Politics

POLITICAL WRANGLING: FLAME WARS IN ALPINE, SOCIAL MEDIA RESPONSES TO SANTEE SLOGAN AND MORE

By Buck Schott
 
December 12, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – This week, we bring you sizzling barbs lobbed by East County public officials, ouster of a local school board president off the state school boards association, and snarky responses on social media to Santee’s new city slogan and logo. 

COURTS HAVE AVOIDED REFEREEING BETWEEN CONGRESS AND THE PRESIDENT, BUT TRUMP MAY FORCE THEM TO WADE IN

By Kirsten Carlson, Wayne State University

This article is republished in " The Conversation" http://theconversation.com under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article at https://theconversation.com/courts-have-avoided-refereeing-between-congress-and-the-president-but-trump-may-force-them-to-wade-in-128269

Photo:  President Donald Trump’s claims of executive privilege may end up at the Supreme Court. Here, he’s with Chief Justice John Roberts after taking the oath of office, Jan. 20, 2017. AP/Jim Bourg/Pool Photo

December 10, 2019 (Washington D.C.) - President Donald Trump’s refusal to hand over records to Congress and allow executive branch employees to provide information and testimony to Congress during the impeachment battle is the strongest test yet of legal principles that over the past 200 years have not yet been fully defined by U.S. courts.

SCRIPTED KUSI INTERVIEW WITH DUNCAN HUNTER DEBATED BY JOURNALISM, PR PROS

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  KUSI anchor Anna Laurel at 4 p.m. Monday newscast told viewers that exclusive interview with Rep. Duncan Hunter on his coming guilty plea was conducted on condition that certain questions had to be asked. Image via KUSI.com

December 8, 2019 (San Diego) - When Rep. Duncan D. Hunter stood outdoors before cameras Tuesday after his guilty plea in federal court, he declined to take questions, saying his full statement was on KUSI-TV.

ISSA CALLS FOR TRUMP TO PARDON REP. HUNTER, THEN RECEIVES SENIOR HUNTER ENDORSEMENT

DeMaio and Campa-Najjar oppose presidential pardon
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: Darrell Issa during campaign kick-off in El Cajon
 
December 8, 2019 (San Diego) - On the heels of Congressman Duncan Hunter announcing that he will resign from Congress following his guilty plea to misusing campaign funds for personal expenses, former Congressman Darrell Issa voiced support for President Trump to pardon Hunter.Issa told the San Diego Union-Tribune that a pardon could “balance the public good” by saving on prison costs.

SUPERVISORS CHANGE LANGUAGE ON BALLOT MEASURE SUBMITTED BY OPPONENTS OF NEWLAND SIERRA, ADOPT DEVELOPER’S DESCRIPTION

Project would include 2,135 homes to help meet housing demand plus retail and commercial development; opponents cite concerns over traffic, evacuation during wildfires, and loss of wildlife habitat

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2019 (San Diego) – Over 100,000 residents signed a petition opposing the controversial Newland Sierra housing development approved by Supervisors, qualifying an initiative to appear on the March 2020 ballot after to let voters decide whether or not to allow the massive project.  But after the developer, Newland Communities, threatened legal action if neutral wording wasn’t changed, Supervisors voted 3-2 to adopt ballot language changes nearly identical to changes demanded by the developer.

The action angered environmentalists and planning groups opposed to the project, who only learned of the proposed changes when the matter showed up on an agenda days before the Nov. 19 vote.   Supervisors met twice in secret closed-door meetings, first voting down the changes 3-2. But then Supervisor Greg Cox changed his mind, joining with Kristin Gaspar and Jim Desmond to approve the developer-backed wording. Both Gaspar and Desmond have taken campaign contributions from Newland.

HUNTER TO RESIGN AFTER HOLIDAYS: MAY FORFEIT CONGRESSIONAL PENSION

By Miriam Raftery

December 6, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter today issued a statement which reads,"Shortly after the holidays I will resign from Congress.  I has been an honor to serve the people of California's 50th District, and I greatly appreciate the trust they have put in me over these last 11 years." 

The announcement comes after Hunter pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal use. His sentencing is scheduled in March. He could face up to five years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine, the amount that he and his wife were accused of taking from the campaign coffers.

But prison and a hefty fine may not be the only penalties for his actions.

