By Janis Russell
March 27, 2014 (El Cajon)—“I think it’s being in the right place at the right time,” El Cajon Councilwoman Star Bales said of her appointment to the City Council. Bales admits she was shocked to be chosen by Councilmembers, adding that she is “in the process of learning while working with them.”
Bales made the remarks at the Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), Government Affairs Committee meeting on March 19.
By Lori Abbott, California News Service
March 19, 2014 (Sacramento). - Many newer vehicles come with fancy GPS and on-board computers that collect data about where a person drives, how fast, and any accidents they may have had. Legislation introduced at the state Capitol on Tuesday would give vehicle owners more access to that data, which is currently controlled mostly by automakers.
March 18, 2014 (San Diego)-- Reps. Susan Davis and Scott Peters, along with members of San Diego’s medical research community have joined together to call on Congress to increase federal funding to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which funds critical medical research.
March 12, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--James H. Kimber, Democratic candidate for California’s 50th Congressional District office currently held by Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), received the official endorsement of the California Democratic Party at the state convention in Los Angeles this past weekend.
March 13, 2014 (Washington D.C.)-- Being able to pay extra on a student loan can provide peace of mind that a financial burden is shrinking faster than usual. That’s until you learn that the extra money has been applied to future payments and interest, reducing your ability to pay down the principal. Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) introduced legislation today that would require extra payments on student loans go toward the principal of the loan first.
By Miriam Raftery
March 13, 2014 (San Diego) – Mayor Bob Filner was the latest of several San Diego mayors who resigned under public pressure. Filner pled guilty to a felony count and two misdemeanors following a long string of complaints by women alleging sexual harassment. But there was no legal requirement for a disgraced or disabled mayor to leave office, under San Diego’s Charter. In fact, the charter allows removal of a Mayor or other city official only through death, resignation or recall.
Now the San Diego County Grand Jury wants to see that changed. Today, the Grand Jury issued a report recommending that the City Council identify additional reasons for removing a public official and place a proposal to amend the City Charter on the ballot for voters to decide in a future election.
By Cary Hyatt
March 5, 2014 (San Diego East County)--On February 26, ECM Editor Miriam Raftery interviewed Assembly Member Shirley Weber PhD, who represents the 79th district including the cities of La Mesa, Lemon Grove, San Diego. Chula Vista and National City.
Assemblywoman Weber’s legislation has been mostly focused on early childhood education, but she also spoke about her efforts to improve higher education in our region, prevent harassment of minority students, and restore cuts made to health and human services.
You can hear the full radio interview on KNSJ 89.1 FM at this link, or scroll down for highlights.
March 3, 2014 (Sacramento)—Democrats have lost a supermajority in the state Senate, which means they can no longer pass tax measures or constitutional amendments without at least one Republican vote. That could mean a return to gridlock in Sacramento.
MIKE LUMPKIN AND FORMER OPPONENT DUNCAN HUNTER FIND COMMON GROUND SEEKING INFO ON MISSING SERVICE MEMBERS
By Nadin Abbott
March 1, 2014 (San Diego)--Mike Lumpkin, a Democrat who once ran against Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter for the district representing much of East County and San Diego, has been named Acting Undersecretary of Defense for Policy.
Now Congressman Hunter and his former appointment have found some common ground.
February 24, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - On Tuesday, County Supervisors will consider acquiring land for a new Sheriff substation in Lakeside. That’s welcome news for Lakeside residents who complained of slow response times during a recent public meeting.
By Nadin Abbott
February 20, 2014 (San Diego) Tim Draper is a venture capitalist living in what would become the new state of Silicon Valley under his proposal to split the state of California into six states.
So how would San Diego's region fare under such a plan--and just how costly might it be?
Author says AB 1873 would increase participation, save taxpayer money in traditionally low-turnout contests
February 22, 2014 (San Diego)-- California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) introduced the VOTE Act last week in an effort to boost voter participation and curb the taxpayer costs of special elections.
