Politics

SENATE UNANIMOUSLY PASSES TONI ATKINS' BILL TO HELP CONVICT SEX TRAFFICKERS

 

East County News Service

May 5, 2017 (Sacramento) - The California Senate this week passed Senate Bill 230, legislation by Sen. Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) that will help prosecutors convict predators who traffic in sex slavery. The bill passed by a vote of 36-0.

HOUSE PASSES REPEAL OF AFFORDABLE CARE ACT; BILL MOVES TO SENATE

 

Hunter and Issa cast deciding votes

East County News Service

May 5, 2017 (Washington D.C.) - On Monday, ECM reported that a bill that could repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, was heading to a rushed vote in the House on Thursday.  That bill, the American Healthcare Act, passed yesterday narrowly.

The bill passed by a four-vote margin with San Diego Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa both voting in favor. Had they voted against, the vote would have been tied and the measure would not have passed.

TRUMP TO SIGN “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM” ORDER

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 4, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today that would order the IRS to take a hands-off approach to churches that endorse political candidates. It also orders federal agencies to exempt some religious groups from a requirement to provide birth control to employees.  

But a third provision has been scrapped, which would have allowed businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation and other moral grounds.

AARP MAINTAINS FIRM OPPOSITION TO HEALTH BILL

 

Measure slashes coverage for Medicaid, nursing homes, in-home care, and pre-existing conditions, nation’s largest organizations of seniors warns

East County News Service

 May 3, 2017  (Washington D.C.) -- AARP Chief Advocacy & Engagement Officer Nancy A. LeaMond sent the following letter today to all members of the U.S. House of Representatives in response to the Upton Amendment to the health care bill, urging them to vote NO on the bill.  

Here is the letter in full:

REP. HUNTER TAKES ON AIRLINE INDUSTRY EXECUTIVES OVER LACK OF COMPETITION

 

By Miriam Raftery

View video:  https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4667910/rep-hunter-ti-hearing

May 3, 2017 (San Diego) – During a Congressional hearing yesterday, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) grilled airline executives over monopolistic practices and lack of competition in hub markets. Hunter noted that he flies regularly from San Diego to Washington D.C. but that United is the only airline offering direct flights.

AMERICAN MEDICAL ASSOCIATION: MILLIONS WILL LOSE HEALTH INSURANCE IF CONGRESS PASSES REVISED HEALTH CARE BILL TOMORROW

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 3, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – House Republican leadership is pushing for a rushed vote on a revised proposal to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare and replace it – without bothering to wait for a nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) analysis. But the American Medical Association (AMA), the nation’s largest doctors’ organization, has sent a Tweet warning patients to contact their representatives and urge a no vote.

FIRST AMENDMENT WATCHDOG GROUP OBJECTS TO MAYORS PARTICIPATING IN PRAYER BREAKFAST WITH DAVID BARTON: TWO MAYORS CANCEL AFTER ECM REPORT

 

Part II of our special investigative report on the East County Mayors Prayer Breakfast speaker.

By Miriam Raftery

May 4, 2017 (El Cajon) – On Monday, an East County Magazine special report  revealed objections raised by some local residents to the controversial “Christian nation” advocate David Barton chosen to speak at the annual East County Mayors prayer luncheon this Thursday, May 4th at the Crystal Palace in El Cajon.  

Now the controversy has intensified, with a First Amendment watchdog group sending a letter to mayors of  El Cajon, La Mesa, Lemon Grove and Santee objecting to their participation and asking them to disassociate themselves from the event. The letter was signed by Andrew Seidel , staff attorney with the Freedom from Religion Foundation. At least two of those mayors have since cancelled their plans to attend the prayer luncheon.

 In addition,  local residents are asking why alternate versions of the flyer were circulated to religious and secular groups – the latter omitting all mention of Barton and presenting the event as "progressive" oriented.

ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL LAUNCHES DISTRICT DIAPER DRIVE

 

Invites all constituents from fhe 71st District to participate between May 1st - May 14th

Source:  Assemblyman Randy Voepel

May 2, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - Assemblymember Randy Voepel, R-Santee, invites constituents of the 71st Assembly District to participate in the Assembly Diaper Drive. 

GUN OWNERS TAKE AIM AT CALIF. BAN ON LARGE-CAPACITY MAGAZINE BAN

 

East County News Service

May 2, 2017 (Fresno) -- Attorneys for seven individual gun owners and four gun rights advocacy organizations have filed a federal lawsuit challenging the State of California’s ban on so-called “large-capacity” firearm magazines that hold more than 10 rounds “on their own behalves, and as representatives on behalf of the class of individuals who are or would be affected by the Large-Capacity Magazine Ban.”

