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50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR CIVIL RIGHTS REFLECTS ON PROGRESS FROM THE PAST AND CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2013 (Washington D.C.) -- Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now-famous “I have a dream” speech to a crowd of marchers in Washington D.C.  from across the nation  in support of civil rights. That  movement in 1963 led ultimately to signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Yesterday, a massive crowd of  people filled Capitol malll for a commemoration of that historic event. President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the Lincoln Memorial, site of Dr. King’s famed  oration.

“The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate,” the President said. “But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together.  We’ll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.” View video of the President’s speech.

Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke, alluding to the Supreme Court’s recent decision weakening the Voting Rights Act.

SPECIAL ELECTION SET FOR NOV. 19 TO CHOOSE NEW SAN DIEGO MAYOR

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego’s City Council has voted unanimously to set November 19 as the special election date for voters to choose a new Mayor.  Councilmember Todd Gloria will serve as Acting Mayor after August 30, when Mayor Bob Filner’s resignation takes effect, until the election.

The special election is expected to cost taxpayers approximately $6 million—an amount that could increase sharply.  If no candidates wins a majority of votes, a run-off election would be held. So far at least 13 candidates have filed papers with the Registrar of Voters indicating an intent to run. Only one, former  Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, is well known.  Fletcher resigned from the Republican party to become an independent and more recently, a Democrat. 

Who else may throw their hats in the ring? 

EL CAJON COUNCIL APPROVES ALCOHOL RESTRICTIONS FOLLOWING SPIRITED HEARING

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 28, 2013 (El Cajon) – A century ago, one of the first actions of El Cajon’s City Council was to outlaw saloons due to concerns over negative influences of alcohol on the community. Those restrictions were later relaxed.  But yesterday, Council once again voted to restrict sales of alcohol, over the objections of local merchants and the East County Chamber of Commerce.

By a unanimous vote, Council approved the “deemed approved” ordinance aimed at curbing serial inebriates from purchasing single-serve alcoholic beverages at markets.

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO ALLOW LEGAL RESIDENTS WHO ARE NOT CITIZENS TO WORK AT POLLS

 

By Elena Butler

August 27, 2013 (Sacramento)--Governor Jerry Brown has signed into a law Assembly Bill 817, a bill that will allow appointment of up to five legal residents who are not citizens per jurisidiction  to work at polls on election day.

AB 817 sparked some controversy after it was introduced by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) in February. Bonta’s goal is to increase turnout of eligible voters for whom English has proven to be a barrier that keeps many from exercising their right to vote.

MAYOR FILNER STEPS DOWN FROM OFFICE EFFECTIVE AUGUST 30

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

“The hysteria ended up playing into the hands of those who wanted a political coup--the removal of a democratically elected Mayor, purely by rumor and innuendo.” – Mayor Bob Filner

"I have never felt prouder of the people of San Diego." -- Michael Pallamary, leader of the recall effort

"It is time for San Diego to come together. It is time to heal." -- Todd Gloria, who will serve as Interim Mayor until a special election

August 24, 2013—Mayor Bob Filner will step down from office effective at 5 p.m. on Friday August 30, under a deal that will have the City pay limited legal fees to defend Filner against sexual harassment allegations.  Councilman Todd Gloria will serve as interim Mayor and a special election will be held 90 days after the mayoral seat is vacated to fill the seat.

The Mayor apologized for his “personal failings” and to those who have been hurt, but insisted that he believes he will be ultimately cleared of legal wrongdoing and further, contended that he is being forced from office by the city’s power brokers in a “political coup”  based on unproven allegations.  Hear his full resignation speech.

SAN DIEGO DEBATE CLUB TO EXAMINE MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

 

August 19, 2013 (San Diego) – This Thursday, August 22, the San Diego Debate Club will host a panel discussion to argue the proposition, “Should marijuana be legal in the United States?”  The debate will consist of two, four-person panels, one in favor of legalizing pot and one opposed; a moderator; and a live audience.  It will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Moose Lodge, 3636 Ruffin Road in San Diego (map).  The event will be broadcast on KNSJ 98.1 radio, is open to the public, and will feature an audience participation segment.  A happy hour will precede the event starting at 6:00 p.m. 

GONZALEZ BILL PROVIDES IMMIGRANTS PROTECTION FROM FRAUD

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has announced plans to introduce legislation to prevent payment for immigration reform services until federal immigration reform is enacted and to ensure that other consumer protections are provided to immigrants pursuing a pathway to U.S. citizenship under the federal immigration reform act pending in Congress.

ALCOHOL ORDINANCE ON EL CAJON COUNCIL AGENDA FOR AUGUST 27

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 20, 2013 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Council will consider an ordinance to restrict alcohol sales at its next meeting on August 27.

