"Politics in Paradise" showcases hot issues--and partisan divide in East County
Story and photos by Sharon Penny
Hear an audio report by Janis Russell: http://kiwi6.com/file/t3ud7qryhp
Photo, left to right: CA Senator Joel Anderson, County Treasurer Dan McAllister, Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Assemblyman Brian Jones, Lemon Grove Mayor Mary Sessom, and Congressman Duncan Hunter
August 8, 2014 (El Cajon)--Six East County politicians participated in a lively question and answer session under the stars at Cuyamaca College's Water Conservation Garden during a mild summer evening on August 7.
The location for the annual event hosted by the joint Chambers ofCommerce in East County was apropos because the state’s water issue was a hot topic discussed by local leaders. The site exemplified ways that constituents could help with the current drought. Other issues debated at the event were welfare, immigration, the local craft beer industry, using public pension funds to invest in affordable housing, providing incentives to private developers, Proposition 13, high-speed rail, and even Shamu.
By Miriam Raftery
May 31, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – After learning that the Democratic Party didn’t have a candidate on the ballot in the 71st Assembly District that includes most of San Diego County’s inland regions as well as south Riverside County, Howard Katz obtained signatures to qualify as a write-in candidate.
Chairman of the Riverside Democratic Party, Katz wants to roll back tuitions for public colleges and universities statewide, push for a healthcare-for-all Californians plan (which failed by two votes previously in the State Legislature), and support modest tax increases if needed to fund these initiatives. Hear our radio interview podcast with Katz here: http://kiwi6.com/file/oj62bcco0x
Katz previously ran for Congress against Darrell Issa. In addition to Katz and Jones, a conservative Republican, moderate Republican Tony Teora, an engineer and science fiction author, is also in the race.
Hear East County Magazine’s interview with Tony Teora: http://kiwi6.com/file/xtdo52vum0 (new link)
By Trevor Hill and Miriam Raftery
May 23, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)- - In the 71st Assembly District encompassing most of East County, Republican Tony Teora is running against Republican incumbent Brian Jones.
There is no Democrat on the ballot (though Democrat Howard Katz has launched a write-in campaign). While Jones takes far-right conservative stances across the board, Teora takes a moderate position on fiscal issues and voices progressive views on social issues and climate change, providing a clear choice for voters.
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.
December 10, 2013 (Boulevard) – Clover Flat Elementary School in Boulevard, CA was awarded $5,000 from the Barona Education Grant Program this morning. Representatives from the Barona Band of Mission Indians and Assemblyman Brian Jones will be presented the grant to Clover Flat School, which is comprised of students from the Boulevard and Jacumba communities. The grant was written by Alpine resident, Donna Burton. Mrs. Burton is a second grade teacher and assistant principal at Clover Flat Elementary School in the Mountain Empire Unified School District.
"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.
Updated November 5, 2013
By Nadin Abbott
November 2, 2013 (San Diego) Colorado has seen successful efforts to recall legislators who voted to regulate guns. Now an organizer of the Colorado effort has announced intent to launch recall efforts against eight California Democrats.
Free California founder Jennifer Kerns announced this recall effort in the Capitol on October 24. Among the legislators targeted are Senator Ben Hueso, who represents sections of the East County, and Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzales from San Diego.
The group says it is targeting California legislators who actively supported 12 gun-control bills, including SB374, which would have added all semi-automatic rifles with detachable magazines to the state's list of banned assault weapons, and AB711, which will ban lead ammunition in hunting by 2019.
By Miriam Raftery
October 10, 2013 (Sacramento ) – Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Assembly Bill 154, by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins ( D-San Diego). The measure allows nurse practitioners, certified nurse-midwives and physician assistants to perform certain first-trimester abortions.
September 12, 2013 (Sacramento) – As the first year of the 2013-14 Legislative Session comes to a close, Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) has issued a statement condemning the “gut and amend” process. A common practice in the final days of session that circumvents public review, a “gut and amend” is when a bill is stripped and replaced with completely unrelated language. Jones says, “It’s one of their favorite, sneaky maneuvers to keep the public out of the process.”
