EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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 May 2, 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
  • Ramona wines beat French varieties in competition (UT San Diego)
  • La Mesa Council deadlocked on PBID approval, will make decision in July (La Mesa Patch)   
  • $1 billion hospital opens (Valley Roadrunner)
  • DEA “accidentally” left forgotten suspect in holding cell for 5 days (UT San Diego)
  • 6 La Mesa officers exonerated in fatal shooting of Andrew Yacko (La Mesa Patch)
  • Lloyd Jr pleads guilty to manslaughter in Santee teen Carioscias’ death (Santee Patch)
  • Lemon Grove School District cuts 30 jobs (UT San Diego)
SAN DIEGO MAYORAL RACE
  • Voice of San Diego series:  Who is….

Bob Filner
Nathan Fletcher
Bonnie Dumanis
Carl DeMaio

  • Other mayoral coverage:
  • Filner releases pension plan (UT San Diego)
  • Fletcher pledges to make cycling, transit a priority (Reader) 
  • Fletcher-GOP feud still going strong: party sues candidate over $5,000 fundraiser (UT San Diego) 
  • The Fletcher Flim-Flam (OB Rag) 
  • The unfortunate trajectory of Carl DeMaio (Citybeat)



STATE

  • San Diego takes water fight public (New York Times)
  • UCAN reaches settlement to allow group to go on (UT San Diego)
  • California rakes in healthcare grants (Saramento Bee)
  • Environmentalists feeling burned by rush to build big solar projects (Los Angeles Times)
  • Discovery of Indian artifacts complicates Genesis Solar project (Los Angeles Times)
  • Calif. Public Utilities Commission: PG&E smart meter “opt out” fees suspended
  • Diablo Canyon reactor gets some unwelcome guests  
 
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.
 
LOCAL
 
Ramona wines beat French varieties in competition
 
April 26, 2012 -- Friday the 13th proved to be a good day for Ramona Valley winemakers.
Ramona wines swept the French American Wine Challenge held April 13 at Fifty Seven Degrees wine bar in Mission Hills. The local wines defeated vintages from France’s Rhone and Loire valleys.
“It exceeded all our expectations,” said John York, president of the Ramona Valley Vineyard Association. “Frankly, I’m stunned that we took all the awards. The folks up in Ramona are very excited about the outcome.”
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/26/tp-ramona-wines-beat-french-varieties-in/ 
La Mesa Council deadlocked on PBID approval, will make decision in July  
 
April 25, 2012 -- Will the city of La Mesa back a downtown effort to bring the PBID to a vote? The answer won’t be known until July, the City Council decided Tuesday night.
Nearly five months into its petition phase, the effort to establish a property-based business improvement district in The Village is short of ballot valuation needed to call a vote.
http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/city-council-deadlocked-on-pbid-approval-will-make-decision-in-july?ncid=newsltuspatc00000001
 
$1 billion hospital opens (Valley Roadrunner)

April 11, 2012 -- Construction of the new 11-story, 740,000-square-foot Palo-mar Medical Center has officially ended. The $1 billion Hospital of the Future has been built and passed full state inspection.


The $956-million hospital was financed partly by Prop. BB, a $496-million bond measure that district voters approved in 2004.

Valley Center is still waiting to hear word from the hospital district on when and if land will be acquired for the clinic or when funding will become available. Clinics for several communities, including Valley Center, were included in the bond measure.


“The building is complete. We are able to start the next phase of transformation and that is moving from building to training our staff to deliver the highest quality of health care today,” said Michael H. Covert, President and Chief Executive Officer of Palomar Health, this week.
 
DEA “accidentally” left forgotten suspect in holding cell for 5 days (UT San Diego)
 
April 30, 2012 -- A drug suspect was taken to a federal holding facility and “accidentally left in one of the cells” last month until he was found with methamphetamines and and taken to the hospital, the Drug Enforcement Administration said Monday.
The suspect was “left” on April 21, according to the agency. The paramedics were called on April 25, the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department confirmed.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/30/dea-abandoned-suspect-custody-5-days/ 
6 La Mesa officers exonerated in fatal shooting of Andrew Yacko (La Mesa Patch)
 
April 27, 2012 -- Six La Mesa police officers who opened fire on a drunken Andrew Yacko last August, killing him in the middle of Pine Street, have been exonerated after a District Attorney’s Office investigation.
 
