Friday, January 23, 2009

Peaker Power Plant: score: People: 1, Cheryl Cox: 0

Commission against expansion of Chula Vista power plant
By Tanya Sierra
San Diego Union-Tribune Staff Writer
January 23, 2009

A proposal to expand a power plant in a southwest Chula Vista neighborhood should be denied, according to a preliminary California Energy Commission recommendation released Friday.

The energy commission committee reviewing the expansion said the power plant conflicts with the city's general plan and zoning rules.

MMC Energy Inc., provides emergency power for the regional electricity system and is proposing the expansion at the site, which is behind a carwash and junkyard near Albany Avenue and Main Street. It's about 1,300 feet from an elementary school and 350 feet from homes.

“The record does not contain sufficient evidence to show that placing the project at the proposed location cannot be avoided,” the committee said in a written statement.

Harry Scarborough, a vice president with MMC Energy Inc., did not return a call seeking comment.

Although the decision isn't final until the full commission votes in March, residents opposed to the expansion consider it a victory.

“We're all very excited,” said Hugo Ivan Salazar of Communities Taking Action.

Residents and community activists have opposed expanding the current 44 megawatt facility to 100 megawatts because they believe it would be a health risk for those who live near it.

In August 2007, MMC applied for state permission to demolish its 8-year-old plant, which it wants to replace with a larger one on the same site. The plant, known as a “peaker plant,” provides power when the electricity grid is overloaded during peak use periods.

The peaker plant expansion has been a volatile issue. At nearly every City Council meeting, residents criticized Mayor Cheryl Cox for not opposing it.

[See pictures from one such protest.]

Council members Rudy Ramirez and Pamela Bensoussan oppose the expansion. Councilmen Steve Castaneda and John McCann have not taken a position.

Friday Cox said it is time to move on and that the city would work with MMC on finding a new location for the plant...

The plan to tear down the South Bay Power Plant on the Chula Vista bayfront could be delayed if other energy sources – including the peaker plant – don't come online. City officials have long wanted the plant gone from that site, where the San Diego Chargers are now considering building a new stadium.

Chula Vista had been counting on the MMC peaker plant expansion, approval of the Sunrise Powerlink and the Calpine baseload plant.

Before the California Energy Commission votes in March, there is a 30-day public comment period and a public meeting at Chula Vista City Hall scheduled for 4 p.m. Feb. 23.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Danielle Cozaihr v. CVESD case ends by stipulation

It appears that Danielle Cozaihr has completed her long, hard battle for justice from Chula Vista Elementary School District. In December 2007 Cozaihr won a million dollar verdict against CVESD. Soon after, Daniel Shinoff took over the case. CVESD appealed. The case was then passed to Shinoff's partner Jack Sleeth. No opening brief was ever filed on behalf of CVESD. It appears that CVESD must have decided to either pay the verdict or to settle for some other amount.

04/08/2008 Notice of appeal lodged April 2, 2008 by CVESD
12/05/2008 Dismissal order filed. Upon written stipulation filed by the parties to the appeal, the appeal is DISMISSED.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

CVPD won't reveal its rules about carotid restraint of people who are having a pool party

The SDUT corrected the story below on January 6, 2009: "A story in Saturday's Our Region section about legal action brought by Justin Ladou against the city of Chula Vista incorrectly reported that police Officer Curtis Chancellor testified he used a chokehold on Ladou. In fact, Chancellor testified that he used a carotid restraint. A chokehold puts pressure on the windpipe, thereby blocking airflow. A carotid restraint puts pressure on the carotid artery, blocking blood flow to the brain."

Man arrested at July party seeks justice
By Tanya Sierra
San Diego Union-Tribune
January 3, 2009

...A lawyer for 34-year-old Justin Ladou filed a $5 million claim against the city Monday, accusing the officer of violating Ladou's civil rights.

...[Police officer Curtis] Chancellor testified that he pulled Ladou by the arm, then used a choke hold on him, breaking his own thumb in the process. Ladou then fell unconscious, he said.

[Blogger's note: The officer broke his own thumb? He must have been REALLY riled up.]

...The District Attorney's Office later dropped the charges against Ladou.

The civil rights claim alleges...Chancellor entered private property to arrest Ladou for being drunk in public...

[Ladou's lawyer Richard] DeSaulles also alleges the city was negligent when it hired Chancellor, a former Southwestern College police officer, because he has a history of stalking, according to a 2003 Superior Court case in which a former girlfriend requested a restraining order...

In a Dec. 4 letter to deSaulles, Chula Vista Deputy City Attorney Chance Hawkins said the documents were redacted because the public's right to the information doesn't outweigh police confidentiality...

“I think most people would agree that if the Police Department believes it's lawful to put a potentially lethal strangulation tool to use, then everyone should know what the rules are,” [Attorney Terry Francke, of the public-access advocacy group Californians Aware] said. “...when do the police get to choke you because you're sassing them back?”