STUCK TRUCK REMOVED TWO WEEKS AFTER BREAKDOWN IN DULZURA, BUT RESIDENTS DEMAND ANSWERS TO SERIOUS PUBLIC SAFETY THREATS POSED
By Miriam Raftery; photo by Donnie Durfee
Rural residents are demanding answers and improved communications after a truck with an oversized load broke down and blocked traffic on State Route 94 for over 50 hours. Even after the road was cleared, the big rig remained on the shoulder at Marron Valley Road in Dulzura for two weeks before it was finally removed.
Media was not warned and no Sig Alert was issued to alert residents prior to the oversized load taking to the highway, even though the slow-moving, extra-wide load obstructed traffic in both directions along the main evacuation route for residents in areas including Jamul, Deerhorn Valley, Potrero, Barrett Junction and Tecate.
During the blockage, residents were forced to detour up to 90 miles, causing delays of many hours. Yet a SigAlert was not issued until seven hours after the road was completely blocked by the mechanical breakdown. Even before the breakdown, the oversized, slow-moving load obstructed traffic in both directions. The load was about 231 feet long – yet posted signs indicate the maximum truck length allowed is 75 feet. So why was this rig allowed to take this narrow route with many hairpin curves when straighter, wider routes to its destination were available?
1st place wildlife photo, Bighorn Ram by Daren Sefcik (left) and 1st place landscape photo, Bridge to Opportunity by Gary Avant (right)
By Miriam Raftery
August 15, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) -- We received many amazing images from talented photographers across our region for our photography contest jointly sponsored by Assemblyman Brian Jones and East County Magazine.
Winners and honorable mentions in landscape and wildlife photographer were selected by judges in Sacramento and San Diego based on aesthetics, composition, and lighting. All photos were taken in the Assemblyman’s district in San Diego’s East County.
The list of winners and their photos are published below. Winning entries will also be displayed in Assemblyman Jones’ office in the state capitol. Congratulations to the winners – and to the many talented photographers who submitted entries!
June 20, 2013 (Santee) -- Assemblyman Jones (R-Santee) and East County Magazine announced today that they will host a photography contest that features photographs taken in San Diego’s East County. The winning photographs will be displayed in Assemblyman Brian Jones’ Capitol Office and featured in East County Magazine.
“It’s an honor to be able to highlight the photographers and the beautiful landscapes Eastern San Diego County has to offer,” Jones said.
Miriam Raftery, Editor of East County Magazine said, “East County Magazine appreciates this opportunity to showcase the works of talented local photographers. East County Magazine looks forward to publishing works displaying our region’s beautiful scenery and our historic communities.”
All entries must be received by July 15, 2013 at 5:00 p.m. to be eligible. For details, scroll down.
ASSEMBLYMAN JONES ISSUES STATEMENT SUPPORTING “OPEN RIDING” IN OCOTILLO WELLS STATE VEHICULAR RECREATION AREA
By Miriam Raftery
June 16, 2013 (Ocotillo Wells)-- Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) has sent a letter to the State Parks Department encouraging open riding in Ocotillo Wells State Vehicular Recreation Area (SVRA) in response to legal action filed by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) and the Desert Protective Council (DPC). Plaintiffs contend that riding off trails has caused extensive environmental damage in the park, which has over 1,200 historic and archaeological sites, as ECM previously reported.
“Many of my constituents enjoy recreating in the Ocotillo Wells SVRA, which is why this lawsuit is very troubling," said Jones. "This area has been used for OHV recreation for over 50 years and has always been designated as an open riding area, meaning that users in the park are not required to stay on designated trails."
April 27, 2013 (Sacramento) – Legislation by Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) to require photo identification prior to casting a ballot was killed by Assembly Democrats today in the Assembly Committee on Elections and Redistricting.
“I am passionate about this issue because the integrity of the ballot must be safeguarded so that the voices of lawful voters are not diluted or disenfranchised due to fraud and illegal conduct; this is equally as important to the credibility of elections,” said Jones. “The right to vote is a fundamental responsibility given to us by the founders of this country.”
