EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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January 17, 2019 (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

In this water-starved California town, one citrus farmer is trying to hold on (Palm Springs Desert Sun)

A longtime farmer hopes to save his citrus orchard in the desert town of Borrego Springs, even as the declining aquifer forces major cuts in groundwater pumping.

Hueso and other lawmakers went to Maui with utilities while wildfires burned (San Diego Union-Tribune)

Sen. Ben Hueso, chairman of the state Senate’s Energy, Utilities and Communications Committee, was one of a dozen California lawmakers to join 60 utility executives and other paid sponsors at the Fairmont Kea Lani resort in Hawaii last November…while wildfires raged on the mainland — some of them possibly sparked by equipment owned by utility companies whose liability is an ongoing issue in state government.

Here’s what you need to know about the border wall (San Diego Union-Tribune)

In President Donald Trump’s public push for $5.7 billion to extend existing border fencing by 215 miles, he has painted a dire picture filled with deadly drugs, violent criminals and bloodshed. Meanwhile, congressional Democrats argue the border crisis Trump is referring to either doesn’t exist or was manufactured for political reasons. Besides, they contend, a wall wouldn’t solve many of the problems Trump has identified…The truth — as it often does — lies somewhere in between.

Disability advocates target city of San Diego, scooters in new lawsuit (San Diego Union-Tribune)

 The city of San Diego and electric scooter brands Lime and Bird are the targets of a lawsuit filed in federal court alleging the ubiquitous motorized vehicles are violating the Americans with Disability Act by impeding and blocking access to city streets and sidewalks.

The Mayor's State of the City Speech, Annotated (Voice of San Diego)

Below is the text of Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s 2019 State of the City address. We’ve annotated the speech with context, background and analysis to give a clearer picture of the proposals and priorities the mayor has laid out. Click on the highlighted passages for more details.

STATE

Things Are Getting Crazy on the Colorado River (Voice of San Diego)

Voice of SD - The Colorado River, the source of much of the American West’s economic productivity, essentially functions like a bank. This month, the nation’s largest water agency, the Metropolitan Water District, began what amounts to a run on the bank. The district…started rapidly withdrawing water from the river, which is stored behind Hoover Dam in Lake Mead.  Metropolitan officials are worried that the federal government is about to step in to ration the river, which 40 million people depend on as it flows some 1,300 miles from its headwaters in Wyoming and Colorado to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico.

Head of California electric utility quits amid fallout from deadly wildfires (NBC News)

 Geisha Williams, the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company, steps down as PG&E faces possibly billions in liabilities and possible murder charges. 

‘PG&E is going to have to pay.’ Sympathy is gone for utility facing bankruptcy (The Sacramento Bee)

 The first PG&E bankruptcy in 2001 was caused by the California energy crisis and misdeeds of Enron. The second bankruptcy results from the utility’s inability to prevent California wildfires like the Camp Fire.

PG&E Sparked at Least 1,500 California Fires. Now the Utility Faces Collapse. (Wall Street Journal)

The Golden State’s largest utility has struggled to reduce fire risks as its equipment keeps igniting blazes

Gov. Gavin Newsom embraces an untested idea on how California's rainy-day fund should work (Los Angeles Times)

Proposition 2, championed by Democratic legislators and former Gov. Jerry Brown…requires a fixed percentage of tax revenues to be set aside in the state’s “rainy-day” fund — some for future use and some to pay off debt. Once the cash reserve grows to an amount equal to 10% of general fund revenues, it’s considered full and the set-aside dollars flow to infrastructure needs… new Gov. Gavin Newsom asked lawmakers to set in motion plans to add even more to the fund — a total of $4.1 billion more over the next four years.

Governor Dad: How Gavin Newsom’s kids are about to shape California (Cal Matters)

It’s been a while since California had a governor who is also a dad, and Gavin Newsom has made clear that his new job will be informed by his role at home.

10 takeaways from Gov. Newsom’s $209 billion budget (Cal Matters)

A huge surprise surplus, a big push on affordable housing, help for college students, working poor tax credits, credit cards at the DMV, kindergarten potties.