February 18, 2014 (El Cajon)- - Francine Busby, Chair of the San Diego Democratic Party and Executive Director of Run Women Run, an organization that recruits progressive women to run for political office, will be speaking at the East County Democratic Club meeting on February 20 at 7 p.m.
By Nadin Abbott; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report
February 12, 2014 (San Diego) Republican Councilmember Kevin Faulconer was elected as the next San Diego City Mayor in the special election by a substantial margin. The Registrar of Voters final tally has Kevin Faulconer with 12,7296 votes, translating to 54.53% of the vote, and David Alvarez with 11,4478 votes, translating to 45.47%.
Faulconer’s election opens a vacancy on the Council—and an opportunity for Democrats to pick up a consolation prize. The Democratic-controlled Council will name Faulconer’s replacement, which is expected to give Democrats enough votes to override a mayoral veto. Still with San Diego’s strong mayor form of government, Faulconer will have many options for implementing his policies without Council approval.
By Nadin Abbott
February 11, 2014 (San Diego)-- Yesterday City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told reporters, “The lawsuit filed by Irene McCormack Jackson based upon claims of sexual harassment against former Mayor Bob Filner has been settled.” The settlement was agreed unanimously by the City Council. Under the settlement, the City will pay McCormack Jackson $250,000 as full settlement including attorney’s fees.
February 10, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – This week, the House of Representatives passed legislation that includes the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, a bipartisan and deficit-neutral measure introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) to help states create and maintain public shooting ranges for hunters and sportsmen.
February 7, 2014 (Washington D.C.)-- Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) joined her colleagues in offering an amendment to let the Secretary of the Interior include climate change in considering decisions on conservation and recreation on public lands. The amendment was an effort to improve a House majority bill attempting to undermine environmental protections for National Parks. However, the House Republican majority blocked the amendment’s passage.
By Miriam Raftery
San Diegans head to the polls on Tuesday to elect the city’s next mayor. Councilmembers David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer are vying for the spot. The race is a classic matchup pitting interests of working people vs. big business. Urban poor and minorities vs. wealthy powerbrokers Boosting budgets to help those in need vs. belt tightening and fiscal restraint.
As the election draws near, some high-profile endorsements have been announced. Today, President Barack Obama weighed in on San Diego’s mayoral race, throwing his support behind Alvarez.
By Miriam Raftery
February 7, 2014 (Sacramento)—Two California legislators have teamed up in an effort to curtail the National Security Agency (NSA) from warrantless surveillance of all Americans. Senate Bill 828 is coauthored by Republican State Senators Joel Anderson, who represents most of East County, and Democrat Ted Lieu from Torrance.
“I support this bill because I support the Constitution, our Fourth Amendment rights and our freedoms to live in the United States of America,” Senator Anderson stated in a press release.
The bill would prohibit state agencies and officials, as well as corporations that provide services to the state, from assisting the NSA in collecting data without warrants on 38 million Californians. Services that the NSA relies upon include power and water needed to cool its powerful supercomputers.
By Lori Abbott, Public News Service-CA
February 3, 2014 (Sacramento) - Emergency drought-relief legislation for California is heading to the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. The bill by Central Valley lawmakers would halt the restoration of the San Joaquin River and send more water to farmers. In announcing the bill, Rep. David Valadao blamed California's water shortages primarily on failed government policies.
State of the County address also calls for improved public safety, oversight of senior care facilities, and support for agricultural entrepreneurs
By Miriam Raftery
January 30, 2014 (San Diego) – In her state of the county address yesterday, Chairwoman Dianne Jacob said the County has saved nearly $2 million a year by buying 90 percent of its electricity from sources other than SDG&E. “The problem is, consumers don’t have the same right. You can’t shop around like the County. But if it’s good enough for government, it should be good enough for you,” she said, then announced support for a community choice aggregation to give consumers new choices in where to buy electric power.
