Politics

SUPERVISORS APPROVE ADDING “MIDDLE EASTERN OR NORTH AFRICAN” CATEGORY TO COUNTY FORMS

By Miriam Raftery
 
May 16, 2024 (San Diego) – Arab-Americans have long been excluded from being counted on government forms, from the U.S. census to state and county documents. But that’s changing here in San Diego County, which has one of the state’s largest populations of people of Middle Eastern or North African descent.
 
By a unanimous vote, San Diego County Supervisors on May 1 became the first jurisdiction in California to approve creating a “Middle Eastern or North African” (MENA) category on County forms for individuals to self-identify as MENA.

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UNION COALITION CALLS FOR CA WORKER CLIMATE BILL OF RIGHTS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

May 14, 2024 (Sacramento) -- Dozens of union members rallied last week in Sacramento, calling on lawmakers to pass a set of bills called the California Worker Climate Bill of Rights. The bills are intended to integrate worker's rights into the clean-energy transition.

The Climate Resilient Schools Act would create the first master plan to make sure our schools have clean, cool air, adequate shade and energy-efficient buildings and buses.


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BIG CUTS, NO NEW TAXES: NEWSOM'S PLAN FOR CALIFORNIA BUDGET DEFICIT

 
Photo by Fred Greaves, for CalMatters - Gov. Gavin Newsom addresses the media during a press conference unveiling his revised 2024-25 budget proposal at the Capitol Annex Swing Space in Sacramento on May 10, 2024. 
 
CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters.
 
May 14, 2024 (Sacramento) -- Faced with ongoing weaknesses in state finances, Gov. Gavin Newsom has put forward a revised budget plan that he said aims to stabilize California in the longer term by addressing a “sizable deficit” estimated at $56 billion over the next two fiscal years.
 
Looking beyond the typical annual budget cycle, Newsom proposed on Friday more than $30 billion in ongoing and one-time spending cuts, including to education and climate objectives that have been among the governor’s own priorities, though he promised that “core programs” providing social services to needy Californians would be mostly untouched.

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MOTHERS RELAUNCH THE #MOMSUNITED CAMPAIGN FOR HUMANE GLOBAL DRUG POLICIES IN HONOR OF MOTHER'S DAY

Mothers from the United States, Canada, UK and Mexico are Speaking Out to Protect Drug Dependent Populations and Demand That They Receive Harm Reduction Services
 
May 11, 2024 (Spring Valley) -- In May 2024, Moms United to End the War on Drugs (U.S.) with partners Moms Stop the Harm (Canada), Recovering Justice (UK) and Red de Enlaces Nacionales (Mexico) are re-launching their #momsunited campaign (What Moms around the World Want for Mother’s Day).
 
Mothers are losing children to mass incarceration, drug war violence and accidental overdose across borders, due to to what organizers call, "the failed global war on drugs."  These moms are urging people to listen to their stories and to understand the need for a compassionate and tolerant approach to drug use and substance use disorders. They propose 8 actions that organizers claim will produce positive outcomes in saving the lives and liberties of our children:

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BECOMING AMERICAN: A POLITICAL MEMOIR BY CARY D. LOWE

Reviewed by Pennell Paugh
 
May 8, 2024 (San Diego) -- Becoming American is an inspiring story of the author's transformation, from a child of Holocaust survivors in post-war Europe to moving to America and becoming part of America’s cultural, business, and political institutions, while he retained ties to his family roots.

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EL CAJON COUNCIL WEIGHS SALES TAX EXTENSION, APPROVES INCUBATOR BUSINESS CENTER

Story and photos by Bransen Harper
Miriam Raftery contributed to this report
 
View video of full meeting; view agenda
 
May 6, 2024 (El Cajon) -- The El Cajon City Council discussed matters of pivotal importance at its April 30 meeting, including a potential extension of the Proposition J sales tax measure. Council also approved a landmark deal with the Chaldean Community Council to create an incubator business program for refugees and immigrants, as well as funding social services. 
 
