EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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September 20, 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/REGIONAL

  • County invokes state suspension of meeting laws (UT San Diego)
  • SDG&E to pay federal government $643 million for fire damage (North County Times)
  • Cal-Trans wins fatal crash suit, asks family to pay (UT San Diego)
  • 2 former Navy Seals from San Diego killed in embassy attack (10 News)
  • Scientists weigh effects of climate change: Scripps conference seeks solution to sea level rise (North County Times)
  • Sycamore landfill approved after years of litigation (Santee Patch)
  • Lawsuit aims to reveal misuse of baseball funds at Grossmont High (La Mesa Patch)

STATE

  • Cal State system to hike tuition 5% if Prop 30 fails (Los Angeles Times)
  • Jerry Brown and Molly Munger both want to raise taxes to help schools, but differ on approach (Sacramento Bee)
  • Brown signs overhaul of California’s worker compensation (Sacramento Bee)
  • 700 bills on Brown’s desk (Sacramento Bee)
  • State restricts military funeral protests (UT San Diego)
  • California Legislature approves public pension changes (Sacramento Bee)
  • The Salton Sea: Death and Politics in the Great American Water War (Wired)

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

LOCAL/REGIONAL

County invokes state suspension of meeting laws (UT San Diego)

September 17, 2012 -- On July 24, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors reaffirmed its commitment to open meetings, unanimously agreeing to follow the state’s Ralph M. Brown Act even though the state had suspended the law to save money.

Chairman Ron Roberts mocked the state for its dysfunction.

Supervisor Pam Slater-Price said, “We welcome transparency and we welcome public participation. We’re an open book and we plan to stay that way.”

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/17/county-citizen-open-meetings-law-suspended/

SDG&E to pay federal government $643 million for fire damage (North County Times)

September 17, 2012 -- San Diego Gas & Electric Co. has agreed to pay more than $6.4 million to the federal government after the utility was found responsible for a massive wildfire that charred more than 44,000 acres in the Cleveland National Forest, authorities said Monday.

The settlement is just one of many financial hits to SDG&E following the 2007 Witch Creek-Guejito Fire, which was sparked by a malfunction in the utility's power lines during hot, dry Santa Ana winds.

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/region-sdg-e-to-pay-federal-government-million-for-fire/article_cd3d29d0-30f3-5338-8546-0e155c7e77a5.html

Cal-Trans wins fatal crash suit, asks family to pay (UT San Diego)

September 17, 2012 -- Three years ago a speeding car crossed over the center line of state Route 67 just outside Ramona and slammed into a car driven by Alexandria Drake, a 25-year-old mother and wife.

The collision ended Drake’s life and forever altered the lives of her husband, Jay; their son, Jayden, who was in the car and remarkably unharmed; and Drake’s parents, Pamela and Shannon McKeirnan.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/17/caltrans-wins-fatal-crash-suit-asks-family-to-pay/

2 former Navy Seals from San Diego killed in embassy attack (10 News)

September 20, 2012 -- Friends and family mourned two former Navy SEALS from San Diego County who were among four Americans killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Glen Doherty, 42, of Encinitas, and Tyrone Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach, were killed Tuesday along with Ambassador Chris Stevens and one other American when an armed force attacked the consulate compound in Benghazi, according to the victim's friends. The Boston-born Doherty settled in Encinitas about four years ago.

http://www.10news.com/news/local-men-killed-in-embassy-attack

Scientists weigh effects of climate change: Scripps conference seeks solution to sea level rise (North County Times)

September 10, 2012 -- Rising oceans coinciding with high tides and storm surges could wreak havoc on coastal communities and threaten major water supplies, experts said at an international workshop on sea level rise, held at UC San Diego last week.

The workshop, held by the Association of Pacific Rim Universities Sustainability and Climate Change Program, offered a primer on projections of sea level rise, and thoughts on what coastal cities can do to contain the damage, with suggestions ranging from flood walls to floating airports.

http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/sdcounty/environment-scientists-weigh-effects-of-climate-change/article_23f3a84c-e9bd-5a75-9c18-6644fce6b0c1.html

Sycamore landfill approved after years of litigation (Santee Patch)

September 17, 2012 -- The San Diego City Council unanimously approved an expansion of the Sycamore Landfill, despite opposition from some residents of nearby Santee on Monday.

According to a city staff report, the nearly 500-acre dump off state Route 52 and Mast Boulevard will grow by 26 acres.

