EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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May 9, 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 
  • Nathan Fletcher replaced on committee deciding tax bill (Sacramento Bee)
  • Body found in Anza-Borrego desert believed to be missing UCSD student (Santee Patch)
  • Special meeting on Ramona solar farm project May 24 (Ramona Patch)
  • Planning group votes unanimously against solar project on Warnock Drive (Ramona Patch)
  • Local human rights advocate’s credibility questioned (10 News)
  • Parents, teachers speak out against Sweetwater Board (10 News)
  • Man guilty of trying to blow up wife with pipe bomb (UT San Diego)
STATE
  • Settlement may bring electric vehicle infrastructure to state (Los Angeles Times)
  • Tobacco firms chip in another $15 million against Prop 29 (Sacramento Bee)
  • California’s fourth year of teacher layoffs spur concern (Sacramento Bee)
 
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.
 
LOCAL
 
Nathan Fletcher replaced on committee deciding tax bill (Sacramento Bee)
 
May 7, 2012 -- Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher's request to be replaced for today's Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, which will vote on a controversial tax proposal, has been granted by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez.
Fletcher, who recently left the Republican Party and registered as an independent, will be replaced at today's meeting by Assemblyman Donald Wagner, R-Irvine.
By missing today's Revenue and Tax Committee, Fletcher will not cast a vote on hotly contested legislation, Assembly Bill 1500, designed to raise $1 billion for college scholarships by altering tax law affecting out-of-state corporations that do business in California.
http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/05/nathan-fletcher-replaced-today-on-committee-deciding-tax-bill.html
 
Body found in Anza-Borrego desert believed to be missing UCSD student (Santee Patch)
 
May 8, 2012 -- Update (Evening of May 8): A body removed by mine rescuers Tuesday night from a mud cave in Anza-Borrego desert is believed to be that of a hiker who went missing on Easter Sunday in the area, according to the Medical Examiner's Office website. However, an examination is scheduled for Wednesday. An official identification and the cause and manner of death are due to be released soon afterward.
http://santee.patch.com/articles/body-found-in-anza-borrego-believed-to-be-missing-ucsd-psychology-student-fa9a33e4
 
Special meeting on Ramona solar farm project May 24 (Ramona Patch)
 
May 7, 2012 -- A proposed 45-acre solar energy project planned for Warnock Drive will be the subject of a special meeting May 24 called by Ramona Community Planning Group. The meeting is designed to let the public have another look at the project before it goes to the County Planning Commission.
Proponents of the project are seeking a major use permit. At the special meeting, residents will get to weigh in on the Mitigated Negative Declaration by County staff, which concludes that there is "no substantial evidence that the project as revised will have a significant effect on the environment." The declaration is based on an initial environmental study that covers agricultural soils, natural and archeological resources, noise control, fencing, grading, traffic control, air quality and the Transportation Impact Fee (TIF).
http://ramona.patch.com/articles/special-meeting-solar-farm-negative-declaration-energy-may-24-warnock-drive-ramona-street-sol-orchard-san-diego-county-planning-commission
 
Planning group votes unanimously against solar project on Warnock Drive (Ramona Patch)
January 6, 2012 -- The controversial photovoltaic solar farm proposed for a pig farm property on Warnock Drive garnered a unanimous “no” vote from the Ramona Community Planning Group on Thursday night. Although some members said they were originally more supportive of the idea, all 11 of those who cast a vote lined up in unison opposing it on several grounds.
“Most of us on the planning group are not against the project,” Matt Deskovick told representatives of the applicant, Sol Orchard. “We’ve told you every which way: We’re just against the property where you want to put it.”
http://ramona.patch.com/articles/planning-group-votes-unanimously-against-proposed-solar-project-on-warnock-drive
 
Local human rights advocate’s credibility questioned (10 News)
 
May 9, 2012 --  (Updated) Phil Cenendella, executive director of the National Association of Human Trafficking Victims Advocates, said during a recent public appearance, "We're a grass roots organization. Our goal is to help victim advocates on the ground."

Cenendella claims he sold most of his worldly goods, including his convertible and father's Rolex watch, to fund his organization. He has also questioned how other San Diego human rights advocates spend money, saying they're not doing enough for the cause. (For more on Cenendella's group, visit the websitewww.stopslavery2012.com)

 
Parents, teachers speak out against Sweetwater Board (10 News)
May 7, 2012 -- Hundreds of parents and teachers rallied outside Monday night's Sweetwater Union High School District board meeting, expressing their anger about the layoffs their school district is facing.

Sweetwater Union board meetings have become volatile since some board members were criminally charged for using their positions for personal gain. On Monday night, there were at least three Chula Vista police officers outside the meeting and four security guards inside.
http://www.10news.com/news/31025804/detail.html
 
Man guilty of trying to blow up wife with pipe bomb (UT San Diego)
May 7, 2012 -- A commercial photographer accused of trying to kill his wife by blowing up her truck with a pipe bomb was found guilty Monday in El Cajon Superior Court.

Larry Hoagland, 50, of Rolando, was found guilty on four charges relating to using an explosive or destructive device in addition to a charge of premeditated attempted murder. He faces up to life in prison at his sentencing scheduled for June 5.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/may/07/man-guilty-of-trying-to-blow-up-wife-with-pipe/
 
STATE
 
Settlement may bring electric vehicle infrastructure to state (Los Angeles Times)
April 30, 2012 -- In an unforeseen upside to the electric-power market crisis of 2001, a new proposed legal settlement between utility NRG and the California Public Utilities Commission would bring more than $100 million in new electric-vehicle charging infrastructure to the state.
Under the terms of the settlement, announced Friday by the commission and the Greenlining Institute, an advocacy group, NRG would be installing at least 200 public fast-charging stations and the infrastructure for 10,000 plug-in units at about 1,000 locations across the state. Some of the new equipment would go to low-income neighborhoods, where such infrastructure is in very short supply.
http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-settlement-brings-ev-infrastructure-to-california-20120430,0,881719.story?track=rss
Tobacco firms chip in another $15 million against Prop 29 (Sacramento Bee)
 
May 7, 2012 -- Two tobacco giants chipped in another $15 million against a tobacco tax initiative on Friday, bringing their running tally to $38 million in the Proposition 29 campaign, state records show.The new donations by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco, Philip Morris USA and their affiliates came as the No on 29 campaign launched a new television attack ad featuring an unnamed researcher in a lab.
 
Of note, the latest campaign finance report showed nearly $700,000 in non-monetary contributions from the cash-strapped California Republican Party. Altria Group, the parent of Philip Morris USA, gave the state GOP $205,000 between September and January. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/05/tobacco-firms-chip-in-another-15-million-against-prop-29.html
 
California’s 4th year of teacher layoffs spur concern (Sacramento Bee)
 
May 6, 2012 -- Los Angeles Unified teacher Mike Newman sighed when he saw the now familiar certified letter in his mailbox last month - a pink slip, for the fourth year in a row.
"Here we go again," said Newman, a 14-year classroom veteran who's had his previous three layoffs rescinded and hopes for the same this year. "We keep thinking it'll get better sooner or later, but it's not."
A new term is being bandied about in California schools these days - "the RIFing season," which refers to the "reduction in force" letters notifying teachers they may be laid off at the end of the school year.
 http://www.sacbee.com/2012/05/05/4468050/califs-4th-year-of-teacher-layoffs.html