Politics

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2017 (El Cajon)—El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells was our guest for an in-depth interview on our radio show last week.  You can hear the full interview, originally aired on KNSJ, by clicking on the “audio” link.  Our topics included the performing arts center, a major new goal for helping the homeless, and economic revitalization in the community.

Mayor Wells shared details about the city’s exciting new partnership with Live Nation to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center.  The Mayor, who plays several musical instruments, recalled how music made a big difference in his own life.  “It was the first thing I was really good at,” he reflected, also sharing a humorous anecdote about how he talked his way into the school band as a youngster growing up.

Audio: 

MORE NEW CALIFORNIA LAWS TAKE EFFECT IN 2018

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 26, 2017 (San Diego) – Besides new laws affecting motorists, there are several other important new laws taking effect in 2018, including a minimum wage increase, legal marijuana sales, new protections for workers and job applicants, new requirements for employers and general contractors, limits on where you can buy ammunition, and more.

EL CAJON CITY APPROVES LANDMARK AGREEMENT WITH LIVE NATION TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

Landmark vote sets path to reopen theatre in 2019 for headline acts, though community groups’ use of theatre may be limited

By Paul Kruze

Photo, left: Arich Berghammer, Live Nation, addresses Council prior to historic vote

December 20, 2017 (El Cajon) -- After many community discussions, public meetings and  frustrations over the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) remaining closed for nearly the past decade, the El Cajon City Council last Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary draft agreement for City Manager Doug Williford to ink worldwide concert producer Live Nation as the new manager of the theatre. (Councilman Ben Kalasho was absent, citing an emergency.)

Prior to the landmark vote which longtime councilmember Gary Kendrick has characterized as “the most important vote and the biggest thing to happen to El Cajon. Everybody wins.” He added that Live Nation “has the Midas touch. Every performing arts center they touch turns to gold.”

TAX BILL SIGNED INTO LAW BY TRUMP

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has signed into law a final version of a sweeping ta reform bill.   The measure provides huge, permanent tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals, also providing temporary tax relief for many other individuals that will take effect in 2019 and expire eight years later.  Many of those cuts will be offset, however, by loss of popular tax deductions and a provision that is expected to raise rates for Affordable Care Act healthcare policies.

Among San Diego’s representatives, only Republican Duncan Hunter voted in favor.  Republican Darrell Issa joined with Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas to vote against, as did California’s two Senators, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein.

Here's a summary of what’s in the final bill, including key last-minute changes:

SANTEE TO REMAIN ONLY EAST COUNTY CITY TO ALLOW SMOKING IN PUBLIC PARKS; COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS BAN FOR HIKING TRAILS

 

By Paul Kruze

Hear audio of meeting: http://www.mediafire.com/file/bo4c5wwv6k6tmcb/SanteeSPARC12142017Meeting.mp3

 

December 21, 2017 (Santee) -- Cigarette smokers in our region may end up with one less place to smoke if the Santee City Council approves a recommendation of the Santee Park and Recreation Committee (SPARC) to ban smoking on its numerous hiking trails located within the city limits. Smoking would still be allowed in public parks, leaving Santee the last city in San Diego County to still allow smoking in public parks, although the city does restrict smoking to designated areas during special events.

Smoking marijuana, however, will remain prohibited in Santee parks, although the state is set to decriminalize use on January 1 after voters passed Proposition 64 legalizing the public recreational use and commercial purchase of marijuana.

LEMON GROVE SHERIFF DEPUTIES HAVE BODY CAMERAS; MAYOR TO SERVE AS REPRESENTATIVE TO SANDAG

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: December 19, 2017 was declared Marcos’ Jewelry Day in honor of the retirement of Marcos Ortega.

December 20, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- Lieutenant S. Amos updated the Lemon Grove City Council yesterday on the Sheriff’s Department progress on body-worn cameras. Amos announced that all Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the Lemon Grove station (excluding those there on overtime from other stations) have body-worn cameras.

POST-NET NEUTRALITY, CAN MUNICIPAL ISPS FREE THE INTERNET?

