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Stories by Dave Rice

SDG&E about to go Robin Hood

Utility to squeeze more money out of 75% of their customers

A proposed decision issued Wednesday (July 1) from the California Public Utilities Commission won't do much to quiet critics who argue that changes to San Diego Gas & Electric rate schedules will hurt low-income consumers ...

That clown crank is something

Home invasion in El Cajon tied to meth bust

An attempted home-invasion robbery on Monday (June 29) resulted in the shooting of a man in El Cajon. Sheriff's deputies said that a preliminary investigation suggests the robbery was the culmination of a dispute over ...

Bugs' deaths tell a story

Insects tracked to gauge water quality

Volunteers and staff with San Diego Coastkeeper gathered along Rose Creek on Saturday morning (June 28) to gather insect specimens from the creek's water. "Basically, we're collecting a sample of bugs that live in the ...

Gloved perv popped

El Cajon police arrest suspected indecent intruder

Police in El Cajon reported the arrest of a 31-year-old transient for residential burglary and indecent exposure on Thursday afternoon (June 25). Last Sunday (June 21), officers responded to a call originating on the 500 ...

Outdoor living in Santa Ysabel

A family-fun compound

Beds: 4 Baths: 3 Current Owner: David Batchelder Asking Price: $17,500,000 Los Robles Ranch is a private 720-acre estate built in 2006 near Santa Ysabel, a small rural community situated between Ramona and Julian. The ...

Too hot for human smuggling

Mexican released from car trunk, then arrested, in Pine Valley

Two U.S. citizens were arrested Sunday after Border Patrol agents found an undocumented 18-year-old Mexican national locked in the trunk of their Toyota Camry parked along the shoulder of Interstate 8 east of Pine Valley. ...

More power, more pollution

Air-quality board allows for sulfur oxide increase from Pio Pico

The San Diego County Air Pollution Control Board moved on Wednesday (June 17) to allow the controversial new Pio Pico gas-fired power plant in Otay Mesa to increase periodic sulfur oxide emissions by as much ...

This underbelly isn't pork

Restaurants' illegal salary practices in the daylight

Wage theft is a pervasive problem in the local restaurant industry, according to "Shorted,” a report released Tuesday (June 16) by San Diego State University Department of Sociology and the Center on Policy Initiatives. More ...

No boat, no problems...or so they thought

Undocumented Mexicans caught swimming across border

Customs and Border Patrol officials apprehended three men early Monday morning (June 15) after they attempted an ocean swim across the border. According to a release, the trio was observed shortly after midnight paddling north ...

Horses**t in the air at climate-change rally

Paul Revere and his steed bring message of impending World War CO2

A national day of action calling for "the urgent WWII-scale national mobilization we need to prevent catastrophic climate disruption" kicked off early, with a midnight rally in Balboa Park early Sunday morning, June 14. The ...

Low, low, low

Trio used obituaries to obtain burglary targets

Three suspects have been arrested following a five-month string of burglaries across the county where thieves targeted individuals who were attending a family member's funeral. According to a report from El Cajon police lieutenant Frank ...

So, you want to be a baseball star?

El Cajon pitcher says he was sold outrageous life insurance policy

A former Padres pitcher and San Diego native has filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles, claiming that Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance fraudulently duped him into signing up for a life-insurance policy that had a $600,000 ...

La Jolla perfection for between $9,990,000 and $11,449,000

Beds: 5 Baths: 7 Current Owners: Perin and Sam Parabia List Price: $11,449,000 “Perched high atop a hill, overlooking the beautiful blue Pacific Ocean and the highly coveted La Jolla Country Club neighborhood, sits the ...

Residents pooh-pooh Surfrider erosion theory

Court case over Leucadia staircase heads to state supreme court

An Encinitas bluff tour organized by Surfrider San Diego drew a host of media and disgruntled oceanfront homeowners to Grandview Beach on Monday afternoon (June 8). Surfrider representatives had organized the tour to tout their ...

Thirty lashes with a weed whacker

Suspected serial landscaper truck bandits apprehended

Three suspects were arrested Thursday morning (June 4) in connection with a rash of vehicle burglaries targeting landscape workers, sheriff's deputies are reporting. According to detective Mark Haynesworth, deputies were dispatched to the site of ...

No water problem — it's a no-water problem

Survey says San Diegans are more aware of it than last year

The implications of California's mega-drought seem to finally be setting in. A study released Wednesday (June 3) by the Public Policy Institute of California indicates more than twice as many residents (36 percent in San ...

Can SDG&E be forced to do anything?

