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CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS INTRODUCES BILL TO RESTORE INTEGRITY IN FEDERAL ELECTIONS



April 25, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- In an effort to help restore integrity to our federal elections, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) re-introduced legislation that would prohibit top state election officials from participating in federal campaigns.



The Federal Election Integrity Act would prohibit a chief election official of a state from serving on federal campaign committees or engaging in other political activity on behalf of federal candidates in any election over which the official has supervisory authority. 



“Imagine if someone could be both the coach and the referee in a game,” said Davis.  “That would certainly not be fair.  So why would we then allow one person to both officiate an election and chair a candidate’s federal campaign committee?  Someone who has a vested interest in a federal campaign should not also be able to oversee an election in which that candidate runs.  Congress needs to take this long-overdue step to restore the faith of the American people in the election system.”

CONGRESSWONAN DAVIS COAUTHORS BILL TO BLOCK RATE HIKE ON STUDENT LOANS

 

April 24, 2013 (Washington D.C.)--Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) cosponsored legislation to block the doubling of interest rates on Stafford student loans set to kick in July of this year.  The Student Loan Relief Act (H.R. 1595) would continue the current 3.4% rate through 2015.

“We need to ensure that access to higher education stays within the reach of middle class and lower-income families,” said Davis, a senior member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “If we want our children - and America, for that matter - to be competitive in the global economy, access to an affordable college education will be key.”

ANDERSON CALLS FOR LEADERSHIP CHANGE AT CALTRANS

April 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County ) – Senator Joel Anderson has called for a change in leadership at Caltrans, citing an independent state auditor’s report that suggests a “pattern of abuse, theft and mismanagement” under the leadership of Acting Director Malcolm Dougherty.

The study, the latest in a string of critical reports on Caltrans, found that employees falsified safety reports on bridges, jeopardizing lives, as well as stealing property.  Salaries on Dougherty’s watch also rose to over $100,000 for the department’s 20,000 employees while road conditions deteriorated, Anderson charged, contending that the agency has become a “laughingstock.”

MAYOR BOB FILNER HELPS WOUNDED VETERAN SECURE HANDCYCLE

 

April 18, 2013 (San Diego) --  Mayor Bob Filner received a big thank you on Friday from a wounded Army veteran in desperate need of mobility. The Mayor secured a handcycle for Todd Fahn, who suffered severe injuries to his back from an explosion while serving in Iraq.

Fahn brought his son, Bentley, to meet the Mayor.  Fahn says his new handcycle will allow him the mobility he needs to get around quickly, especially as the father of a toddler.

“I had come to a place of extreme frustration and the system was not working.  I reached out to Mayor Bob Filner because of his many years of commitment to helping veterans in need and he delivered,” said Fahn.  “Because of him, I have a device that helps me get around quickly and efficiently.”

CAL FIRE AND ASSEMBLYMAN JONES TO HOLD TOWN HALL APRIL 25 ON STATE FIRE FEES

 

April 18, 2013 (El Cajon) – Have you paid $150 for the state fire fee?  Have questions?  You’re invited to join Assemblyman Brian Jones and Cal Fire at a town hall meeting on Thursday, April 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The event will be at the P2K range at 2082 Willow Glen Drive in EL Cajon. 

To reserve a seat, call (619)441-2322.

ASSEMBLY MEMBER SHIRLY WEBER TO HOST COMMUNITY COFFEE APRIL 20

 

April 17, 2013 (San Diego) – Residents of the 79th Assembly District are invited to a community coffee with Assembly  member Shirley Weber on Saturday, April 20 from 10-11:30 a.m. This event will be held at the Mission Valley Library, 2123 Fenton Parkway (off Friars Road) in San Diego. 

Residents will have the opportunity to learn about current legislation that she is authoring in Sacramento, ask questions and share concerns they may haveYou are welcome to bring your family, friends and neighbors. This is a free and public event.

SD CITY COUNCIL TO HEAR MEDICAL MARIJUANA ORDINANCE APRIL 22

 

April 17, 2013 (San Diego)--Today, the City of San Diego published Mayor Filner's proposal for medical cannabis regulation in the City of San Diego.  The proposal is based on the recommendations of the medical marijuana taskforce, organized by City Council President Todd Gloria in 2010.

