By Jeremy Los
“This issue has received band-aid approaches to fix it when it needs a tourniquet.” – La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid
“We look at them as a resource… they are the eyes and ears of the community… they certainly know when something is going on.” – El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis, on the homeless in his town
"I do not feel there needs to be a regional center for the homeless in East County." -- Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom
"I am not in the homeless business." - Santee Mayor Randy Voepel
April 26, 2011 – Four East County mayors shared their reactions on a new study on the many homeless in our region. Their views differed dramatically on how to address the homeless problem. In addition, three of the four mayors questioned the study findings and voiced doubts on the numbers of homeless people listed in their cities.
According to the 2011 Point-In-Time Count by the Regional Task Force on the Homeless, East County is now home to 8.9% of San Diego County’s homeless population, with El Cajon staking claim to the highest number of homeless people. However, the majority of El Cajon's homeless are in shelters--while in other East County communities, the homeless are living on the streets, in cars, or camped along riverbeds.
April 23, 2011 (Alpine) --Supervisor Dianne Jacob invites you to a a “Coffee with Constituents” on Thursday, April 28 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. at the Alpine Woman’s Club, 2156 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine.
FOLLOW THE MONEY: 2 NEW SITES LET YOU LOOK UP GIFTS TO OFFICIALS -- AND CHECK FOR CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
April 19, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Who’s giving money to your elected officials? Are there conflicts of interest?
Now you can find out easily thanks to two new websites just launched.
PRESIDENT INTRODUCES DEBT REDUCTION PROPOSAL, VOWS TO DEFEND MEDICARE AGAINST REPUBLICANS' PRIVATIZATION PLAN
By Jeremy Los
“I do not want the government to shut-down, but the bottom line is Washington needs to get its finances in order. Out of every dollar the United States government spends, 40 cents is borrowed. This is unsustainable.” -- Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego)
“Republicans are trying to ram through a disgraceful budget that would destroy Medicare, drive an entire generation of seniors into poverty, but give the wealthiest Americans even more tax cuts. It’s shameful. It’s immoral.” --Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-New York).
April 15, 2011-(Washington D.C.)-- President Barack Obama laid out his fiscal agenda in a speech Wednesday, announcing plans to cut our massive national debt while pledging to preserve Medicare, a program credited with lifting millions of seniors out of poverty. View his speech.
Compromise budget includes large cuts to health and nutrition programs for low-income Americans, public broadcasting, Planned Parenthood services, high-speed rail, and air pollution controls
By Jeremy Los
April 13, 2011- A government shut down was averted in the 11th hour as House Republicans were able to reach agreement Friday with President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats about a budget for the next six months.
The compromise will look to cut federal spending by some $38 billion dollars this year. The budget itself has yet to be completely passed, however, as Friday’s last minute deal simply provided a stopgap, allowing for a continued flow of federal funding through this Thursday. Update April 15, 2011 - Congress approved the stopgap budget yesterday for funding through year's end.
April 13, 2011 (Sacramento) – Legislation authored by Assemblymember Marty Block (D-AD78) to provide law enforcement with better tools to fight the growing epidemic of gang-related criminal sexual exploitation and human trafficking, cleared its first Assembly committee today. AB 918 was approved by the Assembly Public Safety Committee by a vote of 6-0.
CRIME VICTIMS UNITED PRESENT LEGISLATOR OF THE YEAR AWARD TO SAN DIEGO’S MARTY BLOCK AND NATHAN FLETCHER
April 13, 2011 (San Diego)—Assemblymembers Marty Block (D-AD78) and Nathan Fletcher (R-AD 75) were honored with Legislator of the Year awards from Crime Victims United of California during an annual march on the State Capitol last week. The event draws victims from all over the state to join together and remind legislators that they will not be forgotten.
April 12, 2011 (Washington D.C.) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) introduced legislation to restore cuts made to education aid for veterans going to college. The Post 9/11 GI Bill Payment Restoration Act (H.R. 1451) would reinstate living expense stipends during school breaks.
“Our service members earned and deserve their educational benefits,” said Davis, a member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “We have a responsibility to keep these benefits worthy of their dedication and sacrifices to the nation.”
COUNTY, LAW ENFORCEMENT BACK BLOCK’S BILL TO COMBAT GANGS ENGAGED IN HUMAN TRAFFICKING AND SEXUAL EXPLOITATION
Pimping and other exploitative crimes are now second biggest revenue source for gangs in San Diego County
April 8, 2011 (San Diego) – To help law enforcement tackle the growing problem of gang-related criminal sexual exploitation and human trafficking, Assemblymember Marty Block (AD-78) today was joined by San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob, San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore to support AB 918.
The bill, authored by Block and sponsored by San Diego County, would give law enforcement better tools to combat criminal street gangs that commit the crimes of pimping, pandering or human trafficking--the second biggest income source for local gangs.