But a Voting Rights Institute report titled “The Real Cost of Photo ID" concludes that “the problem of voter impersonation, which is the only type of fraud photo ID could conceivably address, is less likely to occur than a person being struck by lightning.” Moreover, the report found that in states that have enacted Voter ID requirements, the costs have been high. In California, the report estimates the cost of implementing Voter ID requirements during the first year would range from $37.86 million to $113.58 million.
April 18, 2013 (El Cajon) – Have you paid $150 for the state fire fee? Have questions? You’re invited to join Assemblyman Brian Jones and Cal Fire at a town hall meeting on Thursday, April 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The event will be at the P2K range at 2082 Willow Glen Drive in EL Cajon.
To reserve a seat, call (619)441-2322.
Surplus expected to grow to $12.7 million under little oversight, legislators contend
April 9, 2013 (San Diego's East County)--Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee), Senator Jean Fuller (R-Bakersfield), and 29 Republican legislators have requested the Joint Legislative Audit Committee approve an audit of the Dealers Record of Sale (DROS) Special Account of the General Fund. The DROS Account is funded by fees paid by individuals who purchase or register firearms in California. Generally, a DROS fee is paid by a buyer to a firearms dealer at the time of purchase. The dealer is required to remit the fee to the Department of Justice (DOJ) to cover the cost of performing a background check on the purchaser.
By Assemblyman Brian Jones
March 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County)--Did you know that Cal Fire bureaucrats have joined the ranks of state agencies hiding taxpayer dollars? It’s sad, but true – recent Cal Fire headlines are less about the brave duty of firefighters and more about secreting taxpayer dollars away in a non-profit association.
Not only did Cal Fire hide $3.5 million, but they did so while Governor Brown and the Democrat-controlled Legislature slapped a $150 fire tax on rural residents from San Diego to the Northern California border.
March 18, 2013 (Sacramento)--Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee has issued the following statement on the passage of HR 9, a resolution he co-authored that outlines the many characteristics of California’s historic vineyards and their vast contribution to the agricultural legacy of the state:
“Almost 250 years ago, Father Junipero Serra planted grapes at Mission San Diego, and since that time, historic vineyards have grown throughout the state – from northern California and the Central Coast to our own Ramona, Alpine and Riverside County’s Temecula Valley,” said Jones. “I am proud the 71st Assembly District is home to such beautiful and diverse grape growing areas – each of which has achieved worldwide recognition and contributes greatly to our local economy. I am very pleased the Assembly took the time to recognize the extraordinary contribution of our living historic vineyards to the agricultural and social heritage of the state as well as to the enjoyment of wine enthusiasts throughout California and the world.”
By Miriam Raftery
Governor Jerry Brown, in his State of the State Speech in January, praised legislators for casting “difficult votes to cut billions from the state budget. You curbed prison spending through an historic realignment,” he said among other cost-cutting measures listed.
The realignment shifts responsibility for tens of thousands of prisoners from the state to local governments by 2014. The action is fueled in part by a court ruling that ordered California to reduce overcrowding in state prisons by 33,000 prisoners, though the Governor’s move goes further in an effort to cut the budget.
The action, however, shifts responsibilities for those prisoners to local counties and cities. It is also forcing some jurisdictions to release some prisoners early to avert overcrowding in local jails--and raises questions on how best to address the state's crime problems overall.
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.
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 Nadin Abbott
August 11, 2012 (El Cajon)--The mood at the Cuyamaca College Water Conservation Garden was relaxed. People came to have good food, drink, and listen to some of our local politicians debate in a friendly forum.
Participants were Congressman Bob Filner (D-50th), currently running for Mayor of San Diego, California Senator Joel Anderson (R-36th District), Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-77th District) and County of San Diego Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
July 15, 2012 (Santee)—Now you can meet your legislator and beat the heat—all at the same time. Assemblyman Brian Jones, whose district includes most of East County, invites constituents to the second annual Ice Cream Social Open House at his Santee office on Thursday, July 26, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Budget aims to eliminate deficit, cuts key services
Deeper cuts ahead if Governor’s tax initiative on Nov. ballot is not approved by voters
By Miriam Raftery
June 25, 2012 (Sacramento) – California's Legislature has approved a budget bill, AB 1464, on time by the constitutional June 15 deadline. The budget deal aims to eliminate the state’s $20 billion structural deficit and result in a balanced budget for each of the next several years, resulting in a $2 billion reserve by the 2015/16 fiscal year.
