Politics

SAN DIEGO LEGISLATOR BECOMES FIRST WOMAN TO LEAD STATE SENATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 21, 2018 (San Diego) – San Diego State Senator Toni Atkins this week became the first woman to lead California’s State Senate, as well as the first gay or lesbian person to hold the legislature’s highest office. Atkins previously served as Speaker of the Assembly.

AS RUSSIAN PROBE WIDENS, SO DO CREDIBILITY GAPS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – In direct conflict to warnings from top U.S. intelligence agency representatives, The House Intelligence Committee’s Republican majority shut down its investigation and  issued an overview of its report which concluded that Russia’s election hacking and social media attacks were merely intended to cause discord, not help Donald Trump win the 2016 presidential election.  The GOP report also concluded that that it found no “evidence of coordination, collusion or conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russians. “

CANDIDATE'S SUGGESTION OF MILITARY SERVICE AS CONGRESSIONAL QUALIFICATION SPARKS CONTROVERSY

 

By Chris Jennewein

Originally published in Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

March 20, 2018 (San Diego) - Democratic Congressional Candidate Josh Butner‘s suggestion in an interview that military service should be a requirement to run for national office sparked a controversy Monday.

KEY FARMING ISSUES HIGHLIGHTED AT COMMUNITY EVENT SPONSORED BY INDIVISIBLE RAMONA

 

By Joyce Strand

Photo from left to right: Democratic candidate for Congress Ammar Campa-Najjar, Republican candidate for Congress Shamus Sayed, Luawanna Hallstrom and Warren Bacon.

March 15, 2018 (Ramona) - The topics of water, farm labor, and NAFTA dominated presentations at Indivisible Ramona’s second community meeting to understand issues of importance to San Diego County, held at the Ramona Library Community Room on February 27th.

LEMON GROVE COUNCILMAN DISPUTES ASSAULT CLAIM, SAYS HE ACTED IN SELF DEFENSE

 

Updated March 17. 2018 with photos of Williams' injuries and quote from his wife, courtesy of Candid Chronicle.

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2018 (Lemon Grove) – Last week, the San Diego Reader published an article revealing that a claim has been filed against the City of Lemon Grove by Christopher Williams.  Williams, who has applied to open medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, seeks punitive damages and medical costs resulting from what he alleges was an assault by Councilman David Arambula. Now Councilman Matt Mendoza is calling for an investigation.

TRUMP BASHES BROWN IN VISIT TO BORDER WALL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Frank Gormlie, San Diego Free Press

March 14, 2018 (San Diego) – In a visit to San Diego on Monday, President Donald Trump toured prototypes of a border wall in Otay Mesa.  Hundreds of protesters turned out, San Diego Free Press reports, at the border as well as downtown. 

Trump supporters also came to greet the president including rallies by the anti-immigrant organization San Diegans for Secure Borders, a group led by former San Diego Minutemen organizer Jeff Schwilk.

TRUMP BLOCKS QUALCOMM TAKEOVER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2018 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump has blocked a takeover of Qualcomm by Singapore-based Broadcom, which would have been the biggest technology merger in history.

In a a presidential order, Trump cited “credible evidence” that if Broadcom acquired Qualcomm, the foreign corporation “might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.”

TRUMP FIRES SECRETARY OF STATE AFTER TILLERSON CRITICIZES RUSSIA

 

 

Photos, left to right: Rex Tillerson, Mike Pompeo, and Gina Haspel

By Miriam Raftery

March 13, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has fired Secretary of State Ralph Tillerson, naming Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo as his replacement and Gina Haspel, Deputy CIA Director, to replace Pompeo.  Both nominees have controversial backgrounds and will require Senate confirmation.

Tillerson’s ouster comes less than 48 hours after Tillerson blamed Russia for the poisoning of a Russian spy in Britain with a powerful neurotoxin. 

PRESIDENT TRUMP COMING TO SAN DIEGO TOMORROW: PROTESTS PLANNED

 

By Jonathan Goetz

March 12, 2018 (San Diego) -- President Donald Trump is coming to San Diego this Tuesday to view eight border wall prototypes. Multiple groups are planning protests over the President’’s hard-line stance on immigration, the border wall, and other issues.

