Politics

HOUSE VOTES TO CAP INSULIN PRICES AT $35 A MONTH: LOCAL REPRESENTATVES SPLIT VOTES

By Miriam Raftery

April 1, 2022 (San Diego) – Experts say it costs less than $10 a vial to manufacture insulin, yet the price to consumers with diabetes has skyrocketed to as much as $1,000 per vial, ABC News reports. That’s led to rationing and deaths of some patients. Hoping to save lives, the House voted 232-193 to pass a bill that would cap insulin costs at $35 or 25% of an insurance plan’s negotiated price.

Although 12 Republicans voted with Democrats for the bill, local Republican Congressman Darrel Issa voted against it.  San Diego County’s other Congressional representatives voted in favor.


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CALIFORNIA TASK FORCE: REPARATIONS FOR DIRECT DESCENDANTS OF ENSLAVED PEOPLE ONLY

By Lil Kalish, CalMatters

CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters

Photo by Robert Gehr in El Cajon

March 30, 2022 (Sacramento) - After more than six hours of debate Tuesday, California’s reparations task force voted that only Black Californians who can prove a direct lineage to enslaved ancestors will be eligible for the statewide — and first-in-the nation — initiative to address the harms and enduring legacy of slavery. 


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JUDGE FINDS TRUMP'S ATTEMPT TO OVERTURN 2020 ELECTION WAS LIKELY A FELONY

By Brett Wilkins, staff writer, Common Dreams

Reprinted under a Creative Commons license from Common Dreams

Photo:  Former President Donald Trump’s speech shortly before the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the Capitol.  Public domain image from Voice of America via Wikipedia

March 28, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) - A U.S. federal judge on Monday found that former President Donald Trump and legal adviser John Eastman probably committed felony obstruction in their efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election.


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BRIGGS FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST LEMON GROVE OVER RECORDS OBSTRUCTION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Matt Manosh: Lemon Grove City Clerk Audrey Malone denied attorney Cory Briggs' request to inspect public records the day before a proposed censure motion of Councilmember Liana LeBaron.

March 28, 2022 (Lemon Grove) – Attorney Cory Briggs has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the nonprofit Project for Open Government against the city of Lemon Grove. The suit alleges that the city acted illegally in failing to respond to multiple public records requests related to the city’s proposed censure and discplinary actions toward Councilmember Liana LeBaron. The City also denied Briggs access to inspect public records when he came to city hall in person the day before the censure hearing, and has still failed to respond weeks later.

The suit seeks a court order requiring the city to full comply with the California Public Records Act, California Constitution, common law and other applicable laws by disclosing all records requested. Briggs also seeks injunctive relief to inspect and copy public records (or portions allowed by law), as well as attorney fees and legal expenses.


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ASSEMBLYMEMBER WEBER TO HOST COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS WITH LA MESA RESIDENTS

East County News Service

March 27, 2022 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa Conversations invites you to meet with Assemblymember Dr. Akilah Weber on Sunday, April 3 from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. for a legislative update and a chance to share your priorities for the City of La Mesa.

The meeting will be at La Mesita Park, located at 8855 Dallas Street, La Mesa.  Please bring your own lawn chair or blanket for comfortable seating.


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SANTEE INVOKES EMINENT DOMAIN FOR TRAFFIC IMPROVEMENT PROJECT

By Mike Allen 

March 27, 2022 (Santee) -- One of the more controversial powers government agencies wield is eminent domain, the ability to acquire private property even without the owner’s consent for a project determined to be the public’s best interest.


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ISSA TESTIFIES BEFORE CONGRESSIONAL COMMITTEE TO ADVANCE SAN DIEGO WATER PROJECTS

“Projects balance community needs, resource preservation”

East County News Service

March 23, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Darrell Issa testified earlier this month before the House of Representatives Water Resources and Environment Subcommittee in support of three San Diego area projects for which he has requested targeted federal funding. 


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JOSEPH ROCHA, 40TH STATE SENATE DISTRICT CANDIDATE, SPEAKS OUT ON THE ISSUES

 

View video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Shc-5Og5pc

Note: This interview was recorded in early February.

