Politics

SUPERVISORS POSTPONE ACTION ON WATERFRONT PARK FREE SPEECH RULES UNTIL JULY

 

By Janis Russell and Miriam Raftery

“It is the basic tenet of all Americans to speak truth to power without restriction or regulation.” – David Patterson, U.S. veteran and Ramona resident (photo, left, by Janis Russell)

View video of complete hearing (item 7): http://sdcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=9&clip_id=1682

 

June 11, 2015 (San Diego)- San Diego’s Board of Supervisors postponed action until July 21st on a controversial proposal to restrict protesters in the Waterfront Park outside the County Administration Building. The  County claims its goal is to protect free speech rights while also protecting rights of the growing number of others using the new waterfront park for activities such as weddings, picnics, concerts, yoga and children’s play.

Supervisors voted to delay action and ask staff to re-examine the proposal after the American Civil Liberties Union sent a letter calling the action “probably unconstitutional” as written, also noting that the City of San Diego has no permit requirements for free speech activities. Members of the public and Supervisor Dianne Jacob also voiced concerns about the proposed ordinance.

BILL WOULD UPDATE PROP 13: LARGE COMMERCIAL PROPERTY OWNERS WOULD PAY MARKET VALUE

By Miriam Raftery

June 10, 2015 (Sacramento)—Since 1978, Proposition 13 has frozen property taxes  for California owners until a property sells.  But now a proposed constitutional amendment would change Prop 13 to require annual assessments of large commercial and industrial properties.

The measure, Senate Constitutional Amendment 5,  exempts homeowners,  owners of rental residential properties and agricultural properties, which would not be impacted.   The measure also includes a tax break for small businesses, instead targeting larger commercial and industrial property owners for the tax hike.

The bill would exempt from taxation up to a half million dollars of personal property used exclusively for business purposes.  It also gives businesses an exemption of up to a half million for equipment and fixtures—an action that would eliminate the tax on equipment and fixtures entirely for 90% of businesses, whether they own or rent their place of business.

CITIZENS OPPOSE COUNTY’S EFFORTS TO CURB FREE SPEECH

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2015 (San Diego) – Last week, we reported that Supervisors on Tuesday will consider a proposal to restrict protesters to “free speech zones” outside the County administration, ban amplified sound, require permits for events bigger than 200 people and impose fines for those who violate these rules. Supervisors will also consider rule changes to impact all county parks.

But the proposal is drawing strong reactions – and so far, all the comments we’ve received have been negative toward the county’s plans.  Here are some of the comments we’ve received from people who don’t want their free speech rights limited:

ATKINS BILL TO RESTRICT IVORY SALES PASSES ASSEMBLY

 

East County News Service

June 9, 2015 (Sacramento) – The California Assembly has passed Assembly Bil 96, a measure to protect elephants and rhinos by strengthening rules on the ivory and rhino horn trade. AB96 by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins would end the state’s exemption for selling ivory imported before 1977 The bill would also impose stiff civil and criminal penalties for ivory sales.  Atkins, a San Diego Democrat, says California is a top market for ivory and that this could significantly reduce demand.

DOUBLE-TIME PAY FOR HOLIDAY BILL FAILS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 7,2015 (Sacramento) – San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez served up pumpkin pies to legislators in an effort to win approval for her bill to require double-time pay for most employees forced to work on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

COUNTY SEEKS TO RESTRICT FREE SPEECH, PROTESTERS, PHOTOGRAPHY AND MORE IN PUBLC PARKS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, left: Rural residents rally for protection from wind turbines after explosions; faith-based community leaders seek justice for immigrants outside County Administration Building

June 6, 2015 (San Diego)—For years, community groups and activists have rallied outside the County administration building where Supervisors meet to protest or urge support for various causes, from immigrant rights to stopping environmentally damaging projects, with rally organizers ranging from civil liberties advocates to conservative Tea Party groups. 

But under a new ordinance proposed for consideration on Tuesday’s agenda, people wishing to exercise First Amendment rights may be restricted to  designated “free speech zones” at the new Waterfront Park around the building, where you won’t be able to bring a megaphone, microphone, or even a chair on which to sit.  There will be noise limits and gatherings of 200 or more must obtain permits—meaning you’ll have to predict how many will show up for your event, or risk paying fines.

That’s not all.  The proposed ordinance would go farther,  changing codes regarding selling and advertising for all county parks and recreation facilities to regulate “other issues such as commercial photography, noise levels, and the prohibition on posting or affixing materials on park property.”

