From the daily archives: Monday, February 22, 2010

Casey Pearce

Running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the Chargers all-time leading rusher, was released today after nine remarkable seasons in San Diego.

Chargers President Dean Spanos met with Tomlinson today and informed his veteran running back that he is being released.

“This is a part of the business that I hate, and it’s particularly hard when you’re dealing with someone I consider a friend,” Spanos said. “Change involving great players is never easy. I respect LT as much or more than any player I’ve ever known. And no one appreciates his contributions to this organization more than I do. That is why this is such a difficult announcement for me to make.

“It has been a privilege to work with him and witness his entire career. I’m proud of him and grateful to him for the way he has carried himself both on and off the field.

“No matter where he chooses to continue his career, in my mind LT will always be a San Diego Charger. His legacy as one of the greatest running backs the game has ever seen will be as a Charger.”

Tomlinson owns or shares 28 team records, including career rushing yards, yards from scrimmage and touchdowns. During his nine seasons in San Diego, Tomlinson won two rushing titles (2006 and ’07), set an NFL single-season record for touchdowns in a season (31 in ’06) and racked up 12,490 rushing yards, the eighth-highest total in NFL history. He was the NFL’s Most Valuable Player in 2006 and earned Pro Bowl honors five times.

“I was fortunate to be the offensive coordinator here during LT’s rookie year in 2001 and it didn’t take long to realize that we were dealing with a special player and a special individual,” Chargers Head Coach Norv Turner said. “And when I returned to the Chargers in 2007, I was proud to be a part of his second NFL rushing title.

“LT is a true pro. He’s one of the greatest runners this game has ever seen and words can’t do justice to the things he’s accomplished on and off the field.”

In addition to his long list of achievements on the gridiron, Tomlinson’s tireless efforts in the community have benefitted thousands of individuals in San Diego as well as his native Texas. In 2006, LT received the NFL Man of the Year Award in recognition of his numerous philanthropic efforts.

“It’s fitting that LT’s and LaTorsha’s charity is called the ‘Touching Lives Foundation’ because that’s exactly what they’ve done,” Spanos said. “So many people have been positively affected by their generosity. Our community has been fortunate to have them.”

Tomlinson joined the Chargers in 2001 as the fifth overall selection in the NFL Draft. The Chargers originally held the top pick in the draft, but swung a trade with the Atlanta Falcons, who moved up to take quarterback Michael Vick. The Chargers nervously waited as Tomlinson fell to the fifth spot where they enthusiastically brought him into their fold.

“There were a lot of eyebrows raised when we made that trade, but LT proved to be everything we thought he’d be and more,” Chargers General Manager A.J. Smith said. “He’s a future Hall of Famer. My only regret is that he leaves San Diego without a Super Bowl ring.”

Tomlinson was one of 53 men recognized as the Greatest All-Time Chargers during the team’s 50th anniversary celebration last season and he was recently named to the NFL’s All-Decade Team for the 2000s. His 138 career rushing touchdowns are the second most in NFL history and his 153 total touchdowns ranks third in league annals.

“I look forward to the time when we’ll see his number retired and see him inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame,” Spanos said. “I can’t say enough about how much I’ve enjoyed being around LT and LaTorsha the last nine years.”


Congressman Bob Filner is pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded $20.2 million to the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program.

SANDAG will use the award to complete the development of a 6 lane highway that will connect Otay Mesa and future Otay Mesa East border crossing to I-805.

“This project is particularly important to my constituents because it will improve the flow of goods between the United States and Mexico, eliminate substantial truck traffic through residential communities, and improve the regions air quality by lessening congestion and truck idling at the border,” said Congressman Filner.  “The project will also create critically important jobs for the region’s economic vitality!”

The TIGER grant program was included in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to spur a national competition for innovative, multi-modal and multi-jurisdictional transportation projects that promise significant economic and environmental benefits to an entire metropolitan area, a region or the nation.  Projects funded include improvements to roads, bridges, rail, ports, transit and intermodal facilities.

In total, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood announced $1.5 billion in TIGER grant awards to fund 51 innovative transportation projects nation-wide.  Three other projects in California also received awards for a total of $130 million.


San Diego — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry Wednesday stopped an unusual smuggling attempt: marijuana hidden inside the tires of a mountain bike.

At about 3 p.m., an 18-year-old male U.S. citizen, and resident of Tijuana brought his bicycle to the pedestrian border crossing at San Ysidro. The CBP officer inspected the bicycle and felt discrepancies in the tires.

The inner tube of a bike tire conceals marijuana bundles.
The inner tube of a bike tire conceals marijuana bundles.

Officers ran the mountain bike through an X-ray and saw abnormalities in the tires. A CBP narcotic detector dog screened the bike and alerted.

Officers removed the bike’s tires and found marijuana stuffed into the tire tubes, one package inside each tire. The packages contained more than two and a half pounds of marijuana, worth an estimated $1,312.

CBP seized the bicycle and narcotics and turned custody of the teen over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents; he is currently being held at the San Diego County Jail.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation’s borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.


