Politics

AS NATION TURNS RED, CALIFORNIA STAYS BLUE WITH SWEEP OF STATEWIDE OFFICES

 

By Paul Kruze

November 5, 2014 (Sacramento)--Tuesday night was not a happy one for Democrats. A red wave of Republican wins resulted in the party increased its hold on the House of Representatives and gained formidable control of U.S. Senate. But as a consolation prize, Democrats were able to keep California in the “blue state” column by keeping a firm hold on the state’s highest offices.

Early on in the vote counting, major news organizations projected that voters had granted Governor Jerry Brown a second consecutive four-year term  (the fourth in his political political career)  by a comfortable margin which did not change throughout the evening.  Incumbent Democrat Gavin Newsom was able to stave off a challenge by East County resident and former chairman of the California Republican Party, Ron Nehring.

REPUBLICANS WIN CONTROL OF SENATE, GAIN HOUSE SEATS INCLUDING ONE LIKELY IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 5, 2014 (San Diego) -- Nationally, Republicans have won control of the Senate and increased their margin of dominnance in the House of Representatives. One of those gains appears to have occurred in San Diego's 52nd Congressional District.

With all votes tallied except several thousand provisional ballots, former Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, has just 752 votes more than Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, up by 50.26% to 49.74%.  It is not yet known whether Peters will request a recount, which is his right under the law with such a narrow margin. 

In other local races, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter captured 71.55% of the vote over challenger James Kimber, a physician assistant in the 50th Congressional District.  In the 51st District, Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas scored a solid victory with 68% of the vote over his opponent, Stephen Meade. 

Two other races were somewhat closer. Congresswoman Susan Davis, a Democrat, fought off a challenge from ex-Navy Seal Larry Wilske, a Republican. Davis won with 57.88% of the vote in the 53rd District; Wilskie picked up  42.12%. Congresman Darrell Issa, a Republican who has drawn national media scrutiny as chair of the House Oversight Committee held his seat with 57.97% of the vote over Democratic challenger Dave Peiser, who receivecd 42.03%.

CHALLENGERS OUST INCUMBENTS IN SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

November 5, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- The biggest political upset in East County this electionappears to have taken place in the San Miguel Fire District, where a slate of challengers has won three seats on the board, ousting incumbents.

On top with 100% of precincts counted Mike Vacio, Jim Ek and Theresa McKenna with 20.16%, 18.25% and 16.26% of the vote.

RONN HALL WINS SEAT ON SANTEE COUNCIL; INCUMBENTS REELECTED

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ronn Hall

November 5, 2014 (Santee) -- Santee City Council members John Minto and Rob McNelis have won reelection with  26.02% and 22.79% of the vote respectively with 100% of precincts counted.  But the biggest vote getter was Ronn Hall, who drew 27.39% of the vote to fill a vacant seat on the Council. Hall, an insurance broker, is past President and a current board member of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, with strong name recognition in the community.

Challengers Maggie Acerra and Keshav Damoor, who ran on reform platforms, drew 15.44% and 8.32% of the vote.

Unlike some local cities that are built out, Santee weathered tough economic times with a sound budget due in part to new development including a sports complex that created new property tax revenues.  The fate of remaining undeveloped lands in the city was a key campaign issue, with pending projects including Fanita Ranch, a proposed theater complex, and land around the Carlton Hills Golf Course that recently sold.

MAYOR WELLS, COUNCILMAN KENDRICK SCORE STRONG WINS IN EL CAJON

 

 

Photo: Mayor Bill Wells celebrates victory with suporters; photo by Randy Jordan, R. Jordan Photgraphy

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Russell

November 5, 2014 (El Cajon) -- Mayor Bill Wells thumped two opponents to win 81.6% of the vote, winning reelection handily over Allen Theweny and Jonathan Wright.  Councilman Gary Kendrick took over two-thirds of the vote (64.14%) over his opponent, Elwood Alexander.