By Miriam Raftery
“With California’s new `top two’ primary system, only two candidates will advance to a November run-off. I’m running against two Republicans, so it’s important for Democrats to vote on Tuesday.” – Pat Hurley, candidate, 71st Assembly District
June 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Pat Hurley has worked in factories and on railroads. He’s turned around troubled businesses in mobile electronics, finance and sales. He’s led efforts as a nonprofit executive to create job-training programs, help low-income communities, and forge a sustainable future for our region. Now he wants to bring his experience—along with Midwest, middle class values—to the state capitol.
Hurley is the only Democrat running for the new 71st Assembly district (formerly the 77th), which includes nearly all of East County. The seat is currently held by Republican Brian Jones. Another Republican, engineer John McLaughlin from Temecula, is also in the race.
Looks Forward to Working with Leadership Team in Sacramento
May 2, 2012 (Sacramento)--Assemblyman Brian Jones, R-Santee, today announced that Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare, appointed him as Assistant Republican Leader on the Assembly Republican Leadership Team.
“I am eager to continue working with Republican Leader Conway to get Californians back to work. The most important issues facing our state are jobs and the economy – we have to remove the regulatory and tax burdens from California’s middle class and release our creative energy and entrepreneurial spirit. California can be the Golden State again.”
April 20, 2012 (Sacramento) – AB 1902, authored by Brian Jones, did not muster sufficient votes to pass out of the Assembly Local Government Committee on Wednesday. Introduced at the request of East County Magazine, the bill would allow online media to run paid public notices, such as new business announcements.
In his statement, Assemblyman Jones told Committee members that permitting online publications to post public notices is a” reasonable response to changing technology.” He noted that “California is customarily on the cutting edge of supporting new technologies and industries—and the online news business is both.”
READER'S EDITORIAL: SAN DIEGO CLIMATE ACTIVISTS CALL ON ASSEMBLYMAN JONES TO CANCEL CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER EVENT
Editor's note: Assemblyman Brian Jones has issued the following response to Ms. Disenhouse's editorial: “To give a small group of people a monopoly over deciding what is true or false does a great disservice to public debate in this country. Those who believe Lord Monckton has his facts wrong are welcome to continue in that belief, but he is still entitled to participate in this critical debate. As someone who does not blindly accept conclusions arrived at without conclusive evidence, I am more than happy to accommodate Mr. Monckton sharing his point of view.”
By Masada Disenhouse
March 23, 2012 (San Diego)--It is ironic that freshman Assemblyman Brian Jones has chosen this Saturday, March 24 to emcee one of the world’s most egregious actors on the climate denial stage – after a winter of broken heat records. Regardless of your opinions on climate change, sponsoring an inflammatory charlatan such as self-titled Lord Christopher Monckton is offensive to many in San Diego County.
An ECM exclusive interview by Miriam Raftery
March 13, 2012 (Santee) – Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) announced last week that he is running for reelection. In an exclusive interview, the conservative legislator shared highlights and frustrations from his first term in the Legislature, as well as his priorities for the future if reelected in November.
With reapportionment, Jones 77th district will become the 71st Assembly District. The district picks up some new areas including Pine Valley, Julian, Ramona, and Borrego Springs in San Diego County, as well as portions of Riverside County.
By Miriam Raftery
March 8, 2012 (Sacramento) –An antiquated California law written before the Internet was invented restricts the running of public notices to only print newspapers. Today, with the majority of Americans seeking out news online, Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) has introduced legislation to update the law and allow online media outlets to publish public notices such as new business announcements.
“AB 1902 will provide residents greater access to legal notices, and will more appropriately fulfill the intent of the law to insure the public is adequately made aware of public notices,” a fact sheet on the bill provided by Jones’ office states. “Permitting online publications to sell and post public notices is a reasonable response to changing technology."