Politics

CA GROUPS: SENATE HEALTH BILL "MORE DRACONIAN" THAN HOUSE VERSION

 

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

June 23, 2017 (Sacramento) --  Health advocates warn the Senate GOP bill to repeal and replace Obamacare would cause millions of Californians to lose their healthcare - by phasing out the Medicaid expansion and then capping the program altogether.

The "Better Care Reconciliation Act" or BCRA, lifts the government mandate for people to have insurance, and lets states allow insurance policies that exclude services like maternity and mental-health care.

Anthony Wright, executive director of the nonprofit Health Access California, says the bill would harm many different groups.  "It still eliminates the Medicaid expansion that 4 million Californians depend on," he says. "But it also has a harsher cap on the entire program, which 14 million Californians depend on - including a third of the state, half of all children, and two-thirds of all nursing-home residents."

The Senate bill also lets insurance companies charge Americans ages 50 to 64 five times what younger people pay, compared to the current limit of three times. And it lifts a ban on charging much higher premiums to people with preexisting conditions.

NATIONAL HOUSING EXPERT HIRED AS CEO OF NEW REGIONAL TASK FORCE ON HOMELESS: WALKER LED EFFORTS THAT REDUCED CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS 90% IN UTAH

 

Gordon D. Walker will direct agency charged with overseeing regional homeless planning and local distribution of federal homeless and affordable housing dollars       

Source: County News Service

June 22, 2017 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Regional Task Force on the Homeless (RTFH) has selected Gordon D. Walker as its new chief executive officer. Walker most recently served as director of Utah’s Division of Housing and Community Development where he gained national attention for his efforts to reduce homelessness.

The Los Angeles Times reports in an article today that Utah has reduced its chronic homeless population by 91 percent.  From 2oo5, when Utah state officials began placing people in permanent housing, there were 1,932 chronically homeless people. Today, nearly all of those are housed, with only 178 chronically homeless people in the entire state of Utah – and officials have their sights set on soon bringing that number down to zero through an approach that is compassionate, not punitive.

WHAT’S BREWING IN LEMON GROVE? COUNCIL APPROVES BREWERIES, WINERIES AND DISTILLERIES ORDINANCE, ALSO FILLS VACANCIES ON COMMUNITY ADVISORY COMMISSION

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: City Commissioners Angeles Nelson (with flowers) and Yajaira Preciado

June 21, 2017 (Lemon Grove) – Breweries may soon be opening up their doors in Lemon Grove, based on action taken at yesterday’s city council meeting. In addition, Angeles Nelson, Yajaira Preciado and James Davis were appointed to the Lemon Grove Community Advisory Commission along with alternates Tom Clabby and Walter Oliwa.

SPEAKERS ON MIDEAST GEOPOLITCS AND VOTING RIGHTS ACT JUNE 26

 

East County News Service

 

June 20, 2017 (Rancho Bernardo) – Farouk Al-Nasser, president of the San Diego World Affairs Council, will offer his perspective on geopolitical events in the Middle at a meeting of the Rancho Bernardo Democratic Club on Monday, June 26th. In addition, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher will speak on the Voting Rights Act.  Refreshments and registration start at 6:30 p.m. with the program starring at 7 p.m. at The Remington Club II, 16916 Hierba Drive. This event is free of charge and open to the public. 

SUPREME COURT RULES TOP BUSH OFFICIALS IMMUNE FROM PROSECUTION FOR DETENTION AND ALLEGED ABUSE OF MUSLIMS AFTER SEPT. 11 TERROR ATTACK

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 20, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – The US. Supreme Court has ruled that former Bush administration officials cannot be sued for allegedly violating Constitutional rights protecting against illegal search and seizures.  The case, Ziglar v. Abbasi, was filed by Muslim immigrants who allege that they were profiled based on their religion, arrested and detained in harsh conditions after the September 11th terrorism attacks.  

