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May 21, 2023  (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:



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


La Mesa vice mayor, now running for state Assembly, solicited $700,000 in donations to his own nonprofit (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Last month, La Mesa Vice Mayor Colin Parent signed a public disclosure acknowledging he solicited a $5,500 donation from a major developer to Circulate San Diego, the charity for which he serves as chief executive officer. It was the 68th time in the last five years that Parent reported seeking cash contributions to his employer…political experts and good-government groups say the behested payments are questionable. For Parent as an elected official to ask donors for money to support an organization that he also manages raises the specter of conflicts of interest, they said.

San Diego sued for allowing developers to forego parking requirements, build higher, and construct backyard apartments (CBS 8)

A group of residents is suing the city for loosening building requirements, allowing developers to build higher, with less parking, and in small backyard areas. The lawsuit claims the city changed the requirements in an effort to meet its climate action goals without reviewing the potential impacts on neighborhoods and the environment.

Judge extends restraining order against Lemon Grove council member amid multiple misconduct accusations (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A judge has extended a restraining order against a member of the Lemon Grove City Council, meaning Liana LeBaron will continue to be restricted from interacting with one of her colleagues outside of public meetings for at least the next several months.

La Mesa revamps building process (San Diego Union-Tribune)

La Mesa leaders have approved several changes to how construction permits are issued after an outside review found the city moved slower than its neighbors. The council voted unanimously Tuesday to hire an additional employee to help process applications and spend tens of thousands of dollars on new computer equipment that can better review designs. Officials also pledged to improve communication between departments, hold more meetings with applicants and create a handbook specifically about requirements for accessory dwelling units, or ADUs, among other changes.

Elder Ex-Rep. Duncan Hunter Rips NPR for Hinting He Squelched Marine Deaths  (Times of San Diego)

Hunter insisted that he never knew about that friendly fire probe or had "any communication whatsoever" with any commanders about their Fallujah investigation. 

Santee YMCA at Center of Transgender Controversy Reopens Locker Rooms After Remodel (NBC San Diego)

The new locker rooms at the Cameron Family YMCA in Santee comes after multiple protests regarding a teenage girl who claimed she felt unsafe near a transgender woman in the locker room.  The $70,000-project included rebuilding the men’s and women’s locker rooms to have privacy stalls to allow members a space to change clothes behind closed doors. The new locker rooms will also have rows of benches, each surrounded by raised walls and a door to allow people to change clothes without showering.  Public nudity is also now prohibited at this YMCA location….

El Cajon is about to have far more control over homeless voucher program (San Diego Union-Tribune)

El Cajon has given final approval to a plan giving local leaders significantly more control over organizations that help homeless people rent hotel rooms, potentially altering how much space is available in East County’s largest city.

Texas Media Group Nexstar Adds KUSI to San Diego Holdings for $35 Million (Times of San Diego)

Texas-based Nexstar Media Group, which already owns FOX 5 in San Diego, announced Monday it will acquire KUSI-TV from McKinnon Broadcasting for $35 million.  

Mayor Pitches Balboa Park Safe Campsites (Voice of San Diego)

Mayor Todd Gloria and other city officials want to convert lots behind the Naval Medical Center and alongside a city maintenance yard at the edge of Balboa Park into safe campgrounds for unhoused people.

Hepatitis A numbers increasing, particularly among homeless population  (KPBS)

According to the county Health and Human Services Agency, no single outbreak location has been identified and no specific food or water source found. This current increase in hep A cases is a form of person-to-person transmission and not by food, the county reported.

MTS Is Losing Money Because of its Pronto Pay System (Voice of San Diego)

Transit riders say San Diego’s new digital ticketing app isn’t working and costing the Metropolitan Transit System a pretty penny.

San Diego case reveals nationwide elder fraud network (KPBS)

…dozens of people in San Diego and across the country who fell victim to a so-called "grandparents scam" run by a nationwide criminal syndicate known as the Enterprise, according to the San Diego District Attorney’s Office and federal law enforcement.

2 Officers Injured In High-Speed Chase That Started In La Mesa (Patch)

The pursuit began when the driver of a Mercedes-Benz ran a red light in La Mesa.

U.S. Supreme Court to decide if public officials can block critics on social media (Reuters)

The justices took up an appeal by two members of a public school board from the city of Poway in Southern California of a lower court's ruling in favor of school parents who sued after being blocked from Facebook pages and a Twitter account maintained by the officials.


California canceled $200 million in Middle Class Tax Refunds to balance budget — did anyone miss out? (Mercury News)

Refunds were earmarked for 23 million Californians… So did Newsom pull a Lucy and snatch away the football from poor Charlie Brown taxpayers? Not quite. The unspent refund money stemmed from an overestimate of qualifying taxpayers who couldn’t claim the refund — dead people and splitters who departed California. “The principal reason,” Department of Finance spokesman H.D. Palmer said, “is that our estimate didn’t account for turnover due to migration and deaths.”

CA Teacher Salaries Could Climb 50 Percent Under Proposed Law  (Patch)

Legislation introduced this week aims to raise salaries for teachers and school staffers by 50 percent over the next few years.

Flooding was the downside to California's heavy rain. The upside: gold  (NPR)

Floodwater in California has stirred up new deposits of gold in rivers and streams across the state. It's sparking what some are calling Gold Rush 2.0.

California hotline to provide legal help related to abortion (KPBS)

 California has joined with law firms and advocacy groups to create a hotline that provides access to information and pro bono services for people who need legal help related to abortion, as the state seeks to become a safe haven for reproductive rights since Roe v. Wade was overturned.

Jenny Craig, With 68 CA Locations, Is Closing: Report (Patch)

Carlsbad-based Jenny Craig will close its doors after 40 years in the weight loss and management business, according to a report.

California reparations panel OKs state apology, payments (AP)

California's reparations task force voted Saturday to approve recommendations on how the state may compensate and apologize to Black residents for generations of harm caused by discriminatory policies.

California regulators plan to revisit solar rule changes, as legal action moves forward (KPBS)

California regulators are poised to reconsider their unanimous decision late last year to dramatically change the state solar rules. That move comes as The Protect Our Communities Foundation, Center for Biological Diversity and Environmental Working Group step up their legal action to get the rules overturned. 




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