Politics

LA MESA JOINS REGIONAL HOMELESS TASK FORCE, CHANGES COUNCIL MEETING TIMES

 

SDG&E defends its record on safety and clean energy

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos Courtesy City of La Mesa

December 11, 2017 (La Mesa) - City Council voted at its last meeting to officially become a due-paying member of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. La Mesa has been participating by sending staff to the meetings, and this action makes the relationship official. Additionally, meetings will now be held at a standard 6 p.m. instead of the rotating 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and SDG&E’s Public Affairs Manager Cameron Durckel and La Mesa Parks and Recreation Foundation President John Fonseca shared PowerPoints.

READER'S EDITORIAL: THE ULTIMATE UNTHINKABLE OF UNTHINKABLES: TRUMP AXES MUELLER AND GETS AWAY WITH IT

 

By Shaun Mullen, with credit to the Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego online news network)

December 11, 2017 (San Diego) - Will Donald Trump fire Robert Mueller? In an era when the unthinkable occurs with numbing regularity, it looks increasingly likely that he will. But will he get away with it?

BURNED OUT? ROBBED? ACCIDENT VICTIM? TAX BILL TAKES AWAY DEDUCTIONS FOR PERSONAL CASUALTY LOSSES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (San Diego) – If you lose your home or personal property in a natural disaster such as a wildfire or earthquake, or suffer theft, accident or vandalism, you won’t be able to deduct those property losses off your taxes after December. That’s because both the Senate and House versions of the Republicans’ tax bill eliminates these tax breaks.

SENATE APPROVES TAX BILL WITH DEEP, PERMANENT CUTS FOR CORPORATIONS BUT ONLY SMALL, SHORT-TERM CUTS FOR OTHERS

 

Loss of deductions and undercutting Affordable Care Act could eliminate savings for many middle class and low-income families and individuals

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (Washington D.C.) --By a narrow 51 to 49 vote, the Senate has approved a sweeping tax overhaul bill that marks the first significant legislative victory for President Donald Trump.  The Tax Cut and Jobs Act is broad, providing major long-term cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals plus short-term tax cuts for millions of other Americans.

But many of the savings for ordinary Americans will be negated, since the bill also takes away numerous tax deductions and eliminates a key provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act Act, meaning premiums will rise and many will lose healthcare, the Washington Post, Forbes and New York Times report. 

A Washington Post analysis finds that 62 percent of Americans will get a tax cut of at least $100 in 2019, but 38 percent will get no tax cuts. Less than half (44 percent) would have cuts of $500 or more—and most of those are wealthy, not middle class or low income families. By 2027, only 16 percent of individuals will still have tax cuts; 84 percent of Americans will have none.  But the cuts for corporations are permanent.

53 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS PRESS FOR DISASTER AID FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE SURVIVIVORS, INCLUDING ALL SAN DIEGO MEMBERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Smouldering remains of a mobile home park burned in the Tubbs Fire in October 2017;  CC by ATS

December 2, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Yesterday, 53 members of Congress including all five San Diego-area representatives signed a letter sent to House Appropriations Committee leaders urging that $4.4 billion to aid California wildfire survivors be added to a disaster relief fund. 

The action comes after President Donald Trump previously ignored pleas from California legislators and Governor Jerry Brown, sending a measure to Congress that included funds for hurricane survivors in Texas and Florida, but not a penny to help those who lost homes, businesses or family members in the October California firestorms.

FLYNN PLEADS GUILTY OF LYING TO FBI, CUTS DEAL WITH PROSECUTORS IN TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 1, 2017 (Washington D.C.)—Former National Security  Advisor and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn pled guilty today to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about his back-channel talks with Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump taking office in efforts to influence U.S. policies on sanctions against Russia and more.

 In court, federal authorities indicated Flynn is cooperating with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign ties to the Kremlin to potentially influence the U.S. presidential race outcome.  Court records indicate Flynn has admitted he was directed by Donald Trump’s transition team officials to contact Russia’s ambassador, the Washington Post reports. 

CA COUNTIES: SENATE TAX BILL WILL FORCE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO RAISE FEES, TAXES

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

November 30, 2017 (Sacramento) - The people who run many of California's counties are speaking out against the tax bill that is about to go up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. They say they're worried it will eliminate important deductions and force local governments to cut services or raise taxes or fees to compensate.