Dissent among public utilities commissioners on proposed gas-fired power plant

An official decision approving a controversial new gas-fired power plant in Carlsbad has been issued by the California Public Utilities Commission. As promised, commissioner Catherine J.K. Sandoval, who cast the lone vote against approval, appended ...

Unceremoniously dumped

Latest lawsuit to hit Jamul casino comes from Jamul tribal members

A long-controversial casino under construction in Jamul has found a new set of opponents: members of the tribe building it. Local residents have been fighting against the casino for over a decade. More recent attempts ...

Climate-change education urged

"Without direct intervention, matters will only become worse.”

The San Diego Unified Council of PTAs celebrated Tuesday, May 26, following a lengthy effort to get the statewide gathering of parent-teacher associations to adopt language acknowledging the existence of human-driven climate change and urging ...

No! to NAFTA on steroids

Environmentalists attempt to reach congressman Scott Peters

A crowd of about 50 protesters gathered in La Jolla on Wednesday afternoon (May 27) to catch the ear of congressman Scott Peters. The group simultaneously called Peters "a champion for environmental justice" while decrying ...

Asking $15,900,000 (we did renovations)

A virtually hidden horse pasture, lagoon, and vineyard

Beds: 6 Baths: 8 Current Owners: James & Melanie Burkhart List Price: $15,900,000 The tony enclave of Rancho Santa Fe is well established as one of San Diego’s priciest neighborhoods. Homes in the area sold ...

Wheels of regress

City attorney's office scores Walmart settlement — nothing for consumers!

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. has agreed to pay $820,000 in fines and legal fees to the City of San Diego and two other California counties to settle a consumer protection suit. San Diego, along with the ...

A gas-fired power plant for Carlsbad

Utilities commissioner sides with SDG&E, trumps judge's recommendation

The California Public Utilities Commission voted 4-1 Thursday morning (May 21) to approve a slightly scaled-down version of a gas-fired power plant proposed for construction along the Carlsbad coast. "This decision is just more of ...

Grain thief caught

Cops witness felon backing up truck at Twisted Manzanita

An El Cajon man is under arrest after being caught stealing grain from the Santee headquarters of Twisted Manzanita Ales, a noted East County microbrewery/distillery. Twisted Manzanita had previously reported four separate thefts of spent ...

Unafraid of death, in fear of pain

Lawsuit nudges support for End of Life Option Act

A lawsuit filed in a San Diego court last week seeks confirmation of the belief that existing state law and the constitution of California provide legal cover for doctors who assist terminally ill patients in ...

How not to conduct your armed robbery

Santee man brandishes weapon, tosses it, and is caught with knife

A Santee man was apprehended Friday afternoon, May 15, after robbing a Target store and attempting to flee by bicycle, sheriff's deputies reported. According to a report from Sgt. Tim Chantler, a suspect identified as ...

More bikeways or more highways?

SANDAG's new regional transit plan has its critics

The San Diego Association of Governments began a series of workshops this week to roll out its new, revised regional transit plan, dubbed San Diego Forward. The previous plan was scrapped following lawsuits from environmental ...

Demand for dignity at the border

Allegations of rough language, treatment by border guards

Activists with the Southern Border Communities Coalition gathered outside the northern terminus of the San Ysidro pedestrian border Wednesday afternoon, May 13, in an effort to inform crossers of their rights and offer assistance to ...

Trouble for the big dog

Qualcomm thrown bone of contention regarding pet-tracking patents

San Diego–based tech giant Qualcomm stands accused of defrauding the owner of patents related to GPS-aided pet-trackers it produces under a subsidiary, according to a lawsuit filed last week in a Nevada federal court. In ...

Frazee’s crazee Point Loma estate

If an intensely private gated estate is your thing, bust out the wallet.

Inbred sex, drugs, and I want my money back

More lawsuits claim abuse of orcas at SeaWorld

Amusement-park operator SeaWorld has been hit with another class-action suit. This time, plaintiffs claim the park hides practices of drugging its orcas, forced inbreeding, food deprivation, and confinement in inadequately sized pens from customers who ...

Saltier than average environmentalists

The argument against increased reliance on desalination

As California's drought continues to intensify, coastal cities are looking to the ocean as a potential means of supplementing a dwindling reserve of fresh water. Construction of what's being billed as the largest desalination plant ...

Woman bites Border Patrol agent

Because he got in her way when she tried to walk into the U.S. among cars

A woman is in custody after allegedly biting a Border Patrol officer who had told her she couldn't cross the border in San Ysidro's vehicle entry lanes on foot, Customs and Border Protection officials are ...

