Politics

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER'S WIFE IMPLICATES CONGRESSMAN IN VAST MISUSE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS

By Ken Stone

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

Photo: San Diego Union Tribune's Twitter Feed, via Times of San Diego

June 13, 2019 (San Diego) - Silver-haired Judge Thomas Whelan smiled to a packed federal courtroom Thursday as he took his chair in a case that could lead to the unseating of Rep. Duncan D. Hunter. 

But Hunter’s wife, Margaret, wasn’t smiling as she pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to use campaign funds for a family vacation in November 2015 — and attested to $200,000 in fraudulent spending involving at least 30 illegal transactions.

REP. HUNTER’S WIFE TO CHANGE PLEA TO GUILTY IN CORRUPTION CASE

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, in 2014

June 12, 2019 (San Diego) — Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s wife, Margaret, is scheduled in court Thursday morning before Judge Thomas Whelan to change her plea to guilty in a federal corruption case, according to the court calendar. The Hunters are charged with 60 counts of stealing campaign funds for personal use and falsifying campaign finance reports to hide the thefts.

NEW COUNTY BUDGET PRESENTED TO SUPERVISORS

 

The County’s most vulnerable residents are the focus of a new recommended budget formally presented to the County Board of Supervisors Monday. The $6.21 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 invests $112 million in new spending for residents struggling to get by in our region.

WOMEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF POLITICS

 

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics, by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, with Veronica Chambers (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2018, 316 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

somebody/anybody sing a black girl’s song, bring her out to know herself, to know you, but sing her rhythms … sing her sighs, sing the song of her possibilities, sing a righteous gospel, the makin of a melody, let her be born, let her be born & handled warmly.

-NTOZAKE SHANGE

May 8, 2019 (San Diego) - Ironically, in my earlier review of Donna Brazile’s book Hacks in the East County Magazine in San Diego, she makes the profound statement; “I am not Patsey the Slave.” This was in reference to her involvement in the Clinton campaign and her being chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and despite that fact, Brazile being marginalized by Clinton’s brain trust in New York, with Brazile specifically stating: “Y’all keep whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

This book is rich in history and politics, which includes the personal insight from four fabulous and acclaimed black women!

HUNTER VOTES AGAINST WILDFIRE RELIEF BILL FOR CALIFORNIA VICTIMS

"I find it disgusting that Hunter would vote against the disaster relief bill to bring relief to those families caught in recent disasters, like the Camp fire that devastated Paradise. My sister and her husband lost their house and everything in it due to that fire..." -- Ray Lutz, El Cajon
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo:  Lutz family's home in flames
 
June 5, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter was one of only two California Republicans who voted against a $19.1 billion federal disaster relief bill that includes an estimated $12.6 billion to help survivors of devastating wildfires in our state.  

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES VENTURE TO CALIFORNIA TO PAN FOR DELEGATE GOLD

Read highlights of all 14 presidential hopefuls seeking California’s 416 delegates—the nation’s biggest electoral prize in the 2020 election  



Article and photos by Angela de Joseph



June 5, 2019 (San Francisco) – Fourteen of the 24 Democratic presidential candidates brought their “A” games and Olympic stamina to a three-day mini-marathon at the California Democratic Party (CDP) “Organizing” Convention,  held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco May 31-June 2.

CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS LOUDLY LEAN LEFT--BUT QUIETLY MAKE A SAFE CHOICE

By Ben Christopher, CALmatters

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

Photo:  Delegates at the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco snap selfies with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s once again seeking the party’s nomination for president. Photo by Elizabeth Castillo for CALmatters

June 4, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - Anyone who spent the weekend at the California Democratic Party’s convention—watching 14 White House contenders try to impress what one Congresswoman called “the wokest Democrats in the country”—observed the following:

HUNTER DRAWS FIRE FOR ADMISSIONS HE SHOT AT CIVILIANS AND POSED WITH DEAD IRAQI SOLDIERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Duncan D. Hunter, right, via Duncan D. Hunter for Congress campaign

June 2, 2019 (San Diego) – Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter is drawing fire for admitting that he fired at civilians in Iraq while serving combat duty with the Marines, also posing with corpses of dead enemy combatants.

Hunter has been vocal in his public support of Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Gallagher, a San Diego-based Navy Seal charged with war crimes including shooting at civilians and fatally stabbing a young wounded prisoner, then posing with the corpse.

During a town hall meeting in Ramona over Memorial Day weekend, Hunter stated that Gallagher “did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too –taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Times of San Diego reported, posting an audio recording.

Hunter doubled down on those remarks during a later taped interview with the online site Zero Blog Thirty, in which he stated, “So, I was an artillery officer and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killing probably hundreds of civilians,” adding, “probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded. Do I get judged, too?”

