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News Ticker Entries for May, 2011

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Free Parking Passes for Media, City Officials at Qualcomm Revealed

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The city of San Diego will have the right to hand out free Qualcomm Stadium parking passes to members of the media and city officials, according to terms of a contract released to vendors now vying for lucrative rights to ...

Former Student Files Suit Against Thomas Jefferson School of Law

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Anna Alaburda graduated from San Diego-based Thomas Jefferson School of Law in 2008. Now, with law degree in hand, Alaburda is preparing herself for the highest-profile case of her short law-career. On May 26, Alaburda filed a class action lawsuit ...

SD Housing Values Down 38.5% from Peak

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Much of the nation has fallen back into a double-dip housing recession, according to March data released this morning (May 31) by Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller. The national index dropped 4.2% in the first quarter following a 3.6% decline in the ...

Oceanside Asks Management to Up Retirement Contributions

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Photo on left: Oceanside mayor Jim Wood On Wednesday, Oceanside city councilmembers and mayor will decide whether to change the compensation package for senior-level management positions. If approved, the changes in the compensation plan would require all non-union employees, including ...

DUI's Drying Up in San Diego County

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So far, during the Memorial Day weekend driving under the influence arrests are down in San Diego County compared to last year, states a press release from the Sheriff’s Department. From midnight Friday morning to midnight Saturday law enforcement officials ...

Ban on Lobbyist Gifts to Lawmakers Dies in Kehoe-led Appropriations Committee

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A bill proposed by state Sen. Sam Blakeslee, Republican of San Luis Obispo, to ban personal gifts made by lobbyists and their clients to state legislators died a not-so-quiet death yesterday in the Senate Appropriations Committee, chaired by San Diego ...

Fewer Married Households in San Diego County

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According to the 2010 census, the number of married households in San Diego County has fallen by nearly 2 percent during the past ten years. In 2000, married couples occupied 50.7 percent of the 994,877 households in San Diego County. ...

Trustee Asks San Diego Unified Staff to Fold on Taking Raises

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Scott Barnett, a board member for San Diego Unified School District, is asking 15,000 district teachers and other staff to take one for the team by not taking raises. Doing so, says Barnett, will allow more teachers to return to ...

Coronado Attorney Gets 10 Months for Tax Evasion

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Attorney Craig Shaber of Coronado was sentenced today to 10 months in prison for evading taxes on $3 million in income, according to the Department of Justice and Internal Revenue Service. He will have to pay $555,000 in restitution to ...

Big Bank Sues WFP, Other Brokers over MedCap Offering

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San Diego-based WFP Securities sold California residents $27.1 million worth of notes in Medical Capital Holdings, which the Securities and Exchange Commission considered a fraud, according to a suit filed April 29 by Bank of New York Mellon. WFP sold ...

One Step Closer: Lifting the Veil of Secrecy from San Diego State University's Non-Profit Foundations

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Photo: State Senator Yee Taxpayers are one step nearer to finding out more about wheeling and dealing inside the highly-secretive San Diego State University Research Foundation and its sister group, the Campanile Foundation, as a result of a compromise reached ...

Bridgepoint Stock Soars. Will It Get Bought Out?

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Stock of Bridgepoint Education, the for-profit online university that appears more like a boiler room than an educational institution, zoomed once again today, soaring almost 12% to $22.89. As pointed out by Congress and the Department of Education, Bridgepoint uses ...

On the Road Again: Congresswoman Susan Davis Hits Vienna

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Just two months after traveling to Japan, courtesy of the Japan Center for International Exchange, Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis took off for Vienna, Austria, on yet another week-long junket arranged for by the Aspen Institute. As we've previously noted, Davis ...

San Jose Nixes "State of Fiscal Emergency" but Will Study Reduction of Retirement Benefits

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The city council of San Jose this afternoon (May 24) voted 8-3 against the mayor's proposal to declare a state of fiscal emergency, but voted to study various suggestions for reducing retirement benefits, according to the San Jose Mercury News. ...

San Diego's Alvarez May Be Barred from Dells Redevelopment Votes, Or Not

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San Diego city councilman David Alvarez has been advised by the city's ethics commission he may not be able to participate in decisions regarding the so-called Dells Imperial project of the city's Southeastern Economic Development Corporation, because he owns a ...

The County's Donors

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County supervisor Pam Slater Price wants to donate $123,000 in Neighborhood Reinvestment Program grants to a dozen community groups located in her district. And her colleague, Ron Roberts, would like to spread $257,000 around to his community. During the past ...

