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EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

November 19, 2014 (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

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click "read more" and scroll down.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

November 6, 2014 (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

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

STATEWIDE INITIATIVE RESULTS

 

By Paul Kruze

November 2014 (Sacramento)--So what was on the mind of California voters on Tuesday  in voting on ballot initiatives? 

They approved new water projects and set aside funds for a rainy day. They voted against allowing the state’s insurance commissioner to have authority over insurance rates, also defeating mandatory drug and alcohol testing for medical doctors and caps on malpractice awardsVoters gave their approval for criminal sentences for simple drug possession and other property crimes to be reduced immediately to misdemeanors, but dealt a major blow to the gambling aspirations of three small California Indian tribes  by voting down a measure which would allowed them to build a casino outside the borders of their reservation.

EAST COUNTY VOTING GUIDE: NONPARTISAN INFORMATION FROM EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

 

 

East County News Service

November 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)— East County Magazine has compiled this handy guide for you with links to all of our coverage of local races, as well as some statewide and federal (Congressional) races on your ballot for the election on Tuesday, November 4. 

We invited all candidates running in local races listed below to be interviewed, and include print and/or  radio interviews with those who responded.   We also have links to our coverage of debates, candidate forums, analysis, editorials submitted by our readers (ECM does not editorialize), and other relevant information on candidates and ballot propositions. Also see below for links to additional nonpartisan resources for info on these and other races.

Our nonpartisan guide is arranged in three sections: local, state, and federal (Congressional) races, with  the races alphabetical under each section. To view, click "read more" below and scroll down.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

 

October 22, 2014 (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

For excerpts and links to full stories, scroll down.

DESCANSO’S WATER BOARD ACCUSED OF COVER-UPS ON URANIUM CONTAMINATION AND MORE

 

Open letter sent to District Attorney, Grand Jury, ratepayers and regulators

October 18, 2014 (Descanso) – An open letter sent to ratepayers, the County Grand Jury, health officials, legislators, media and District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis accuses the Descanso Community Water District board of covering up matters that could endanger health and property values—including uranium contamination. (ECM has previously reported on uranium in Descanso's water supply; see story here.)

The letter, titled “Secrecy—The Diseases of Corrupt Public Officials” urges ratepayers to attend the water board’s next meeting on Monday, October 27th at the Descanso Town Hall on Viejas Grade Road.  It is signed by Jeff Rzendal, BoardVice President, GarySanner, incoming Director, John LaPlante, former Director and Treasurer, and Ivan Heckscher, a ratepayer. Below is the text in full. We have asked the Board President, Lee Jonnson, for a response to the allegations raised and will publish his response once received.

NEW 500 kV POWER LINES PROPOSED ACROSS EAST COUNTY : MEETINGS OCT. 20-21

 

 

East County News Service

October 17, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—The most controversial project in memory in East County was the construction of the 500kV Sunrise Powerlink, which was built despite objections of a coalition representing 79,000 people--though the route was changed amid public outcry. 

Now, a new set of 500 kV power lines are proposed through San Diego’s East County and Imperial County as part of the draft Desert Renewable Energy Conservation Plan (DRECP) which is currently available for public review and comment at www.drecp.org. The plan aims to open 22 million acres up for energy development including vast swaths in our region.

CAL-FIRE AIR TANKERS ARE FLYING AGAIN

 

Update October 9, 2014, 3 p.m. --CAL-FIRE'S air tanker fleet is back in the air effective 11 a.m. today, CAL FIRE Battalion Chief Nick Schuler has informed East County Magazine, after inspections found no structural or agfe-related problems.

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Retired CAL FIRE Chief Chief Bob Robeson called East County Magazine this morning with additional details on the crash that killed a CAL FIRE pilot in Yosemite and grounded CAL-FIRE’s 22 S-2T air tankers including details on backup aircraft available through the federal government.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

October 8, 2014 (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

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

CRASH GROUNDS 22 CAL-FIRE AIR TANKERS

 

 

East County News Service

October 8, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—Amid peak fire season, a fatal crash has grounded all of California’s 22 S-2T air tankers, the Los Angeles Times Reports. That’s troubling news in San Diego, where the two worst wildfires in the state’s history both occurred in late October.

Yesterday, an air tanker battling the Dog Rock Fire in Yosemite National Park crashed, killing the pilot.  The cause is not yet known and the tankers will remain grounded until officials deem that they are safe, according to Daniel Berlant with CAL-FIRE.  

The tankers are capable of carrying up to 1,200 gallons of fire retardant each. Temporary grounding of the remaining 22 S-2T tankers leaves CAL-FIRE with 11 UH-1H Super Huey helicopters and 14 OV-10A airtactical aircraft. The aircraft can reach most fires within 20 minutes from 13 air attack and nie Helitack bases statewide, according to CAL FIRE’s website.