EDITORIAL: STOP THE SANDAG POWER GRAB! EAST COUNTY LEADERS URGE OPPOSITION TO AB 805

 

 

 

By Jerry Jones, Council Member, Lemon Grove; Jennifer Mendoza, Council Member, Lemon Grove; Bill Baber, Council Member,  La Mesa; Kristine Alessio, Council Member,  La Mesa;  Bill Wells, Mayor , El Cajon, and Ben Kalasho, El Cajon Council Member

May 2, 2017 (San Diego’s East County)--Assembly Bill AB 805 is moving through the legislature and threatens our quality of life, self-determination and identity in East County.  Among other things this bill would restructure the voting system at SANDAG and give a weighted super majority veto, as well as the Chair, to the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista.

“So what does that mean to me,” you say?

DEBUNKED “CHRISTIAN NATION” ADVOCATE SPEAKING AT EAST COUNTY MAYORS’ LUNCHEON IGNITES CONTROVERSY

 

Update May 4, 2017:  Two of East County's four mayors have pulled out of the East County Mayors Prayer Lunch, after the Freedom from Religion Foundation sent a letter to the mayors asking them to cancel their planned attendance. The First Amendment watchdog group, which learned of the prayer lunch from our report, contends that the event violates the Constitional requirement for separation of church and state. The foundation's letter hints at legal action. View part II of our investigation here

By Miriam Raftery

May 1, 2017 (El Cajon) – Multiple East County leaders are speaking out to voice opposition to David Barton, a debunked “Christian Nation” advocate, speaking May 4th at an East County Mayors Prayer  Lunch at the Crystal Palace in El Cajon.   Barton has  long claimed that the Founding Fathers did not  support a separation of church and state. His book, The Jefferson Lies, was pulled off the market by its publisher after conservative Christian scholars exposed many falsehoods. 

Barton  is listed as an extremist on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s watch list for his virulent anti-gay views.  He has also drawn fire for anti-Muslim remarks and some stances views as racist. He has advocated to remove civil rights leader Martin Luther King and farmworkers organizer Cesar Chavez from school text books.

In a recent interview with Christian Broadcasting Network, he urged Christian Evangelicals that they have a Biblical “duty” to vote for candidates who will support anti-abortion judges and who oppose equal rights for LGTBQ individuals.  “It’s not your vote. It’s God’s vote,” he stated. On his  Wallbuilders Live radio show,  he claimed that the same “evil” responsible for the Holocaust is today responsible for the “homosexual lifestyle.”

Just who is behind inviting Barton to speak at a function with local governmental leaders is unclear.  But his appearance has prompted a backlash.

SEVEN DEMOCRATIC CHALLENGERS FOR REP. DUNCAN HUNTER’S CONGRESSIONAL SEAT TO MEET AT VOTER’S TOWN HALL

 

Possibility of special election adds urgency to 2018 race

East County News Service

May 1, 2017 (San Marcos) – Around 300 voters in California’s 50th Congressional district, which includes most of East County, will get an early look at seven potential 2018 challengers for the seat, currently held by Rep. Duncan D. Hunter.

PRESIDENT TRUMP ORDERS REVIEW THAT COULD SELL OFF NATIONAL MONUMENTS OR OPEN THEM TO DEVELOPMENT, INCLUDING 10 IN CA

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo: Boole Tree in Sequoia National Monument is the sixth largest tree in the world, but could be lost under Trump’s order.

April 30, 2017 (San Diego) -- Ten of California's national monuments could be reduced in size or even eliminated as part of a review of all such properties, in an executive order signed last week by President Trump.

CALIFORNIA ATTORNEY GENERAL TO FIGHT TRUMP ORDER OPENING OUR COAST TO NEW OFFSHORE OIL DRILLING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, UCSB collection

April 29, 2017 (San Diego) – The Santa Barbara oil spill of 1969 was the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history at the time.  Three million gallons of crude oil contaminated the ocean and beaches with thick, black goo. Oil bubbled from the blown well and from cracks in the sea bed, killing countless sea birds, seals and other marine life. 

The last remaining oil derrick off California's coast is slated to be decommissioned,  Public News Service reported last week. But now an executive order by President Donald Trump could result in offshore oil wells again pumping in the waters off California.

