EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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November 28, 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

STATE

Read more for excerpts and links to full stories.

LOCAL/REGIONAL

Refugee grateful for new life in new country (U-T San Diego)

November 21, 2012 -- For Jirjees Haddad, gratitude is a constant state of being, not just a day of reflection.

Haddad, 74, landed in San Diego last summer with his family, a few essential possessions, and his memories.

He is a refugee from Iraq, where he was tortured and where, he says, insurgents tried to kidnap his son, Ammar, for ransom.

San Diego Congressmen get campaign contributions for domestic drone support (San Diego Free Press)

November 26, 2012 -- Chances are you’ve never heard of the “drone caucus” in the US House of Representatives, officially known as the House Unmanned Systems Caucus.  Yet they are considered among the most powerful groups on the Hill. And participating in the caucus is a sure way for Congressmen to enrich their campaign coffers.

Report: We’re in the midst of a housing recovery (U-T San Diego)

November 27, 2012 -- San Diego home prices in September rose 4.1 percent from a year ago, the biggest year-over-year gain we've seen for any month in the past two years, says a widely watched home price index released Tuesday.

That stat adds further evidence that we may be in the middle of a housing-market recovery, based on numbers from the S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index, a national indicator that has a two-month lag because it tracks repeat sales.

Witness to deadly shooting by border patrol agent disputes official account (10 News)

November 21, 2012 -- A witness to the shooting by a Border Patrol agent that killed a mother of five said he saw the agent fire from the street, directly contradicting the official account. He also says when the shooting stopped, other agents harassed and detained him.



Prince Watson was reluctant to come forward, but he said his sense of civic responsibility compelled him to tell his story.



"I don't want to see this covered up," said Watson, a Marine and Iraq War veteran.

El Cajon working to reduce pedestrian deaths (U-T San Diego)

November 23, 2012 -- Since January 2011, 10 people have died in El Cajon after being hit by cars — and in every case the pedestrian was at fault.

The numbers alarmed El Cajon police, after having no pedestrian fatalities in 2010 and having only one in each of the two prior years.

To raise awareness about pedestrian safety, the Police Department has launched the “Check before you step” education campaign.

Border economy to see greater emphasis under Filner administration (San Diego Free Press)

November 20, 2012 -- Mayor-Elect Bob Filner announced last Friday that he was going to open an office just south of the border in Tijuana.  Some people scratched their heads and asked “why?”  Some people undoubtedly were infuriated because they thought it was just another stupid move by an ultra-liberal politician to kowtow to the illegal immigrant population and cede more of our own nation’s authority to foreign entities.  After all, we’re ‘Mericans, and we don’t take a back seat to nobody, and all these stinkin’ liberals can go to hell if they don’t believe in the superiority of ‘Merica!

David Copley dies at 60; heir to Union-Tribune fortune was once worth $1.2 billion  ( La Mesa-Mount Helix Patch)

November 21, 2012 -- David Copley, the former billionaire owner and publisher of The San Diego Union-Tribune, died Tuesday after a car crash in La Jolla. He was 60.

U-T San Diego reported that the accident involving his Aston Martin occurred at 6:15 p.m. near Eads Avenue and Silverado Street.

Republican activist seeks ouster of Tony Krvaric as GOP Chairman (Ramona Patch)

November 21, 2012 -- Calling him “corrupt” and “too Chicago-style politics for me,” a Carmel Mountain Ranch woman has launched an online effort to oust Tony Krvaric as leader of the San Diego County Republican Party

Karen Grube is behind a Facebook page titled Tony Krvaric, You’re Fired.

New Lakeside fire station opens (East County Californian)

November 21, 2012 - “All risk” responder. Welcome to the phrase that Lakeside Fire Station No. 2 Captain John Hisaw used to describe the station that opened in early 2012 on Valle Vista Road in Lakeside, and is now ready to serve Lakeside residents, along with the other three stations in the Lakeside area.

What the “all risk” status means is responding to, well, fires--- be they house or wildfires, medical emergencies which might include childbirth, heart attacks, and even the animal distress calls.

El Capitan cross country team runs to state championship  (East County Californian)

November 21, 2012 -- The El Capitan High School cross country team recorded a rare double by qualifying both its boys and girls teams for this weekend’s state championship meet in Fresno.

