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COUNTY SERVICES IN JEOPARDY IF CONGRESS FAILS TO PASS PILT

 

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.

DEMOCRATS KILL JONES' BILL TO EXPAND DEFINITION OF SERIOUS FELONIES

 

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.”

A REVIEW OF JUAN VARGAS’ FIRST YEAR IN CONGRESS

 

By Jordan Schaffner

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.

TO HONOR MARTIN LUTHER KING’S LEGACY, CIVIL RIGHTS ACTIVISTS CALL FOR RESTORATION OF VOTING RIGHTS ACT

 

By Mark Gavit

As we celebrate Martin Luther King Day, we look back 50 years, to when Dr. King shared his wise words with the nation, words which altered the nations views on civil injustice.

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly," Dr. King wrote in 1963. Half a century later the words are just as relevant to today's society.

Dr. King fought for enactment of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Civil Rights Act, to assure equal rights for all Americans.  But last year, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a key provision of the Voting Rights Act -- and now a bipartisan coalition of Senators hopes to restore the Voting Rights Act's powers.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: WEEK OF JANUARY 20

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 18, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) --  What’s on the agenda this week at local boards and commissions impacting East County?   Find out in our Local Government Report.  This week, we have information on meetings in Lemon Grove, Santee, La Mesa and Jamul.

VACANCY ON LAKESIDE COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP

 

The Lakeside Community Planning Group announces a vacancy  in seat #1 due to the resignation of Chad Ennis.  Applications are now being accepted to fill the seat. The original two-year term of office expires January 1, 2015.

EL CAJON CITY MANAGER TO ADDRESS EAST COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CLUB JANUARY 16

 

January 14, 2014 (El Cajon) –El Cajon City Manager Douglas Williford and Assistant City Manager/Director of Public Works Majed Al-Ghafry will be the guest speakers at the East County Democratic Club meeting on Thursday, January 16.  The event will be held at Coco’s Restaurant, 1025 Fletcher Parkway in El Cajon at 7 p.m., with social hour/dinner at 6 p.m.

SUPERVISOR JACOB NAMED BOARD CHAIRWOMAN FOR 2014

 

Source: County News Service

January 8, 2014 (San Diego) -- Supervisor Dianne Jacob was named chairwoman of the County Board of Supervisors for 2014 Tuesday in the Board’s first meeting of the new year.

Board members voted unanimously to appoint Jacob as chairwoman, Supervisor Bill Horn as vice chairman and Supervisor Dave Roberts as chairman pro tem for 2014.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 6, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- What's on the agenda this week for the County Supervisors, Councils in Lemon Grove and Santee, Lakeside's Community Planing Group and Helix Water Board?  Find out below.

NEW CALIFORNIA LAWS IN 2014

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2013 (Sacramento)--A flurry of new laws are slated to take effect in California in the New Year.  Here are a few of the new laws that could affect you, your family, or your business:

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPOINTS INSTAR BALES TO FILL VACANT CITY COUNCIL SEAT

Instar "Star" Bales takes oath of office, alongside her husband, Gerald

By Janis Mork

December 19, 2013 (El Cajon)- At Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting, Council appointed InStar Bales, an Iraqi Chaldean woman who has served on the planning commission, to fill the Council vacancy after interviewing 27 candidates.

After the meeting, Bales told ECM that she is “very honored” to be chosen.  “When Councilman Bob McClellan said my name, I cried a little bit,” admitted Bales, whose integrity and willigness to stand up against special interests as a planning commission member were key factors in Council's decision to select her.

REP. SUSAN DAVIS INTRODUCES BILL TO INCREASE ACCESS TO PRE-K EDUCATION

 

December 15, 2013 (San Diego) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) introduced legislation to expand access to Pre-K education.  The EARLY Act (Expanded Access to Real Learning for our Young Act) would establish a competitive grant program where states could receive federal funding to make Pre-K education available to families with a combined income of up to 400% of the federal poverty line.

“The argument for universal Pre-K is not just a lofty moral imperative – it’s also good science and economics,” said Davis, a senior member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. “Kids who receive high-quality early education are more likely to achieve success in both school and life. The research shows they’re more likely to graduate high school, earn higher pay, and live more productive lives.”

