Politics

SAN DIEGO JEWISH LEADERS FACE CHALLENGES RESPONDING TO TRUMP'S TWEETS, NEW 'DISLOYALTY' CLAIM

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  Chabad of Poway Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein speaks at gravesite of slain Lori Gilbert Kaye. In a White House visit, he praised President Trump as a “mensch par excellence.” Photo by Chris Stone

August 26, 2019 (San Diego) - A week before the November 2018 election, 17 San Diego-area rabbis signed a letter denouncing Rep. Duncan Hunter‘s “fear mongering” attacks on the Palestinian ancestry of Christian opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar.

LAST DAY FOR PUBLIC COMMENT ON PLAN TO DECIMATE FEDERAL FORESTS

By Miriam Raftery

August 26, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – A radical proposal by the Trump administration’s U.S. Forest Service would allow logging and road building on up to 75% of our nation’s public forest lands without environmental review or public input.  

Today is the deadline for public comments, which you can submit at this link: : https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=FS-2019-0010-0001

The proposed changes to the National Environmental Policy Act established in 1970 would allow the agency to also ignore impacts on climate change, habitat, and recreational use of federal forests such as Cleveland National Forest in San Diego County and federal forests surrounding national parks such as near Yellowstone and Sequoia.

ALPINE CHAMBER FORMS GOVERNMENT AFFAIRS COMMITTEE TO ADDRESS HIGHWAY FUNDS SHIFT

East County News Service

August 22, 2019 (Alpine)  Concerned over the potential loss of funds to expand a portion of Interstate 8 in East County due to a shift in priorities at the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), the Alpine Chamber of Commerce has announced the formation of a Government Affairs Committee.

HELIX WATER DISTRICT VOTES 4-1 TO APPROVE RATE HIKE FOR RESIDENTS AND BUSINESSES

Board President Dan McMillan votes against the measure

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

August 17, 2019 (La Mesa) -- Water from the Helix Water District (HWD), which serves some 276,000 residents throughout East County San Diego, is going to get a little more expensive in spite of ample water supply in storage.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PLAN WOULD GUT ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT, ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS WARN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Bald eagles have been saved from the brink of extinction by the Endangered Species Act; polar bears are among species now considered vulnerable. 

August 17, 2019  (Washington D.C.) – Just two weeks ago, the United Nations and International Union for Conservation of Nature published two reports warning that climate change is pushing a million species closer to extinction.  Yet last week, the Trump administration announced plans to take effect in September that dramatically weaken protections for endangered and threatened species.  

RECALL EFFORT LAUNCHED AGAINST NEWSOM; GOVERNOR DEFENDS RECORD

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo:  Governor Gavin Newsom; photo by Ron Logan
 
August 17, 2018 (San Diego) – Governor Gavin Newsom won the election in November over Republican John Cox by a whopping 62% to 38% margin. But in a pattern increasingly being deployed by Republicans seeking do-overs of elections across the Western states, an effort to recall Newsom has been launched. 

A GREEN FUTURE DAWNS IN LA MESA: COUNCIL VOTES TO OFFER A COMMUNITY CHOICE ENERGY OPTION FOR RESIDENTS, JOINING SAN DIEGO AND CHULA VISTA

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Miriam Raftery

August 16, 2019 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa City Council members voted unanimously 5-0 on August 13th for a landmark agreement to form a joint powers agreement (JPA) with the cities of San Diego and Chula Vista to create a Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) and give La Mesa residents an alternative to SDG&E for purchasing power.

La Mesa Vice Mayor William “Bill” Baber was on the subcommittee leading the efforts on this matter. “With this vote, La Mesa took another step forward on the path to 100% clean energy!” Baber told ECM via e-mail.

SANTEE CITY COUNCIL PLANS ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT DISTRICT, ALSO DESIGNATES LIBRARY SITE FOR HOTEL

By Mike Allen 

By Mike Allen
 
August 15, 2019 (Santee) -- Executing one of its priorities set last year, Santee’s City Council has approved the concept of an overlay zone to an area centered around Town Center intended to attract arts and entertainment-orientated businesses such as night clubs, galleries, museums, theater and dance companies, plus other tourist-centric enterprises including hotels.

SENATOR BRIAN JONES HOSTS EAST COUNTY TOWN HALL AUG. 22 IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

August 15, 2019 (Lakeside) – “It’s important that your voice is heard,” reads a flyer from State Senator Brian Jones, who will host an East County Town Hall on Thursday, Aug. 22, 2019 at the Lakeside Community Center (9841 Vine St., Lakeside).  There will be a local Nonprofit Expo first from 5-6 p.m., followed by a Town Hall from 6-7:30 p.m.

HUNTER TRIAL DELAYED UNTIL JANUARY, POSING DILEMMA FOR CANDIDATES AND VOTERS

Republicans Bill Wells and Carl DeMaio voice intent to challenge Hunter; others silent on whether they will run if Hunter is on the ballot

By Miriam Raftery

Photo courtesy Times of San Diego

August 14, 2019 (San Diego) – Judge Thomas Whelan has ruled that Congressman Duncan Hunter’s federal corruption trial will be postponed until January 14th.  That’s after the Dec. 6 deadline for candidates to run for the seat, posing a dilemma for some Republican candidates who have said they would not run if Hunter is still in the race. If the trial extends into February, voters could be casting early vote-by-mail ballots without knowing if Hunter has been found guilty or not.