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS TO HOST VETERANS TOWN HALL SATURDAY IN EL CAJON

 

East County News Service

June 20, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) is hosting a Veterans Town Hall to establish a greater understanding between local veterans and the friends and neighbors they fought for.  The town hall will be held from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 24 at the Ronald Reagan Community Center in El Cajon.

HUMANITARIAN GROUPS WARN REFUGEE BILL IN CONGRESS COULD PUT LIVES IN PERIL

 

East County News Service

June 17, 2017 (San Diego) - The Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act has been reintroduced and will be considered in the House Judiciary committee this weekContrary to its name, refugee advocates say the measure would actually endanger the lives of refugees in need ot immediate resettlement as well as any refugees already in the U.S. who travel home to visit family.  A letter opposing the legislation has been sent to the committee’s chair and ranking member, signed by 117 refugee advocate organizations including many local groups ranging from churches to human rights advocates.

TRUMP IS NOW UNDER INVESTIGATION FOR OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE

 

By Frank Gormlie; reprinted with permission from the OBRag

 

June 15, 2017 (San Diego) --Major news organizations – including the Washington Post – have announced that President Donald Trump is now under investigation for possible obstruction of justice by special prosecution, Robert Mueller.

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS TO HOLD TOWN HALL MEETING MONDAY AT SDSU

 

 

East County News Service

June 17, 2017 (San Diego) – “I understand how concerned all of you are by the challenges facing our country, and so I look forward to another opportunity to hear from you,” says Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), who will hold her next town hall meeting on Monday, June 19th from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at San Diego State University’s Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union (6075 Aztec Circle Drive, San Diego).  Her district encompasses San Diego and parts of East County including La Mesa, Spring Valley and parts of El Cajon.

No RSVP is needed; the event will be first-come, first-served. Doors will open at 5:30 p.m. The event will also be live-streamed; you will be able to view it here: https://www.facebook.com/RepSusanDavis/

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPROVES AID FOR EMERGENCY SHELTER AND CONSIDERS PROPOSALS TO HELP HOMELESS; RESIDENTS EXPRESS CONCERN ABOUT COUNCILMEMBER’S BEHAVIOR

 

By Paul Kruze

June 15, 2017 (El Cajon) -- Aiding El Cajon’s homeless population, disruption of a neighborhood by occupants of a house allegedly inhabited by drug users, and licensing of a new adult daycare center near El Cajon’s city center were the main topics discussed by the El Cajon City Council at its bi-monthly hearings on June 13th.  In addition, a budget workshop was held earlier  to consider El Cajon’s fiscal 2017-2018 preliminary annual budget.  Councilmember’s Ben Kalasho’s concept to draw down El Cajon’s sales tax to 7.75% drew strong broad opposition, with critics arguing it would devastate law enforcement and fire protection in the city.

ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS DENIES COLLUSION WITH RUSSIA, REFUSES TO ANSWER QUESTIONS ON CONVERSATIONS WITH TRUMP

 

View full testimony of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on C-Span.

By Miriam Raftery

June 15, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee June 13th , calling any suggestion of  Trump campaign team’s collusion with Russia to rig the U.S. presidential election “a contemptible lie.” 

 Sessions also denied any “inappropriate” meetings with Russians but repeatedly claimed fuzzy memory. He said he could not recall meeting Russia’s ambassador during a reception at the Mayflower hotel.  After his testimony, the Week published a photo of Sessions speaking with the Russian ambassador at the Mayflower.

He refused to answer any questions about conversations with President Donald Trump about the investigation or possible discussion of pardons, citing a department policy. But Sessions was unable to name that policy, whether it exists in writing, or whether he reviewed it before testifying when grilled by California Senator Kamala Harris. (View Senator Harris questioning Sessions.) 

