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Regional Roundup



Vista: City Looks to Chart Own Course, Save Money

Seeking to save millions of dollars by not having to pay prevailing state wages for the construction of a slew of planned capital improvement projects, the Vista City Council has proposed converting to a charter city.

The council voted Feb. 13 to put the issue on the June 5 ballot to change its status from a general law city and join Chula Vista, Del Mar, San Diego and San Marcos as charter cities.

“The payment of prevailing wages is likely to add millions of dollars in extra costs to these projects, costs that would not have to be incurred if Vista chooses its own destiny and becomes a charter city,” a city report stated.

The cost of the special election, between $250,000 to $300,000, would more than be made up by the enormous savings the city would capture by not having to pay higher construction wages, city officials said.

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, Mike Allen

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Chula Vista: In a Show of Power, City Rejects Plan

The Chula Vista City Council made it clear that it doesn’t want a power plant on its bay front in a formal resolution passed unanimously Feb. 20.

The South Bay Power Plant, owned by LS Power Generation of New Jersey, was expected to be decommissioned in 2010. LS wants to build a new plant next to the existing one on land leased from the San Diego Unified Port District.

In its latest missive, the city advised the port to initiate steps to decommission the plant, and not enter into any contracts with LS.

In a related matter, San Diego Gas & Electric Co., which would purchase power generated by the plant, said it doesn’t need the electricity.

, Mike Allen

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La Jolla: Nothing Square About Flat Panel Event

Executives from TV and DVD player manufacturers, movie studios and networks are gathering at the Hilton La Jolla Torrey Pines for the ninth annual DisplaySearch U.S. Flat Panel Display Conference from March 6 to 8.

Hosted by analyst DisplaySearch , an affiliate of the Port Washington, N.Y.-based market research company NPD Group , the event will focus on current and future flat-panel TV applications, including an examination of the display supply chain.

According to DisplaySearch, the 2006 event attracted more than 400 attendees.

, Andy Killion

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La Mesa: City Ordinance Puts Pedestrians First

The La Mesa City Council approved a second infill development under the mixed-use overlay zone ordinance Feb. 13.

Solana Beach developer Bradley Land Group Inc. will build a 19-unit residential/commercial project on El Cajon Boulevard between Parks Avenue and Williamsburg Lane.

The ordinance establishes requirements for walkways along the streets as well as building requirements to create pedestrian-oriented neighborhoods.

, Andy Killion

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El Cajon: City Developing Simpler Project Procedures

Developers may find that undertaking projects in downtown El Cajon could soon require less money, and effort.

Or at least that’s what city officials hope once they consider an updated downtown master plan in July 2008.

Jim Griffin, El Cajon’s community development director, said the updated plan will have an environmental impact review already completed for developers.

“We would be streamlining the normal review process,” Griffin said. “This is an important process that, once done, will encourage people to build here.”

Developers typically take on the cost of the environmental study, but Griffin said the El Cajon Community Development Corp., the city’s economic development arm, is picking up the cost.

, Katie Weeks

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National City: Market Hopes Folks Go Fishin’

National City officials, business leaders and residents turned out Feb. 20 for a ribbon cutting for Imperial Fish Market at 1903 Highland Ave.

Specializing in fresh Louisiana fish and products, the market also has a location at 894 S. Euclid Ave. in San Diego.

, Pat Broderick

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Oceanside: Build Wealth, Not Debt, Program Says

Oceanside Mayor Jim Wood proclaimed his city’s support for San Diego Saves Week, which ran from Feb. 25-March 4.

The goal is to encourage San Diegans to start saving and “Build Wealth, Not Debt,” by saving for homes, college tuition and retirement, as well as debt repayment.

The goal of the campaign, part of the America Saves Week initiative, is for year-round savings. For more info, visit San Diego Saves at www.sandiegosaves.org, which was organized by the UC Cooperative Extension, San Diego County, and which was led by a countywide coalition of nonprofits, financial institutions and government agencies in partnership with the local Military Saves campaign.

, Pat Broderick

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Poway: If District Builds Them, Students Will Come

Poway Unified School District’s Building for Success program is set to modernize and expand the oldest and most needy schools within the district.

However, Superintendent Donald Phillips said that due to increasing construction costs, the district would be unable to carry out its original plan. He said the first priority, to modernize the oldest and neediest buildings, will still be accomplished.

Secondary goals, which a Citizens Oversight Committee hopes to meet, include technology upgrades and new playground equipment.

The terms of four COC members end this month. In a Feb. 5 meeting, new members William C. Bonner, Chrissa N. Corday, Lee E. Dulgeroff and George W. Hawkins were selected.

Proposition U, a bond measure passed by voters in November 2002, provides $198 million for repairs and upgrades within Poway Unified’s School Facilities Improvement District.

