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SUPERVISOR DIANNE JACOB TO SPEAK AT LA MESA CHAMBER’S BREAKFAST FEB. 12

February 4, 2013 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s first Breakfast Meeting of 2013 will host Supervisor Dianne Jacob as Guest Speaker on February 12 from 7:15 – 9:00 a.m. at the Masonic Lodge, 4731 Date Street, La Mesa.  

The cost is $15 for Chamber members and $20 for potential members and guests.  The “At Door” cost will be $25 for all attendees.  The Attendance Drawing is currently valued at $800.00.

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS RE-INTRODUCES LEGISLATION TO END ABSENTEE BALLOT RESTRICTIONS

January 31, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) re-introduced one of her hallmark bills, the Universal Right to Vote by Mail Act (H.R. 376), which would end restrictions many states impose on a person’s ability to vote by absentee ballot.

Currently, 21 states restrict an eligible voter’s ability to vote by mail, also known as absentee.  The other states, including California, offer no-excuse absentee voting much to the great satisfaction of many voters and elections officials.  Davis’s bill would prohibit states from limiting absentee voting to only certain voters and would allow all eligible voters nationwide to vote by mail for any reason in federal elections. 

REACTIONS MIXED TO GOV. BROWN’S STATE OF STATE ADDRESS

 

Governor calls for overhauls of Calif. Environmental Quality Act, Enteprrise Zone Program and more

By Miriam Raftery

January 31, 2013 (Sacramento) – California has “confounded its critics” said Governor Jerry Brown, delivering his State of the State address on January 24. “We have wrought in just two years a solid and enduring budget,” he said, pledging to “keep it that way for years to come.”

"The budget is balanced but great risks and uncertainties lie ahead,” he said, noting that the federal government, the courts, or changes in the economy could all cost the state money."

BIPARTISAN COALITION IN SENATE ROLLS OUT IMMIGRATION REFORMS

By Miriam Raftery

January 30, 2013 (Washington D.C.) –One day after a bipartisan coalition of Senators (four Republicans and four Democrats) introduced a framework for immigration reforms,  President Barack Obama has announced a four-part plan for comprehensive immigration changes 

The President's plan includes a pathway to citizenship, strengthening border security, cracking down on employers who hire undocumented workers, and streamlining our legal immigration system.  For details on the President's plan, see http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/29/watch-live-president-obama-speaks-comprehensive-immigration-reform.  For the Senators' framework, see http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/562528/reform0128principlessenatefinal.pdf.

JACK SHU IS FEATURED SPEAKER AT LA MESA-FOOTHILLS DEMOCRATIC CLUB ON FEB. 6

January 27, 2013 (La Mesa) – Jack Shu, Board President of the Cleveland National Forest Foundation (CNFF), will be the featured speaker at the February 6 meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club.  The meeting will be held at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa at 6:30 p.m.

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS INTRODUCES JURY NON-DISCRIMINATION ACT

January 26, 2013 (Washington, D.C.) – Congresswoman Susan Davis introduced legislation to prohibit a person from being removed from a jury because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“Serving on a jury is one of America’s most cherished civic duties,” said Davis.  “It is unjust to exclude a particular group of people from participating in civil society because of whom they love or what they look like.  The federal government already prohibits juror discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, and economic status and as we pursue greater equality for all Americans, I believe LGBT Americans should be also be free from juror discrimination.”

NAVY HONORS CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS WITH THE DISTINGUISHED PUBLIC SERVICE AWARD

January 26, 2013 (Washington D.C.)– The highest award the Navy gives to a civilian was awarded to Congresswoman Susan Davis.  Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus presented Davis, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, with the Distinguished Public Service Award for her "long and selfless service to the Nation's Sailors and Marines."

“One of the joys of my job is working on behalf of the men and women who sacrifice so much to keep us safe,” said Davis. “Our nation’s servicemembers are some of the most impressive people I have met.  Their ability to adapt to the unique challenges they face everyday is inspiring. I want to thank Secretary Mabus for this honor.”