EAST COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATES APPEAR AT FORUM SPONSORED BY INDIVISIBLE

 

By Paul Kruze

November 29, 2017 (El Cajon) - With the election scheduled next year, some 200 East County Democratic Party faithful gathered at the Ronald Reagan Community Center in downtown El Cajon for a 50th Congressional District candidate forum moderated by KPBS public radio and television journalist Mark Sauer in early November, sponsored by the progressive group, Indivisible. The candidates appearing at the forum were Patrick Malloy, Ammar Campa-Najjar and Pierre (Pete) Beauregard. Candidate Josh Butner did not appear at the forum due to a scheduling conflict. Gloria Chadwick and Glenn Jensen, who had launched a campaign for the House seat in March, have since suspended their campaigns.

GAS TAX REPEAL EFFORT LAUNCHED

 

 

East County News Service


November 29, 2017 (San Diego) — A statewide gas tax hike that took effect November 1st under Senate Bill 1 raised gas excise taxes by 12 cents a gallon, also hiking up diesel fuel rates. An increase in vehicle registration fees is also slated to go into effect in January. The money is to be used to fix roads, highways and bridges as well as improving public transit.

EL CAJON COUNCIL IN HOT SEAT WITH HOMELESS FEEDING BAN

 

 

By Paul Kruze

View video of public comment on homeless feeding ban: https://youtu.be/_jJg7WDx_vw

November 28, 2017 (El Cajon) – Members of the El Cajon City Council and Mayor Bill Wells faced vocal opposition Tuesday over the Council’s recently passed temporary ordinance that makes it illegal to feed homeless individuals in City of El Cajon parks.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: JUDICIAL CANDIDATE TIM NADER

Listen to the audio link to hear the full interview, and scroll down for highlights.

"Certainly, I would make sure that I would conduct myself in a way that litigants would know that whatever their background, they are going to be listened to, they are going to get a fair shake, and decisions are going to be made based on the evidence in the case and not based on other factors or biases. I think those are the most important prerequisites for being a good judge." -- Tim Nader

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) –  In an interview originally aired on the East County Magazine Show on KNSJ radio,  San Diego Superior Court Judge candidate Tim Nader discusses his experience and judicial values and views of our criminal justice system. 

Nader has criminal , civil and family law experience. He  worked for the state Attorney General  for many years.  He later served as Mayor and City Councilmember in Chula Vista, as a nonprofit executive director, as a community college board trustee, and  as a child support attorney for the County before returning to the Attorney General’s office.

His opponent, Judge Gary Kreep, was censured by the State Commission on Judicial Performance , which found Kreep engaged in 29 acts of judicial misconduct. demonstrating lack of judicial temperament and ran his courtroom in a manner that suggested bias. Kreep made derogatory comments about women attorneys, minorities and people with cases him, among numerous other controversies.

Audio: 

TRUMP REFUSES DISASTER AID SUPPORT FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE VICTIMS; FEDS PROVIDE NOT ONE PENNY

 

Update: An earlier version of this article stated that only one of California's Congressional Republicans joined with Democrats in signing a letter to President Trump asking for disaster aid for the fire victims.  The article has been updated to include a separate letter signed by Congressman Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, both San Diego Republicans, asking Trump for the disaster aid.

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Just in time for Thanksgiving, President Donald Trump’s White House sent Congress a skimpy disaster relief funding request that includes not one penny for survivors of the worst wildfires in California history, those that ravaged the wine region and other areas recently.  The measure provided only bare-bones funding for states that suffered hurricane damage.

LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL TAKING RISKS TO INVEST IN CITY STREETS

 

Photo: (L-R) Councilmember Jerry Jones, Mayor Pro Tem Jennifer Mendoza, Mayor Racquel Vasquez, Councilman Matt Mendoza, Councilman David Arambula

By Jonathan Goetz

November 22, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- Two recent votes by the Lemon Grove City Council allocate additional funds for city streets based on promises of additional funds that may or may not materialize.

CONGRESSMAN HUNTER ASKS SHERIFF GORE FOR CLARITY ON CONCEALED GUN PERMITS

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By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a political action committee promoting Second Amendment rights, has long opposed what it contends is an undisclosed internal policy on who can qualify for a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit. SDCGO says that Sheriff Bill Gore routinely denies CCW permits to law-abiding, trained county residents who qualify under state law for a CCW.

