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Local News March 27th, 2008

Michael Covert, President and CEO of PPH gets Bonus of $142,034.15

At an annual CEO evaluation meeting Monday evening, Palomar Pomerado Health trustees awarded PPH president and CEO Michael Covert a bonus of 26% of his current salary, which translated to $142,034.15. In addition, his contract calls for an annual pay increase of 5% so his base salary went from $528,008 to $554,408.40. Combined, his income is now $696,442.55.

According to Bruce Krider, Chairman of PPH, the bonus was calculated based on a number of different factors. The first test was based on “specific balance score card goals”: that was mapped out earlier. The second part of the evaluation was based on 75 different performance criteria, including medical staff relations, community relations, judgment . . and many other areas.

Woman Shot by Off-duty Officer Named

Sources report that 27-year old Rachel Silva is the woman who was shot by an off-duty San Diego police officer in Oceanside last week.

She and her 8-year-old son were wounded in the confrontation with the officer after a roadway altercation ended up in the parking lot of a Lowe's home improvement store on Old Grove Road near state Route 76. Police have statements from the officer, Frank White, and the son of Silva. Silva has thus far refused to give a statement to authorities.

Records with the state Department of Motor Vehicles show Silva's driver's license has been suspended or revoked. She has one misdemeanor drunken-driving conviction and was arrested on a second DUI charge in January, according the records.

It was also learned that White’s wife was with him at the time of the shooting and that she is a dispatcher for the Carlsbad Police Department. White, 28, has been placed on paid administrative leave while the incident is investigated. The couple live in Oceanside.

The woman, who police said is married to a member of the military, lives at Camp Pendleton, has joint legal custody of her son, according to a divorce file from a previous marriage.

Horn Hopes To Save Guejito Ranch

The 21,000-acre Rancho Guejito, east of Escondido, should become a federal, state and local park. So says County Supervisor Bill Horn. And, he adds, even if that might mean taking the property by eminent domain.

Horn, generally known for pro-development views, said recently he will soon seek $100 million from the federal government, $50 million from the state and $35 million from the county to be put toward acquiring Guejito – even though a representative of the owners said that they have no intention of selling and that he was “stunned by the audacity” of Horn's statements.

Eminent domain is the power of a government to take private property for public use with payment of compensation to the owner.

Rancho Guejito is the largest piece of privately owned, undeveloped land in the county and the last remaining Mexican land grant in the state. At about 33 square miles, it is just a bit smaller than Cuyamaca Rancho State Park in the East County.

Environmentalists have called the land the single most important piece of property in the area because of its diverse ecological and biological offerings. The ranch has the largest concentration in the United States of rare Engelmann oak trees, as well as a kangaroo rat population and rare birds. Mountain lions also have been sighted over the years.

Two years ago the owners of the land indicated they wanted to develop the property and mentioned the possibility of a medical school research campus as well as housing, business development, recreation and other uses.

Horn said he plans to travel to Washington, D.C., next month with Dan Silver, executive director of the Endangered Habitats League, to lobby federal leaders to help fund acquisition of the property.

One of the issues that arises is the family who owns the property, through their attorney, has approached Escondido about annexation. Annexation would about double the size of Escondido and would most likely subject the property to less-stringent zoning regulations than if it remained in the unincorporated part of the county.

The Temecula attorney, Hank Rupp, represents the Rodney Co., headed by New York City resident Theodate Coates, the daughter of Philadelphia billionaire Benjamin Coates, who bought Guejito for $10 million in 1974 and owned it for 30 years until his death in 2004.

However, according to Escondido City Manager Clay Phillips, there has been no action and virtually no discussion between Escondido and Rupp about the proposal. Rupp went on to say the family is mapping surveying the property to determine how much value there would be to the property if it were to be developed.

Just one of many scenic views of Rancho Guejito

Oceanside Approves $150,000 for July 4 Celebration

The city of Oceanside will spend more than $150,000 – possibly as much as $500,000 – on a Fourth of July celebration this year.

In prior years, a nonprofit downtown revitalization group hosted a Fourth of July street fair and carnival. Revenues from this event covered the cost of a popular fireworks show.

The City Council canceled the street fair and carnival this year, mostly because of concerns over crowd control. Initially, they budgeted $50,000 to keep the fireworks show. MainStreet still plans to provide food and entertainment at selected beachfront sites along The Strand.