WILDFIRES SCORCH FEDERAL FORESTS ACROSS PARCHED STATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of CAL-FIRE

September 13, 2014 (Cleveland National Forest) – Over 200 homes are under evacuation orders in Silverado Canyon in Orange County due to the Silverado Fire burning in the Cleveland National Forest. The blaze, which started yesterday, has scorched over 1,500 acres. Other fires are also taking a heavy toll on federal public lands.

Firefighting resources are battling blazes in Yosemite National Park as well as Klamath, Sequoia, Lassen, and Shasta-Trinity National Forests. Fueled by tinder-dry conditions amid the worst drought in memory, the fires have collectively burned over a quarter of  a million acres—and it’s only September.

MEASURE TO PROTECT TEMPORARY WORKERS PASSES SENATE, MOVES TO GOVERNOR'S DESK

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 30, 2014 (Sacramento) – Just in time for Labor Day, a bill to protect temporary workers, AB 1897, has passed the Legislature and is now on the Governor’s Desk.

Increasingly companies are relying on long-term use of temporary workers even for strenuous and dangerous jobs, and some have reportedly been cheated out of wages.A report by ProPublica found that in California, temporary workers face a 50 percent higher risk of being injured on the job than permanent employees. Subcontracted workers have no guarantee of future work and risk punishment for speaking out or reporting hazardous conditions--problems this measure aims to correct.

The bill has support of labor groups and opposition from large employers.

WILL HUESO'S ARREST END HIS POLITICAL CAREER? NOT NECESSARILY, BASED ON POLITICIANS BUSTED ON PAST DUI CHARGES

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 23, 2014 (San Diego)--As we reported Friday, State Senator Ben Hueso, a Democrat whose 40th district includes the southern portions of San Diego and East County as well as Imperial and Riverside counties, was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Sacramento.  The Senator has issued an apology and will appear in court this week.

Adding to Hueso’s woes, the Sacramento Bee has posted a photo showing Hueso partying with the Latino Caucus, shirt tail untucked, shortly before his arrest. It was tweeted by fellow legislator Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), who later deleted the image. A reporter at the Sacramento Bee also reportedly received an audio file purporting to be loud singing on a capitol balcony during the evening revelry.

Will Senator Hueso’s arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol spell the end of his political future? Not necessarily, based on an examination of records of prior legislators faced with similar charges.

CA BILLS WOULD BRING LEGAL HELP TO IMMIGRANT AND REFUGEE CHILDREN

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 21, 2014 (Sacramento)—Over 50,000 unaccompanied minors fleeing Central America have streamed across U.S. borders, seeking help to escape desperate situations. Now some California lawmakers want to assure that kids facing a humanitarian crisis will receive full legal hearings to determine if they may be eligible for asylum, refugee status, or deportation. A new bill would provide $3 million to nonprofit groups to expand legal services for the children.

After visiting a detention center recently, Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) told reporters, “I think we all came away with a feeling that these kids really needed our support, that it was about their safety, their due process, the ability to look beyond bigger political considerations and deal with a humanitarian crisis.”

COUNTY SETS SIGHTS ON WILD PIG POPULATION IN EAST COUNTY

 

Update July 30, 2014: By a 5-0 vote,  Supervisors adopted the feral pig eradication plan to trap and shoot wild pigs across our region.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy U.S. Forest Service

July 29, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--They wallow in waterways and root up sensitive habitat.  They breed prolifically—and they eat almost anything—from acorns to small animals—even goats with horns!  Those portly porkers – feral pigs in East County’s backcountry—can weigh up to 250 pounds. The largest wild pig caught anywhere--a gargantuan specimen dubbed "Hogzilla," tipped the scales at over 800 pounds.

Feral pigs are descendants of domestic pigs run wild and European boars brought over by Spaniards in the 1700s. Locally, San Diego's pig population has been around since only around 2006.  We don't know how they got here. One rumor is that  hunters released a few pigs as game animals. Another theory is that the pigs migrated in from elsewhere in California or Mexico. However they came, they've found fertile ground locally, where the number of wild pigs is now estimated at over a thousand. 

Hunting wild pigs is legal in California on private property and tribal lands – though not in our region's parks, preserves, or wilderness areas.  But bringing home the bacon isn’t as easy as it sounds.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

July 30, 2014 (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

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

July 3, 2014 (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

For excerpts and links to full stories, click “read more” and scroll down.

BORREGO SPRINGS, RUNNING OUT OF WATER, HOSTS PUBILC OUTREACH MEETING JUNE 12

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2014 (Borrego Springs)—For decades, Borrego Springs has been draining down its aquifer at an increasingly rapid pace.  If action is not taken soon, a new report warns, the community could face dire consequences.

The Borrego Water Coalition invites the public to a public outreach meeting on Thursday, June 12 from 4:30 to 7 p.m at the Borrego High School Library, 2281 Diegueno Road in Borrego Springs.

EAST COUNTY ROUNDUP: LOCAL AND STATEWIDE NEWS

May 22, 2014 (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

STATE

For excerpts and links to full stories, scroll down.