The half-cent sales tax increase has been in place since voters approved Proposition J in 2008. It generates $14 million, or about 13% of the city’s revenue stream, according to a report presented to the Council, and has been instrumental in continuing to provide much-needed funds for local police and fire departments. But it will sunset, or end, in 2028, unless a new ballot measure is approved to extend it.

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TRUMP LAWYER ARGUES TO SUPREME COURT THAT PRESIDENTS SHOULD HAVE IMMUNITY EVEN FOR ORDERING EXECUTION OF A POLITICAL RIVAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 3, 2024 (Washington D.C.) -- In April arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court,  former President Donald Trump’s lawyers argues that presidents should be immune from prosecution for any official acts done while they are in office,  unless the president is impeached and convicted by Congress.  But Trump attorney David Sauer’s argument, if accepted by the high court, would grant a president dictatorial powers even for violent acts committed for personal gain—by his own admission in arguments before the high court.

Liberal justices pushed back on that disturbing proposition.  Justice Elena Kagan pressed Sauer on whether ordering a military coup or selling nuclear secrets to a foreign power would be considered official acts that would prevent criminal prosecution of a president, and Sauer said such acts should be protected by presidential immunity.

Justice Sonia Sotomayor grilled Sauer on whether ordering execution of a political rival would be considered an official act. Sauer replied, “We could well see that as an official act.” Hear recording of this exchange.

Audio: 


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FEDERAL GOVERNMENT APPROVES FUNDS FOR MIGRANT CENTER; COUNTY TO PROVIDE SHORT-TERM RELIEF

East County News Service
 
May 1, 2024 (San Diego) – The federal government has approved $19.6 million for a long-term migrant and asylum-seeker transit center in San Diego County. The action comes after a migrant center in San Diego shut down in February after running out of money, and after County Supervisors asked the Biden administration for help.

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CITIZENS' LAW ENFORCEMENT REVIEW BOARD SEEKS APPLICANTS

There is a vacancy on the Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) for a Supervisorial District 4 seat.
 
By Sir Milo Loftin, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
April 28, 2024 (San Diego) -- The County’s Citizens’ Law Enforcement Review Board (CLERB) is looking for applicants to fill an opening on its board.
 
Established in 1990, CLERB investigates citizen complaints against San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies and probation officers.
 
The current vacancy is in Supervisorial District 4, which includes the cities of Lemon Grove and La Mesa, parts of the City of San Diego, and unincorporated communities including Casa De Oro-Mount Helix, Rancho San Diego and Spring Valley.

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'ALL STATES WILL BE IMPACTED' BY US SUPREME COURT'S IDAHO ABORTION CASE

"At its core, this Supreme Court decision will reflect who we are becoming as a society."
 
 
Photo courtesy Women's March: Women's March held a die-in outside the U.S. Supreme Court during arguments over emergency abortion care on April 24, 2024 in Washington, D.C.
 
April 25, 2024 (Washington, D.C.) -- Less than a month after a key abortion pill hearing, the right-wing U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday heard arguments for another major reproductive rights case—one out of Idaho that could impact healthcare for pregnant women and people across the country.

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ISSA BILL TO EXPAND JAMUL TRIBAL LAND PASSES HOUSE



By Miriam Raftery

April 25, 2024 (Washington D.C)  – The Jamul Indian Village Land Transfer Act (H.R.6443) authored by Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-48), passed the House of Representatives on April 10.

H.R.6443 incorporates 172 acres of land in San Diego’s East County region into the Jamul Indian Village Reservation, placing the land into tribal trust and preserving it for generations to come. This area also includes a 100-year-old church (photo, left, by Miriam Raftery) and cemetery where their tribal lineage has rested for generations.

The acreage is currently owned by the Jamul Indian Village and includes residential land for homes and council buildings, an ancestral cemetery, and the tribe’s only road for transportation.

If approved by the Senate and signed by President Joe Biden, this would be a dramatic expansion of Jamul’s tribal lands, since the existing reservation has only six acres,  most of which is occupied by the tribe’s casino and a hotel under construction.


