Update February 14, 2013: Edited to add reactions to President's speech; scroll to bottom for links to local and national reactions and analysis
February 13, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – President Barack Obama last night delivered his State of the Union speech. View video and read full text: http://www.whitehouse.gov/state-of-the-union-2013 . For highlights of the speech, scroll down.
The President opened by citing progress made during his administration, then announced new goals ranging from raising the minimum wage to putting Americans back to work, from reining in college costs to reducing global warming.
February 12, 2013 (Santee)--Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) today released comments on a case of teacher misconduct in California’s public education system. Brentwood Unified School District refused to fire a teacher after she kicked a five-year-old “special needs” student to the floor.The district stated that its hands were tied due to “flaws in the California Education Code” which prevented it from firing the teacher, Jones noted.
“Are you kidding me?” said Jones.
The teacher was ultimately convicted of misdemeanor child abuse, but was allowed to continue teaching for two years, the Mercury News reported. An investigation found that at least 11 employees failed in their legal duty to report suspicion of child abuse in earlier incidents.
February 9, 2013 (Washington D.C. -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), joined by her colleagues Reps. Ruben Hinojosa (D-TX), Raul Grijalva (D-AZ), and Kathy Castor (D-FL), has introduced legislation to increase diversity among America’s teaching ranks. The Diverse Teachers Recruitment Act would help establish programs to recruit new male teachers and teachers from minority groups into the profession.
February 7, 2013 (Washington D.C.)--Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) joined Rep. Donna Edwards (D-MD) and more than two dozen of her colleagues in introducing a constitutional amendment to undo the Supreme Court ruling that allowed corporations to spend unlimited amounts of money on campaigns.
“We need to restore accountability in our political process,” said Rep. Davis. “We are supposed to have a government of the people, by the people, for the people. The integrity of our democracy is at stake when corporations can drown out the voices of the people in our elections.”
February 7, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – This week marks the completion of Congressman Scott Peters’ first month in office. Since Peters was sworn in on January 3rd, he has been appointed to two key committees, helped introduce bipartisan legislation to repeal burdensome medical device taxes, and voted to improve Congress’ preparedness and accountability.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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."
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.)
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.”
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.
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.”