CAJON VALLEY BOARD TO CONSIDER CIVILITY STANDARDS FOR BOARD MEMBERS, ADMINISTRATORS AND EMPLOYEES—WITH STIFF PENALTIES

 

Update: The board adopted both sets of civility standards 3-0, with members Jill Barto and Jo Alegria absent.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Creative Commons by NC-ND

August 13, 2019 (El Cajon) – At tonight’s Cajon Valley Union School District board meeting, the agenda includes proposed governance standards of civility for board members that would allow the district to ask a Grand Jury to remove a board member from office under Government Code section 3060 for engaging in repeated abusive conduct toward other board members, administrators, employees, students or members of the public.

Section 3060 allows a grand jury to take action to remove an elected official for “willful or corrupt misconduct in office” though the statute is vague on what constitutes such actions.

The agenda also includes proposed civility standards for employees and administrators; repeated acts of abusive conduct may result in discipline or ultimately, termination of employment.

Both items were placed on the agenda by Board Chair Tamara Otero, who has publicly clashed with board member Jill Barto on multiple occasions after Barto raised questions on board expenditures including the awarding of a construction contract to a company owned by Otero’s son.

The proposals seek to waive the customary second reading, in order to push through approval on a single vote, while board member Barto is absent due to a family emergency.

LEMON GROVE CITIZENS LAUNCH SALES TAX INITIATIVE

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 12, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – For years, Lemon Grove has been struggling financially. Now, a group of residents led by former Councilman George Gastil is gathering signatures on a ballot initiative to raise Lemon Grove’s sales tax by three-quarters of a cent, an action the “Vote Yes for the Lemon Grove Tax” committee estimates would raise approximately $3 million.

ATTORNEY GENERAL BECERRA CO-LEADS BIPARTISAN COALITION OF 43 ATTORNEYS GENERAL URGING VIDEO STREAMING INDUSTRY TO PROTECT YOUNG VIEWERS FROM TOBACCO

AGs provide policy guidelines to streaming industry to combat increasing use of tobacco products by young people

Source:  Attorney General Becerra

August 8, 2019 (Sacramento) - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson today led a bipartisan coalition of 43 attorneys general in urging the streaming industry to limit tobacco use in their video content. Due to the growing use of tobacco products amongst teens, the attorneys general urge the streaming industry to take proactive steps to protect the lives of young viewers. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018.

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

East County News Service

August 7, 2019, 2019 (Alpine) – Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar will be at a Town Hall Meet and Greet open to the public at the Alpine Community Center on August 18th from 1 to 4 p.m. Food and beverages will be served. The event is hosted by Alpine resident Anne Craig-Tillmond.

 

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

 

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

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: CONGRESSIONAL CANDIATE AMMAR CAMPA-NAJJAR ON HIS PLANS TO BRING HIGH-INCOME JOBS TO EAST COUNTY AND MORE

By Miriam Raftery

Listen to the full interview, originally aired on KNSJ radio: click the audio link.

Learn more about Ammar Campa-Najjar's town hall at the Alpine Community Center on August 18 from 1-4 p.m. by clicking here.

August 9, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – “We need an economy and a government that works for working people,” says Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running for the 50th Congressional district seat currently held by indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter. So we sat down with Campa-Najjar on our radio show to discuss those plans in detail.

Headlines tout a strong GDP as well as low unemployment. But  those numbers don’t tell the full story,  Campa-Najjar points out. “That’s great if you own stock.  But it’s not great if unemployment is low because one person is working three jobs, barely making a living and living paycheck to paycheck, having to choose whether to buy a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk.”  He says that in talking with people across the district, he’s hearing from people who are having to cut prescription pills in half or who can’t pay for insulin, choosing which bills to skip paying to cover basic survival needs. “These are real issues in the district, especially in rural areas."

Unlike most candidates who have run for this seat through the years, Campa-Najjar says he is uniquely positioned to bring good jobs to East County and elsewhere in the district because “I worked at the Department of Labor to create good-paying jobs, not just in San Diego County, but throughout the country.”

At the Department of Labor, he worked on creating apprenticeship jobs to train workers in high-paying fields, as well as setting up summer youth jobs and opportunities for veterans.  He later worked for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as communications and marketing director, which included promoting opportunities for small businesses to secure contracts with the federal government and corporations. He’s also worked as an educator teaching at UCSD, USD and SDSU.

He’s also a small business owner and Jamul resident who was born in La Mesa and raised by a working class Catholic mother. His first job was as a janitor at his church, where he became a youth leader before graduating from San Diego State and later working in the White House and at the U.S. Department of Labor.

So what kinds of jobs would he bring to the district, including rural areas, small towns and Native American reservations?