The incumbents had the benefit of an improving economy and new policies such as the city's outreach to car dealers to bring more revenues to El Cajon, a city with the county's highest poverty rate.  El Cajon's leaders have also had success in healing relations with the city's large Iraqi Chaldean population, with Mayor Wells speaking out publicly in support of bringing persecuted Christian Chaldean refugees to El Cajon.

DEMOCRATS PICK UP SEAT ON LEMON GROVE COUNCIL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated November 5, 2014 (Lemon Grove)--Democratic challenger Jennifer Mendoza has ousted incumbent Councilman Howard Cook, a Republican, to increase Democratic control on Lemon Grove's Council.  Jerry Jones, an incumbent who is also a Democrat, also won reelection. Though officially a nonpartisan race, the political parties threw their weight behind candidates in the race.

Chair of the city's Planning Commission, Mendoza is also a paralegal and as a board member of the Soroptomists, Boy Scouts, PTA, and other community groups. She has made street repairs her number one goal if elected.

ARAPOSTATHIS DEFEATS LA MESA MAYOR ART MADRID, BABER & MCWHIRTER WIN COUNCIL RACES

 

Photo, left: Baber and McWhirter's victory party at Tiramisu Trattoria in La Mesa

 

Republicans, developer-backed candidates in Council race

Updated November 5, 2014 (La Mesa) - Mayor Art Madrid, who has led La Mesa for the past 24 years, has been unseated by Councilman and teacher Mark Arapostathis.  With 100% of precincts counted, Arapostathis has received 58.8% of the vote to Madrid's 41.11%.

INCUMBENTS WIN HANDILY IN STATE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY RACES

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 4, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – By large margins, legislative candidates representing East County have won their reelection bids. Republican State Senator Joel Anderson leads Democratic challenger Fotios “Frank” Tsimboukakis by a 69.29% to 30.71% margin, with 37.7% of votes counted in the 38th district. 

In the 40th State Senate District, where two Democrats are in a run-off due to the top-two primary system, incumbent Senator Ben Hueso leads challenger Rafael Estrada 55.29% to 44.71% with a third of all precincts counted in San Diego County, though results from Imperial County are not yet available. Hueso enjoys the substantial lead despite an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

NEWCOMERS FAIL IN BID TO WIN SEATS ON GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL BOARD

 

Updated November 5, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- With 100% of votes counted, incumbents Robert Shield and Jim Kelly won reelection on the Grossmont Union High School District Board with 24.31 and 22.58 % of the vote respectively. Dr. Gary Woods, who lost his seat in the last election and consistently voted in a block with Kelly and Shield, is in third place with 22.2%,  beat by a substantial margin over challengers Shirley Anderson (14.39%), Barbara Stevens (11.39%) and Steve Mattia (5.12%).  Woods will fill the vacant seat left by Dick Hoy', who did not seek reelection.

The election outcome will solidify control of the GUHSD board by staunch conservative members opposed to building an Alpine High School or backing Alpine parents' wishes to split up the district and unify with the Alpine Union School District.  The district is currently embroiled in two lawsuits over its obstructionism on turning over funds from two bond measures into an escrow account to assure funds intended by voters for building a high school will be used for that purpose. 

FASCINATING FACTS FROM THE REGISTRAR OF VOTERS

November 4, 2014 (San Diego) – Voters are casting ballots today at 1432 precincts with 1236 polling places manned by 6300 poll workers. Polls close at 8 p.m. tonight.  Unusual polling places include an equestrian center in Ramona, a pet wash and a fencing center in Escondido, a bowling alley in San Marcos, a theater in San Diego, and a museum in Vista.

The Registrar of Voters is forecasting a 50 to 55 percent turnout in today’s gubernatorial election. If accurate, that would be lower than the 64% in2010 and 57% in 2006.  As of noon yesterday, only 281,147 mail-in ballots out of 868,122 issued countywide had been turned in. Voters who have not yet mailed in absentee ballots can drop them off at polling places.