COUNCILMAN KALASHO FACES NEW ACCUSATIONS OF FRAUD OVER ALLEGEDLY FALSE REAL ESTATE DOCUMENT FILINGS

 

By Paul Kruze

March 9, 2018 (El Cajon) -- As though the water couldn’t get any hotter for embattled El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho, he is now facing accusations that he is illegally shielding his personal assets, prior to an anticipated August trial on allegations that he sexually harassed two beauty pageant participants in 2016, among other claims.

The plaintiffs’ attorney, Jimmie Davis Parker, asserts that Kalasho made false real estate filings in order to hide assets that could potentially be sought to satisfy a legal judgment, should Kalasho lose the case. (View documents.) 

Filing false real estate documents is a felony crime in California, though it is not yet determined whether the allegation is true.

CARL DEMAIO CHANGES PLANS, WON'T RUN AGAINST HUNTER

 

 

Update March 9, 2018:  Carl DeMaio announced that he won't be turning in papers by the filing deadline today to run against Rep. Duncan Hunter. In an e-mail to supporters, he wrote, “While I, too, am frustrated with the lack of results and the double-standards for Washington politicians, I believe the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative campaign and our plans for subsequent reform initiatives in California are so much more important,” Times of San Diego reports.

By Miriam Raftery

March 8, 2018 (San Diego) – Former San Diego Councilman Carl DeMaio has pulled papers to run in the 50th Congressional District currently represented by fellow Republican Duncan D. Hunter. 

DeMaio served one term on the Council from 2008 to 2012.  He has previously run for mayor and lost to Bob Filner. He also ran for Congress previously but was defeated by Scott Peters, who currently serves in the 52nd District.

ZELT DROPS OUT, ENDORSES BILL WELLS IN RACE AGAINST HUNTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 8, 2018 (San Diego) – Andrew Zelt, a sergeant at the Sheriff’s Department, has withdrawn from the 50th Congressional District race and endorsed El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells.  On his Facebook page yesterday, Zelt posted this announcement:

REP. HUNTER GETS ENDORSEMENT OF STATE REPUBLICAN PARTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) has received endorsement of the California Republican party.  The GOP chose the incumbent Hunter over Republican challengers including El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, Sheriff’s sergeant Andrew Zelt, and businessman Shamus Sayed.  

REPS HUNTER AND PETERS SEEK TO BLOCK QUALCOMM TAKEOVER

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

March 1, 2018 (Washington D.C.) -- Following up on efforts last week to have the Trump Administration initiate a review of the proposed takeover of San Diego-based Qualcomm by Broadcom, Ltd, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-50) sent a letter to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis requesting his personal and direct involvement before a shareholder meeting occurs on March 6.  Subsequently,  Congressman Scott Peters (D-52) joined the call to halt the merger.

DICK’S SPORTING GOODS TAKES AIM AT ASSAULT RIFLES

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 28, 2018 (San Diego) — While Congress remains paralyzed over gun control legislation, with the Republican leadership refusing to even allow a vote on measures to ban or restrict sales of military-style assault rifles used in many recent mass shootings, at least one major retailer has taken action on its own.

COMPANIES DROP TIES TO NRA

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 27, 2018 (San Diego) – Students in Parkland, Florida are taking aim at the proliferation of military-style assault weapons too often used to commit mass murder in schools—and they’re gaining some powerful allies. Major corporations have announced that they are dropping partnerships with the National Rifle Association, or NRA, in protest of the NRA’s opposition to reforms such as banning or limiting access to assault weapons.

STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSES CAMPA-NAJJAR AND ELIA IN KEY EAST COUNTY RACES; DECLINES TO ENDORSE IN TOP STATEWIDE CONTESTS

STATE DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSES CAMPA-NAJJAR AND ELIA IN KEY EAST COUNTY RACES; DECLINES TO ENDORSE IN TOP STATEWIDE CONTESTS

By Miriam Raftery

February 26, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – At the California Democratic Convention held in San Diego over the weekend, an overwhelming 97 percent of delegates voted to endorse Ammar Campa-Najjar in the June primary race for the 50th Congressional District seat held by Congressman Duncan Hunter.  Campa-Najjar, a former Labor Department official with many local Democratic club endorsements, won the endorsement over former Navy Seal Josh Butner.