Audio: 

Ammar Campa-Najjar interview

PROSECUTION SEEKS DELAY IN SENTENCING OF REP. HUNTER’S WIFE

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 6, 2019 (San Diego) – Federal prosecutors have filed a request in U.S. District Court asking to postpone the sentencing date for Margaret Hunter until December 2, after the trial of her husband, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

EL CAJON WEIGHS STIFFER PENALTIES FOR STORES SELLING TOBACCO TO KIDS

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 5, 2019 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council will consider tough new penalties for retailers caught selling tobacco to minors. A proposed new ordinance includes cracking down harder the very first time a retailer violates the law, since there have been 43 instances of first-time offenders selling tobacco to youths from 2017 to the present.

DEPUTY SHERIFFS DENOUNCE DEMAIO RUN FOR CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 5, 2019 (San Diego) – The San Diego Deputy Sheriff’s Association today announced its unanimous decision to oppose former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s just-announced candidacy for the 50th Congressional District seat held by indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter. 

CARL DEMAIO TO RUN FOR HUNTER’S SEAT IN CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery
 
File photo: Carl DeMaio on election night
 
August 5, 2019 (San Diego) – Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio is the latest Republican to announce plans to run for the 50th Congressional district seat currently held by indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

'WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SURVIVE': WHY CALIFORNIANS COULD BEAR THE BRUNT OF TRUMP FOOD STAMP CUTS

By Jackie Botts, CALmatters

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

Photo:  Antoinette Martinez does her weekly grocery shopping at FoodMaxx, and worries that new proposed Trump administration cuts to food stamp eligibility will make it harder for her to stretch her food budget. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

August 1, 2019 (San Diego) - When Antoinette Martinez rolls her cart through the produce section of the FoodMaxx in Watsonville, her 5-year-old son Caden often asks for strawberries and blueberries. 

Sometimes Martinez bends, but usually she sticks to the produce on sale: Roma tomatoes for 69 cents a pound, cucumbers at three-for-99 cents. And banana bunches are relatively cheap.

FULL HOUSE AT EAST COUNTY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL FORUM: IDEAS FOR SOLVING REGION’S BIGGEST ISSUES

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 1, 2019 (El Cajon) – “We’re not interested in headlines today  We’re interested in the long-term,” George Gastil, founder of the East Count Leadership  Council, told a capacity audience at the El Cajon Library at a July 27th regional issues forum.

SENATOR JONES SAYS HIGH-USE ELECTRICITY CHARGES UNFAIRLY IMPACT PEOPLE IN HOT INLAND AREAS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – “Punish people in hotter communities for trying to survive the record heat – are you kidding me?” State Senator Brian Jones asks in a video he made after learning that the California Public Utilities Commission has refused a request from SDG&E to eliminate or suspend high use charges (HUC).  

EAST COUNTY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL HOSTS REGIONAL ISSUES FORUM ON JULY 27

By Miriam Raftery

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

COUNTY PLANNERS AMEND SMALL CELL WIRELESS ORDINANCE: SUPERVISORS TO HEAR PROPOSAL AUGUST 7

Update:  Staff planners have recommended against  the 100-ft. setback from homes that the Planning Commission had recommended, which would allow the 5G devices to go right next to homes, among other changes. See Susan Brinchman's second message in the comments section below for details.

By Miriam Raftery

View video of hearing:  http://sdcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=12&clip_id=2333

July 24, 2019 (San Diego) — Following a hearing on a proposed zoning ordinance update for small cell wireless facilities in the county’s unincorporated areas, planners voted to support stricter guidelines on where the devices can be placed. The new requirements were all on a list of suggestions provided by area residents including Susan Brinchman, director of the Center for Electrosmog Prevention in La Mesa.

CALAWARE ATTORNEY: COUNCILMAN PARENT SHOULD RECUSE FROM VOTING ON FARMER’S MARKET

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 23, 2019 (La Mesa) – An attorney with Californians Aware (CalAware), an organization that protects the public’s rights in open government matters, has advised ECM that Councilman Colin Parent should likely recuse himself from tonight’s vote on the La Mesa Farmer’s Market for showing bias prior to public testimony.

Four applicants have submitted applicants. Three would keep the market downtown and one, Grossmont Center, would move it to the regional shopping mall.

ECM sought Calaware's opinion after Councilman Parent posted a notice on the NextDoor forum urging residents to email a form letter to fellow councilmembers asking that the farmer’s market be kept downtown. A resident sent us a reader’s editorial and a letter to the full Council and  City Manager complaining of bias.  

Parent also sent a media advisory announcing a press conference to be held at 5 p.m., before tonight’s meeting, which he plans to hold with Brian Beevers, who currently operates the farmer’s market along with the La Mesa Village Association. The media notification states,  “ Both support the current location and date of the Farmer’s Market.”

STATE AUDITOR SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR 2020 CITIZENS REDISTRICTING COMMISSION

Update July 25:  The State has announced it does not have enough women or Latino applicants and is actively seeking more applicants to assure a balanced commisson.

By Chris Jennewein

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pages