EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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July 12, 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
  • Catching up with San Diego’s legislators (San Diego CityBeat)
  • Report: Padres to be sold to group including local golf star (10 News)
  • Survey: Islam is San Diego County’s fastest growing religion (UT San Diego)
  • Could economics doom ailing California nuclear plant? (Sacramento Bee)
  • Santee among cities getting park grants (UT San Diego)
  • Padre dam board settles on five-year  plan (UT San Diego)  
  • ‘Appalled’ at Costs, Residents Slam Helix Water District Rate Hike Plan
STATE
  • California growers join greens to query frack safety (Reuters)
  • Legislature approves high speed rail spending (SF Gate)
  • Historic bridges of Yosemite Valley under siege (Sacramento Bee)
  • Study: What makes Californians smile? (News Service .org)
  • College tuition is political fodder, from the state Legislature to the presidential campaign trail (Sacramento Bee)
  • Rising costs push California cities to fiscal brink
 
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
LOCAL
 
Catching up with San Diego’s legislators (San Diego CityBeat)
 
July 3, 2012 -- In 2010, San Diego County voters selected 12 fine citizens to represent our region in Sacramento. You might well wonder how hard our legislators fought for us, or whether they spent their time fundraising and partying. For your Fourth of July reading pleasure, we present these far-from-comprehensive capsules of our legislative delegation’s activities. (Remember, they still have half a year left to make a difference.)
http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/article-10710-catching-up-with-san-diego-county%E2%80%99s-legislators.html
 
Report: Padres to be sold to group including local golf star (10 News)
 
July 7, 2012 --The San Diego Padres will be sold to a group including former Los Angeles Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, his two sons, two nephews and golf star Phil Mickelson, Fox Sports reported Friday night, based on a source described as having knowledge of the negotiations.

The deal is valued at $800 million, including $200 million for a portion of the team's equity stake in Fox Sports San Diego, according to Fox Sports. Contractual terms are expected to be completed within the next two weeks, Fox Sports reported.
http://www.10news.com/news/31254469/detail.html
 
Survey: Islam is San Diego County’s fastest growing religion (UT San Diego)
 
July 7, 2012 -- Islam was the fastest growing religious group in San Diego County between 2000 and 2010, according to the recently released 2010 U.S. Religion Census.
During the decade, the county’s Muslim population grew by 179 percent from 7,878 adherents to 21,994, according to estimates from the survey of the Association of Statisticians of American Religious Bodies. Islam is now the seventh-largest religion in the county, the survey found.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/07/islam-san-diego-county-fastest-growing-religion/
Could economics doom ailing California nuclear plant? (Sacramento Bee)
 
July 4, 2012 --  The future of the troubled San Onofre nuclear power plant could balance on an inescapable question: Is it worth the money to fix it?
Engineers face a daunting task finding a solution for problems that knocked the seaside plant offline last winter. And even if they come up with a plan that fully addresses safety and operational issues, will it all make sense on a balance sheet?
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/04/4609607/could-economics-doom-ailing-calif.html#mi_rss=AP%20State%20News
Santee among cities getting park grants (UT San Diego)
 
July 6, 2012 -- The state announced late last month that it awarded the city of Santee a $117,450 grant that can be used to acquire land and develop a neighborhood park.
Santee was one of five cities in San Diego County to earn the grant under the Housing Related Parks Program, which is administered by the California Department of Housing and Community Development. Chula Vista ($488,400) Escondido ($251,275), Poway ($200,850) and San Diego ($1,008,200) were also among a total of 33 cities statewide that received $11.3 million in grants under the program.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/06/santee-among-cities-getting-park-grants/ 
Padre dam board settles on five-year  plan (UT San Diego)
 
July 9, 2012 -- The Padre Dam Municipal Water District board has approved a new five-year business plan and budget goals for 2013-17 that outline the need for maintenance and replacement of aging infrastructure.
Highlights of the budget plan include the district’s development of a technology plan, exploring the expansion of water recycling facilities, looking into the reuse of indirect potable water via the Santee Aquifer and restructuring the organization.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jul/09/padre-dam-settles-five-year-plan/ 
‘Appalled’ at Costs, Residents Slam Helix Water District Rate Hike Plan
 
