EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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January 26, 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
 
  • San Miguel Fire Agency may contract out its mission (San Diego U-T) 
  • Judge strikes down political fundraising limits in San Diego (LA Times)
  • Ex-Helix QB Smith one win away from Superbowl (UT San Diego)
  • Citing costs, poor service, charters ditch district special ed
  • Special Report: La Mesa Policing 2012—Can the robbery wave be stopped? (La Mesa Today) 
  • Fair Trade La Mesa organizers hold monthly events (La Mesa Today)
  • Doug Manchester, cheerleader in chief (Voice of San Diego)
  • How to dodge lobbyist regulations, the expensive way (CityBeat) 
 
STATE 
  • Federal judge blocks California cuts to in-home care program (Sacramento Bee)
  • Plan would eliminate tuition to UC’s benefit (San Francisco Chronicle 
  • Protesters briefly trap regents inside building at UC Riverside (LA Times blog)
  • Cal-State caps pay for university presidents (Los Angeles Times) 
 
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.
 
 
LOCAL
 
San Miguel Fire Agency may contract out its mission (San Diego U-T)
 
January 14, 2012 -- The San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District is in such financial trouble that it may have to contract out its core service — fire protection — a situation that can be traced back to a series of decisions district officials made that jacked up expenses.
For years the county’s largest independent fire protection district spent millions of dollars on unique benefits for employees and board members. Some of those decisions are being re-evaluated or ratcheted back, but it may be too late.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/14/san-miguel-fire-agency-may-contract-out-its-missio/
 
Judge strikes down political fundraising limits in San Diego (LA Times)
 
January 20, 2012 -- On the eve of a San Diego mayoral campaign, a federal judge Friday struck down the city's ban on political contributions from unions and corporations and its $1,000 limit on contributions from political parties.
Federal Judge Irma Gonzalez sided with a lawsuit filed by the local Republican party and a builders and contractors group that the city's attempt to restrict political financing is a violation of free speech.
 
 
Ex-Helix QB Smith one win away from Superbowl (UT San Diego)
 
January 20, 2012 -- When his accomplishments were accumulating like so much laundry, and his dreams seemed no more distant than his closest receiver, Alex Smith developed a bad habit in need of breaking.
In a word, it was “obviously.”
“He was intellectual, really cerebral,” Steve Shenbaum said of the San Francisco quarterback. “He was just so smart that one of the things he would say in his interviews was, ‘Obviously.’ I said, ‘Alex, it may not be obvious to everyone.’
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/20/ex-helix-qb-smith-one-win-super-bowl/
 
 
Citing costs, poor service, charters ditch district special ed
 
January 20, 2012 -- There's a quiet, studious hum in Deborah Armusewicz's classroom. Kids dressed neatly in button-down, pine-green sweater vests and neckties politely raise their hands to answer questions while two support teachers mill around the room like earnest chaperones, pausing occasionally to whisper encouragement or corrections over a child's shoulder.
 
Observing this calm period at one of the two special education classes at Gompers Preparatory Academy is Jane Firpo, the school's assistant director. Firpo's eyes gleam as she watches the classroom click. She nods approvingly when kids answer correctly and stands to attention with the students as they "honor" each teacher in turn.
http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/education/article_191d6acc-3e62-11e1-a6dc-001871e3ce6c.html
 
 
Special Report: La Mesa Policing 2012—Can the robbery wave be stopped? (La Mesa Today)
 
January 24, 2012 -- City police officer Gary Moss was driving by a 7-11 on Baltimore Drive in La Mesa in the early morning hours of Dec. 12 when he saw a man carrying a backpack walking quickly from the store. 
Something about it looked suspicious so Moss did what cops do. He followed his instincts and followed the man. The man stopped, then tossed his backpack and ran. 
Moments later Moss’ dispatcher sent out a call that the 7-11 had been robbed. In the backpack, Moss found money and a gun and enough information to trace the man to an apartment on nearby Cowles Mountain Boulevard.
Just like on the TV cop shows, the bad guy was arrested and the community was safer.
http://www.lamesatoday.com/profiles/blogs/policing-la-mesa-2012
  