EAST COUNTY VOTING GUIDE: NONPARTISAN INFORMATION FROM EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

 

 

East County News Service

November 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)— East County Magazine has compiled this handy guide for you with links to all of our coverage of local races, as well as some statewide and federal (Congressional) races on your ballot for the election on Tuesday, November 4. 

We invited all candidates running in local races listed below to be interviewed, and include print and/or  radio interviews with those who responded.   We also have links to our coverage of debates, candidate forums, analysis, editorials submitted by our readers (ECM does not editorialize), and other relevant information on candidates and ballot propositions. Also see below for links to additional nonpartisan resources for info on these and other races.

Our nonpartisan guide is arranged in three sections: local, state, and federal (Congressional) races, with  the races alphabetical under each section. To view, click "read more" below and scroll down.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEWS WITH GUHSD CANDIDATES BARBARA STEVENS AND STEVE METTIA

 

Photo: Barbara Stevens (Steve Mattia did not provide a photo)

November 3, 2014 (San Diego's East County)--East County Magazine invited all candidates for the GUHSD to be interviewed: two incumbents and four challengers.

Two challengers responded:  law student Steve Mattia and Barbara Stevens, who wants to apply her financial training to the job. You can listen to their interviews here:

Barbara Stevens:  http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/q2o90s6vlq/Newsmaker-BarbaraStevens.mp3

Steve Mattia: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/f1fpl6ljhk/Newswmaker-MattiaSteve-FINAL.mp3

The stakes are high in this race, with a board majority that defied a Grand Jury order, leading to lawsuits filed against the district over its failure to build an Alpine High School despite two bond measures approved by voters that included funds for that purpose.

SANTEE COUNCILMAN ROB MCNELIS AND CHALLENGER KESHAV DAMOOR: RADIO INTERVIEWS NOW ONLINE

 

Photos: Keshav Damoor, left, and Rob McNelis, right

 

November 3, 2014 (Santee) – Last week, East County Magazine sat down with Councilman Rob McNelis, a realtor who is proud of the city's achievements on his watch, and challenger Keshav Damoor, a UCSD graduate who works with nonprofits on poverty issues and seeks to represent a new generation on the Council. 

The candidates shared their views on smart growth for Santee and the future of the community.  Will there be a theater complex and entertainment center in Santee's future?  What about Fanita Ranch?  Listen to our interviews now:

Keshav Damoor: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/mvfi330sul/Newsmaker-KeshavDamoor-SanteeCouncilx.mp3

Rob McNelis: http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/ib0vuopj8h/Newsmaker-RobMcNellis-final-x.mp3

For our previous coverage of these and other candidates in this race, click "read more" and scroll down.

STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF SCHOOLS RACE PITS TEACHER WHO BACKS STRONG PUBLIC SCHOOLS VS. PRIVATIZATION ADVOCATE BACKED BY OPPONENTS OF PUBLIC SCHOOL FUNDING

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 2, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - One of the closest election contests statewide is shaping up in the California Superintendent of Education race.

SYCUAN FUNDS “SCARY” HALLOWEEN MAILER AGAINST GUHSD BOARD MEMBERS KELLY & SHIELD

 

View flyer here.

East County News Service

October 31, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A flyer that landed in mailboxes just in time for Halloween features images of a haunted house and a cemetery-–along wtih a message urging recipients to “Look inside…At the scary report on the Grossmont Union High School District Board Members Jim Kelly and Robert Shield,  IF YOU DARE…” 

The flyer supports challengers Shirley Anderson and Barbara Stevens in the election, which has six candidates running including incumbents Kelly and Shield.  The mailer was paid for as an independent expenditure by the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation.

SHOULD LA MESA "PASS THE J?"

 

By Leon Thompson

October 29, 2014 (La Mesa) – Medical Marijuana dispensaries are prohibited by code in La Mesa.  Proposition “J” The measure would require that City officials issue an operating permit and business registration to any dispensary applicant who demonstrates compliance with location requirements and presents a plan for compliance with operational requirements.

