Politics

13 RUSSIANS INDICTED BY SPECIAL PROSECUTOR MUELLER FOR INTERFERING IN 2016 U.S. PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

By Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – It’s official:  Russia actively worked to sabotage American democracy and put Donald Trump in the White House.

Today, Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller released copies of indictments filed against 13 Russians and three Russian entities on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States and other charges ranging from bank fraud to identity theft in their quest to violate laws that prohibit foreigners from spending money to influence U.S. elections.  Read the full indictment here.

The indictment language is damning, documenting how the Russian organization Internet Research Agency plotted “information warfare against the U.S.” paid for in Russian rubles at a budget of $1.25 million a month. 

Russians posing as Americans used social media to post positive information on Trump and negative information,  much of it false, disparaging other candidates opposing Trump including Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton.  They also organized pro-Trump and anti-Clinton marches and rallies in the U.S.

They were aided by at least 100 U.S. citizens and and communicated with members of the Trump campaign, the indictment makes clear, and funneled illegal contributions into electing Trump.  At least some of those contacts were "unwitting."

POLITICO REPORT: REP. HUNTER’S WIFE AT CENTER OF FBI INVESTIGATION; PROBE INCLUDES QUESTIONS OVER ALLEGED WOMANIZING AND HEAVY DRINKING

 

By Kendra Sitton

February 14, 2018 (Jamul) — The media has revealed new details on the F.B.I. investigation of an East County lawmaker, as well as his alleged behavior in Washington D.C. According to reports, the investigation is intensifying, as Representative Duncan Hunter’s parents and a female lobbyist have been subpoenaed in the improper spending probe. Fellow Republicans are reportedly worried about his election prospects.

SUPERVISORS REVERSE TRADITION, REFUSE TO HOLD EVENING MEETING ON BUDGET FOR WORKING PEOPLE TO ATTEND

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 13, 2018 (San Diego) – If you work days and can’t get time off, four of the five San Diego County Supervisors don’t believe you should have an opportunity to testify on the County’s proposed budget

“I don’t want to sit here at night,” Supervisor Bill Horn stated in response to a proposal by Supervisor Greg Cox to schedule a special evening meeting on the budget, which the County has done in the past.

TRUMP’S BUDGET BETRAYS CAMPAIGN PROMISES

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 13, 2018 (Washington D.C.) — On the campaign trail, Donald Trump promised to reduce the federal deficit and to protect those he called the “forgotten men and women of our country.” Specifically, he pledged not to cut Medicare, Medicaid and other programs that benefit middle-class families and the poor. Those promises now appear misleading, given the actual proposal in the President’s budget plan rolled out on Monday.

Trump’s $4 trillion proposed budget would increase the nation’s deficit by over $1 trillion.  It would increase military spending by over 14 percent, with military spending accounting for 59% of the entire federal budget, while cutting funds for nearly every other domestic program. That includes huge cuts to Medicare and Medicaid which benefit one-third of all Americans, the New York Times editorial board reports. 

How deep are the cuts?  

LA MESA TOWNHALL: RESIDENTS RAISE CONCERNS OVER HOMELESSNESS, TRAFFIC, AIRPLANE NOISE, AND USE OF FORCE AT HELIX HIGH

 

City to appoint independent investigator for use-of-force case by La Mesa Police officer on student at Helix Charter High

By Jonathan Goetz

February 11, 2018 (La Mesa) - La Mesa's City Council members heard from local residents in a lively townhall last week that filled Northmont Elementary School's auditorium. The townhall forum, unlike Council meetings, allows discussion back and forth among residents and Council members after residents speak out with concerns or praise.

BALLOT BREAKDOWN: THESE INITIATIVES ARE HEADED YOUR WAY

 

By Ben Christopher, CALmatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

February 11, 2018 (Sacramento) - Direct democracy can be an exhausting business.

This year civically engaged Californians will be expected to have informed opinions about affordable housing and park funding, how best to divvy up cap-and-trade money, how to spend the state’s new gas tax money, and when new voter-approved laws ought to be enacted.

And those are just the measures on the ballot so far.

