Politics

CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET PLANS WOULD SLASH SPENDING ON SOCIAL PROGRAMS, ELIMINATE AFFORDABLE HEALTHCARE ACT

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The Republican-controlled House and Senate budget proposals call for $5.5 trillion in spending cuts including deep  cuts in Medicare,  food stamps and other social programs. It also includes tax cuts for the wealthy and $40 million in increasing “emergency” war funding for the military.  It would also repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.

SUNSHINE AND SHADOWS IN OPEN GOVERNMENT LAWS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2015 (San Diego)--This week is sunshine week, when media outlets are supposed to report to the public on just how well – or poorly—public officials and agencies have done in responding to public records requests under open government laws.

Ironically, during sunshine week, the White House announced that it’s Office of Administration will no longer be subject to the Freedom of Information Act, continuing a policy begun by the Bush administration to reject all information requests to that office.  

BIPARTISAN SENATE BILL WOULD REFORM MARIJUANA LAWS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2015 (Washington D.C.) –Legislation introduced this week in the Senate would protect patients, doctors and clinics from federal prosecution in states where medical marijuana is legal.  The bill would also allow Veterans Affairs physicians to recommend medical cannabis in those states.

BOEHNER SEEKS CONGRESSONAL PROBE OF CLINTON EMAILS

 

East County News Service

March 16, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - Speaker John Boehner plans to launch a Congressional investigation into the controversies surrounding former Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s e-mails, ABC news reports.

LA MESA SELECTS A NEW POLICE CHIEF

 

East County News Service

March 13, 2015 (La Mesa)--La Mesa City Manager Dave Witt has announced the selection of 28 ½ year City of San Diego Police Department veteran Walter (Walt) Vasquez, as the City’s new Chief of Police.

Witt said that Vasquez competed against candidates from outside the organization and proved that he has exceptional qualities that will help him succeed in his new position. Vasquez is currently serving as Assistant Chief of Police with the City of San Diego overseeing the Canine Unit, SWAT, Communications Division, Information Services, Property Room, and the Chief’s Community Advisory Boards. Vasquez will replace La Mesa Chief of Police Ed Aceves, who retired in December 2014 after 30 years of service.

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LA MESA COUNCIL TAKES ACTION ON SENIOR LIVING FACILITY AND VILLAGE PARKING

By Janis Russell

March 12, 2015 (La Mesa) -- On Tuesday, La Mesa’s City Council voted to move forward on negotiations with Westmont Companies for development of a senior living facility adjacent to Briercrest Park. The Council also set an optional $25,000/parking space fee for a space in a conceptual parking building, for expanding Village businesses in lieu of providing additional on-site parking.

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EL CAJON WINS LEGAL BATTLE OVER ALCOHOL CONTROL ORDINANCE

 

Source: City of El Cajon

March 11, 2015 (El Cajon)--In August of 2013, the El Cajon City Council adopted, via unanimous vote the Deemed Approved Ordinance (DAO).  The DAO strengthened the City’s abilities to address establishments that sold off-premise alcohol within the City. This included placing specific restrictions on the sale of alcohol, when warranted. This Ordinance was viewed by the City Council as a necessary action in order to protect the community’s youth and businesses from illegal or inappropriate alcohol sales.

WOMEN ASK EL CAJON COUNCIL FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO POLICE SERGEANT ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT

 

In lively meeting, Council also hears ideas from the public ranging from creating a city-owned utility district to bringing the Chargers to East County

By Miriam Raftery

March 10, 2015 (El Cajon ) – At Tuesday’s El Cajon Council meeting, two women  spoke out to voice outrage that an El Cajon Police sergeant accused of sending naked photos of himself to women officers remains on the force.   The Sergeant. Richard Gonsalves, was demoted to officer and the city now faces a lawsuit filed by a female officer who alleges sexual harassment and discrimination.

PRESIDENT ISSUES STUDENT AID BILL OF RIGHTS

 

East County News Service

March 10, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed the Student Aid Bill of Rights, a presidential memorandum aimed at making it easier for graduates to pay off student loans.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: MARCH 9-11

 

East County News Service

March 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)--The Crest/Dehesa/Granite Hills/Harbison Canyon planning group meets Monday, March 9th at 7 p.m. The community of Crest currently has only one way in and one way out, a serious danger during a major wildfire.  This week, the planning group will consider a proposal to create an emergency egress route from Crest through an avocado grove north to Interstate 8.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN GONZALEZ AND LOCAL LEADERS CALL FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN LOCAL PLANNING, ZONING AND PERMITTING

 

AB 504 Clarifies Role Local Government and Non-Profits Like Civic San Diego Play in Guiding Neighborhood Development

March 6, 2015 (San Diego) California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) joined leaders from local community planning, labor, environmental justice and economic development organizations today to propose Assembly Bill 504, which would create more oversight at local governments that rely on the planning, zoning or permitting expertise of non-profit organizations or private individuals.

