August 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:
- Padres sold to group headed by O’Malley heirs (UT San Diego)
- Aquifers shrink as nation digs deeper for water (UT San Diego)
- Why a Major Food Organization Is Teaming Up With Monsanto and Friends to Block Your Right to Know What’s in Your Food (San Diego Free Press)
- Local casino’s past, present and future—impacts of Santa Ysabel potential closure( Ramona Journal)
- Helix extends employee contract, draws criticism (UT San Diego)
- Dead, sick animals found at Lemon Grove store (UT San Diego)
- Crime up 6% in county for first half of year (UT San Diego)
- Democratic Super PAC going after Bilbray with $1.2 million ad buy (La Jolla Patch)
- California reaches deep into special funds to pay for schools, social services and prisons (Sacramento Bee)
- State finds $230 million more in unreported reserves (UT San Diego)
- Real estate license revocations set record in California (Sacramento Bee)
- Judge says Riverside County can’t close pot shops (Sacramento Bee)
- Top California Democrats rally around new assault weapons bill (Sacramento Bee)
- Two California projects selected for transformational energy storage research to advance electric vehicle and grid research (Scoop San Diego)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
Padres sold to group headed by O’Malley heirs (UT San Diego)
August 6, 2012 -- It took longer than expected, but the sale of the Padres to a group headed by heirs of the former owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers, San Diego business and civic leader Ron Fowler and professional golfer Phil Mickelson was completed Monday night.
The O’Malley Group purchased the Padres from majority owner John Moores and a group of minority owners formed by Jeff Moorad in 2009 to buy the Padres. The sale price of approximately $800 million includes $200 million in upfront money the Padres received as an advance payment from Fox Sports San Diego as part of a new 20-year television agreement.
Aquifers shrink as nation digs deeper for water (UT San Diego)
August 4, 2012 -- Deep underground — far out of sight and out of mind for most people — dreams are turning to dust.
Few places in Southern California is that more evident than the desert sands of Borrego Springs, where residents, farmers and golf course operators are sucking about four times as much water from the ground each year as nature replaces.
They’ve been pumping so hard for so long that the community’s main aquifer could essentially run dry after a few more decades. That’s a dire possibility: A recent study showed it would be prohibitively expensive to build a pipeline to an outside source.
Why a Major Food Organization Is Teaming Up With Monsanto and Friends to Block Your Right to Know What’s in Your Food
August 5, 2012 -- [The California Ballot Initiative to label genetically engineered food is] “a serious, long-term threat to the viability of agricultural biotechnology. Defeating the Initiative is GMA’s single highest priority this year.” – Pamela Bailey, President of Grocery Manufacturers Association, speech to the American Soybean Association, July 9, 2012
This November, Californians will vote for or against Prop 37, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act. The outcome of that vote will likely determine whether the U.S. will one day join the nearly 50 other countries that allow their citizens to choose between genetically engineered and non-genetically engineered food through the enactment of laws requiring mandatory labeling of genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
Local casino’s past, present and future—impacts of Santa Ysabel potential closure( Ramona Journal)
August 1, 2012 -- When Santa Ysabel Resort and Casino announced its plans to reorganize debt under Chapter 11 of federal bankruptcy law, it raised concerns for Julian and Ramona residents about what kind of impact it might have on the community.
In an exclusive interview with the Ramona Home Journal, Casino General Manager David Chelette said, "There have been a lot of misconceptions about bankruptcy, but we want the public to know we are open for business, have our same business hours, and pay-outs are not affected. In truth, there is no discernable change to guests or the local community.”
Helix extends employee contract, draws criticism (UT San Diego)
August 2, 2012 -- Despite an outcry from some ratepayers, the Helix Water District board voted 4-1 Wednesday to extend a contract with the district’s employee association.
Under the new contract, employees will contribute more to the CalPERS pension system for 2013 and 2014. Employees and the district each pay 4 percent now, but the new contract will have employees paying the full 8 percent of pay after July 1, 2014.
Dead, sick animals found at Lemon Grove store (UT San Diego)
August 3, 2012 -- More than 30 animals were seized from Dave’s Family Feed Store by officers from the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, and several more were found dead at the downtown business.
