EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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January 24, 2013--(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

ACLU rips Grossmont Union High School District over lack of English learner services (Lemon Grove Patch)

January 23, 2013--The La Mesa-based Grossmont Union High School District is being touted as a poster child for districts failing to serve students whose native language is not English.

Two activist organizations threatened Wednesday to sue state educators unless English-language instruction is substantially improved for thousands of students they contend are being underserved in the 11-campus Grossmont district and others.

Help ID suspects in two armed robbers at Santee ATMs (Santee Patch)

January 24, 2013--Sheriff's officials hope surveillance photos will lead them today to a man who robbed or attempted to rob ATM users in Santee on three occasions.

The first incident was reported just before 11 p.m. on Jan. 16, when a gunman forced a customer at a Mission Federal Credit Union ATM at 245 Town Center Parkway to withdraw the maximum amount, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department. He grabbed the money and drove off.

La Mesa Earns ‘F’ for Its Tobacco Policies (La Mesa Patch)

January 18, 2013The American Lung Association in California has given the city of La Mesa an F rating for its tobacco policies—prompting a retort from Mayor Art Madrid that the group should focus its efforts elsewhere.

The annual report, released Wednesday, issues grades for all cities and counties in California on local tobacco control policies including those for smokefree outdoor environments, smokefree housing, and reducing sales of tobacco products.

La Mesa facing $1 million fine for sewage overflows in 2010 storm (La Mesa Patch)

January 22, 2013--Remember the December Deluge of 2010—when Parkway Middle School classes were flooded and the VFW hall on University Avenue had to abandon ship?

The final wave has hit.

The city of La Mesa is facing nearly $1 million in fines for dumping 1.3 million gallons of raw sewage into San Diego Bay and the ocean during the rains of 2010.

City Seeks Federal Trial in Ray Lutz Lawsuit Arising from Occupy San Diego (La Mesa Patch)

January 16, 2013--If Ray Lutz wanted to make a federal case out of his November 2011 arrest at Civic Center Plaza, he got his wish.

Lutz, a La Mesa native and 2010 candidate for Congress, could be headed for trial in an Occupy San Diego-related incident after the city of San Diego moved the case to federal court.

Boulevard Project Awaits SANDAG Grant  (La Mesa Today)

January 21, 2013--Now the waiting game begins.

La Mesa officials have submitted a major grant request to the San Diego Association of Governments and the outcome of that effort will determine the ultimate scale and scope of the project to rebuild La Mesa Boulevard through the La Mesa Village.

In an update on the project to be shared at Tuesday's City Council meeting, city staff outlines what they hope to be the final funding sources for the $5-million project.

New Commuter Airline To Fly Between San Diego, Imperial County (KPBS)

January 21, 2013--A commuter airline based in Portland, Ore., announced today it will begin serving San Diego on March 1.

SeaPort Airlines will fly five nonstops between Lindbergh Field and Imperial County Airport during the workweek, and two each on Saturday and Sunday. The flights are scheduled to last 45 minutes.

 

Gillespie Field Airport to Expand, Council Talks 'Santee Aerotropolis' (Santee Patch)

January 22, 2013--Talk about Gillespie Field is in the air- KPBSrecently published a story about the upcoming expansion of the county-run airport and the Santee City Council discussed the "Santee Aerotropolis" at the last meeting, a plan for Santee businesses to better cash in on the nearby airport.

Redevelopment plans for the 70-acre expansion into the site of the old El Cajon Speedway include construction of a new taxiway and businesses related to the aeronautics industry.

 

STATE

California sees a revenue bump after tax changes (Sacramento Bee)

January 23, 2013--After years of budget agony, California is seeing something strange this month: a heap of excess cash.

The state is poised to finish January about $4 billion ahead of what forecasters expected in income taxes, according to the Legislative Analyst's Office – the biggest one-month overage that state fiscal experts can recall in recent memory.

New proposal would lower voter threshold for police, fire taxes (Sacramento Bee)

January 23, 2013--A newly proposed constitutional amendment would lower the threshold for California's local voters to pass special taxes for police or fire agencies.

Assembly Constitutional Amendment 3 is the latest in a string of measures that would allow local voters to approve revenue-raising tax proposals by a 55 percent majority rather than by two-thirds.

California awarded $674M to build health exchange (Sacramento Bee)

January 17, 2013-- California has been awarded a $674 million federal grant to continue developing and building an online insurance marketplace under the federal health care reform law, state officials announced Thursday.

The state is receiving substantial support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as part of the effort to aid millions of uninsured Californians, said Peter Lee, executive director of Covered California, the state entity in charge of the exchange.

Report: CPUC budget riddled with errors  (Sacramento Bee)

January 17, 2013--An audit of the California Public Utilities Commission found that the agency routinely makes errors in its budget and gives bad fiscal forecasts that could affect fees paid by consumers.

The Sacramento Bee reports (http://bit.ly/WbZhs4) that the state Department of Finance audit found the utilities commission in 2011 erred when it told state officials that $422 million existed in seven funds. The money was not actually available.

Court: Calif. lawmakers violated law to help Brown (Sacramento Bee)

January 18, 2013--California lawmakers violated the state Constitution when they passed a bill that gave Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative top billing on the November ballot, a state appeals court ruled Friday.

The 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento said lawmakers were wrong to sidestep a two-thirds vote requirement to immediately enact AB 1499 last year. The bill was passed on a majority vote by Democrats last June and moved the governor's measure ahead of other initiatives on the November ballot because it involved a constitutional amendment.