Politics

STATE AUDITOR SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR 2020 CITIZENS REDISTRICTING COMMISSION

By Chris Jennewein

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Eligible voters are urged to register at a Democratic rally in 2018. Photo by Chris Stone

July 21, 2019 (San Diego) - Concerned about the political gerrymandering that is the norm across much of the United States?  

You can do your part to make California different by applying for one of the 14 seats on the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission.

HOUSE VOTES TO REPEAL HEFTY TAX SET TO LEVY EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH PLANS

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 19, 2019 (San Diego) – By an overwhelming 419 to 6 vote, the House of Representatives has passed H.R. 748, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019.  The measure, if approved by the Senate and the President, would repeal the so-called “Cadillac Tax,” an Affordable Care Act provision set to roll out in 2022 (postponed from 2020). It would impose a 40% excise tax on generous employer-provided health insurance plans for employees and families.

LA MESA COUNCIL WEIGHS PARKING DISTRICT FUND TO ATTRACT SHOPPERS DOWNTOWN, HOUSING ON EX- POLICE STATION SITE, AND CANNABIS TAX FIX

By Allan Acevedo
 
July 19, 2019 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa City Council meeting last week started with public comments from speakers advocating to keep a Farmer’s Market downtown. The early testimony foreshadows what could be a contentious next session, when Council will consider four proposals for the future of its farmer’s market.  

HUNTER ORDERED TO HALT USING MARINE CORPS SYMBOL AND SLOGAN IN CAMPAIGN AFTER LATEST ATTACK MAILER

By Miriam Raftery

July 18, 2019 (San Diego) – The U.S. Marine Corps has sent a letter ordering Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) to cease and desist using the official Marines emblem and slogan on any campaign materials. 

The demand comes after Hunter sent a misleading and Islamophobic mailer to smear his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is Catholic. 

HOUSE VOTES TO CONDEMN `RACIST’ TWEETS BY TRUMP AGAINST FOUR CONGRESSWOMEN OF COLOR

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – For the first time in over 100 years, the House of Representatives today voted to condemn the actions of a President. Congressional members voted 240 to 187 to formally condemn President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts attacking four minority Congresswomen as “racist,” in the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her floor speech.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPOINTS CABRERA TO PLANNING COMMISSION

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, from left to right:  Mike Aquawi, Humbert Cabrera, Nathan Cornett, Robert Pennoyer, Amanda McGimpsey, Jaqueline Sona

 

July 15, 2019 (El Cajon) --The final chapter of the drama-filled Ben Kalasho novel was written on Tuesday when local businessman Humbert Cabrera was appointed to the El Cajon Planning Commission. The seat was recently vacated by the recent appointment of Phil Ortiz to the El Cajon City Council in May to replace Kalasho, who resigned in March after two stormy years on the Council.

CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS INTRODUCES BILL TO END STUDENT LOAN TAX

East County News Service

July 13, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) - Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee,  Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Ranking Member of the subcommittee, and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) have introduced legislation to eliminate all administrative fees on federal student loans, which would save students over $1.7 billion per year.

EAST COUNTY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL HOSTS REGIONAL ISSUES FORUM ON JULY 27

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2019 (El Cajon) – The East County Leadership Council will host its second annual regional issues forum on July 27 from 1-3 p.m. at the El Cajon Library (201 E. Douglas Ave. in El Cajon).

DUNCAN HUNTER'S LAWYER IS HEAVY DEMOCRATIC DONOR; GAVE CLINTON NEARLY $7,500

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Gregory A. Vega of downtown San Diego’s Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek law firm came to the defense of his old friend Gonzalo Curiel when the federal judge came under attack from Donald Trump. Image via YouTube.com

July 9, 2019 (San Diego) - At Monday’s hour-long hearing for Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, 22 minutes were devoted to whether two (or possibly three) assistant U.S. attorneys had a political ax to grind against the indicted Republican.

JUDGE DENIES HUNTER REQUESTS TO DROP CHARGES, REMOVE PROSECUTORS, OR MOVE TRIAL OUTSIDE REGION

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
July 8, 2019 (San Diego) – U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan has rejected a trio of requests sought by Congressman Duncan Hunter’s legal team, City News Service reports.
 
