News of the Day Digest (2/29/12)

News of the Day Digest for February 29, 2012

Cal Poly Students Will Vote on Tuition Increase

Today, Cal Poly students will be able to vote electronically on a proposed tuition increase that is backed by the California State University chancellor. The vote is set to approve on a proposed mandatory fee increase for all students to $160 per quarter starting this Fall semester. The fee increase is part of a phased plan, which will include a $260 increase by the Fall 2014 semester. If the vote passes, the average yearly tuition cost for undergraduates will top $9,500 — but that does not include additional fee increases, including proposed statewide CSU increases and the 9-percent tuition hike for Fall 2012 students. Cal Poly officials say the hikes are necessary to offset the decline of state funding, while students criticize the hikes for not having any specific plans for implementation.

Oceano CSD Manager Questioned for Hacking Incident

Oceano CSD’s District Manager Tom Geaslan is being questioned by residents for an alleged hacking incident. Geaslan told his colleagues that the CSD’s server, website and personal computer were hacked. He cited the hacking incident as the reason for being unable to produce a letter by the district to County Board of Supervisors on January 25. The letter sought to dismiss claims of seawater intrusion in their district. Sources say the hacking occurred by remote access, and that the logs showing who logged in and out of the OCSD servers was “obliterated,” but no other data was harmed. The OCSD is no stranger to controversy involving their general manager. Former General Manager Raffaele Montemurro was fired last year amid allegations of mismanagement and failing to perform duties as requested by the board, including computer record tampering.

Santa Maria Police Chief Under Fire After Union No-Confidence Vote

Calls for the resignation of Santa Maria Police Chief Danny Macagni have increased after the Santa Maria Police Officers Association, on February 24, voted overwhelmingly for no confidence in him. Ballots were sent to 119 union members and 93 were returned. 85% of the ballots returned the no-confidence vote.  This comes after officer Albert Covarrubias, Jr., who reportedly had an illegal sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl, was fatally wounded by another officer while he was working at a DUI checkpoint in late January. Macagni, who dismissed the no-confidence vote as a “power play” by the union to push for more influence over policy and procedures, has called for an independent investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Covarrubias. Santa Maria City Manager Rick Haydon and City Attorney Gil Trujillo have requested the Office of Investigative Review (OIR) to perform an independent audit of police practices, procedures and training tactics.

Seismic Silence Swallows Los Osos

In the great race to build the Los Osos sewer before someone or something stops it for any number of legitimate reasons, San Luis Obispo County is gambling it can build it to below earthquake standards before an earthquake and liquefaction reduce it to ruin. Whatever quakes do to the $200 million sewer after that is being deferred to the future for ratepayers to inevitably pick up the tab.

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