Utilities commission flunks another smell test

"[He] said, 'We need to give them a gas plant,' all the while ignoring the record."

Clean energy activists gathered in Solana Beach on Tuesday morning (May 5) to protest a proposal from San Diego Gas & Electric and Texas-based NRG Energy to build a new gas-fired power plant along the ...

Medical Marijuana, Inc., sued

Former boardmembers of pot business claim fraud in sale of company

The current owners of the country's first publicly traded medical marijuana business utilized fraud and deception to gain control of the company, a pair of former boardmembers claim in a lawsuit filed last week. According ...

Taxicabs unlimited for San Diego

Environmental concerns alleged by permit holders don't convince the judge

On Tuesday, April 28, a judge in San Diego Superior Court was not swayed by lawyers hired by the city's taxicab industry, who sought an injunction to stop Metropolitan Transit System from permitting more taxis ...

Dude, where’s my yacht?

Current Owner: Varasano Family Trust Bedrooms: 4 Baths: 5 List Price: $10,998,000 “Bring your yacht home,” invites a listing pitch for the waterfront estate at 979 Scott Street in Point Loma’s La Playa neighborhood. In ...

At least Lorena is trying

Assembly bill would require hearings before raises for utility company execs

A bill that seeks to require state oversight on utility executive bonuses is working its way through the Sacramento legislature. Assembly Bill 1266, introduced by local assemblywoman and onetime labor leader Lorena Gonzalez, would require ...

SeaWorld's leased land is their land

"[A] further step toward the ability of corporations to privatize public parks."

The public has no right to stage protests on park land leased to SeaWorld in Mission Bay, an appellate court ruled last week. A lawyer representing a handful of protesters is calling the judgment “one ...

Utilities on the trail to tiers

Electricity rate spikes move closer to reality

An administrative law judge for the California Public Utilities Commission has issued a proposed decision on a push by utility companies, including San Diego Gas & Electric, for a rate hike for lower-tier customers. If ...

The party house next door

Cities, state debate residential vacation rentals

While local cities continue to seek regulations on short-term vacation rentals, a bill making its way to the state legislature may provide the teeth needed for effective enforcement. Unless, that is, web businesses like Airbnb ...

Mission Bay? Eww

Once a natural wetland, now an aquatic park of biological pollution

Long known as False Bay, the former marshlands were dredged between the 1940s and 1960s to create Mission Bay, the nation’s largest man-made aquatic park, much of it islands and peninsulas. While not scarred by ...

Port District parking cost to rise

PR spin touts "modern, user-friendly interface to visitors" — Yay!

The price to park is set to spike across San Diego's bay front, following approval last week by the Port of San Diego of the purchase and installation of 520 solar-powered "smart meters" and a ...

Jamul, the state's street-pizzeria

Study says drought may be motivating animals to cross roads

The rural East County community of Jamul has garnered some statewide attention: the stretch of Highway 94 that runs from Rancho San Diego east toward Dulzura was ranked by researchers at UC Davis as one ...

Living on the edge with no living wage

Another day of action observed, another day of inaction from politicos

Activists pushing for a higher minimum wage through the labor-backed Fight for 15 campaign staged their biggest protest yet on Wednesday. Starting early on the morning of April 15, the protest — timed to coincide ...

Nuclear plant could produce fresh water, say scientists

Huge hit to the budget, but it could end California drought problem

A father-son team of scientists writing for the right-leaning news site WorldNetDaily have determined a solution for fighting California's extreme drought. According to Art Robinson, a UC San Diego graduate and former staffer before founding ...

Which bay is dirtier? San Diego or Mission?

San Diego’s big bay has been the hub of travel and commerce in the region since Western civilization arrived in California. It’s been fronted by heavy industry for over a century. It hosts four major ...

Live behind 14-foot walnut doors in Carmel Valley

Current Owner: Glenn Abadir Bedrooms: 5 Baths: 8 List Price: $16,900,000 The luxury estate at 5131 Rancho Del Mar Trail in northern San Diego’s Carmel Valley was completed in 2011, following more than four years ...

Thanks for nothin', Uncle Coltin

Couple takes insurance-scam advice from family member — everyone busted

A scheme to extract illegal cash from an insurance company has a San Diego couple facing insurance fraud charges and resulted in the arrest of the husband's Lake Elsinore uncle, the California Department of Insurance ...

Wah. What about last year’s water savings?

Local water authority objects to governor’s conservation plan

The San Diego County Water Authority is crying foul when it comes to implementation of water-use reductions called for statewide last week by governor Jerry Brown. "The Water Authority strongly supports additional conservation and the ...

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