As for the charges Gallagher faces of murdering a teenage ISIS fighter who had been brought in for medical treatment, Hunter told Zero Blog Thirty, ““I frankly don’t care if he was killed. I just don’t care.” He added that even if Gallagher did stab the wounded prisoner to death, he still “deserves a break”, indicating Gallagher should not be held accountable for violating the Military Code of Justice.

Barstool Sports, which publishes the Zero Blog Thirty podcast, released a statement Sunday calling Hunter’s rhetoric “horrific.”

APPLICATIONS SOUGHT FOR CITY OF EL CAJON PLANNING COMMISSION

Are you interested in shaping El Cajon’s future? The El Cajon City Council seeks interested applicants to fill a vacant seat on the City’s Planning Commission.

Source:  City of El Cajon

June 1, 2019 (El Cajon) - The El Cajon City Council is accepting applications for the Planning Commission to fill the vacancy left by the appointment of commissioner Phil Ortiz to the City Council. The planning commission has long been a stepping stone to higher office, with many past commissioners going on to win election or appointment to council or mayoral seats.  The filing period is open through June 27, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. 

RACE TO FILL DIANNE JACOB’S SUPERVISORIAL SEAT TAKES SHAPE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos (top left to bottom right):  Steve Vaus, Joel Anderson, Tom Lemmon, and Kenya Taylor

May 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Stepping down due to term limits in 2020 after 28 years, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob leaves some big shoes to fill.  Four candidates, two Republicans and two Democrats, have thus far announced plans to run for the 2nd Supervisorial district, which covers 2,000 square miles encompassing the eastern two-thirds of the county.

The contenders for the ostensibly nonpartisan race are Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and former State Senator Joel Anderson, both Republicans. Democrats Tom Lemmon, a labor leader who heads up the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council, and Kenya Taylor, a mental health counselor and NAACP board member, are also in the running.

Below are highlights of their backgrounds and goals if elected, as well as analysis of the challenges each may need to overcome to win the race.

A BOOK IN CELEBRATION OF MEMORIAL DAY

 

Saving Lou, by Linda Loegel, (Linda Loegel, Columbia, SC, 2017, 242 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

May 27, 2019 (San Diego) - Linda Loegel, a born New Englander, and former East County resident of San Diego (El Cajon), now living in Garner, North Carolina, has written a poignant and heartwarming story; Saving Lou.

Having written two earlier reviews of Loegel’s books, Bumps Along the Way and If you Don’t Like Worms, Keep Your Mouth Shut, I can attest to the author being a master story teller. Saving Lou follows suit. She tells this story from beginning to end in her own inimitable and folksy manner, which is characteristic and expected of her from readers such as myself and others that have read her book(s).

REP. HUNTER ON WAR CRIMES SUSPECT GALLAGHER: I'M GUILTY OF SAME 'BAD THING'

 

Story and photo by Ken Stone

Click to view video in which he admits to posing with dead combatants

A version of this story is reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network; updated to add statement from Ammar Campa-Najjar, Hunter's opponent in the 50th Congressional District race, and link to the Geneva conventions for treatment of the dead.

Photo" Rep. Hunter shakes hands  with his father, former Rep. Hunter, at start of Ramona forum.

May 26, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter told a Ramona audience Saturday that he’s guilty of the same behavior that led to Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher being charged with war crimes — posing with a dead combatant.

'NOT A TOWN HALL,' BUT REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, FATHER TO TALK BORDER AT RAMONA FORUM

 

 

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  Former Rep. Duncan Lee Hunter chats with former constituents at Ramona Mainstage before his son’s town hall in March 2017. Photo by Chris Stone

May 22, 2019 (Ramona) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter returns to the scene of a raucous 2017 town hall when he takes part Saturday in another Ramona Mainstage event.

But his office doesn’t call it a town hall.

LA MESA FARMERS MARKET MAY END IN AUGUST UNLESS A NEW OPERATOR COMES FORWARD

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 19, 2019 (La Mesa) – Frustrated by a lack of compromise between local businesses for and against the Friday night farmers market in downtown La Mesa, the city council has voted unanimously to end its contract with the La Mesa Village Association to run the market.  Council will put out a request for proposals from other operators to potentially move the market to another location or a different day,or keep the same location and days, but with improvements to resolve the rift.

If no entity comes forward, East County’s longest running farmer’s market could end after July 31, when the LMVA contract runs out.

CALIFORNIA'S CONTROVERSIAL PRO-DEVELOPMENT HOUSING BILL UNEXPECTEDLY SHELVED

 

 

By Matt Levin and Ben Christopher, CALmatters

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

May 19, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - Shock. Depression. Relief.

Those were just some of the reactions as the year’s most controversial state housing bill met its sudden demise. But very few people—supporters, opponents, and even the author himself—can claim to have seen this coming.

