EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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May 24, 2017 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego’s inland regions, published in other media. This week’s top “Roundup” headlines include:

LOCAL

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

LOCAL

County Officials Propose Increase in Water Rates (KPBS)

The San Diego County Water Authority announced Thursday that staff is recommending a 3.7 percent hike in the amount of money local cities and districts pay for water in the 2018 calendar year.

The City’s Aging Dams Are Getting a Costly Check-Up (Voice of San Diego)

The city of San Diego worries some of its dams “may be nearing the end of their useful service life” and is spending up to $5 million to see how they’re doing.  Last year, city officials hired an engineering firm to do detailed checkups on each of the city’s nine dams. Carlsbad-based GEI Consultants has been working quietly ever since on a study that could take up to five years.

Whither La Mesa's old police station, the farmers market? (San Diego Reader)

City council works deal with SDG&E, water authority

El Cajon sees need for second code compliance officer (San Diego Union-Tribune)

With graffiti and illegal signs continually popping up on the landscape, and wayward shopping carts that need to be returned, the El Cajon City Council has approved the hiring of a second code compliance officer.

Collier Park ready to show off new look (San Diego Union-Tribune)

the “panhandle” area of the city’s oldest park is sporting a new look…. he city notes this is only the finish of the first phase of several planned phases of the Collier Park Renovations Project Master Plan. Future phases will start when funding is available.

Kids learn lessons, feast on food from Lemon Avenue school garden (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Worm gathering, marigold planting, butterfly watching, composting and parfait eating — just another typical morning for students at Lemon Avenue Elementary School.

Charges Shed Light on Sea Cucumber Smuggling at US Border (New York Times)

Charges against a father-son partnership for allegedly smuggling more than $17 million worth of sea cucumbers [from Mexico] to the United States and exporting them to Asia sheds light on a growing and lucrative illegal cross-border trade.

National Democrats name California GOP Reps. Devin Nunes and Duncan Hunter as targets in 2018 election (Los Angeles Times)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee added congressional districts held by Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Tulare) and Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) to their list of 2018 targets on Monday. Both represent traditionally strong Republican districts and have consistently won reelection by large margins, but Hunter and Nunes are facing ethics questions.

Voice of San Diego to Spin Off New Organization to Support Good Journalism Everywhere  (Voice of San Diego)

Several months ago, Voice of San Diego launched the News Revenue Hub, a project to help news organizations outsource the management of their membership programs. Now the Hub will become its own organization, led by Voice of San Diego Publisher/COO Mary Walter-Brown and Digital Manager Tristan Loper.

Mayor’s proposal for special election on convention center, homeless funding draws sharp questions (San Diego Union-Tribune)

San Diego City Council members get update on Mayor Faulconer's plan to raise hotel tax to fund convention center expansion.

STATE

Video shows massive landslide that has closed Highway 1 at Big Sur indefinitely (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Highway 1 in Big Sur has been closed indefinitely after a massive and unprecedented landslide buried the iconic roadway under tons of dirt and debris and permanently changed the appearance of California’s coast. Aerial footage shot by the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office shows the magnitude of the slide, estimated to involve millions of cubic yard of earth, which is still too dangerous and unstable for crews to begin clearing.

San Onofre critics question private meetings on waste storage (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Long before Southern California Edison sought permission to bury millions of pounds of nuclear waste along the San Diego County coast, utility executives were in close contact with state officials responsible for protecting the world-famous shoreline stretching from Mexico to Oregon. 

Gov. Brown stiffed doctors, dentists and hospitals by not increasing provider fees with new tobacco tax money (Los Angeles Times)

California’s Medi-Cal rates are shamefully about the lowest in the nation, at 48th. 

 California Gov. Jerry Brown Calls Gas Tax Hike Foes 'Freeloaders'(Reason)

These kinds of expenditures make the governor's rhetoric about road repair ring "hollow," Allen argues. "Fully 30 percent of funds will not be spent on roads." 

Trump administration appears to ease up on its threat against ‘sanctuary cities’ (Los Angeles Times)

In an apparent retreat on the war against cities and counties that refuse to cooperate with immigration enforcement, the Trump administration has settled on a narrow definition of what it means to be a “sanctuary city,” and limited the potential financial consequences for state and local governments. At most, the sanctuary jurisdictions will lose grants from the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department — not all federal funds, according to an order signed Monday by Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions.

Pot convictions go up in smoke with California marijuana legalization (KPBS)

… This lesser-known provision of Proposition 64 allows some convicts to wipe their rap sheets clean and offers hope for people with past convictions who are seeking work or loans. Past crimes can also pose a deportation threat for some convicts.