MCWHIRTER RESPONDS TO CANDIDATE QUESTIONS IN LA MESA

 

East County News Service

October 31, 2014 (La Mesa)—Guy McWhirter cancelled his radio interview last week, stating that he needed to assist his daughter, who is expecting a baby soon.  He asked for questions to respond to in writing. 

You can hear the radio interviews with the other four candidates, and read highlights from their interviews here: http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/la-mesa-candidates-air-depth-views-interviews-east-county-magazine

 

For McWhirter’s written responses to our questions, click “read more” and scroll down.

READERS EDITORIAL: TERM LIMITS: WRONG IDEA. WRONG PLACE.

By Anthony D. Mc Ivor

A term limits ordinance for La Mesa is on our ballots.  This tired, discredited political experiment only survives because deep-pocket activists cleverly disguise its real cost: the recurring damage to a citizen’s freedom of choice at the ballot box.

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LEMON GROVE COUNCIL CANDIDATES SHARE VIEWS

 

 

Photo (top left to lower right): Howard Cook, Jerry Jones, Jennifer Mendoza, and Stephen Browne

 

By Jordan Schaffner

October 31, 2014 (Lemon Grove)—Five candidates are in the running for the Lemon Grove City Council: incumbents Howard Cook and Jerry Jones, along with challengers  Anna Sessom Baker, Stephen Browne, and Jennifer Mendoza. Baker did not respond.

The other candidates’ responses are posted below, highlighting their goals on issues ranging from transportation to public safety.

LA MESA CANDIDATES AIR IN-DEPTH VIEWS IN INTERVIEWS WITH EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

 

Four of the five candidates sat down for in-depth radio interviews with East County Magazine. 

Hear their full interviews here (listed in the order they aired on KNSJ); or to read highlights click "read more" and scroll down:

Patrick Dean: http://kiwi6.com/file/bchwu7qbqx 

Pete Gregorovic: http://kiwi6.com/file/78puh4vuq3

Bill Baber:  http://kiwi6.com/file/t8a9fxd7io

Mary England: http://kiwi6.com/file/qn2jcyft15

Updated 11/1/14: Bill Baber has clarified his position on recusals and raised questions over possible conflicts of interests by Mary England.  See his remarks in the text below.

Update October 31, 2014: Guy McWhirter, who was not available for a radio interview, provided written responses to our candidate questions today, after the story below was published. Read his responses here.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: L. to R.: Bill Baber, Patrick Dean, Mary England, Pete Gregorovic, Guy McWhirter

October 30, 2014 (La Mesa) –La Mesa has two open seats on its City Council, since long-time Councliman Ernie Ewin is retiring and Councliman Mark Arpostathis is running for mayor.  Five candidates are running—and the winners could swing the Council in new directions for the future.   Overall, this year's pack of candidates brings extensive experience and enthusiasm to the contest to represent the citizens of La Mesa.

READER’S EDITORIAL: NEW DIRECTION NEEDED AT GROSSMONT SCHOOL BOARD

 

 

“The claim of the administration and teachers' union that an Alpine separation would result in insolvency is a Halloween season scare tactic.” – Michael Waterman

 

By Michael Waterman, an East County attorney and writer

 

October 29, 2014 (La Mesa)--The state of the Grossmont School Board is not good. It's abysmal. Last year the County Grand Jury essentially charged the board majority with duping voters over the promised Alpine High School. In August the County Board of Education voted 5-0 to recommend to the State Board of Education that Alpine be allowed to break away from the District and build its own high school. This month a lawsuit was filed against the District which aims to stop bond spending on new projects until the State Board weighs in on the Alpine secession petition and a concomitant division of assets between Grossmont and Alpine.