March 22, 2022 (San Diego) – Joseph Rocha, the Democratic Party's endorsed candidate in the newly redrawn 40th State Senate district currently represented by Republican Brian Jones, recently sat down for an in-depth interview with East County Magazine that originally aired on KNSJ radio.  He’s running to focus on jobs, housing, infrastructure, veterans and climate change among other important issues. The interview addressed these topics and more.

Rocha is a veteran of both the Navy and Marine Corps. He served as a bomb dog handler in the Persian Gulf and later, after obtaining his law degree, as a Marine Corps captain and prosecutor. He’s also a former intern at East County Magazine, where in 2008 he gained interest in politics while interview candidates for Congress and City Council. 

“I think the adversity in my life has given me the passion for service,” he says.  “I’m second generation Mexican-American,” he says. His mother was a grocery store worker who struggled with addiction; his father worked as a truck driver, raising five children. “These bread and butter, working class issues of the middle class have been a core passion of mine since I can remember," Rocha says.

Audio: 


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SUPERVISORS JIM DESMOND & JOEL ANDERSON'S 'GAS TAX SUSPENSION' BOARD LETTER PASSES UNANIMOUSLY

East County News Service

March 21, 2022 (San Diego) - On March 15, 2022, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to approve a Board Letter introduced by Supervisors Jim Desmond (District 5) and Joel Anderson (District 2). The purpose of this Board Letter was to direct the Chief Administrative Officer to urge the Governor and State Legislature to suspend the State gas tax for one year.


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LEGISLATORS INTRODUCE “SAVING LIVES IN CUSTODY” ACT AFTER TWO MORE INMATES DIE IN COUNTY JAILS

208 inmates have died in county custody since 2006

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy of Assemblymember Akilah Weber, M.D.

March 19, 2022 (San Diego) – A bipartisan group of San Diego state legislators have introduced AB 2345, the Saving Lives in Custody Act. The bill follows a scathing state auditor’s report which found conditions in San Diego County Jails to be so dangerous that the auditor urged legislative intervention.


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SENATOR JONES, DISTRICT ATTORNEY STEPHAN AND POLICE CHIEF KENNEDY VIEW CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT DEMONSTRATION AND AND DISCUSS PREVENTION LEGISLATION

Source:  Senator Brian Jones

March 18, 2022 (San Diego) - Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee), San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan and Chula Vista Police Chief Roxana Kennedy held a press conference this morning in which they viewed a demonstration of how quickly and easily catalytic converters can be stolen and pending legislation to help prevent those thefts. 


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BIDEN APPROVES ANTI-AIRCRAFT WEAPONS FOR UKRAINE, CALLS PUTIN “WAR CRIMINAL” AFTER ZELENSKY ADDRESS TO CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

March 16, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – Following an emotional appeal by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the U.S. Congress today seeking more aid, President Joe Biden announced in a White House address that the U.S. will send antiaircraft systems, shoulder mounted missiles and more to help the Ukrainians defend their air space against Russian attacks.


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JONES' MEASURE TO HELP LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES PROVIDE HOMELESS ASSESSMENT TEAMS PASSES KEY COMMITTEE

East County News Service

March 15, 2022 (San Diego) --  Legislation by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) to assist law enforcement agencies with addressing the homeless problem was approved today on a bipartisan vote by the Senate Public Safety Committee.


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HOUSE PASSES APPROPRIATIONS BILL WITH EARMARKS FOR LOCAL PROJECTS FROM CONGRESSWOMAN JACOBS PLUS AID TO UKRAINE

Childcare, library funding and local ADA access among earmarks added by Sara Jacobs

East County News Service

March 14, 2022 (San Diego) -- The U.S. House of Representatives has passed H.R. 2471, consisting of all 12 Fiscal Year 2022 appropriations bills plus supplemental funding to support Ukraine. The legislation has $13.6 billion in emergency security and humanitarian funding for Ukraine, including $1.4 billion for Migration and Refugee Assistance and $2.65 billion in International Disaster Assistance funding for emergency food, health care and other humanitarian assistance in the region. 


