EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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April 25, 2012 --  (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
  • Grossmont District deals with layoffs for 2012-13 (UT San Diego)
  • Fundraiser for missing hiker search efforts (CBS 8 News)
  • DeMaio and Fletcher heat up mayoral debate (UT SanDiego)
  • Heated exchange highlights SD Mayoral debate (10 News)
  • City attorney threatens to squeeze legal fees out of civic watchdog (CityBeat)
  • Controversy, dispute envelop Palomar College construction site at Indian burial ground (OB Rag)
  • Group launches effort to recall Sweetwater school trustees (UT San Diego)
  • SDG&E avoids shutdown of Powerlink helicopters (UT San Diego)
  • Getting to the bottom of city issues (La Mesa Today) 
  • El Cajon Nixes Chickens (UT San Diego)
  • Council refuses to sign PBID petition (La Mesa Today)
 
STATE
  • Measure to repeal death penalty in CA qualifies for ballot (Sacramento Bee)
  • Social media password bill advances in state Senate (Sacramento Bee)
  • Steinberg to push California for initiative changes (Sacramento Bee) 
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.
 
LOCAL
 
Grossmont District deals with layoffs for 2012-13 (UT San Diego)
 
April 19, 2012 -- A Mount Miguel High School student, a groundskeeper at the school and several other staff members were among more than a dozen people who gave emotional speeches on behalf of employees who face layoffs in the Grossmont Union High School District.
To the dismay of nearly 70 people who filled the school board’s meeting room Thursday evening, trustees voted 4-1 to terminate 63 classified positions in the 2012-2013 school year to close a budget gap.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/19/grossmont-district-deals-layoffs-2012-13/ 
Fundraiser for missing hiker search efforts (CBS 8 News)
April 21, 2012 -- The Sheriff's Department says a plaid shirt has been found in the mud caves at Anza Borrego Desert, where missing hiker, Guillermo Pino Junior was last seen Easter Sunday.
Meantime, Pino's family is raising money to hire a private search and rescue service since the Sheriff's Department called off its search.
On Saturday, neighbors organized a lemonade stand. Right now, Pino's family is relying on volunteers.
DeMaio and Fletcher heat up mayoral debate (UT SanDiego)
April 19, 2012 -- The growing animosity between City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher boiled over in the first televised debate of the San Diego mayor’s race when DeMaio asked Fletcher if he was under an ethics investigation.
A complaint was filed against Fletcher last month and dismissed Wednesday by the San Diego Ethics Commission for insufficient evidence.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/19/demaio-and-fletcher-heat-mayoral-debate/ 
Heated exchange highlights SD Mayoral debate (10 News)
April 19, 2012 -- A testy exchange between two of the four major San Diego mayoral candidates highlighted a debate televised on Thursday.
 
In a debate at the KPBS studios, City Councilman Carl DeMaio, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher took questions from a panel that included 10News anchor Kimberly Hunt, U-T San Diego reporter Craig Gustafson and KPBS reporter Katie Orr.
 
City attorney threatens to squeeze legal fees out of civic watchdog (CityBeat)
 
April 18, 2012 -- “We believe you are being played on this.”
That was the message from the San Diego City Attorney’s office after CityBeatasked about a legal brief filed by the city against citizen watchdog Mel Shapiro. In the filing, Deputy City Attorney Joseph Allen threatens to seek reimbursement for a case Shapiro filed against the city to release fraud-hotline records.
Shapiro’s lawyers say the city could stick Shapiro with up to $10,000 in fees. The brief was filed two weeks after Shapiro exposed how the city attorney failed to provide the City Council with weekly reports on lawsuits as required by city code.
http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-10436-city-attorney-threatens-to-squeeze-legal-fees-out-of-citizen-watchdog-civic-activist-mel-shapiro-still-says-the-city-must-turn-over-fraud-hotline-reports.html
 
Controversy, dispute envelop Palomar College construction site at Indian burial ground (OB Rag)
 
April 16, 2012 -- A relatively small area of North San Diego County has become a seething cauldron of controversy.  An unincorporated, undeveloped patch of land has become the epicenter of a legal battle on two fronts that has kept the North San Diego County Superior Courthouse in Vista busy and buzzing lately.  Lawyers representing the San Luis Rey Band of Mission Indians are suing the County of San Diego, the Palomar Community College District, and Pardee Homes in an attempt to protect land that they say is a crucial part of their cultural heritage.  They are fighting a development plan that will plow right over a small portion of that property in order to build a wide thoroughfare; a portion of the property that the Indians say is part of a sacred burial ground, where developers insist that nothing more than a small handful of indeterminate, insignificant artifact fragments have been discovered.
http://obrag.org/?p=58273
 