By Miriam Raftery
January 29, 2014 (Washington D.C.) -- President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address on Tuesday with a theme of “opportunity for all.” He pledged to make this a “year of action” to restore the promise of American and opportunities for every American. View the full video here, or scroll down for highlights.
The President said that after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher and those at the top have never done better – but average wages have barely budged, inequality has deepened, and upward mobility has stalled. “The cold hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by—let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all,” he said.
He then laid out a set of goals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. His goals include executive actions he plans to take as well as other actions that would require Congressional approval.
January 27, 2014 (La Mesa) --In an on-going commitment to communicate with residents, the La Mesa City Council will host two Town Hall Meetings. These open-forum sessions provide an opportunity for citizens to share their ideas, comments, and opinions on issues in their neighborhood and throughout the City.
By Miriam Raftery
January 24, 2014 (San Diego)—State Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego) has announced he will introduce Senate Bill 911 to provide oversight and reforms of residential elderly care facilities (RECF).
Investigative reports by the California Advocates for Nursing Home Reform (CANHR) and newspapers around the state have highlighted lack of training standards, neglect, ineffective penalties and inadequate enforcement plaguing residential care facilities. According to an in-depth investigative report by the San Diego Union-Tribune, hundreds of seniors have suffered broken bones, deadly bedsores and sexual assaults in San Diego alone. More troubling, since 2008, 27 elderly residents have died from injuries and neglect suffered in San Diego County RCFEs.
Ravneet Singh Allegedly Facilitated Nearly $300,000 in Illegal Foreign Contributions to Campaigns in San Diego, including D.A. Bonnie Dumanis, ex-Mayor Bob Filner and a federal candidate
As part of conspiracy, Former SDPD Detective Ernesto Encinas Allegedly Sought to Fire Sam Diego’s Chief of Police and Pick His Replacement
January 23, 2014 (San Diego)--Ravneet Singh, proprietor of Washington, D.C.-based ElectionMall, Inc., was arraigned January 21 on charges that he conspired to finance political campaigns using money from an illegal foreign source. Singh was arrested by Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agents on Friday, January 17, pursuant to an arrest warrant.
Gonzalez’s AB 1522 Would Require Workers Are Compensated For At Least Three Days Lost To Illness Annually
January 22, 2014 (San Diego) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) this week announced she has introduced legislation to guarantee workers in California at least three days of paid sick leave annually.
By Miriam Raftery
January 23, 2014 (Sacramento) – In his 2014 State of the State address, Governor Jerry Brown emphasized the state’s improving economic outlook while also pledging to “pay down our debts and remember the lessons of history.” He also laid out a long-term water plan for the state, renewed calls for water conservation amid a drought declaration, and vowed to continue reforming school funding and battling climate change.
January 21, 2014 (Washington D.C)--America’s counties will have no option but to severely reduce or eliminate critical county services to the public if Congress fails to deliver funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in the Fiscal Year 2014 Omnibus spending bill.
Without annual PILT payments, many services including fire and emergency medical services, search and rescue, public health, law enforcement and justice operations could be affected. In many cases, counties will face more severe consequences including insolvency, default, and bankruptcy.
January 20, 2014 (Sacramento)-- On a strict 5-2 party-line vote, Democrat committee members killed legislation by Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) last week that would add human trafficking, solicitation to commit murder and felony child abuse to the list of “serious crimes” in the Penal Code. Assembly Bill (AB) 1321 was defeated in the Assembly Public Safety Committee.
“I wish I could say I’m surprised, but I’m not,” said Assemblyman Jones. “The Democrats are more fearful about prison overcrowding than they are of dangerous felons roaming the streets.”
Miriam Raftery also contributed to this article
January 21, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – What has Congressman Juan Vargas accomplished during his first year in office and how effectively is he representing his constituents?
The answer varies, with the Congressman showing strong interest in representing the interests of Latinos, seniors, and labor interests -- while largely ignoring the interests of rural constitutents and enviornmentalists concerned over the industralization of East County with large-scale energy projects.