EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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May 26,2015 (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

Power company's Darling (SD Reader)

A new batch of emails released Friday, May 22, in the California Public Utilities Commission probe show snug and questionable relationships between an administrative law judge and Southern California Edison.

San Diego County's Unemployment Rate Dips To Nearly 8-Year Low (KPBS)

San Diego County's unemployment rate dropped to 4.8 percent — the lowest rate the region has seen in almost a decade.

Tijuana Plans Protection For Rare River Habitat (KPBS)

Arroyo Alamar is one of Tijuana's last surviving river habitats. It once ran for six miles through the city, but now it is less than half that size. Much of it has been filled with concrete to prevent flooding, but environmentalists want to save what is left of the river.

City sprays golf courses with tap water (U-T)

The City of San Diego sprays drinking water to irrigate two of its three golf courses amid the worsening drought, a use that has increased by millions of gallons each year since 2013, city records show. / The Torrey Pines Golf Course uses recycled water. But the city's other two courses, at Balboa Park and Mission Bay, used about 116 million gallons of tap water during the ten months ending April 30, records show. / That’s 5 million gallons more than the city used on those courses during the same 10 months last year, and 15 million gallons more than in 2013.

As farms fade, will developers move in? (U-T)

Which type of land use consumes more water? It depends.

CPUC Votes To Approve New Gas Power Plant In Carlsbad (KPBS)

The CPUC approved Thursday a new gas power plant in Carlsbad to replace almost a quarter of the energy lost when San Onofre shut down. Opponents say the decision misses an opportunity to move toward more sustainable energy sources.

San Diego County Water Authority Proposes Water Rate Hikes (KPBS)

The water authority — which obtains water from a variety of sources and distributes it to member agencies such as the city of San Diego — proposed an increase of 6.6 percent for untreated water and 5.4 percent for treated water in the 2016 calendar year.

SANDAG Isn’t Good at Predicting Population Growth (Voice of SD)

If history is any guide, San Diego’s population will continue to grow. That’s something of a given. The question is, how much? That’s what SANDAG’s projections seek to answer. They’ve done an especially bad job of it.

SD hospitals fined for dangerous care (U-T)

The state has fined three local hospitals for harming patients, the California Department of Public Health announced Wednesday. Kaiser Permanente’s San Diego Medical Center, Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista and San Diego County Psychiatric Hospital were among 12 facilities statewide assessed a total of $775,000 in penalties for lapses in care that put patients at risk.

Microgrid and Water Recurrent Worries for Borrego Springs (Borrego Sun)

Two informational presentations were given to the Borrego Springs Community Sponsor Group on May 7. 

STATE

Power company's Darling (SD Reader)

A new batch of emails released Friday, May 22, in the California Public Utilities Commission probe show snug and questionable relationships between an administrative law judge and Southern California Edison.

Santa Barbara oil spill: Pipeline operator has long record of problems (LA Times)

Plains Pipeline, the large Texas-based company responsible for the pipe that ruptured in Santa Barbara County, has accumulated 175 safety and maintenance infractions since 2006, according to federal records. / A Times analysis of data from the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration shows Plains' rate of incidents per mile of pipe is more than three times the national average. Such incidents may include problems with pipelines, storage tanks and drains, among others. Among more than 1,700 pipeline operators listed in a database maintained by the federal agency, only four companies reported more infractions than Plains Pipeline.

Study Finds Lingering Spike In Car Theft After California Prison Change (KPBS)

The study by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that sentencing lower-level felons to local lockups instead of state prisons led to a 17 percent increase in auto thefts in 2013. / The Public Policy Institute of California said Tuesday that sentencing lower-level felons to local lockups instead of state prisons led to a 17 percent increase in auto thefts in 2013. That's similar to the bump seen in 2012. 

California water agency relies on flawed system to track use (U-T)

A group of powerful California farmers who are volunteering to use less water amid the crippling drought have for years operated under an antiquated state system that relies on self-reported, error-riddled records to enforce cutbacks.

California farmers agree to cut water use. Enough to stem the drought? (CS Monitor)

Riparian water users in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta are voluntarily cutting back farm water in return for certainty through this year’s growing season. It’s a start in curbing agricultural water use in drought-stricken California.

50 million gallons of water lost after California dam vandalized: newspaper (Reuters)

Some 50 million gallons of water were lost after an act of vandalism damaged an inflatable dam near San Francisco, the local Oakland Tribune newspaper reported on Friday.

In California, Technology Makes "Droughtshaming" Easier Than Ever (NPR)