By Miriam Raftery
August 2, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – It's rare for Congress to agree on anything given the partisan divide in Washington. But House Resolution 683, authored by Congressman Juan Vargas (D-San Diego) , passed the House of Representatives unanimously yesterday. The measure expresses the urgent need to protect religious minorities in Iraq from persecution at the hands of the Sunni Islamist insurgent and terrorist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Levand (ISIL). The measure was coauthored by three other San Diego representatives (Republican Duncan Hunter as well as Democrats Susan Davis and Scott Peters)
“I am pleased the House of Representatives is shedding light on this important topic and supporting our nation’s need to be vocal in the face of the horrific crimes taking place against Iraqi civilians,” said Rep. Vargas. “This resolution expresses the urgent need to protect religious minorities who are fleeing persecution in Iraq’s ISIL-held territories. Religious freedom is the cornerstone of any free society and we must do everything in our power to provide immediate protection and humanitarian assistance to individuals facing horrific crimes because of their religious beliefs.”
Mark Arabo, a national spokesman for Iraqi Christians and president of the Neighborhood Market Association locally, heralded passage of the resolution as “a historic day that will go into the annals of Iraqi Christian history.”
Hear a podcast of today’s full show including D.A. Bonnie Dumanis interview here: http://kiwi6.com/file/b2ohmz2jt7
Listen live from 5-6 p.m. today online at http://knsj.org/knsjpopup.html or on the air at KNSJ 89.1 FM
June 2, 2014 (San Diego)—Our special guest on the East County Magazine radio show today is District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, talking about crime issues in our region and her candidacy to win reelection in tomorrow’s primary election. Dumanis squares off against attorney Bob Brewer, who did not respond to our interview requests, and Terri Wyatt ( who was previously interviewed here: http://kiwi6.com/file/f1epluf93r)
Today’s show also includes coverage and analysis of the 50th and 53rd Congressional races, where incumbents Duncan Hunter and Susan Davis face off against multiple challengers. Also learn more about the Insurance Commissioner race, which pits an incumbent championing consumer issues against insurance companies against an insurance broker and a third candidate who wants to eliminate insurance companies altogether and see a single payer healthcare system enacted.
By Trevor Hill
Photo (left to right): Jim Stieringer, Susan Davis, Joel Marchese, Wayne True, and Larry Wilske
May 29, 2014 (San Diego)--The race for California’s 53rd Congressional district will be narrowed down from eight candidates to the top two vote-getters this Tuesday, June 3. Incumbent Democrat Susan Davis will be on the June ballot, along with five Republican and two independent challengers.
WAS IT FRAUD? EXPERTS RAISE SERIOUS QUESTIONS AFTER LOW FIRST-YEAR ENERGY PRODUCTION AT OCOTILLO WIND PROJECT
Elected officials suppressed key report, failed to halt project or recover taxpayer dollars
“It was heartbreaking to see this project desecrate such a historically and culturally significant landscape, and it’s even worse when you find out that it was built on false claims by the developer, and with the assistance of the BLM. "-- Anthony Pico, Chairman, Viejas Band of Kumeyaay Indians
An East County Magazine special investigation
By Miriam Raftery
April 30, 2014 (Ocotillo) – An international wind energy expert has concluded that Pattern Energy appears to have defrauded the federal government in order to obtain lucrative tax subsidies for a wind energy development in southern California that has failed to live up to the developer’s claims.
“I believe we have a clear case for the False Claims Act,” Nicolas Boccard told East County Magazine, after reviewing full first-year wind production data for the Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility on U..S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) public land. The project produced only about half of the energy that Pattern claimed it would produce—far below levels deemed viable for a wind project, a second expert confirms.
These dismal results are no surprise to Boccard, who predicted in a report written before construction of the project was completed that Ocotillo lacks sufficient wind speeds to sustain a viable wind energy project.
So were Pattern's lofty wind speed claims nothing more than spin?
By Miriam Raftery
April 9, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – As a slap in the face to women on Equal Pay Day today, Senate Republicans blocked passage of the Paycheck Fairness Act for women – for the third time. The measure failed due to lack of a single Republican vote. The bill had aimed to provide more effective remedies for women who are paid less than men for the same work.