The Vaqueros accomplished the magical feat at last Saturday’s San Diego Section championship meet at Morley Field when the boys team captured the Division III title and the girls team raced to a runner-up finish.

The top three teams in the division advanced to the state meet, which will take place Saturday at Woodward Park.

Deputies break up 20-man brawl at Carlton Oaks bar (Santee Patch)

November 20, 2012 -- The Santee Sheriff's Department has responded to at least seven fights at Carlton Oaks Golf Course since January, including a 20-man "old western style brawl" in October, according to sheriff's Sgt. Tom Poulin.

The fights don't only happen in the bar—they've broken out in the parking lot and surrounding grounds of the golf course. In each of those cases deputies were called once the fight has gone beyond the control of Carlton Oaks security.

Ocotillo: worker airlifted after falling ( IV Press)

November 19, 2012 -- An Ocotillo Wind Express worker had to be airlifted for treatment Monday morning after reportedly falling 50 feet inside a wind turbine and breaking his ankle, according to the county Sheriff’s Office call logs.  

The incident was reported around 8 a.m., the logs show. Ocotillo firefighters responded to the call and requested an air ambulance about 8:11 a.m., according to the logs.  

SDG&E makes last push to bill users for wildfires (U-T San Diego)

November 26, 2012 -- San Diego Gas & Electric is making a last stand for a plan to recover uninsured costs for the 2007 wildfires from utility customers, appealing to individual state utilities commissioners in several face-to-face meetings this month.

Two competing draft decisions would either reject outright SDG&E’s proposal for streamlining cost recovery for recent and future fires or prohibit the utility from including costs, including legal expenses, from the 2007 fires.

STATE

Unemployment checks to stop for 400,000 Californians (U-T San Diego)

November 26, 2012 -- About 400,000 Californians could stop receiving their weekly unemployment checks as of Dec. 29, no matter how much time they have left on their federal extensions.

Come January, it’s back to a standard 26 weeks for the jobless benefit. That’s well below the once-attainable 99 weeks of additional assistance.

Erin Brokovich town faces new threat from utility company (NPR)

November 22, 2012 -- Hinkley, Calif., is the small town that battled toxic groundwater and inspired the 2000 film Erin Brockovich. Now residents say they are experiencing a sequel to their story.

A few years ago, people started talking about the water again. Residents developed strange rashes and Pacific Gas & Electric Co. — blamed for the town's groundwater pollution — was offering to buy homes again, this time in areas previously believed to be unaffected by the contamination.

Democratic power in state capitol has its limits (Sacramento Bee)

November 26, 2012 -- So now we know. When the Legislature reconvenes next month for brief organizational sessions, it will have historic Democratic supermajorities – 54 Assembly members and 29 senators.

However, when it returns to Sacramento in January, supposedly to do its real work, those numbers will change, because two Democratic senators will resign to take their seats in Congress, and that will touch off a game of musical chairs.

California elected officials set to take pay cut (Sacramento Bee)

November 21, 2012 -- California elected officials from governor to legislator will see their pay cut by thousands of dollars next month under decisions made by appointees of former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Effective Dec. 3, Gov. Jerry Brown's pay will drop to $165,288. Legislators will be paid $90,526, legislative leaders $104,105. Salaries for constitutional officers from attorney general to secretary of state will range from $143,571 to $123,965.

First cap and trade auction a bust for California budget (Sacramento Bee)

November 21, 2012 -- State environmental leaders this week hailed California's first cap-and-trade auction a success, but it was hardly so for the state budget.

Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers assumed three auctions this fiscal year would generate $1 billion total for the state, half of which they want to plug the state budget deficit. But most of the $289 million raised this month is dedicated for utilities and their ratepayers, leaving only $55.8 million for state purposes.

California man accused in plot to join al Qaeda denied bail (Reuters)

November 26, 2012 -- A California man accused alongside three co-defendants of conspiring to provide support to al Qaeda and Taliban militants plotting attacks against Americans overseas was ordered held without bail on Monday by a federal judge.

Arifeen David Gojali, 21, was arrested with two others last week outside a southern California apartment complex by authorities who said the trio had imminent plans to travel to Afghanistan via Mexico and Turkey to prepare for "violent jihad."