Group launches effort to recall Sweetwater school trustees (UT San Diego)
 
April 17, 2012 -- A brouhaha that involved police Monday night after a Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting capped a contentious evening that started with a news conference to kick off efforts to recall trustees in the South Bay district.
Police responded at 10:26 p.m. to a call of threats being made in the parking lot of the district’s administration center, said Chula Vista police Capt. Gary Wedge. No arrests were made, he said.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/17/group-launches-effort-recall-sweetwater-school-tru/   
SDG&E avoids shutdown of Powerlink helicopters (UT San Diego)
 
April 18, 2012 -- San Diego Gas & Electric Co. executives spent most of Wednesday detailing how they plan to comply with stricter safety conditions for the helicopters they are using to build the 117-mile, $1.9 billion Sunrise Powerlink transmission line through East County.
State regulators appear satisfied.
The California Public Utilities Commission resisted issuing an immediate shut-down of the utility’s aerial fleet, something regulators threatened to do by 6 p.m. Wednesday if SDG&E failed to cooperate.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/18/sdge-avoids-shutdown-powerlink-construction/ 
Getting to the bottom of city issues (La Mesa Today)
 
April 24, 2012 -- There is a couple in La Mesa who have found a way to make the cable broadcast of even the most uneventful City Council meeting engaging and enjoyable.
The couple -- who pleaded for anonymity on this -- fill a collection of shot glasses with their preferred libation. They then list on a grid likely occurrences, say like "merchant Bill Jaynes mentions the Property Based Improvement District.'' When and if that occurs, they down a shot. Councilwoman Ruth Sterling mentions shredding events at EDCO? Take a shot. Mayor Art Madrid and Vice Mayor Ernie Ewin exchange barbs? Bottoms up!
So it goes in this City Council-inspired version of booze bingo. This could be a liver-tester night for that couple.
http://www.lamesatoday.com/profiles/blogs/la-mesa-city-council-11?xg_source=activity
 
El Cajon Nixes Chickens
 
April 24, 2012 -- Mayor Mark Lewis made no bones about how he felt about the city of El Cajon amending its zoning ordinance to allow chickens in residential areas.
"It's a nice idea but somebody has to think twice about this idea," Lewis said. "It's a nice idea to have fresh eggs, but it's a lot safer to go to the store and buy the eggs. Let the other cities, San Diego, Santee, have their chickens."
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/24/el-cajon-nixes-chickens/
Council refuses to sign PBID petition (La Mesa Today)
 
April 24, 2012 --  In a tortuous meeting with more twists and turns than the road to Julian, the City Council refused to sign the Property Based Improvement District petition but voted 3 to 1 to put a July deadline on the whole issue.
The actions, which followed a majority of speakers asking council members to show leadership and sign the petition, left much of the downtown Village leadership confused and bewildered.
"Frankly I am very disappointed," said Lynn McRea, the accountant who led the PBID Steering Committee. "Basically we were asked by the council to pursue this, we worked for two years and now where is their leadership?"
Other committee members complained the council was rolling over to a vocal minority.
http://www.lamesatoday.com/profiles/blogs/city-council-13
 
STATE
 
Measure to repeal death penalty in CA qualifies for ballot (Sacramento Bee)
 
April 23, 2012 -- Californians voters going to the polls in November will again decide the fate of the death penalty.
A measure to abolish the death penalty and replace it with a maximum sentence of life behind bars without parole has qualified for the Nov. 6 ballot, the Secretary of State confirmed today. The measure, backed by a coalition that includes the American Civil Liberties Union and some law enforcement and victims rights groups, would apply to inmates currently on death row.
http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/04/measure-to-repeal-death-penalty-in-california-qualifies-for-ballot.html#MTRecentEntries
 
Social media password bill advances in state Senate (Sacramento Bee)
 
April 22, 2012 -- A Senate committee gave the green light Thursday to legislation that would block public and private universities and employers from seeking access to applicants' social media accounts.
Senate Bill 1349, by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, bans employers and educational institutions from asking prospective or current employees and students to hand over their user names and passwords or provide access to the account.
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/20/4428806/social-media-password-bill-advances.html
Steinberg to push California for initiative changes (Sacramento Bee)
 
April 20, 2012 -- Senate President Pro Tem Steinberg pledged Thursday to put forward for the 2014 election a package of major changes to California's initiative process, including a provision to make it easier for legislators to place tax measures on the ballot.

The Sacramento Democrat, speaking at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon, outlined a trio of initiative reforms he said "will both strengthen California's tradition of direct democracy and empower the people elected by their communities to make clear choices."

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/20/4428310/steinberg-to-push-for-california.html