Eye on the Coast

Supers’ grants program aids grass roots groups

Funds used locally
Lottsa pro and con on the $2 mil. community grants program each supe receives as discretionary funds to disperse in their areas. Opponents call it a slush fund. Can’t dispute that but it depends on how it is used. Unlike congressional earmarks that go to phony projects, those in Supe Pam Slater-Price’s 3rd District are parceled out to organizations like Rotary, Chambers of Commerce, historical societies and arts and music organizations that serve the community top to bottom. These are tax $$$$ at work on a grass roots level. Better expenditures than those going to projects that are traditionally late and over budget.
Was report suppressed?
Kevin Cummins, taxpayers association prexy, has asked council if traffic report prepared by Austin Foust prior to the 2006 election was shelved even though it was ready so as not to influence election results. The document that cost 100 grand was reported to be flawed and not acceptable to the traffic commission. Austin Foust recently was given a $110 thousand buck contract to do (you guessed it) a traffic study with only Councilwoman Teresa Barth voting nay.
Hard to believe
Vista Mayor Morris Vance has reported that his city’s $55.3 mil., state-of-the-art civic center complex under construction is under budget and on schedule. Wow! The u-shaped center will include council chambers, administrative offices and kitchen facilities in two buildings joined by a covered pedestrian bridge. Dough is coming from a sales tax increase OK’d by voters in 2006. Current center was an old school that was no longer used.
Noble project
Kudos to Encinitas Lions Club that recently completed its 13th annual surfing exercise for the area’s visually impaired and blind folks. Co-sponsors were Swami’s Surfing Association and San Diego Surfing Academy. The Lions Club has a year-round program that collects unused eyeglasses to distribute to those in need.
Smart meters
San Diego Gas & Electric has been installing “smart meters” in the local area. These are reported to better track energy use and make it easier for folks to read and understand consumption. They also provide two-way communication between the customer and the company. The conversion will be completed by 2011.
Plastic will decompose
According to an Associated Press report plastic floating around in the ocean does decompose, however, it releases toxic chemicals that disrupt the function of hormones in marine life. The report was based on findings by a chemist at Niho Univerdity in Chibo, Japan.
No pension action
For the time being the proposed 25 percent boost in pension benefits for Metropolitan Water District employees has been put on the shelf. When the hike was announced it created heated opposition particularly from some folks who were in unemployment lines and at food banks. Cost of the increase was reported to be in excess of $70 mil. annually.
Chargers eye Escondido
The Southbay, Port of San Diego and Oceanside have been assessed by the Chargers as a future home and now it’s Escondido’s turn. The team is looking becuz it sez Qualcomm is old and too small. Best guess is after they have looked at all possible sites in the county, Chargers’ owner Alex Spanos will take the team to the City of Industry, 18 miles east of downtown L.A. where his pal, super rich developer Ed Roski, wants to build a state-of-the-art green stadium that will seat 70,000 plus fans if he can entice a pro team. Legislation in Sacto was shelved recently that would ban the Chargers or any other Cal team from relocating within the state.
New management
North County Transit District’s coastal route 101 now is under management of First Transit Inc. of Cincinnati as a cost-saving measure. The move is part of NCTD’s program to outsource its transportation and maintenance operations.
Typical bureaucratic maneuver
Folks who showed up recently for court appointments found the courthouses closed with a door hanger saying “closed for the day.” Some had taken off from work and others drove miles and miles. Everyone was inconvenienced. Word is advanced announcement on the closure was made. Question is: When? How?
Media relations specialist Jill Lloyd sez contestants are coming from everywhere to compete in the first “Big Squeeze” accordion fest scheduled Oct. 11 at the Orange County Fairground’s Market Place in Costa Mesa … Residents have filed suit in protest of La Costa Town Square in C’bad that was recently OK’d for construction by City Council … County supes have extended a moratorium for 10 months on some medical pot dispensaries in the county … Scream Zone at the County Fairgrounds is said to be a frightful experience Thursday through Sunday nites through Halloween … Solbeach and San Diego Coastal Chambers of Commerce will have a wine and food event at the Del Mar Hilton on Oct. 8 … Encinitas Parks & Rec is presenting a Feeling Fit fest Oct. 4 at Leo Mullen Sports Park opposite Ranch Shopping Center … Eight members of Solbeach Art Assn. are showcasing their fine arts work at City Hall gallery … A large number of protestors recently disrupted a UC board of regents meeting objecting to proposed tuition hikes scheduled next year … A high-speed train between Anaheim and Las Vegas has received $45 mil. in fed funds and raises the question won’t it provide stiff competition for So Cal casinos that employ thousands of workers and dump millions of bux into the economy?
Hasta la Vista