TAX BILL PASSES HOUSE, OPPOSED BY 4 OF 5 SAN DIEGO CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS: SENATE ADDS HEALTHCARE REPEAL TO TAX MEASURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated with analysis from Forbes Magazine.

November 19, 2017 (San Diego) – House Republicans rammed through passage of a sweeping tax reform measure without holding a single hearing on the 400-page bill and without allowing any input from Democrats.   The measure, hailed as the first major legislative victory for President Donald Trump, was opposed by San Diego’s three Democratic representatives as well as by Republican Darrell Issa, but was supported by Republican Duncan Hunter. 

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CONVENES SESSION WITH GREEN BUILDING INDUSTRY LEADERS TO BRING MANUFACTURING JOBS TO EAST COUNTY

 

“We can create at least 6,000 jobs here.” – Pete Beauregard

By Miriam Raftery

November 17, 2017 (Ramona) – Out of the ashes of the 2007 firestorm in Ramona, Casa Aguilar arose.  The home of Pete  Beauregard and his wife, Amy McQuillan, just won the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 Innovation Award for zero net energy use. It’s also built to withstand wildfires. 

On October 24, Beauregard, a rancher, veteran, ex-rodeo bullrider and candidate for Congress in the 50th Congressional district took the bull by the horns and convened a think tank meeting at his visionary home. The event brought together top green industry leaders to brainstorm ideas for bringing green manufacturing and building jobs to East County.

PROTESTS, PETITION SEEK TO OVERTURN EL CAJON’S BAN ON FEEDING HOMELESS IN PARKS

 

Update: Hear our interview with Dash McTavish from Food Not Bombs, a group planning to feed the homeless Nov. 25 in defiance of  El Cajon's ban.  Click the audio link to hear the interviewed originally aired on KNSJ.

By Miriam Raftery

November 12, 2017 (El Cajon) – Protest rallies on November 19th and 25th are being organized to oppose the El Cajon City Council’s unanimous decision to outlaw feeding the homeless and other city-owned properties, after previously banning camping in parks, sleeping on sidewalks and panhandling.  An online petition also calls on Mayor Bill Wells and the City Council to overturn the ban.  

Audio: 

TRUMP NAMES ELI LILLY PHARMACEUTICAL EXECUTIVE TO HEAD HEALTH & HUMAN SERVICES

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 13, 2017 (Washington D.C.) — Alex Azar, a long-time pharmaceutical industry executive, has been appointed by President Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. 

TAX PROPOSAL WOULD REVERSE PROGRESS IN ENSURING ALL CALIFORNIA VETERANS HAVE A PLACE TO CALL HOME

 

East County News Service

November 15, 2017 (Sacramento) – CalVet Secretary Dr. Vito Imbasciani has issued a stating warning veterans about the impacts of the tax proposal in Congress.

He says, “Former service members living in California could end up on the streets if Congress passes its draft tax proposal. This hasty plan would eliminate tax-exempt bonds, which help us fight homelessness and find affordable housing for California veterans.”

DID TRUMP TAMPER WITH A WITNESS IN MUELLER INVESTIGATION?

 

By Miriam Raftery

Judicial nominee Brett J. Talley failed to disclose that his wife, a White House lawyer, is a witness in the Mueller investigation

November 14, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – A former White House ethics lawyer is accusing President Donald Trump of tampering with a witness in special prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russia and whether Trump has obstructed justice.

TRUMP REMARKS ON PUTIN ELECTION MEDDLING DRAW DENIAL BY PUTIN AIDE AND CRITICISM FROM CIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2017 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump told reporters on Air Force One that Russian President Vladimir Putin has denied meddling in the U.S. election-and that Trump believes Putin, The Hill reports.  But now Putin’s aide has denied any such conversation took place – and the head of the C.I.A. says Russia definitely did meddle in the 2016 presidential election. 

DEMOCRATS SWEEP ELECTORAL VICTORIES IN STATE AND LOCAL RACES NATIONWIDE

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2017 (San Diego) — Across the nation, Democrats scored decisive victories in elections held Tuesday.  As CNN put it, “Across the map, in mayoral contests, state legislative races and ballot measures, everything broke Democrats' way.”