Hunter’s lawyers argued that all 60 federal corruption charges should be dismissed or that two prosecutor should be removed because they once attended a presidential campaign event for Hillary Clinton in 2015. The U.S. Attorney’s office said the prosecutors attended the event in their official capacity to help law enforcement. Whelen ruled that prosecutors had sufficient probable cause to prosecute Hunter regardless of the reasons why prosecutors attended the function. 

WHO WANTS TO BE OUR NEXT CONGRESSMAN? HERE ARE THE CANDIDATES RUNNING SO FAR

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, top left to lower right:  Bill Wells, Sam Abed, Matt Rahn, Larry Wilske, Ammar Campa-Najjar, and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter

July 7, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – With Congressman Duncan D. Hunter slated for trial starting in September on 60 federal corruption charges, one Democrat and four Republicans, all men, have established campaign committees to run for Rep. Hunter's seat in 2020. At least two other prominent names have been floated as possible contenders, with more entries possible.

Here are the contenders to date:

HUNTER TWEETS, THEN DELETES PHOTO WITH WHITE NATIONALIST ON JULY 4TH AFTER CRITICISMS

Update July 9:  This photo has been deleted off Hunter's social media. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Hunter spokesman Michael Harrison stated, “Congressman Hunter has never supported or been accused of supporting white supremacy and if anyone were to espouse any such beliefs in a photo with Congressman Hunter they did so without his knowledge or consent,” Harrison said in an email. “To be clear, Congressman Hunter does not personally know this individual, or what his views may be.”

Updated July 7 with information on identity of the man standing next to Hunter: Kristopher Wyrick, founder of an avowed white nationalist organization.  Updated July 8 with statement from Ammar Campa-Najjar.

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2019 (Alpine) – A photo making the rounds on social media claims Congressman Duncan D Hunter spent the Fourth of July in the company of white nationalists.  A photo shows Hunter standing next to a man flashing a hand signal that’s commonly used as a white power symbol as well as A-okay sign.  The image was cropped down from a group photo taken in Alpine, where Rep. Hunter participated in the town’s annual 4th of July Independence Day Parade.

 

However, the man in the photo has an apparent history of participating in and leading groups that espouse white nationalist positions and of  violence against protesters as shown in videos.

 

According to a Times of San Diego report published July 7, the man flashing the white power sign is believed to be Kristopher Wyrick, a cofounder of the Bordertown Patriots, a white nationalist group that organized an event at Chicano Park that reportedly resulted in clashes with counterprotesters and multiple arrests. Wyrick is also reportedly a former member of San Diego Proud Boys and the United Patriot National Front. Will Johnson, who has had two court battles with Wyrick, told Times of San Diego that he's certain it's Wyrick in the photo because  "I've seen him so many times."  Johnson sought a restraining order against Wyrick but lost; Wyrick later won a small claims court against Johnson over lost work time and gun storage costs.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR AIRPORTS? TRUMP STUMBLE ON HISTORY PROMPTS TWITTER WIT

 

East County News Service

July 5, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – During a Fourth of July Salute to America in Washington D.C. yesterday featuring fireworks, tanks and a flyover by military planes, President Donald Trump made a statement filled with historical gaffes, prompting wits to take to Twitter in response.

 

While speaking of the Revolutionary War in 1775 that resulted in American independence from Britain, Trump stated, “The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter in Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our army manned the airports, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory. View video.

 

The first reported airplane flight wasn’t until 1903 with the Wright Brothers,  long after both the Revolutionary War and the later War of 1812 at which Fort McHenry was bombarded by British ships, not America’s army. 

 

The White House has blamed a teleprompter that failed for the President’s ad libbed inaccuracies.

Wits promptly took to Twitter with the hashtags #RevolutionaryWarAirports and #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories.

