EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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December 13, 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

San Diego’s 211 call system broke down during firestorm (Los Angeles Times)

San Diego County’s much-vaunted emergency communications system was unavailable for a multitude of callers as a runaway wildfire raced across northern San Diego County most of Thursday. Caller after caller could not connect with a live person for fire information or directions about where to evacuate the Lilac fire.

San Diego’s Toni Atkins to become first woman to lead California Senate (KPBS)

Sen. Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, is poised to become the leader of the Legislature's upper chamber next year after gaining support today from the Democratic caucus.

In San Diego, lessons on rebuilding from a neighborhood once ravaged by fire (NY Times)

When the scent of smoke from wildfires in the nearby hills began wafting through the San Diego air once again last week, residents in Scripps Ranch immediately thought back to 2003, when hundreds of homes burned to the ground.

Once a staunch Republican and rising star, Kurt Bardella becomes a Democrat (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Bardella, 34, who grew up in Escondido and earned his chops on local campaigns and as a staffer for Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, wrote in a USA Today opinion piece that he’s leaving the GOP. The party, he wrote, has been commandeered by leaders who …“pander to a lunatic fringe that subscribes to an ideology of hate and fear. “The GOP’s embrace of Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore, a former judge who is accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl, over Democrat Doug Jones, a prosecutor free of such allegations, pushed him across party lines, Bardella wrote…

San Diego fire weather is so extreme, purple is the new red (San Diego Union-Tribune)

California’s fire weather in San Diego County and across Southern California is suddenly so extreme that — for the first time ever — a new color code has been assigned to the map showing areas affected by strong Santa Ana winds: purple.

Report: San Diego Has Nation's Fourth Largest Homeless Population (KPBS)

San Diego County has the fourth largest population of homeless people in the United States, according to a government report released Wednesday.

Some Homebuyers Back Out of Chula Vista Development Following Methane Discovery (Voice of San Diego)

Otay Ranch project that is marketed as one of the largest planned housing developments in the U.S. 

Report: Pendleton Marines Knew About Exposed Gas Main That Injured 15 In Fiery Explosion (KPBS)

The report confirms that at an amphibious assault vehicle struck a natural gas main. The report also revealed that this was the second accident involving the same gas main in less than two months.

County Officials Set to Consider Allowing Nearly 6,000 New Homes in High Wildfire Risk Areas (Voice of San Diego)

County leaders may soon decide whether to let developers move forward with several projects that would be located in areas of extreme wildfire danger.

STATE

Governor Brown says world must fight climate change in visit to Ventura County’s Thomas fire (Santa Barbara Sun)

Gov. Jerry Brown warned that the state’s fire seasons will continue to get longer and more volatile, and called for a global fight against climate change after visiting devastated parts of Ventura County on Saturday morning.

As California wildfires rage, insurers turn to private firefighters for help (Fox Business)

...many of the country’s top insurers are sending in private firefighters to salvage anything they can. The push comes as property damage claims have surpassed $3.3 billion this year from devastating wildfires in Northern California that burned across its treasured wine country less than two months ago.

In search of state utilities commission's jugular... (San Diego Reader)

San Diego attorneys Mike Aguirre and Maria Severson yesterday (December 7) wrote a letter to both houses of the state legislature, asking them to convene a joint select committee to investigate the California Public Utilities Commission. If the agency's current activities continue, the commission should perhaps be put into receivership, say the attorneys.

Insurance Commissioner says more intense fires could lead to fewer fire insurance options (KQED)

The “new normal” of California’s fire season — year-round threats to homes all over the state — could alter the marketplace for fire insurance, according to California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones.

Be careful with Christmas laser-light displays; pilots will thank you (Sacramento Bee)

Holiday laser-light displays are fun and festive, but they can be hazardous to pilots. Here's how you can help.