EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: TOP LOCAL AND STATE NEWS

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February 3, 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 
  • Does new County land use plan go too far? (San Diego U-T)
  • State realignment floods county jails and probation departments (KPBS)
  • Sheriff reduces jail time for inmates to avoid overcrowding (La Mesa Patch)
  • City Council meeting Tuesday: With redevelopment gone, now what? (Santee Patch)
  • Santee gets another ‘F’ in state of tobacco report(Santee Patch)
  • Beating Briarcrest: How La Mesa attorneys saved city $10.5 million (La Mesa Patch)
  • Student protester faces stiff sanctions (Daily Aztec)
  • New playground coming to Lake Murray (San Diego U-T)
  •  Helix community garden vote again delayed again by board, dismaying backers (La Mesa Patch)
  • California Health Dept. cites smart meter health risks in report (La Mesa Patch blog by Susan Brinchman)
  • Ramona Water District engineering consultant fees goes up 67% (Ramona Patch) 
 
STATE 
  • Controller: State to run out of cash in March with no action (Sacramento Bee)
  • Caltrans sidesteps accountability (Sacramento Bee editorial)
  • California lawmakers move to limit protests at funerals (Reuters)
  • High court overturns CA slaughterhouse law (PBS)
  • Los Angeles judge blocks state cuts to Medi-cal providers (Sacramento Bee)
 
 
Scroll down for excerpts and links to full stories.
 
LOCAL
 
Does new County land use plan go too far? (San Diego U-T)
January 27, 2012 -- Their dirt, their decisions. When Victor and Tria Esparza bought 118 backcountry acres near Jamul in 2001, they looked forward to exercising their property rights.
Yet there they stood on a recent morning, surveying their land and feeling wronged.
The couple lives on the wide belt of boulder-studded slope and valley. She’s a retired public schoolteacher. He has worked for decades as a heavy-equipment operator. They bought the property thinking that someday they would divide it up so their four grown children could move to the remote area and build homes.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/27/does-new-county-land-use-plan-go-too-far/
 
State realignment floods county jails and probation departments (KPBS)
January 27, 2012 -- It’s like a river: when the volume of water increases, the overflow is felt downstream. More offenders than expected are entering county jails as a result ofrealignment, the state’s strategy to shift prisoners out of overcrowded state prisons.
San Diego Sherriff Bill Gore has released hundreds of non-violent offenders from jail early in order to accommodate a higher than expected number of state parole violators who now have to be housed in county jails.
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jan/27/state-realignment-floods-county-jails-and-probatio/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kpbs%2Flocal+%28KPBS+News%3A+Local+Headlines%29
Sheriff reduces jail time for inmates to avoid overcrowding (La Mesa Patch)
 
January 27, 2012 -- San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore is shaving up to 10 percent off jail terms for some inmates to avoid overcrowding, it was reported Friday.
Earlier this month, Gore authorized the release of about 260 inmates as the number of men held in custody in San Diego County swelled to 96 percent capacity, according to U-T San Diego.
 
The move comes nearly four months after new legislation shifted the responsibility for some convicts to county jails instead of the overcrowded state prison system. Gore said his decision to release some county inmates early was unrelated to the legislation.
http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/sheriff-bill-gore-reduces-jail-terms-for-inmates-overcrowding
City Council meeting Tuesday: With redevelopment gone, now what? (Santee Patch)
 
January 23, 2012 -- Tuesday, the City Council and staff are attending a day long retreat/special meeting to figure out what moves the city must make now thatredevelopment funds are gone and an ever tightening budget exists.
 
The meeting begins at 8 a.m. at the event room at Carlton Oaks Golf Course. Communication from the public will be heard first, the rest of the day is scheduled for City Council Planning Session. No actions by council are anticipated. The public is welcome to attend/observe.
http://santee.patch.com/articles/city-council-special-meeting-tuesday-with-redevelopment-gone-now-what
 
Santee gets another ‘F’ in state of tobacco report(Santee Patch)
 
January 23, 2012 -- The city of Santee received another failing grade in the annual State of Tobacco Control Report by the American Lung Association (ALA).

The report, released last week, rates policies to restrict smoking and sales of tobacco products and describes Santee as "falling far behind." Santee also received the worst failing grade in San Diego County in last year's annual report.
http://santee.patch.com/articles/santee-gets-another-f-in-state-of-tobacco-report

 
Beating Briarcrest: How La Mesa attorneys saved city $10.5 million (La Mesa Patch)
 
January 24, 2012 -- Glenn Sabine and Gregory Lusitana are La Mesa’s city attorney and assistant city attorney, respectively.  But after two years of fending off a bitter civil suit, they might as well be Santa Claus.

Thanks to their efforts, the city of La Mesa was spared having to pay a senior-housing developer possible damages totaling $10.5 million.
http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/la-mesa-fends-off-mult-million-dollar-lawsuit-saves-on-attorney-fees

 
Student protester faces stiff sanctions (Daily Aztec)
 
January 25, 2012 -- Two months ago, when San Diego State graduate student Ashley Wardle decided to attend a statewide protest on Nov. 16 of a California State University Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach, she hadn’t envisioned being arrested.
Before the arrest, Wardle said, “An officer pepper sprayed me.”
 
