Politics

GOVERNOR BROWN'S BUDGET BOOSTS EDUCATION FUNDING, AIMS TO STOP TUITION HIKES, BUT FAILS TO RESTORE DEEP CUTS IN SERVICES FOR THE POOR

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2015 (Sacramento)—Governor Jerry Brown has unveiled his proposed $164.7 billion budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year(including $113.3 billion in general funds), drawing mixed reactions from around the state following several months of healthy revenue growth.   Seeking a fiscally prudent path, the Governor aims to pay down long-term debts and boost California’s rainy day fund for budget reserves by $2.8 billion.

REPUBLICANS SET STAGE TO SLASH SOCIAL SECURITY AND DISABILITY BENEFITS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – On the first day of the new Congressional session, House Republicans pushed through a rule change that advocates for senior citizens and the disabled warn will lead to major benefit cuts for retirees and people on disability.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) legislative policy director calls the action “a mistake” that could lead to devastating 20% cuts for people dependent on disability payments as well as negative impacts for retirees--including reductions in benefit payments and another rise in retirement age, which is already set to go up from age 65 to 67.

Without a single Democratic vote, House Republicans pushed through a rule change that prohibits members from approving any financial fix to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program unless it is tied to broader “reforms” in Social Security that critics including the AARP say will lead to privatization of the program and weakening of benefits.  

HOUSE WEAKENS MANDATE FOR EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE HEALTHCARE

 

East County News Service

January 8, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--The House of Representatives voted today to strike down a portion of the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare mandate.  The law requires that employers must provide healthcare for all employees working 30 hours a week or more.

SENATOR BOXER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT IN 2016

 

By Hayden Parsley

January 8, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--After two decades in the senate, California Senator Barbara Boxer announced this Thursday that she will not run for reelection in 2016.

At 74 years old, Boxer states she will put effort into ensuring her seat remains with her Democratic Party. She also says she will, “Keep fighting for the issues I love,” and plans to spend her time helping people. She says that neither her age nor the Republican majority are factors in her decision, but that she wants to come home to the state that she loves.

ISSA REPLACED AS CHAIR OF HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County Magazine)—Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) has been replaced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) as chair of the powerful House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

STATE COMPLETES INVESTIGATION OF SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT OVER FUNDING DISCREPANCIES: LOCAL TAXPAYERS TO FOOT BILL

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2015 (Spring Valley) – The State Controller’s Office has issued its final review report on the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District’s administrative and internal accounting controls.

“Our review did not identify any significant deficiencies with the District’s administrative and internal accounting controls,” the report states. None-the-less, the report indicates the state plans to charge the district for the cost of the investigation. report indicates the state launched the investigation  because it had “reason to believe that the Annual Report of Financial Transactions submitted by the District is misstated, incomplete, or incorrect.”

NEW CALIFORNIA LAWS THAT MAY AFFECT YOU

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 5, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—Governor Brown has signed 930 bills into law, covering a broad spectrum of issues.  These range from laws to protect consumer rights and privacy to laws that affect gun owners, immigrants, senior care facilities, renters and condo owners, youth sports, students, prisoners, dog owners, parents, business owners, and many others.

HOT HEARINGS IN EAST COUNTY THIS WEEK: LAKESIDE, BOULEVARD, COUNTY SUPERVISORS AND HELIX WATER BOARDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –Many hot agenda items are coming up before boards, commissions and councils across East County during this first week of the new year.

BILLS BY SAN DIEGO’S SENATOR BLOCK BECOME LAW IN JANUARY

 

Senator’s 2015 agenda includes stopping UC tuition hikes

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2015 (San Diego) – Four bills by State Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego) become law today.  Two aim to protect the elderly in residential care facilities, a second will protect victims of human trafficking and save the state money by consolidating trials from multiple jurisdictions, and a fourth will speed up testing of beach water quality.

One of his top goals for 2015 will be to keep higher education “accessible and affordable for all of California’s students.”  Block and Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León recently introduced SB 15 which would eliminate tuition increases for the University of California system and provide substantially greater support to all of the state’s public education institutions.

HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP SPOKE TO WHITE SUPREMACISTS

 

 

December 31, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - The new Republican Whip in Congress, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, is drawing scrutiny amid revelations that he spoke to a white supremacist group in 2002 that was founded by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

JEB BUSH JUMPS TO TOP OF GOP PRESIDENTIAL POLL PACK

 

By Joe Gandelman, Editor in Chief, The Moderate Voice

Reprinted with permission from The Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego Online News Association (SDONA)

December 28, 2014 (San Diego)--Yes, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a contender for the Republican Presidential nomination, even if he has not officially announced. Bigtime. A new poll shows his leaping to the top of the GOP presidential poll pack:

GOV. BROWN NAMES MICHAEL PICKER, EX-AIDE, TO CHAIR CPUC

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Michael Picker during a visit to the University of San Diego

December 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Following the resignation of disgraced California Public Utilities President Michael Peevey, Governor Jerry Brown has appointed his former renewable energy advisor, Michael Picker, to head up the CPUC as president of the board. Picker also served in the same capacity for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration.

ALPINE FIRE BOARD MEMBERS REAPPOINTED; NO OPPONENTS RAN

 

East County News Service

December 19, 2014 (Alpine)--Four of the five Board Members of the Alpine Fire Protection District were sworn into office for additional terms at the December 16th Board Meeting.  At the meeting, District legal counsel Steve Fitch, administered the oath of office to all four at the same time.

HUESO PLEADS TO RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGE

 

East County News Service

December 18, 2014 (San Diego) – State Senator Ben Hueso has accepted a plea deal from prosecutors in Sacramento County.  Hueso, a Democratic legislator from San Diego, was originally charged with drunk driving but pled guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving involving alcohol.

EL CAJON TURNS THE CORNER: MAYOR BILL WELLS DELIVERS OPTIMISTIC STATE OF THE CITY 2014 ADDRESS

 

By Paul Kruze

Photo by Randy Jordan

December 16, 2014 (El Cajon)--It has been the worst of times and it has been the best of times for the city of El Cajon.

Mayor Bill Wells painted a generally optimistic picture in his State of the City address delivered on Tuesday, December 9th shortly after he was sworn in before a full City Council chamber. The mayor’s upbeat message came despite having to deal with some formidable headwinds during the past year—a year that saw the fifth largest city in San Diego County deal with political appointments surrounded by controversy, a crackdown on the city’s liquor stores, the city’s improving financial stability and ongoing renovation plans for the embattled East County Performing Arts Center.

HUNTER ACTION TO TRANSFER MOUNT SOLEDAD CROSS TO PRIVATE GROUP PASSES CONGRESS

 

December 14, 2014 (San Diego) - Language added to the Defense Authorization Act by San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter would transfer the Mount Soledad cross to a private war memorial organization.  Congress passed the bill on Friday and it is now awaiting signature by President Barack Obama.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN AVERTED; PRESIDENT SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL BUDGET BILL

 

Update:  The Senate passed the spending bill tonight.  California Senator Barbara Boxer voted no; Senator Dianne Feinstein did not vote. President Barack Obama later signed the measure.

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2014 (Washington D.C.) –A spending bill with more pages than the epic novel War and Peace passed the House Thursday night.  If not approved by midnight tonight by the Senate, when government funding runs out, the government is set to shut down. 

But controversial provisions slipped in by House Republicans have outraged consumer advocates and many Democrats.These include provisions that would allow big banks to “gamble with taxpayer money,” by repealing key provisions of the Dodd Frank Act separating money in traditional FDIC insured bank accounts from trades, warns Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).  Other controversial items would increase campaign donations to political parties by wealthy donors ten-fold, block money for implementing Medicare and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act,  slash spending for education reforms and the Environmental Protection Agency, among other things.

VACANCY ON LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

 

East County News Service

December 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – La Mesa-Spring Valley School District is accepting applications now through January 12th to fill the vacancy left by former trustee Bill Baber. Baber won election to La Mesa’s City Council.

HOUSE PASSES DOOMED DROUGHT BILL, SETTING STAGE FOR CALIFORNIA WATER WARS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--A bill passed by House Republicans is reigniting water wars in California and faces virtually certain defeat in the Senate, due to opposition from both of California’s Senators and a veto threat by President Barack Obama.