SEN. ATKINS SAYS NEW TRUMP RULE COULD CUT FOOD STAMPS FOR 700,000 CALIFORNIANS

By Chris Jennewein

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

Photo:  An applicant signs up for food stamps, known as CalFresh in California, at a low-income health clinic in Contra Costa County. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

December 5, 2019 (San Diego) - Senate President Toni G. Atkins warned Wednesday that a tightening of work rules by the Trump administration could end food assistance for 700,000 people in California.

HOUSE ETHICS COMMITTEE STRIPS HUNTER OF VOTING IN BIPARTISAN ACTION AFTER GUILTY PLEA

By Miriam Raftery

December 5, 2019 (San Diego) – In a bipartisan action, today leaders of the House Ethics Committee sent Congressman Duncan D. Hunter a letter notifying him that he should no longer cast any votes in the House, due to his guilty plea on conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal expenditures.

While the order is not mandatory, the letter threatens disciplinary action if he fails to comply, which could include expulsion from the House. The letter was signed by Ethics Chairman Ted Deutch of Florida, a Democrat, and ranking member Kenny Marchant, a Republican.

Hunter has previously been stripped by Republicans in the House of serving on any committees. His 50th Congresional district is thus left without representation on all voting matters, though his staff can continue to provide constituent services. 

He could resume voting if reelected, but if he chooses to run for reelection in 2020, he could be in prison and unable to serve. Hunter is slated for sentencing in March and could face up to five years in prison plus a quarter of a million dollar fine – the same amount he was accused of embezzling from his campaign.

REP. HUNTER TELLS KUSI HE WILL PLEAD GUILTY

 East County News Service

Photo by Ken Stone, Times of San Diego

December 2, 2019 (San Diego) – In an interview on KUSI television today,  Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) announced that he plans to plead guilty in federal court tomorrow to one count of misuse of campaign funds. 

A change of hearing notice filed by his attorney, Devin Burstein, confirms the plea change, stating, “Change of Plea Hearing set for 12/3/2019 10:00 AM in Courtroom 3C before Judge Thomas J. Whelan. (Change in type of hearing only)," Times of San Diego reports.

HUNTER PLEADS GUILTY TO CONSPIRACY TO MISUSE CAMPAIGN FUNDS FOR PERSONAL USE; TELLS MEDIA HE WILL RESIGN FROM CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Congressman Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret

December 3, 2019 (San Diego) -- Congressman Duncan D. Hunter pleaded guilty today in federal court to one count of conspiracy to misuse campaign funds for personal use.  His admission of guilt  comes after months of claiming he was innocent and a target of a political witch hunt. 

The Republican Congressman from Alpine could face up to five years in prison and a quarter of a million dollar fine – ironically, the same amount that he and his wife were accused of embezzling from their campaign and spending on a lavish personal lifestyle.  He is slated for sentencing on March 17th and could received a lesser sentence, such as a shorter prison term, probation or community service.  His wife, Margaret, earlier pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and will be sentenced in April.

Hunter, a former Marine combat veteran, could have faced decades in prison if found guilty in a trial on 60 federal charges that included wire fraud and falsifying campaign reports to hide theft of funds spent on family vacations overseas, overnight trysts with five mistresses, oral surgery bills and airfare for a pet rabbit, among other illegal uses of campaign donors’ money.

KAMALA HARRIS ENDS PRESIDENTIAL BID, BUT VOWS TO HELP DEFEAT TRUMP

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo: Senator Kamala Harris. Courtesy of the campaign

December 3, 2019 (San Diego) -- Sen. Kamala Harris announced Tuesday that she is ending her campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The junior Senator and former Attorney General of California was one of the first to announce a candidacy, but has been lagging in the polls and fundraising in recent months.

CONGRESSIONAL BLACK CAUCUS HOLDS FOREIGN SUBCOMMITTEE FIELD HEARING AFTER AFRICAN MIGRANT DIES IN OTAY DETENTION CENTER

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

Dec. 1,  2019 (San Ysidro) “How is it that some of the poorest nations around the world can take in people in crisis?” questioned Rep. Karen Bass (D-37th) at a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee Field Hearing held at the San Ysidro Public Library on Nov. 22. 