Taxpayers Association Hires Ex-EdVoice Hand to Draw "Non-Partisan" Redistricting Maps

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San Diego's city council redistricting free-for-all has been joined by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, long a stalwart of the city's big business establishment. “To date there has been plenty of partisan bickering and seemingly little progress in coming ...

The Bike-Friendly Bus

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Residents of Uptown oppose the Mid-City Rapid Bus project for many reasons, citing the negative impacts it will have on traffic, and the trash and vandalism the project will bring to the community. And now, some residents claim SANDAG is ...

In Assessing Chargers Options, Do Cost Comparisons

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The propaganda machine behind a taxpayer-financed new Chargers stadium is picking up steam, and looking more ridiculous. This morning (May 21) the Union-Tribune leads with a story about a study claiming that the City's annual operating loss at Qualcomm Stadium ...

Society Writer Burl Stiff Dead at 83

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An era has passed. Burl Stiff, longtime society writer for the Union-Tribune, died this morning (May 20) at White Sands of La Jolla Retirement Community, where he had been in frail health for some time. He would have been 84 ...

California Center for the Arts Needs Money

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On Wednesday, the Escondido City Council will consider giving a $270,000 cash advance to the California Center of Arts to help pay salaries and other operating expenses. "The Center...[has] made significant strides to raise revenues both through donations and programming," ...

April Local Unemployment Drops Below 10%

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The San Diego unemployment rate in April dropped to 9.8% from 10.2% in March and 10.3% a year earlier, according to the California Employment Development Department. The county gained 2,400 nonfarm jobs between March and April, and 13,400 over the ...

Port to Pay $195,000 to New York City Event Booker to Gin Up Broadway Pavilion Business

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As we reported earlier today in our column Under the Radar, the fall-off in cruise business has forced the Port of San Diego to fill its brand-new cruise ship terminal on Broadway Pier with what critics say is a motley ...

Here's a Small Victory for H-1B Opponents

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The Department of Justice this week reached a settlement with a New Jersey computer programming services company that advertised that it had a preference for H-1B information technologists. The H-1B program brings in thousands of foreigners each year, mainly for ...

Republican Party Calls for Redistricting Commissioner's Resignation

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Chairman of San Diego's Republican Party Tony Krvaric wants Carlos Marquez to resign from the redistricting commission. He says Marquez is now a resident of Los Angeles and should not participate in redrawing San Diego's council district. "A Los Angeles ...

New Landslide Disaster Map Predicts Peril

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This morning the California Geological Survey released a new map of potential landslide areas across the state. According to an accompanying news release, about 57,000 so-called deep landslides are shown on the map, and more can be expected due to ...

Councilmember Gloria Responds to Community's Concerns Over Mid-City Rapid

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Councilmember Todd Gloria's office says the councilmember understands the community's concerns over the Mid-City Rapid Bus project and he continues to work with SANDAG to mitigate any negative impacts to the community. Katie Keach, Gloria's Deputy Chief of Staff, says ...

Uptown Thrown Under the Mid-City Rapid Bus

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On May 10, members of the Hillcrest Town Council voted in opposition of SANDAG's Mid-City Rapid Bus project, a new ten-mile bus route between San Diego State University and downtown. The vote adds to the growing list of community groups ...

Tom Gores Takeover of Detroit Pistons Inches Closer; Terms Still Secret

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As the deal for Tom Gores and his Beverly Hills-based Platinum Equity to buy the Detroit Pistons basketball team creeps closer to closing, the Detroit News is reporting today that seller Karen Davidson may retain some kind of interest in ...

San Diego Does Not Have the Navy's Approval for Managed Competition at Miramar Landfill

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After wasting nearly one year and more than $500,000 trying to sell the Miramar Landfill, the City is now looking for a private company to take over operations at the city dump. But there is one problem; the Navy, which ...

The Terminator's Lawyer Tried to Intimidate the Reader, Too

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Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the machine gunner/actor, has been caught with his pants down. He has admitted being the father of a child born to a long-time staffer more than ten years ago. Schwarzenegger's wife has left him. His long-time ...

Two Belgians Indicted for Smuggling Aircraft Parts to Iran

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A federal grand jury sitting in San Diego has handed up a superseding indictment charging Willy A.E. De Greef and Frederic Roland Nicolas Depelchin, both Belgians, of smuggling aircraft parts to Iran. According to the U.S. attorney's office, the pair ...