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BIDEN ADMINISTRATION SEEKS COST-SAVING ALTERNATIVES TO DETAINING SOME MIGRANTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons image by SA-NC via Bing

March 14, 2022 (San Diego) – The Biden administration has announced a 120-day pilot program in Houston and Baltimore to test placing migrants into house arrest as an alternative to detention facilities while they await immigration hearings. The home curfew program would cost only $6 to $8 a day per person, far less than the $142 per day for detention in a facility, Reuters reports.


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BRIGGS SENDS LETTER TO LEMON GROVE DEMANDING CORRECTION OF BROWN ACT VIOLATIONS, STATES INTENT TO SUE

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2022 (Lemon Grove) – Attorney Cory Briggs, on behalf of the Project for Open Government, has sent a letter to Lemon Grove’s elected officials demanding that the City cure and correct alleged violations of the Ralph M. Brown Act, California’s open government law. The letter, dated March 10, also announces an intent to sue the City over actions that Briggs claims deprive Councilmember Liana LeBaron of rights to express herself and represent her constituents.

Specifically, Briggs contends that several actions taken to penalize LeBaron should have been on the Council agenda, but were not. These include:

  • Prohibiting LeBaron and other Councilmembers from interacting with staff regarding city services, except through the City Manager
  • Revoking Councilmembers’ access codes to City Hall

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SUPERVISORS APPROVE ANDERSON’S NEIGHBORHOOD REINVESTMENT PROGRAM GRANT ALLOCATIONS

More than a dozen East County organizations receive funding for ongoing projects

East County News Service

March 12, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) — San Diego County Supervisor Joel Anderson awarded more than a dozen organizations in East County with funds from the Neighborhood Reinvestment Program (NRP) grant at the March 1, 2022, Board of Supervisors meeting. These organizations received amounts ranging from $800 to $75,000 for ongoing projects. The goal of the NRP grant is to reinvest taxpayer money into our communities for the benefit of the public.


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SANTEE MOVES TOWARD GIVING VOTERS A SAY ON LEGALIZING CANNABIS BUSINESSES

By Mike Allen

Photo:  Santee Vice Mayor Ronn Hall

March 11, 2022 (Santee) -- While it’s legal to use and even grow marijuana for personal use statewide, the sale of the still-federally prohibited drug is not permitted in Santee.

That could change given the path that the City Council has been on since last year, when it began exploring the potential of allowing some type of marijuana-linked business within its 16.5 square miles.


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BIPARTISAN BILL TO SAVE POSTAL SERVICE HEADS TO PRESIDENT FOR SIGNATURE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: mail carrier; CC by ND via Bing

March 11, 2022 (San Diego) – The Postal Service Reform Act has passed the U.S. Senate by an overwhelming 79-12 vote, after earlier passing the House 342-92. 

Four of San Diego County’s representatives voted in favor, as did both California Senators. But Congressman Darrell Issa voted no.

The Postal Service has been losing money in recent years, primarily because it is the only federal agency required to pre-pay retirees’ health benefits.  Officials warned Congress that if this bill did not pass, the Post Office would run out of money by 2024.

The bill now heads to President Joe Biden, who has pledged to sign it into law. Here’s what the bill will do:


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LEMON GROVE TAKES A BREATH AT THE BRINK OF CENSURE

 


Council backs off censure of Councilmember LeBaron after her supporters weigh in and an attorney questions legality of proposed action


By Elijah McKee


March 10, 2022 (Lemon Grove) — “It’s a sad day in Lemon Grove. We’re better than this,” expressed Mayor Raquel Vasquez near the end of her remarks during Lemon Grove’s special City Council meeting on Tuesday night.

 

"This brings me no joy,” echoed Councilmember Jennifer Mendoza, though the two voted on opposite sides over whether to censure Councilmember Liana LeBaron.

 

The meeting was held for one reason only — to debate a resolution that would have formally condemned LeBaron’s behavior. The severity of the resolution was evident by its verbs, which included condemn, reject, admonish, refrain, cease and desist. (See ECM’s prior coverage of the proposed censure resolution.)