HAVE A SAY IN 2013-14 CITY BUDGET DECISIONS THAT IMPACT YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD: WEBINARS, TEACH-INS AND OTHER EVENTS SET

Budget decisions made by the San Diego Mayor and City Council over the next two months will directly impact neighborhoods and quality of life throughout the year starting July 1.

Local residents can have a say in those decisions. Collaborating with more than 30 local organizations of the Community Budget Alliance, the nonprofit Center on Policy Initiatives is offering a series of free events on understanding the budget process and effectively advocating for the services and infrastructure every neighborhood needs.

SAN DIEGO CITY COUNCIL MAKES HISTORY WITH UNANIMOUS IMMIGRATION VOTE

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

April 9, 2013 (San Diego)—At the cusp of the U.S. Senate taking on immigration reform, the San Diego City Council today sent a bipartisan message to Washington. With a unanimous vote, the San Diego City Council passed a resolution asking for comprehensive, common sense, immigration reform. The partisan divide in Washington was not evident in San Diego, where Republicans joined their Democratic colleagues to stand united on this issue.

Council Member David Alvarez chaired the effort with Council Member Mark Kersey.  Before the vote, Alvarez said, “The language is meant to send a message to Washington DC...This is a united message.” He noted that almost everybody is affected by this issue; immigration touches all of us.

ASSEMBLYMAN JONES LEADS LEGISLATIVE CALL FOR AUDIT OF DROS FUND FROM FIREARMS FEES

 

 

Surplus expected to grow to $12.7 million under little oversight, legislators contend

April 9, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee), Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), and 29 Republican legislators have requested the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approve an audit of the Dealers Record of Sale (DROS) Special Account of the General Fund. The DROS Account is funded by fees paid by individuals who purchase or register firearms in California. Generally, a DROS fee is paid by a buyer to a firearms dealer at the time of purchase. The dealer is required to remit the fee to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to cover the cost of performing a background check on the purchaser.

DONNA FRYE RESIGNS AS CITY'S OPEN GOVERNMENT DIRECTOR TO BECOME PRESIDENT OF CALAWARE

 

 

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

April 7, 2013 (San Diego)—Donna Frye, appointed by Mayor Bob Filner to serve as Director of Open Government, has announced her resignation in order to accept the presidency of Californians Aware, a nonprofit organization advocating for open government.

Frye will serve as a volunteer in the position, losing a potential salary of $100,000 a year had she stayed with the City of San Diego.  The resignation took effect immediately.

ALL CRACKED UP? APLINE PLANNERS WANT TO HEAR ABOUT ROAD PROBLEMS CAUSED BY POWERLINK

By Tom Myers, Alpine Community Planning Group Circulation Committee

Is your pavement all cracked up because of the Powerlink construction? Is the ride home rougher than it should be on your car suspension? We want to hear from YOU!

At the next meeting of the Alpine Community Planning Group Circulation Subcommittee we will discuss roads that were damaged by SDG&E heavy trucks and equipment but not yet resurfaced. You may recall that SDG&E representatives promised us at several ACPG meetings that they would restore any damage to Alpine area roadways caused by their operations. Now that their work is done, many of us have been waiting for the repairs.

NEW SD UNIFIED SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT TO SPEAK ON “POLITICS AND PRAGMATISM” IN LA MESA APRIL 3

 

April 3, 2013 (La Mesa) -- Cindy Marten, newly appointed Superintendent of San Diego Unified School District, will be the featured speaker at the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club April 3rd meeting.  She will address challenges facing modern urban school districts like San Diego's.  San Diego Unified is struggling with a large budget deficit and is planning to sell off $50 million worth of its properties to help achieve a balance. Over 60% of the new funds coming from Proposition 30's tax increase is already committed to pay for overdue raises and other staff expenses.

Rather than holding a nationwide search, the School Board selected Marten as the unanimous choice for Superintendent.  This was a result of her accomplishments as principal of Central Elementary School in City Heights, where she oversaw a dramatic increase in test scores at Central Elementary, a school serving a community where nearly all families are low income and English-learners. 

CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS INTRODUCES BILL TO EXPAND MISSILE SHIELDS FOR ISRAEL

 

March 29, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) has introduced along with 63 bipartisan cosponsors H.R. 1130, the Iron Dome Support Act.  Iron Dome is the defensive weapon system that is currently serving as a missile shield over Israel. 