WHISTLEBLOWING VS. LEAKING: THREAT AGAINST COMEY SPARKS BACKLASH

 

By Jordan Damond

June 14, 2017 (San Diego) -- President Donald Trump and his attorney have accused fired FBI director James Comey of being a “leaker” for providing what they claim was privileged information in memos that Comey arranged for media to receive. But many legal experts contend that Comey may be protected as a whistleblower--and that any actions to retaliate against him could be construed as obstruction of justice. The controversy raises a key question:

Is James Comey a leaker?

EAST COUNTY CHALDEAN CHAMBER LOSES TRADEMARK; DETROIT-BASED CHALDEAN CHAMBER OPENS OFFICES HERE

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (El Cajon ) -- The U.S.  Patent and Trademark Office has issued an order cancelling Ben Kalasho’s trademark for the San Diego-East County Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce name.  The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board held that the trademark caused confusion with the Chaldean  American Chamber of Commerce based in Detroit, which has been using the name since 2001. 

The board held that the trademarks were similar and that the local group used the entirety of the Detroit group’s name in its branding.

Kalasho founded and served as President of the local Chamber before stepping down earlier this year to avoid conflcts of interest after his election to the El Cajon City Council.  Kalasho’s wife, Jessica, currently serves as President.

SUPERVISORS TO CONSIDER THREE IDEAS TO HELP THE HOMELESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (San Diego) -- The Board of Supervisors will look at ideas next week designed to help get the homeless into homes.  County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Dianne Jacob unveiled the three initiatives to spur the building, renovation and acquisition of affordable housing and stem the growing tide of homelessness.

SECOND APPEALS COURT BLOCKS TRUMP TRAVEL BAN, BUT ON DIFFERENT GROUNDS

 

 

Ruling also affirms block on refugee ban, but allows review of vetting procedures

By Miriam Raftery

June 13, 2017 (San Francisco) --  A second federal appeals court has blocked nearly all of President Donald Trump’s executive order  that included a 90-day travel ban from six mainly Muslim nations, though the two courts found different rationales for their rulings, the New York Times reports.

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST TO SPEAK IN RAMONA ON DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ISLAM AND CHRISTIANITY

 

East County News Service

June 10, 2017 (Ramona) – Nonie Darwish, a human rights activist, will speak on “The Difference between Biblical and Islamic Values” at a Ramona Tea’d forum on Saturday, June 24th.   Darwish was born and raised in Egypt as a Muslim, but converted to Christianity after moving to the United States.  She is an author, lecturer and Senior Fellow at the Center for Security Policy.

COMEY TESTIFIES TRUMP STATEMENTS ON FBI WERE “LIES, PLAIN AND SIMPLE”

 

By Miriam Raftery

View James Comey’s introductory remarks and full testimony.  

June 8, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – In riveting testimony to the Senate Intelligence Committee today,  fired FBI director James Comey confirmed that President Donald Trump  asked him in person and in phone calls to back off the investigation of National Security advisor Michael Flynn’s Russian ties. 

Trump fired Comey after he refused to back off the investigation or swear a loyalty oath, promising "honesty" instead. Comey said Trump  then“chose to defame me—and more importantly, the FBI by saying the organization was in disarray and that it was poorly led, that the workforce had lost confidence in its leader. Those were lies, plain and simple.”

Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe backed Comey in his recent testimony , stating,“Director Comey enjoyed broad support within the FBI and still does to this day,” adding that Russia probe is “significant.”

ARBITRATION ABOUT-FACE: FEDS SIDE WITH CORPORATE INTERESTS OVER VULNERABLE NURSING HOME RESIDENTS

 

East County News Service

June 8, 2017 (San Francisco) – In what a patient advocacy group calls a ”devastating turn," the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to not only terminate its short-lived ban on pre-dispute arbitration agreements in nursing homes but to endorse their use as a condition to receiving vital care and services.

