September 27, 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:
- County hires planning director from bankrupt city (UT)
- Census: El Cajon Has Highest Poverty Rates In San Diego County (KPBS)
- Blaze roared through quiet community like a freight train (UT San Diego)
- Turko tackles Alpine Boulevard construction woes (KUSI)
- Judicial race pits establishment against Tea Party (North CountyTimes)
- Will San Onofre outage mean relief for ratepayers? (UT San Diego)
- Pattern Energy: The bad stuff just goes on and on (Hawaii Free Press)
- Prolific disabled access lawyer to be disbarred (UT)
- San Diego’s median income drops (Fox 5)
- Pensions fall well below 80% funding level (UT San Diego)
- Could bullying be behind Ramona boy’s suicide? (10 News)
- Watchdog group faults states’ inspection of oil, gas wells (Los Angeles Times)
- Jerry Brown signs two-year reprieve for state parks (Sacramento Bee)
- Jerry Brown signs bill allowing same-day voter registration (Sacramento Bee)
- Gov. Brown signs 18 bills to help veterans, families (Sacramento Bee)
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
County hires planning director from bankrupt city (UT)
September 20, 2012 -- The county’s newest department head is a former San Diego city planner and redevelopment expert. Mark Wardlaw is returning to San Diego by way of Mammoth Lakes, the High Sierra ski town that sought bankruptcy protection from a $43 million legal judgment earlier this year.
Census: El Cajon Has Highest Poverty Rates In San Diego County (KPBS)
September 20, 2012 -- A new report finds San Diegans working in the region's biggest industries keep seeing their wages shrink.
The U.S. Census Bureau data released today offers a detailed look at income and poverty levels in San Diego. The Center on Policy Initiatives, a community advocacy group, analyzed the earnings figures. Their report, "Poverty, Earnings and Income in San Diego County 2011," shows spending power was down in 2011.
Blaze roared through quiet community like a freight trai (UT San Diego)
September 25, 2012 -- Homes that burned to the ground and turned to ash this week in Tierra del Sol sprung up among oak trees a century ago for workers who built the railroad through eastern San Diego County.
To know this is to know how eerie the sound preceding the town’s destruction was Sunday.
“I was standing right here when the fire came over,” Dave Downing said Monday. “It sounded like a freight train.”
Turko tackles Alpine Boulevard construction woes (KUSI)
Judicial race pits establishment against Tea Party (North CountyTimes)
September 22, 2012 -- Judicial elections are usually small-money, low-key races, but the race for seat 25 is veering onto another course.
There has been a lawsuit over ballot language and a dust-up over comments one candidate made on his Facebook page about court cases. Local tea parties have endorsed, illegal immigration has a role and the who's who of the legal community is fired up.
Will San Onofre outage mean relief for ratepayers? (UT San Diego)
September 22, 2012 -- The longest outage ever at San Onofre’s two existing nuclear reactors is set to test provisions and principles of California law designed to free utility customers from paying to operate power plants that are no longer useful.
Offline since January, the reactors are almost certain to stay shut through November, triggering an evaluation by state regulators of whether to reduce customer rates associated with the plant.
Pattern Energy: The bad stuff just goes on and on (Hawaii Free Press)
August 19, 2012 -- Pitching the Big Wind project for Molokai in the pages of the August 15 Maui News, Grant McCargo, Chief Executive Officer and founder of Bio-Logical Capital LLC ratted out his partner:
“Pattern Energy is a leader in environmentally responsible wind energy development and a respected partner. Pattern has led the industry with groundbreaking mitigation measures to protect the environment and cultural resources at other projects. Its management of cultural resource issues at the Ocotillo wind project in California and elsewhere is first rate and is supported by many Native American individuals and groups.”
Pattern’s “first rate” Ocotillo wind farm “supported by Native Americans”? Perhaps McCargo thinks people in Hawaii are too dumb to find out what Native Americans have to say about Pattern's Ocotillo Wind Farm?