In other local Congressional races, the party endorsed incumbents Susan Davis, Juan Vargas and Scott Peters, but failed to reach consensus in an endorsement in the hotly contested 49th Congressional district seat left open by the retirement of Darrell Issa.

The state party also officially endorsed James Elia, who is running for the East County Assembly seat held by Republican Randy Voepel, as well as endorsing incumbents Shirley Weber and Ben Hueso in East County’s state Senate seats up for reelection in 2018.

The party decided to remain neutral, however, issuing no endorsement in several prominent statewide races including Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General as well as U.S. Senate.

That decision came as a rebuke to long-serving Senator Dianne Feinstein, who has served in the Senate for 25 years but now faces a challenge from Kevin De Leon, a state Senator from Los Angeles.  Critics contend that Feinstein hasn’t stood up forcefully enough against President Donald Trump’s policies, though as a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee she posed tough questions in the Trump Russia probe and has been a leading voice calling for restoring the assault weapons ban that she authored, which Congress allowed to expire. De Leon had sought to win endorsement, a rarity against an incumbent, but fell short of the 60 percent required.

With Governor Jerry Brown stepping down due to term limits, the gubernatorial primary race on the Democratic side of the aisle pits Gavin Newsom, current Lieutenant Governor and former San Francisco Mayor, against State Treasurer John Chiang, Assembly Speaker and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and Delaine Eastin, former Assembly member and past Superintendent of Public Instruction. For details on these candidates as well as Republican contenders, see http://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-california-governor-list-2018-htmlstory.html.

The Lieutenant Governor seat is also open. Delegates gave 42 percent of votes to State Senator Ed Hernandez of Azusu and 41 percent to former Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis, with neither getting enough for a pre-primary endorsement.

State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones is termed out of that office and is running for Attorney General against incumbent Xavier Becerra.  Jones got 56 percent to Becerra’s 42 percent, but still not enough to reach the 60 percent threshold required for a state party endorsement.

The party did issue these endorsements for other statewide offices:

Secretary of State: Alex Padilla

Treasurer: Fiona Ma

Controller: Betty Yee

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tony Thurmond

 

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Ammar Campa-Najjar with supporters at state Democratic convention, via his Facebook page

February 26, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – At the California Democratic Convention held in San Diego over the weekend, an overwhelming 97 percent of delegates voted to endorse Ammar Campa-Najjar in the June primary race for the 50th Congressional District seat held by Congressman Duncan Hunter.  Campa-Najjar, a former Labor Department official with many local Democratic club endorsements, won the endorsement over former Navy Seal Josh Butner. 

Campa-Najjar, Butner and other contenders will face El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells, a Republican, as well as embattled Congressman Hunter and potentially other challenges, with the filing deadling fast appraoching on March 9th. Hunter is viewed as vulnerable by many political experts due to the federal criminal investigation into allegations of misusing campaign funds for personal use and other controversies.

SUPREME COURT GIVES SAN DIEGO DREAMERS REPRIEVE FROM POSSIBLE DEPORTATION

 

By Chris Jennewein

Photo: U.S. Supreme Court, by D.B. King via Wikimedia Commons

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

February 26, 2018 (San Diego) -- San Diego’s estimated 45,000 Dreamers got a reprieve from possible deportation Monday when the Supreme Court refused to hear a Trump administration challenge.

The court declined to overrule a lower court’s action that temporarily blocked ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program on March 5.

The program, which allows immigrants brought to America illegally as children to live and work in the country, was terminated by President Trump last year, leaving it up to Congress to pass permanent protections.

SUPERVISOR JACOB OUTLINES GOAL FOR 2018 AT LA MESA CHAMBER BREAKFAST, REFLECTS ON HER DECADES OF SERVICE

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 24, 2018 (La Mesa) – In keeping with tradition, La Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s first breakfast speaker of the year was Supervisor Dianne Jacob, now serving her seventh and due to term limits, last term represented her district that encompasses virtually all of East County.

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE RESPONDS TO NEWS STORY ON ANCESTOR'S ALLEGED ACTIONS, AFFIRMS SUPPORT FOR PEACE IN MIDEAST

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 23, 2018 (San Diego) – Few family trees are without some bad apples.  But should the actions of an ancestor you never met haunt you if you decide to seek public office?