CANDIDATES FOR EL CAJON COUNCIL REFLECT DIVERSE POPULATIONS AND VIEWS

Photo:  Ben Kalasho, Instar Bales, Humbert Cabrera, and Vickie Butcher are among 27 candidates vying for appointment to the El Cajon City Council.

By Miriam Raftery

December 12, 2013 (El Cajon) – Twenty-seven El Cajon residents have applied to fill an open seat on the El Cajon City Council.  This past Tuesday night, Council members interviewed half of the applicants during the Council meeting.  The rest will be interviewed next Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The candidates came from all walks of life – reflecting diverse races, ethnic backgrounds, religions, political parties and economic status.

REP. HUNTER BACKS USE OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS IF AIR STRIKE IS LAUNCHED AGAINST IRAN

 

East County Rep also calls Middle Easterners liars, draws fire for remarks

By Miriam Raftery

December 8, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) Updated 8:40 p.m. – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, has long been known as a hawk on military matters.   But in an interview on CSPAN’s Washington Journal this week, the former Marine went further, voicing support for use of "tactical nuclear devices" if the U.S. launches an air strike against Iran. He backed use of tactical, or non-strategic nuclear weapons to set Iran's reported effort at developing a nuclear weapon "back a decade, or two or three."

Hunter, whose San Diego region district includes over 80,000 Middle Eastern immigrants, also ignited controversy when he stated,”In the Middle Eastern culture, it is looked upon with very high regard to get the best deal possible, no matter what it takes. That includes lying.”  (View video of full interview.)

EL CAJON COUNCIL TO INTERVIEW CANDIDATES FOR VACANCY ON DECEMBER 10

 

December 5, 2013 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon City Council received 27 applications for the currently vacant councilmember position. The application period closed yesterday 

The City Council is scheduled to interview applicants in Council chambers at the 7:00 p.m. Council meeting on Tuesday, December 10, 2013.

A list of applicants is below.

ASSEMBLY REPUBLICANS DIRECT CONSTITUENTS TO PHONY CA HEALTHCARE “RESOURCE” SITE

 

"It's outrageous that our elected officials in California are using taxpayer dollars to intentionally mislead their constituents and divert them from CoveredCA.com ... Republicans in California should be ashamed… the GOP’s newest tactics is to lie to voters and prevent sick people from getting the care they need.”—Dr. Paul Song, oncologist and Courage Campaign executive director

By Nadin Abbott and Miriam Raftery

December 3, 2013 (San Diego)—The California Assembly Republican Caucus, chaired by East County representative Brian Jones (R-Santee), is taking heat for creating a phony website (http://www.coveringhealthcareca.com/) designed to divert consumers from the state’s official Covered California site (https://www.coveredca.com/). 

Covered California is the website for consumers to get information on new healthcare exchanges and sign up for healthcare coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. 

Republican members including Jones are promoting the sham healthcare site, labeled a “California Resource Guide” directly to constituents on their official Assembly websites paid for by taxpayers.

APPLICATIONS ACCEPTED THROUGH DECEMBER 4 FOR EL CAJON COUNCIL OPENING

 

December 2, 2013 (El Cajon)--The City of El Cajon is accepting applications to fill a vacancy on the El Cajon City Council.   The deadline to apply is Wednesday, December 4 at 5:30 p.m. and applications are available at the city’s website. 

To be eligible, you must be a resident and a registered voter when you apply and throughout your term of office.  The seat is open to fill the vacancy left when Councilman Bill Wells was appointed Mayor, after former Mayor Mark Lewis resigned.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: FEES PROPOSED TO COVER FULL COSTS OF COUNTY FIRE AUTHORITY

 

Hot items also on the agendas in Boulevard, Lakeside and Lemon Grove this week

By Miriam Raftery

December 1, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--San Diego Supervisors meet on Tuesday and Wednesday, December 3 and 4 at 9 a.m. The hottest item is a public hearing Tuesday on a county proposal to levy fees to recover the actual cost of services provided by the San Diego County Fire Authority including fire plan reviews, inspections and other technical work.  In the past, such services have been provided to individuals and businesses without full cost recovery. 

The Agenda does not state how much the proposed fees would be or how much revenue the county expects to raise.  But coming on the heels of a statewide fire fee that is going up at year’s end,  the proposal is likely to fuel controversy among taxpayers. The item is first on Tuesday’s agenda.  