The law aims to restrict sales of single-serve alcohol containers to individuals with repeated arrests for alcohol-related offenses.  The law would not affect restaurants or bars.  It would restrict sales at future stores and would also require current stores to comply with the law. 

HUNDREDS AT CIVIC CENTER DEMAND MAYOR FILNER RESIGN

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Nadin and Tom Abbott

August 19, 2013 (San Diego)—Hundreds of people came to the Civic Center Plaza yesterday for a “Freedom from Filner” rally.  Michael Pallamary, organizer of an effort to recall the Mayor, spoke about the drive to get 102,000 valid signatures on a recall petition over the next 39 days. 

“We started to gather the signatures at midnight at the Gaslamp,” he said. “The recall will not be involved with any candidate or political party” during the next mayoral race, he added.

100 FILNER SUPPORTERS RALLY AT CIVIC CENTER PLAZA FOR THE EMBATTLED MAYOR

 

Leaders in Latino, African-American and Native American communities defend Mayor

By Nadin Abbott

August 19, 2013 (San Diego)—They approached the podium singing “We Shall Overcome,” a classic from the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s.

Enrique Morones, a community activist and supporter of Mayor Bob Filner, led them. Morones started the rally by informing the press that the silent majority “will be silent no longer.” He said that many groups, ranging from labor, to neighborhoods, to veterans and women, were standing together “stopping the public mockery of our judicial system.”

CONGRESSMAN DARRELL ISSA TO RECEIVE CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER AWARD

 

August 15, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Members of the national, California, and San Diego Leagues of Conservation Voters will deliver a climate change denier award to Rep. Darrell Issa in recognition of his extreme anti-science views, which put him at odds with 97 percent of scientists and a majority of the American people. The event is part of a “Day of Action” held nationally in coordination with Organizing for Action to hold climate change deniers accountable.

HOUSE VOTES TO ELIMINATE ALL FOOD STAMP BENEFITS; SENATE SEEKS COMPROMISE AS FARM BILL HANGS IN THE BALANCE

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 4, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – By a bare majority, the Republican-controlled House of representatives passed the Farm Bill after stripping out all funding for food stamps to feed the poor, but approved lavish subsidies for agribusiness.  After the Senate passed a less extreme version, a conference committee is now seeking a compromise. But thus far, the Republican leadership has shown no concern for the potential to leave millions of Americans facing starvation.

Among San Diego’s five Congressional representatives, only Republican Darrell Issa voted for  the measure.  Republican Duncan Hunter did not vote, but previously  voted for earlier deep cuts in Food Stamps and against restoring benefits. Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas voted against stripping Food Stamps from the Farm Bill.

  Issa’s 49th district includes 7,691 households receiving food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). Of those, 44.2% have incomes below the poverty level and 79.5% have children; 20.2% have at least one senior citizen.

CLAIMS FROM THE MAYOR’S LAWYER OVER LACK OF TRAINING ON HARASSMENT RAISE CREDIBILTY DOUBTS

 

An ECM special report finds Bob Filner had good cause to know  the seriousness of sexual harassment claims—long before he was the target of complaints

By Nadin and Tom Abbott

August 2, 2013 (San Diego)— Amid mounting sexual harassment accusations against Mayor Bob Filner, including a civil lawsuit, on Wednesday Filner’s lawyer tried to place all the blame on the City of San Diego. In a letter to the City, attorney Harvey C. Berger wrote, “The City has a legal obligation to provide sexual harassment training to all management level employees within six months of hire.”

He also claimed in the letter that the “trainer for the City unilaterally cancelled and never rescheduled such training for the Mayor.”  http://media.10news.com/image/Harvey_Berger_letter.pdf

But later, Voice of San Diego revealed, “Former city Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone said Filner’s office canceled several training sessions, which would have covered payroll, benefits and other employee and management roles and responsibilities, because the mayor’s office said it didn’t have time for them.” http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/07/31/sources-mayors-office-canceled-harassment-related-training-sessions/

So we decided to look a little deeper, and what we found was highly problematic.

COUNTY LEAGUE DAY 2013 LUNCH ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 9

 

July 29, 2013 (San Diego) – The League of Women Voters of San Diego County presents the annual County League Day on Friday, August 9, 2013 at the new County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa at 5510 Overland Avenue, San Diego. 

The host is County Supervisor and League Member Dave Roberts.  Lunch will be provided at the center and a tour of the art installations will be given.

FILNER TO SEEK THERAPY: REFUSES TO RESIGN

 

By Nadin Abbott

July 27, 2013 (San Diego)—One day after the County Democratic Party voted overwhelmingly to call for his resignation, Mayor Bob Filner announced today that he is not stepping down.

