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.”
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.
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....
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.
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.”
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.
Elected Officials and Business Leaders Provide Early Support for Pro-Jobs Democrat’s Campaign for Assembly District 80 in South San Diego County
December 5, 2012(San Diego) -- Working families advocate Lorena Gonzalez will run for the 80th State Assembly District, vowing to seek the seat once it is vacated by the current assembly member, she announced this evening. Gonzalez serves as the chief executive of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, an advocacy organization that represents 200,000 local union workers in the region. As Secretary-Treasurer of the Labor Council, Lorena led successful campaigns for living wage agreements, local hiring preferences and increased education funding for San Diego County workers and their families.
“We’re going to see that every community has power.” – Bob Filner
By Miriam Raftery
December 4, 2012 (San Diego) – From day one in his administration, Bob Filner has made clear that it won’t be business as usual for the city’s powerbrokers. To emphasize that point, he hosted not one, but a series of inaugural parties including celebrations in disadvantaged neighborhoods. One such festive event took place last night at the Jacob Center in the Euclid area of east San Diego.
“We’re going to see that every community has power, “ Mayor Filner, wearing a Hawaiian lei, told an enthusiastic and ethnically diverse crowd. He pledged to include faces from the Latino, African-American and Asian communities working in his mayoral office and city bureaucracy through appointments to the boards and commissions that “do the work of the city.”
SENATORS ANDERSON AND YEE CALL FOR DISCLOSURE OF PUBLIC FUNDS USED FOR CSU CHANCELLOR'S LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD
Bipartisan opposition to Chancellor’s "waste of tax dollars"
November 30, 2012 (San Diego's East County)--Senators Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) and Leland Yee (D-San Francisco/San Mateo) have sent a letter to Robert Linscheid, Chairman of the California State University Board of Trustees, regarding what they call the gross misuse of state tax dollars to develop and distribute a 2011-12 Legislative Report Card of the administration’s top priorities, which included advocating for pay raises for top executives.
The legislators’ letter asks Linscheid to account for the spending on the report card and asks who approved the expenditure of tax funds.
November 28, 2012 (San Diego)--Congresswoman Susan Davis announced a lottery for tickets to the inauguration of President Barack Obama on January 21, 2013. Davis will randomly select inauguration tickets for constituents of the new 53rd Congressional District.
“Some lucky constituents will have a chance to be a part of history!” said Davis. “During inaugurations, Americans come together to celebrate our enduring democracy. Holding a lottery gives everyone who wants a ticket a fair chance.”
BOXER ANNOUNCES MEASURE TO INCREASE MILITARY WOMEN’S ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE SERVICES AND ABORTIONS WHEN RAPED
November 27, 2012 (San Diego)— A startling 28% of all women serving in the military report being victims of sexual assault.
Now the Senate Armed Services Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 that would give women serving in our military the same access to affordable reproductive health care as federal civilian employees. This amendment would allow the federal health care plans of service women to cover abortions in cases of rape or incest.
ELECTION WRAP-UP: TWO CLOSE RACES RESOLVED AS BILBRAY, DANON CONCEDE DEFEAT; SEVERAL EAST COUNTY RACES REMAIN TIGHT
By Nadin Abbott
As the vote counting countinues, the margins in two hotly contested East County races have narrowed, while just three votes separate candidates in another local race.
Two high profile contests, however, are now resolved.
By Lori Abbott, California News Service
November 17, 2012 (San Diego)-Congress returned to Washington, D.C., to begin its lame-duck session, but a veterans' group has not given up the fight for legislation to protect parts of the California desert. A bill by Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) would designate as wilderness more than 21,000 acres of Beauty Mountain and Agua Tibia in northern San Diego County.
By Miriam Raftery
November 13, 2012 (San Diego) – In Colorado and Washington, voters decided it's high time to legalize recreational marijuana use. But locally, voters in Lemon Grove, Imperial Beach and Solana Beach defeated initiatives that would have allowed medical marijuana dispensaries.
Labor scored a win in Escondido, where a charter city ballot proposition was defeated by a 47.29% to 42.71% margin. Meanwhile in In Santee, a bastion of conservatism, voters approved raising transient occupancy taxes for hotel guests and campers from 6% to 10%, a move expected to generate $239,000 in revenues.
AS COUNT CONTINUES, SOME RACES NARROW WHILE OTHERS WIDEN; JUST 7 VOTES SEPARATE CANDIDATES IN ONE EAST COUNTY SCHOOL DISTRICT
By Bill Weaver
November 13, 2012 (San Diego)—On Election Night, several important races in San Diego and East County were too close to call. Counting is underway of mail-in and provisional ballots at the County Registrar of Voters, where about 210,000 ballots countywide remain to be counted.
By Bill Weaver
November 10, 2012 (San Diego’s East County)—Leaders in the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College are speaking out to thank voters for passing Prop V, a $398 million bond measure that passed by about 56.5 percent.
“We’re pleased that voters understand the critical facilities and technology upgrades needed to better educate and train our students in today’s ultra-competitive world,” said Governing Board President Bill Garrett.
Prop V will fund upgrades, repairs and renovations to classrooms, roads, labs and infrastructure, including helping to meet the needs of our region's many veterans.