HOUSE PASSES BILL TO SUSPEND DEBT LIMIT FOR SEVERAL MONTHS

San Diego’s Congressional delegation splits votes

By Miriam Raftery

January 25, 2013 (Washington D.C.)—By a 285-144 vote, the House of Representative Wednesday voted to prevent the government from defaulting on its debt by suspending the federal debt limit until May 18, giving Congress time to craft a longer term solution.  The majority of Republicans supported the bill, HR 325, while most Democrats opposed – though  San Diego’s Congressional representatives voted just the opposite.

Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas  were among a minority of 88 Democrats who supported the bill, while Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa were among just 33 Republicans who voted no.

COUNCILMEMBERS GASTIL & VASQUEZ REPRESENT LEMON GROVE AT THE 33RD ANNUAL MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR. PARADE

 

January 21, 2013 (Lemon Grove) -- City Council Members George Gastil and Racquel Vasquez represented Lemon Grove at the 33rd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Parade, honoring the late civil rights activist.

Thousands of spectators lined the parade route on Harbor Drive, from the County Administration Building to the Midway Museum, to see more than 60 community groups, marching bands, and government organizations from throughout the country participate in the event.

CALIFORNIA SENATORS AND SAN DIEGO CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS WEIGH IN ON GUN VIOLENCE PROPOSALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 20,2013 (San Diego)—Both of California’s U.S. Senators are strongly supporting actions to restrict assault weapons and protect the public from mass shootings, though members of San Diego’s Congressional delegation are divided in their views toward President Barack Obama’s plan for reducing gun violence.

California Senator Dianne Feinstein (D) has confirmed she intends to introduce legislation to reinstate a ban on assault weapons this week. A U.S. Department of Justice study found the prior assault weapons ban authored by Feinstein resulted in a 6.7 percent drop in the murder rate nationwide. Find details at http://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/assault-weapons.

PRESIDENT OBAMA SWORN IN FOR SECOND TERM

January 21, 2013 (Washington D.C.) -- "America’s possibilities are limitless," President Barack Obama said in his inaugural address, "for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands: youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention. My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it -- so long as we seize it together."

View a video of the inaugural speech and find the full text at http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2013/01/21/second-inauguration-barack-obama. The nation's first African-American president was sworn in for his second term of office as the nation honors Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday.  

MAYOR FILNER DELIVERS STATE OF THE CITY ADDRESS

“We have an opportunity in San Diego to create a truly great international city; a city that respects and empowers its people; a city that protects and enhances their quality of life, and a city that promotes good-paying jobs and a healthy economy for all residents.” – Mayor Bob Filner

By Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2013 (San Diego)—In his State of the City address this week, newly elected Mayor Bob Filner  discussed financial challenges as well as his vision for the future. He likened the city to a “patient who has overcome a serious illness,” citing a past cover-up of financial problems.

“The budget surplus predicted by my predecessor last year could actually be a deficit as much as $40 million,” Filner said, noting that state funding issues and court cases remain to be resolved.   “But if we learned anything from the mistakes of the past, it’s that it is better to be truthful about these problems than to cover them up,” he said.  Despite challenges ahead, the Mayor laid out ambitious plans for revitalizing the region's economy, making San Diego the nation's solar capital, expanding redevelopment to neighborhoods city-wide, and improving communication systems for regional emergencies such as wildfires.

CONGRESSMAN PETERS TO SERVE ON HOUSE COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE AND TECHNOLOGY

January 16, 2013 (Washington, D.C.)--The Democratic Caucus earlier this month approved additional committee assignments for Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) has been assigned to serve on the House Science, Space and Technology committee.

SHIFTING BALANCE ON NEW BOARD OF SUPERVISORS COULD HAVE BIG IMPACTS FOR EAST COUNTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Supervisor Dianne Jacob spells out her goals for future; Dave Roberts, left, prepares to take oath as his children look on.

