March 11, 2011 (Washington D.C.) – The Senate has passed S.388, a bill coauthored by Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Bob Casey (D-PA). The bill would prohibit Congress or the President from getting paid in case of a federal shutdown by the federal government.
“I am hopeful that this bill will help convince our colleagues to work together to prevent a government shutdown, and I urge the House of Representatives to quickly pass it and send it to the President,” said Senator Boxer.
March 9, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Census data released yesterday shows California’s population grew 10% over the past decade. The public now has an opportunity to voice opinions on how districts should be redrawn for state legislative, county supervisorial, and city council districts. View census data at http://2010.census.gov/2010census/data/
See below for meetings where you can provide input at the state, county, and city level:
March 8, 2011 (Sacramento)-- Assemblymember Marty Block (D-Lemon Grove) announced today that his legislation to provide a tax exemption benefit to widows or widowers of disabled veterans has cleared the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee by a unanimous vote.
“AB 188 would correct an error that currently prevents surviving spouses of disabled veterans who move to assisted living facilities for health reasons from qualifying for a property tax exemption afforded to their spouse,” said Block, who represents the 78th Assembly District.
By Mason Herron
March 7, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) -- Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) recently introduced legislation aimed at curtailing what he views as frivolous lawsuits against small businesses that are allegedly in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The bill, entitled the ADA Notification Act, would provide businesses accused of an ADA violation with a 90-day grace period to make necessary modifications.
100,000 RALLY IN WISCONSIN TO SUPPORT PUBLIC WORKERS, PROMPTING RALLIES AND DEBATES IN 50 STATES -- & IN SAN DIEGO
Conservatives say eliminating most collective bargaining rights needed to contain costs; opponents accuse Governor of union-busting motives
By Miriam Raftery
March 3, 2011 (San Diego) – A crowd of 1,000 demonstrators turned out in downtown San Diego Saturday as part of a nationwide movement in support of Wisconsin public workers. Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker seeks to eliminate nearly all collective bargaining rights for state workers including teachers, police, firefighters, janitors, highway workers and others. The state’s Republican-controlled House passed the proposal--and Senate Democrats promptly fled the state to prevent passage. Today, the Governor ordered their arrest.
A crowd of over 100,000 braved a snowstorm in Madison, Wisconsin following the house vote, occupying the capitol building overnight. Now recall campaigns have been announced against eight GOP Senators in Wisconsin who back the bill.
Much misinformation has been spread in the media and on Internet blogs. What would the Governor’s proposal do—and is it necessary? Could California be next to face a similar proposal? ECM has researched the issues and obtained views from all sides of the aisle.
Burning questions focus on suspected arson at business owned by Issa
By Jeremy Los
March 2, 2011--Recently disclosed documents are raising troubling questions about past actions of Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego). Watchdog groups have put the new Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the hot seat as they look to discredit Issa’s integrity to hold this powerful position.
Women’s rights supporters plan protest at Rep. Hunter’s office today at noon
February 24, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) –Republicans in the House pushed through a 240-185 vote to strip all Title X funding from Planned Parenthood, sparking outrage among health advocates and women’s rights supporters, who have organized multiple protest rallies in San Diego this week including a rally today outside Congressman Duncan Hunter’s office in El Cajon.
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Indiana) introduced the amendment to strip Planned Parenthood of all federal funds. “It is morally wrong to take the taxpayer dollars of millions of pro-life Americans and use them to fund organizations that provide and promote abortion,” he said.
But Title X funds have never covered abortion care, so Pence’s statement is misleading, suggests Terry O’Nell, president of the National Organization for Women. Should the measure pass the Senate and become law, she said, “Millions of women, the vast majority of whom have incomes of less than $11,000 a year, will lose access to pap smears, testing for sexually transmitted infections, and contraception.” Calling the bill “dangerous and discriminatory,” she added, “There is little doubt that the WILL kill women.”
February 19, 2011 (Washington D.C.) – San Diego’s Congressional delegation is speaking out on spending and budget-cutting priorities –with widely divergent views. While Republicans have slammed President Barack Obama’s proposed budget, Democrats are blasting the rival Republican House appropriations bill.
As with any omnibus proposal, the devil is in the details. Issues at stake include funds for local border projects, birth control access, water supplies for Southern California, job training, and more. Here’s what our five local House representatives and both California U.S. Senators have to say about the spending proposals that Congress is weighing.
Bipartisan legislation would create flexible spending accounts to help families save on health care and child care expenses
February 19, 2011 (Washington, D.C). – At a press conference February 17, U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) and Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (CA-47) announced their new legislation that would provide flexible spending accounts for service members. Flexible spending accounts would result in savings for military families by allowing service members to set aside part of their income before taxes to cover out-of-pocket child care and health care expenses such as co-pays, dental care and eye glasses.
