Local representatives split votes down party lines
December 19, 2010 (Washington D.C.) – By a 65-31 vote, the U.S. Senate voted to end the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which barred gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the military. The House approved the measure last week, which President Barack Obama is expected to sign.
December 17, 2010 (San Diego) -- Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D- San Diego) has been named Majority Whip by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez (D- Los Angeles), a key position in the Democratic Caucus Leadership. Atkins was also appointed Vice Chair of the Housing and Community Development Committee and a member of the Health, Government Organization, Veterans Affairs, and Judiciary Committees.
The freshman legislator and former Councilwoman replaces Lori Saldaña, who retired due to term limits. Atkins’ 76th Assembly district includes the east San Diego communities of Tierrasanta, Serra Mesa and City Heights and extends west to also include several coastal communities, Mission Valley and downtown San Diego.
"The passage today of the National Alzheimer's Project Act is a momentous legislative victory for the millions of American families profoundly affected by this devastating disease, and the millions more who will be in the future."-- Maria Shriver, California’s First Lady.
December 15, 2010 (Washington D.C.) – The National Alzheimer’s Act has been approved by Congress and now goes to President Barack Obama for signature. The National Alzheimer's Project Act would create the National Alzheimer's Project, which would coordinate government efforts to prevent and treat the disease and create a national strategy for defeating Alzheimer's disease.
Watchdog group says state law does not allow charges above 10 cents a page
December 13, 2010 (Martinez, California)– In a case that could have wide repercussions for members of the public and media outlets seeking public records from public agencies in California,, today Californians Aware (CalAware) filed a lawsuit in superior court, seeking an order to bar Contra Costa Community College District from continuing to violate the California Public Records Act (CPRA).
The district has been charging fees for copies of district records that are substantially above the "direct cost of duplication"--the maximum allowed by law, said CalAware general counsel Terry Francke.
By Miriam Raftery
December 10, 2010 (La Mesa) – At Tuesday’s meeting, Helix Water District’s board swore in reelected members DeAna Verbeke and Kathleen Coates Hedberg.
The majority also voted to name Verbeke president, replacing Richard Smith. In addition, John Linden was named vice president.
December 11, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Services were held today for Elizabeth Edwards, wife of former presidential candidate John Edwards, who lost her battle with breast cancer.
Leon Thompson, past executive board officer in the California Democratic Party, sent an e-mail to ECM recalling his meeting with Elizabeth Edwards at the state Democratic convention in Sacramento. “She was an inspiration to me, Suzy and so many others,” said Thompson, whose wife, Suzy, later died of breast cancer. Thompson, a former Santee resident now living in Arizona, is battling cancer himself.
Local representatives weigh in with their views
By Miriam Raftery
December 6, 2010 (Washington D.C.) – Congress is under fire to take action before Bush-era tax cuts expire at year’s end. Republicans want to see all tax extended, but have opposed extending unemployment benefits, which also expire this month. Democrats wanted to extend tax cuts for the middle class but eliminate tax cuts for the wealthy in order to reduce the deficit, and also extend benefits for the unemployed. But Democrats could not pass their plan due to opposition from Republicans, who contend the wealthy need tax cuts to create jobs.
Now, President Barack Obama is pushing a compromise measure that would include a mix of new tax cuts, including a payroll tax cut and individual tax breaks, while also restoring some estate tax revenues.
GROSSMONT HOSPITAL BOARD VOTES TO NAME CONFERENCE CENTER AFTER STIERINGER, DECLARES STIERINGER DIRECTOR EMERITUS
Watchdog activist says he will file complaints with FPPC and Attorney General; 2nd watchdog group also questioned board’s actions
By Miriam Raftery
December 6, 2010 (La Mesa)—By a unanimous vote, the Grossmont Healthcare District Board voted to recognize recently resigned board member Jim Stieringer as director emeritus and to name the District conference center after him. The Board made these votes despite a letter from Citizens Oversight Projects founder Ray Lutz stating that he believes such actions violate the law.
Terry Francke, general counsel for CalAware, a statewide watchdog group on open government issues, also questioned legality of the emeritus title and suggested that ”an attorney general’s opinion could and should be sought before action is taken” by the Board, La Mesa Patch.com reported shortly before the vote was taken.
WATCHDOG GROUP CALAWARE SENDS WARNING TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS; THREATENS LAWSUITS TO ASSURE BROWN ACT `STRICT ENFORCEMENT’’
By Miriam Raftery
December 4, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Californians Aware (CalAware), the nonprofit center for public forum rights, has advised state associations representing most local government agencies that their members may be subject to short notice lawsuits for common violations of California’s open meeting law, the Brown Act.