 

Here are a few humorous highlights:

PROSECUTORS OF DUNCAN HUNTER 14-0 ON MOTIONS, WINNING EVERY PRETRIAL ARGUMENT SO FAR

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Ammar Campa-Najjar addresses media outside the courtroom after Duncan Hunter motions hearing. Photo by Ken Stone

July 2, 2019 (San Diego) - The pretrial Game of Motions isn’t over in USA v. Hunter et al, but Monday saw the government’s attorneys take a 14-0 lead against Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and his legal team.

In a 33-minute flurry of rulings, federal Judge Thomas J. Whelan handed setback after setback to Hunter lead lawyer Gregory A. Vega, hoping to keep his Republican client out of prison on charges including wire fraud, falsification of records and embezzling campaign contributions. He denies them all.

REP. HUNTER’S LAWYERS FILE MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE OF AFFAIRS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Activists have announced a rally Monday morning calling on Rep. Hunter to resign

June 29, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s legal team has filed a motion asking a federal court in San Diego to deny the prosecution’s motion which seeks to admit evidence that Hunter’s alleged misuse of campaign funds included money spent on five extramarital affairs.

'THAT LITTLE GIRL WAS ME': WATCH KAMALA HARRIS CONFRONT JOE BIDEN OVER OPPOSITION TO SCHOOL BUSING AND PRAISE FOR SEGREGATIONISTS

Harris pointed to her personal experience as a child who was "bused to school every day" and slammed Biden's "hurtful" comments on his relationship with senators who built careers on opposition to civil rights

By Jake Johnson

Reprinted from Common Dreams under a creative commons license

Photos:  Kamala Harris, file photo via Ron Logan, and Kalama Harris Facebook page

June 28, 2019 (Miami) - Sen. Kamala Harris directly confronted Joe Biden over his civil rights record during Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate, highlighting the former vice president's opposition to school busing as a senator in the 1970s and his fond recollection of the "civility" of notorious segregationists.

DID AFFAIRS WITH LOBBYISTS INFLUENCE REP. HUNTER’S VOTES? ETHICS WATCHDOG GROUP VOICES CONCERNS

 

Sexual harassment allegation also surfaces

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Update:  Hunter's attorneys have filed a motion seeking to suppress the evidence of the affairs, claiming it would be prejudicial to a jury. Read details.  A judge later denied the motion and ruled that evidence of alleged affairs can be entered as evidence.

 

June 28, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – After federal prosecutors revealed evidence Monday alleging that in Rep. Duncan Hunter illegally spent campaign funds on romantic affairs with five women, including three lobbyists, a major government watchdog group today raises questions over a potentially deeper scandal.

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS GERRYMANDERING FOR PARTISAN PURPOSES

“The bottom line is voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.” – ACLU voting rights attorney Alona Thomas Lundborg, criticizing the decision

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority has ruled that gerrymandering, or the redrawing of district lines to benefit a political party, is not unconstitutional. The ruling drew a blistering dissent by Justice Kagan and harsh criticism from voting rights advocates.

PROSECUTION DETAILS FIVE 'ROMANCES' BY REP. DUNCAN HUNTER USING CAMPAIGN CASH

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

June 25, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter carried on “romances” with five women starting as early as April 2009 using campaign funds to pay for trysts, prosecutors wrote Monday in a motion devastating in detail.

LA MESA COUNCIL APPROVES 3-YEAR OKTOBERFEST CONTRACT AND INCREASED EDCO FEES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: LMVA president Peter Soutowood and Councilwoman Akilah Weber, during Oktoberfest discussion

June 26, 2019 (La Mesa) – La Mesa’s City Council, majority approved a 3-year permit for McFarlane Promotions to run the city’s popular Oktoberfest in partnership with the La Mesa Village Association, which will be from October 4-6 this year.

This year’s event will include several changes including an additional beer garden that will be German-themed with traditional German music, foods, and German-costumed servers.  Event-goers can still find a broader variety of music and foods at another beer garden plus food trucks that will be moved to a side street for improved flow; a total of 45 food vendors and 95 nonfood vendors will be included. There will be two kids fun zones with attractions such as a trampoline, inflatable jumps, and face painting. Wiener dog (dachshund) races, another crowd favorite, will return but be moved to Alison Avenue.

