Politics

GROUPS SLAM TRUMP ADMINISTRATION'S ROLLBACK OF AUTO EMISSION STANDARDS

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

April 3, 2020 (Los Angeles) - Groups that promote public health and clean air and that advocate for consumers all are vowing to fight the Trump administration's new rollback of vehicle-emission standards. The new rule was finalized on Tuesday.

SENTENCING DELAY SOUGHT FOR WIFE OF EX-REP. DUNCAN HUNTER IN CORRUPTION CASE

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  Duncan and Margaret Hunter are shown during November 2015 Italian trip the government says was a family vacation financed by his campaign fund.

March 31, 2020 (San Diego) - Margaret Hunter’s sentencing for her part in the corruption case that forced her congressman husband from office may be delayed a month.

On Monday, government and defense lawyers jointly requested a continuance, or postponement, in the sentencing hearing of former Rep. Duncan D. Hunter’s wife from April 6 to May 4 “or as soon thereafter as is convenient for the court.”

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS HOLDS VIRTUAL TOWN HALL MEETING

Answers Wide Variety of Questions Submitted By Local Residents     

by Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Complete Video

March 30, 2020 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells on Tuesday evening held a first-of-a-kind virtual town hall meeting via the city’s website answering a wide variety of questions submitted by local residents on a live basis through the city’s website and social media sites.

The hour-long webcast addressed such subjects as the city’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, how the city is addressing the needs of the area’s homeless population during the crisis, the city’s refusal to shutter local gun shops, resident evictions and foreclosures, law enforcement response, and other topics.

TRUMP SIGNS STIMULUS BILL; U.S. NOW HAS MOST COVID-19 CASES IN WORLD

By Miriam Raftery

March 27, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- President Trump has signed a $2 trillion economic stimulus bill, the largest in American history, stating, “I want to thank Democrats and Republicans for coming together and putting America first.”  The package includes direct payments, loans and grants.

The action comes after the U.S. surpassed China and Italy with the most COVID-19 coronavirus cases of any nation on earth. Worldwide over half a billion people have been infected with the virus. In the US there are over 95,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,450 people have died.

The Senate coronavirus bill will include help for:

GOVERNOR NEWSOM TAKES EXECUTIVE ACTION TO ESTABLISH A STATEWIDE MORATORIUM ON EVICTIONS THROUGH MAY 31

Renter must notify landlord within a week of when rent is due, if they can’t pay due to COVID-19, to be eligible for the eviction freeze

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2020 (Sacramento)--Governor Gavin Newsom on Friday issued an executive order banning the enforcement of eviction orders for renters in California affected by COVID-19 through May 31, 2020.

The order prohibits landlords from evicting residential tenants for nonpayment of rent and prohibits enforcement of evictions by law enforcement or courts.  It does not protect commercial tenants, however.

It also requires residential renters to declare in writing, no more than seven days after the rent comes due, that the tenant cannot pay all or part of their rent due to COVID-19 such as because of job layoff, cuts in hours, business closures, medical expenses, childcare due to school closures for parents still working in critical jobs, or other impacts related to the pandemic.

The tenant would be required to retain documentation that their inability to pay rent is due to COVID-19, such as termination notices, pay stubs, bank notices, medical bills, or other proof.

SAN DIEGO DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR, OTHER PROMINENT DEMOCRATS HOSPITALIZED WITH COVID-19

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Update March 30:  Rodriguez-Kennedy has been released from the hospital and contiues his recovery at home.

Three members of Congress, including Republican Senator Rand Paul, also test positive

Photo: Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, Kelvin Barrios and Steve Padilla are all hospitalized with COVID-19

Update March 26, 2020  - Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, the county Democratic Party Chair, is now out of the V.A. hospital after being ill for 13 days including nearly a week "fighting for my life"  in the hospital, including "terrifying periods where I struggled to breathe." On Facebook, he thanked his medical team adding, "If there is anyone out there who is not taking this seriously, change your opinion now. COVID19 could have killed me.

