October 18, 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:
- Foreclosures drop dramatically statewide (Sacramento Bee)
- Cal-Pers approves 85% rate hike for long-term care (Sacramento Bee)
- State denies SDG&E bailout (10 News)
- Judge delays SDG&E trial amid noose talk (UT San Diego)
- San Diego Supervisors vote to charge poor for their Sixth Amendment rights (Citybeat)
- Lawsuit says police shouldn’t decide who is a reporter (UT San Diego)
- Unplugging wind subsidies: Looming end of wind (UT San Diego)
- Bilbray, Peters spar in first debate (UT San Diego)
- The race for La Mesa (La Mesa Today)
- State Treasurer: Fire Poway bond staff (Voice of San Diego)
- CPUC launches probe of San Onofre, its costs (UT San Diego)
- Charter school in La Mesa ranked eighth in state in API scores
- Real DeMaio doesn’t live up to ‘taxpayer watchdog’ name (Voice of San Diego)
- SDGLN won’t accept pro-Filner ads (CityBeat)
- Trailer Parks in La Mesa? One Council Candidate Welcomes the Idea
Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.
Foreclosures drop dramatically statewide (Sacramento Bee)
October 17, 2012 -- Foreclosures and the number of homes entering the foreclosure process fell dramatically in Sacramento and the rest of the state in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, DataQuick reported today.
In Sacramento County, the number of default notices, which signal the start of the foreclosure process, dropped by 36 percent - from 4,351 in the third quarter of 2011 to 2,766 in the third quarter of 2012, the San Diego-based real estate information service said.
Cal-Pers approves 85% rate hike for long-term care (Sacramento Bee)
October 17, 2012 -- CalPERS has given final approval to an 85 percent rate hike for policyholders in its long-term care insurance program.
The vote Wednesday by the full CalPERS boardfollowed committee testimony earlier in the week by retirees who said the steep increase would cause hardship. CalPERS officials said they had no choice but to raise rates. The 17-year-old program is suffering from inadequate investment gains and higher-than-expected claims. While it's currently solvent, it faces big shortfalls in future years if rates don't rise. Unlike CalPERS' pensions, the long-term care program doesn't get taxpayer support.
State denies SDG&E bailout (10 News)
October 16, 2012 -- An attempt by San Diego Gas & Electric to increase rates to pay off its debt was denied Tuesday.
SDG&E owes an estimated $500 million for expenses from the 2007 wildfires, which two state investigations have determined SDG&E was at fault for.
Countless homes burned to the ground, lives were lost and families were changed forever after the Witch Fire in 2007. Many homeowners sued SDG&E, and the utility has already paid out more than $1 billion to cover the cost.
Judge delays SDG&E trial amid noose talk (UT San Diego)
October 16, 2012 -- A Superior Court judge on Tuesday delayed a wrongful-termination case against San Diego Gas & Electric days before it was scheduled for trial after the company’s lawyers said recent publicity tainted the jury pool.
The suit, a racially charged complaint filed last year by former SDG&E lineman Bilal Abdullah, was set to begin Friday. Instead, utility lawyers sought a six-month extension or change of venue.
San Diego Supervisors vote to charge poor for their Sixth Amendment rights (Citybeat)
October 10, 2012 -- Criminal defendants who are too poor to hire their own defense attorneys will have to pay $50 for public-defender representation under an ordinance approved unanimously by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday.
People who are too poor to pay even the new $50 “registration fee,” can ask a judge to waive it.
Despite concerns about the impact on the Sixth Amendment right to defense counsel, many counties in California have implemented court-appointed-attorney fees, which the state Legislature legalized in 1996. Originally set at $25, the cap was raised to $50 in 2010.
Lawsuit says police shouldn’t decide who is a reporter (UT San Diego)
October 13, 2012 -- Journalists trying to tell certain stories must go where the public cannot: beyond the crime tape, through fire-ravaged neighborhoods, or into a news conference by the district attorney or the president of the United States.
To get that access, local reporters and photographers flash San Diego Police Department-issued media credentials — or press passes — to get beyond the barriers, both literally and figuratively.
But that might change, at least partly because of a federal lawsuit filed by two freelance journalists.