JONES BILL TO REVAMP "MADE IN AMERICA" LABELING LAW IN CA PASSES ASSEMBLY

 

East County News Service

June 5, 2015 (Sacramento)--Assemblyman Brian Jones’ (R-Santee) legislation to conform California law to the federal “Made in America” standard, which is used by every other state in the country, passed the Assembly on May 26th.

BILL SEEKS TO PROTECT CHEERLEADERS, REDUCE INJURIES

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Creative Commons images by Deus X Florida and Kirsten 5400  from Wikipedia

June 1, 2015 (Sacramento) – Two-thirds of all catastrophic sports injuries among female high school and college athletes nationwide occur in cheerleaders, according to a report by the National Center for Catastrophic Sports Injury Research at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, a Democrat and former cheerleader, says cheerleading is “the most dangerous sport for high school athletes,” the Sacramento Bee reports. This week, Assembly Bill 949, a measure by Gonzalez aimed at improving safety for high school and collegiate cheerleaders, passed the Assembly by a 71 to 3 vote.   

PATRIOT ACT EXPIRES AFTER FILIBUSTER BY RAND PAUL

East County News Service

June 1, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – Effective at midnight on May 31st, the Patriot Act has lapsed.  Critics contend that allowing the measure to sunset without passing a proposed reform measure, the USA Freedom Act, puts national security at risk, though some civil libertarians applaud the effort to halt mass collection of data by the National Security Administration.

SUPERVISOR ROBERTS & STAFFER DENY MISCONDUCT ALLEGATIONS

 

East County News Service

Photo courtesy 10 News, an ECM news partner

May 27, 2015 (San Diego) – Supervisor Dave Robert, in an exclusive interview with 10 News, has issued strong denials to all allegations made by two ex-staffers now suing the county.

APPEALS COURT UPHOLDS BLOCKING OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ORDER

East County News Service

May 27, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – The U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has upheld an injunction issued by a federal court in Texas which blocks President Barack Obama’s executive actions on immigration. The President’s order granted protection from immigration and work permits to millions of undocumented immigrants.

Texas and 25 other states had sued to stop the President’s actions from taking effect this month as scheduled.

PROTESTERS ASK REP. PETERS TO OPPOSE FAST-TRACKING TPP TRADE DEAL

 

East County News Service

May 26, 2015 (San Diego) – The House of Representatives will soon be voting on a controversial proposal to fast-track the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact, after the Senate approved the fast-tracking.  On Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., activist groups led by the Sierra Club and SD County Democrats for Environmental Action plan a rally at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, where they will call on Peters to oppose the fast-track deal.

ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO CRACK DOWN ON “PREGNANCY CRISIS CENTERS”

East County News Service

May 26, 2015 (Sacramento) – The California Assembly has passed a controversial measure, Assembly Bill 775, that would require crisis pregnancy centers to disclose if they have no licensed medical provider on staff and to provide women with a list of options including public programs offering free or low-cost prenatal care for those wishing to carry pregnancies to term and abortions for those who don’t.

The bill comes in response to a year-long undercover investigation of the centers by the National Abortion Rights League, which claims the centers are mostly set up by anti-choice groups and that women are given misleading information. 

But opponents call the measure a “bully bill” that they contend threatens the existence of abortion-alternative clinics and violates constiutionallly protected religious freedoms.

STATE SENATE APPROVES BLOCK BILL TO PROTECT RIGHTS OF DISABLED VOTERS

 

May 23, 2015 (Sacramento)-- A bill, SB 589, to ensure that people with disabilities are not denied their right to vote in California was approved by the state Senate today on a 27-10 bipartisan vote. The measure was approved as the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday that it is investigating allegations that the state is denying voting rights to these citizens.

CA SENATORS SPLIT ON FAST-TRACK OF TRADE PACT IN SENATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Senator Dianne Feinstein voted in favor of fast-tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership

May 19, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Senate has voted 65 to 33 to take up HR 1314, a measure that would allow fast-tracking of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership with no amendments or filibuster allowed.

BROWN BUDGET: MORE MONEY FOR HIGHER EDUCATION AND THE POOR

 

East County News Service

May 20, 2015 (Sacramento)--Governor Brown has unveiled a $115.3 billion proposed budget for California. If approved by the Legislature, his plan would create a new state tax credit to help the working poor. It would also boost funding for the California State University system and free tuition at the University of California for in-state students. The Legislature has until June 15th to approve a budget for the Governor’s signature.