 

“What can we learn from these countries? How do international organizations like the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Organization for Migration and others monitor and advise on the surge in migrants, refugees and asylum seekers? What are the international protocols, norms, standards, and practices that should be followed?” she continued. “Basically, I want to know, what can we learn from other countries around the world. But mostly, I want to understand where the United States is with regard to these practices, norms and standards.”

COUNTY POSTPONES WORKSHOP IN STREAMLINING BUILDING PERMIT PROCESS TO DEC. 13

Environmental leader criticizes streamlining effort as “abuse of authority.”
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
November 30, 2019 (San Diego) – The County Planning Commission will hold a workshop to discuss ways to streamline its discretionary permitting process on Friday, Dec. 13 at 9 a.m. at the County Operations Center conference hearing room, 5520 Overland Rd., San Diego, 92123
 
The hearing was originally slated for Nov. 22 but postponed due to lack of a quorum. The new agenda can be found at the County Planning Commission webpage.

DR. HELEN L. HORVATH, 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATE, HOLDS A TOWN HALL AND FOOD DRIVE IN ALPINE DEC. 13

East County News Service

November 30, 2019 (Alpine) --  Dr. Helen Horvath, candidate for the 50th Congressional District, will hold a candidate forum and community food drive at the Alpine Library Community Room in Alpine on Dec. 13 from 5-7 p.m.

Topics will include:

  • Integrative Community Services
  • Women’s healthcare
  • Veterans’ initiatives
  • Small business concerns and development
  • Senior Care (Medicare, social security, and related topics)
  • Balanced budget efforts
  • Immigration and border security
  • Other community topics as they are requested

Residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for redistribution in our community.  Click this link for more information about the food drive. Food is only accepted on the day of the Town Hall Meeting. The food drive is part of a two-month “hand-up” campaign starting Dec. 1 that Horvath has launched, asking constituents to bring non-perishable foods to her community coffees and town halls.

CAJON VALLEY TRUSTEE JILL BARTO FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST DISTRICT, SUPERINTENDENT, AND BOARD OF TRUSTEES

 

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

November 28, 2019 (El Cajon) -- Longtime Cajon Valley Union School District Board member Jill Barto on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the district, Superintendent David Miyashiro and four trustees over what her attorney, Mike Aguirre, alleges are violations of her civil and First Amendment rights.

The suit alleges that since she was re-elected to her seat on the Board of Trustees in November 2018, she experienced retaliation and had her civil rights violated by Miyashiro and others after she questioned Miyashiro’s use of district funds and his travel at district expense.

“The School District Board Superintendent and four other board members have retaliated against Plaintiff and conspired against her in violation of her First Amendment rights under the United States Constitution,” the suit alleges. “Defendant’s retaliatory conduct has repeatedly tried to prevent Plaintiff from fully representing the constituents that elected her to the Board,” it continues. The suit lists does 1-50, leaving open the possibility of adding other defendants.

SENATOR JONES HONORS THREE LA MESA BROTHERS WHO EARNED NATIONAL EAGLE SCOUT AWARDS

Jacob, Joshua and Noah Epperson of La Mesa completed three local community projects

East County News Service

Photo:  pictured with Senator Brian Jones are Jacob, Noah and Joshua Epperson during a ceremony in Senator Jones' El Cajon District office.

November 27, 2019 (El Cajon) - Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) yesterday met with and presented official Senate Certificates of Recognition to three local brothers who all earned their National Eagle Scout awards on the same day last month.

WHO WANTS TO BE THE NEXT LEMON GROVE COUNCILMEMBER AND PLANNNG COMMISSIONER? HERE ARE ALL THE APPLICANTS

By Miriam Raftery

November 26, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – The Lemon Grove City Council will hold a special meeting on December 2 at 6 p.m. to interview applicants to fill vacancies on the City Council and Planning Commission.  A wide range of people have applied for these positions, bringing a diversity of skills and backgrounds. 

Here are summaries of each applicant's primary qualifications and aspirations:

CAL FIRE FIREFIGHTERS ENDORSE STEVE VAUS FOR SUPERVISOR IN DISTRICT 2



 

East County News Service

November 23, 2019 (San Diego) – The CAL FIRE firefighters union has endorsed Poway Mayor Steve Vaus for Supervisor.

“We recognize that Steve has a proven ability to bring people together to get things done. Most importantly, he truly cares about helping the hard-working men and women protecting our community,” says Patrick Walker, Vice President of CAL FIRE Local #2881 10th district.