Attorney General Edmund G. Brown Jr. today joined the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) and the State Bar of California in warning Californians to avoid forensic loan audits, the loan-modification industry’s latest “phony foreclosure-relief service,” in which homeowners pay up-front fees for a forensic review of their lender’s practices, but are provided no actual foreclosure relief.

“Forensic loan audits are yet another phony foreclosure-relief service hawked by loan-modification consultants trying to cash in on the desperation of homeowners facing foreclosure,” Brown said. “The foreclosure-relief industry continues to be long on promises, but short on results.”

Individuals and businesses who offer forensic loan audits use inflated and misleading claims to convince homeowners to pay up-front fees for services that produce no actual foreclosure relief. Homeowners are encouraged to pay for an audit of their mortgage loan file to determine their lender’s compliance with state and federal mortgage-lending laws. This audit is pitched to homeowners as a tool they can use to gain leverage and speed up the loan-modification process.

In truth, there is no evidence or statistical data to support claims that forensic loan audits-even if performed by a licensed, legitimate and trained auditor, mortgage professional or lawyer-will help homeowners obtain loan modifications or provide any other foreclosure relief.

“The State Bar is committed to dealing with all aspects of loan foreclosure fraud involving attorneys,” said State Bar President Howard Miller. “We will continue to work with all the other government agencies to prevent fraud and to move for disciplinary sanctions against attorneys who violate their obligations to their clients.”

By law, all individuals and businesses offering mortgage-foreclosure consulting, loan-modification and foreclosure-assistance services must register with Brown’s office and post a $100,000 bond. It is also illegal for loan-modification consultants and businesses to charge up-front fees for their services.

Brown has sought court orders to shut down more than 30 fraudulent foreclosure-relief companies and has brought criminal charges and obtained lengthy prison sentences for dozens of deceptive loan-modification consultants.

In 2009, the DRE investigated more than 2,000 complaints involving loan-modification scams. Nearly 350 individuals and companies received a Desist and Refrain Order to stop illegal activity.

“The DRE has aggressively pursued loan-modification scammers who prey on vulnerable and financially stressed homeowners, and those peddling false hope by promising mortgage relief with a forensic audit will be scrutinized,” stated Real Estate Commissioner Jeff Davi. “With consumer education efforts and warnings, we hope to keep consumers from falling victim in the first place.”

As part of today’s consumer alert, Brown offered the following tips to homeowners:

– Don’t pay up-front fees. Foreclosure consultants are prohibited by law from collecting money before services are performed.
– Don’t ignore letters from your lender or loan servicer. Responding to those letters is your best bet for saving your house.
– Don’t transfer title or sell your house to a “foreclosure rescuer.” Beware! This is a scam to convince homeowners they can stay in the home as renters and buy their home back later. It could also be part of a fraudulent bankruptcy filing. Either way, a scammer can then evict you and take your home.
– Don’t pay your mortgage payments to anyone other than your lender or loan servicer. Mortgage consultants often keep the money for themselves.
– Never sign any documents without reading them first. Many homeowners think that they are signing documents for a loan modification or for a new loan to pay off their delinquent mortgage. Later, they discover that they actually transferred ownership of their home to someone who is now trying to evict them.

Non-profit housing counselors certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provide free help to homeowners. To find a counselor in your area, call 1-800-569-4287.

If you are a homeowner who has been scammed, you can contact Brown’s office at 1-800-952-5225 or file a complaint online at: You can also learn more about avoiding scams and obtain a complaint form by visiting the DRE’s web site at:

If you have a complaint against a lawyer, contact the State Bar Complaint Hotline at 1-800-843-9053. Complaint forms and an explanation of the attorney discipline system are available online at:

In 2009, California accounted for 22 percent of the nation’s foreclosure activity, with 632,573 homes in foreclosure statewide. This is an annual increase of more than 20 percent in foreclosure activity from 2008 and a 150 percent increase from 2007.

For more information on Brown’s action against loan-modification fraud visit:

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With the goal to Improve motorist safety Reduce congestion on Interstate 8 and Dogwood Road Increase interchange capacity and provide easier access to local streets.

The project will widen the ramps from one to two lanes and the bridge overcrossing from two to six lanes, Including two turning lanes. This will help reduce congestion at freeway on- and off-ramps after a signal is installed at the intersection of Interstate 8 (1-8) and Dogwood Road this November. Options for the ramp design are still being considered.
The I-8/Dogwood Road area has experienced unprecedented rapid commercial and residential development, making this part of Imperial County the so-called commercial hub of the region. During busy commercial seasons, vehicle back-ups are experienced on the 1-8 ramps and main lanes. Traffic studies have determined that widening the ramps, in addition to signalizing and widening the bridge, is necessary to prevent congestion on 1-8 and Dogwood Road.
The estimated cost of the project is $33.1 million. Funding is coming from Congress ($1.7 million), developer contributions from the city of EI Centro ($4.5 million) and the Regional State Transportation Improvement Program ($26.9 million).
A Project Study Report was concluded by the city of EI Centro in June 2007. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2013, with completion in 2014.

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