By Miriam Raftery
April 8, 2011 – Today is the deadline for Congress to approve a budget, or have the government shut down. But leaders in both major political parties say they are at an impasse. According to today’s Washington Post, “They can’t even agree on what they are disagreeing over.”
What are the issues, and how might you be impacted?
April 8, 2011 (Lemon Grove) – By a 4-1 vote, the Lemon Grove City Council ordered staff to come up with a plan to shut down its Parks & Recreation Department, outsource programs for children and adults to the YMCA, but find a means to keep other functions of the department.
Those functions include leasing recreation buildings to community groups and operating city events, such as the holiday bonfire and concerts in the park. Staff will present its report to Council on May 3rd.
Calls for bipartisan effort needed to strengthen Social Security
April 5, 2011 (Washington D.C.)—The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) today issued sharp criticism of the budget proposed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan and backed by House Republicans.
Nancy A. LeaMond, executive vice president of AARP, said the Republican proposal to reduce the deficit “lacks balance and would result in a large cost shift to current and future retirees. The Chairman’s proposal, rather than tackling skyrocketing health care costs, would simply shift these costs onto the backs of people in Medicare,” she warned. “It would undermine Medicare’s promise of secure health coverage—a guarantee that future seniors have contributed to through a lifetime of hard work.”
By Miriam Raftery
April 4, 2011 (Lemon Grove) – Faced with a budget gap, Lemon Grove City Council will consider four proposals at Tuesday's meeting for slashing costs in recreational services:
1) outsource youth programs to the Boys and Girls Club of East County;
2) Outsource both youth and adult services to the East County Family YMCA;
3) Combine contracting with one of those organizations to run some programs, while having a new Recreation Services Department handle others;
4) Completely eliminate the City’s Recreation Services Department—a move that could also end City-sponsored community events such as Concerts in the Park, Movie Night, and the annual holiday Bonfire.
By Miriam Raftery
April 2, 2011 (San Diego) -- Every 10 years, the City of San Diego Redistricting Commission redraws the political boundaries for City Council districts candidates. This is a once in a decade occasion. The County is also redistricting its Supervisorial seats. Want to have a say in how your community gets represented for the next 10 years?
The best way to do this is to give public testimony during the early stages of the redistricting process. You can testify or learn more at nine pre-map hearings set in locations throughout San Diego in April and early May, as well as at Redistricting Commission regular meetings downtown. Below are details on dates, times, and locations.
March 31, 2011 (Washington D.C.) – In recognition of her leadership on animal protection issues and for receiving a perfect score on the 2010 Humane Scorecard, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) was named a Humane Champion. It is the highest award given by the Humane Society of the United States and the Humane Society Legislative Fund.
The organizations also singled out Davis’s bill that would designate National Link Awareness Month to raise awareness about the link between domestic violence and cruelty to animals.
Standardized Assessment Would Save $4 Million in Testing Costs and Increase the Number of Students Assessed by 2.2 Million
March 30, 2011 – In an effort to increase efficiencies in California’s higher education system and boost student success, Assemblymember Marty Block (AD-78) announced that his community college student assessment legislation has been approved by the Assembly Higher Education Committee on a unanimous vote.
March 30, 2011 (Sacramento)--Assemblymember Marty Block (AD-78) announced today that the Assembly Committee on Higher Education, which he chairs, has approved his bill to improve the campus climates for LGBT students at public colleges and universities. AB 620 would require the California State University and California Community Colleges, and request the University of California, to adopt policies on harassment, intimidation and bullying in their student codes of conduct.
March 30, 2011 (Washington D.C.) Earlier this month, Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon) introduced bipartisan legislation, the Unlawful Border Entry Prevention Act, which includes San Diego Congressman Brian Bilbray among its cosponsors. The measure would provide the Secretary of Homeland Security with full discretionary authority to build up to 350 miles of additional infrastructure on the Southwest border.
March 29, 2011 (San Diego)--Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) and Education Secretary Arne Duncan made a call for education reform, framing the issue in a national security context. The push for reform was at a recent press conference following a tour of an early childhood facility at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar.
March 26, 2011 (Sacramento) -- Senator Joel Anderson (R - El Cajon) has announced that nomination forms for the 36th Senate District "Woman of the Year" award are now available.
"I am pleased to honor a 'Woman of the Year' for the 36th Senate District," said Anderson. "All of my constituents are encouraged to nominate a woman who has had a positive impact on their life, family or community."
March 23, 2011 (Carmichael, California)– For the third time in five years, Californians Aware (CalAware) has tested state agencies’ responses to very basic requests for public records. Analysis of the results found no measureable improvement overall-with agencies overall averaging a C+--and many flunking requirements of California’s open government laws.
“What, if anything, will Governor Brown do to make further improvements?” asks Emily Francke, executive director of CalAware.
Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) recently introduced several bills, including measures to improve oversight of local government, allow all-mail elections in San Diego County, permit renters to display political signs, boost installation of solar power, expand demographic data, and emphasize transit before freeway expansion of I-5.
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.”