McFarlane will  provide a 50% cost recovery to the city, up to a maximum of $50,000 per year. Councilmembers Kristine Alessio and Akilah Weber voted no, wanting a higher cost recovery rate in the wake of projections that the city will likely have to tap its reserves to balance its budget in the next couple of years.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER: EMAIL PROVES WHY FEDERAL PROSECUTION IS POLITICAL

By Ken Stone

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, shown at recent Ramona forum, says a Freedom of Information Act request generated a Secret Service email indicating San Diego federal prosecutors attended a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser for the sake of getting a photo with the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. Photo by Ken Stone

June 25, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter has long accused the San Diego U.S. Attorney's Office of being out to get him for political reasons. Now his lawyers are hoping a motion filed Monday proves it.

INDEPENDENT VOTERS RISK BEING IRRELEVANT IN CALIFORNIA PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

 

By Ben Christopher, CALMatters

CALmatters is an independent public interest journalism venture covering California state politics and government.

Photo:  Sign at San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa directs customers. Photo by Ken Stone

June 23, 2019 (San Diego) - Presidential challengers hoping to glide to victory through California’s newly relevant primary, a heads-up: Your electoral fate may hinge on convincing enough left-leaning millennials to send postcards over the holiday season.

CALIFORNIA GAS TAX RISES TO HIGHEST IN NATION

East County News Service

June 23, 2019 (Sacramento) --- Starting July 1st, California’s tax on gasoline will rise to over 60 cents per gallon, up from 55.2 cents currently, as a result of legislation signed by former Governor Jerry Brown.  That will make the state’s gas tax the highest in the U.S., so you may want to fill your tank before the end of June.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DEBATES SET FOR JUNE 26 AND 27

By Miriam Raftery

 

June 22, 2019 (San Diego) - The first two debates among Democratic presidential candidates vying to run against Pres. Donald Trump will be held on Wed. and Thurs., June 26 and 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo. The debates can also be viewed live on the three networks’ websites and via their mobile apps.

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AMMAR CAMPA-NAJJAR HOSTS TOWN HALL IN ALPINE AUGUST 18

East County News Service

July 21, 2019, 2019 (Alpine) – Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar will be at a Town Hall Meet and Greet open to the public at the Alpine Community Center on August 18th from 1 to 4 p.m. Food and beverages will be served. The event is hosted by Alpine resident Anne Craig-Tillmond.

 

Campa-Najjar is facing off in the November, 2020 elections against incumbent Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Jr. and/or other primary challengers.

 

The Town Hall format offers an opportunity for constituents to ask questions about issues that matter most to them.

REGISTRATION SHIFTS COULD IMPACT EAST COUNTY RACES

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A generation ago, San Diego County was considered a bastion of conservatism and East County was solid red Republican territory. But that’s changing. First the city of San Diego turned blue and now has nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans. Then the county flipped; today 35.7% of all county residents are Democrats and 27.2% are Republicans, with 31.6% no-party-preference voters. Two of East County’s four incorporated cities now have more Democrats than Republicans, one is evenly split, and a fourth is still staunchly Republican.

HOW WOULD A VACANCY BE FILLED IF REP. HUNTER IS CONVICTED AND EXPELLED FROM CONGRESS, OR RESIGNS?

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s trial on 60 counts of federal corruption charges is scheduled for September. He has pleaded not guilty. However, last week his wife, wife, Margaret, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and is now cooperating with prosecutors. Court documents reveal that she has implicated Rep. Hunter in serious crimes and affirmed that the campaign treasurer told the Hunters that their actions were illegal, but his advice was ignored. Hunter is accused of spending $250,000 of campaign funds for personal use and falsifying federal campaign finance filings to cover up the thefts.

If Congressman Hunter is convicted and either resigns or is expelled by the House of Representatives, a vacancy would be declared and a special election could be called. When or if that could occur, however, depends on several factors.

AT CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAM IN SAN DIEGO, CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR GREEN NEW DEAL

By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
June 15, 2019 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) surprised and mollified a restive crowd of environmentalists Saturday when she announced that when she returns to Washington for Tuesday’s Congressional session she will “be signing onto the Green New Deal.”

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