Bonnie Dumanis, the district attorney running for San Diego mayor, signed a letter to La Mesa Police Chief Ed Aceves that noted Yacko threatened officers with a Winchester 12-gauge pump shotgun.
Lloyd Jr pleads guilty to manslaughter in Santee teen Carioscias’ death (Santee Patch)
 
April 30, 2012 -- Stanley Virgil Lloyd Jr. pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter Monday in the death of his former schoolmate and Santee resident Christopher Carioscia on Barona Indian Reservation in 2010. The change of plea and different charge were part of a plea bargain that reduced the sentence. Lloyd, a Lakeside resident, had originally pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Lemon Grove School District cuts 30 jobs
May 1, 2012 -- Faced with budget constraints, including an anticipated $4.3 million deficit in the 2012-13 school year, the Lemon Grove School District school board has voted to cut 30 classified employees.
The school board cut 29 part-time positions, including several after school attendants and group leaders, two bilingual assistants and a locker room assistant, as well as a full-time computer network technician. The layoffs will take place no later than June 30.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/may/01/lemon-grove-school-district-forced-to-cut-30-jobs/

SAN DIEGO MAYORAL RACE
 
Voice of San Diego series:  Who is….
 
 
Other mayoral coverage:
 
Filner releases pension plan (UT San Diego)
April 30, 2012 -- Mayoral candidate Bob Filner has released a pension plan he says can save the city of San Diego $753 million over the next 15 years — nine months after he first said he would have the plan in writing.
The congressman’s plan hinges on refinancing the city’s pension debt, capping pensions, eliminating employee retirement contribution offsets and negotiating a five-year contract with city employees. But it would keep traditional pensions.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/30/filner-releases-pension-plan/ 
Fletcher pledges to make cycling, transit a priority (Reader)
 
February 21, 2012 -- San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher met with cycling advocates on Saturday, February 18, to discuss ways the city could become more hospitable to bicycle commuters. Fletcher told Bike San Diego that he envisions changing San Diego’s motto from “America’s Finest City” to the “World’s Most Innovative City” and that moving away from a car-centric culture to one that embraces multiple modes of transportation, including cycling, plays a part in that evolution.
 
Fletcher-GOP feud still going strong: party sues candidate over $5,000 fundraiser (UT San Diego)
 
April 16, 2012 -- Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher sent $5,000 from his campaign coffers to the local Republican Party a little more than two weeks after he left the party to run for San Diego mayor as an independent.
No, Fletcher hasn’t had another change of heart. The party took Fletcher to small-claims court after one of Fletcher’s supporters balked at paying the promised sum for the party’s annual fundraiser last month. Fletcher paid the money Friday to end the dispute.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/16/fletcher-gop-feud-still-going-strong/  
 
The Fletcher Flim-Flam (OB Rag)
 
April 24, 2012 -- Nathan Fletcher is not a man of great political courage. He isn’t even a particularly independent thinker. But he is politically clever, and he knows that San Diego’s Democratic base has a long history of being bamboozled by wolves in sheep’s clothing from the days of Pete Wilson to the present.
Fletcher’s recent move to leave the Republican Party and become an Independent clearly banks on this tradition continuing. Indeed, if I were Fletcher’s campaign manager I would have advised him to do exactly the same thing.
http://obrag.org/?p=58914#.T5cNMAOvlCw.facebook  
The unfortunate trajectory of Carl DeMaio (Citybeat)
 
April 25, 2012 -- On one level, we admire San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio tremendously. Here’s a man who, when he was but a boy, seemed to insist on avoiding becoming a statistic. He emerged from a home broken by his reportedly abusive father, coped with the untimely death of his beloved mother, worked hard and grew to be incredibly successful. He built a business, became rich and now has a legitimate shot at being elected mayor of the nation’s eighth most populous city.
It’s how he’s used his success and who he’s become that we find so distasteful.
 