A total of 16 birds and 11 chickens, plus rabbits, rodents and reptiles including a python snake, were taken by the Humane Society’s Humane Law Enforcement team when a search warrant was served Wednesday at the business on Broadway.
Crime up 6% in county for first half of year (UT San Diego)
August 7, 2012 -- National Night Out, the annual celebration of police-community relations, may take on a more urgent tone Tuesday with crime on the rise for the first time in years.
Unofficial figures reported by San Diego County law enforcement agencies show violent crime and property crime up by 6 percent during the first six months of this year compared to the same period last year.
“It’s simply too early to tell if this uptick in certain crimes will continue,” Sheriff Bill Gore said. “While crime was on a 35 year low, we certainly did not expect it to hit zero.”
Democratic Super PAC going after Bilbray with $1.2 million ad buy (La Jolla Patch)
August 2, 2012 -- A national political action committee that supports Democratic congressional candidates announced Thursday it is reserving $1.2 million of broadcast airtime in an effort to unseat Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray in November.
The 52nd Congressional District seat Bilbray is seeking was redrawn to cover Poway and Rancho Bernardo, and drifts southwest to take in Coronado and La Jolla.
California reaches deep into special funds to pay for schools, social services and prisons (Sacramento Bee)
August 7, 2012 -- California drivers pay fees for smog checks, vehicle registrations and new tires, all supposedly for programs that benefit roadway use.
Consumers pay fees to recycle beverage containers, televisions and computers. Doctors and accountants pay license fees to regulate their industries.
State finds $230 million more in unreported reserves (UT San Diego)
August 3, 2012 -- State officials reviewing the $54 million stash of cash in the parks department said Friday that they found an additional $233 million in reserves in 18 other funds — money that agencies failed to report to state budget officials.
They emphasized that, unlike with the parks department, there was no indication that the others had intentionally hidden money. They attributed the underreporting to accounting errors.
Real estate license revocations set record in California (Sacramento Bee)
August 7, 2012 -- The California Department of Real Estate said it revoked a record number of real estate licenses in the recently completed fiscal year. In fiscal 2011-12, DRE said it revoked 781 real estate licenses, up nearly 14 percent from 686 revocation actions taken the previous fiscal year.
DRE also said it accepted a record number of license surrenders from licensees facing disciplinary action. The department said a record 1,109 licenses were suspended, surrendered and revoked in fiscal 2011-12, which ended June 30.
Judge says Riverside County can’t close pot shops (Sacramento Bee)
A judge ruled Friday that Riverside County can't close medical marijuana dispensaries in unincorporated areas because the move doesn't give the shops any room to operate legally under state law.Judge Ronald Taylor issued his ruling regarding the county's ban on pot clinics, and a county attorney vowed to appeal it, the Riverside Press Enterprise ( http://bit.ly/T6GcGU) reported.
"Today is one of the rare situations where the court didn't get it right," said lawyer Jeffrey Dunn, who represents the county.
Top California Democrats rally around new assault weapons bill (Sacramento Bee)
August 7, 2012 -- A California bill aimed at strengthening the state's assault weapons laws is gaining support from top Democrats in the wake of high-profile shootings in Colorado and Wisconsin. Senate Bill 249, by Democratic Sen. Leland Yee, would ban weapons featuring easily detachable magazines, including "bullet buttons," that allow a shooter to quickly reload. The San Francisco Democrat says the bill, introduced earlier this year and amended this week, clarifies an unintended loophole in state gun law.
Two California projects selected for transformational energy storage research to advance electric vehicle and grid research (Scoop San Diego)
These projects are supported through two new ARPA-E programs -- Advanced Management and Protection of Energy Storage Devices (AMPED) and Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) – and will focus on innovations in battery management and storage to advance electric vehicle technologies, help improve the efficiency and reliability of the electrical grid and provide important energy security benefits to America’s armed forces. Palo Alto Research Center in Palo Alto, California, will receive $4 million under the AMPED program. Robert Bosch LLC in Palo Alto, California, will receive $3.1 million under the AMPED program.