Audio: 


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JUDGE BLOCKS FANITA RANCH, CITING FIRE DANGER

By Miriam Raftery and Mike Allen

March 10, 2022 (San Diego) – Citing wildfire evacuation concerns, San Diego Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal has ruled that the city of Santee and the City Council violated state law in approving Fanita Ranch, HomeFed’s long-planned 3,000 home development.  The project would be built on more than 2,600 acres of fire-prone hillsides in the city’s northwest section.

The ruling found that the city’s environmental review of the project was inadequate, violating California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) by failing to adequately disclose how the development would affect wildfire evacuations and safety in the surrounding community.

The Judge also slammed the city for its last-minute removal of the Magnolia Avenue extension from the project just six days before approving the project’s EIR, even though that extension had been touted as a key wildfire evacuation route. This was inadequate for public review or evaluation of impacts on neighbors along other connector roads should an evacuation be needed. In addition, the judge found, “the City’s decision not to recirculate the EIR violated CEQA.”


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STATE AND LOCAL LEADERS PROPOSE HELP FOR CONSUMERS AS GAS PRICES SOAR, FUELED BY SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA

Options range from a free gas distribution program locally to suspension of the state’s gas tax

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2022 (San Diego) – Yesterday, President Joe Biden announced a ban on importing Russian oil, gas and coal due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  A poll by Quinnipiac University released Monday found 71% of Americans support  ban on Russian oil even if it causes steep rises in gas prices – including 66% of Republicans, 82% of Democrats, and 70% of independents.

A nonprofit organization has organized funds to help those feeling pain at the pump locally, while political leaders are also calling for relief for consumers.

Pain at the pump is being felt locally. The average price for gas has skyrocketed to $5.60 per gallon, nearly 91 cents higher than a month ago and nearly $1.80 more than a year ago, according to AAA and Oil Price information Service. Gas prices had already risen worldwide as economies emerged from the pandemic and a resumption in travel fueled demand.  But now the war in Ukraine has sent prices soaring for 15 consecutive days, NBC 7 reports.


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CHALDEANS SUE COUNTY OVER REDISTRICTING

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Vince Kattoula, President, Chaldean Coalition (Screenshot via CBS 8 video)

March 9, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – The nonprofit Chaldean Coalition has filed a lawsuit contending that Chaldeans are being disenfranchised by San Diego County’s supervisorial redistricting in East County, where most of this ethnic and religious minority group resides.

The lawsuit, filed March 4 in Superior Court, claims the division of the close-knit community between two supervisorial districts is illegal under the California Election Code, which incorporates other state and federal statutory and constitutional law.

The suit was filed by attorneys from LiMandri & Jonna LLP, a Rancho Santa Fe firm with a specialty in civil rights, against the County of San Diego, its Independent Redistricting Commission, and its Registrar of Voters. The Chaldean Coalition seeks a stay, as well as preliminary and permanent injunctions, to restrain application of the County’s new Supervisorial Districts and require the redrawing of such maps in compliance with the law.


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ISSA AND DESMOND CO-HOST FENTANYL ROUNDTABLE TO ADDRESS DRUG CRISIS

East County News Service

March 6, 2022 (San Diego) -- Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA-50) formally addressed a policy roundtable that included county, state and federal officials last week, outlining his strategies and solutions to address the nation’s worsening fentanyl crisis. Fentanyl is a factor in more than half of all overdose deaths, and fatally poisons someone every eight minutes.


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LEMON GROVE TO CONSIDER CENSURE OF COUNCILMEMBER LEBARON MARCH 8, THREATENS TO SEEK RESTRAINING ORDER

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left: Councilmember Liana LeBaron

Updated March 6, 2022 8:30 p.m. with comments from Councilman Gastil.

March 6, 2022 (Lemon Grove)  -- After weeks of contentious meetings, the Lemon Grove City Council will hold a special meeting on Tuesday, March 8 to consider a resolution for the Council majority to condemn alleged misconduct by Councilmember Liana LeBaron including disruptions at Council meetings and accusations made against staffers that the City contends are false.

The City Attorney has also sent a letter to LeBaron and other Councilmembers threatening legal action against her. 