Prolific disabled access lawyer to be disbarred (UT)
September 18, 2012 -- An attorney who gained notoriety for filing lawsuits against San Diego County businesses, forcing them to comply with laws requiring access for disabled people, is to be disbarred Friday for violating professional standards.
Theodore Pinnock pleaded no contest in State Bar Court to allegations that he filed dozens of lawsuits on a client’s behalf without her knowledge, then used her share of the settlement money to pay his own expenses.
San Diego’s median income drops (Fox 5)
September 20, 2012 -- Wages are decreasing in San Diego County, according to new data by the U.S. Census Bureau.
The American Community Survey released Wednesday breaks down statistics on people, housing and the economy nationwide.
In many industries the results show wages were lower in 2011 than in 2007. The median income in San Diego County in 2011 was $31,574.
Christie Hill with the Center on Policy Initiatives has been analyzing the data.
Pensions fall well below 80% funding level (UT San Diego)
September 22, 2012 -- None of the pension plans of San Diego County’s largest cities have funding levels reaching the 80 percent minimum pension experts commonly recommend, a review of the plans’ financial documents shows.
The review found some of the plans have as little as 51.8 percent of their projected future retirement payouts covered by investments, and none have funded levels greater than 69.2 percent. All told, the 11 cities project owing $3.3 billion more than is covered by their investments.
Could bullying be behind Ramona boy’s suicide? (10 News)
September 20, 2012 -- There are questions about what may have prompted a Ramona middle school student to take his own life on Monday. Friends of Chris Jaquez told 10News he never showed signs of being bullied by classmates but online posts tell a different story.
Students at Olive Peirce Middle School burst into tears when they heard the news. Close friends told 10News that Jaquez, an 8th grader, was a happy-go-lucky kid although there were some tell-tale signs that there was trouble in his life.
Watchdog group faults states’ inspection of oil, gas wells (Los Angeles Times)
September 25, 2012 -- State regulators inspect oil and gas wells sporadically, do not consistently record violations, and impose light penalties on companies that are found to break environmental, health or safety rules, according to a new research report issued by the environmental watchdog group Earthworks.
The report, “Breaking All the Rules,” comes out at a time when hydraulic fracturing -- known as "fracking" -- and horizontal drilling have touched off a nationwide boom in oil and gas production. While the growth in domestic energy production has nudged the United States closer to energy self-sufficiency and created jobs, it has also raised questions about the adequacy of environmental and health safeguards and elicited pushback from localities that contend that their states are not doing enough to protect them.
Jerry Brown signs two-year reprieve for state parks (Sacramento Bee)
September 25, 2012 -- Gov. Jerry Brown gave California's 278 state parks a two-year reprieve from closure today in the wake of July revelations that parks officials were hiding funds for years.
The governor signed Assembly Bill 1478, which prohibits the state Department of Parks and Recreation from closing a park until July 2014.
The legislation also provides $10 million to match future contributions from donors who help keep parks open, $10 million for operating costs and $10 million in bond funds for park improvements. An additional $500,000 will fund investigations by various agencies into the state parks department.
Jerry Brown signs bill allowing same-day voter registration (Sacramento Bee)
September 24, 2012 -- Gov. Jerry Brown today signed legislation allowing residents to register to vote up until and on Election Day, though the provision will not be implemented at least until 2014.
"Voting - the sacred right of every citizen - should be simple and convenient," the Democratic governor said in a prepared statement. "While other states try to restrict voters with new laws that burden the process, California allows voters to register online - and even on Election Day."
Assembly Bill 1436, by Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, was contested along partisan lines, with Democrats saying it would encourage more voter participation and Republicans saying it would encourage fraud.
Gov. Brown signs 18 bills to help veterans, families (Sacramento Bee)
September 20, 2012 -- Gov. Jerry Brown today signed a raft of bills to help veterans and their families -- 18 in all.
While they're not necessarily groundbreaking, they will aid some vets, including those who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan, with education benefits and could ease their transition back into the civilian workforce.
Pete Conaty, the legislative lobbyist for several veterans groups, said the bills make "this is the most productive year for veterans legislation since the tragedy of 9/11 occurred and America went to war."