Several local boards are among those recently accused of Brown Act violations by CALAWARE or other watchdog groups, including Grossmont Healthcare District, Grossmont Union High School District, Helix Water District, and Lakeside Fire Protection District boards.
Store targeted by measure reveals today that it is going out of business
December 1, 2010 (La Mesa) – On December 14 at 4 p.m., La Mesa’s City Council will consider an ordinance proposed by San Diego Stop Puppy Mills. The proposed law would prohibit pet stores from buying dogs from puppy mills and other breeders.
Since February 2009, the group has been protesting against Pet Works in Grossmont Center, alleging that the store sells dogs raised in puppy mills with inhumane conditions. Today, East County Magazine contacted Pet Works and learned that the store plans to shut down.
November 30, 2010 (Washington D.C.) By a 73-25 vote, the Senate has approved S.510, the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act. California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein voted for the bill, which aims to protect consumers following widespread outbreaks of e-coli and salmonella involving foods such as spinach, eggs, peanut butter. Those outbreaks results in deaths and thousands of illnesses. The bill will next be heard by the House, which is expected to pass the bill and send it to President Barack Obama to be signed into law.
By Jeremy Los
November 27, 2010 (Washington and Sacramento) -- Do you know how your Congressional and State Legislative representatives voted on important recent bills? Find out here! Recent major bills include the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Small Business Jobs & Credit Act, the State Budget, plus bills to reform campaign financing and raise age limits for pre-school and kindergarten. Scroll down for details.
Application Deadline 2:00 p.m., Friday December 10, 2010
November 24, 2010 (La Mesa) -- The Grossmont Healthcare District (GHD) Board is seeking applications to fill an empty seat on the Board.
The appointee must be available to serve the remaining two years of the seat’s four-year term until early December 2012, following the November 2012 general election.
November 18, 2010 (San Diego) – Congressmen Bob Filner (D-San Diego) is calling for the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee to hold a hearing to examine the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA) security screening procedures at airports, including full-body scans and pat downs.
November 18, 2010 (Washington, D.C). -- Congressman Congressman Duncan Hunter has been named co-chair of the National Guard and Reserve Components Caucus, replacing Steve Buyer (R-Indiana), who has served as co-chair since the Caucus was started 18 years ago.
By Miriam Raftery
November 15, 2010 (La Mesa) – In closed session this morning, Grossmont Hospital District's Board unanimously found that Jim Stieringer should not get his old seat on the board back. Stieringer resigned Novembe 5th, then tried to resuscitate his old job by asking to have his resignation rescind after the Board refused to consider his application for a $60,000 a year staff job, amid questions over legality and conflict of interest concerns.
With Stieringer's Hospital District career in limbo akin to life support, today the District pulled the plug.
November 13, 2010 (El Cajon)--If you're an El Cajon resident seeking to be more involved in your community, the City of El Cajon is now accepting applications for commissioners on four boards: Planning Commission, Personnel Commission, Gillespie Field Development Council, and the Public Safety Facility Finance Oversight Committee.
The filing period is November 10 through December 3, 2010, at 5:00 p.m. Interviews and appointment are scheduled for December 14, 2010, at 7:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, located at 200 Civic Center Way in El Cajon. Below are details:
November 12, 2010 (La Mesa)--Grossmont Healthcare District Board of Directors will hold a special meeting on Monday, November 15 at 7:30 a.m. in the District conference center, 9001 Wakarusa in La Mesa. Following public comments of up to five minutes per person, the board will adjourn to closed session to confer with legal counsel on “significant exposure to litigation.”
Barry Jantz, CEO of Grossmont Healthcare District, confirms that the "exposure" pertains to former Board member Jim Stieringer’s request to rescind his resignation after he was turned down for a staff position with the District.
Board rejects Jim Stieringer’s application for district staff job. Now Stieringer, who retired Friday, asks for his Board seat back--but his future remains in limbo
November 11, 2010 (La Mesa)—Grossmont Healthcare District Board member Jim Stieringer resigned Friday “in order to be considered for appointment to the Project Liaison Monitor position,” he stated in a letter to Board President Gloria Chadwick. But after questions arose about the propriety and legality of such a move, Stieringer’s application for the $60,000 job was rejected by the Board after a closed-door meeting. He now wants his $6,000 a year Board seat back. But the Board and its legal counsel have yet to determine whether or not it can or will comply.
By Miriam Raftery
November 5, 2010 (La Mesa) –Jim Wieboldt, a Sheriff’s deputy and founding chairman of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, announced Wednesday that he plans to challenge Ruth Sterling for a seat on the La Mesa City Council in 2012.
“Public safety will be my number one priority,” said Wieboldt, who pledged to “ask the tough questions about our crime rate” and get recommendations to reduce crime.