January 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – For the first time in 19 years, a new County Supervisor, Dave Roberts, has been elected.  At yesterday’s swearing in ceremony,  East County Supervisor Dianne Jacob also made history, becoming the longest serving woman on the Board. 

Jacob made clear that she hopes to have an ally in the newly elected Supervisor—particularly on energy issues and protection of the backcountry. Roberts pledged support for preserving open spaces and working to develop a county utility as an alternative to SDG&E.

MAYOR MADRID’S AUDIT REPORT REFLECTS ON CITY’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND CHALLENGES THAT LIE AHEAD

By Miriam Raftery

Jaunary 9, 2013 (La Mesa) – Mayor Art Madrid reflected on the past,  praised the city’s present accomplishments, and looked ahead to the future in his annual city audit report delivered on January 8 in the City’s Centennial year.

“I dare say that in many ways we are glad to see 2012 in our rear view mirror,” he said, citing budget cuts by the state among the city's biggest challenges in the past year. Fiscal challenges will continue, he predicted, as Congress embarks on the federal budget negotiations battle. “We may be seeing the last of the Community Development Block Grants, CDBG and Housing Assistance Programs, plus other vital safety net programs that assist certain members of our society.”

Mayor Madrid also named climate change and environmental concerns among the key challenges ahead, spoken in a week when the National CIimatic Office announced that 2012 was the hottest year on record in the U.S.  “What is the role of local governments, including La Mesa, in addressing these problems? First choosing facts and science over politics, acknowledge that these issues exist, and define their impact on our city by evaluating the costs and consequences of doing nothing,” said Madrid.

MAYOR FILNER ANNOUNCES STAFF APPOINTMENTS REFLECTING DIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO

January 9, 2013 (San Diego)--Mayor Bob Filner has announced his staffing team at City Hall. The appointments reflect San Diego’s diversity: over 50% are women, 38% Latino, 21% African-American, 4% Asian Pacific Islander as well as staff from the lesbian, gay, bisexual/transgender community.

“When I campaigned for Mayor, I pledged that everyone would have a seat at the table, and that includes in my administration. I am proud to lead this team of talented and dedicated women and men. Together we will work hard for the citizens of San Diego,” said Mayor Bob Filner, who also released salaries of his staffers as part of his pledge toward transparency.

FROM LAWN MOWERS TO TRAVEL PERKS, WATCHDOG GROUP WEIGHS IN ON LA MESA COUNCIL AGENDA ITEMS

La Mesa Citizens Oversight Group has sent a letter to council members voicing concerns over three items on the  agenda for the upcoming city council meeting Tuesday. The group advocates for  “open, accountable, cost-effective, efficient government, and for opposing unnecessary taxes, fees, regulations, and policies."

ROBERT TAPP, PH.D. TO SPEAK AT EAST COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CLUB ON JAN. 17

January 6, 2013 (El Cajon) -- At the next meeting of the East County Democratic Club on January 17, Robert B. Tapp, Ph.D. will discuss "Those Other Elephants," issues that were not discussed during the Presidential debates and campaigning, such as the unprecedented income inequality, science denial and the overpopulation crises.  Professor Tapp is Professor Emeritus of Humanities, Religious Studies and South Asian Studies at the University of Minnesota.  He is an author and editor of several books including “Religion Among the Unitarian Universalists”, and was co-sponsor of the 2011 SDSU sponsored conference "Toward A Reasonable World."

SAN DIEGO REPRESENTATIVES RECEIVE ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 5, 2013 (San Diego)—Assembly Speaker John Perez has announced committee assignments for the new term. San Diego’s delegation will be well represented on several key committees.  San Diego County members will control 3 of 7 votes on Housing and Community Development, with two or more members on several other key committees, notably education  and the budget committee. Our region lacks representation on several committees however, such as transportation, revenue and taxation, and natural resources, where San Diego doesn’t have a single member.  Below are the assignments of our region’s members.