Last week, the council allocated an additional $100,000 – $50,000 to reimburse MainStreet Oceanside for its expenses and $50,000 to pay for trash pickup and other costs that could be billed directly to the city.

City Manager Peter Weiss acknowledged that's $150,000 more than the city has previously spent on Independence Day festivities.

Councilwoman Esther Sanchez cast the lone vote against the expenditure, saying the city could ill afford it when it could be facing a $2 million budget shortfall in the fiscal year beginning July 1.

“Oceanside is a military town,” and “we're all patriotic,” she said. “I have real concerns about spending $500,000 for one day in a year when we have to cut $2 million from the budget next year.”

Although he voted to spend the money on the holiday festivities, Mayor Jim Wood said Oceanside citizens are paying for an event that attracts thousands of outsiders. Wood said he is willing to hold the celebration for one more year.
About 211,000 people – more than the 185,000 population of Oceanside – visited the beach the past Fourth of July and taxed the Police Department's capabilities, police Chief Frank McCoy has said.

More Delays on Oceanside Airport Decision

The Oceanside City Council decided last week to defer negotiations with one of three private companies bidding to run Oceanside Municipal Airport.

Oceanside city staff had recommended that the council authorize negotiating with Airport Property Ventures of Los Angeles to operate the airport. That company proposed a 50-year lease of the city-owned airport, which is at the west end of the San Luis Rey Valley.

Gurley said the city would get $10 million in rent over the first 25 years. Other bidders are American Airport Corp. of Santa Monica and CMTS of Los Angeles.

Kiwanis Convention Ailments in Reno Traced to Norovirus

The suspected cause of the illness experienced by Kiwanis convention attendees in August of last year was norovirus.

Norovirus can be transmitted from eating contaminated food directly or through person-to-person contact with someone who has been infected. Due to issues such as timing and distance, the Washoe County District Health Department (Nevada) were able to collect only a small number of specimens for laboratory testing, one of which was positive for norovirus. Other components of the investigation did not implicate a particular function or food item as being the source of infection.

Therefore, it is likely that the source of infection was two index cases (i.e., the people with the earliest onset of symptoms) who may have acquired their infection prior to arrival in Reno and transmitted it to others once they were here.

Washington Avenue Closure

The City of Escondido will close Washington Avenue between Citrus Avenue and Hayward Place to through traffic from April 1 until July 1, 2008. Residents and emergency vehicles will be allowed to enter. Traffic will be rerouted to El Norte Parkway through Citrus & Valley Parkway.

The road closure is needed to accommodate the final improvements (storm drains, paving, etc.) associated with the Shea Homes development at Washington & El Norte Parkway.

Detour signs will be posted advising motorists and pedestrians of alternate routes around the area. Motorists should drive with caution, slow down in work zones, and never enter a roadway that has been blocked with barriers or cones.

Residents with questions or comments may contact the City of Escondido's Field Engineering Office at (760) 839-4664.

Sprinter Up and Running College Students Benefit

Between Palomar College, MiraCosta College and Cal State San Marcos there are 52,000+ students. It’s springtime, and once spring break is over, NCTD officials believe the students will flock to the Sprinter and welcome the ease of transport between their home cities and their college campuses.

Having spent $480 million, the Sprinter line projects ridership of 11,600 daily. To reach this figure, they’re counting on attracting not only college students, but teachers and staff.

While colleges are making available discounted passes, an added incentive is that the cost of driving to school had dropped dramatically. A parking pass, for example, is $248 a semester or $7 a day at one campus. Daily Sprinter discount passes can be gotten by students for $4 a day. CSUSM also provides a shuttle bus service from the campus to a nearby terminal.

Though all three North County colleges offer discounted monthly passes, none has adopted an "unlimited" access approach such as one used by UC San Diego.

Liberty Tax Service in Escondido is combining busines with pleasure this weekend

They are one of nine national sponsors for the March of Dimes, an organization that helps prematurely born babies. They are holding a roadside party and promising a combination of food, friends, and fun.

This is a free event but donations are always appreciated! The event will be held at the shopping center where they are located, corner of Citrus and East Valley Parkway. Specifically, Liberty Tax Service, 2335 E. Valley Pkwy. Suite D (in the Vons shopping center).





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