California's Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, support the bill. On the House side, San Diego Democratic Congresswoman Susan Davis is pushing for passage of a similar measure, H.R. 377. San Diego Democratic Congressman Scott Peters is a cosponsor of the bill, which local Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas also supports.
East County Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter has previously voted no on a similar paycheck fairness measure for women, along with San Diego Republican Darrell Issa.
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.
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.
February 5, 2014 (San Diego)-- To encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among high school students, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) announced she is holding a House App Contest in her congressional district. Students who are interested in participating can get more information at Rep. Davis’s website.
January 21, 2014 (San Diego)-- Congresswoman Susan Davis, economic experts and San Diegans impacted by the loss of emergency long-term unemployment insurance called on Congress to renew long-term unemployment insurance, which expired at the end of last year. Davis is a cosponsor of HR 3824, the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act, to extend the unemployment insurance provisions through March 2014. The measure is in committee. A companion bill in the Senate was killed by a filibuster.
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.”
3 LOCAL REPRESENTATIVES URGE PROTECTED STATUS FOR PHILIPPINE NATI ONALS IN U.S. IN WAKE OF TYPHOON HAIYAN
November 22, 2013 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) led a delegation letter calling on the Department of Homeland Security to temporarily halt the deportation of Filipino nationals because of the devastating impact Super Typhoon Haiyan has had on the Philippines.
“It would be irresponsible to send individuals into a situation with the level of destruction and suffering occurring in the Philippines right now,” said Davis. “I hope acting Secretary Beers will recognize the gravity of this situation and provide some certainty and relief to those who may be facing deportation.”
Davis and several her House colleagues, including local Democratic representatives Juan Vargas and Scott Peters, asked for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Filipino nationals in the U.S. TPS is designed to protect individuals from being sent home to countries that may be too dangerous for them to return. It would also grant them permission to work in the U.S.
October 17, 2013 (El Cajon)--Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) will host a Neighborhood Day in East County. Residents are encouraged to come share their ideas, ask a question, and get an update about what's happening in Congress at her signature town hall style event.
Davis’s Neighborhood Day will be held in the Griffin Center on the Grossmont College campus in El Cajon on Monday, October 21, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Update October 17, 2013: President Obama signed the measure into law last night, ending the shutdown.
By Nadin Abbott
October 16, 2013 (San Diego)--Tonight both the House and the Senate voted to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling—just in time to prevent the U.S. from defaulting on our national debt by tomorrow’s deadline. The measure will fund the Government until January 15 and raise the ceiling until February 17. Moreover, a conference committee between the House and the Senate to discuss the budget has finally been appointed.
Among San Diego’s Congressional delegation, only Republican Duncan Hunter was unwilling to prevent a default on America’s debts, casting a “no” vote. Republican Darrell Issa joined with Democrats Susan Davis, Juan Vargas and Scott Peters to vote in favor of the continuing resolution to find the government and end the shutdown. Overall in the House, 285 voted yes and 144 voted no.
The vote in the Senate was overwhelming, with 81 of 100 Senators voting for the bill, including most Republicans. California Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein both voted yes.
October 12, 2013 (Washington D.C.) --As the economically damaging government shutdown entered its 12th day, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) took an extraordinary legislative step to bypass the Speaker of the House and force a vote to open the government.
“A majority of the Congress wants to end the government shutdown and stop the economic harm it is causing,” said Davis. “Legislation to open the federal government is sitting on the Speaker’s desk, having passed the Senate two weeks ago. Unfortunately, he won’t let the House vote. This move will apply the necessary pressure to force a vote to end the shutdown.”
Davis joined her House colleagues in signing what is known as a discharge petition to require the Speaker to bring the Senate-passed government funding bill to the House floor for an immediate vote. If a majority of the House signs the petition, a vote would be scheduled.