DETHRONED BEAUTY PAGEANT QUEEN FILES FRAUD AND DEFAMATION SUIT; COUNCILMAN KALASHO DENIES ALLEGATIONS

 

 

 

Kalasho provides documents to bolster his defense, though this isn't first time he has faced claims of fraud or ethics questions

By Miriam Raftery

Updated with comments from Tawfiq's attorney

June 7, 2017 (El Cajon) – A lawsuit has been filed against the Miss Middle East Beauty pageant  USA Inc. and Ben (Bessmon) Kalasho, organizer of the pageant and an El Cajon City Councilman.

The suit, filed by pageant winner Zhala Tawfiq, claims the pageant is fraudulent, that prize money was not paid, and that after she objected to giving up passwords to her social media accounts, photos of her face photoshopped onto someone else’s nude body were posted on  an Instagram page named “Zhala_Tawfiq_Fanpage” with a  post reading, “Leaked images of Miss Middle East Beauty Queen.”  Soon after she was removed as pageant winner and the title was given to the runner-up.

Asked if he posted the photos, Kalasho told East County Magazine, “Absolutely not." He indicated Tawfiz was replaced due to not fulfilling terms of her contract.

NETWORKS TO CARRY COMEY TESTIMONY LIVE THURSDAY MORNING

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 7, 2017 (San Diego’s East County ) – Major TV networks including CBS, NBC  and ABC will be interrupting regular programming tomorrow morning  to broadcast live testimony by fired FBI director James Comey to the Senate Intelligence Committee slated to start at 7 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.

A copy of Comey's pre-prepared statement has been released and can be read here. Comey confirms "inappropriate" actions by President Donald Trump including demanding loyalty and pressuring him to drop the investigation into former National Security Director Michael Flynn.  Comey's statement directly contradicts Trump's denial that he asked Comey to drop the investigation.  After Comey refused,  and also refused to swear a loyalty oath to Trump, Trump fired him.

 Comey’s testimony under questioning by Senators tomorrow could provide evidence for special prosecutor James Mueller, who is heading up an investigation into Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

The stakes have ratcheted up after the Intercept published  excerpts of a leaked top-secret National Security Administration report detailing that Russian military intelligence sent phishing messages to at least 100 U.S. election officials days before the 2016 presidential election and earlier executed a cyber attack on at least one voting software supplier.

PRESIDENT JIMMY CARTER RECEIVES THE GERALD R. FORD MEDAL FOR DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE

 

“Looking at the current toxic times and reflecting back to President Carter’s and Dad’s times in office, through their examples we can learn how politics should be conducted.  They illustrated to the nation that politics can be handled with dignity, class and respect. My family and I are grateful for President Carter’s public service and how he has conducted himself throughout his life. We are proud to call the Carter family friends.” -- Steven Ford, son of President Ford.

East County News Service

June 5, 2017  (Washington D.C.) Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter was honored with the Gerald R. Ford Medal for Distinguished Public Service on June 5, 2017 at the Capitol Hill Club in Washington D.C. The medal was presented to Carter via a video presentation from Atlanta, Georgia, during the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Foundation’s annual reception and dinner. Journalists Gregory Korte, USA Today; David Martin and Mary Walsh, CBS News; and David Cloud, Los Angeles Times, were each honored as recipients of the Gerald R. Ford Journalism Prize for Distinguished Reporting during the event.

UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE BILL ADVANCES IN CALIF. LEGISLATURE, WITHOUT DETAILED PLAN TO COVER HEFTY COSTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Senator Ricardo Lara and Toni Atkins, authors of Healthy California Act.

June 4, 2017 Sacramento) – Both houses of California’s Legislature have passed a landmark bill  called the “Healthy California Act”  to create a single-payer, universal healthcare system and eliminate private insurance companies  from covering anything covered by the state plan, which is broad.   

If enacted  the measure coauthored by Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) and Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens) would  cover all Californians, with no premiums, copays or deductibles, for all medical, dental, vision care, mental health and chiropractic services.   