“This joint Israeli-U.S. project is already in the field, having successfully downed nearly 90% of incoming missiles during last year’s conflict in Gaza.  Hundreds of innocent lives were spared as a result of Iron Dome and rocket fire from the Gaza strip did not escalate into a larger crisis," Davis states. “However, the coverage provided by the Iron Dome defense system is inadequate and regional security requires additional units to protect all of its civilian population.”

FEDERAL SEQUESTRATION CUTS HIT HARD IN LA MESA; CITY ELIMINATES MOST PUBLIC SERVICES FOR ELDERLY AND YOUNG PEOPLE

 

March 27, 2013 (La Mesa)—The federal government has slashed Community Development Block Grant funding for La Mesa from $800,000 a few years ago down to just $350,000 this year. As a result, the City Council voted 5-0 on Tuesday to completely eliminate funds for all public services funded by CDGB, except for fair housing. The cuts fall largely on programs that help the elderly, poor and disabled.

Funds will be axed for the Alzheimer’s Association, East County YMCA Summer Camp, Meals on Wheels of Greater San Diego, San Diego Youth Services, Elder help, Interfaith Shelter Network, Senior Community Centers, and more.

Mayor Art Madrid called the elimination of public services a “tough decision” necessitated by federal sequestration cuts. Sequestration mandates cuts across the board in nearly all federal agencies as a result of Congress failing to reach agreement on how to reduce federal debt and resolve the federal budget.  Democrats sought a combination of revenue increases and budget cuts, while Republicans have blocked such proposals, holding out for cuts-only solutions.

ASSEMBLYMAN JONES COAUTHORS RESOLUTION HONORING CALIFORNIA'S HISTORIC VINEYARDS

March 18, 2013 (Sacramento)--Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee has issued the following statement on the passage of HR 9, a resolution he co-authored that outlines the many characteristics of California’s historic vineyards and their vast contribution to the agricultural legacy of the state:

“Almost 250 years ago, Father Junipero Serra planted grapes at Mission San Diego, and since that time, historic vineyards have grown throughout the state – from northern California and the Central Coast to our own Ramona, Alpine and Riverside County’s Temecula Valley,” said Jones. “I am proud the 71st Assembly District is home to such beautiful and diverse grape growing areas – each of which has achieved worldwide recognition and contributes greatly to our local economy.  I am very pleased the Assembly took the time to recognize the extraordinary contribution of our living historic vineyards to the agricultural and social heritage of the state as well as to the enjoyment of wine enthusiasts throughout California and the world.”

REPRESENTATIVES DAVIS AND VARGAS SUPPORT INCREASE IN MINIMUM WAGE

 

March 18, 2013 (Washington)--Two San Diego Congressional members, Democrats Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, joined 131 colleagues in introducing legislation to give minimum-wage workers a raise.  Both are cosponsors the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) to boost the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, increase the minimum wage for workers who rely on tips, and tie future annual increases to the rate of inflation. 

“Earning minimum wage salary should not mean living in poverty or struggling to pay the bills,” Davis said.  “A minimum wage increase would enhance the economic security of our families by putting more money in the pockets of those who need it most.  Let’s honor and respect our hard work minimum-wage earners by giving them a much-deserved raise.”

MAYOR FILNER TOUTS ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN HIS FIRST 30 DAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2013 (San Diego) – This week, Mayor Bob Filner celebrated his 100th day in office as the 35th Mayor of San Diego by releasing a list of accomplishments in his first 30 days.  

To the delight of some and the dismay of others, the new Mayor is shaking things up at City Hall and challenging the powers-that-be as he strives to fulfill his campaign promises for change.

SANTEE CITY COUNCIL DIRECTS STAFF TO DRAFT NEW MEASURES AIMED AT CURBING “AGGRESSIVE” ACTIONS BY HOMELESS

 

By Janis Mork

“I’m very close to the homeless. They’re people. Not all are troublemakers….. I know several who need help. We need to get tools together for a community committee, so we can get people off the streets and into homes.” – Clifva Budke, Medical Billing Enterprise

“I’ve stated many times that Santee is not a social services business. We’re in potholes, we’re in law enforcement, and we’re in fire fighters. .. I have a problem with the homeless industry.” – Mayor Randy Voepel

March 15, 2013 (Santee)- At Wednesday’s Santee City Council meeting, City Manager Keith Till brought up a report on strategies to reduce  problems related to the transient [homeless] population, sparking a robust discussion on how best to address homelessness in Santee—and whether the solutions should be purely punitive, or include services to help those in need. 