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BIDEN SIGNS CONGRESSIONAL MEASURES TO AID UKRAINE, ISRAEL AND TAIWAN

By Jonathan Goetz
 
Photo: C-Span screenshot of Biden after bill signing
 
April 24, 2024 (San Diego) –"It's a good day for American, it's a good day for Europe, it's a good day for world peace, President Joe Biden said today, upon signing foreign aid and national security legislation. He added that arms shipments to Ukraine for its defense against Russia would be sent within hours.
 
The U.S. House of Representatives on Saturday passed the $95 billion foreign aid package that provides assistance to Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan, as well as various national security priorities. The Senate approved the package yesterday, advancing it to the President for signature.
 
The entire San Diego Congressional Delegation voted "yea" on all three aid portions, but Congressmembers Sara Jacobs and Juan Vargas voted "nay" on the national security provisions that include a potential TikTok ban, while Congressmembers Darrel Issa, Mike Levin and Scott Peters all voted "yea."

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LA MESA HOLDS SPECIAL HEARING TODAY ON PROP L SALES TAX RENEWAL SURVEY

By Miriam Raftery

Chart, left, prepared by city staff, shows general fund forecast for next 10 years if Prop L is extended.

April 23, 2024 (La Mesa)—The La Mesa City Council will hold a special meeting at 4 p.m. today to review and discuss the Proposition L renewal survey results.  Prop L, the ¾ cent sales tax increase approved by voters in 2008, is set to sunset in 2029, unless a measure to extend it is put before voters and approved.  Prop L revenues currently account for 20% of the city’s general fund revenues.

The announcement of a special meeting comes after a letter sent April 17 by former Mayor Art Madrid to the current Mayor, City Council, and City Manager urging action.


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ARGUMENTS IN TRUMP’S FIRST CRIMINAL TRIAL SLATED TO BEGIN MONDAY

By Bransen P. Harper

Miriam Raftery contributed to this story

Photos via Wikipedia: Former President Donald J. Trump; likely prosecution witnesses Stormy Daniels, an adult film star, and Karen McDougal, an ex-Playboy model

April 20, 2024 (New York, NY) – Twelve jurors and six alternates have been selected in the federal criminal case against Donald J. Trump in Manhattan, the New York Times reports. Opening arguments by the prosecution and Trump's lawyers are slated to begin Monday in the case, which accuses the former President and presumptive Republican nominee of funneling hush money payments through his lawyer to prevent negative information from surfacing during his 2016 presidential campaign.

Ahead of this first-ever criminal trial  of a former president, which has no clear historical precedent in the U.S., here are the essentials to know.


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SAN DIEGO POLITICAL, COMMUNITY LEADERS CONDEMN IRAN MISSILE ATTACK AGAINST ISRAEL

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
Photo: Iranian missiles over Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, courtesy of Mehr News Service under a Creative Commons 4.0 license.
 
April 14, 2024 (San Diego) -- Iran’s drone and missile attack against Israel that began Saturday evening in the Mideast was quickly condemned by the governor, San Diego lawmakers and Jewish community leaders.

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LA MESA CITY COUNCIL GRAPPLES WITH FREE SPEECH, HATE AND INTIMIDATION

Council supports state bill making distribution of hate flyers on private property a civil rights violation, retains controversial ban on remote public comments
 
By Michael Howard
 
Photo: Vice Mayor Laura Lothian discusses State Assembly Bill 3024 during April 9 La Mesa City Council Meeting. 
 
April 14, 2024 (La Mesa, CA) – The La Mesa City Council continues to grapple with a balance between free speech protected by the U.S. Constitution and hate speech that just doesn’t seem to go away.
 
In its latest action, the Council voted 4-1 on Tuesday to adopt a resolution to support state bill AB 3024, the Stop Hate Littering Act, introduced by Assemblymember Chris Ward.
 
That bill adds language to section 51.7 of the current California State Civil Code to further define “intimidation by threat of violence” to include “distribution of hateful materials on private property of another without authorization for the purpose of terrorizing the owner or occupant of that private property or in reckless disregard of the risk of terrorizing the owner or occupant of that private property.”


