Photo credit: Fernando Tomás

City, County Offer Financial Help for Residents to go Green

Alexander Nguyen | Times of San Diego

“This program makes it easier for many consumers to save money and go green, opening the door to more rooftop solar panels, more energy-efficient windows and other improvements,” said Dianne Jacob, chairwoman of the county Board of Supervisors.

Loans are available to many homeowners with the help of HERO, a program offered by San Diego-based Renovate America. PACE, or Property Assessed Clean Energy, loans approved through HERO and other lending programs are repaid through property tax assessments, the county said.

PACE loans are available starting this week in the cities of San Diego, El Cajon and Escondido, along with the region’s unincorporated areas...read more…

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3 Habitat for Humanity Homes–With 1 for Wounded Vet–Going Up in Escondido

Christine Huard | Times of San Diego

About 200 volunteers for San Diego Habitat for Humanity began building three homes Monday, including one for a wounded veteran, that they hope to finish by Friday.

All three houses are being built from the ground up in the 500 block of North Elm Street in Escondido, on land donated by the city, according to the organization...read more…

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Rapid Bus Service Gets Grand Opening In Escondido

By Tom Fudge | On-Ramp

SAN DIEGO — Transit planners cut a red ribbon today to open San Diego County’s first fully developed rapid bus line. The grand opening of North County bus route #350 attracted a cluster of VIPs that included the Mayor of Escondido and the Chairman of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG). They told reporters and other hangers-on that this was a bus line like no other in the region.

You can take a look at route 350 by clicking this link. It connects the Escondido Transit Center, Westfield shopping mall and points in-between. The route leaves the transit center on a dedicated lane. Digital displays at bus shelters tell commuters when the bus will arrive. The rapid-bus system uses technology that gives the bus priority at traffic signals. …read more…

 

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Nonprofit embarks on building blitz in Escondido

 — Hundreds of construction workers are swarming a site on North Elm Street in Escondido this week building three homes in five days for Habitat for Humanity.

“We started at 7 o’clock Monday morning and we will finish by 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon,” San Diego Habitat Executive Director Lori Holt Pfeiler said Tuesday during a visit to the property. “It’s really impressive.”

Sempra Energy employees are building a single-family house that will be sold to a wounded veteran as part of Habitat’s Building for the Brave program. Nearby, Shea Homes and Emmerson Construction are working on a duplex.

It’s all part of Habitat’s Home Builder’s Blitz, a national event that has built 1,000 affordable homes in 150 communities all over the country since 2006.

The homes are able to be constructed so quickly due simply to massive, knowledgeable, manpower, Holt Pfeiler said. Roughly 200 construction workers, some working through the nights, are on site each day. Being built from the ground up, the duplex was already fully framed and work was being done on the roof by midday Tuesday. …read more…

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California City Makes 15-Year Commitment To Recycled Water

By Sara Jerome | WaterOnline.com

As the California drought drags on, a city near San Diego is getting ready to make treated wastewater available for irrigation—but the proposal comes with a big price tag.

The Escondido City Council approved a plan this month to spend around $285 million on this effort over the next 15 years, according to U-T San Diego.

“Council members said it was the best option for the city, where lack of sewer capacity threatens to stymie future commercial and residential development,” the report said.

The approved plan beat out a costlier alternative. Clocking in at $403 million, Plan B would have seen the city expanding the existing 18-mile sewage system in Escondido. Due to permitting requirements, such an endeavor would face challenges gaining regulatory clearance.

Funding would go to new recycled water and potable water reuse systems under the approved plan, the Coast News reported. Recycled water sales would be expected to draw in about $20 million per year starting in 2030, U-T San Diego said, citing a city councilman.

“The saving grace is really we’re spending a lot of money but we’re getting some revenue back,” Councilmember Ed Gallo said in the Coast News. …read more…

 

 

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Gallo rejects the sour whine and earns a rose

By Logan Jenkins | UTSandiego.com

If it’s Sunday — and I’m on the job — it’s Roses & Raspberries, North County’s reinstituted cheering and jeering section launched more than 30 years ago at the late Times-Advocate. Send in nominations for the week’s winners and sinners.

A rose — the New Challenge, Right Attitude award — to Escondido Councilman Ed Gallo for embracing, rather than whining about, his new Latino-majority council district in the city’s urban core.

In interviews, Gallo is sending the message that he’s running on his record right into the Latino heart of his district, not away from what’s been designed to be hostile territory for him.

It’s actually good for the city that the historic district election next November should feature Gallo, a conservative whose friendly, even-keeled persona just might play well in a district that’s been fashioned to elect a Latino with a (presumably) progressive agenda.

Gallo says he plans to walk the neighborhoods to listen and learn. He concedes his Spanish is “extremely limited,” but he has a volunteer interpreter at the ready.

Though an incumbent, Gallo starts his re-election campaign an underdog in a district that should turn out for Councilwoman Olga Diaz, a Democratic Latino candidate running against Mayor Sam Abed, a Republican with whom Gallo has aligned himself on key issues.

If Gallo’s going to win re-election, he’s going to have to channel that Jack Kemp-style enthusiasm for urban development. He’ll have to sell that he’s the pro-business conservative who can get things done for his constituents once they make clear to him exactly what they need.

If he were to win the so-called Latino seat, Gallo would make counterintuitive history. He’d buck the racial assumption behind district elections.

As council races go, this one could be the most interesting in North County.

…read more…