March 21, 2020 (San Diego) – Following a troubling national pattern of younger patients being hospitalized with COVID-19, three prominent local Democrats are currently in intensive care units after testing positive for the disease.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy, Chairman of the San Diego County Democratic Party, is hospitalized in an intensive care unit at the Veterans Administration Medical Center. Chula Vista City Councilman Steve Padilla, who also chairs the California Coastal Commission, has also been hospitalized and on a respirator after testing positive. Kelvin Barrios, a candidate for San Diego City Council in District 2, is on a respirator as well.

COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS TO AFFECT COUNTY BOARD MEETINGS

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

Photo:  March 10, 2020 Board of Supervisors meeting

March 20, 2020 (San Diego) - The County Board of Supervisors will cancel next week’s Wednesday board meeting and discuss those agenda items during its Tuesday board meeting on March 24.

GOV. NEWSOM ORDERS ALL CALIFORNIANS TO SHELTER AT HOME

Gov. Gavin Newsom issues stay-at-home order

Photo via Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association: screenshot of Gov. Newsom announcing statewide stay-at-home order

View the Governor's full speech

March 19, 2020 (Sacamento) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom tonight ordered all Californians to stay at home to stop the spread of coronavirus across the state. Only companies providing essential services may remain open.

He issued the statewide order after public health experts estimated that as many as 25 million Californians will be infected by the virus within two months, making it critical to stop the growth now.

While most will recover and some won't have symptoms, up to 20,000 would likely be hospitalized if nothing is done. That's double the 10,000 bed surge capacity of hospitals statewide, though the state is requisitioning faciliities to fill the gap and working with the private sector to increase the supply of ventilators, which the federal government has failed to provide.

TRUMP INVOKES WARTIME POWERS, CONGRESS ALSO TAKES ACTION TO ADDRESS CORONAVIRUS CRISIS

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Today, President Donald Trump announced he will invoke the Defense Production Act to help combat the Covid-19 crisis and fill critical needs for ventilators, respirators, masks and productive equipment.

The Act gives the President the authority to order increased manufacturing of  these items as well as distribution of emergency medical supplies and equipment where needed most.  Trump also authorized two military hospital ships to be dispatched, one to New York, though it will take weeks to arrive. The other will be sent from San Diego to an as yet unnamed West Coast destination.

ISSA CLAIMED CORONAVIRUS CRISIS WAS “MANUFACTURED” BY DEMOCRATS IN FUNDRAISING LETTER AFTER MARCH 3 PRIMARY

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego) — Weeks after the COVID-19 virus had begun rapidly spreading around the world, Darrell Issa, the Republican nominee running in the 50th Congressional district, sent a March 4 fundraising letter in which he accused “the left” of “manufacturing crisis after crisis” including climate change and “the outbreak of viruses…”

LATE BALLOTS PUT BARBARA BRY INTO TOP TWO IN SAN DIEGO MAYORAL RACE

East County News Service
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego)  -- More than two weeks after the March 3rd primary election, the outcome in the San Diego Mayoral race has changed. With all precincts counted but mail-in and provisional ballots still being tallied, Councilmember Barbara Bry has surpassed Councilmember Scott Sherman by a slim margin.
 
It now appears that the runoff in November may be between two Democrats. Assemblyman Todd Gloria has a solid lead of nearly 42%. Bry has 22.94%, while Sherman, a Republican, has 22.89%. 
 
A slim margin of only about 169 votes currently separates Bry and Sherman as the count continues.

READER’S EDITORIAL: TO COMBAT COVID-19, WE SHOULD MOBILIZE OUR MILITARY TO BUILD HOSPITALS AND ASK FACTORIES TO PRODUCE VITAL SUPPLIES

By Ammar Campa-Najjar, candidate in the 50th Congressional District
 
March 18, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) - Make no mistake: I’ve lived in a war zone.  We are at war with the Coronavirus. People are scared, unsure and know the worst is yet to come. Working parents are sheltering in place with their children, small businesses struggling to meet overhead costs. 