“He hit me on my back with a baton. When another student from a different school stood between me and the officer, he was hit and arrested, too.”
The protest was held in response to a proposed, and now approved, 9 percent system-wide tuition increase. Beginning this fall, student tuition will increase by $498 a year for all full-time undergraduate students attending CSU schools.
http://www.thedailyaztec.com/2012/01/student-protester-faces-stiff-sanctions/
 
New playground coming to Lake Murray (San Diego U-T)
 
January 26, 2012 --  An extensive overhaul and expansion of the playground area at Lake Murray is ready to go after the San Diego City Council unanimously approved the final piece of funding for the project at its meeting Tuesday.
The council voted 8-0 to allocate $88,000 in developer fees toward the playground, bringing the total money raised for the project to $330,000. The council previously approved $62,000 in developer fees, San Diego County has contributed $50,000 and the community has raised $130,000.
http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/jan/26/new-playground-coming-lake-murray/
 Helix community garden vote again delayed again by board, dismaying backers (La Mesa Patch)
 
January 27, 2012 -- A planned community garden at Helix Charter High School remained on hold Thursday when the Grossmont Union High School District board again voted to postpone a decision on an agreement with the city of La Mesa.
 
More than a dozen garden backers couldn’t hide their looks of disbelief.
“A lot of the issues that they brought up are in the joint-use agreement—which they’ve had for months. Do your homework,” Mindy Swanson said after the meeting.
http://lamesa.patch.com/articles/guhsd-meeting-jan-26
California Health Dept. cites smart meter health risks in report (La Mesa Patch blog by Susan Brinchman)
 
January 23, 2012 -- The first California County Health Department smart meter report has been issued in Santa Cruz, CA, expressing strong concerns about health effects from smart meter radiation exposures, asking their county to impose another moratorium on installations.
In addition, the health department asks the county supervisors to sign a petition to postpone the CPUC opt-out ruling until independent investigations and public health hearings are conducted. Many portions of this report pertain to all municipalities where smart meters are being used and is a model for other communities.
http://lamesa.patch.com/blog_posts/california-health-department-cites-smart-meter-health-risks-in-report
 
Ramona Water District engineering consultant fees goes up 67% (Ramona Patch) 
 
January 26, 2012 -- A new engineer has been added to Ramona Municipal Water District (RMWD) through its consultant, Dudek & Associates, of Encinitas, increasing the annual fees to $300,000. That’s an increase of 67 percent, up from the previous not-to-exceed amount of $180,000.
The consultants take over the work previously done by the district engineer and his staff. When the district engineer, Tim Stanton, retired last year, the position was not filled. The civil engineer, Philip Dauben, was laid off earlier this month due to budgetary cuts and a reorganization within the district staff.
http://ramona.patch.com/articles/engineering-consultant-fees-increased-by-67-percent-ramona-municipal-water-district
 
STATE 
 
Controller: State to run out of cash in March with no action (Sacramento Bee)
 
January 31, 2012 -- California will run out of cash by early March if the state does not take swift action to find $3.3 billion through payment delays and borrowing, according to a letterstate Controller John Chiang sent to state lawmakers today.
 
The announcement is surprising since lawmakers previously believed the state had enough cash to last through the fiscal year that ends in June.
http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/01/controller-state-to-run-out-of-cash-in-march-without-action.html
 
Caltrans sidesteps accountability (Sacramento Bee editorial)
 
January 27, 2012 -- This week's settlement between Caltrans and Duane Wiles is disturbing on several levels.
The deal, which essentially "unfires" a technician who falsified safety tests and allows him to resign, shows how difficult it can be to dismiss state employees, no matter how badly they violate the public trust.
Even more troubling, the arrangement could allow the state Transportation Department to sweep away some important questions raised by an investigation by The Bee's Charles Piller.
http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/27/4218797/caltrans-sidesteps-accountability.html#mi_rss=Editorials

California lawmakers move to limit protests at funerals (Reuters)
 
January 26, 2012 -- California's state Senate approved a bill on Thursday to restrict protests at funerals in a move aimed at limiting the impact of controversial demonstrations like those led by a fringe Kansas-based church against homosexuality.

The measure, unanimously approved by the Democrat-led Senate despite criticism from civil liberties advocates, would require protesters to remain 500 feet away from funeral services. It will now go to the state Assembly for consideration.
http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/27/us-funeral-protests-california-idUSTRE80Q04D20120127?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews
 
High court overturns CA slaughterhouse law (PBS)
January 23, 2012 -- The Supreme Court has blocked a California law that would require euthanizing downed livestock at federally inspected slaughterhouses to keep the meat out of the nation's food system.
The high court on Monday agreed that the state's 2009 state law should be blocked from going into effect.
California barred the purchase, sale and butchering of animals that can't walk and required slaughterhouses to immediately kill non-ambulatory animals. But justices said unanimously that the law encroached on federal laws that don't require immediate euthanizing.
http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jan/23/high-court-overturns-calif-slaughterhouse-law/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kpbs%2Flocal+%28KPBS+News%3A+Local+Headlines%29 
Los Angeles judge blocks state cuts to Medi-cal providers (Sacramento Bee)
 
January 30, 2012 -- A Los Angeles federal judge has tentatively blocked Medi-Cal reimbursement cuts to doctors and other providers who treat low-income patients.
 
U.S. District Court Judge Christina A. Snyder ruled today that the state cannot reduce payments by 10 percent to Medi-Cal doctors, dentists, ambulance services and other providers. The decision comes after Snyder previously blocked cuts to hospital-based nursing units and some pharmacists.
http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/01/federal-judge-blocks-state-budget-cut-to-medi-cal-providers.html