SANTEE COUNCIL TO WEIGH CRACKDOWN ON HOMELESS

March 12, 2013 (Santee) – Santee’s City Council on Wednesday will weigh actions aimed at reducing  activities by the homeless including panhandling, overtaking public parks, riverbed camping and “scavenging” (including taking items from recycling bins). 

The City of Santee has no shelter for the homeless.  The proposals to discourage homeless people from taking up residency in Santee public areas focuses not on providing services to help the homeless, however, but rather emphasizes punitive actions such as banning cigarettes in public parks and alcohol on weekdays, prohibiting single-sale sizes of alcoholic beverages at new businesses, and prohibiting aggressive conduct by panhandlers.

VOTING RIGHTS ACT DISCUSSION IN BONITA MARCH 12

 

March 9, 2013 (Bonita) – The U.S. Supreme Court is considering a case that could result in significant changes  or weakening of the federal Voting Rights Act, a landmark law which guarantees one of our most important civil rights, the right to vote.

On Tuesday, March 12, the Eastlake-Bonita Democratic Club will host a presentation on the Voting Rights Act and the case now before the Supreme Court.  Refreshments will be served at 6:30, followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. 

THE COALITION FOR CHANGE (C4C) FIGHTS FOR CHANGE FOR FEDERAL GOVERNMENT EMPLOYEES: LAUNCHES “UNLEASH NO FEAR” CAMPAIGN

 

Article by Dennis Moore

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle.”   --Frederick Douglass

March 6, 2013 (San Diego)--Thousands of federal employees in the San Diego area are soon to be impacted by sequestration, automatic budget cuts mandated by the federal government.  These cuts may have a larger impact on San Diego County than anywhere else in the U.S., since our region is home to wide-ranging naval operations, a bustling border and vibrant biotech and drone sectors. About $37 billion flows into the County each year, including billions of dollars for defense contracts and millions more for research efforts.

The Coalition For Change, Inc. (C4C) is a Washington, DC based organization that promotes equality as well as exposes retaliation and racism in the federal government. “Civil servants (i.e., agents, air marshals, food inspectors, investigators, corrections officers, firefighters) function as America’s first line of defense against domestic threats. Therefore, we must protect our federal workforce against managerial abuse and reprisal in order to better protect our citizens.” That is what Tanya Ward Jordan, the founder of C4C, believes and espouses in her daily activities and advocacy on behalf of this organization. Now C4C is ramping up to strengthen its fight for federal workers.

LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS OPPOSE STUDENTS’ MOVE TO DIVEST UCSD FROM COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS WITH ISRAEL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2013 (San Diego) – The University of California San Diego (UCSD) Associated Student Council will vote March 6 on a resolution calling for the university to divest in companies doing business with Israel, due to an allegation that Israel is an “apartheid state.” 

The measure has sparked controversy on campus and outrage among Jewish groups. Now two San Diego Congressional members, representatives Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, have sent letters to Student Council president Meggie Le, urging opposition to the resolution.

“As a member of Congress who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, there has been no credible proof that defines Israel as an “apartheid” state,” wrote Vargas. “In fact, Israel is the only country in the Middle East with protection for free speech, free press, religious freedom, women’s rights and gay rights.”

CONGRESS PASSES VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT

 

San Diego Republicans drop opposition, vote to pass measure

By Miriam Raftery

March 1, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Two Republican Congressmen from San Diego, Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, previously voted against renewal and expansion of the Violence Against Women Act to include protections for Native American, gay and immigrant women.

But this week, both shifted their stance and joined with Democrats to pass  the measure 286 to 138. Local Democratic House representatives Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas also voted in favor. (View roll call) The bill has also been approved by the Senate, where California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein supported it, and is expected to be signed into law by the President.