Instead Filner announced that he will enter therapy on starting on August 5.

COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY ASKS MAYOR FILNER TO STEP DOWN

 

By Nadin Abbott

July 25, 2013 (San Diego) Late today, the Central Committee of the San Diego County Democratic Party voted 34 to 6 to ask Mayor Bob Filner to step down over sexual harassment allegations made by numerous women. This was a supermajority vote.

“With very heavy hearts but clear minds the members of the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee met this evening,” said Francine Busby, chair of the party. We affirmed our commitment to our vision of a San Diego as a city of diverse vibrant communities where every neighborhood is a priority.”

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL VOTES AGAINST ADDING SEWER SERVICE CHARGES ON TAX BILL

 

By Janis Mork

 July 25, 2013 (El Cajon)- At the July 9 El Cajon City Council meeting, Council voted against putting sewer service charges on the property tax bill after 168 residents objected to the proposal.

Dennis Davies, Deputy Director of Public Works, informed Council of the proposal to take sewer bi-monthly bills (six times a year) and include those charges with the property tax bill.

MAYOR FILNER APPOINTS LEE BURDICK AS CHIEF OF STAFF

 

 

July 24, 2013 (San Diego) – Mayor Bob Filner has promoted Lee Burdick to serve as his Chief of Staff. Burdick most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff and was initially hired as the Mayor’s Director of Legal Affairs. She previously represented the City as a Commissioner on the Board of the Port of San Diego.

SAN DIEGO CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS VOTE TO DEFEAT MEASURE THAT SOUGHT TO STOP NSA SPYING ON AMERICANS' PHONE AND INTERNET RECORDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2013 (San Diego) –An amendment that sought to ban the National Security Agency from collecting phone and Internet records on Americans who are not under investigation failed to win passage in the House of Representatives today.  The Amash amendment, a bipartisan proposal to a spending bill,  was narrowly defeated 205-217.

 All five members of the San Diego Congressional delegation voted to defeat the measure including Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa as well as Democrats Juan Vargas, Susan Davis, and Scott Peters.

Supporters of the amendment argued that the NSA overstepped its authority by conducting warrantless spying on citizens--activities never authorized by Congress and that some contend violates the Constitution.

HUNTER CALLS FOR AUDIT OF FEDERAL AGENCIES ON PROCESS OF CLASSIFYING DOCUMENTS

 

July 24, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) has raised concerns over how federal agencies determine what materials will be classified and who will have access.  In a newsletter to constituents, Hunter suggested that “classification inflation” has occurred.

“In the ongoing debate on the activities of the National Security Agency, the abundance of classified documentation is one issue among others that demands further scrutiny,” Hunter’s newsletter states. “An excess of classified information and documents have required that the federal government issue more security clearances, without always taking the depth or context of information into account.  In some cases, the classification system is used to withhold information from the public and sometimes even Members of Congress.”

SUIT FILED AGAINST MAYOR FILNER OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

July 23, 2013 (San Diego)—Two press conferences were held yesterday regarding the scandal in San Diego City Hall involving Mayor Bob Filner.

Prominent attorney Gloria Allred announced that she has filed a civil lawsuit against Mayor Filner on behalf of Irene McCormack-Jackson in Superior Court. McCormack-Jackson read a statement and her lawyer answered some questions from the media.

CONGRESSMAN JOHN LEWIS LAUNCHES CIVIL RIGHTS BOOK AT COMICON

 

Representatives John Lewis and Susan Davis talk with ECM on civil rights and voting rights

“Comics can change history.” – Andrew Aidyn, coauthor

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

July 21, 2013 (San Diego)—Congressman John Lewis (D-GA-5) came to San Diego Comicon International to launch his story from the Civil Rights movement. This graphic novel is the first in a trilogy put out by Top-Shelf called March. It will be released to the general public next month.http://www.topshelfcomix.com/catalog/march/760

“This is another way, another method of reaching people, telling the story, making it come alive,” the Congressman said, “especially for young people.”

SUPPORTERS SAY MAYOR BOB FILNER DESERVES DUE PROCESS

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos Tom Abbott

July 18, 2013 (San Diego)—Supporters of San Diego Mayor Bob Filner held a rally today to urge that the Mayor be provided due process to allow claims of sexual harassment to be investigated before rushing to judgment.

David Vallalodid, a long-time activist, noted that allegations have “not been substantiated” and charges “have not been filed.”

HOW SHOULD FILNER CONTROVERSY BE HANDLED? REACTIONS MIXED AMONG SAN DIEGANS

 

By Miriam Raftery

San Diegans are speaking out on the anonymous sexual harassment allegations against Mayor Bob Filner--and their opinions are as diverse as the city's population. While some have called for the mayor's resignation or a recall election, others are urging him to stand his ground pending outcome of any investigaiton--and object to anonyous allegations being leveraged to try and force the mayor from office.