PEISER ASKS VOTERS TO "FIRE ISSA"

 

By Jordan Schafner

October 21, 2014 (San Diego)—Dave Peiser is asking residents in the 49th Congressional District to “Fire Issa” and “Hire Peiser.” 

His opponent, Republican Darrell Issa, is the richest man in Congress and has become a national lightning rod for controversy. Issa chairs the powerful House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, where he has launched repeated investigations into the Obama administration, while failing to investigate allegations of corporate wrongdoing that impact consumers.

GOT A MAIL-IN BALLOT? THESE LIBRARIES NOW ACCEPT DROP-OFFS

 

October 28, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – If you haven’t yet sent in your mail-in ballot, you don’t have to drive to the Registrar of Voters to assure it’s received by the November 4th election.  Now you can drop your mail-in ballot off at 12 county libraries during their business hours through November 3rd, the day before the election. That includes the El Cajon and Santee libraries in East County.

EL CAJON CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE JONATHAN WRIGHT HOPES TO ALLEVIATE POVERTY

 

 

By Janis Russell

October 24, 2014 (El Cajon)- Jonathan Wright is running against incumbent Mayor Bill Wells and challenger Allen Theweny  for Mayor of El Cajon.

Wright participated in an exclusive interview with East County Magazine. Wright discusses his values, what his main priorities will be once elected, and his views about the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) among other topics.  He  has a background in business management, marketing and IT support. He decided to run for Mayor to serve the people and lead the city into the future, helping get the people and the city back on track to prosperity by working to alleviate poverty for the elderly and to get people off the streets.

FUTURE HIGH SCHOOL, SCHOOL SAFETY TOP ISSUES IN ALPINE SCHOOL BOARD RACE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Left, Glenn Dickie.  Lou Russo did not respond to our request for a candidate photo.

October 25, 2014 (Alpine) – Six candidates are running for the Alpine Union School District: Michael Beraud, Glenn Dickie, Nina Gould, Al Guerra, Lou Russo, and Eric Wray.  We sent a questionnaire to all six of them over a week ago. Only two responded by deadline: Lou Russo and incumebent Glenn Dickie. (If others respond later, we will post their replies at the end of this story, so check back.)

Dickie says he strongly backs building an Alpine High School and wants to help the AUSD through unification with the Grossmont District to build the Alpine High School. Russo says he would only support unification if it is the only way for Alpine to meet its goals.

Both candidates have had children ho attended district schools.  Both platforms include financial accountability.  Both candidates are conservatives though Dickie has the County Republican Party endorsement.  Dickie has a degree in finance and career experience that includes accounting and information technology. Russo, a former Marine and ex-teacher, has made school safety the number one plank in his platform and called for armed guards on campuses. Dickie also supports safe schools but has other approaches in mind. Dickie wants to start a summer learning program and sees declining enrollment, implementing Common Core standards and increasing technology in the classroom as important issues.

Below are their responses in full.

POLITICAL WRANGLING: GAFFES, GOOFS AND MUDSLINGING IN EAST COUNTY RACES

 

By Buck Shott

October 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) -- The mud is flying as the clock ticks down to the November 4th election.  Here are some of the latest juicy stories, scandals and mud-slinging tactics on the campaign trail in San Diego and East County.

NEGATIVE MAILERS TARGET ALPINE SCHOOL BOARD CANDIDATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 24, 2014 (Alpine) – A negative campaign mailer  targeting Alpine School Board candidate Lou Russo (photo, left) was funded by the Public Safety PAC based in San Carlos.  Russo is, in fact, endorsed by the Fraternal Order of Police in San Diego County. 

Among those contributing major funds to the Public Safety PAC is local Diamond dealer, CK Diamonds who is owned by Charles “Chuck” Kaderabek. Kaderabek withdrew his nomination from the Alpine Planning Group after Russo exposed Kaderabek’s string of tax liens, tax delinquencies and lapsed law license.

The Public Safety PAC has also been exposed as being behind mailers targeting La Mesa City Council candidate Mary England, who has the endorsement of La Mesa’s police, fire and public safety unions.