Unplugging wind subsidies: Looming end of wind (UT San Diego)
October 6, 2012 -- It’s not just the wind plains of Iowa and Texas. San Diego, too, is being buffeted by the election-year tussle over the future of a major federal tax break for wind farms.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has come out against extending the wind production tax credit beyond Dec. 31 as a matter of fiscal responsibility. The subsidy, which dates back two decades, has been embraced by President Barack Obama under his “all of the above” energy strategy that emphasizes renewable technologies and greater fuel independence.
Bilbray, Peters spar in first debate (UT San Diego)
October 10, 2012 -- Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray and Democrat Scott Peters locked horns in a spirited debate Wednesday as Peters sought to paint the incumbent as contributing to the partisanship gripping Washington and Bilbray cast his challenger as unprepared to represent San Diego in Congress.
The debate on U-T TV, the first head-to-head matchup of the race, touched on a range of fiscal and social issues as each candidate worked to stake out a middle ground. Bilbray, the 12-year congressional veteran who emerged from nonpartisan county office, repeatedly referred to himself as a political moderate while Peters assumed the mantle of problem solver who reached across the aisle as a port commissioner and president of the San Diego City Council.
The race for La Mesa (La Mesa Today)
October 15, 2012 -- La Mesa's city leadership has been a picture of stability.
A mayor who has served, in varying roles, for more than three decades. One council member with more than 20 years in place and the remaining members who are such fixtures in town, it can seem, at times, like a monolithic dynasty.
One of the candidates seeking a seat in next month's election refers to the panel as "La Mesa's Mt. Rushmore.''
State Treasurer: Fire Poway bond staff (Voice of San Diego)
October 17, 2012 -- State Treasurer Bill Lockyer used a keynote speech at a conference in San Francisco on Wednesday to blast the practice of school districts taking out high-interest, long-term loans called capital appreciation bonds.
He didn’t stop there. In a post-speech interview with Voice of San Diego, he called out the Poway Unified school district, whose bond program we investigated earlier this year. Lockyer said the staff members who put together that deal should be fired and the school board should be voted out. He also said the deal would eventually be investigated because it probably wasn’t legal.
CPUC launches probe of San Onofre, its costs (UT San Diego)
October 17, 2012 -- State utility regulators are preparing a possible investigation in to whether Southern California utilities can continue to bill customers for a nuclear plant that has not produced electricity for nearly nine months.
The San Francisco-based California Public Utilities Commission on Tuesdaypublished a draft investigation order regarding the idled San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. It will take up the matter at a public meeting Oct. 25 in Irvine.
Charter school in La Mesa ranked eighth in state in API scores
October 15, 2012 -- With the release of state API scores last week, schools in La Mesa and Spring Valley, including those of the local school district showed increases across-the-board.
But another La Mesa-area school – College Prep Middle School – showed marked improvements and its scores rank it among the top 10 in schools across the state.
Real DeMaio doesn’t live up to ‘taxpayer watchdog’ name (Voice of San Diego)
October 16, 2012 -- The names people use to describe themselves during political campaigns are interesting to me. Sometimes it’s easy to know if the self-descriptions are true, such as when someone tells you their political affiliation. Other times, it’s not so simple because names can be used to create an image that doesn’t actually exist. If the names are not accurate, then the assumptions that follow will not be accurate either.
This is not a new idea and really smart people have been writing about it for centuries. Confucius said, “If names are not correct, language will not be in accordance with the truth of things.” And Thomas Fuller said, “A name is a kind of face whereby one is known; wherefore taking a false name is a kind of visard whereby men disguise themselves.”
SDGLN won’t accept pro-Filner ads (CityBeat)
October 15, 2012 -- In today's bleak media market, news organizations generally are quick to tap every revenue source available.
But not San Diego Gay and Lesbian News, also known as SDGLN.com. The news site is rejecting any and all advertising dollars that would support Rep. Bob Filner's run for mayor.
The site's publisher is Johnathan Hale, the partner of Filner's opponent, San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio. But the decision to boycott the Filner campaign is more complicated than simple romantic bias.
Trailer Parks in La Mesa? One Council Candidate Welcomes the Idea
October 2012 -- Saying that they are “affordable and gorgeous,” city council candidate Kristine Alessio said she would welcome more mobile home parks in the City of La Mesa in an effort to increase the number of affordable homes for low-income residents, at the latest in a series of council candidate pubic forum, held Wednesday night atLa Mesa First United Methodist Church.
Speaking to a crowd of about 75 citizens, most of whom were senior citizens, Alessio and the other candidates tackled some of the pertinent issues on voters’ minds as the Nov. 6 election approaches.