“PROMISE ZONE” BILL BY HUESO AIMS TO HELP BLIGHTED RURAL AND TRIBAL AREA

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

February 10, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) -- Legislation introduced by State Senator Ben Hueso aims to expand a successful “promise zone” program originally used to improve inner city areas in the city of San Diego.  If enacted,  Senate Bill 635 would allow blighted rural and tribal communities as well as cities with populations under 200,000 people to also apply for promise zone designation.

DISTRICT ATTORNEY CANDIDATE TO SPEAK FEB. 15 IN SANTEE

 

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

February 8, 2018 (Santee) – Genevieve Jones-Wright, a candidate running for San Diego County District Attorney, will be the featured speaker at the East County Democratic Club’s meeting on February 15 at 7 p.m. at Jimmy’s Family Restaurant, 9635 Mission Gorge Road in Santee.

DEFIANT TRUMP REFUSES TO IMPOSE SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA PASSED BY CONGRESS; TRUMP LAWYERS SEEK TO BLOCK PRESIDENT FROM TALKING TO MUELLER ON RUSSIA PROBE

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 7, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has defied Congress, refusing to impose sanctions against Russia passed by Congress before Monday’s deadline.  The law required the President to sanction companies or individuals doing significant business with Russian defense and intelligence entities, moves that aimed to punish Russia for meddling in the U.S. presidential election including hacking into several U.S. states’ election systems.

ONLY ONE VOTER IN REP. DUNCAN HUNTER’S DISTRICT CONTRIBUTED TO HIS CAMPAIGN

 

By Doug Porter

Originally published in San Diego Free Press

Photo:  Duncan D., Donnie T, and Duncan L., via Facebook

February 5, 2018 (San Diego) -- Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s dismal campaign finance reports have attracted national attention, and not in a good way. He raised a paltry $50,073 in the last three months of 2017 and spent $264,255, with $178,146 spent with five law firms. At the onset of 2018, the campaign had just $290,904 in the bank, less than half of what it did a year earlier.

JULIAN-CUYAMACA FIRE FEE FAILS TO QUALIFY FOR BALLOT AS TENSIONS ESCALATE OVER FUTURE OF FIRE DISTRICT

 

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

Photo: 2011 Angel Fire, burning behind Julian High School

February 3, 2018 (Julian) –  The San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu, in a letter to Patricia Landis, has advised that a proposed ballot measure to raise fees to $200 in the Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District had only 191 valid signatures—34 signatures short of the 225 needed to qualify.

WANT TO RUN FOR OFFICE? FILING PERIOD OPENS FEB. 12, CLOSES MARCH 9 FOR MANY KEY RACES

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 3, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Although many candidates have said they plan to run for various offices, it’s not official until they submit paperwork and have candidacies approved by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. To appear on the June ballot, the filing period opens February 12 and ends March 9th for the following offices:  Congress, U.S. Senate, State Assembly, State Senate, all statewide offices (such as Governor), San Diego Sheriff, Supervisor, District Attorney, County Clerk, County Board of Education, and school boards for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College, San Diego Community College, and San Diego Unified School Districts.

STATE CLOSES CASE FILED BY COUNCILMAN KALASHO AGAINST CITY OF EL CAJON, MAYOR WELLS AND COUNCILMAN KENDRICK

 

Dept. of Fair Employment & Housing finds no violation of laws; Kalasho retains right to sue over alleged discrimination

By Miriam Raftery

February 3, 2018 (El Cajon) – The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH), in a letter sent to El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho on January 22, advised that following an investigation, the agency has closed a complaint filed by Kalasho against the City of El Cajon, Mayor Bill Wells and Councilman Gary Kendrick.

Kalasho, who is of Iraqi descent, claimed he was harassed and discriminated against based on his national origin. “I was denied a work environment free of discrimination and/or retaliation and subjected to differential treatment,” he contended in his complaint.

DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATES FOR GOVERNOR TO DEBATE IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

February 1, 2018 (San Diego) - The San Diego County Democratic Party is hosting its first-ever gubernatorial debate on Thursday, February 22nd at the Jacobs Center, 404 Euclid Ave., San Diego.

All four leading Democrats running for governor of California are confirmed to participate: Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, former Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin and State Treasurer John Chiang.

REVITALIZING CASA DE ORO: “TODAY IS A BIG STEP FORWARD,” SAYS DIANNE JACOB AS SUPERVISORS ACCEPT CONSULTANTS’ REPORT, BUT CHANGES WILL TAKE TIME

 

By Paul Kruze

February 1, 2018 (Casa de Oro) – The San Diego County Board of voted in principal to approve a blueprint laid out for the eventual revitalizing of the Campo Road area of Casa de Oro at last Thursday’s meeting.