Ammar Campa-Najjar was born in America to a Catholic mother of Mexican descent and a Palestinian Muslim father. Now a Democratic candidate for Congress running for Rep. Duncan D. Hunter’s seat, his platform includes calling for a lasting peace in the Middle East that respects both Israelis and Palestinians.  

This week, the Israeli newspaper Haaretz ran a story headlined, Grandson of Munich Massacre Terrorist is Running For Congress – Sounding a Peaceful Tone on Israel. The story claims that Campa-Najjar’s grandfather was in the terrorist organization Black September that was responsible for killing Israeli Olympic competitors in Munich, and was later killed by Israeli security forces.

The newspaper also acknowledges that Campa-Najjar has rejected violence and won endorsements from San Diego rabbis,“winning praise from members of the local Jewish community for his moderate positions on the Israeli-Palestinian issue.”

SPRING VALLEY REVITALIZATION EFFORTS

 

By Jonathan Goetz

February 22, 2018 (Spring Valley) – Approximately 30 community members turned out at a meeting of the Spring Valley Revitalization Steering Committee Thursday, where Supervisor Dianne Jacob received an update from community and law enforcement.

The agenda covered a wide range of topics, from new parks and a community garden to  helping homeless youths and updates on community festivities.

CPUC PRESIDENT’S PROPOSAL TO CHARGE RURAL RATEPAYERS HIGHER RATES SPARKS ANGRY RESPONSES

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

Photo: Sunrise Powerlink high voltage lines in Lakeside, by Billy Ortiz

February 21, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) president Michael Picker has suggested that utilities be allowed to charge residents in high-fire risk areas higher rates for electricity.  The reason would be to cover costs of upgrades to prevent power lines from causing wildfires, including changes to meet tougher new fire safety rules approved by the CPUC in December, the San Francisco Chronicle reports

Picker’s proposal, made during a meeting on fire safety for utilities on January 31st, has sparked outraged responses among East County residents, planners, and County Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS ANNOUNCES CANDIDACY FOR CONGRESS AGAINST INCUMBENT DUNCAN HUNTER

 

 

By Paul Kruze

Hear audio: http://www.mediafire.com/file/5a742c5cj30npzp/BillWellsCampaignAnnouncement.mp3

February 21, 2018 (El Cajon) – If San Diego’s East County politics aren’t complex enough, another chess piece got moved on Tuesday with El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells announcing his intention to run against the troubled 50th District Republican incumbent, Congressman Duncan D. Hunter. 

TRUMP TRIES TO ELIMINATE FUNDS FOR EARTHQUAKE EARLY WARNINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

February 20, 2018 (San Diego) – Earthquake warning systems have been proven effective in Japan, Taiwan and Mexico, where residents received warnings ranging from a few seconds to a minute before major earthquakes struck. 

Even a short warning can be enough to save lives at hospitals, airports, power plants, schools and other locations.

MOMS AND ACTIVISTS RALLY FOR GUN VIOLENCE PREVENTION OUTSIDE CONGRESSMAN HUNTER’S OFFICE

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: Cheri Robertson and Vicki Shepperd Chin

February 20, 2018 (El Cajon) - Gun violence was at issue on Monday, President's Day, to protesters outside of Congressman Duncan D. Hunter Jr.'s office in El Cajon. Approximately 25 people showed up to hold signs and an American flag to protest Hunter's acceptance of National Rifle Association (NRA) money and his opposition to gun safety legislation.

SUPREME COURT LETS STAND CALIFORNIA’S WAITING TIME TO BUY GUNS

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

February 20, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Supreme Court has refused to hear a challenge by gun rights advocates to California’s law requiring a 10-day cooling off period before buying a new gun. 

The CalGuns Foundation’s lawsuit contended that the waiting period violated the 2nd Amendment and was unreasonable, since it applied even to people who already owned other guns. A lower court agreed. However, an appeals court rejected those claims and the Supreme Court allowed the appellate decision upholding California’s law to stand.

STUDENTS LEAD CALL FOR GUN REFORMS, ANNOUNCE NATIONAL “MARCH FOR OUR LIVES” MARCH 24

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

Photo cc by Fabrice Florin

You can sign up to join or lead a march in your community at www.MarchForOurLives.com.

February 20, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida have a message for lawmakers and the national media in the wake of a mass shooting that killed 17 people on their campus last week.

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