Shut down to cost San Diego region $7 million each week
October 5, 2013 (Washington D.C.) -- By a unanimous vote, the House of Representatives approved back pay to all furloughed federal workers for the full duration of the federal shutdown. The Federal Employee Retroactive Pay Fairness Act (H.R. 3223), was approved by the House of Representatives 407-0 during a rare Saturday session.
4 of 5 local Congressional members not sure yet how they will vote; both CA Senators support military intervention
By Miriam Raftery
September 4, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Three days ago, NBC news reported that San Diego’s Congressional delegation had “mostly positive” reactions to news that President Obama had decided to ask Congresss for approval before waging a military air strike on Syria. But a poll by CNN of Congressional members found San Diego’s representatives remain mostly undecided on whether to vote for war or not. Both California Senators, however, support the President’s call for military action.
Overall, the CNN poll found the majority in both houses of Congress have not yet committed how they will vote. In the Senate, 24 Senators say that they will support the war declaration, 16 will oppose it, and 58 remain undecided. In the House, 27 support going to war, 91 oppose, 254 are undecided, and the positions of 61 others are unknown.
This is a rare issue in which the vote does not split down party lines. Both parties are split, with many members on each side of the weighty issue appearing ready to vote their consciences or the will of their constituents, not a party preference.
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.
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.”
June 18, 2013 (San Diego)--Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) pushed for language to be included in education legislation to end discrimination against LGBT students. As Republicans prepare a bill for the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, Democrats on the House Education and the Workforce Committee are preparing their version.
In a letter to the Ranking Democrat on the committee, Rep. George Miller (D-CA), Davis urged that the Student Non-Discrimination Act be added to the Democratic alternative bill. The SNDA would put in place legal protections against discrimination of LGBT students. Davis is a cosponsor of the Student Non-Discrimination Act (H.R. 1652), which was introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO).
June 3, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – The House and Senate have approved the controversial Keystone Pipeline, sending the measure to President Barack Obama’s desk. The President faces mounting pressure from major campaign contributors urging him to veto the measure due to its negative environmental and climate change impacts; others urge support to create jobs.
Local representatives split down party line, with Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa voting for the pipeline, while Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas voted against it.
The pipeline project sparked protests nationally and in San Diego (photo, left).
May 30, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) announced $1.8 million for San Diego to help homeless veterans as part of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing Program (HUD-VASH).
“This increase in housing vouchers will help veterans get off the streets and into a place of their own,” said Davis. “We know that San Diego has a high concentration of homeless veterans. It’s very difficult, knowing the sacrifices these men and women have made on our behalf, to see them living on the street. Hopefully, through programs such as HUD-VASH we can help turn these lives around.”
April 25, 2013 (San Diego's East County) -- In an effort to help restore integrity to our federal elections, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) re-introduced legislation that would prohibit top state election officials from participating in federal campaigns.
The Federal Election Integrity Act would prohibit a chief election official of a state from serving on federal campaign committees or engaging in other political activity on behalf of federal candidates in any election over which the official has supervisory authority.
“Imagine if someone could be both the coach and the referee in a game,” said Davis. “That would certainly not be fair. So why would we then allow one person to both officiate an election and chair a candidate’s federal campaign committee? Someone who has a vested interest in a federal campaign should not also be able to oversee an election in which that candidate runs. Congress needs to take this long-overdue step to restore the faith of the American people in the election system.”
April 24, 2013 (Washington D.C.)--Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) cosponsored legislation to block the doubling of interest rates on Stafford student loans set to kick in July of this year. The Student Loan Relief Act (H.R. 1595) would continue the current 3.4% rate through 2015.
“We need to ensure that access to higher education stays within the reach of middle class and lower-income families,” said Davis, a senior member of the House Education and the Workforce Committee. “If we want our children - and America, for that matter - to be competitive in the global economy, access to an affordable college education will be key.”
April 11, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – As homeowners in San Diego and across the nation continue to tangle with banks, Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) re-introduced legislation to give people another tool to avoid foreclosure and the subsequent damage to the their credit rating. The Short Sale Transparency Act will require Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to disclose the minimum asking price they are willing to accept for a short sale if they reject the first offer.
