EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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November 3, 2015 (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

San Diego's Ambulance Service Assesses Slow Response Times(KPBS)

The city requires ambulances to meet certain response times in four zones 90 percent of the time. However, data from July, August and September showed that the benchmarks were met between 84 percent and 87 percent of the time.

Rival buys Rural Metro ambulance company (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Scottsdale, Arizona, company was sold to the parent company of rival American Medical Response, or AMR, based in Greenwood Village, Colorado… Rural Metro has provided ambulance service in San Diego since 1997 without a competitive bidding process... The company was fined $230,000 earlier this month for failing to meet response times required in the contract …Rural Metro issued a “plan to cure” saying it would pay double-time when needed, offer incentive bonuses to eligible recruits and take additional steps to improve staffing levels and service.

Study Shows Scope Of Sex Trafficking In San Diego County (KPBS)

San Diego County law enforcement has long known that human sex trafficking was a significant problem here. Now, for the first time, instead of just anecdotes there are numbers to reveal the scope of the problem.

Can L.A. billionaire’s cash halt U-T layoffs? (San Diego Reader)

Broad foundation funding emerges as source of influence in Los Angeles Times intrigue

Details emerge in investigation of YMCA of San Diego management (KPBS)

The YMCA of San Diego County is facing turmoil at the top. KPBS previously reported that the YMCA’s corporate board had hired a consultant to oversee an investigation into mismanagement allegations. Here are edited excerpts from an interview with KPBS Investigative reporter Amita Sharma.

Laser hits Lindbergh bound plane; pilot taken to hospital (San Diego Union-Tribune)

…Lindbergh Field tower officials told San Diego police that the laser strike occurred four to five miles southwest of the airport, police Officer Dino Delimitros said. It was reported about 9:15 p.m….It was the second such incident reported locally in a month. On Sept. 30, a SkyWest plane heading to San Diego was hit with a laser flash about 11:50 p.m. about 10 miles east of the airport.

STATE

California fines top health insurers for overstating Obamacare networks (Los Angeles Times)

The state’s Department of Managed Health Care levied fines of $350,000 against Blue Shield of California and $250,000 for Anthem Blue Cross. At issue were the companies’ error-riddled provider directories that frustrated many consumers statewide as they tried to find doctors during the rollout of the Affordable Care Act in 2014. As a result, some patients incurred big unforeseen medical bills because they unwittingly went out of network for care…In addition to the state's enforcement action, consumer lawsuits are still pending against both insurers.

Signature gathering starts for California legalization of marijuana (Times of San Diego)

What could be a resolution to the long-running debate over medical marijuana in San Diego and across California took a step forward Friday when backers of a proposal to legalize the drug won the state’s OK to gather petition signatures needed to put the idea before voters. If enacted, the state would see a huge financial windfall through law enforcement cost savings and the new taxation of the drug and drug businesses.

Lawsuit: Cal-Fire director ordered grieving families kept ignorant of death benefits (Sacramento Bee)

Former Cal Fire manager says Director Ken Pimlott threatened his job if he disobeyed. Cal Fire says, ‘This allegation is not true’