Wednesday, September 19, 2012

City Heights Restaurant Robbery Foiled by Waiter - San Diego 6

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A man who fought with a server while attempting to rob a Denny's restaurant in Fairmount Village early Wednesday was arrested nearby a short time later, police said.

The man entered the 24-hour restaurant at 4365 University Ave. around 2:20 a.m. and simulated having a handgun as he demanded cash from the server, according to San Diego police officer David Stafford.

The server told the would-be robber he could not get the cash register open, prompting the man to push the server, Stafford said in a statement. The server pushed back and a fight ensued, he said, adding that the would-be robber eventually fled empty-handed.

Armed with a description of the suspect, a police officer found the man in the area of 44th Street and Polk Avenue and arrested him on suspicion of attempted robbery. His name was not immediately released.

No one was injured.

Wheelchair-Bound Attorney Disbarred for Violating Professional Standards - San Diego 6

 SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A wheelchair-bound attorney known for crippling small businesses in San Diego County by filing lawsuits over their access for disabled people is being disbarred for violating professional standards, it was reported Wednesday.

Theodore Pinnock pleaded no contest in State Bar Court to allegations that he filed dozens of lawsuits on a client's behalf without her knowledge, then used her share of the settlement money to pay his own expenses, according to U-T San Diego.

The unsuspecting client, Noni Gotti of San Diego, has hired a new lawyer, David Warren Peters, who estimated the total settlement amount that Pinnock pocketed reached into six figures, the newspaper reported.

Online court records show Pinnock has been party to dozens of lawsuits filed in San Diego Superior Court and hundreds more in federal court. His name also appears as an attorney in more than 1,000 federal cases filed in San Diego and Imperial counties. Peters said Pinnock also filed lawsuits in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Over the years, several small business owners have spoken out against Pinnock, describing his tactics as essentially extortion. Alpine Fence owner William Lepetri told U-T San Diego that he received a letter some time ago, informing him that Pinnock had visited the fencing business and suffered an injury because it did not comply with access regulations like those specified
in the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.

Lepetri said after talking to his lawyer, he paid Pinnock more than $6,300 to settle the case to avoid a court battle, then made improvements to his business even though he was sure Pinnock has never actually visited Alpine Fence.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Meet San Diego's New Baby Elephant "Qinisa" - San Diego 6

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A 3-week-old African elephant born at the San Diego Zoo's Safari Park was given a hard-to-say name in a little-known language that means to act with energy, to fulfill one's word or speak the truth, zoo officials said Tuesday.

"Qinisa" is a Swasi word, and the first letter is pronounced a tongue pop, followed by een-ee-seh, a zoo official said.

The female calf, named by zoo employees, was born Aug. 28 and appears to be developing faster than other elephants born there. After about a week, she was able to suck water through her trunk and pick up objects, something zoo animal care manager Curtis Lehman said other calves usually do after about two weeks.

Qinisa has gained 40 pounds since she was born.

The park now has 13 elephants -- four adults and nine offspring. The adults were brought in from Swaziland in 2003, before a scheduled cull.

Research is being conducted at the park on elephant nutrition, daily walking distance, growth and development, and bio-acoustic communication, according to zoo officials.

San Diego Approves Abandoned Property Ordinance - San Diego 6

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council unanimously passed an ordinance Tuesday requiring owners of abandoned homes to keep their properties in reasonable condition.

Under the new regulations, the city can send code enforcement officers to vacant houses and fine the owners -- in many cases, banks. The regulations close loopholes that allowed abandoned properties to languish for years.

"This is a good thing," Councilwoman Lorie Zapf said. "We've had some problematic areas in our districts. Some of them took months and months and months (to fix)."

The previous regulations only applied to vacant properties that were boarded up or unsecured.

City staff said vacant properties eventually become blighted, are fire hazards and crime magnets, and lower values of surrounding properties. Owners of blighted vacant properties could be prosecuted for misdemeanors under the new ordinance, or be held civilly liable.

Owners will be required to -- among other things -- secure doors and windows of abandoned houses, maintain landscaping, clear debris and erect barriers to discourage illegal littering.

A second proposed law targeting banks was scheduled to be taken up at a special night council session.

The Responsible Banking Ordinance would have banks with which the city of San Diego does business file reports on neighborhood lending practices.

The plan by council President Tony Young would have banks submit annual data on their home and small business lending, modifications of distressed loans, foreclosure information, community investment, employment diversity and their number of jobs.

Young also wants two-year community reinvestment plans to be submitted for residential and small business lending in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods.

His proposed ordinance also calls for the city to establish a Community Reinvestment Review Committee made up of council members and mayoral staff to recommend which banks should receive city deposits and handle financial transactions.

Several other large cities have similar requirements, and Los Angeles adopted a similar law earlier this year, Young said.

'Sorry, Carl. That's Just Not Enough' - Voice of San Diego

Posted: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 4:08 pm | Updated: 4:16 pm, Tue Sep 18, 2012.

Am I the only one who finds it strange that San Diego may soon elect a gay mayor virtually no gays and lesbians vote for?

