EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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July 11, 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

North Korea 'likely' to have missile able to reach San Diego in year or two, analyst says (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A monitoring group says with a year or two of additional testing and development, North Korea could launch a missile targeting the U.S. west coast.

What do you get when you sign up for a 100% green electricity plan? (San Diego Union-Tribune)

For the first time, residents and businesses up and down the state can buy electricity plans touted as “100 percent green” in their quest to fight climate change or simply be more environmentally friendly. They can enroll in these programs through California’s three major investor-owned utilities — San Diego Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric — or through the growing number of cities and counties that offer alternative power programs called community choice aggregation, or CCA.

Candidate forum brings Hunter’s challengers together (Ramona Sentinel)

Six candidates hoping to challenge U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter for his 50th District seat in the 2018 election gave their views on health care, immigration, climate change, and strategies to win in a solid red district at a forum hosted by Indivisible Ramona.

Neighbors band together to track down cat killer (10 News)

.. a new homeowner made a grim discovery July 5 in her home in the Fletcher Hills Highlands community.  In the back yard sitting on her brick fire pit was a decapitated cat head, sliced cleanly at the neck.  The ears were also neatly sliced off.

Santee budget balanced, but city wary of future pension, personnel costs (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Santee has a balanced budget heading into the coming fiscal year, but future challenges for the growing city of 57,000 are mounting.

Whistleblowers could sway case focused on future of downtown in San Diego (San Diego Union-Tribune)

… The lawsuit seeks to end what it calls years of shady, backroom deals that it blames on downtown San Diego being the only place in California where a private corporation controls land-use decisions.The suit contends the city is illegally choosing “streamlined” project approvals over transparency and public input by granting that corporation — Civic San Diego — authority that should belong to leaders accountable to taxpayers – the City Council.

Volunteers brave heat to count bighorn sheep in the desert (KQED)

The rising sun cast a golden glow upon the rocky mountains that rise above Coyote Canyon in Anza-Borrego Desert State Park. We bounced along in a four-wheel drive SUV down Coyote Canyon Road, bumping over rocks and, at one point, trying to figure out what winter rains did with the dirt road. The SUV was stuffed with volunteer sheep counters and what they need to survive extreme heat: shade structures, food and loads of water.

Invisible but in Danger: San Diego’s Homeless are Targets for Attacks (KPBS)

California led the nation last year in attacks against people who are homeless, and San Diego accounted for five percent of those assaults, according to the National Coalition for the Homeless.

Why Faulconer’s decision not to run for Governor may be bad news for Issa (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A lot of Republicans really wanted Kevin Faulconer to run for governor and not just because they thought he might be a good fit in the state Capitol’s “corner office.” Just having him on the ballot was important for some. Given the pleadings of Republican leaders, it was clear they thought San Diego’s mayor was far and away their best gubernatorial contender but also one who might help down-ticket races for Legislature and Congress.

SANDAG Misled Voters on 2004 Tax Measure, Showing Pattern of Deception Goes Back at Least 13 Years (Voice of SD)

This is now the third instance in which SANDAG either knowingly overstated how much money it could collect to pay for transportation projects, or understated how much projects would cost to complete.

Former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher to Run for San Diego Board of Supervisors (KPBS)

Nathan Fletcher Tuesday confirmed speculation by announcing a run for the San Diego County Board of Supervisors. Fletcher, 40, hopes to succeed Supervisor Ron Roberts, who represents a large section of the city of San Diego and is being termed out. He'll face a fellow Democrat, Omar Passons, for the seat. Recently retired District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, a Republican, said she would mull over a run.

SDG&E begins to roll out new pricing plans based on time of day usage (10 News)

This week, SDG&E sent out a letter to 50,000 customers who have solar plans, telling them they could go online and change to the new Time of Use plan. There's no requirement to do so, but anyone interested needs to log on by July 28 and select the new plan. / All of the other customers in San Diego will be automatically phased in by 2019.

SDG&E’s Power Moves Have Fended Off Energy Choice Efforts Across San Diego (Voice of San Diego)

Three times in the past 30 years, local governments in San Diego have tried to unseat San Diego Gas & Electric as the region’s power monopoly. Now, SDG&E faces another round of competition from local governments across the county. The city of San Diego is looking to buy power for its 1.4 million residents from someone else. A handful of other San Diego County cities, including Solana Beach and Carlsbad, are looking to do the same.

STATE

Nature lends a hand in fight against three massive California wildfires (Los Angeles Times)

Nature provided a helping hand Tuesday to firefighters tackling three wildfires that have destroyed dozens of homes and forced thousands of people to flee. Aided by a deep marine layer and high humidity, fire crews in the Central Coast increased containment for two massive blazes — the Alamo and Whittier fires. Farther north, slightly cooler temperatures assisted firefighters as they made headway on the Wall fire near Oroville.

Thousands of Callifornia’s wild horses may live or die, depending on federal budget (L.A. Daily News)

The fate of thousands of wild horses and burros could hinge on an Inland congressman and a few sentences in the upcoming federal budget. Wild horse advocates say proposed language in the fiscal 2018 budget would open the door for the mass killing of horses roaming millions of acres of federal land. They’re appealing to Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona, to strip the language out of the spending bill, which is being crafted this month.

Data exclusive: early returns suggest smoking drop in response to state tax (CalMatters)

Last fall, California voters approved the biggest increase in cigarette taxes since the state first began levying tobacco in the 1950s. Advocates for Proposition 56, which passed with a fairly overwhelming 64 percent of the vote, argued that a $2 per-pack tax hike would hurt pocketbooks enough to nudge millions of California smokers to quit, or at least to light up less frequently... But the question then: Was that enough to force smokers to kick an increasingly expensive habit?   The early data suggests that yes, California cigarette sales have declined significantly since prices went up. In fact, the drop is even sharper than the state anticipated—which could spell trouble for state coffers.

California Democrats plunge into ‘civil war’ (Politico)

In the wake of Donald Trump's election, progressives are demanding the party move more aggressively on a variety of issues.

California is closer to becoming a sanctuary state (KCRA)

Senate Bill 54 passes key hurdle in Assembly.