July 11, 2012 -- Dick Malsbary of La Mesa is a 65-year-old retired vice president of marketing at DataGraphix with a degree in finance. 
He says that when he reviewed the Helix Water District’s financial statements, “I was appalled.”
So Tuesday night—along with some of two dozen other customers of the district including La Mesa, Lemon Grove, Spring Valley and parts of Santee—he came to complain about proposed water rate increases that would average 4.75 percent—or $2.75 a month—for the average residential customer.
http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/appalled-at-costs-residents-slam-helix-water-district-rate-hike-plan 
STATE
California growers join greens to query frack safety (Reuters)
June 29, 2012 -- Hydraulic fracturing has brought together greens and growers in California through a shared concern about the impact of the practice on water in a state where it is often in short supply.

The strawberry industry lined up alongside environmentalists to voice their fears over fracking at a public hearing in Salinas at the Steinbeck Institute, named for a renowned author whose writing immortalized the region's agricultural history.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/29/us-fracking-california-idUSBRE85S0WJ20120629

 
 
Legislature approves high speed rail spending (SF Gate)
 
July 6, 2012 -- A divided state Senate approved billions of dollars in funding to start construction on California's ambitious high-speed rail line Friday, handing the controversial project $7.9 billion in state and federal money for the first 130 miles of track and a series of local transit upgrades.
The funding measure, which was easily approved in the Assembly Thursday, will now head to Gov. Jerry Brown, who pushed lawmakers to approve it. In all, the Legislature this week authorized the issuance of $4.6 billion in state bond funds - about half of the $9.9 billion approved by voters in 2008 - and opened the door for California to obtain $3.3 billion in federal grants, for a total of $7.9 billion.
 
Historic bridges of Yosemite Valley under siege (Sacramento Bee)
 
July 7, 2012 --  Perhaps no river crossing in Yosemite Valley has been more photographed than the historic Stoneman Bridge: a single, arching span faced with rough-hewn granite that provides a dramatic foreground to Half Dome, the park's most iconic natural marvel.
Yet the 205-foot bridge is slated for possible removal under proposed plans for restoring the natural flow of the Merced River. As a federally designated "Wild and Scenic River," some say its course should be shaped only by nature as it meanders through the valley - and bridge abutments alter that course.
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/07/4615785/historic-bridges-of-yosemite-valley.html
 
Study: What makes Californians smile? (News Service .org)
 
July 9, 2012 -- Money may not buy happiness, but friends, family and good health are key. A new AARP poll found 68 percent of Californians are happy, but overall levels of happiness are on the decline, most likely because of the economy. 

Christina Clem, associate state director for communications with AARP California, says they found the road to happiness takes a U-turn, with high happiness levels for people in their early 30s, which then dip to one of the lowest points in the early 50s.

College tuition is political fodder, from the state Legislature to the presidential campaign trail (Sacramento Bee)
 
July 8, 2012 -- From Sacramento to the nation's capital, politicians are tapping into Americans' anxiety about the rising cost of a college education,crafting proposals that aim to please students and parents while also advancing their own political goals.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a budget that could freeze tuition at public universities – but only if voters approve his November tax initiative. Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez is pushing a massive scholarship program for middle-class students – only achievable if the Legislature approves a change to the tax code Democrats have been seeking for years. President Barack Obama has made the interest rates on student loans a prominent piece of his re-election campaign.
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/08/4616231/college-tuition-is-political-fodder.html

Rising costs push California cities to fiscal brink

 
July 12, 2012 -- Facing the same financial stressors that pushed San Bernardino toward bankruptcy, cities across California are slashing day-to-day services and taking other drastic actions to skirt a similar fiscal collapse. For some, it may not be enough.

San Bernardino on Tuesday became the third California city to seek bankruptcy protection in the last month and, while no one expects the state to be consumed by municipal insolvencies, other cities teeter on the abyss.

"There are likely to be more in the future, but it's hard to know, since a lot of struggling cities may manage to work things out,'' said Michael Coleman, a fiscal policy advisor for the California League of Cities. "Some cities may not go into a bankruptcy, but they may dissolve. They may cease to exist.''

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-san-bernardino-bankruptcy-20120712,0,2433019.story