When Ladou was choked, he was recovering from a recent surgery, deSaulles said. In addition, police took no measures to make sure Ladou's children, 8 and 12, were in proper care after he was arrested. A neighbor took them in.

...Chula Vista police officers have been accused before of using excessive force. In July, the city agreed to pay $400,000 to settle a federal lawsuit stemming from a 2006 case in which police beat Christian Morales, who was a high school student at the time. Morales claimed police mistook him for a trailer thief and beat him unconscious in front of his home.

[Blogger's note: I also had a difficult time getting documents from the CVPD. When current mayor Cheryl Cox was on the CVESD board, she and her fellow board members benefited from some helpful inaction by the CVPD.]

Can you spot the applicant without an agenda among the 23 applicants for CVESD board appointment?

[Photo: CVESD board in November 2008]

Is there an applicant on the list below who has the courage to stand up to corrupt CVESD attorney Dan Shinoff and his loyal board members?

Board members Pamela Smith and Larry Cunningham are Mr. Shinoff's longtime champions, and have approved his many illegal actions on their behalf. In fact, Shinoff gets paid to intimidate whistleblowers and anyone else who threatens to reveal the shady side of CVESD.

MiraCosta College trustees got a big sampling of Shinoff's techniques on June 20, 2007 when Mr. Shinoff worked long into the night pressuring unwilling trustees to sign a $1.6 million settlement for his pal President Victoria Richart.

Perhaps Mr. Shinoff wanted to keep Victoria Richart happy so she would remain silent about his role in the $1.5 million investigation $305 worth of stolen palm trees.

The $1.5 million spent on the investigation by Shinoff and Richart, some of which went to Shinoff, was not expended because they and the board were interested in palm trees. The once-enormous collection of palm trees has dwindled severely: the few trees that have not died of neglect are now barely clinging to life. The real reason that Shinoff and Richart spent $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars was to wage war against the MiraCosta faculty and administrators who supported them.

Perhaps Mr. Shinoff simply wanted to reward Ms. Richart for her work. This explanation would be consistent with the theory that Daniel Shinoff uses "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu as his guide in the practice of law. In this theoretical scenario, Mr. Shinoff would have been guided by chapter II, paragraph 16 in Sun Tzu's book: "Now in order to kill the enemy, our men must be roused to anger; that there may be advantage from defeating the enemy, they must have their rewards." If you want loyal soldiers in your war against your enemy (in this case, the enemy was the faculty), you must reward them, right?

Unfortunately, Shinoff and Richart ignored the Sun Tzu's warning: "...if the campaign is protracted, the resources of the State will not be equal to the strain."

But getting back to the choice that Shinoff's pals on the CVESD board will soon be making:

Who is there on the list below who has the desire and the strength to say no to Daniel Shinoff's illegal games? I don't know. It would be nice if such a person would identify himself/herself to Chris Moran at the San Diego Union Tribune. This might cause Pamela Smith and Larry Cunningham to immediately nix the applicant's appointment, but it would put the applicant in a good spot for the next election. At that time such a person might unseat Pamela Smith or Larry Cunningham.

School board gets 23 applications for single vacancy

By Chris Moran
San Diego Union Tribune
January 3, 2009

CHULA VISTA — The Chula Vista Elementary School District has received 23 applications to fill a vacant seat on the five-member school board.

Applicants include a current and a former high school principal, a former district PTA president, the wife of a Chula Vista city councilman and several people who have run for the board in recent years.

Trustee Bertha Lopez vacated her Chula Vista board seat last month after her election to the Sweetwater Union High School District board...

Among the applicants this time are San Ysidro High School Principal Hector Espinoza, former Montgomery High School Principal Mary Anne Stro former teachers union presidents Frank Cherry and Leroy Petty, and former Chula Vista PTA President Carol Green.

Also, Myllissa McCann, wife of Chula Vista Councilman John McCann, has applied, as has Douglas Luffborough, executive director of a social-services agency in Chula Vista.

[UPDATE: Douglas Luffborough was chosen on Feb. 3, 2009.]

The other applicants are:

# Pamela Bauer-Fischer, attorney.

# Jolyn DePriest, former teacher and counselor.

# James Doud, former water district board president.

# Beatrice Fernandez, San Diego Unified School District parent involvement coordinator.

# Mel Lopez, former Chula Vista assistant superintendent.

# Hector Martinez, water district manager.

# Perry Mathes, cardiovascular engineer for General Electric.

# Archie McAllister, substitute teacher.

# David McLellan, former telecommunications company employee.

# Aurora Murillo-Clark, property manager.

# Edalia Olivo-Gomez, environmental specialist for San Diego Gas & Electric Co.

# Christopher Shilling, public safety director for Otay Ranch Town Center.

# Christian Slike, IBM marketing leader.

# Felicia Starr, hospital secretary.

# John Vogel, information systems analyst for the city of San Diego.

# David Wallace, Chula Vista business owner...