Incident mirrors similar mob scene at Busby-Bilbray debate witnessed by ECM
By Miriam Raftery
ECM reporter Mary Paulet contributed to this report
November 5, 2010 (San Diego) – In the sore loser category, Republican Nick Popaditch wins hands down.
Multiple credible news sites have reported that after Democratic Congressman Bob Filner was declared winner by a 20-point margin, a mob of Popaditch supporters, including Tea Party and white supremacist members, cornered and spat on Popaditch’s opponent, Filner. Video by the Chula Vista Star News reveals that Popaditch cursed at Filner, called him a liar, and made no efforts to calm down an increasingly virulent mob that forced Filner out of Golden Hall’s Election Central and into the lobby. Filner told CityBeat that he was shoved by Popaditch.
“Last night, Nick Popadith made Election Central a threatening and unsafe place to be,” CityBeat’s Dave Masse wrote. Mayor Jerry Sanders’ security detail ultimately rescued the Congressman from the mob, CityBeat reported.
East County Magazine reporter Mary Paulet interviewed a witness, Robin Buse, during the altercation, whose statement confirms Filner's allegation. Buse told ECM that she saw Popaditch push Filner. “I ran and got the cops,” added Buse, a Filner supporter. Others, fearful for their safety, confirmed assaults by Popaditch and his supporters.
November 3, 2010 (Sacramento) – After declining to concede last night despite multiple TV networks declaring Senator Barbara Boxer the winner, U.S. Senate candidate Carly Fiorina called Boxer today to concede defeat and offer congratulations.
November 3, 2010 (San Diego) –- On Thursday, November 4, San Diego’s Civilized Conversation Club will host a roundtable discussion of the future of the Tea Party movement. The nonpartisan organization, founded in 2003 by Poway resident David Genser, meets every Thursday from 7-9 p.m., currently at Filter Coffee House, 4096 30th Street (map). The group’s meetings cover a wide range of issues related to politics, current events, religion, and philosophy.
East County Mayors win reelection; new faces join councils in Lemon Grove and Santee
By Lola Sherman and Miriam Raftery
Photos by Mary Paulet and Miriam Raftery
November 2, 2010 (San Diego) -- Not too much changed on the county's political landscape in Tuesday's election. Incumbents and candidates with a great deal of name recognition, be they Republican or Democrat, fared well.
November 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Decisions made by California voters on yesterday’s ballot propositions will have broad ramifications on the state budget process, redistricting, the environment and more. Here are the results – and what passage of some key measures could mean.
East County News Service
November 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – At daybreak, Democrat Kamala Harris has regained a narrow lead over Republican Steve Cooley in the California attorney general race.
Cooley declared victory last night, but canceled a press conference today after learning that overnight, Harris took the lead at 46.1% to 45.6%. Fewer than 38,000 votes separate the two candidates and thousands of provisional and late absentee ballots remain uncounted.
By Miriam Raftery
November 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) –Labor was the winner in the Lakeside Fire Protection District, where two of three firefighters' union-backed candidates won over a large slate of challengers. Incumbent Pete Liebig, a retired firefighter, held onto his seat with the highest vote tally, weathering controversies over the firing of Chief Mark Baker. Challenger Susan Conniry, a Cedar Fire survivor and former Santee Planning Commissioner also backed by the union, won as well. The third winner was Jon Lorenz, a Tea Party-backed candidate, picked up the two open seats.
By Miriam Raftery
Photos by Dennis Richardson
November 2, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – This election night provided both political parties in California with victories as well as defeats. Nationally, Republicans are projected to regain a majority in the House of Representatives, picking up 60 seats—including some won be Tea Party-backed candidates. Democrats retained control in the Senate by a slim margin. "
But in California, Democrats swept the slate, winning all statewide offices except attorney general. Former Governor Jerry Brown soundly defeated former E-Bay CEO Meg Whitman 52.8% to 42.4% to regain his former job, despite Whitman spending $163 million—the highest amount ever spent on a political race in California.
By Miriam Raftery
November 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Amid an era of tight budgets, Julian voters passed a school bond measure with 59% of the vote (55% was needed to win).
Debbie Justeson and Edwin Heil, both backed by the teacher’s union, appeared headed for election to the Grossmont-Cuyamaca board, with nearly all votes counted.
November 2, 2010 (San Diego's East County) -- East County Magazine will tweet election results live from Golden Hall after polls close tonight, and also post detailed stories online a bit later.
If you wish to receive live election results on top local races, go to www.Twitter.com and sign up to follow EastCountyMag. It's free! Note: This is a separate Twitter account from our ViejasAlerts account, which is used only to "tweet" emergencies.