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HOW SAN DIEGO BAN ON HOMELESS CAMPS HAS FARED

 
Photos by Kristian Carreon for CalMatters 
 
CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters
 
April 13, 2024 (San Diego) -- A new bill would make it illegal for homeless residents to camp in certain places, such as near schools, throughout California. Its authors say such a ban has had great success in San Diego. But a closer look at that city paints a more nuanced picture.
 
Politicians pushing to make homeless encampments illegal across wide swaths of California point to one city as proof it will work.

This coverage was made possible in part by a grant from the A-Mark Foundation.


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JONES’ SAFE ACT TO PROTECT COMMUNITIES FROM SEXUALLY VIOLENCE PREDATORS ADVANCES WITH BIPARTISAN SUPPORT

Source: Senator Brian W. Jones’ office
 
April 10, 2024 (Santee) -- Tuesday, the Senate Public Safety Committee unanimously approved Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones’s (R-San Diego) bipartisan Senate Bill 1074, called the “Sexually Violent Predator Accountability, Fairness, and Enforcement Act” (SAFE Act). Click here for SB 1074 the factsheet and here for more information about the bill and SVP issue.

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FINAL ELECTION RESULTS INCLUDE FLIPS IN TWO EAST COUNTY ASSEMBLY RACES

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 5, 2024 (San Diego) — The San Diego Registrar of Voters has posted final results from the March primary election, with all ballots now counted. You can view the full results here.
 
The 75th and 79th Assembly races had outcomes change several days after the early election night results—flipping the outcomes.  

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READER’S EDITORIAL: LA MESA OFFICIALS NEED TO DENOUNCE HATE SPEECH, NOT OUTLAW ALL CALLERS DURING PUBLIC MEETINGS

An Open Letter to La Mesa’s Mayor, City Council, City Attorney and City Manager 
 
By Art Madrid, former La Mesa Mayor
 
April 3, 2024 (La Mesa) -- Recently, various racist comments and incidents occurred in two different communities resulting in blatantly, dissimilar outcomes. Coeur d’Alene, and La Mesa were the cities at center stage.  
 
In Coeur d’Alene, the mayor, council, and business community immediately defended the values and standards of their community by condemned the racists who directed their offensive remarks at an ethnically diverse women’s basketball team.   

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INSURANCE NON-RENEWALS CONTINUE EVEN AS COMMISSIONER RICARDO LARA INTRODUCES REGULATIONS FAVORED BY THE INDUSTRY

By Levi Sumagaysay, CalMatters
 
Photo: State Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara speaks during a press conference with Los Angeles labor leaders and advocates in Commerce on Sept. 26, 2022. Photo by Alisha Jucevic for CalMatters
 
March 26, 2024 (Sacramento) -- With more California homeowners just discovering their insurance policies are getting canceled —  and hundreds of thousands of others stuck with a pricey option of last resort — state Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara’s efforts to fix the home insurance market can’t come quickly enough.

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SOCIAL SECURITY CUTS

"Trump has tried to walk back his support for Social Security and Medicare cuts," said the head of Social Security Works. "This budget is one of many reasons why no one should believe him."
 
 
March 26, 2024 (Washington, D.C.) -- Defenders of Social Security and Medicare on Wednesday swiftly criticized the biggest caucus of Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for putting out a budget proposal for fiscal year 2025 that takes aim at the crucial programs.
 
The 180-page "Fiscal Sanity to Save America" plan from the Republican Study Committee (RSC) follows the release of proposals from Democratic President Joe Biden and U.S. House Budget Committee Chair Jodey Arrington (R-Texas)—who is leading the fight to create a fiscal commission for the programs that critics call a "death panel" designed to force through cuts.

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VIEW OUR INTERVIEW: LA MESA ACTIVISTS OBJECT TO CITY COUNCIL BANNING REMOTE PARTICIPATION

 

View video of interview, which also aired on KNSJ radio: https://youtu.be/6CG6xMtEY8U

March 25, 2024 (La Mesa) East County Magazine recently interviewed La Mesa activists Janet Castaños, PhD, and Gene Carpenter, who raise concerns over La Mesa City Council’s Feb. 27 decision to end remote public comments.  The action came after anti-Semitic comments were made by several callers at the previous meeting, though the city’s stated reason for ending the public’s ability to call in with comments was that the COVID-19 pandemic is over.