REGISTRAR URGES ACTION IN POSTCARDS TO VOTERS

Voting for President? Make sure your ballot has the option you want!
 
 
By: Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office
 
November 24, 2019 (San Diego) - Postcards showed up in the mailboxes of 1.8 million registered San Diego County voters last week, alerting them to political party rules on voting for president in the March 3, 2020 primary election.

FPPC CLOSED COMPLAINT AGAINST ROSIAK AND WITHDREW WARNING LETTER

 

Update Nov. 25, 2019:  Lemon Grove has confirmed that it has no records of any prior complaints filed against any other candidates for violation of campaign contribution or disclosure requirements in the past 10 years.

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Earlier this month, we reported that the city of Lemon Grove has filed a complaint in Superior Court accusing Rosiak of misdemeanors in her 2018 campaign over campaign contributions and disclosure requirements, but Rosiak accused the city of improperly targeting her for political retribution.  Rosiak told ECM, “The FPPC (Fair Political Practices Commission) cannot provide help or an opinion, but my filings were received by them and they have no issues with me.” 

The city contends that Rosiak borrowed money from her campaign and didn’t pay it back within 30 days, nor disclose expenditures on her behalf totaling over $100.  The city claims Rosiak violated state and city laws.

ECM asked the FPPC for a record of any FPPC complaint against Rosiak and the resolution, and the FPPC has now responded.

The FPPC confirmed that did send  a warning letter on July 13, 2018 regarding a missed filing deadline of form 470 in her campaign for Lemon Grove City Council. However, that warning letter was later withdrawn on July 16, 2018 after Rosiak stated she had sent a copy of the statement to the County Registrar’s office 10 days before the deadline via U.P.S. When notified by the Registrar that it had not arrived, she emailed a copy of the paperwork which she had retained.

HUNTER DUMPS LEGAL TEAM

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2019 (Alpine) – Indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter has fired his three trial attorneys a month before his federal corruption trial is slated to begin Jan. 22.  Hunter wants former District Attorney Paul Pfingst to represent him – but now the U.S. Attorney is asking the court to disqualify Pfingst over a conflict of interest since Pfingst’s law firm  (Higgs, Fletcher & Mack) represented witnesses who testified to the grand jury that later indicted Hunter.

IMPEACHMENT HEARING HIGHLIGHTS: WEEK TWO

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: President Donald Trump with Ambassador Gordon Sondland, who donated a million dollars to Trump's campaign but provided damning testimony implicating Trump and top officials in illegal activities.

November 22, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – The second week of impeachment hearings before the House Intelligence Committee brought drama and surprises. Below are highlights of key witness testimony and summation statements from the Committee's top Democrat and Republican Senators.

Ambassador Sondland: “Was there a quid pro quo?...The answer is yes…Everyone was in the loop.”

COUNTY ASKS D.A. TO PROBE JOEL ANDERSON’S CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FOR SUPERVISOR RACE; HIS CAMPAIGN CALLS ALLEGATIONS “BOGUS”

Anderson has long history of campaign finance issues, special interest ties

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Major donors Gregg and Debby Hamann with Anderson at his 2008 holiday party

November 16, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The County has asked the District Attorney’s office to investigate allegations of criminal campaign finance violations by Joel Anderson's supervisorial campaign, in response to an inquiry made by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the newspaper reported.

SANTEE LEANS TO CURFEW ON COUNCIL MEETINGS, GIVES CITY MANAGER NICE RAISE

By Mike Allen
 
November 15, 2019 (Santee) -- Public speakers at Santee City Council meetings currently may have to sit for more than three hours before they can state their beefs to the city in a public forum.
 
But the Council is considering changing that format, along with a few other things, including establishing a curfew on how long meetings run.

IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS: WEEK 1 WRAP-UP

By Miriam Raftery

November 15, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – The House Intelligence Committee held its first open impeachment hearings this week into allegations that President Donald Trump abused his powers by withholding military aide from the Ukraine and potentially committing bribery for personal gain. The President is accused of pressuring Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate Hunter Biden, the son of former Vice President Joe Biden, a leading contender for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

You can view full video coverage and highlights of the impeachment hearings on C-Span at https://www.c-span.org/impeachment/.