HOMELAND SECURITY FUNDED THROUGH SEPTEMBER

 

San Diego delegation splits on vote

March 4, 2015 (Washington DC)--The Department of Homeland Security won’t be shutting down.  Both houses of Congress have now passed legislation to fund the agency through September.

LEGISLATORS GRILL CPUC OVER HIRING OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Michael Picker, CPUC Chairman

March 4, 2015 (Sacramento)--The California Public Utilities Commission needs criminal defense lawyers amid state and federal investigations of corruption allegations, the Commissions new chairman, Michael Picker told a legislative panel this week.

CONTROVERSY OVER CLINTON'S E-MAILS THROUGH PRIVATE ACCOUNT

 

Photo: Hillary Rodham Clinton at 2007 California Democratic Convention

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – A controversy has arisen involving Hillary Rodham Clinton over revelations that while serving as Secretary of State, she did not have an official government e-mail address and used only a personal e-mail address for all of her official government business.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN GONZALEZ PROPOSES ACCOUNTABILITY FOR PUBLIC UTILITY EXECUTIVE BONUSES

 

AB 1266 Would Force Utilities to Receive Public Approval for Bonuses After Ratepayers Hit With Billions in New Costs

March 1, 2015 (Sacramento)--California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced Assembly Bill 1266 on Friday to require public utilities to justify executive bonus compensation at a public hearing of the California Public Utilities Commission following any federal safety violation that results in a cost of $5 million or more to ratepayers.

BAG BAN BLOCKED

 

February 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) A new state law banning plastic grocery bags won’t be taking effect this summer after all. That’s because opponents led by the plastic industry have obtained enough signatures to qualify a measure to overturn the bag ban for the November ballot, the Secretary of State has announced.

OBAMA VETOES KEYSTONE PIPELINE

 

East County News Service

February 28, 2015 (Washington D.C.)—President Barack Obama has vetoed the Keystone XL pipeline bill passed by the Republican-controlled Congress. In his veto message, he criticized the Congressional attempt to bypass his administration’s environmental review of the project and ““circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest.”

WILL HOMELAND SECURITY SHUT DOWN THIS WEEK?

 

East County News Service

February 24, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--The Department of Homeland Security is set to shut down if Congress doesn’t pass a funding bill by Friday. The White House says it is preparing for a potential shut down starting this weekend, the Washington Post reports.

OH BABY! BILL WOULD ELIMINATE TAX ON DIAPERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 25, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – It’s rare for a labor leader and a tax fighter to agree on most issues.  But AB 717, a bill to eliminate sales tax on diapers in California, has accomplished just that.

SAN MIGUEL FIRE VOTES TO OPEN FINANCE COMMITTEE TO PUBLIC, PRESS

East County News Service

February 26, 2015 (Spring Valley) – As a result of an East County Magazine (ECM) inquiry, San Miguel Fire District’s Board voted this week to make its finance committee a permanent standing committee, which means that the committee’s meetings will now be open to the press and public.

Previously, the finance committee was deemed an ad-hoc committee by the district, which argued that it did not need to allow public access.  ECM contacted Californians Aware (CALAWARE), an organization that protects public access under Califoirnia’s sunshine laws.

MONSTAH SUPERPAC TAKES ON SAN ONOFRE NUCLEAR WASTE ISSUE, TARGETS ISSA

 

Click here to hear our interview on KNSJ with David Eisentein, the San Diegan who founded the Monstah SuperPac

Feb. 28 “Magic at Magicopolis” launch event planned

February 26, 2015 (San Diego) -- Monstah Superpac, a San Diego-based political action committee dedicated to protecting public health and safety, aims to “make the nuclear waste at San Onofre disappear.”

The SuperPac’s first target?  San Diego Congressman Darrell Issa, over his failure to address the public safety hazards posed by those radioactive wastes, buried in canisters just 5/8 of an inch deep in an active earthquake zone. A nuclear disaster at San Onofre would place 20 million Southern Californians within a 50 mile radius at serious risk, potentially displacing residents in multiple counties including San Diego.

MonstahPac is rolling out its Network 2016, billed as the “final frontier in our fight against nuclear danger at San Onofre,” with a “Magic at Magicopolis” event Saturday, February 28th.

