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February 27, 2018 (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.


El Cajon Councilman accused of bogus property filings (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Property records filed by El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho are raising questions about whether he is shielding his personal assets in advance of an upcoming civil fraud trial. The lawyer suing Kalasho notes that the first-term council member appears to have borrowed $500,000 against his home from a company that is not registered by the California Secretary of State and transferred title of another home to an entity whose trustee may not be a real person.

End of the line for Depot Springs (La Mesa Courier)

After three years of delays and community concerns, Depot Springs Beer Co. — the ambitious La Mesa experiment that was to house a brewery/distillery, restaurant and live-music venue — is officially dead in its tracks.

La Mesa poised to award license to first medical pot dispensary (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The facility received the unanimous approval of the La Mesa Planning Commission on Feb. 21 and is scheduled for a vote in March by the City Council. 

Interactive map shows school expulsions, suspensions for weapons in San Diego County (San Diego Union-Tribune)

High schools in Escondido, Santee and El Cajon have the highest number of weapon-related expulsions in the county, according to state data.

San Diego students likely won’t face suspensions for school walkouts against gun violence  (KPBS)

Unlike in Needville, Texas, San Diego County students who participate in a nationwide demonstration against gun violence in schools will likely not face suspensions for leaving class.  Though it is up to individual school sites to decide whether to discipline students, the San Diego County Office of Education, which advises and trains the region’s 42 districts, is urging schools to instead focus on helping students digest and discuss the news following the deadly school shooting in Florida on Feb. 14.

School district looks to bring back popular sixth-grade camp (San Diego Union-Tribune)

…The La Mesa-Spring Valley School District is one of those districts that found the cost prohibitive, cutting participation in the Cuyamaca Outdoor School from the budget in 2009. But it is looking to bring back the experience of studying stars, streams and science while hiking and doing hands-on crafts in the backcountry.

San Diego celebrates new freeway-level transit stations (NBC 7)

It's the first project of its kind in the region: San Diego is now home to a new form of mass transportation.  It's called the "Rapid" and it's made up of freeway-level transit stations. The buses have their very own lane in the middle of the freeway and can make stops easily along the route. The Rapid mainly serves areas along Interstate 15, starting in Escondido and ending downtown.

Yes, Duncan Hunter was there for some of the improper charges he has repaid to his campaign (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, is suggesting to the national media that questionable expenses of his campaign funds took place in California while he was in Washington, D.C., doing the people’s business.

San Diego Water Payments Fund a Slaughterhouse and Lots of Other Stuff in Imperial County (Voice of San Diego)

It’s one project of many that San Diegans supported through water payments that were earmarked for Imperial County, our neighbor to the east. There’s $346,000 and counting to fight cancer, $1 million to a food bank, $2.5 million to get an ethanol plant up and running, $15,000 to purchase tools for a body shop, $650,000 to expand a tortilla-making business, and $5,000 help a Methodist church hand out food and gas vouchers.

San Onofre settlement would put millions in customers' pockets but leave key questions unanswered (San Diego Union-Tribune)

A new deal to resolve billions of dollars in costs related to the San Onofre nuclear plant shutdown in 2012 is awaiting regulatory approval. Adopting the proposed settlement means the California Public Utilities Commission is unlikely to ever determine who was at fault for the plant failure. Other...


Watch Democrats running for Governor debate ahead of state party convention (Los Angeles Times)

Video of debate held in San Diego among four candidates.

California Democratic party offers no endorsement in Senate, Governor’s races (Los Angeles Times)

The California Democratic Party decided not to endorse in the U.S. Senate contest on Saturday, an embarrassing rebuke of veteran Sen. Dianne Feinstein. Feinstein, who has represented California in the Senate for a quarter-century, is facing an insurgent bid by a fellow Democrat, state Senate leader Kevin de León.

California’s recurring nightmare: Nearly half the state is back in drought (KQED)

After an all-too-brief reprieve, the Golden State is once again starting to brown up — at least on government drought maps. The U.S. Drought Monitor now has nearly 48 percent of the state categorized as being in at least “moderate drought.” More than 91 percent of the state is listed as at least “abnormally dry,” the precursor stage to drought.

California is losing low-income folks but gaining wealthy ones, report says (San Diego Union-Tribune)

California is also losing people under 25 and those with only high school or some college education. Millennials from New York and Illinois are moving in.….Between 2007 and 2016, some 5 million people moved in to California and 6 million people moved out to other states — a net loss of about 1 million residents….

Tribes cut out of California’s legal pot market might grow their own (AP)

American Indian tribes that say they have been cut out of California's legal marijuana market have raised the possibility of going their own way by establishing pot businesses outside the state-regulated system that is less than two months old.