LA MESA FREEZES EVICTIONS ON RESIDENTIAL AND COMMERCIAL RENTERS, AS WELL AS MORTGAGE FORECLOSURES RELATED TO THE COVID-19 CRISIS THROUGH MAY 31

City offices also shut down for non-essential services

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2020 (La Mesa) -- The City of La Mesa today announced it will halt eviction of residential and commercial renters, as well as foreclosures on mortgages, related to the COVID-19 crisis untl May 31st.  The action does not eliminate responsibility for payment of these debts, but provides additional time for those impacted by COVID-19 such as through loss of income, closure of businesses, medical expenses or family leave.

The City's action enforces the Governor's  Executive Order N-28-20 to limit rent evictions. See see City of La Mesa’s Executive Order 1-2020.

La Mesa also took action to halt enforcement of parking limits during sweep sweeping, after residents sheltering in place received tickets or notices that vehicles parked in front of their homes would be towed.

DUNCAN HUNTER SENTENCED TO 11 MONTHS IN PRISON, PLUS ALCOHOL REHAB AND THREE YEARS OF SUPERVISED PROBATION

By Miriam Raftery

File photo at an earlier hearing, courtesy of Ken Stone, Times of San Diego

March 17, 2020 (San Diego) – Disgraced former Congressman Duncan D. Hunter was sentenced today in federal court after pleading guilty in December to a felony count of conspiracy to spend campaign funds for personal use. 

Hunter will have until May 29 to report to federal prison, where he will serve an 11-month term. Known for heavy partying in Washington D.C., Hunter must also undergo and alcohol and drug treatment program. In addition, after his release he will be on three years of supervised probation.

 The location where Hunter will serve his sentence has not yet been announced. Judge Thomas Whelan left open the possibility of a later start to Hunter’s imprisonment if warranted by the COVID-19 emergency.

WHY HASN’T TRUMP FOLLOWED QUARANTINE RULES FOR HIMSELF AFTER EXPOSURE TO COVID-19?

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: President Trump, at today’s Coronavirus press conference, shakes hands with Target’s CEO as Vice President Mike Pence stands beside him, despite president being closely exposed to three people infected with COVID-19

March 13, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Despite close exposure to at least three individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, President Donald Trump has not followed health guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control, which advise exposed individuals to self-quarantine for 14 days and keep at least six feet away from others.  Yet at a press conference today, the President was photographed shaking hands with at least seven people.

TRUMP DECLARES NATIONAL EMERGENCY, AGREES TO SUPPORT HOUSE DEMOCRATS’ BILL TO HELP AMERICANS IMPACTED ECONOMICALLY BY COVID-19

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: President Donald Trump, via WhiteHouse.gov

March 13, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – After issuing a national emergency declaration today, President Donald Trump in a rare moment of bipartisan agreement urged Congressional Republicans to pass economic relief legislation authored by House Democrats.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi negotiated the economic relief deal with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin following days of plummeting stock prices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

STATE AND LOCAL SAN DIEGO OFFICIALS WORK TO CALM COVID-19 CHAOS COMING FROM WASHINGTON D.C.

By Kathleen Connell
 
March 13, 2020 (San Diego) -- Confusion and fear have reigned supreme for citizens worried about the medical and economic impacts of the coronavirus. To make matters worse, the Trump White House has put out untruths and conflicting information, according to Factcheck.org.  In addition to factual errors in his recent press conference, at a Trump rally earlier this year he called COVID-19 a “hoax” and blamed Democrats.  On Jan. 22, he insisted, “We have it totally under control,” yet his administration had still failed to fill vacancies on the CDC’s pandemic team left unfilled since 2018 and failed to provide testing anywhere near the rates that other countries have provided for their residents.