TOP THIS FOR DATE NIGHT: THE PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION

By Rebecca J Williamson

January 4, 2013 (La Mesa)--Madeleine Falco is taking date night to a higher standard by going on a date to the swearing in ceremony of President Barack Obama on January 21, 2013 in Washington, D.C.

So how did this all happen?  U.S. House of Representative’s Congresswoman Susan Davis, representing the 53rd district, offered a lottery for tickets to the inauguration ceremony shortly after the presidential election.  Her constituents had to enter their name in the lottery to be selected. Falco and a male friend, entered their names.

ISSA IN STORM OF CONTROVERSY FOR BACKING HOUSE LEADERSHIP'S BLOCKING OF HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF BILL

January 3, 2013 (San Diego)-- Hurricane Sandy slammed into the East Coast 66 days ago, but the House Republican leadership has thus far refused to bring up a measure to provide relief to survivors. Among the staunchest defenders of that decision is San Diego Republican Congressman Darrell Issa. In a Fox News interview, Issa claimed the measure was loaded with pork. But now Issa has drawn scathing criticism from fellow Republican Congressmen Peter King and Michael Grimms of New York, areas hit hard by the storm.

King said, "Darrell Issa is 1,000 percent wrong. There is absolutely no pork in the bill." He noted that less than one percent of the Senate bill formerly included funds for Alaska, which were removed from the House version.  King added, “I wish Darrell Issa had learned that and looked into that before he went public and said that my constituents should not get their homes rebuilt, should not have the waste management plants rebuilt, that Governor Christie should not be given the opportunity to rebuild New Jersey and Governor Cuomo in New York."

CONGRESS APPROVES BILL TO AVOID FISCAL CLIFF; SAN DIEGO DELEGATION DIVIDED

By Miriam Raftery

January 2, 2013 (San Diego’s East County ) – By a 257-167 vote late last night, the House of Representatives approved without changes a “fiscal cliff” deal previously passed by the Senate 89-8.

The stock market reaction to ending the uncertainty was positive, rising 235 points or 1.9% on January 1 for a second-straight day of triple digit gains. It’s a deal that reflects compromise on both sides, averting a potential crisis short-term, but deferring major decisions on spending cuts and raising the nation's debt ceiling down the road.

The decision divided  the Republican leadership, as well as the local Congressional delegation. Lame-duck Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray joined with Democrat Susan Davis in voting for the measure, while Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa voted against it.  (Bob Filner resigned his seat Dec. 3 to assume his new responsibilities as Mayor, leaving his seat vacant until Juan Vargas is sworn in later this month.)

HOUSE PASSES REP. SUSAN DAVIS' BILL TO NAME NEW COURTHOUSE

December 27, 2012 (San Diego) – Congresswoman Susan Davis moved to put the finishing touches on the new federal courthouse downtown when her bill to name the building passed the House of Representatives. After extensive input from the San Diego legal community, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) introduced legislation to have Judges James M. Carter and Judith N. Keep on San Diego’s new federal courthouse.

“Displaying true dedication to public service, both Judge Carter and Judge Keep worked tirelessly on and off the bench to better the San Diego community,” said Davis. “The new San Diego Courthouse will be a fitting testament to their careers and inspire others in the community to continue to follow their path.”

VARGAS RECEIVES COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENT

December 22, 2012 (Washington D.C.) – Newly elected Congressman Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) has been assigned to serve on the Foreign Affairs Committee by House Minority Leader Nandy Pelosi.  Vargas, who will be sworn in in January, was elected to fill the seat left by Bob Filner, who stepped down from Congress to run for Mayor.