Le Baron has denied wrongdoing. An attorney representing the Project for Open Government has also weighed in, criticizing the City's actions.


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ISSA VOTES AGAINST BILL TO PROVIDE MEDICAL CARE FOR VETERANS EXPOSED TO TOXIC SUBSTANCES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Toxic burn pit, cc via Bing

March 5, 2022 (San Diego) – On his website, Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) calls himself a “proud veteran” who served as a U.S. Army Captain. But this week, he voted against HR 3967, a bill to make Iraq and Afghanistan War veterans eligible for medical coverage of conditions due to toxic exposures, such as those released in burn pits.


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SANTEE ASSESSES ITS DIVERSITY, CONSIDERS WAYS OF CHANGING DURING RECENT WORKSHOP

By Mike Allen 

Photo:  Richard Marks speaking

March 3, 2022 (Santee) -- As a city with one of the smallest minority populations in San Diego County and one that experienced some well-publicized racist incidents in recent years, Santee’s leaders realized they had to do something.


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IN STATE OF UNION SPEECH, BIDEN ANNOUNCES NEW ACTIONS AGAINST RUSSIA OVER UKRAINE INVASION

By Miriam Raftery

Read full transcript of State of the Union speech

View video of State of the Union speech

View part 2 of our coverage, on domestic issues addressed by Biden

View the Republican response

Photo: President Joe Biden, center, says of the Ukrainian people, "You inspired the world.'  Left, Vice President Kamala Harris, right, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

March 2, 2022 (Washington D.C.) –President Joe Biden drew bipartisan applause during his State of the Union speech last night, when he recognized the Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S. and asked those in the Capitol chamber to rise and show the world that, “We, the United States of America, stand with the Ukrainian people.”

Biden announced new, strenuous actions against Russia and key supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin. These include:

  • Closing off U.S. air space to all Russian flights, further isolating Russia;
  • Ordering the U.S.  Justice Department to form a task force to go after crimes committed by Russian oligarchs and “corrupt leaders” profiting off Putin’s regime;
  • Plans to seize oligarchs’ assets including yachts, private jets and luxury homes
  • Releasing 30 million gallons of oil from America’s strategic reserved, matched by an equal amount from other nations to help reduce gas prices without Russian oil.

These add to recently imposed sanctions including:


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BIDEN LAYS OUT DOMESTIC AGENDA DURING STATE OF UNION SPEECH

By Matthew Manosh and Miriam Raftery

Part 2 of our State of the Union coverage

View Part 1, on the U.S. response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Read full transcript of State of the Union speech

View video of State of the Union speech

View Republican response

March 3, 2022 (Washington D.C.) –  “We meet tonight in an America that has lived through two of the hardest years this nation has ever faced,” President Joe Biden stated during his State of the Union speech on March 1st.  Those two years have seen Americans struggling amid a global pandemic, inflation, an assault on the U.S. capitol, and now a war in Europe that has ratcheted up tensions. 

After an in-depth discussion of the Ukraine war, Biden pivoted to his domestic agenda, unveiling several ambitious proposals to address our nation's challenges as well as highlighting some successes during his first year in office.


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REPUBLICAN RESPONSE TO STATE OF THE UNION FOCUSES ON INFLATION, TAXES AND FAMILY FIRST


By Kylie Dees; Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

 

Photo:  Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, screenshot via C-Span

 View video of Gov. Reynold’s response. Read full text.

View video of President Biden’s State of the Union speech.  Read full text .

Read ECM's coverage:  Part 1:  Response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine; Part 2: Domestic agenda.

 

March 2, 2022 (Washington D.C. ) – On Tuesday, March 1st, in response to President Biden’s first State of the Union address, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds delivered the Republican rebuttal. Reynolds began by stating that “instead of moving America forward, it feels like President Biden and his party have sent us back in time.” She claimed that the President has failed to make America respected around the world and united as a whole, while Biden’s main priority is to make America united once again.

 

Reynolds said, “It’s time for America to once again project confidence; it’s time to be decisive. It’s time to lead.” She added that America cannot project strength abroad if we are weak at home. Her speech pointed out what she viewed as weaknesses as well as strengths to build on.


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