Imperial Beach and Medical Marijuana

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Hundreds of residents of Imperial Beach have sent letters to the city, demanding that the city council lift the moratorium on medical-marijuana dispensaries. During a meeting in December, the council asked city staff to return with an ordinance banning dispensaries. ...

Filner For Mayor?

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The Imperial Valley Press reports that Congressman Bob Filner is considering running for Mayor of San Diego. At a town hall meeting in El Centro on Monday, Filner said that he is weighing his options and expects to announce his ...

Appeals Court Rules Sacramento County Must Reveal Pension Names and Numbers; Is San Diego Next?

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California's 3rd District Court of Appeal has ruled that the county of Sacramento must disclose the names and benefits of 8500 retirees. The court ruled in favor of the Sacramento Bee, which last April sued the Sacramento retirement system under ...

The City's Parking Meter Problem

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“All parking violators were well aware of the debt to the City,” said San Diego’s City Treasurer, Gail Granewich during Monday’s city council meeting. Granewich and manager of the revenue collections department, DeeDee Alari, appeared before the council to respond ...

Bill to Cut Benefits of Felonious Public Employees Fails in Committee. Did Union Bucks Play a Role?

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Earlier this month, the California State Senate Committee on Public Employment and Retirement failed to approve a proposal to cut off pension benefits to any public employee convicted of a felony arising out of his or her professional duties. Two ...

Defense Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribery

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Jesse Denome, owner of JD Machine Tech, a San Diego defense contractor, pleaded guilty today (May 16) to bribery and filing a false tax return. According to court documents, in 2004 and 2005 Denome provided an unnamed government official at ...

Ponzi Schemer Gets One of Longest S.D. White-Collar Sentences

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Thanh-Viet (Jeremy) Cao, a career criminal who was found guilty of running a massive Ponzi scheme last December, was sentenced today (May 16) to 360 months in federal prison -- one of the longest white-collar crime sentences in the Southern ...

SEC Halts Allegedly Fraudulent Encinitas Trading Scheme

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The Securities and Exchange Commission today (May 16) filed an emergency enforcement action to halt an allegedly fraudulent trading scheme conducted by John Clement of Encinitas. Clement, who did day trading from his home, falsely promised returns of 1% to ...

San Diego Airport Authority Gives Free Parking to Legislators

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Anyone who's had trouble parking at Lindbergh Field during the latest construction binge there will no doubt envy local state legislators. A lobbying disclosure statement filed April 29 by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, covering the first quarter ...

Missing Meter Money

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San Diego’s city councilmembers will meet at 2pm today to discuss the $2.9 million in parking meter revenues that was lost due to clerical errors and untrained employees. City Auditor Eduardo Luna found the missing cash while auditing the City ...

City Well is Running Dry

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During the past two years, the City has spent $85,000 on five-gallon water dispensers. For next fiscal year, in his 2012 budget, the mayor set aside $54,084 for water dispensers. However, the budget for water dispensers may run dry. On ...

Romo Charged with Fraud Again

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A federal grand jury in Sacramento on Friday (May 13) returned a 12-point indictment charging Folsom developer David Romo with mail and wire fraud and money laundering, according to the Sacramento Business Journal. The indictment states that Romo defrauded investors ...

Palomar Mountain State Park on Closure Hit-List

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The California Department of Parks and Recreation announced this morning it is planning to close "up to" 70 of its 278 parks, including Palomar Mountain and Salton Sea state recreation area, due to budget cuts. “We regret closing any park,” ...

Plescia, Ducheny, and Garcia to Lose $128,109 Taxpayer-funded Jobs Under Brown Proposal

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Gov. Jerry Brown will propose eliminating the California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board as part of his continuing effort to close the state's yawning $15.4 billion deficit, the Associated Press is reporting. That means the GOP's George Plescia and Democrat Denise ...

Downtown Redevelopment Really Does Work...

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Redevelopment projects in downtown resulted in $44 million more than was spent on city services in 2010, says a recent financial analysis from Keyser Marston Associates. The study, paid for by Centre City Development Corporation, also found that redevelopment in ...

Who's Saying What Behind the Scenes at San Diego's Redistricting Commission

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The stakes are high over at the San Diego Redistricting commission, which is busy drawing up brand new lines for the city's eight traditional city council districts, plus a new one authorized by voters when they approved the city's so-called ...

Consumer Inflation Up 0.4% in April. Worker Earnings Fall

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Consumer prices surged 0.4% in April, as higher gasoline prices accounted for more than half the increase, according to government figures released today (May 13). Consumer prices have now risen 3.2% over the past year. As recently as November, the ...