But Senate bill 352 must go back to the Assembly to remedy a major flaw: the bill was advanced without details on how to pay for it, in order to meet legislative deadlines, and contains a clause that without the Secretary of Health and Human Services determining that a new Healthy California Trust Fund has sufficient revenues to fund the bill’s costs,  it will not become law.  

OPPONENTS OF HUNTER RAMP UP EFFORTS WITH BILLBOARD, CHICKEN AND BUNNY EARS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 4, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – A billboard that reads “Did you know?  Rep. Duncan Hunter is under criminal investigation” will soon be posted along highway 67, after volunteers from the group “Indivisible” raised over $7,000 in five days on a crowdfunding website

ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO CREATE INDEPENDENT REVIEW PROCESS FOR OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTINGS IN CALIFORNIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 4, 2017 (San Diego) – A measure to create an independent review process for officer-involved shootings in California passed by state Assembly this week.  Assembly Bill 284 by Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento) would empower the California Attorney General’s office civil rights division to appoint a special investigator for controversial cases of concern.

ASSEMBLY PASSES AB 805, CONTROVERSIAL MEASURE TO REFORM SANDAG

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 4, 2017 (San Diego) – By a 49-25 vote, Assembly Bill 805 by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) was approved by the state Assembly. 

The measure has been touted as a bill to “reform” the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) by making transportation planning and funding more accountable and transparent.  But critics contend it shifts power away from East County cities to San Diego and Chula Vista, which together would control agenda-setting and have a majority vote.

FACTCHECKING TRUMP'S CLIMATE SPEECH

 

By , , and

Credit to factcheck.org, full story here:  http://www.factcheck.org/2017/06/factchecking-trumps-climate-speech/

June 3, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - In announcing that the U.S. would withdraw from the Paris Agreement, a global accord aimed at addressing climate change, President Donald Trump made more than a few false and misleading claims:

  • Trump said the U.S. would be exposed to “massive legal liability if we stay in” the Paris Agreement. But there is no liability mechanism in the Paris Agreement. International environmental law experts tell us that pulling out of the agreement won’t reduce U.S. exposure to liability claims and, in fact, may increase it.
  • Trump called China and India the “world’s leading polluters,” referring to carbon emissions. That’s not accurate. China and the U.S. were the top emitters per kiloton in 2015.
  • The president also falsely said “nobody even knows where the money [in the Green Climate Fund] is going to.” The fund’s website outlines all of the projects that have been funded.
  • Trump said the agreement would cost “close to $3 trillion in lost GDP.” That’s one estimate from a report for a business-funded group that found a much smaller impact under a different scenario. Yet another analysis said the impact of meeting the emissions targets would be “modest.”
  • Trump again took credit for job gains, saying the economy has added more than a million private sector jobs since his election. That’s true, but only 493,000 of them were added since he took office.

TRUMP WITHDRAWAL FROM PARIS CLIMATE ACCORD DRAWS CONDEMNATION FROM WORLD LEADERS; WEST COAST STATES FORM THEIR OWN ALLIANCE TO COMBAT CLIMATE CHANGE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: NASA satellite:  Arctic ice reached an all-time record low in March, due to record temperatures.

June 2, 2017 (San Diego)—President Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday to withdraw the United States from the Paris Climate Accord  means the U.S. joins Syrian dictator Bashar Assad as the only other world leader who does not believe climate change is a serious threat to the planet.   Every nation on earth signed the Paris agreement calling for aggressive action to combat climate change, except for Syria and Nicaragua, but Nicaragua wanted even stronger actions to protect planet Earth.

BILLS TO BENEFIT WORKING WOMEN ADVANCE IN ASSEMBLY

 

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher wins approval of package of bills helping women in the workforce

East County News Service

June 1, 2017 (Sacramento) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) has won approval for several “women in the workplace” initiatives she authored this year to address income inequality as well as the challenges of working while pregnant or as a young mother.

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