A rift has also occurred within the Democratic Party, with some prominent former supporters and multiple members of the City Council now calling for his resignation. But others say the Mayor is entitled to due process and that demands for his resignation are inappropriate absent proof of  illegal actions. In addition, the party is divided over who should replace Mayor Filner should he step down or be forced from office.

FILNER ANNOUNCES KEY APPOINTMENTS

 

July 16, 2013 (San Diego) – Mayor Bob Filner yesterday announced appointments intended to significantly strengthen City management.  Filner prefaced the announcement with a statement addressing recent calls for his resignation:

“I’m not going to resign, and here’s why,” said Filner.  “As your elected mayor, I fully expect to be accountable to the citizens of San Diego for all of my actions.  But as a citizen of this country, I also expect – and am entitled to – due process, and the opportunity to respond in a fair and impartial venue to specific allegations.  I do not believe I am guilty of sexual harassment, and I believe a full presentation of the facts will vindicate me,” said Filner.

MAYOR FILNER ASSERTS INNOCENCE IN SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS, CALLS FOR INDEPENDENT REVIEW

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 12, 2013 (San Diego) – Mayor Bob Filner today announced support for an  independent investigation into any complaints of sexual harassment by women on his staff and added that he believes the investigation will clear him of legal wrongdoing.

“While I stand by my comments and pledge of yesterday to make changes to improve the workplace environment in my office, I am confident that a fair and independent investigation will support my innocence with respect to any charges of sexual harassment,” Mayor Filner said in a statement issued today. 

The announcement comes one day after three of his long-time supporters called for his resignation, alleging to have credible evidence of sexual harassment complaints made by multiple women who worked for the Mayor. None of the women have been identified and details of the alleged harassment have not been disclosed.

SUPPORTERS CALL ON MAYOR FILNER TO RESIGN OVER ALLEGED SEXUAL HARASSMENT, BUT DECLINE TO DISCLOSE DETAILS

 

 

 

Photo: Filner and Frye earlier this year joined in presenting open government award to Terry Francke at Californians Aware, an organization Frye now heads after leaving the Filner administration.

 

By Nadin Abbott

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this story

July 11, 2013 (San Diego) – At a press conference today, three former supporters of Mayor Bob Filner called for his resignation, claiming to have credible evidence of sexual harassment involving multiple women.  They declined to provide any details on the alleged acts of harassment, nor have any of the women been publicly identified. However, Mayor Filner has acknowledged failing to respect women in his workplace and admitted to needing help.

Donna Frye, formerly Filner’s Director of Open Government as well as a past Council member and former mayoral candidate, joined with attorneys Cory Briggs and Marco Gonzalez in asking the Mayor to step down.   Hear audio of today's press conference from KNSJ 89.1 FM news:  https://soundcloud.com/mikehancock/frye

SANTEE COUNCIL CONSIDERS EMINENT DOMAIN OF NUMEROUS PROPERTIES FOR ROAD WIDENING PROJECT

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2013 (Santee)—At Wednesday’s meeting, the Santee City Council will hold a public hearing on a resolution to declare eminent domain in order to obtain easements and fee interests for dozens of properties on nine different streets, as part of the Prospect Avenue street widening project. 

Property owners have rejected fair market offers made via a letter, according to the agenda for Wednesday’s meeting.

LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL TABLES A RESOLUTION ON CITIZENS UNITED FOR LATER DATE

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

July 5, 2013 (Lemon Grove)—On July 2, the Lemon Grove City Council decided to table a motion to support a Constitutional Amendment that would overturn the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens v. Federal Elections Commission

The high court ruled in 2010 that corporations had a right to virtually unlimited campaign contributions.  Allowing companies to inject massive amounts of money into the political system has led to some of the most expensive elections in American history.

The effort was led by Councilmember George Gastil (photo). Before speakers from both Common Cause and Money out of Politics addressed the Council, Gastil went into some of the problems with the decision, which could ultimately impact municipalities such as Lemon Grove.

ASSEMBLYMAN JONES’ BILL TO CONFORM STATE AND FEDERAL “MADE IN AMERICA” LABELING STANDARDS IN CA KILLED IN COMMITTEE

By Miriam Raftery

July 1, 2013 (Sacramento) -- Legislation by Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) to modify “Made in America” labeling standards has  been killed the Senate Judiciary Committee today. Assembly Bill 890 would permit a product to qualify as “Made in America” if 90% of the components of the merchandise were made in the United States.  Current California law requires 100%.

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