SENATOR ANDERSON’S OFFICE BANISHES VOTER WHO ASKED TOUGH QUESTIONS

Anderson running against Supervisor Jacob, but refuses to answer questions about his special interest ties

A podcast of this interview is now online. Listen now at:  http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/lckbr8zs0o/Newsmaker-BiggersTom-AndersonVoter.mp3

Hear the full show from Feb. 23, 2015 here: http://k003.kiwi6.com/hotlink/octrm252x1/ECMShow2-23-15.mp3



This interview originally aired Monday, February 23rd on KNJS 89.1 FM during our East County Magazine show which airs Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5 p.m.. You can also listen live at www.knsj.org or download the TuneIn Ap to hear KNSJ on your cell phone.

By Miriam Raftery

February 22, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—State Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) has been endorsed by the County Republican Party for his candidacy challenging East County’s Dianne Jacob for her seat on the County Board of Supervisors next year.  But increasingly, media and constituents are raising serious questions about Anderson’s motives for running and his close ties to special interests—questions that Anderson has refused to answer.

Thomas Biggers is a constituent who voted for Anderson previously.  But after doing some research, he became concerned and visited Anderson’s local office. He asked four questions--which led Anderson's staffer to ban Biggers from the office:

SUPERVISOR HORN: 2015 WILL BE "YEAR OF THE VETERAN"

 

View video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=fTobU9pt0ds

East County News Service

February 19, 2015 (San Diego)—Supervisor Bill Horn, Chairman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors, declared 2015 the “year of the veteran” in his state of the county speech last week.

Horn said, “These men and women have made sacrifices that often take terrible tolls on their personal lives. As a county and as a community, we have a responsibility to take care of our veterans.”

An ex-Marine Corps officer and veteran, Horn said programs will be ramped up and new programs rolled out in the coming year.  One is the Vet Connect program being rolled out East County libraries, prompted by an East County Magazine special report that found a lack of veterans’ services in rural areas.

CONFIDENT OF LICKING CANCER, EMERALD TO RUN AGAIN

 

Photo: San Diego City Councilwoman Marti Emerald at Metropolitan Transit System board meeting, Feb. 12, 2015

By Donald H. Harrison

Reprinted with permission from San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Network. Originally published on February 15, 2015.

February 17, 2015 (San Diego) – Confident of her recovery from breast cancer, for which she currently is undergoing radiation five days a week, City Councilwoman Marti Emerald says she plans to run in 2016 for another four-year term in part because she wants to protect the children of the 9th District against violence and future PTSD.

HELIX WATER TO HOLD WORKSHOP ON WATER RATE STRUCTURE FEB. 18

East County News Service

February 17, 2015 (La Mesa) – The Helix Water District Board meets Wednseday, February 18 at 2 p.m. (7811 University Ave., La Mesa).

The agenda includes a workshop on water rate structure cost of service. Oddly, as of Tuesday afternoon, the agenda packet did not include any details on a proposed water rate structure for the public to review prior to the meeting, raising questions over adequacy of public notice under the Ralph M. Brown Act.

CA STATE SENATE, IN UNANIMOUS VOTE, ASKS CONGRESS TO GIVE IMMIGRANTS A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP

 

East County News Service

February 17, 2015 (Sacramento)—A clear partisan divide separates Congress on immigration issues. But in a rare show of bipartisan unity, California’s State Senate unanimously approved a strongly worded resolution asking Congress to provide undocumented immigrants with a path to citizenship.

SOITEC BACKERS HOST FUNDRAISER FOR DAVE ROBERTS—AFTER ROBERTS CASTS VOTE FOR SOITEC

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2015 (San Diego's East County)--Six days after Supervisor Dave Roberts voted for the highly controversial Soitec industrial-scale solar projects in Boulevard which were approved 4-1 on February 4th,  he sent supporters an e-mail with an invitation to a fundraiser for his campaign at the La Jolla home of Jim Waring, co-founder of CleanTech San Diego.

Waring lobbied and testified on behalf of Soitec, which has a manufacturing facility in San Diego, at the Feb. 4th hearing.  Co-hosts of the fundraiser also include Jim Whalen, whose firm, J. Whalen and Associates, represents Sempra Energy and Hamann Companies. Hamann owns land on which the Soitec projects are slated to be built. Whalen, too, testified before Supervisors on February 4th and other occasions in favor of the Soitec projects.

These cozy ties raise a serious question: just how impartial was Roberts when casting a vote to scrape bare  more than 1,100 acres of habitat in East County including land along a scenic highway, putting a town’s groundwater supply at risk as two hydrologists have warned, and increasing fire danger with an unmitigatable fire risk as Supervisor Dianne Jacob observed?  Whose interests was Roberts really representing?

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT

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