TORTURE REPORT DRAWS FIRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 9, 2014 (Washington D.C.) --California Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has released a 500-page executive summary of  the committee’s report on enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA after the 9/11 attacks. Those treatments on 119 suspects amounted to torture in some cases, said Senator Feinstein, who concludes that the CIA’s actions a decade ago are “a stain on our values and on our history.”

TEA PARTY VS. OCCUPY DEBATE MODERATED BY MIKE AGUIRRE DEC. 2

 

November 26, 2014 (San Diego) - On Tuesday December 2nd 2014, the San Diego Debate Society in partnership with KNSJ 89.1 FM will conduct a debate between the San Diego Tea Party and San Diego Occupy.  The debate will cover topics such as the 1%, corporate policy, taxes, etc.  It will be held at the Church of the Brethren on Tuesday December 2nd, 2014 between 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.

KEYSTONE PIPELINE FAILS IN SENATE BY JUST ONE VOTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Satellite: Photo: Strip mining of Athabasca oil sands, courtesy NASA

November 18, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – By a single vote, the Senate blocked passage of a measure to authorize building the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.  The measure previously passed the House of Representatives 252-161.

But with Republicans taking control of the Senate in January, Senate Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell vowed to bring the matter up again soon after the new Congress convenes. Even if passed, however, the measure could face a veto by President Barack Obama.

California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer opposed the XL Pipeline, calling it the “Extra Lethal Pipeline.” She cited health risks from chemicals that can cause lung damage as well as serious environmental concerns.  "The facts are the facts are the facts," she said. "If you're not a scientist then be humble and listen to the peer-reviewed scientists.”

NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT TO SPEAK ON MIDDLE EAST CRISIS NOV. 20 IN EL CAJON

 

November 11, 2014 (El Cajon)--The East County Democratic Club (ECDC) will focus on the Middle Eastern crisis brought on by actions of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL)) on November 20, 2014.  Dr. Todd Myers will address the issues involved at 7 p.m., at Coco’s Restaurant, 1026 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon.   The public is invited to the meeting, without regard to membership in the club or party.

EAST COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD RESULTS: WARNER SPRINGS AND RAMONA RACES STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL

 

By Janis Russell and Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A week after the election with 28,000 absentee and provisional ballots remaining to be counted countywide, two East County race remain too close to call.

SPLIT RESULTS ON EAST COUNTY SCHOOL BONDS

 

By Janis Russell

November 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)-  Cajon Valley, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, and Ramona’s school districts  all had school bond measures on the ballot. Each bond measure needed 55% of the votes to pass.  Lemon Grove’s school bond passed by a healthy margin.  Lakeside’s school bond narrowly won approval.  Cajon Valley and Ramona’s bonds appear to have failed by slim margins, though the Registrar of voters still has about 28,000 absentee and provisional ballots countywide left to count.  Below are details.

DEMAIO CONCEDES DEFEAT

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2014 (San Diego) – Republican Carl Demaio has conceded defeat to Democratic Congressman Scott Peters in the hotly contested 52nd Congressional District race.

On election night, DeMaio was on top by a slim margin.  But as provisional and absentee ballots delivered to polling places came in, Peters took the lead by over 4,700 votes.  Associated Press called the race in favor of Peters this weekend with less than 10,000 ballots left to be counted.

DeMaio told a UT San Diego reporter, “Because I care about San Diego, I wish Mr. Peters the best and hope he will endeavor to represent the district well.”

PETERS TAKES LEAD OVER DEMAIO

 

East County News Service

Photo: Scott Peters and family

November 6, 2014 (San Diego)-- Democratic Congressman Scott Peters has taken the lead over Republican challenger Carl DeMaio in the 5nd Congressional District– by a slim margin of just 861 votes, Registrar of Voters Michael Vu announced late today.  That’s a switch from election night, when DeMaio was on top by 752 votes.

LA MESA'S PROP J GOES UP IN SMOKE, BUT NATIONALLY MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION GAINS

 

By  Leon Thompson

November 5, 2014 (La  Mesa)  - The hopes for an ordinance that would allow for medicinal cannabis dispensaries in La Mesa went up-in-smoke as Proposition “J” failed in last night’s election.   A similar measure in Encinitas suffered the same fate.

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