HOUSE VOTES TO CURB GOVERNMENT SPYING ON AMERICANS

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 18, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The House of Representatives has voted to end a controversial provision of the Patriot Act. On May 13th, by a vote of 338 to 88, House members passed HR 2048 that would end the National Security Agency’s collection and storage of bulk data from Americans’ phone calls and other telecommunications.

SANCHEZ RUNS FOR SENATE

 

East County News Service

May 18, 2015 (Sacramento)--Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) has announced she will challenge Attorney General Kamala Harris for the California Senate seat being vacated by Barbara Boxer’s retirement.

HOUSE PASSES ABORTION BAN AFTER 20 WEEKS

 

East County News Service

Photo: 20-week fetus (public domain image)

May 16, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The House of Representatives has passed a bill to ban virtually all abortions after 20 weeks.  The bill has an exception only for rape victims, after a 48 hour waiting period.

PARK STATION: WILL THE THIRD TIME BE A CHARM?

May 14, 2015 (La Mesa) -- Park Station is coming before the La Mesa Planning Commission for the third time since the application was first submitted in 2008. The hearing will be held on May 20 at 7:00 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The first time it was kicked to the curb on the basis of height and density. The second time everyone -including the applicant- was stunned when the American Legion Hall withdrew their co-application during the hearing, requiring the Kitzman’s to come up with a new plan.

HELIX WATER DISTRICT TO CONSIDER IMPOSING NEW WATER CUTS

May 12, 2015 (La Mesa) – At their upcoming meeting Wednesday May 13, 4 p.m., the Board will discuss a Drought Action Plan to meet state imposed water cuts of 20% to the District, including limiting all customers to watering two days per week, requiring 10-20% cuts by residential tier 3 users with penalties for violations, and increased enforcement on water waste reports.

--SEN. JOEL ANDERSON SETS 'COMMUNITY COFFEE' MEETING IN SANTEE ON MAY 28

 

May 10, 2015 (San Diego's East County) - California Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) will listen to constituents and invite ideas to improve state government at a “Community Coffee” starting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, at Santee City Hall, 10601 Magnolia Ave., Santee. The free event, open to the public, will be hosted by Santee Mayor Randy Voepel.

CALIFORNIA REGULATORS APPROVE UNPRECEDENTED WATER CUTBACKS

 

May 7, 2015 (Sacramento) - California water regulators adopted sweeping, unprecedented restrictions on how people, governments and businesses can use water amid the state's ongoing drought, hoping to push reluctant residents to deeper conservation, KPBS reports.

VERMONT SENATOR BERNIE SANDERS ANNOUNCES PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDACY

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2015 (Washington D.C.) --Vermont Senator and former Governor Bernie Sanders has announced he will run for President – challenging Senator Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

Sanders isn’t your typical presidential contender.   He’s been the only independent member of Congress since 2007 – until announcing he will run as a Democrat for the presidency.  He’s also an avowed “democratic socialist”, a progressive, and he's Jewish.

Running on a populist platform, Senator Sanders has long been a vocal advocate for economic justice, denouncing the growing income gap between billionaires and ordinary working Americans.So how might his candidacy impact the race?

TOBACCO LOBBY SNUFFS OUT BAN PROPOSED AT YOUTH BASEBALL SITES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 28, 2015 (Sacramento) – The tobacco industry has succeeded in snuffing out strict limits proposed on tobacco at ballparks.  Legislators on the Assembly Governmental Organization Committe, many of whom took hefty contributions from tobacco interests, voted overwhelmingly to water down a bill that originally would have banned all tobacco products at every ballpark in California—from Little League to Major League ballparks.

BALLOT INITIATIVE WOULD BLOCK TRANSGENDER BATHROOMS LAW

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 23,2015 (Sacramento) – An effort is underway to put an initiative on the ballot in 2016 that would repeal Assembly  Bill 1266, a California law that allows transgender students to use bathrooms, showers and locker rooms that match their gender identity.  The initiative, if passed, would also have impacts for all government buildings and for business owners.

HERE'S THE BUZZ: HOT COUNCIL ITEMS THIS WEEK

 

East County News Service

April 19, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—From beekeeping to mobile home park expansion, here are the hot items on local city council agendas this week in Lemon Grove and Santee.

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