View December 3 agenda.  View December 4 agenda.

SAN DIEGO MAYORAL CANDIDATES AGREE TO SIX DEBATES AHEAD OF FEBRUARY ELECTION

 

November 28, 2013 (San Diego) – Mayoral candidates and San Diego City Councilmembers David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer announced a scheduling agreement for debates in the special runoff election campaign.

The agreement came after more than 30 debates and forums were scheduled in the eight-week primary election ending November 19, 2013. The top two finishers said they’ve agreed to participate in six debates to be held after the New Year.

SENATE ENDS FILIBUSTER ON MOST NOMINEES

By Miriam Raftery

November 25, 2013 (Washington D.C.) --Senate Democrats have deployed what some call the “nuclear” option:  ending the filibuster on most judicial and cabinet appointees.  The move eliminates the ability of the minority party to block an up or down vote on nominations.

The action came after Republicans  used the filibuster process to block not just controversial nominees, but virtually all of them. President Obama has had 72 of his judicial nominees blocked.  That’s by the most for any president.  By contrast, presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Ford and Bush senior each had zero nominees blocked by filibusters.  Carter and Reagan had just two each.  Clinton had 9 of his nominees blocked and the second President Bush had 7 of his nominees filibustered.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: WHAT'S ON THE AGENDA THIS WEEK IN BOULEVARD AND LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- This week, the hottest meeting in town will be the Boulevard Planning Group, which has a busy agendawith many major items slated for its meeting on Thursday, December 5 at 7 p.m. in the Boulevard Fire Training/Community Room, 39919 Ribbon Wood Road in Boulevard.  View full agenda.

Planners will hold a question and answer session on a new Boulevard Fire Station – and consider whether a moratorium should be requested for new large-scale commercial projects until Boulevard Fire Stations are verifiably staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The agenda also includes major energy projects and some controversial water issues.

FAULCONER ON TOP IN MAYORAL RACE; ALVAREZ EDGES AHEAD OF FLETCHER

 

Update November 20, 2013:  With 100% of precincts counted but over 34,000 mail-in ballots remaining to be counted, the tally stands at Faulconer 43.58%, Alvarez 25.59%, Fletcher 24.3%, Aguirre 4.44%. Of seven lesser known candidates in the race, none attained more than a half percent. A run-off election will be held early next year between the top two.

By Miriam Raftery

November 19, 2013 (San Diego) – The San Diego Mayoral race appears destined for a run-off election, since no candidate has captured more than 50% of the votes needed to win outright. 

With 86.9% of precincts counted, Kevin Faulconer, the only Republican in the race, leads with 43.84%. 

Of three prominent Democrats in the race, former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher had the early lead, up by 2% for most of the evening thanks to absentee ballots. But late tonight, as working class districts polling results came in, Councilman David Alvarez, the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate, has movedahead slightly of Fletcher slightly with 25.19% of the vote to Fletcher's 24.39%.

REGISTRAR PREDICTS 40-45% TURNOUT IN TODAY'S MAYORAL SPECIAL ELECTION

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 19, 2013 (San Diego) – As San Diegans head to the polls today to vote in a special election to fill the mayoral vacancy, Registrar of Voters Michael Vu says an expected turnout of 40 to 45 percent is anticipated, or roughly equivalent to the last citywide mayoral election in July 2005, which had a 44.33% turnout rate.

If one candidate wins over 50 percent of the vote today, that candidate will be the new mayor.  If no candidate achieves a majority, then there will be a run-off election among the top two vote-getters.  To view our nonpartisan guide for voters in the San Diego mayoral election, click here. For more interesting facts about today's election, click "read more" and scroll down.

BEWARE OF CALLS URGING VOTERS TO GO TO POLLS ON WRONG DATE FOR MAYORAL ELECTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 18, 2013 (San Diego ) – East County Magazine photographer Tom Abbott has informed ECM that he received an automated phone call this morning urging him to exercise his right to vote – on November 20, one day AFTER the San Diego mayoral election.

Abbott said he tried to dial *69 to redial the number and learn where it came from, but before he could do so, another call came in. 