This benefit is currently available to civilian employees at the Department of Defense, but not to uniformed service members.
Commutation Transparency Legislationl Sponsored by San Diego County District Attorney
February 17, 2011 (San Diego)--Assemblymember Marty Block (AD-78) today joined with San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher (AD-75) to announce legislation that would provide notification to victims and their families when the Governor considers an application for commutation of a sentence.
In December, outgoing Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger provoked outrage locally when he commuted the sentence of Esteban Nunez, son of a former Assembly Speaker. Nunez pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter in the near-fatal stabbing of Louis Don Santos, 22, near San Diego State University.
February 16, 2011 (San Diego) -- Is San Diego a land of opportunity for black women, or are opportunities for black female leadership dwindling? Find out at a panel discussion sponsored by San Diego Democratic Women’s Club on Saturday, February 26 from 10 a.m. to noon at the Weingart City Heights Library community room, 3795 Fairmount Avenue in San Diego.
The event is free and open to the public.
SAN DIEGO – Sen. Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) introduced legislation today that protects tenant rights by allowing them to display political signs in the windows of their rented apartments or homes.
February 5, 2011 (Sacramento ) – Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. delivered California's “State of the State” address on January 31st. The state faces a crisis that is “real and unprecedented,” said Brown, who called on both parties and voters to help put the state’s financial house in order. His budget seeks spending cuts but the Governor will also ask voters to approve extensions of taxes set to expire.
“It would be unconscionable to tell the electors of this state that they have no right to decide whether it is better to extend current tax statutes another five years or chop another $12 billion out of schools, public safety, our universities and our system of caring for the most vulnerable,” said Brown.
VOTERS AT ASSEMBLYMAN BLOCK’S TOWNHALL MEETING HEAR OUTLOOK ON STATE BUDGET—AND OFFER SOME IDEAS OF THEIR OWN
By R.J. Hernandez
February 5, 2011 (San Diego) – Assemblymember Marty Block (D-78th District) hosted a town hall meeting with about 50 constituents Thursday evening at Patrick Henry High School in San Carlos Thursday night to discuss Governor Brown's proposed 2011-2012 budget and hear views of local residents.
POLITICAL CONSULTANT TO SHARE TALES OF EAST COUNTY POLITICOS AT LEMON GROVE HISTORICAL SOCIETY EVENT
THE JIM AND ANN SHOW, LIVE IN THE LEE HOUSE MARCH 3
February 5, 2011 (Lemon Grove)--Jim and Ann Elliott, for 30 years the last word in printing, mailing and political consulting at Western Graphics in Lemon Grove, will bring tales from the trenches and little-known backstories of politicians on the prowl to "History Alive," the monthly lectures series sponsored by the Lemon Grove Historical Society on Mar. 3 at 7 p.m. in the H. Lee House Cultural Center, 3205 Olive, Lemon Grove.
Editor’s note: Recently, elected boards throughout California were put on notice that Californians Aware will file suits to enforce open meeting laws that are routinely being violated. Your rights to open government are protected under the Ralph M. Brown Act. Below is a guide to what it requires—and how you as a member of the public can enforce those rights.
By E.A. Barrera
February 4, 2011-- The rules of procedure by which all elected boards conduct their meetings are spelled out in a 1953 statute signed by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice and California Governor Earl Warren. Called the Ralph M. Brown Act, it establishes rules for conducting public meetings - and under what specific circumstances a public agency may operate in secret. All political and public agencies in the state of California are subject to the Brown act, unless specifically exempt.
February 2, 2011 (San Diego) – “Learn how my office can help you,” says Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego). Davis invites the public to join her and staff members at the grand opening of a new community office this Saturday, February 4, from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Decision conflicts with some other rulings; measure likely to be decided by Supreme Court
By Miriam Raftery
January 31, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – U.S. District Court Roger Vinson in Florida today ruled that it is unconstitutional to require people to have healthcare insurance by 2014 or pay fines. His is the fourth ruling on the insurance mandate provision; two have found it constitutional, while a Virginia judge found it unconstitutional. (All four cases are being appealed.) But Judge Vinson’s decision goes further than the Virginia ruling.
“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire Act must be declared void,” Vinson wrote in a decision that promptly sparked both praise and criticism.
January 31, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Sylvia Hampton, past president o f the San Diego County League of Women Voters, sent a letter she received from Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) to www.Factcheck.org, a nonpartisan project of the Annenberg Foundation at the University of Pennsylvania that researches accuracy of statements by public officials.
“Congressman Hunter’s description of the bill is not entirely accurate,” concluded Eugene Kiely, director of FactCheck.org in Philadelphia. Further, he found Rep. Hunter’s use of some statistics “misleading.”