Castaños calls the vote a “knee jerk” reaction without public input.  “We had built greater community activity, greater engagement in our City Council with our Zoom and call-in options,” noting that people who were sick or had childcare issues could call in from home.  She objects to the decision made “without even taking the time to look at a variety of options that are used by the City of San Diego City  Council or the Board of Supervisors...”

“It affects all boards and commissions for the city of La Mesa...You have to physically be there if you want to make a comment on anything on the agenda,” she added.

Audio: 


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UNOFFICIAL ELECTION RESULTS SHOW FLIPS IN TWO KEY RACES HOLDING

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2024 (San Diego) – The San Diego Registrar of Voters this evening released unofficial results from the primary election. Final results will be certified by 5 p.m. on April 4.  

The only ballots not yet counted countywide are 3,750 mail-in ballots returned with a missing or non-matching signature. Those voters were mailed letters giving them until April 2 to provide signatures. Once verified, these “cured” ballots will then be tallied. It is unclear how many of those ballots will be cured and counted, and how many are in any given district.

Below is an update on close races in East County, where flips in two key Assembly races since election night appear to have held.


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COUNTY APPROVES 17 SAFE RV PARKING SITES FOR HOMELESS IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service
 
Photo courtesy: Google Maps
 
March 17, 2024 (Lakeside) -- Supervisors Wednesday approved construction of the Willow Recreational Vehicle (RV) Senior and Family Parking site in a County-owned site located in the unincorporated Lakeside community at the intersection of Willow Road and Ashwood Street. A concept design has been prepared showing 17 safe RV parking sites, an office space, storage, and restrooms. 

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SHARP-COLLINS SURPASSES VASQUEZ IN 79TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Dr. LaShae Sharp-Collins
 
March 16, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – The 79th Assembly district race is still too close to call.  While La Mesa Councilman Colin Parent is still solidly in first place with 39.65% of the vote (21,745 votes). Educator Dr. LaShae Sharp-Collins has overtaken Lemon Grove Mayor Racquel Vasquez to move into second place.
 
Currently Sharp-Collins has 30.27% (16,597 votes), while Vasquez has 30.08% (16,494 votes).

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SUPERVISORS APPROVE 150 SLEEPING CABINS FOR HOMELESS IN SPRING VALLEY

A similar number of hotel vouchers may be phased out in favor of less glamorous, but fully inclusive, wrap-around services
 
By Jonathan Goetz
 
March 14, 2024 (Spring Valley) -- In an effort to address the homelessness crisis, Supervisors Wednesday voted 4-0 (with Joel Anderson absent due to a medical issue) to spend $18.5 million for 150 sleeping cabins at the corner of Jamacha Road and SR-125 in Spring Valley as part of Governor Gavin Newsom's sleeping cabin effort.

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SANTEE SEEKS PLAN FOR PARK AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING AT BARN SITE

By Mike Allen

March 13, 2024 (Santee) -- Santee is hoping to strike a deal with San Diego County to create a new park surrounding the historic Edgemoor Barn as well as much needed affordable housing.

At its most recent meeting on Feb. 28, the city council approved a resolution supporting a collaborative effort between the city and county for a plan on some 21 acres next to the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Center.


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IT’S A NAIL-BITER IN 79TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Mayor Racquel Vasquez has a slim 8-vote lead over Dr. LaShae Sharp-Collins, in the battle for the second-place run-off slot
 
March 12, 2024 (San Diego’s East County) – If you think your vote doesn’t matter, take a look at the latest results in the 79th Assembly District, where the top two candidates will advance to a November run-off. 

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EL CAJON STATE OF CITY ADDRESS TOUTS REVITALIZATION

By Bransen P. Harper
 
Photos courtesy: City of El Cajon screenshots
 
March 11, 2024 (El Cajon) -- In his State of the City address on February 7, El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells outlined his major plans for growth in a city that has been plagued by several issues related to the post-recovery period of Covid and the homelessness epidemic. 

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