LA MESA ISSUES EMERGENCY PROCLAMATION, BUT HAS NO COVID-19 CASES

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis
 
March 13, 2020 (La Mesa) – “In order to assure that the City of La Mesa is eligible to receive any available and necessary disaster relief funds, we have declared a formal state of emergencies,” La Mesa Mayor Mark Arapostathis announced today.

EL CAJON CITY MANAGER DECLARES STATE OF EMERGENCY IN RESPONSE TO CORONAVIRUS, WILL LIVESTREAM PUBLIC MEETING MONDAY

By Miriam Raftery

 

March 13, 2020 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Manager today declared a state of emergency for the city. The City Council must meet to ratify the declaration.  A special meeting is scheduled for Monday, March 16 at 11:30 a.m. and will be livestreamed so that people can attend the meeting remotely.

 

BIDEN AND SANDERS OFFER COVID-19 RESPONSE PLANS; WILL DEBATE ISSUES ON SUNDAY EVENING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden

March 13, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, the Democratic presidential contenders, criticized President Donald Trump's handling of the COVID-19 panedemic and offered plans of their own to address the crisis.

Biden and Sanders will also square off in a debate Sunday on CNN starting at 4 p.m. Pacific Standard Time. The debate was moved from Arizona to CNN's studio in Washington D.C. due to the coronavirus outbreak.  You can tune in via cable TV, as well as on the CNN website, the Univision website, and both networks’ mobile apps.

SEVERAL NEWCOMERS ELECTED TO COUNTY CENTRAL COMMMITTEES IN THE AD 71 REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC PARTIES

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 12, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Several new members were elected to San Diego County's Republican and Democratic central committees in the 71st Assembly District covering much of East County.

While some incumbents won reelection by voters valueing experience, the races also resulted in several incumbents ousted, as well as some long-time party leaders and elected officials rejected by voters who chose activists and newcomers over establishment figures to fill some seats.

TRUMP BANS TRAVEL FOR FOREIGN NATIONALS FROM EUROPE DUE TO COVID-19, PROPOSES ECONOMIC RELIEF FOR AMERICANS IMPACTED

Update March 13: The President today declared a national emergency, freeing up some $50 bilion in federal aid for states.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Airport medical screening; CC by SA

March 11, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump today announced a travel ban on most foreign nationals from Europe and also proposed economic aid to Americans impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

SEX, LIES AND CREDIT CARDS: DUNCAN HUNTER'S CRIMES, COURAGE LAID OUT FOR JUDGE

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

Photo:  former Rep. Hunter appearing to down a shot of alcohol in a Las Vegas bar.

March 11, 2020 (San Diego) - Duncan Hunter gave up his day in court, but prosecutors of the six-term Republican congressman laid out new evidence for his misuse of campaign funds in a mammoth data dump Tuesday accompanying their call for a 14-month prison term.

EAST COUNTY CHAMBER SEEKS CANDIDATE STATEMENTS FOR ENDORSEMENTS

East County News Service

March 10, 2020 (El Cajon) -- The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will begin endorsing candidates for elective office in the November 2020 general election, those found to be aligned with the Chamber’s goals of promoting business in East County.

The Chamber will consider endorsements for candidates to elected offices that serve the East County region. 

Candidates seeking endorsement should submit a statement of no longer than 500 words that should address the question, “Why should the Chamber endorse you?”

Candidate statements should be submitted to Diana Senica by email at events@eastcountychamber.org, no later than May 1, 2020.

GONZALEZ-FLETCHER ADDS $20 MILLION TO BUDGET TO PARTIALLY OFFSET AB 5 IMPACTS ON NONPROFIT ARTS GROUPS, BUT FALLS FAR SHORT OF HELP NEEDED

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 7, 2020 (Sacramento)-- Musicians, artists and nonprofit arts groups are among the hardest hit by AB 5, the new law authored by Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher (D-San Diego) requiring that many freelancers be reclassified as employees – a prohibitively costly mandate for many small nonprofits. Now Gonzalez-Fletcher is offering some help, though it amounts to a Bandaid approach to the wounds inflicted on the arts and music industries by the new law.
 
