EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

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September 23, 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/REGIONAL

STATE

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

LOCAL

Documents detail how nuclear material was handled at San Onofre (KNSD-7)

Expert tells NBC 7 Investigates handling of nuclear material was “sloppy”

Documents newly obtained by NBC 7 Investigates during secret talks about the condition of the land where the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) sits detail how nuclear material was handled at the plant since the 1980s.

Incomes rise, but poverty remains a problem (U-T San Diego)

Median household incomes in the region increased by $4,111 last year and have surpassed 2007 levels for the first time since the economy collapsed. But new census data shows that despite the 6.6 percent uptick in earnings, the poverty level, particularly among children, has remained steady and is worse than before the recession.

Sculptor's eviction means end of jumping mustangs (U-T San Diego)

Artist best known for his Borrego Springs sculptures must find new studio home

Lieutenant sues over reassignment (U-T San Diego)

A veteran San Diego police lieutenant has filed suit against the city, Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman and an assistant chief, alleging that they retaliated against her when she complained about the conduct of a captain who she said was abusive.

Regents reject intolerance statement  (U-T San Diego)

 University of California leaders to come back with statement that addresses anti-Semitism.

Ranch to the rescue for pot-bellied pigs (Ramona Sentinel)

In 1998, Martin and Nancy Koontz moved to Ramona with a couple of cats and a potbellied pig named Bailey. Today, the couple share their ranch with 95 potbellied pigs, all of them rescues who have found a comfortable retirement at Grazin’ Pig Acres.

Local health insurance coverage rises to 88% under Obamacare (Times of San Diego)

The percentage of San Diegans covered by health insurance increased significantly in 2014 to nearly 88 percent, thanks in part to the individual mandate under the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare…up from 83.7 percent in 2013, according to statistics released Thursday from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The increase in the number of insured was also dramatic statewide, increasing to 87.6 percent in 2014 from 82.8 percent in 2013.

Local Water Agencies Are Making Moves to Take Control of Costs, Supply (Voice of San Diego)

For years, the San Diego County Water Authority has been fighting an expensive battle to lower its dependence on water from the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. Now the smaller agencies the Water Authority serves are waging their own effort to gain independence so they can control costs and their own water supply.

County pays $1M Sierra Club legal fees (U-T San Diego)

In lawsuit, the Sierra Club said county's climate action plan was inadequate.

Anderson Could Run for Three Different Seats in Six Years (Voice of San Diego)

There’s no rule against a politician having accounts open for two races at once, in fact, it’s relatively common, said Jay Wierenga, spokesman for the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission. In this case, Anderson’s could use the already established 2018 account as a backup plan if his bid to unseat Jacob is unsuccessful./ But Anderson could also take advantage of campaign finance rules that allow candidates to eventually transfer funds between accounts, Wierenga said. Transferring funds from his Assembly account to his supervisor account would let him tap into a Sacramento donor network that doesn’t care about local San Diego issues, broadening his ability to challenge Jacob financially.

Sempra wins one showdown with Mexican rancher (U-T San Diego)

Federal judge sides with Sempra Energy in land dispute at ocean terminal in Mexico.

Pension boss gets unemployment on top of $250,000 severance (U-T San Diego)

When former county pension system CEO Brian White stepped down in March, he accepted a $250,000 severance. He also took home vacation, sick leave and other benefits worth more than $157,000 in cash and is collecting lifetime pension of $147,000 a year.

Weber: Schools Need New Thinking — Not New Buildings

Memorial Preparatory for Scholars and Athletes is the school parents avoid most in San Diego, and we recently learned that discussions are going forward about tearing it down and rebuilding it. Assemblywoman Shirley Weber had a warning. There’s no guarantee that building a new school in its place will change its perception or performance.

La Mesan Claudia Sandoval Named Masterchef  (La Mesa Today)

Season Six of Masterchef came to conclusion as host, executive producer and judge Gordon Ramsay named Claudia Sandoval the winner of FOX’s hit home cooking competition series.  Sandoval, 31, is an events manager from La Mesa.  In addition to earning the win, Sandoval walked away with a cookbook deal and the $250,000 grand prize

Poway Unified Might Re-Hire Controversial Bond Consultants  (Voice of SD)

The Poway school district rose to infamy a few years ago when it sold $105 million in bonds with a promise to eventually repay a total of $981 million, including interest. The deal was reported nationally and ridiculed by many, including then-state Treasurer Bill Lockyer, who in 2012 said, “I would fire staff that made a deal like this. And if I were a voter, I’d pick a different school board.” The district seems to be ignoring that advice.

STATE

State panel outlaws ‘dark money’ in political campaigns (Los Angeles Times)

The state’s campaign finance watchdog agency on Thursday adopted new requirements that nonprofit groups that contribute through a federal political action committee to support or oppose ballot measures or candidates in California must disclose their donors.

Where have all the cops gone? (Desert Sun)

A shrinking pool of police trainees is making it difficult to hire officers in California.

Crowdfunding for wildfire victims: A new solution to an old problem? (CS Monitor)

Amidst a devastating wildfire season in California, some nonprofit organizations are crowdsourcing donations to assist families affected by the state's drought and wildfires.

Deal would let Southern California buy surplus water from Nevada (Reuters)

 A $45 million deal that would let Southern California's biggest water agency access a major supply of water that would normally go to southern Nevada won approval on Thursday from the Southern Nevada Water Authority.

As wildfires spread, the contractors are called in (APM Marketplace)

The U.S. Forest Service is breaking records — but they're not the ones they like to brag about. The agency spent $243 million the last week in August dealing with more than 75 wildfires in the West. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said he expected the service will spend $200 million more in coming weeks as the fire season deepens. Some of that money goes to firefighters on the front line, but a lot of it goes to contractors.