CONGRESSMAN-ELECT SCOTT PETERS TO SERVE ON HOUSE ARMED SERVICES COMMITTEE

December 19, 2012 (San Diego)– The U.S. House of Representatives Democratic Caucus today announced that Rep.-Elect Scott Peters has been assigned to serve on the House Armed Services Committee.  The move strengthens San Diego’s representation on the committee, where Democrat Susan Davis and Republican Duncan D. Hunter are already members.

“Our military and defense industry is a large and critical part of our regional economy that employs hundreds of thousands of San Diegans,” said Peters, who defeated Rep. Brian Bilbray in the November election.  “As the Representative for the new 52nd District, which is home to seven military bases, serving on Armed Services is an important assignment and an honor.”

HANSON-COX USED EMBEZZLED FUNDS FOR CAMPAIGN EXPENSES, LAVISH TRIPS FOR CITY EMPLOYEES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2012 (El Cajon ) –The Mother Goose Parade wasn’t the only beneficiary of funds stolen by former El Cajon Councilwoman Jillian Hanson-Cox, who pled guilty to embezzling more than $3.6 million from Century Design, Inc (CDI), her former employer.  

Court documents reveal that she also spent purloined money to hire celebrity impersonators to appear at her campaign fundraiser in 2004. She treated the city’s former Chief of Police to a vacation at a Hawaiian resort hotel. Plus she hosted city public information officer Monica Zech at a Beverly Hills hotel, including manicures and other spa treatments.

ECM EDITOR WINS SD ROSTRA/FLASH REPORT CONTEST TO PREDICT ELECTION OUTCOMES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 19, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) –Yes, there is a free lunch!

Each election, SD Rostra/Flash Report’s Barry Jantz holds a contest to see who can predict the most local election outcomes based on questions he dream up.  The winner (me!) successfully nailed eight of ten questions, plus three tie-breakers. 

The prize?  Free entry to the next “Albondigas” luncheon for political movers and shakers in East County.  I look forward to savoring my winnings. Hmm...maybe I should try my luck at predicting horseracing next....

BACK TO ITS ROOTS: EL CAJON APPROVES COMMUNITY GARDENS AND CHICKEN OWNERSHIP

Elf visit, BMW dealership, and Hanson-Cox support letters also hot topics at council meeting

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Mork

December 13, 2012 (El Cajon) – “We’re going back to our roots in El Cajon, because this was agricultural community,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine after the El Cajon Council unanimously approved both community gardens and chicken ownership for city residents. 

Kendrick noted that the El Cajon valley was the grape-growing capital of the United States before Prohibition and orange groves once occupied the hillsides.  “There is great soil on the valley floor,” he said, adding that residents will now be able to grow fresh vegetables on numerous vacant lots in the community.

SAN DIEGO COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY BACKS AMENDMENT TO OVERTURN “CITIZENS UNITED” DECISION

December 7, 2012 (San Diego)--In a stunning unanimous vote Tuesday, the San Diego City Council supported a Constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, which allowed virtually unlimited corporate donations to political campaigns. The vote was 8-0 to limit the power of money in politics, with one absent councilmember not voting.

The resolution asks Congress to begin the process to amend the U.S. Constitution to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission “so that the expenditure of corporate money to influence the electoral process is no longer a form of constitutionally protected speech.”

BROWN ACT IS BACK IN FORCE: OPEN GOVERNMENT REQUIREMENTS RESTORED

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—The public’s right to know what’s on the agenda for local government boards is now fully restored--thanks to a provision tucked within the fine print of Proposition 30, the tax measure to aid schools passed by voters in November.  

Back in July, the cash-strapped California Legislature suspended a section of the Brown Act that required local government boards to post agendas at least 72 hours before a meeting.  Because the law required the state to reimburse local governments for such costs, the state simply eliminated citizens’ right to know what actions government bodies had scheduled.

“Since the election, the Brown Act mandate is fully back in force and agencies can no longer claim reimbursement for mandated costs.  That's a side effect of the passage of Prop 30,” Terry Francke, general counsel at Californians Aware (CALAWARE) told ECM.

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