Fair Trade La Mesa organizers hold monthly events (La Mesa Today)
 
The Fair Trade debate, which roiled City Council waters this Fall, has moved out of the political arena and into the streets of La Mesa.
Ari Bejar, owner of Cosmos Coffee Cafe on La Mesa Boulevard, and a group of fair trade supporters will begin conducting a monthly seminar on the issue and offer local residents training on identifying and supporting Fair Trade Certified products.
"We think this is an important issue,'' Bejar said, "and we want to help people by getting together, talking about all that's involved and what they can do in their own lives.''
The first Fair Trade La Mesa Event is scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6:30 p.m. at Cosmos, 8278 La Mesa Boulevard.
http://www.lamesatoday.com/profiles/blogs/fair-trade-la-mesa-1
 
 
Doug Manchester, cheerleader in chief (Voice of San Diego)
 
January 20, 2012 -- It's early morning, and Doug Manchester is sitting at a corner table in the ornate private dining room at the $300 million Grand Del Mar. He owns the place and looks the part.
 
The fireplace is burning, and he puts his napkin in his lap as he sips a foamy vanilla latte. A copy of the U-T San Diego rests beside him. He owns that, too. He bought the newspaper company for roughly $110 million in November. One of the perfectionist's first changes at the newspaper? He hired more janitors.
http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/environment/muck/article_171fddf0-4311-11e1-8874-0019bb2963f4.html
 
How to dodge lobbyist regulations, the expensive way (CityBeat)
 
January 23, 2012 -- If you read U-T San Diego's front-page and editorial package this Sunday, which promoted a fantastic new proposal for the bay front, complete with artistic renderings, you were probably thinking to yourself, isn't a newspaper supposed to report news, not make it?
Ideally, yes, except that the U-T's new owners, media executive John Lynch and hotel tycoon Doug Manchester, have their own set of ideals, which seem to have very little to do with journalism. Promoting this convention center/sports arena/stadium project, they say, is the newspaper's new No. 1 priority.
http://www.sdcitybeat.com/sandiego/blog-719-how-to-dodge-lobbyist-regulations-the-expensive-way.html
 
STATE
 
Federal judge blocks California cuts to in-home care program (Sacramento Bee)
January 26, 2012 -- A federal judge on Thursday continued to block the state from reducing in-home care to low-income disabled and elderly residents, a budget cut pursued last year by Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers.
The reduction would have slashed one-fifth of service hours for In-Home Supportive Services recipients to save the state $100 million over the next six months.
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/20/4201434/federal-judge-blocks-budget-cuts.html
 
Plan would eliminate tuition to UC’s benefit (San Francisco Chronicle)
 
January 19, 2012 -- It's not every day that University of California students tell UC President Mark Yudof to abolish tuition - and he says he'll consider it.
But that's exactly what happened at Wednesday's regents meeting at UC Riverside, as Yudof praised the students' tuition plan as "a constructive idea."
"We will give it a close look," he said. "I have directed Executive Vice President Nathan Brostrom and our best number crunchers to review it thoroughly."
 
Protesters briefly trap regents inside building at UC Riverside (LA Times blog)
 
January 19, 2012 -- After their meeting at UC Riverside was over Thursday afternoon, some UC regents and officials were trapped inside a campus building for two hours as a noisy demonstration outside blocked vehicles from leaving the area.
Finally, police escorted the officials on foot away from the building on a route that tried to avoid confrontations and they were put on vans back to their hotel.
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/01/uc-riverside-protest.html
 
 
Cal-State caps pay for university presidents (Los Angeles Times)

January 25, 2012 -- California State University trustees Wednesday unanimously approved a measure to cap salaries of new executives in the face of steep funding cuts and sharply rising tuition.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to enact the new limitations at a meeting in Long Beach.

Trustees and Cal State Chancellor Charles B. Reed had come under criticism for recent salary decisions, including paying the new San Diego State president $400,000 -- $100,000 more than his predecessor.
http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/01/calstate-trustees-approve-pay-cut-for-new-presidents.html