By Miriam Raftery
November 9, 2012 (San Diego)—In an election where voters overwhelmingly showed support for public education, education champion and Assemblyman Marty Block easily won his race to take a seat representing the 39th State Senate district.
With 100% of precincts counted and only absentees remaining, Block has captured 57.4% of the vote, while ex-Assemblyman George Plescia got 42.57%.
By Buck Schott
November 9, 2012 (San Diego) –Some of the biggest winners and losers in this election weren’t candidates—though they’ll clearly be feeling the impacts of the election outcomes.
So who in town needs crying towels, and who should be popping champagne? From our region’s not-so-influential media mogul to techie geeks who proved social media can help defeat special interests, here are our picks for the biggest post-election winners and losers:
November 8, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – In startling contrast to numerous national polls that had predicted a near-tie in the presidential race, President Barack Obama won a sweeping victory. Obama captured 303 electoral votes, Romney 206, winning not only Democratic strongholds, but also nearly all swing states. According to CNN, the President also trounced Romney in the popular vote by more than a million vote margin.
Similarly, Democrats gained power in Sacramento and San Diego, taking control of the Council and Mayor’s office with wins looking increasingly likely to oust Congressman Bilbray and seat a Democrat on the all-Republican Board of Supervisors.
What lessons can be learned from the outcomes?
By Nadin Abbott
November 9, 2012 (San Diego)—Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis has won reelection, beating Republican challenger Nick Popaditch by a solid 60.42% to 39.58% margin. With redistricting, Davis now represents areas as far east as El Cajon.
For Popaditch, a military veteran, this was his second defeat at the polls; in 2010 he ran unsuccessfully against Congressman Bob Filner.
By Janis Mork
Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report
November 7, 2012 (San Diego)- After Juan Vargas beat Republican Michael Crimmins 69.9% to 30.1%, Vargas’ supporters shouted, “Sí se puede!” (Yes we can!) and, “Juan! Juan! Juan!” After his impressive win, Vargas told ECM, “I’m very excited and very happy about the results I’m seeing so far, and very excited to be working with social justice.”
An American success story, Vargas who graduated from Harvard Law School is the son of farmworkers , where he was a classmate of President Barack Obama, before serving on San Diego's City Council and in the California Legislature. Vargas will replace Congressman Bob Filner, who has been elected Mayor of San Diego.
The 51st Congressional district spans the southern portions of San Diego County and extends into Imperial County. Below are Vargas' goals in Congress and details his legislative record.
By Miriam Raftery
November 7, 2012 (Sacramento )- For California Democrats, the biggest plum of yesterday’s election is the sweeping victory of state legislative candidates that has given the Democratic Party a two-thirds "supermajority" in both the Assembly and State Senate.
A two-thirds majority means that Democrats can now pass tax increases without a single Republican vote. It also means that the Legislature has the power to override a veto by Governor Brown.
Governor Brown today called for "the prudence of Joseph,” a Biblical reference to planning for years of both prosperity and famine. "We have to make sure over the next few years that we pay our bills, we invest in the right programs, but we don't go on any spending binges," the Governor said in a press conference at the state capitol.
TWO INCUMBENTS WIN HANDILY IN EL CAJON; THIRD SEAT STILL IN CONTENTION AS REGISTRAR COUNTS REMAINING ABSENTEE AND PROVISIONAL BALLOTS
Update November 8, 2012, 5 p.m.: McClellan's lead has grown to over 600 votes, making it appear likely that he has secured reelection.
November 8, 2012 (El Cajon) – Councilmen Tony Ambrose and Bill Wells appear to have won reelection to the El Cajon City Council, while Councilman Bob McClellan retains a slim 114-vote lead over challenger Ben Kalasho. The Registrar of Voters still has 475,000 absentee and provisional ballots left countywide to count. Asked how many are in El Cajon, the Registrar’s office declined to provide that information but said updates will be posted daily at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/voters/results/election.xml. The election must be certified by December 4, meaning close races could take weeks before a final outcome will be know.
GOOD NEWS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: CALIF. STATE UNIVERSITIES TO ROLL BACK TUITION HIKES DUE TO PASSAGE OF PROP 30
By Bill Weaver
November 8, 2012 (San Diego) –Tuition at 23 California State University campuses—including San Diego State University and Cal State San Marcos locally, will rescind a $249-per-semestser tuition fee hike that had taken effect in the fall term. Fees will now revert back to $5,472, the same rate as last year.
“We are hopeful that the passage of Proposition 30 will be the beginning of the state’s reinvestment in higher education,” CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said in a statement issued yesterday.
HOT FIRE BOARD RACES IN EAST COUNTY: FIRED CHIEF WINS SEAT ON BOARD IN LAKESIDE, 2 NEW FACES ADDED TO SAN MIGUEL BOARD, PLUS MORE LOCAL RESULTS
By Janis Mork
November 7, 2012 (san Diego)- In the hotly contested Lakeside Fire District, former Lakeside fire chief Mark Baker captured 39.6% of the vote while fire captain/paramedic/ and board director Jim Bingham clinched 36.6%, beating out challengers.
There has been controversy over these two figures, since Bingham voted to fire Baker as Chief, a move that sparked a backlash among community members and questions of influence by firefighting union members on the board. (http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/11356). Nonetheless, these two will have to set aside their differences and work together in this district, where some of East County’s largest wildfires have occurred.