Politics

HUNTER INTRODUCES BILL TO EASE REGULATIONS ON E-CIGARETTES, HAS BIG CAMPAIGN DONATIONS FROM TOBACCO INDUSTRY

 

By Jordan Damond

May 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- Congressman Duncan Hunter has introduced the Cigarette Smoking Reduction and Electronic Vapor Alternatives Act, which eases regulations on vaping and electronic cigarettes.

SPECIAL PROSECUTOR APPOINTED TO INVESTIGATE RUSSIAN ELECTION MEDDLING AND TIES TO TRUMP CAMPAIGN: ACTION COULD BE FIRST STEP TOWARD IMPEACHMENT

 

By Miriam Raftery

An East County Magazine Special report

May 17, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – In a bombshell announcement, the U.S. Justice Department has  issued an order to appoint a special prosecutor  to investigate Russia’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign.  Far more broadly, the order allows investigation of any matters that arise from the investigation and all other matters within a special prosecutor’s jurisdiction under federal law – including authorization to prosecute federal crimes arising from the investigation.   

Acting Attorney General  Rod. J. Rosenstein issued the order to appoint Robert Mueller, a former federal prosecutor who served as FBI director from 2001 to 2013 under both Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack Obama.

HOW SAN DIEGO’S REPRESENTATIVES RESPONDED TO FIRING OF FBI DIRECTOR AND REPORTS THAT TRUMP PUSHED COMEY TO BACK OFF INVESTIGATION INTO FLYNN’S RUSSIA TIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 17, 2017 (San Diego) -- San Diego’s Congressional delegate and California’s Senators are voicing diverse views – and in one case, a crude response to  the firing of FBI director James Comey and a startling report by the New York Times indicating that notes by fired FBI Director James Comey reveal that President Donald Trump  first asked Comey to shut down a federal investigation into fired national security advisor Michael Flynn over his Russian connections, but Comey refused to do so.  (See ECM special report.)

TRUMP PRESSURED FBI DIRECTOR TO HALT FBI INVESTIGATION OF FLYNN RUSSIAN TIES, NY TIMES REPORTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Gage Skidmore

May 17, 2017 (Washington D.C.) –President Donald Trump pressured FBI director James Comey to halt the FBI investigation into former National Security Director Michael Flynn’s Russian connections, but Comey refused, according to a memo written by Comey at the time,  the New York Times reports.  Comey also refused Trump’s demand to jail journalists for publishing leaked materials—shortly before the President fired Comey.   The revelation has top Republican and Democratic Senators preparing to subpoena records that could, potentially, lead to impeachment.

“Obstruction of justice is what it looks like to anybody who’s looking at it,” Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat working with Republican  Senator Lindsey Graham to investigate the FBI’s role in the federal Russia investigation,  Politico reports. “This is about as lay down a case…as a prosecutor could imagine,” he added.

Republican Jason Chaffetz, chairman of the House Oversight Committee who has said he won’t seek reelection,  today announced on Twitter that his committee will “get the Comey memo, if it exists,” adding, “I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready.”

TRUMP LEAKED CLASSIFIED INFO TO RUSSIANS, MULTIPLE SOURCES REPORT: MAY HAVE PUT LIVES AND INTELLIGENCE SOURCES FROM ALLIES AT RISK

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 16, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – After the Washington Post reported yesterday that President Donald Trump leaked classified information to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Moscow’s Ambassador Sergey Kisylyak, multiple major media outlets now report that they have independently confirmation this through their own sources, including the New York Times,  Politico, Buzzfeed and CNN.

TRUMP NAMES KOBACH TO KEY POST AT NEW COMMIISSION ON ELECTION INTEGRITY, BUT CRITICS CONTEND HIS GOAL IS VOTER SUPPRESSION

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Election integrity experts are voicing alarm over President Donald Trump’s choice to oversee a new commission on election integrity.  Trump signed an executive order creating the commission, which he says is needed to investigate voter fraud.  The chair is Vice President Mike Pence, but the Vice Chair expected to do the lion’s share of the work is Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who orchestrated the controversial Crosscheck software system that critics say wrongly disenfranchised millions of voters –nearly all of them minorities.

HANNAH GBEH WITHDRAWS FROM 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 12, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) — Hannah Gbeh has informed ECM that she is withdrawing her candidacy in the 50th Congressional District, after participating in two candidate forums with seven Democrats vying to run against incumbent Republican Duncan Hunter.  Her reason, given fortuitously on Mother’s Day weekend – is that she’s expecting her third child.

JOURNALIST AMY GOODMAN, HOST OF DEMOCRACY NOW! IN SAN DIEGO MAY 16

 

East County News Service

May 12, 2017 (San Diego) — Award-winning journalist Amy Goodman, host of the nationally syndicated Democracy Now! radio show, will speak and sign her book, Democracy Now! Covering the Movements Changing America at a benefit for KNSJ Radio and Activist San Diego on Tuesday, May 16 at St. Paul’s Cathedral Episcopal, 2728 Sixth Ave in San Diego from 7-9 p.m.   Cost is $20 at the door t $16 in advance through Evenbrite.com; see “Amy Speaks to SD.”

EL CAJON SELECTS TOP FIVE MAPS

 

By Jonathan Goetz

May 12, 2017 (El Cajon) – After inviting the public to submit redistricting maps and hiring a consultant to advise the city as it moves toward district elections instead of citywide elections for all council members, the options have been narrowed to five maps.  Three of the five maps square Councilman Ben Kalasho off against Councilman Gary Kendrick by putting them in the same City Council District.  Four of the five maps put Councilman Bob McClellan and Councilman Steve Goble in the same district.  Below are the maps and descriptions of each proposal.

COURT FILING SHOWS FBI HAS ACTIVE INVESTIGATION PERTAINING TO TRUMP’S CALL FOR RUSSIAN HACKING AND ESPIONAGE

 

Source:  Operation 45; Documents & Graphic Excerpts Available HERE

Photo: Kremlin in Moscow

East County News Service

May 11, 2017 (Washington D.C.) -- President Trump’s May 9, 2017 letter firing now-former FBI Director James Comey in part reads, “I greatly appreciate you informing me, on three separate occasions, that I am not under investigation[.]” 

SENATOR ANDERSON GETS AN “F” FROM COURAGE CAMPAIGN

 

East County News Service

May 11, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – State Senator Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) has earned an “F” grade from Courage Campaign on its “People’s Report Card”  The “courage score” rating measures  how well  legislators “stand up for constituents over corporations or special interest groups that seek to exploit Californians, particularly the poor, disadvantaged, and communities of color,” according  to the website.  Anderson received a zero – the worst possible score.

TRUMP FIRES FBI DIRECTOR AMID INVESTIGATION INTO RUSSIAN TIES, PROMPTING ACCUSATIONS OF COVERUP

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Comey official FBI portrait

May 10, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has fired the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director over the weekend, stating that he has “lost confidence” in James Comey.   Comey was scheduled to testify this Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee on the FBI investigation into Russia’s hacking of the U.S. presidential election.

ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL HAS REQUESTED SUBPOENA AND FORENSIC AUDIT OF UC FUND RECORDS

 

Source: Assemblyman Randy Voepel

May 6, 2017 (Sacramento) - Assemblyman Randy Voepel requested a legislative subpoena for all financial records and correspondence related to the secret $175 million fund maintained by the Office of the President of the University of California on Tuesday. Additionally, Voepel requested an independent forensic audit to determine if UC administrators engaged in criminal activity.                                             

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

By Liz Alper

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.

Pages