“People deserve a real chance to avoid foreclosure. It is unfair to expect someone to complete a short sale instead of abandoning their home to foreclosure, if the banks don’t meet them half way,” said Davis. “Many homeowners are willing, even eager, to work with banks to get out from under the mortgage and protect their credit rating. But far too often, they find themselves in a guessing game as to what dollar amount will complete the sale.”
March 29, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) has introduced along with 63 bipartisan cosponsors H.R. 1130, the Iron Dome Support Act. Iron Dome is the defensive weapon system that is currently serving as a missile shield over Israel.
“This joint Israeli-U.S. project is already in the field, having successfully downed nearly 90% of incoming missiles during last year’s conflict in Gaza. Hundreds of innocent lives were spared as a result of Iron Dome and rocket fire from the Gaza strip did not escalate into a larger crisis," Davis states. “However, the coverage provided by the Iron Dome defense system is inadequate and regional security requires additional units to protect all of its civilian population.”
March 18, 2013 (Washington)--Two San Diego Congressional members, Democrats Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, joined 131 colleagues in introducing legislation to give minimum-wage workers a raise. Both are cosponsors the Fair Minimum Wage Act (H.R. 1010) to boost the minimum wage to $10.10 over three years, increase the minimum wage for workers who rely on tips, and tie future annual increases to the rate of inflation.
“Earning minimum wage salary should not mean living in poverty or struggling to pay the bills,” Davis said. “A minimum wage increase would enhance the economic security of our families by putting more money in the pockets of those who need it most. Let’s honor and respect our hard work minimum-wage earners by giving them a much-deserved raise.”
March 12, 2013 (San Diego) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA) and Rep. Filemon Vela (D-TX) introduced legislation to prevent diabetes in seniors and rein in health care costs. The Medicare Diabetes Prevention Act (H.R. 962) would extend the proven benefits of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) to seniors under Medicare.
“With thoughtful, responsible action we can get growing healthcare costs under control and make our country healthier at the same time,” said Davis. “In fact with targeted prevention initiatives, like the National Diabetes Prevention Program, Congress can achieve cost savings by preventing diabetes and its complications, meeting our goals of improving health and reining in spending.”
Bill would provide federal tax adjustment to local breweries
March 7, 2013 (San Diego)-- To help the local craft brewing industry, Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) joined a bipartisan group of members in cosponsoring H.R. 494, the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act.
“San Diego is increasingly becoming known as a hub of the craft brewing industry, which has contributed to the growth of small businesses and jobs in the region,” said Davis, a member of the House Small Business Caucus. “Small, independent brewers are a fast rising segment of our economy and Congress should help them compete against large, multi-national brewers.”
March 3, 2013 (El Cajon) – Congresswoman Susan Davis called representatives from the Federal Aviation Administration to her Washington office to share constituent concerns with Gillespie Field flight paths. Neighbors of Gillespie Field in El Cajon have complained of increased flight traffic, noise, and low-altitude flights.
“As discussion of Gillespie Field development continues, Congresswoman Davis is looking to balance economic expansion in El Cajon and East County with quality of life near the airport,” said Aaron Hunter, spokesperson for the Congresswoman.
The meeting was informational, though no course of action has yet transpired, he advised.
LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS OPPOSE STUDENTS’ MOVE TO DIVEST UCSD FROM COMPANIES DOING BUSINESS WITH ISRAEL
By Miriam Raftery
March 2, 2013 (San Diego) – The University of California San Diego (UCSD) Associated Student Council will vote March 6 on a resolution calling for the university to divest in companies doing business with Israel, due to an allegation that Israel is an “apartheid state.”
The measure has sparked controversy on campus and outrage among Jewish groups. Now two San Diego Congressional members, representatives Susan Davis and Juan Vargas, have sent letters to Student Council president Meggie Le, urging opposition to the resolution.
“As a member of Congress who sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, there has been no credible proof that defines Israel as an “apartheid” state,” wrote Vargas. “In fact, Israel is the only country in the Middle East with protection for free speech, free press, religious freedom, women’s rights and gay rights.”