There is no evidence--yet--to reveal which candidate or independent expenditure group is behind the deceptive (and illegal) call.  Both Abbott and his wife are registered independents, so the motive apparently isn't partisan. But one is a union member and other is a naturalized citizen of Latino descent, raising the possibility that union members or minorities could be targets of an organized effort to suppress the vote.

SENATOR ANDERSON HOSTS HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE NOV. 21

 

November 18, 2013 (El Cajon) – Senator Joel Anderson cordially invites the public to a “Holiday Open House” at Toyota of El Cajon, 965 Arnele Avenue, on Thursday, November 21, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.  The holiday season is a time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past year. This open house will provide you with the opportunity to receive a 2013 legislative update and to submit your ideas to improve the state government.

For more information or to RSVP, please visit www.senate.ca.gov/anderson or email senator.anderson@senate.ca.gov. You may also call the El Cajon District Office at (619) 596-3136.

WELLS APPOINTED MAYOR IN EL CAJON, OPENING COUNCIL VACANCY

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2013 (El Cajon )--El Cajon’s City Council voted unanimously yesetrday to appoint Councilman Bill Wells to fill the vacancy left by Mayor Mark Lewis’s resignation.  Council also voted to have an application and list of qualifications drawn up within a week for residents interested in seeking appointment to fill the vacancy on the City Council  left by Wells’ ascension to mayor.

A crowd filled the Council Chambers, with many community members came to voice their views on how the city should fill its leadership positions.

THREE MAYORAL CANDIDATES CLASH IN KNSJ DEBATE

 

Faulconer, Alvarez surprisingly similar on issues; Aguirre drops bombs

By Mark Gabrish Conlan • for East County Magazine, www.eastcountymagazine.org

 

November 13, 2013 (San Diego)--Three of the four so-called “major” candidates for mayor of San Diego in the November 19 special election — Republican Kevin Faulconer and Democrats David Alvarez and Mike Aguirre — debated November 11 at California Western School of Law in an event co-sponsored by the school and KNSJ 89.1 FM Descanso, San Diego County’s new community radio station. The fourth “major” candidate, Republican-turned-independent-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher, did not appear.

Surprisingly, given how most of the local media outlets have scripted their coverage of the race — Faulconer the center-Right Republican, Alvarez the progressive Democrat and Fletcher the man in the middle — Faulconer and Alvarez, colleagues on the current San Diego City Council, agreed on as many issues as they disagreed. It was Aguirre, running a distant fourth in most polls, who challenged the other two candidates and confronted many issues that both Faulconer and Alvarez did their best to duck.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT

November 12, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – El Cajon, La Mesa and Santee City Councils meet this week to discuss matters ranging from the future of Oktoberfest to choosing a new mayor.  Below are highlights from the agendas for each community.

EAST COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CLUB ENDORSES TWO CANDIDATES TO REPLACE MAYOR LEWIS

 

November 9, 2013 (El Cajon) – Following Mayor Mark Lewis’ resignation, the East County Democratic Club’s president has sent an open letter to council members and residents urging that the vacancy be filled by appointing one of two  minority candidates. The Club cites the region’s changing demographics and lists support for Ben Kalasho, an Iraqi Chaldean who narrowly lost a council race in 2012, and Vickie Butcher, an African-American who has served on the City’s planning commission and is active in local charities. 

Presently,Councilman Bill Wells, a Republican, is serving as interim mayor.  If Council should decide to appoint Wells as Mayor, members would then also have a vacancy to fill on the City Council.

COUNCILMEMBERS ISSUE RESPONSE TO MAYOR LEWIS RESIGNATION

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 6, 2013 (El Cajon)-- El Cajon City Councilmembers Bob McClellan and Tony Ambrose have released an official response to the resignation of former Mayor Mark Lewis on October 24, 2013. Both voiced pride in the community’s diversity , acknowledged that the Mayor’s remarks on minorities were “inappropriate and wrong,” then called for unity in El Cajon.  For the full text of their letter, click here.

In addition, Councilmember Gary Kendrick issued his own letter praising Mayor Lewis on his accomplishments including balanced budgets, economic stability and economic development.   While he joined with  Ambrose and McClellan in making clear that he did not agree with or support Lewis’ controversial comments, he stated, “Mark will always be my friend...”  To read Kendrick’s letter, click here

Kendrick told ECM,” The Mayor Lewis that I knew would never have made those statements before his stroke.”

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