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June 21, 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:



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


Key figure in CPUC hearings on 2007 wildfires accepted gifts: officials (KNSD 7)

Commissioner Timothy Alan Simon, a key figure in the 2012 hearings to determine a rate hike for San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) ratepayers to cover the costs of the 2007 wildfires, accepted thousands of dollars in gifts at the time, according to the California Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC)…Simon is facing a proposed penalty of $5,500.

Daughter of ex-Lemon Grove mayor in jail(San Diego Reader)

Anna Sessom Baker, daughter of former Lemon Grove mayor and council member Mary Sessom, is in jail today. Yesterday (June 20), she, along with Jonathan Ibarra and Hector Fernando Garcia, were arraigned and charged with possession of 44.14 kilograms of fentanyl, with the intent to distribute it.

San Diego County’s unemployment rate down (KPBS)

San Diego County's unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in May…“If you’re considering work this is the time to get back in the job market. Mom and Dad, tell your kids to get back in the job market,” said Phil Blair, executive officer at Manpower staffing which connects job seekers to employers. “Husbands and wives, tell your spouses to get back in the job market. We have jobs for them.”

La Mesa ready to take over land at Sun Valley golf course (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The city of La Mesa this week will take over the downtown parcel of land known as Sun Valley Golf Course and continue plans to turn it into a public park.

San Diego City Council votes to put SoccerCity on 2018 ballot (KPBS)

The San Diego City Council has decided to place the proposed SoccerCity redevelopment of the Qualcomm Stadium property in Mission Valley before voters in November 2018. The developers had collected enough valid petition signatures to force the council members to place the issue on an election ballot, or adopt it outright.

Could desalinated water from Mexico flow to San Diego? (San Diego Union-Tribune)

With Baja California pushing forward on its plan for a massive desalination plant in Rosarito Beach, a ground-breaking proposal to pipe some of that water to the United States has overcome a key hurdle. The U.S. State Department’s approval of a presidential permit marks a step forward for the Otay Water District and its vision for a cross-border pipeline to import the desalinated water from Mexico.

Lemon Grove School District chooses new Superintendent (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Lemon Grove School District governing board last week hired a new leader to replace outgoing Superintendent Ernie Anastos.  Kimberly Berman, currently the superintendent of the 3,500-student Greenfield Union School District in Monterey County, will start her new job in July 1.

Syrian family celebrates Ramadan, but misses son (San Diego Union-Tribune)

…While Alsadnawi family members have made progress in learning English and getting settled in El Cajon, they still have a long way to go. Their biggest challenge is dealing with the absence of their only son and eldest child, Ahmed, 24, who became separated from the family after they fled Syria and so was not able to immigrate with them to the U.S.

County proclaims June 15 Edna Kouns day (KUSI)

The County of San Diego proclaimed June 15 Edna Kouns Day in celebration of the Lakeside woman's 103rd birthday. 

Two immigration judges added to Otay detention facility (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Department of Justice has appointed two new immigration judges, both former attorneys for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, to hear cases at the Otay Mesa Detention Center.

Lemon Grove serving up lunch for kids all summer long (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Lemon Grove is providing lunches all summer long to kids 18 and under thanks to a $20,000 grant awarded earlier this year through the National League of Cities.

Free Summer Meal Programs Kick Off Around San Diego County (KPBS)

According to the San Diego Hunger Coalition, more than 125,000 lower income children in the region depend on free or reduced-priced lunches. Yet, just a fraction of them participate in summer meal programs.

What It Would Take to Make San Diego’s Transit System Faster and More Reliable (Voice of SD)

The 215 Rapid bus averages only 12 mph. It’s not much faster than a cyclist. Offboard ticket purchasing and allowing all passengers to board at any door could speed up service. There are more radical — and controversial — solutions San Diego could try, too.

San Onofre — another Chernobyl? (SD Reader)

Radiation would be 40 times worse 


Calif. State Universities will soon offer admission to all qualified applicants (San Jose Mercury-News)

…Under the state’s new budget deal, qualified California students who don’t get into their campus of choice will be admitted to another campus with space. The change is modeled after the University of California’s policy.

Internet privacy: California bill would prevent users from being secretly tracked (San Jose Mercury-News)

Nearly three months after Congress struck down federal regulations that aimed to protect internet users from having their online activities secretly tracked and sold, state lawmakers are unveiling new legislation that would require companies to follow such rules in California.

It’s a deal. Lawmakers send Jerry Brown a jam-packed budget (Sacramento Bee)

California lawmakers passed a spending plan for the coming fiscal year Thursday, meeting the state’s budget approval deadline with a $183.2 billion package that raises school funding, expands a tax credit for the working poor and gives the Capitol a greater say of the University of California’s finances.

LP Files Groundbreaking Civil Rights Lawsuit Against San Francisco State University (LawFareProject)

A group of San Francisco State University students and members of the local Jewish community today filed a lawsuit alleging that SFSU has a long and extensive history of cultivating anti-Semitism and overt discrimination against Jewish students. According to the suit, “SFSU and its administrators have knowingly fostered this discrimination and hostile environment, which has been marked by violent threats to the safety of Jewish students on campus.

California Lawmakers Seek to Subvert Government Transparency (Reason)

California voters in November overwhelmingly passed Proposition 54… requiring all bills in their "final form" to be published online for 72 hours before legislators vote on them…. But Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon (D-Paramount), is accused by Proposition 54's backers of allowing at least 89 bills to be voted on without having been published for a full 72 hours before the vote. 

California considers reducing traffic fines for low-income drivers (Marketplace)

The California Legislature is considering a proposal to link the cost of a traffic ticket to a person’s ability to pay. 

Audit: Low-income phone program grew to $84 million from $36 million because of poor oversight (San Diego Union-Tribune)

State officials are not regulating the procurement of goods and services by departments across the California government, allowing some vendors to extend contracts worth millions of dollars for years without competitive bidding, a new audit concludes.

Governor, Lawmakers to See 3 Percent Pay Boost (KPBS)

California Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers will get 3 percent pay boosts in December, the latest in a string of annual raises.

Study: A Fully Renewable Energy Grid Is Too Costly for Now (KPBS)

Solar panels, wind farms and hydropower facilities contributed 80 percent of the energy on the largest portion of California’s power grid on May 13, a record for renewable energy sources. But can wind, solar and hydroelectric power sustain an entire electric grid full-time?