, Liz Wiedemann

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Solana Beach: Miraculous Field Springing to Life

Construction has begun on a baseball field at San Dieguito County Park in Solana Beach.

The field was designed by the county of San Diego and the Miracle League of San Diego to provide recreational opportunities for children with special needs.

The nonprofit league provides children with disabilities the opportunity to play baseball in an organized league.

Funding for the $1.2 million project began with a $900,000 allocation from the Board of Supervisors in 2005 and a $300,000 donation from the Miracle League in December.

The field will be covered by a synthetic turf designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

Dan Engel, Miracle League co-founder, said the field will fill a void for many of the county’s 30,000 children with special needs. The field is scheduled to be completed this spring.

, Michelle Mowad

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Coronado: Fiber Optic Cable Project Under Way

The Coronado City Council has awarded a $234,000 contract to T & M; Electric Inc. of Santee to install more than a mile of fiber optic cable and a half-mile of conduit. Crosstown Electrical of Irwindale is a subcontractor.

The cable will connect facilities in three areas of town: the public services building near the ferry landing, the police station in the heart of town and an area on Pomona Avenue near the Coronado Yacht Club.

The council awarded the contract Feb. 6.

, Brad Graves

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Lemon Grove: Library to Get Extreme Makeover

The Lemon Grove Library will be closed for renovations through April 16. Renovations, which were scheduled to start March 1, include building a bookstore for the Friends of the Lemon Grove Library, creation of a self-checkout, the addition of two computers, installation of a second entrance and rearranging the library layout.

The branch’s book drops will remain open and the county’s mobile library will provide services from the parking lot on Mondays from 1 to 5 p.m. March 5 through April 9.

The cost of the project was not available by press time last week.

, Michelle Mowad

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San Marcos: Chamber TV Commercial Easy as NBC

The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce is planning to air its first commercial on the local NBC affiliate, KNSD 7/39, this spring.

The chamber TV commercial, scheduled to be filmed at San Marcos High School on March 3, was to include extras of all ages to play cheerleaders, band members, farmers, chefs, athletes and soldiers.

, Jessica Long

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Solana Beach: Special Election Set for March 6

Solana Beach residents are scheduled to vote March 6 on the Neighborhood Preservation Ordinance, which aims to limit home sizes.

Proposition A opponents , such as the North San Diego County Association of Realtors, Unite Solana and Real Property Rights , believe that individual property rights will be violated and the land may be devalued. Supporters, such as the group Save Old Solana, are hoping to maintain the character of the city’s neighborhoods.

If the ordinance passes, future homes or additions built in six areas west of Interstate 5 will be affected.

, Jaimy Lee

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Escondido: Firms Touting Importance of Education

Escondido employers have been tapped to spread the word about a new educational partnership to guarantee that a child will be accepted to a four-year university.

The program, unveiled last week, states that students attending one of Escondido’s five high schools may be guaranteed admission to Cal State San Marcos, if they meet basic academic criteria, maintain good attendance and participate in community events and programs.

The Escondido Chamber of Commerce is helping to promote the program by asking businesses to market it to their employees who have children approaching college-age.

, Jessica Long

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Imperial Beach: Tourism Opportunities May Abound

PKF Consulting will turn its eye toward South Bay to advise Imperial Beach City Hall officials on the potential for hotels within the community. The City Council inked a $16,000 deal with PKF on Feb. 21.

PKF maintains 10 offices throughout the United States, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

, Brad Graves

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Carlsbad: Crivello Is the Center of Attention in Deal

The Crivello Commerce Center in Carlsbad has been sold to Portland, Ore.-based Harsh Investment Properties, a privately held real estate firm, for $21 million, or approximately $185 a square foot.

The 113,000-square-foot property, devoted to research and development, will be renamed the Rutherford Corporate Center. The buildings are 60 percent occupied.

, Connie Lewis

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Encinitas: Franchise.com Generates Sale for Founder

Nancy Ghanem, founder of Franchise.com, an online franchise lead generation business in Encinitas, said last month she sold the business to Landmark Communications Inc. for an undisclosed price.

Included in the sale was the Franchise.com URL and trademark, which was owned by Ghanem’s holding company, Euro-American International Inc.

Ghanem said she would continue to operate her Franchise E-disclosure business, among others, under a new brand, NG Franchise Services Inc.

, Connie Lewis

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El Cajon: Silver Creek Is Golden in Chamber’s Eyes

The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce has named El Cajon-based Silver Creek Fine Art & Custom Framing its 2007 Business of the Year.

The 27-year-old shop, located at 120 E. Main St., includes an art gallery, offers custom framing and restoration and sells jewelry, prints, books and other items.

Lynn Endicott is a member of the board of directors of the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce and a founding member of the board of directors for El Cajon’s Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center.

, Katie Weeks

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