FPPC SENDS WARNING LETTER TO BILL BABER, LA MESA COUNCILMAN AND SAN DIEGO ETHICS COMMISSION MEMBER

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

May 18, 2019 (La Mesa) — The California Fair Political Practice Commission has sent a warning letter to Bill Baber for failing as treasurer of the Better East County Committee to file a timely 24-hour contribution report during the November 6, 2018 election. Baber, a La Mesa City Councilman and member of the San Diego Ethics Commission, could be fined up to $5,000 per violation, the Feb. 6 letter states.  

GROUPS PAN PRESIDENT TRUMP'S NEW IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL AS ELITIST

 

 

By Suzanne Potter, California Public News Service

May 17, 2019 (Sacramento) -- Immigrants' rights groups are speaking out against President Donald Trump's new immigration proposal - unveiled yesterday - saying it betrays American values and ignores the thorniest issues that have thus far held up a comprehensive immigration deal in Congress. 

BUSINESSMAN AND PLANNING COMMISSIONER PHIL ORTIZ APPOINTED TO FILL FORMER EL CAJON COUNCILMAN KALASHO’S SEAT

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

May 17, 2919 (El Cajon) --In a unanimous vote, the El Cajon City Council on Tuesday approved planning commissioner and businessman David “Phil” Ortiz to fill the seat formerly held by Ben Kalasho. Ortiz edged out three other finalists for the position: Richard Agundez, Anthony Sottile, and Humbert Cabrera.

Other applicants were Gladys “Jo” Alegria, Juan Barajas, Richard Campbell, Margaret Carlson, Estela De Los Rio, James Elia, Mark Jamil, former El Cajon Mayor Mark Lewis, Amanda McGimpsey, Juan Carlos, Mercado, Michelle Metschel, Abraham Muheize, Nancy Wilson, and Steven Woods. Community activist Stephanie Harper dropped out of the race at Tuesday’s meeting. See our prior coverage for highlights on all 22 candidates.

Owner and CEO of New Earth Energy Specialists Inc. and a pastor of Foothills Church, Ortiz is also an active community volunteer. He serves on the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce board of directors and is founding member of the El Cajon Community Clean Up Group.  He has a B.A. degree in criminal justice administration from SDSU and a master’s in organizational management with emphasis in public administration.

According to his application with the city, his top priorities are public safety, including making retention of officers a priority, homelessness, including partnering with local organizations and having metrics to determine programs effectiveness, and having a balanced budget plus revitalization and incentivization to build on vacant lots.

Watch a streaming video of Tuesday’s evening's council session here and scroll down for details.

D-DAY VETERAN HONORED AT TRUMP’ S STATE OF UNION ADDRESS ENDORSES CAMPA-NAJJAR FOR CONGRESS IN RACE AGANST HUNTER, A VETERAN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Retired Pvt. First Class Joseph Reilly, courtesy of the White House website

May 17, 2019 (San Diego) – Joseph Reilly, a D-Day veteran who parachuted behind enemy lines in Britain and fought other battles to help liberate Eastern Europe during World War II, has made his first political endorsement at age 97.  Reilly, whose courageous actions were honored by Donald Trump at the President’s State of the Union Address, has endorsed Ammar Campa-Najjar, the Democrat running against indicted Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter in the 50th Congressional district.

Hunter has been a strong supporter of Trump on the  campaign and during Trump’s presidency. But Reilly, a former Army private, said in a statement that he is “proud” to support Campa-Najjar because Hunter “has now crossed the line twice. First when he betrayed the public in order to enrich himself, and now again when he  makes such shameful and false attacks in order to hold onto his power.”

Hunter, a combat veteran in Iraq and Afghanistan, is awaiting trial on federal corruption charges. He and his wife are accusing of taking over $250,000 from his campaign and spending it on lavish personal expenditures including family vacations to Italy and Hawaii, jewelry, oral surgery bills, tuition at his children’s private school, and airfare for his son’s pet rabbit.

SAN DIEGO’S PROPOSED NEW VEHICLE HABITATION ORDINANCE DRAWS OPPOSITION; PROTEST PLANNED TUESDAY

 

Update May 15, 2019: The San Diego City Council has voted to approve the new vehicle habitation ordinance.

By Miriam Raftery

May 13, 2019 (San Diego) – After a federal judge found San Diego’s vehicle habitation ordinance unconstitutional and issued an injunction to halt its enforcement of the ban on sleeping in vehicles, a new ordinance backed by Mayor Kevin Faulconer has been passed 3-1 by a committee and forwarded to the full city council, where a vote is expected on Tuesday, May 14 at 2 p.m.  