FIRES CAUSE MAJOR DAMAGES ACROSS NORTH COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Facebook/Camp Pendleton Scout

May 15, 2014 (San Diego) 1 a.m. – Wildfires have scorched 9,196 acres, the County Emergency Services Department has announced. Alert San Diego has sent 121,878  notices to residents to evacuate or prepare to evacuate.

Several major fires continue to burn in north San Diego County tonight and several structures have been lost.  Below are updates on each of these incidents.

GOVERNOR DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY FOR SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

Source: San Diego County News Service

May 14, 2014 (San Diego)-- Governor Jerry Brown has proclaimed a State of Emergency this evening after the County of San Diego proclaimed a local emergency earlier in the day and requested the state declaration. The local and state proclamations mean the County can more easily access state and federal resources as needed to help in fighting the fires.

The state proclamation notes that a Federal Management Assistance Grant has been requested and approved by FEMA for the Poinsettia Fire in Carlsbad. Under the federal Fire Management Assistance Grant Program, the federal government shares the costs of local fires.

Full text of the Governor’s press release and proclamation are below.

TSIMBOUKAKIS VIES FOR SENATOR ANDERSON’S SEAT: TAKES STAND AGAINST INDUSTRIAL-SCALE ENERGY PROJECTS IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

By Jessica Richmond

Listen to our radio interview with Fotios “Frank” Tsimboukakis here:  http://kiwi6.com/file/t5e89mc5cl

April 12, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - The race for California’s 38th State Senate district seat has been heating up since the arrival of Fotios “Frank” Tsimboukakis.  He has made it a point to challenge incumbent Joel Anderson on many key issues—including taking a stand against environmentally harmful energy projects in East County. Tsimboukakis has testified in public hearings against industrial solar and wind projects, as well as the Quail Brush gas-fired power plant, while Anderson has been largely silent on these controversial plans, critics have pointed out.

Tsimboukakis has also proposed plans to make college tuition free, cut wasteful spending, and convene public hearings on funding firefighting, with an eye toward possibly repealing or amending state fire fees.  He has also pledged to hold regular town hall meetings in the district to hear from voters, faulting Anderson for not hosting town halls for constituents to share their views.

CALIFORNIANS AT RISK OF QUAKES CAUSED BY FRACKING WASTEWATER DISPOSAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 16, 2014 (California)--A new report reveals that the risk of earthquakes in California is being dramatically increased by oil companies injecting billions of gallons of wastewater from fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, into disposal wells near active faults near major cities.  “Millions of Californians live in areas at risk for induced earthquakes,” the report concludes.

The report, titled “On Shaky Ground,” was prepared by Earthworks, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Clean Water Action.   It found that 54% of our state’s 1,553 injection wells are within 10 miles of a recently active fault, 23% are within five miles and 6% are within just one mile. 

Numerous earthquakes across the country have been linked to fracking by scientists, including temblors as high as 5.7 on the Richter scale, the report details. Fracking quakes are common in areas such as Oklahoma and Texas, producing quakes higher than ever seen in some places.

READERS VOICE RAGE OVER CONTROLLED BURN IN CUYAMACA RANCHO STATE PARK

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 26, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Readers across East County have sent photos and video of a large controlled burn yesterday in Rancho Cuyamaca State Park, voicing outrage over the burning of habitat including mature trees, given than 99% of the pine trees in the park burned during the 2003 Cedar Fire.

Questions have also been raised over why the burn was allowed in windy conditions, why a helicopters was dispatched to use water from Lake Cuyamaca on a controlled burn, and why more notice was not provided to the public and the press that a major controlled burn was underway by State Parks in conjunction with Cal Fire.

STATE REPORT: ONLY A HANDFUL OF GOLDEN EAGLE NEST SITES REMAIN IN SAN DIEGO COUNTY

 

 

Disturbing data suggests Golden Eagles appear on verge of extinction in our region

By Miriam Raftery

February 15, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –A state inventory of California’ rarest animals, birds and plants reveals that Golden Eagle populations have suffered a precipitous decline statewide, including here in San Diego County.  Statewide, only 141 element occurrences (eagle nests and foraging habitat) are listed in all of California. Locally, the inventory lists just 14 “occurrences” countywide—with only one nest remaining in East County.

“So much for Bittner’s estimates,” wildlife biologist Jim Wiegand with Save the Eagles International told ECM.  David Bittner is the so-called eagle expert hired by major energy companies to justify wind projects locally. Bittner was convicted in federal court and sentenced in August to charges of failing to file data reports with the federal government and illegal taking of an eagle.

Wiegand has previously estimated local nesting sites at 10--a fraction of Bittner's recent estimates.

REPORT FAULTS CALTRANS FOR FAILING TO FOCUS ON SUSTAINABILITY

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 2, 2014 (Sacramento)—The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) is “significantly out of step with best practices in the transportation field and with the state of California’s policy expectations,” concludes an assessment review conducted by the State Smart Transportation Initiative (SSTI).   

A key criticism was the agency’s focus on a “move cars faster” culture and a draft five-year strategic plan at Caltrans that completely ignores sustainability and state legislative goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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