JULIAN INDIVISIBLE GROUP FORMS TO RESIST TRUMP AGENDA WITH “INCLUSION, TOLERANCE, FAIRNESS AND RESPECT”

 

East County News Service

Photo:  Fearless Girl, Wall Street, N.Y.

April 28, 2017 (Julian) – Seeking to reverse “damage to our country using our American values of inclusion, tolerance, fairness and respect,” residents in Julian are organizing an Indivisible group, part of the nationwide effort to resist the agendas of Donald Trump and the Republican Party.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: NURSE GLORIA CHADWICK SEEKS TO UNSEAT DUNCAN HUNTER TO REMEDY HEALTHCARE AND MORE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Hear our interview, originally aired on KNSJ radio, by clicking the audio link, or scroll down for highlights.

April 27, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Gloria Chadwick is a registered nurse who has worked in the Veterans Administration (VA) hospital. She's been elected to serve five terms on the Grossmont Healthcare District Board.  The first woman elected nearly 20 years ago, she's currently Vice President of the healthcare district serving East County. 

At a town hall meeting held by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), she announced plans to challenge him for  his seat – and passed out a pill bottle with her remedy to fix Congress:  “restoring integrity, providing affordable healthcare, creating more jobs, and protecting Medicare and the rights of Veterans.”

Voters couldn’t ask for a greater contrast.  Hunter, at his town hall, said he doesn’t believe healthcare is a right, but merely believes in “access” for those with the ability to pay for it. Chadwick describes herself as a “nurse warrior” who has been a fierce advocate for her patients – and now wants to do battle for constituents across the 50th Congressional District.  In an exclusive interview with East County Magazine aired on KNSJ, she shared her vision for reforming healthcare, strengthening services for veterans and military families, and protecting a clean, healthy environment.

Audio: 

GONZALEZ-FLETCHER BILL REQUIRING LEAD TESTING OF SCHOOL WATER PASSES COMMITTEE UNANIMOUSLY

 

East County News Service

INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER TO SHARE EVIDENCE OF RUSSIAN ELECTION HACKING MAY 3 IN LA MESA

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 25, 2017 (La Mesa) – Was the 2016 presidential election hijacked by Russian hackers?  San Diego investigative reporter John Mattes believes so. The award-winning journalists’ disturbing findings have been published on numerous news sites. On Wednesday, May 3rd, he’ll be presenting his evidence at a meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club at 7 p.m. in the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa.

WILL GOVERNMENT SHUT DOWN ON TRUMP’S 100TH DAY IN OFFICE?

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 24, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – If Congress does not approve a budget by close of business on this Friday, April 29th, the federal government will shut down.  That would cause disruptions in federal services, payments to federal workers, and the economy.   The deadline to pass a budget or shut down the government Friday is also Trump’s 100th day in office, a milestone when presidents traditionally seek to hail their accomplishments, not preside over a fiasco.

AB 805 ADVANCES IN LEGISLATURE AS EAST COUNTY CITIES FIGHT BACK AGAINST SANDAG POWER GRAB

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

“I will argue that my minority and low income citizens have just as much right to be fairly represented as San Diego and Chula Vista.”—Lemon Grove Councilman Jerry Jones

April 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Assembly Bill 805  passed the Assembly Local Government Committee on Wednesday by a 5-4 vote.  The measure claims to  reform SANDAG,  but in fact gives virtually all power to the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista, leaving East County cities and other communities in our county powerless to add agenda items to benefit other cities or block objectionable measures at SANDAG, the Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) and North County Transit District.

Now East County cities are fighting back.   On Tuesday, La Mesa’s City Council will consider a proposal from Council members Bill Baber and Kristine Alessio to hire a legislative lobbyist to advocate on La Mesa’s behalf against AB 805, which was authored by Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), according to the agenda.

El Cajon’s City Council has voted to oppose AB 805, as did Lemon Grove and La Mesa.  East County Assemblyman Randy Voepel, former Mayor of Santee, voted against the measure in committee.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: PIERRE “PETE” BEAUREGARD, RAMONA RANCHER AND EX-MARINE CORPS MEDIC RUNNING AGAINST DUNCAN HUNTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

Hear our complete interview by clicking the audio link,  and scroll down for highlights

April 22, 2017 (Ramona) – In an exclusive interview with East County Magazine aired on KNSJ Radio April 3rd,  Pierre “Pete” Beauregard talked about his candidacy challenging Republican Duncan Hunter in the 50th Congressional district.