But don’t expect changes to occur overnight.

TRUMP DOUBLES DOWN ON PATHWAY TO CITIZENSHIP FOR DREAMERS

 

By Chris Jennewein

Reprinted with permission by Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  President Trump applauds Congress curing his State of the Union speech. Image from White House video

January 30, 2018 (Washington, D.C.) - President Trump doubled down on his offer of a path to citizenship for California’s estimated 500,000 eligible “Dreamers” Tuesday night in his first State of the Union speech.

The plan, which has drawn criticism from both Democrats and Republicans, would include a 12-year path to citizenship for 1.8 million immigrants brought to America as children in return for “a great wall on the southern border” and an end to both the visa lottery and chain migration.

LA MESA RESIDENTS INVITED TO TOWNHALLS JAN. 30 AND FEB. 6

By Miriam Raftery

January 29, 2018 (La Mesa) – The City of La Mesa invites residents to attend two upcoming town hall meetings, where elected officials and city staff will be on hand to answer residents’ questions and hear concerns.  The forums will be held Tuesday, January 30 at the La Mesa Arts Academy (4200 Parks Ave.) and Tuesday, Feb. 6 at Northmont Elementary School (9045 Gregory Street), both from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Mayor Mark Arapostathis and City Council members Kristine Alessio, Bill Baber, Guy McWhirter and Colin Parent are expected to participate, as well as Police Chief Walt Vasquez, Heartland Fire & Rescue Chief Colin Stowell, City Manager Yvonne Garrett, City Attorney Gleen Sabine, and staffers from La Mesa’s departments of public works, finance, and community development.

CAMPA-NAJJAR WINS KEY DEMOCRATIC PARTY ENDORSEMENT IN 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

January 28, 2018 (San Diego) -- The California Democratic Party's Region 18 this week endorsed Ammar Campa-Najjar for Congress in the 50th district at its pre-endorsement conference, which included delegates from East County and San Diego. 

Campa-Najjar received 97% of the delegate vote in a four-way contest with candidate Josh Butner and potential candidates Patrick Malloy and Larry Tract. Since Campa-Najjar exceeded the threshold of 70% of the vote, the party's state convention is expected to ratify the region's recommendation on February 25th, which would give a major boost to Campa-Najjar in his effort to win the June primary and square off against incumbent Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter in November.

"I am humbled to have earned this endorsement by such a wide margin," said Campa-Najjar, who has raised over half a million dollars to date for his campaign.  He adds that during his campaign, he has been meeting people across the district at farms and rodeos, bars and diners, churches, mosques, synagogues, college campuses and senior centers, VFW halls and memorials, libraries, city halls, rallies, backyards, living rooms and dining rooms.

CAPITAL IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS TOP SANTEE’S PRIORITIES

 

By Mike Allen

January 28, 2018 (Santee) -- In his first state of the city address last week, Santee Mayor John Minto outlined a vision that puts a priority on several capital improvement projects and saving money on the city’s growing pension liabilities.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW WITH SHAMUS SAYED, MODERATE REPUBLICAN RUNNING AGAINST REP. DUNCAN HUNTER

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine

Hear our full in-depth interview, originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio, by clicking the audio link.

January 28, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – Shamus Sayed, a Republican running in the 50th Congressional District for the seat currently held by Rep. Duncan Hunter, calls himself a fiscally conservative, socially moderate Republican.  He says he’s running, “because I want to make a change” and because he wants to bring “integrity and accountability” to the offices.

Rep. Hunter is under criminal investigation by the Justice Department for alleged use of campaign funds for lavish personal expenses.  A federal grand jury has recently been convened, raising the potential for an indictment, though Hunter has stated recently that he has no intentional of stepping down.

Audio: 

IN LAST ‘STATE OF THE STATE’ SPEECH, GOV. BROWN REFLECTS ON HIS—AND CALIFORNIA’S—HISTORY

 

By Laurel Rosenhall | CALmatters

Photo:  Gov. Jerry Brown delivers his final State of the State speech. Photo by Max Whittaker for CALmatters.

