, trick-or-treating down businesses and a Disney villain drag show was posted to the Encinitas Union School District’s PeachJar platform webpage.

The flyer was pulled down but a group of conservative parents, anti-LGBTQ+ activists and a couple of candidates running for seats on the school board protested Tuesday including parent Joleene Burts, who told NBC’s KNSD 7 San Diego: “It is very clear what the agenda is, it is not a family-friendly event and the district is lying to our children and these are our children.“

The director of TransFamily Support Services told NBC 7 the advertisement wouldn’t have appeared on the PeachJar platform without the district’s permission. The district however, released a statement Tuesday saying that it was actually pulled from PeachJar three weeks ago because it did not meet approval criteria. The district gave no further explanation.

The homophobic and anti-trans/queer backlash was spread online and across multiple social media platforms.

Then on Friday, Andrée Grey, Ed.D. the Superintendent of the Encinitas Union School District issued a statement on the EUSD webpage, part expressing sorrow and support for the District’s LGBTQ+ students and their families.

Although this flier was approved in error and we regret this mistake, we are especially saddened that the situation has negatively impacted families of gender diverse children. It is our intention to always be safe and inclusive spaces for all children and families. EUSD continues to be steadfast in our commitment to be a supportive district for all students regardless of race, ethnicity, linguistic background, economic class, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and physical and cognitive ability.”

Grey also addressed the reactions from some in the community:

As someone who is deeply proud to work in Encinitas, I have been saddened to see how our district has recently been portrayed in the media. I know many of you have reached out with these concerns as well. Unfortunately, there has been inaccurate information spread via television and social media. I would like to provide accurate information:

  1. An EUSD staff member did allow a flier to be posted in Peachjar advertising a Boo Bash event put on by TransFamily Support Services, a nonprofit regional support agency for gender diverse children and families.
  2. EUSD is not hosting the event. This is NOT a district event.
  3. Peachjar is an optional information hub containing community events and opportunities for adults/families within the district. None of these fliers were sent to children and adults are charged with determining what is relevant for their families. All fliers are stamped with the words, “distribution of this flier does not imply endorsement by the Encinitas Union School District, its schools or staff and is distributed in compliance with federal and state law.”
  4. Unfortunately, our district criteria for approving fliers was not followed, so therefore the flier was taken down almost 4 weeks ago shortly after it was distributed. Based on the error in approving the flier, we have adjusted our procedures to ensure fliers have a second review by a manager. This issue has been corrected with staff.
  5. Over the past 4 weeks, individuals have altered the flier to make it look like EUSD was the host, however, the actual flier notes the location of the event in downtown San Diego. It was also altered to remove the language that says it is not endorsed by EUSD. It was altered to include some school phone numbers as well which resulted in harassing calls to school sites.
  6. Additionally, there have been statements made that the Board approved the flier, this is inaccurate as this is a staff function. The Board does not approve any fliers.
  7. I personally heard from families and outside individuals regarding their concerns or support for the inclusion of the flier. Please know we welcome opinions and feedback and hope that it is provided in ways that are productive and respectful.

TransFamily Support Services has continued its efforts to ensure the event is a success noting on its Facebook page;

Shhh… it’s not a secret but it’s definitely something to get excited over! The lineup for Boo Bash, our Halloween event for Queer families and youth, will feature a Disney Villain-themed performance & music by DJ Lotus Banks. 💗 Visit for +info!

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