Last month, Gonzalez-Fletcher  along with Assemblymember Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita) asked for $20 million to be added to the state budget for the California Arts Council to help small community nonprofit arts groups comply with AB 5, but only in the first year. But there is no guarantee of funding for applicants, nor any help to meet ongoing enormous costs of complying in future years--such as paying unemployment insurance, workman’s compensation and other annual costs for all employees, as well as added payroll deduction and accounting costs. 
 
Moreover, the measure only helps nonprofits able to win grants and show good-faith effort to comply with AB 5. Even then, the measure offers no help to meet ongoing high costs, nor does it offer any assistance to for-profit companies nor to individual artists or musicians losing work due to the new law.

SENATOR BRIAN JONES COAUTHORS BIPARTISAN LEGISLATION TO ASSIST VICTIMS OF HUMAN TRAFFICKING

"Human Trafficking is a heartbreaking crime that can destroy lives, families, and communities." – Brian Jones

East County News Service
 
March 6, 2020 (Sacramento) - State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) announced he is coauthoring two bipartisan measures by Assemblyman Jim Patterson (R-Fresno), aimed at assisting the victims of human trafficking.
 
Human trafficking is defined by the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as: "the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act."  The victims are often children and frequently are runaways or missing youth.  All-too-often, these vulnerable young people, whose average age is 15 years old, are away from home for the first time. They can become easy prey for dangerous pedophiles, pimps, recruiters, and enforcers. Sadly, one in seven runaways are likely to become a sex trafficking victim.

DEMOCRATS DOMINATE IN CITY OF SAN DIEGO ELECTIONS: GLORIA LEADS IN MAYORAL RACE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Assemblyman Todd Gloria

March 5, 2020 (San Diego) – With 100% of precincts counted but some mail-in ballots remaining to be counted, Democratiic party-endorsed candidates are leading in the San Diego mayoral race and three of the five city council races.  A fourth race has a non-endorsed Democrat on top, while a fifth is currently tied.  The top two contender in each of these races will run off in the November general election.

TWO YOUNG DEMOCRATIC WOMEN EARN SPOTS IN NOVEMBER RUN OFF TO SUCCEED SUSAN DAVIS

By Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz

Photos: East County News Service

March 4, 2020 (San Diego) --Congresswoman Susan Davis is retiring in order to spend more time in San Diego. 

In the 53rd Congressional District, her shoes will be filled by a Democratic woman, as Sara Jacobs and Georgette Gomez, both captured the #1 and #2 slots, respectively to make the November run-off out of a 13-candidate field. The 53rd Congressional district includes the heart of the city of San Diego as well as La Mesa, Lemon Grove, part of El Cajon, Jamul, Chula Vista, and more.

WARREN AND BLOOMBERG END CANDIDACIES IN PRESIDENTIAL RACE

By Miriam Raftery

March 5, 2020 (San Diego) – After disappointing results on Super Tuesday, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg have announced they are suspending their campaigns in the Democratic presidential primary.

Bloomberg has endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden. Warren she wants to take some time to think over whether to endorse another candidate.  

Both had won delegates (Warren 65, Bloomberg 58) who will now be free to vote for any candidate at the Democratic National Convention.

LEMON GROVE SALES TAX MEASURE S FAILING

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

March 5, 2020 (San Diego) Measure S, which was designed to raise sales taxes by ¾ of a cent and bring in an estimated $3 million to the financially strapped city of Lemon Grove, is failing.

According to the San Diego Registrar of Voters the primary had a 28% voter turn-out. With 100% precincts reporting, 59%,or 2,069 voted no on the measure and 41%, or 1,421 voted yes. There are 350,000 outstanding ballots to be counted as of early Wednesday.

Without more revenues to fund needed services, Lemon Grov could be pushed to seek disincorporation as a city, reverting back to county control.

ECM obtained reactions to the election outcome from the measure's leading advocate and staunchest opponent.

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