“My motto is `country over politics,’” says Beauregard, a Ramona rancher,  and formerMarine Corp medic who later helped start a medical clinic to help low-income people.  He’s worked as a cowboy, enjoys hunting and fishing,  and  is  ex-rodeo bull rider who believes  he’s tough enough to take on Hunter and stand up against Washington lobbyists if elected.  ““Once you ride a 2,000 pound bull,” he reflects, “Why in the hell should I be afraid of you?”

Audio: 

SUPERVISORS TO REPLACE RETIRING D.A.: DUMANIS MULLS RUN FOR SUPERVISOR AS DEMS CALL FOR INDEPENDENT INVESTIGATION INTO AZANO TIES

 

East County News Service

April 21, 2017 (San Diego) – District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis yesterday announced she will retire on July 7th.   She is considering running to replace Supervisor Ron Roberts, who is serving his last term due to term limits, according to a letter from Dumanis published by 10 News.

VIEW OUR VIDEOS: 7 CANDIDATES SPEAK OUT IN FORUM ON RACE TO REPLACE DUNCAN HUNTER

 

 

Photo:  top left to right:  Ammar Campa-Najjar, Patrick Malloy, Hannah Gbeh, Josh Butner, Gloria Chadwick, Glenn Jensen, Pierre “Pete” Beauregard

By Miriam Raftery

View our videos and post your comments!  Which candidate(s) are strongest and why?  Which might you be most apt to consider voting for, and why?

Part 1: https://youtu.be/pOOQxhTDj5Q

Part 2:  https://youtu.be/kk4H7dNWTPQ

April 21, 2017 (San Diego’s East County)—Seven Democratic candidates running  for the seat currently held by Republican Duncan Hunter participated in a lively forum last night hosted by the East County Democratic Club.   After opening statements, by each candidate they fielded questions on women’s rights,  healthcare, public education, protecting minorities, digital privacy, as well as their backgrounds, financing and organizing strengths. Many other issues were also addressed by this diverse and articulate array of candidates seeking to represent the 50th Congressional district.

The field includes a former Navy Seal, a farmer, a nurse, an ex-Navy medic, rural planning board members,   a Hispanic and Arab-American activist in the Obama administration, a realtor, a computer data expert, an environmnetalist, and more -- with several candidates having background in multiple fields.

Watch for our detailed analysis of the forum coming later. 

FOX NEWS CLEANSES ITSELF OF BILL O'REILLY

 

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.

April 19, 2017 (San Diego's East County) - Bill O’Reilly will no longer be employed at Fox News, the network’s parent company 21st Century Fox said in a statement Wednesday. The decision comes after allegations of him sexually harassing female colleagues prompted protests outside network headquarters and a mass exodus from advertisers.

WHAT’s UP, DUNC? GIANT RABBIT TO STALK REP. HUNTER ON CAMPAIGN TRAIL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Clip art; the actual "Duncan Thumpin'" costume has not yet been revealed

April 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Hopping down the bunny trail—and the campaign trail—Duncan Thumper will soon be popping up at Congressman Duncan Hunter’s events to draw attention to his campaign finance controversies that have sparked a criminal investigation by the Justice Department.

TRUMP TO ORDER AGENCIES TO BUY AMERICAN

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 18, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump is set to sign an executive order requiring federal agencies to buy American products and prioritize using American workers. In an effort to jumpstart the U.S. economy, the President aims to tighten up existing waivers to require approval by agency heads for making non-American procurements, GovExec reports.

OTAY WATER BOARD CENSURES HECTOR GASTELUM FOR RACIST REMARKS

 

East County News Service

April 17, 2017 (Spring Valley) – The Otay Water District today voted 4-1 to formally censure director Hector Gastelum for official misconduct over racist remarks that he made to media, on social media, and in the March 1st board meeting.  Gastelum opposed the measure.  The resolution called his actions “reprehensible and intolerable.”

BILL WOULD BAN PRIVATELY OWNED CHARTER SCHOOLS IN CALIFORNIA AFTER SCANDALS OVER CHAIN TIED TO EDUCATION SECRETARY DEVOS

 

East County News Service

April 17, 2017 (Sacramento) -- A California bill aims to crack down on profiteering by private charter schools that have been pocketing public funds while providing a poor quality education to students, Cal Matters reports.

UNIV. OF CALIFORNIA TO DIVEST FROM PRIVATE PRISONS AS BILL ADVANCES TO END ALL USE OF PRIVATE PRISONS STATEWIDE

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 17, 2017 (San Diego)  –  The University of California has announced that it will halt its investments in private prison companies, removing $25 million in investments from Corrections Corporation of America, G4S, and GEO Group Inc., the Los Angeles Times reports.

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