The size of the expansion is about one-quarter of what was first proposed four years ago, and the amount of waste that will be brought to the facility on the San Diego-Santee city limits is also less than originally planned. The City of Santee will also receive concessions from the operation of the landfill.

http://santee.patch.com/articles/sycamore-landfill-expansion-approved-after-years-of-litigation

Lawsuit aims to reveal misuse of baseball funds at Grossmont High (La Mesa Patch)

September 15, 2012 -- Hoping to uncover proof that Grossmont High School’s baseball booster club misappropriated snack-bar funds, Danilo “Dan” Nesovic has filed suit against the club and the school district.

The action, filed Aug. 8 as a civil complaint in San Diego Superior Court, seeks to force Blue and Gold Baseball Inc. and the Grossmont Union High School District to disclose financial records related to the baseball program.

http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/lawsuit-aims-to-reveal-misuse-of-baseball-funds-at-grossmont-high

STATE

Cal State system to hike tuition 5% if Prop 30 fails (Los Angeles Times)

September 18, 2012 -- After hearing dire budget scenarios of devastating cuts to faculty, students and classes, California State Universitytrustees Tuesday tentatively approved a plan to raise tuition 5% next year if voters reject a tax measure on the November ballot.

The board's finance committee acted on a series of contingency measures during a meeting in Long Beach to deal with what Chancellor Charles B. Reed called "the biggest challenge CSU has ever had to face."

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0919-cal-state-fees-2-20120919,0,5650848.story

Jerry Brown and Molly Munger both want to raise taxes to help schools, but differ on approach (Sacramento Bee)

September 18, 2012 -- If Gov. Jerry Brown and civil rights attorney Molly Munger agree on one thing, it's that California needs to raise taxes to give schools more money.

Voters who share that view now have to consider two distinctly different paths devised to accomplish the goal.

On the November ballot, the tax hike with the most votes should prevail if both succeed, though courts would likely have to sort out which parts of each initiative survive.

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/18/4829448/jerry-brown-and-molly-munger-both.html

Brown signs overhaul of California’s worker compensation (Sacramento Bee)

September 18, 2012 -- Gov. Jerry Brown signed an overhaul of California's workers' compensation system Tuesday in San Diego, hailing it as a win-win for employers and employees alike.

The legislation, Senate Bill 863, was hammered out in months of private negotiations between employer and labor union representatives. It was formally carried by Sen. Kevin de Leon, D-Los Angeles, and passed the Legislature in the final hours of the 2012 session despite late-blooming opposition from lawyers who represent injured workers and some medical care and rehabilitation groups.

http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/09/brown-signs-overhaul-of-california-workers-compensation.html

700 bills on Brown’s desk (Sacramento Bee Graphics)

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/08/4801286/bills-on-browns-desk.html

State restricts military funeral protests (UT San Diego)

September 17, 2012 -- Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Monday legislation aimed at muting protests at military funerals after vetoing a broader measure last year.

The Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kan., which has held inflammatory demonstrations during services to draw attention to their anti-gay beliefs, was the target of the bill.

Chula Vista veteran Bobby Price applauded the state for taking a stand.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/17/brown-signs-limits-on-funeral-pickets/

California Legislature approves public pension changes (Sacramento Bee)

September 1, 2012 -- California lawmakers approved a package of changes Friday aimed at cutting costs for public pensions, sending legislation to Gov. Jerry Brown despite objections from both organized labor and Republicans unhappy with its scope.

Last-minute legislation to overhaul California's workers' compensation system also was headed to the governor as the final day of the legislative session drew to a close.

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/01/4777544/california-legislature-approves.html

The Salton Sea: Death and Politics in the Great American Water War (Wired)

September 14, 2012 -- This week, Los Angeles got a whiff of the future.

A heinous rotten-egg smell settled into the metropolis, a stench more familiar to residents lining the Salton Sea, some 150 miles to the east. It was this 376-square-mile body of water, created by accident in the middle of the desert over a century ago, that belched up the fetid cloud. And such episodes will continue to plague Southern California as the collapse of the Salton Sea ecosystem accelerates over the coming years.

Considered to be among the world’s most vital avian habitats and — until recently — one of its most productive fisheries, the Salton Sea is in a state of wild flux, the scene of fish and bird die-offs of unfathomable proportions. It was the resulting sea-bottom biomass that a storm churned earlier this week, releasing gases that drifted into Los Angeles.

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/09/salton-sea-saga/all/