READER’S EDITORIAL: BIG MONEY AND HIT PIECES INFLUENCING OUR LA MESA POLITICAL SEASON

 

By Marcia Tolin

Editor’s note:  La Mesa Today reports that Guy McWhirter has admitted to funding the negative mailers targeting his opponent, Mary England, and funneling the money through the non-local “Public Safety Advocates” PAC. England in fact has the endorsement of La Mesa’s police, fire and public employees’ associations. The same PAC sent a negative mailer on an Alpine candidate.  The mailer was similar in style to a second mailer sent anonymously, which listed endorsements for other candidates by 115 Alpine residents, some of whom have denied making the endorsements.

October 24, 2014 (La Mesa)--For the first time that I can remember, defamatory mailers or “hit pieces” have been delivered in La Mesa from big money and outside interests.  Mary England who has the only endorsement by the La Mesa Police Officers’ Association is being attacked by a “PAC”, or Political Action Committee calling itself “Public Safety Advocates” out of Encinitas.  The PAC is specifically targeting just one candidate, the only woman and the one with the most experience running in a field of five for the two open seats on the La Mesa City Council.  Why now and for this position?  Who is really behind this?

If we follow the money, we don’t have to look very far. Public records (Form 496) shows a contribution from Guy McWhirter, who donated $5,000 on 10/13/2014.  The “Public Safety Advocates” who have thus far put out three hit pieces on Mary have received their money not only from Guy McWhirter, but from many builders and developers, and a local Diamond dealer, CK Diamonds who is owned by Charles “Chuck” Kaderabek from El Cajon.

HEAR OUR IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS WITH CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS & HER OPPONENT, LARRY WILSKE

 

 

Listen now! (audio files may take a few moments to load)

Congresswoman Susan Davis: http://kiwi6.com/file/xfmt493q90

Challenger Larry Wilske: http://kiwi6.com/file/41cph92w6r

October 23, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – We sat down for in-depth interviews with Congresswoman Susan Davis, a Democrat, and her opponent, Republican Larry Wilske, a Navy Seal.   Hear their views on jobs, the economy, energy, women’s issues, education, healthcare, Social Security, military actions in the Middle East and the refugee crisis, immigration, border security, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the needs of veterans and military families, the prospects of another government shut-down, and more.

Wilske called for boots on the ground in Syria, reform of NAFTA to encourage manufacturing in the U.S., creation of a cross-border rail line, increased use of oil refineries, nuclear and algae fuels, arming teachers to reduce school violence, stopping employers from hiring illegal immigrants, and allowing veterans to receive private healthcare when VA hospitals are backlogged.  

Davis discussed ideas to increase commerce at the border, boost funding for National Institute of Health research on Ebola, strengthen public education and keep college affordable, boost the economy through immigration reform, protect healthcare , Social Security and women’s rights, address climate change and seek a long-range strategy for addressing the ISIL terrorist threats in Syria and Iraq.

HEAR INTERVIEWS WITH SANTEE COUNCILMAN JOHN MINTO AND CHALLENGER MAGGIE ACERRA

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

East County News Service

East County Magazine invited all five candidates running for Santee City Council to be interviewed on our radio show on KNSJ.  Two have participated thus far. (We hope to add more soon, so check back.)

 Incumbent Councilman John Minto, a former detective and chair of the East County Economic Development Council, says Santee is enjoying a robust economy and takes pride in his accomplishments, such as creating a public-private partnership to build a sports park and creating jobs.

Challenger Maggie Acerra, a budget and finance specialist, says she is running to be a voice for the people, increase public awareness of upcoming issues, and believes the council is too cozy with developers.

Hear our interviews ( note: audio files may take a few moments to load):

Maggie Acerra interview: http://kiwi6.com/file/dubmlczdpo

John Minto interview: http://kiwi6.com/file/9a9jrsqh0b

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