For most LGBT voters far more important than the fact that Carl DeMaio is gay is the fact that he's a Republican. For the 40-plus years of the modern gay rights movement, right up to this moment, the GOP has opposed, often nastily, every civil and human right gays and lesbians have won. They routinely use anti-gay ballot propositions to get larger numbers of their evangelical base to the polls. They delayed for 20 years the ability of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

Yet Carl DeMaio inhabits a world where gay bashing is cost-free. He yuks it up in photo ops with people like John McCain and Mitt Romney. So humiliating was his pandering to Yes-on-8-poster boy Doug Manchester I finally had to avert my gaze.

But it works both ways. A year ago July I was asked by a guy at Pridefest to sign a petition to get Prop. B on the ballot. “No thanks,” I told him. “I'm not a fan of Carl DeMaio.”

“But he's gay,” the guy yelled after me.

Sorry, Carl. That's just not enough.

Bill Brittingham lives in Kensington.

Want to contribute to discussion? Submit a suggestion to Fix San Diego.

"Operation Cruel Summer" Drug-Busts Arrest 34 - San Diego 6

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A six-month undercover investigation into North County drug-dealing culminated Tuesday with the arrests of 34 suspects, most of them Fallbrook residents.

"Operation Cruel Summer" also netted nearly 100 pounds of illegal drugs, including cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamine, 38 guns and about $166,000 in cash, San Diego County sheriff's officials said.

Arrested were Fallbrook residents Eduardo Artiega, 23; Richard Banks, 46; Joshua Belleville, 21; Nathan Belleville, 29; Jesse Bolding, 22; Kent Bowling, 65; James Bruno, 25; Raul Escabedo, 23; Daniel Fore, 44; Mark Fountain, 50; Juan Gonzales, 45; Channing Halkias, 38; Robert Harris, 50; Cesar Hernandez, 36; Ronald Lindsey, 27; Carlos Lupercio, 28; Daniel Lupercio, 26; Ariel Mclean, 21; Isidro Monje, 58; Michael Ochoa, 39; Oscar Prather, 43; Gustavo Rios, 38; Eduardo Santacruz, 29; Jessie Sims, 50; Joseph Sims, 32; Maria Vargas, 21; Cynthia Vasquez, 44; Brok Wood, 21; Stephen Wyman, 32; Justin Youssi, 21; and Jose Zamudio, 44.

Also jailed were 22-year-old Bethany Costa of Vista and Gerald Rowe, 21, of Oceanside. The name of a juvenile suspect was not made public.

Authorities said a dozen others were taken into custody earlier in the operation, but their names were not immediately available.

A task force made up of 246 sheriff's deputies and federal agents served 38 arrest warrants and eight search warrants in Fallbrook, Bonsall, Rainbow, Oceanside and San Bernardino County between 6 a.m. and noon.

Police said residents complained of drug dealing and, starting in March, plainclothes police started rooting them out, making more than 50 buys of drugs and firearms.

All those arrested are expected to face federal charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and could be charged with crimes in state court.

Participating in the raid were agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration, Marshals Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Internal Revenue Service, Border Patrol, U.S. Attorney's Office and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

At the state and local level, participants included agents with the county parole and probation departments and the District Attorney's Office.

Diplomat Killed in Libya Attack Grew Up in Clairemont - NBC San Diego


Online gamers have launched an initiative to raise money for one of the Americans killed in the recent attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, a diplomat who grew up in San Diego.

Sean Smith, 34, was killed along with two former U.S. Navy SEALs who were also from San Diego.

Glen Doherty, 42, of Encinitas and Ty Woods, 41, of Imperial Beach were working as private security for the consulate when they were killed in the Sept. 11 attack according to their families.

Smith grew up in Clairemont and was married with two children. After serving in the United State Air Force, Smith began working for the State Department most recently as an Information Officer.

Known as “Vile Rat” in the virtual game Eve, Smith was heavily involved in the online gamer community of almost half a million members.

As a result, more than $30,000 has been raised for his family in response to his death.

“The computer gave him his life,” said his mother Pat Smith who recalled a son who was always taking her computer apart.

“I never knew he was that intense in it,” she said. “I had no idea but that’s where he was and where all his friends were.”

Smith’s mother said her son was online when violence broke out inside the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Half a world away, Pat Smith learned about the death of her only child in a phone call that woke her up at 12:30 a.m.

She said when she attended the ceremony Joint Base Andrews in Maryland last week, she cried on the shoulders of President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden.

“I cried on every one of their shoulders,” she said. “I couldn’t believe how they made me feel. They made me feel so wonderful.”

Since returning home, Pat has been sifting through pictures and memories of Sean. Neighbors remember him as "a good American kid."

While online gamers have created memorials to “Vile Rat,” Smith said she wants to honor her son’s memory in another way.

She’s considering selling her home to help raise money to send her sons ashes into space.

"I expected to keep him a little longer but I didn’t have him anyway. He was with his family in the Hague,” she said.

“He was doing his thing. I was always a rebel and he became same type of thing. He went out there."