 

ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEBER TO HOST COFFEE CHAT ON STATE BUDGET AND PRIORITIES MAY 18

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 10, 2019 (San Diego) — Assemblywoman Shirley Weber invites you to drop by a coffee chat to learn about the Governor’s proposed budget, current legislation that Dr. Weber is authoring, ask questions and share any concerns.

EIGHT FORMER SAN DIEGO FEDERAL PROSECUTORS SIGN LETTER ON TRUMP FACING FELONIES

 

 

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  President Trump during a national address.  Image via CNN broadcast 

May 8, 2019 (San Diego) - Retired attorney Robert “Bob” Ross says lawyers have a hard time agreeing to sign anything “where they aren’t able to make amendments or change words.”

But Rose — and at least seven other former San Diego federal prosecutors — did just that when they agreed to add their names to an open letter that said Donald Trump would face “multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice” if he weren’t president.

“But for the OLC memo, the overwhelming weight of professional judgment would come down in favor of prosecution for the conduct outlined in the Mueller Report,” said a Department of Justice “alumni statement” posted Monday on Medium.

As of Tuesday, it had about 700 signatories.

JONES HONORS SYNAGOGUE SHOOTING VICTIMS

 

 

East County News Service

May 6, 2019 (Sacramento) -- In the wake of Saturday’s shooting in Poway, Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee) adjourned the Senate floor session on April 28th in memory of Lori Gilbert-Kaye, a Chabad of Poway synagogue congregator who died during the synagogue shooting on Passover. The occasion was also the State Capitol’s Holocaust Remembrance Day.

22 APPLICANTS SEEK TO FILL EL CAJON COUNCIL VACANCY: INTERVIEWS SET FOR MAY 14

By Miriam Raftery

May 2, 2019 (El Cajon) – The vacancy left on the El Cajon City Council by the resignation of Ben Kalasho has generated strong community interest.  Applications have been received from 22 residents, all seeking to fill the seat. They range from prominent individuals including a former mayor to community activists, members of the planning commission, and a retired police officer who received a Medal of Valor. They bring a diverse range of views and visions for  El Cajon as well.

The City Council will interview applicants at the May 14 meeting at 7 p.m.  Earlier, at the 3 p.m. meeting, Council members will discuss procedures for choosing the next Councilmember, who will fill the at-large seat held by Kalasho until the 2020 election.

The applicants are, in alphabetical order, are listed below along with highlights from their applications:

WOMEN OF COLOR ROARED AT SHE THE PEOPLE 2020 PRESIDENTIAL FORUM

 

8 Presidential contenders shared their views

 
By Angela de Joseph
 
May 2, 2019 (Lemon Grove) -- Indivisible Watu, a political advocacy nonprofit organization based in Lemon Grove, CA., was founded in February 2017. We produce the Women of Color Roar Breakfast.  The well-attended event is held in Black History Month to celebrate the election victories and milestones of African American female office holders and to encourage young women of color to run for office and seek careers in public service. 
 
It was a welcome surprise to be invited to, “She the People,” the first-ever Presidential primary candidate forum focused on issues important to women of color, which was held on April 24, 2019 at Texas Southern University (TSU) in Houston, Texas. 
 

BETO O’ROURKE HANDLES FASTBALLS AND ONE CURVEBALL IN SAN DIEGO TOWN HALL

 

 

By Ken Stone

Photo by Chris Stone

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

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

May 1, 2019 (San Diego) - Beto O’Rourke recalls knocking on 16,000 doors in his first run for Congress in 2012. He’s tackled nearly every issue imaginable.

SUPERVISOR JIM DESMOND TO HOLD REVITALIZATION MEETING IN BORREGO SPRINGS MAY 7

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2019 (Borrego Springs) – Newly elected County Supervisor Jim Desmond has been holding a series of community revitalization meetings in his district. Now he is starting a Borrego Springs Community Revitalization Committee to bring public resources to Borrego Springs.  This is a community meeting and the public is welcome to attend.  On Tuesday, May 7, the meeting will be held in the community room at the Borrego Springs Library.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION BLOCKS EFFORTS TO PREVENT RUSSIAN HACKING IN 2020 ELECTIONS

Homeland Security Secretary resigned after White House thwarted her efforts to prevent Russian hacking

By Miriam Raftery

April 26, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – Lost amid the hoopla over the Mueller report  is this indisputable finding by the special counsel: “The Russian government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion.” Yet to date, nothing has been done by the Trump administration to prevent Russian interference in the upcoming primaries and 2020 presidential race.

Muelller stopped short of finding any direct collusion involving President Donald Trump with Russia, though he did not exonerate the president on obstruction of justice. While the President has claimed victory and Congress continues to probe obstruction issues, perhaps the most critical and under-reported fact is this:  the Trump administration is actively interfering with efforts by even its own cabinet officials and Congress to prevent Russia from hacking or otherwise interfering in the next presidential election in 2020.

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