EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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March 27,  2021 (San Diego) -- East County Roundup highlights top stories of interest to East County and San Diego's inland regions, published in other media.  This week's round-up stories include:

LOCAL

STATE

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

LOCAL

Former sheriff’s captain gets prison in gun sales case (San Diego Union-Tribune) 

Marco Garmo rose in the ranks of law enforcement until being brought down by corruption charges.

Helix Water District to help needy customers starting in April (San Diego Union-Tribune)

The Helix Water District Board of Directors last week unanimously approved funding for the district’s first financial customer assistance program, which will help East County residents who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. / The “Helix Helps Customer Assistance Program” will roll out in April and will offer a one-time credit of up to $300 for eligible single-family residential customers who are behind on their bills.

Jacumba Residents Fear 650-Acre Solar Project Will Ruin Their Rural Community (iNewsSource)

The tiny community of Jacumba Hot Springs in southeastern San Diego County could soon be dwarfed by nearly 650 acres of solar panels at the edge of town, but residents are fighting the project. They fear its size and proximity would ruin their historic and rural community where about 500 people live. They also say that pandemic-related restrictions, including public meetings held online and by phone and closures of the library, where residents can access computers and public records, have made it harder to stay informed and protest the development. 

La Mesa Council forms subcommittee for Alvarado Specific Plan (La Mesa Courier)

La Mesa City Council formed a sub-committee to address the Alvarado specific plan which would replace the San Diego RV Park with transit-oriented, multi-family residential housing. The decision was made during the Tuesday, March 9 City Council meeting. At the request of Mayor Mark Arapostathis, Council members Colin Parent and Bill Baber will form the sub-committee to bring the specific plan changes forward and work on significant public outreach.

Could Jackalope Junction, a Western-style steampunk theme park, find a home in Ramona? (San Diego Union-Tribune) 

Greg Schumsky has a vision for San Diego — not the city or the suburbs, but the backcountry. He wants to build Jackalope Junction, a 20-acre theme park with Western and steampunk themes based on characters he created — notably Jackalope Jim, a sheriff in the turn-of-the-century town who wields his Jules Verne-style blaster with a cybernetic arm.

Woman Hit By Rubber Bullet At La Mesa Protest Files Lawsuit (Patch.com)

Michelle Horton is suing the city, San Diego County and the officers allegedly involved…Michelle Horton alleges in a complaint filed Friday in San Diego federal court that she was standing on the corner of Spring Street and University Avenue on May 30 when "out of the blue," a group of officers drove by and shot her in the chest with a rubber bullet, "causing serious physical injury, pain and suffering, and humiliation."

Ex-La Mesa Cop Pleads Not Guilty To Filing False Police Report (Patch.com)

Matthew Dages is charged in connection with the arrest of Amaurie Johnson, which was captured on video and circulated over social media.

STATE

Vaccine tiers for Californians will be gone by early May, Gavin Newsom says (Sacramento Bee)

California will open vaccine eligibility to all residents and abandon its vaccine priority tiers in early May, when supply will have increased enough to inoculate a wider swathe of the population, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday. Newsom’s announcement comes a week after President Joe Biden directed states to make all adults eligible for vaccinations by May 1.

California Supreme Court rules cash bail unconstitutional for defendants who can’t afford it (Sacramento Bee)

The unanimous ruling doesn’t outright ban cash bail, but says judges must consider factors such as the seriousness of charges and past criminal history and then use those factors to set bail at an amount the defendant can afford.

Government creating roadblocks due to pandemic (Calaware)

 

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided a vehicle for allowing government to create roadblocks, intentional and otherwise, for the public to participate and obtain information on how government agencies are addressing the health crisis.  The California Assembly has a bill that would require government entities across the state to provide increased access to meetings and more public participation, pandemic notwithstanding.

Why Covering Canals With Solar Panels Is a Power Move (Wired.com)

Scientists in California just ran the numbers on what would happen if their state slapped solar panels on 4,000 miles of its canals, including the major California Aqueduct.. Their feasibility study, published in the journal Nature Sustainability, finds that if applied statewide, the panels would save 63 billion gallons of water from evaporating each year. At the same time, solar panels across California’s exposed canals would provide 13 gigawatts of renewable power annually, about half of the new capacity the state needs to meet its decarbonization goals by the year 2030.