Below are summaries and highlights of this week’s testimony, as well as reactions from leading Congressional Democrats and Republicans:

 

ROGER STONE FOUND GUILTY OF DEATH THREAT AGAINST WITNESS, LYING TO CONGRESS DURING RUSSIA PROBE TO COVER UP FOR TRUMP

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Roger Stone, CC by NA

November 15, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – “You are a rat.  A stoolie. Prepare to die,” long-time Trump ally Roger Stone texted to a witness slated to appear before the House Intelligence Committee regarding Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s probe into Trump-Russia ties. The  trial revealed damning evidence not only against Stone, but also evidence discrediting statements made by Donald Trump in which Trump denied discussing hacked emails during his presidential campaign.

The witness, radio host Randy Credico, was Stone’s intermediary to Wikileaks and Julian Assange to obtain details on e-mails stolen from the Democratic National Committee that were damaging to Hillary Clinton, Trump’s 2016 political rival.  Stone also urged the witness via e-mail to follow the actions of “Godfather II” character Frank Pentangeli, who lied to Congress to avoid incriminating Mafia boss Michael Corleone.

ROSIAK CLAIMS LEMON GROVE COMPLAINT IS POLITICALLY MOTIVATED

By Miriam Raftery

November 14, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Teresa Rosiak has run for Lemon Grove’s city council and mayoral positions in the past, but did not win election. She’s also been a vocal critic at council meetings and is a potential candidate in 2020.  The city has filed a complaint in Superior Court accusing Rosiak of misdemeanors in her 2018 campaign over campaign contributions and disclosure requirements, but Rosiak accuses the city of improperly targeting her for political retribution.

“The city again is not using the taxpayer’s dollars properly,” says Rosiak (also known as Rosiak-Proffit) in an e-mail to ECM, adding, “They want me to be discredited since I am outspoken and they will do this regardless of the cost to the taxpayers.”

Rosiak, a former Lemon Grove Chamber of Commerce president, is a fiscal conservative. The Council majority is Democratic.  She has criticized the Council on spending priorities, dipping into budget reserves, litigation in which the city has been embroiled over assault allegations against Councilman David Arambula, and has called for resignations of Arambula,  Mayor Racquel Vasquez and City Manager Lydia Romero.

WHAT SHOULD LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL REQUIRE OF APPLICANTS TO FILL VACANCY? COMMUNITY WEIGHS IN; FORUM FOR APPLICANTS NOV. 13

By Miriam Raftery

November 12, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove is now accepting applications for appointment to fill the vacancy on the City Council left by the resignation of Matt  Mendoza, who moved to Florida for his job.

The appointment process raises questions over what criteria should be considered, beyond basic residency and age requirements, in choosing the next councilmember.

JAMUL-DULZURA PLANNNG GROUP’S TUESDAY AGENDA INCLUDES COTTONWOOD SAND MINE AND SAVE OUR SAN DIEGO COUNTRYSIDE INITIATIVE

East County News Service 

November 11, 2019 (Jamul) – The Jamul-Dulzura Community Planning Group’s meeting tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. will include preliminary discussion of both the Cottonwood Sand Mine and the Save Our San Diego Countryside Initiative. The latter is a county-wide ballot measure that would require voter approval before Supervisors could waive General Plan density developments for residential projects in rural areas. There will also be an update on the Jamul Casino.

WATERGATE REVISTED: IN THE MIDST OF IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY

 

My Watergate Scandal Tell-All: How I Unwittingly Caused This Historic Event, by Bruce Givner (ExecuProv Press, Santa Ana, California, 2019, 258 pages.)

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“This is a story I’ll tell to my students many times. Internships can make history!”

  • Larry J. Sabato, Director, UVA Center for Politics

November 8, 2019 (San Diego) - The Watergate story never dies. It has become more and more intriguing (and popular) as time goes by. It has evoked comment many a time when a Washington D.C. official becomes entangled in a self-styled web of deception. Watergate is no longer the name of a hotel and office complex. It is more than a proper noun that branded a piece of property and cemented its “title” in numerous pages of history books. It is now the go-to reference to identify any scandal, though its origin was first reserved for the most sordid political scandal our nation has ever witnessed – at least up until the writing of this book. In that respect, it ranks right up there in significance with Teapot Dome, Wounded Knee and Gettysburg.

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