 
STATE
 
San Diego takes water fight public (New York Times)
 
April 23, 2012 -- There are accusations of conspiracies, illegal secret meetings and double-dealing. Embarrassing documents and e-mails have been posted on an official Web site emblazoned with the words “Fact vs. Fiction.” Animosities have grown so deep that the players have resorted to exchanging lengthy, caustic letters, packed with charges of lying and distortion.
 
UCAN reaches settlement to allow group to go on (UT San Diego)
 
April 26, 2012 -- Lawyers for the Utility Consumers’ Action Network and two employees who sued the nonprofit have reached a tentative agreement that would keep the advocacy group from disbanding.
Amid internal squabbling and a federal inquiry into alleged financial irregularities, the group filed for court dissolution in February. The 30-year-old San Diego-based group fights for consumer rights, largely by trying to keep utility rates low.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/apr/26/ucan-settlement-would-allow-group-go/ 
California rakes in healthcare grants (Sacramento Bee)
 
The Obama administration on Tuesday awarded California community health centers $122 million in grants under the embattled Affordable Healthcare Act.
http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/05/california-rakes-in-health-care-grants.html
 
Environmentalists feeling burned by rush to build big solar projects (Los Angeles Times)
 
April 6, 2012 -- April Sall gazed out at the Mojave Desert flashing past the car window and unreeled a story of frustration and backroom dealings.

Her small California group, the Wildlands Conservancy, wanted to preserve 600,000 acres of the Mojave. The group raised $45 million, bought the land and deeded it to the federal government.

The conservancy intended that the land be protected forever. Instead, 12 years after accepting the largest land gift in American history, the federal government is on the verge of opening 50,000 acres of that bequest to solar development.

 
Discovery of Indian artifacts complicates Genesis Solar project (Los Angeles Times)
 
April 24, 2012 -- The Feb. 27 letter from the chairman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes was pleading and tough. It asked President Obama to slow the federal government's "frantic pursuit" of massive solar energy projects in the Mojave Desert because of possible damage to Native American cultural resources.

The Obama administration didn't respond. But four days after Chairman Eldred Enas sent the letter, the Indians say they found an answer, delivered by spirits of the desert.

Howling winds uncovered a human tooth and a handful of burned bone fragments the size of quarters on a sand dune in the shadow of new solar power transmission towers. Indians say the discovery is evidence of a Native American cremation site not detected in Southern California Edison's archaeological survey before the towers were built.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-solar-bones-20120424,0,1894725.story

 
Calif. Public Utilities Commission: PG&E smart meter “opt out” fees suspended
 
April 25, 2012 -- Though PG&E’s arbitrary “deadline” of May 1st for signing up for their smart meter opt out program is fast approaching, the future of the charges is uncertain because of legal challenges and a series of procedural errors by both PG&E and the CPUC, who have failed to provide crucial documents to members of the public protesting the opt out policy, as required by law. The regulatory agency has issued conflicting statements about the approval status of the policy, and has refused to divulge e-mail communications with PG&E about the issue, in violation of the CA Public Records Act.
http://www.electrosmogprevention.org/stop-ca-smart-meter-news/ca-public-utilities-commission-pge-smart-meter-opt-out-fees-suspended/ 
Diablo Canyon reactor gets some unwelcome guests
April 26, 2012 -- Strange, jellyfish-like creatures swarming a coastal nuclear power plant: It might sound like the premise of a cult horror flick, but the invasion has prompted officials at the Diablo Canyon facility in San Luis Obispo to curtail operations for at least a few days.

The plant's operator, Pacific Gas & Electric, cut power generation from one of the plant's two reactors to 25% of its capacity, spokesman Tom Cuddy said Wednesday. The other reactor was shut down this week for what PG&E described as routine refueling and maintenance, a procedure that could take about a month.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0426-jellyfish-nukes-20120426,0,3192890.story