LEGAL FILINGS TIE KALASHO TO FAKE SOCIAL MEDIA ACCOUNTS USED TO SMEAR TACO SHOP, OFFER DETAILS ON “FAKE” NUDE BEAUTY QUEEN PHOTOS

 

Kalasho claims he’s being framed by beauty queens and taco shop owner suing him;

Kalasho’s wife admitted visiting friend In Cerritos, when the allegedly fake nude beauty queen photos were posted online from her friend’s home

By Miriam Raftery

November 6, 2017 (El Cajon) – Today, plaintiffs suing El Cajon Councilman Bessmon “Ben” Kalasho filed an anti-SLAPP motion asking that Kalasho’s countersuit against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop be dismissed as retaliatory and violating their First Amendment rights to speak to the press about their case.   

California’s anti-SLAPP statute prohibits public officials from filing what are known as SLAPP suits to retaliate against members of the public for exercising their free speech and right to petition the government for redress of grievances.  Kalasho’s countersuit took issue with plaintiffs talking to the media, specifically the Reader, about their case.

LORENA GONZALEZ FLETCHER LAUNCHES “FAIR SCHEDULING” BILL TO GUARANTEE WORKERS ADVANCE NOTICE OF SHIFTS

 

Measure aims to help workers balance needs of work, family and school

East County News Service

November 5, 2017 (San Diego) -- State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) announced this week that she will author legislation in 2018 to prevent erratic scheduling practices that have become common in part-time workplaces.

SANTEE COUNCIL CHOOSES CINEMARK FOR THEATRE MULTIPLEX; APPROVES TRAFFIC FLOW PLAN WITHOUT MAST BOULEVARD EXTENSION

 

By Paul Kruze

Link to audio of Santee City Council Meeting, Oct. 25, 2017

November 3, 2017 (Santee) -- Cinemark Theatres won unanimous approval from the Santee City Council Wednesday to operate a multiplex movie theater. The multiplex theater is to be built on a seven-acre parcel purchased last spring from the County of San Diego near the Santee Town Center shopping mall and Parc One apartment complex at 320 Town Center Parkway.

TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER, 2 OTHER AIDES INDICTED IN MUELLER PROBE: CHARGES INCLUDE CONSPIRACY AGAINST UNTED STATES

By Miriam Raftery

October 31, 2017 (Washington D.C. )  -- George Papadopoulos, foreign policy advisor to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, has pled guilty to criminal charges pertaining to his dealings with Russian foreign nationals. Two others,Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his business associate  Rick Gates, have been arrested and indicted on felony charges, court documents unsealed on Monday reveal. 

The 12 counts include charges of conspiracy against the U.S., failing to register as foreign agents, making false statements to federal investigators, tax fraud, and laundering tens of millions of dollars through offshore accounts for clients in the Ukraine,  including former Ukranian president Viktor Yanukovych, Associated Press reports. Yanukovych was a staunch ally of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

KALASHO THREATENS EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE—AND LOSES NONPROFIT STATUS OF HIS BEAUTY PAGEANT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 1, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Councilman Bessmon "Ben" Kalasho has escalated his war on media outlets that have published factual investigative reports on his business, political, legal and ethical controversies.

After first threatening litigation against the San Diego Union-Tribune and ridiculing its reporters, Kalasho has now threatened to sue East County Magazine (ECM), though he has not disputed the accuracy of any specific points in our reports. He has also made provably false, defamatory and malicious statements about our media outlet and reporters, as we have documented clearly in this article.

Ironically, amid his baseless efforts to smear our reputable nonprofit, his own nonprofit beauty pageant has had its nonprofit status revoked by the State of California, the Attorney General confirmed to ECM.

VOTER FRAUD QUESTIONS HAUNT LA MESA'S NEW SCHOOL BOARD MEMBER

 

By Ken Stone

Originally published by Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Rebekah Basson, 25, was appointed to the La Mesa-Spring Valley school board in August. Photo by Ken Stone

November 1, 2017 (La Mesa) - La Mesa’s new school board member voted in Georgia’s November 2016 election despite later swearing that she had been a resident of the East County district for 1 1/2 years — going back to about January 2016.

KALASHO OBJECTS TO CITIZEN CALLING FOR HIS RESIGNATION; EL CAJON COUNCIL BANS FEEDING OF HOMELESS IN PARKS OVER HEPATITS CONCERNS

 

By Paul Kruze

November 1, 2017 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon’s City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to ban feeding of the homeless in public places due to hepatitis concerns, fill a vacancy on its veterans’ commission, and approve a residential housing development. But the most contentious moments came during an impassioned plea from a citizen calling for Councilmember Ben Kalasho to resign, over objections of Kalasho, who sought to silence the resident from speaking out.

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