January 27, 2018 (Sacramento) -- As Gov. Jerry Brown neared the end of his last State of the State speech Thursday, he invoked a name that has become a frequent theme: August Schuckman, his own great-grandfather, who left Germany in 1849 and “sailed to America on a ship named Perseverance.”

SANTEE MOVES AHEAD WITH PLAN FOR DISTRICT ELECTIONS

 

By Mike Allen

January 26, 2018 (Santee) -- Despite having one of the most homogeneous populations in the county and lacking any concentration of minority groups, Santee elected officials say the city’s hands are tied, and Santee is forced to comply with a state law urging cities to adopt district elections.

IF YOU'RE NOT ALARMED, YOU SHOULD BE; WHO'S LEFT TO HOLD CALIFORNIA'S GOVERNMENT ACCOUNTABLE

 

By David Lesher, editor and CEO at Cal Matters, an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government

January 25, 2018 (Sacramento) -- Dear Californians,

If you care about this state, it’s time to sound the alarm about the crisis in media and what it means for the health of democracy in the world’s sixth largest economy.

Media is declining nationally, but unique pressures have made California into America’s laboratory for a dangerous experiment about what happens to the public interest when policy is made without the public’s awareness or accountability.

“SAFEGUARD OUR SAN DIEGO COUNTRYSIDE” INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TO CONTROL DEVELOPMENT

 

Initiative would require public vote on significant changes to General Plan, to protect backcountry from sprawl-style development and traffic gridlock

East County News Service

Update: Hear our interview with former Supervisor Pam Slater Price and Mark Jackson from Save Our San Diego Countryside by clicking the audio link.  Learn more at https://saveoursdcountryside.org/.

January 24, 201 (San Diego) -- Today the San Diego County Registrar of Voters approved the title and summary for the “Safeguard Our San Diego Countryside” Initiative, clearing the way for proponents to gather signatures to place the initiative on the November 2018 ballot. If passed, the measure would require voter approval of amendments to the San Diego County General Plan that significantly increase density on parcels in the unincorporated county now designated for farming, open space, and wildlife uses.

Audio: 

COUNTY TO ACCEPT COMPETING BIDS FOR ANIMAL SERVICES

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 24, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – County Supervisors on Tuesday approved a proposal to accept bids from outside animal welfare organizations seeking to compete against the County’s Animal Services Department to provide services in the County’s unincorporated areas, including rural, desert and mountain regions in East County as well as neighborhoods such as Spring Valley, Alpine, and Lakeside. In East County, the city of Santee will also be impacted.

GONZALEZ FLETCHER BILL WOULD BAN GUN BUY-BACK PROGRAMS FROM GIVING VOUCHERS TO STORES THAT SELL GUNS

 

East County News Service

January 23, 2018 (San Diego) -- California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) introduced a bill this week that would prohibit public agencies during gun buy-back events from handing out taxpayer-funded vouchers to any store that sells firearms.

SHUTDOWN AVERTED WITH SHORT-TERM FUNDING BILL THROUGH FEB. 8: CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE FUNDING RESTORED, BUT NOT PROTECTION FOR YOUNG IMMIGRANTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 23, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Both houses of Congress have approved a short-term spending bill to reopen the federal government, but only until February 8th

The compromise measure includes six years of funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program which had expired at year’s end.  But Democrats failed to win Dream Act protection from deportation for young immigrants or Dreamers, settling on a mere promise from Republican  Majority Mitch McConnell to address the issue in a separate immigration bill with no guarantee of passage.

PHOTOS OF THE WEEK: WOMEN’S MARCH 2018 SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2018 (San Diego) - An estimated 37,000 people took to the streets of downtown San Diego for the second annual women’s march protesting policies of the Trump administration, according to San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman.  Zimmerman tweeted photos of the large crowd, adding, “All of us thank you for saying hello throughout the rally and walk.”

CALIFORNIA MAY BUCK CONGRESS WITH ITS OWN HEALTH INSURANCE REQUIREMENT

 

By Elizabeth Aguilera, CALmatters

Photo:  A hospital emergency room entrance. Photo by M.O. Stevens via Wikimedia Commons

January 20, 2018 (Sacramento) - With Congress ending the requirement that all Americans have health insurance, California leaders are preparing to counter that move by securing health care for as many residents as possible in a fortified state insurance exchange.

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