The law had expired, leaving all battered women without the protections afforded by the Violence Against Women Act, due to the House blocking the measure for over a year.  But after mounting public pressure by women’s groups, Native American rights advocates, immigrant and gay rights organizations and others, 87 House Republicans joined with all 199 Democrats to pass the reauthorization bill, expanding rights to include all women.

WHAT HAPPENS IF SEQUESTRATION OCCURS ON FRIDAY?

By Miriam Raftery

White House releases list of cuts to California

“By God, across-the board cuts are the worst and most cowardly way to approach this situation.” –Senator John McCain (R-AZ)

"Are Republicans in Congress really willing to let these cuts fall on our kids’ schools ...slash military health care and the Border Patrol ...Are they seriously prepared to inflict more pain on the middle class because they refuse to ask anything more of those at the very top?" -- President Barack Obama

February 25, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – If Congress can’t agree by Friday, automatic sequestration cuts will take place in nearly all federal programs.  Half will hit the military, the other half will slice domestic programs. 

Both sides agreed in prior debt negotiations that the cuts were so severe that neither party would actually let them take place--and that the sequestration trigger would force Congress to come up with a more sensible plan before the March 1 deadline.

Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened.  Sequestration appears likely to occur on Friday--and the impacts are apt to be felt by every American, from long waits at airports to cuts in programs impacting students, senior citizens, the military, national parks, the unemployed, health programs, and much more.  Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said cuts will  even harm the readiness of U.S. troops in the military.

HERE COMES THE JUDGE: ROBERT AMADOR TAKES THE BENCH IN EAST COUNTY FAMILY LAW COURT

By Miriam Raftery

February 27, 2013 (El Cajon)—“I’m very excited about the new challenge in a very important and emotional area of the law,” newly elected Superior Court Judge Robert Amador told East County Magazine.  Assigned to the family law court in El Cajon, Judge Amador added, “I hope to be able to lower the tension and animosity between litigants that often occur in these types of cases.”

MARTY BLOCK INTRODUCES SCHOOL SAFETY MEASURE TO PROTECT STUDENTS AND TEACHERS FROM INTRUDERS

 

SB 316 would require school doors to lock from the inside

February 20, 2013 (Sacramento)--State Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego, 39th district) introduced legislation Tuesday requiring all classrooms with five or more persons to install devices that allow doors to lock from the inside by January 1, 2015. The California Federation of Teachers is sponsoring the legislation.

Following the school shooting tragedies in Newtown, Conn. and Taft, Calif., schools are rethinking safety procedures, including additional protections against campus intruders. A 2010 analysis of similar legislation estimated that 70 percent of schools already have such locks. Without the locks, teachers must go outside to secure their classrooms during emergencies. Block’s proposal would ensure that every school regardless of age complies with the inside lock requirement.

SUSAN DAVIS INTRODUCES TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATION BILL

 

February 18, 2013 (Washington D.C.) –“Everyone has a teacher from their past who inspired them. Teachers play a significant role in a student’s development and as our nation’s builders, which is why it is so important to give teachers the opportunities to grow as educators,” a press release from Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) states. However, many school districts lack a method for giving teachers and principals the developmental feedback to help them reach their ultimate professional potential. 

Davis, along with Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has introduced legislation that they believe will give teachers the feedback and the support they deserve.

SUSAN DAVIS INTRODUCES TEACHER AND PRINCIPAL EVALUATION BILL

 

February 18, 2013 (Washington D.C.) –“Everyone has a teacher from their past who inspired them. Teachers play a significant role in a student’s development and as our nation’s builders, which is why it is so important to give teachers the opportunities to grow as educators,” a press release from Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) states. However, many school districts lack a method for giving teachers and principals the developmental feedback to help them reach their ultimate professional potential. 

Davis, along with Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has introduced legislation that they believe will give teachers the feedback and the support they deserve.

MADRID, EWIN FEUD OVER COUNCIL APPOINTMENTS AND TRAVEL ISSUES

 

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Mork

February 15, 2013 (La Mesa)--It’s not often that a mayor accuses a councilmember of lying in a public meeting, or that a councilmember contends the mayor is engaging in schoolyard banter.  Both happened in La Mesa this week, where Mayor Art Madrid and Councilmember Ernie Ewin engaged in a terse dispute over appointments to three regional boards plus travel expenses.

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