Save IB Goes Offline

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After nearly five years of running saveib.com, webmaster Ed Kravitz is shutting down the Imperial Beach political watchdog website. Since launching the site in September 2006, Kravitz has criticized Imperial Beach elected officials and city staff to show, what he ...

Navy F-18 Pilot Claims He Zapped His Mind on Video Game

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Online CourthouseNews.com is reporting that a Navy pilot has filed suit alleging that the Sony Playstation 3 video game "Oblivion: The Elder Scrolls IV" cost him his flight status when the game's strobe-like effects gave him "a grand mal seizure ...

Dumanis Seeks Justice

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San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is out for “justice” in former-Governor Schwarzenegger’s commutation of Esteban Nunez during his final day in office. In 2010 Nunez pled guilty to voluntary manslaughter and assault with a deadly weapon during a ...

Accused San Diego Cops Taking Their Licks on RateMyCop.com

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Some users over at RateMyCop.com, a national website that bills itself "a powerful tool" for "monitoring police performance," have been checking in with their unvarnished opinions of the at least nine San Diego cops reportedly being investigated for a variety ...

City Attorney Goldsmith Is Mad About Drinking and Driving

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With a projected $73.2 million deficit for next fiscal year, every city department in San Diego is at risk of having its budget slashed. But there is one department that will see an increase in the 2012 budget: the city ...

Now Government Will Back Fewer SD Mortgages. Could Hurt Housing Significantly

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A story in today's (May 11) New York Times tells how expensive housing markets such as San Diego will lose backing of the federal government in changes expected to take effect September 30. For the last three years, federal agencies ...

In San Diego, Rent, Don't Buy, Say Stats

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The New York Times has a piece today (May 10) stating that San Diego home prices are still "bubbly." Thus, renting a home is a better option than buying, according to the Times. This is based on the rent ratio, ...

UCSD Launches "Lead The Way"

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On May 11, UCSD’s school of medicine is launching the “Lead the Way” campaign, a new HIV-testing campaign funded by the National Institute of Health. The goal of the program: test all adults living in the 92103 and 92104 zip ...

Small-Business Confidence Drops to Seven-Month Low

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The optimism index of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) fell to 91.9 in April, the lowest reading in seven months. The NFIB represents small businesses. Hiring plans among small business owners declined in the month. Small companies want ...

Escondido Considers Cuts to Recreation

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Escondido’s financial officials are searching for ways to fill the $2.9 million gap for fiscal year 2011. Their search appears to be focused on the recreation department. During the May 11 city council meeting, financial director Gil Rojas will present ...

For GOP State Senator, Redevelopment Subsidies Begin at Home

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The L.A. Times reported today that a key foe of Gov. Jerry Brown's move to abolish the state's redevelopment agencies is married to a consultant for developer Ed Roski Jr., the City of Industry multi-millionaire. Roski is counting on fat ...

Grim Housing News. San Diego No Exception. Double Dip?

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Home values around the nation suffered their biggest drop since recessionary 2008 in this year's first quarter, according to Zillow in a report released today (May 9). First quarter 2011 home values nationally fell 3% from the fourth quarter and ...

The "Un-Whaling" of JJ

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On May 15, the 15-foot bronze sculpture of JJ, an orphaned baby Gray Whale that was nursed back to health by trainers at Sea World in 1997, will be unveiled during a fundraiser for the Friends of La Jolla Shores ...

UCSD's Higher Surf to Beget Higher Tuition?

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A house in the backwoods of Merced is a lot cheaper than one overlooking the surf in La Jolla, so why should tuition at their respective University of California campuses be the same? So argues UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. ...

Tequila for the masses at UCSD tomorrow

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Over the years the prestigious Institute of the Americas on the campus of UCSD has hosted its share of VIPs, including eleven Latin American presidents. But tomorrow the politically well-connected think thank--which until recently was run by ex-Clinton administration diplomat ...

Defending Campaign Finance Laws

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On Tuesday, San Diego city councilmembers will decide whether to pay law firm Schwartz, Semerdjian, Ballard, and Cauley, an additional $75,000 for legal representation in the first amendment lawsuit filed by former city council candidate for District 1, Phil Thalheimer. ...

H-1B Visas Drop Sharply

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Today's Wall Street Journal (May 7-8) notes that the controversial H-1B visa program has attracted about 50% fewer applicants this year and 80% fewer than during the same period of 2009. In the year through the end of April 2011, ...

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