Below is the full response from Factcheck.org, which Hampton forwarded to East County Magazine:
January 31, 2011 (Alpine) – The Alpine Community Planning Group is accepting applications through February 7, 2011 for three vacancies (seats #10, 12 and 14). You can obtain an application from the County of San Diego web http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/CommunityGroups.html or at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/dplu/docs/Planning-Sponsor_Group_Application.pdf.
January 28, 2011 (San Diego) – Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed state budget will impact people throughout California. Assemblyman Marty Block (D-78th Assembly District) wants to know your views on this important issue. He will host a town hall meeting on Thursday, February 3 from 6-8 p.m. at Patrick Henry High School at 6702 Wandermere Drive, San Diego (off Navajo Road in San Carlos).
Come share your opinions on questions such as these:
January 28, 2011 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon City Council has extended the deadline for accepting applications for two appointments to the Gillespie Field Development Council. The filing period begins on January 26 and ends at 5:00 p.m. on February 14, 2011.
January 28, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) has introduced legislation that would halt the repeal of the military’s don’t ask, don’t tell policy. President recently signed the repeal into law and the military is on a path to implementation of the repeal measure, which will allow gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly in the U.S. military.
January 26, 2011 (Washington D.C.) – President Barack Obama, speaking before a politically divided Congress, called on legislators to set aside partisan differences and work together to help America outcompete other nations in a fast-changing global economy. “We need to out-innovate, out educate and outbuild the rest of the world,” he said. “We have to make America the best place on earth to do business.”
The President laid out a blueprint to “win the future” that include investment in infrastructure, high-speed rail, clean-energy technology and high-speed internet, as well as eliminating “No Child Left Behind” and instead implementing his “Race to the Top” goals to improve education of our nation’s children. He also called for specific budget cuts to reduce the deficit by $400 billion over 10 years.
View a video of the State of the Union Speech: http://www.whitehouse.gov/photos-and-video/video/2011/01/26/2011-state-u...
Read the full text: http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/25/remarks-president-...
Read other highlights of the President's speech and the Republican response below:
January 25, 2011 (San Diego) – Darrell Steinberg, president pro tem of the California State Senate, has announced policy committee assignments. Among East County and eastern San Diego’s delegation, committee chairmanships were awarded to Christine Kehoe (Appropriations) and Juan Vargas (Banking & Financial Institutions).
Additional assignments for the region’s four representatives (including Republicans Joel Anderson and Mark Wyland, as well as Democrats Kehoe and Vargas) are as follows:
Senate leaders vow to block repeal--but a Virginia judge declares mandate to buy health insurance unconstitutional
By: Jeremy Los
January 20, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) -- House Republicans have stuck to their campaign promises and passed a measure to repeal the newly established health care bill. In what was a strictly symbolic vote, since the repeal will most likely die in the Democrat-controlled Senate and would not be signed by President Obama, the House Republicans have sent a strong message to the nation that they mean business.
Local Republican representatives Brian Bilbray, Darrell Issa, and Duncan D. Hunter fell in line with conservative cohorts, as every House Republican voted to pass the repeal. On the other side of the aisle local Democratic representatives Bob Filner and Susan Davis voted against the repeal.
"Like an unchecked cancer, hate corrodes the personality and eats away its vital unity. Hate destroys a man's sense of values and his objectivity." --
Martin Luther King, Jr., 1963
January 17, 2011 (Ramona) – Ron Selkovitch and Dave Patterson of the Ramona Forum demonstrated in Ramona over Martin Luther King Day weekend. According to a press release issued by the group, the purpose was to call for “civility and courage in the face of the recent shooting and political rancor.”
ASSEMBLYMAN BLOCK TO CHAIR OVERSIGHT HEARING JAN. 18 ON PRESERVING ACADEMIC QUALITY IN ERA OF RESOURCE CUTS
January 16, 2011 (Sacramento) -- Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Marty Block (D-Lemon Grove) will lead the first in a series of oversight hearings to examine the extent to which California’s higher education system meets the needs of students and our economy amid impending budget cuts. The first hearing will be held Tuesday, January 18th at 1:30 p.m. in the State Capitol (Room 437) but will also be available via an online webcast at http://www.assembly.ca.gov/committee_hearings/defaulttext.asp.
Governor Brown’s 2011-2012 budget (http://www.ebudget.ca.gov/) proposes an approximately $1.8 billion reduction to California’s public higher education system over the 2010-11 funding level.
January 15, 2011 (San Diego) -- Councilmember Marti Emerald has asked Mayor Jerry Sanders to use newly found pension savings to fund San Diego’s financially strapped public safety agencies.
The City has learned its required pension payment for the 2012 fiscal year will be about $20 million less than originally anticipated-- about the same amount demanded in public safety cuts for next year.