EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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April 29, 2015 (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

 Ex-La Mesa mayor Art Madrid writing book

The city’s mayor for 24 years and a city councilman for nine years previous to that, Madrid, 80, has been traveling, spending time with his longtime girlfriend, Debbie McElravy, and playing golf. And he’s still part of the city’s Interfaith Council. Most challenging and exciting for him, though, is he’s preparing to write an autobiography covering his years in public office. Madrid has been taking a nonfiction writing class at Grossmont College to hone his storytelling skills.

4 San Diego climbers trapped in Nepal (UT San Diego)

Four San Diegans are stranded in Nepal after Saturday’s massive earthquake and are running low on food, a family member said Monday. / Oscar Olea, Brigida Martinez, Kevin Krogh and Kathleen “Kat” Heldman were just a few days in to a monthlong hiking expedition when the 7.8 quake struck....

It’s Over: The Chargers Are Done With San Diego (Voice of SD)

An NFL VP reiterates that a complex real estate deal to fund a new stadium probably won’t work. With other challenges, this deal is done. 

San Diego's homeless on rise (U-T)

The number of people living on the street or in shelters in San Diego County increased by 2.8 percent from last year, according to results of an annual count of homeless people released Thursday afternoon. Volunteers in the annual count found 4,156 people living on the streets, a 4.3 increase from last year. Another 4,586 people were in shelters, a 1.4 percent increase from last year.

How The Fall Of Saigon Made San Diego A Refugee Hub (KPBS)

Some 50,000 Vietnamese refugees passed through Camp Pendleton in the months following the fall of Saigon. The size and duration of the crisis caused a shift in the way the United States approached resettlement, and paved the path for Burmese, East African and Iraqi refugees arriving in San Diego today. 

Utilities on the trail to tiers  (SD Reader)

An administrative law judge for the California Public Utilities Commission has issued a proposed decision on a push by utility companies, including San Diego Gas & Electric, for a rate hike for lower-tier customers.

Padre Dam Water District launches pilot drinking water program (Alpine Sun)

Praise flowed at the grand opening for a new Padre Dam Municipal Water District project that could eventually supply about 20 percent of the district’s drinking water needs.

Las Colinas is something to Yelp about (SD Reader)

Definitely not coming back…

New Chief of Police Walt Vasquez getting reacquainted to serve the citizens of La Mesa (East County Californian)

La Mesa Police Department swore in its new Chief of Police Walt Vasquez on April 6. Two weeks into his new law enforcement role, Vasquez spoke enthusiastically of the “professionalism” and “welcome” with which his team members in the department greeted him as successor to the highly regarded Ed Aceves.

Emerald Wants Her Chief Of Staff To Take Over San Diego Council Seat (KPBS)


Councilwoman Marti Emerald said she will not be seeking re-election to represent the District 9, but is giving her support to her chief of staff, Ricardo Flores.

Water deal with Imperial Valley on the line

(SD Reader) -- San Diego's paltry water assets may soon be significantly reduced

City’s own water use spiked

(U-T) -- Amid calls to conserve, San Diego's 2014 use was up 19 percent.

STATE

Governor, state get tougher on water use (U-T)

Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday pledged to give municipalities new power to penalize water wasters — by creating fines of up to $10,000 for the worst violations — while also promising to fast-track reviews of local water supply projects. 

What's that Caltrans is using for water? (U-T)

Each year, Caltrans sprinkles about 720 million gallons of drinking water along miles of medians, acres of embankments and anywhere else the highway agency wants to protect its investment in landscaping in San Diego County.... /It wasn’t supposed to be this way. A state law enacted in 1986 required the California Department of Transportation to stop using tap water for landscaping “as soon as practical.” The agency was supposed to switch to reclaimed water instead — treated water from sewers…

CA still tied to Gold Rush era water rights system (U-T San Diego)

Ravaged by California’s four-year drought, an increasing number of farms and towns are struggling to find reliable water supplies. That’s not the case for the state’s so-called senior water rights holders who, due to what critics call an antiquated and byzantine water rights system, enjoy few limits on their water and nearly zero cost or accountability for its use, even during severe droughts.

Is that joint damaging our environment? (U-T San Diego)

There’s a harvest taking place in the nooks and crannies of public and private lands all over California. It threatens the survival of everything from the imperiled spotted owl and steelhead trout to the fisher, a small mammal in the weasel family that is struggling for survival.

Marijuana: the new drought villian? (U-T San Diego)

Paul Gallegos, a former district attorney in Humboldt County, where they know a thing or two about the crop, said that a pot plant needs 6 gallons of water each day over its 150-day growing cycle, according to The Associated Press. It takes more than a gallon of water to grow a single almond, the drought’s reigning bad boy.

Thirsty for clean power, California taps winds in Mexico (U-T San Diego)


California is reaching into Mexico to satisfy quotas for green energy.

Time for state's leaders to tackle teacher tenure (UT San Diego)

By Shirley Weber -- California's current tenure system is irrefutably broken.

Union challenges CPUC law deal (U-T San Diego)

The union that represents state lawyers has challenged the $5.2 million contract between the California Public Utilities Commission and the Sheppard Mullin law firm, saying that government attorneys could do the work as effectively and for much less money.