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo:  The Institute for Local Self-Reliance predicts that, for the 129 million Americans who have access to just one internet provider, monopolies will have greater power with the repeal of net neutrality. (Fabienne/Morguefile)

December 18, 2017 (Sacramento) - After the Federal Communications Commission voted to kill net neutrality on Thursday, some California cities are looking to create or expand municipal internet service to preserve open, fair and affordable online access. Manhattan Beach is exploring the possibility, and Santa Monica, Burbank, Beverly Hills and Long Beach already have small, publicly-owned broadband networks.

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS PAINTS POSITIVE PICTURE IN STATE OF CITY ADDRESS

 

 

 

by Paul Kruze

Hear audio of Mayor Wells’ State of the City address

 

December 15, 2017 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells painted a positive picture of his city in his annual “State of the City” address at the City Council Chambers on Tuesday.

Wells began his address saying that for the past several years, the City of El Cajon has attempted to create a new atmosphere for its businsses, residents, and visitors. He said that in 2017 the city had made significant progress towards this goal. “New and exciting things are continuing to happen for El Cajon, and more is yet to come,” he stated. “The City of El Cajon is taking enormous strides to improve the quality of life liveability of the city for residents and businesses. The city is engaged in major economic development making our city more effiicient, increasing the safety of the community, and rebranding El Cajon as a family friendly place.”

READER’S EDITORIAL: HUNTER, LIKE MOORE IN ALABAMA, COULD LOSE SEAT TO A DEMOCRAT

 

By Andrew Zelt

December 15, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- To the GOP:  after this week's stunning defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama, the Republican Party of San Diego must take a closer look at itself.  It must remind itself what it's true principles are and what it is fighting for.  It cannot become so wrapped up with an unwavering support of a candidate that no matter what that candidate might do wrong, they are still willing to support them.  A politician is accountable to the people.  It's time the Republican Party of San Diego follows the people's lead and holds a candidate responsible for their actions.  In Alabama, the GOP had a weak candidate embroiled in controversy and lost a seat that couldn't have been safer for a Republican candidate.  Sound familiar?

CHARITABLE AND BUSINESS DEDUCTIONS TAKEN AWAY IN TAX BILL

 

Home office deductions and deductions for service businesses, self-employed and independent contractors are also slated for elimination

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Nonprofits are voicing concerns over a provision in the Republican tax bill now in Congress that could harm charities by taking away incentives for the vast majority of Americans to donate to nonprofit organizations.

DEMOCRAT DOUG JONES WINS ALABAMA SENATE SEAT OVER ROY MOORE, NARROWING REPUBLICANS CONTROL OF U.S. SENATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – By a slim 1.5% margin, Democrat  Doug Jones, a prosecutor, won Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat over Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court Justice.  Moore’s race was marred by allegations from numerous women who claimed sexual improprieties by Moore, including alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old when he was in his 30s. Moore has denied the allegations.

The victory means Republicans will have only a 51 to 49 majority in the U.S. Senate after Jones is sworn in. If even a single Republican votes with Democrats or is absent, Republicans could only secure passage by having Vice President Mike Pence cast a deciding vote. If two members defect or are absent, key measures such as legislation or judicial appointments could be blocked.

LA MESA JOINS REGIONAL HOMELESS TASK FORCE, CHANGES COUNCIL MEETING TIMES

 

 

 

SDG&E defends its record on safety and clean energy

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos Courtesy City of La Mesa

December 11, 2017 (La Mesa) - City Council voted at its last meeting to officially become a due-paying member of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. La Mesa has been participating by sending staff to the meetings, and this action makes the relationship official. Additionally, meetings will now be held at a standard 6 p.m. instead of the rotating 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and SDG&E’s Public Affairs Manager Cameron Durckel and La Mesa Parks and Recreation Foundation President John Fonseca shared PowerPoints.

READER'S EDITORIAL: THE ULTIMATE UNTHINKABLE OF UNTHINKABLES: TRUMP AXES MUELLER AND GETS AWAY WITH IT

 

By Shaun Mullen, with credit to the Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego online news network)

December 11, 2017 (San Diego) - Will Donald Trump fire Robert Mueller? In an era when the unthinkable occurs with numbing regularity, it looks increasingly likely that he will. But will he get away with it?

BURNED OUT? ROBBED? ACCIDENT VICTIM? TAX BILL TAKES AWAY DEDUCTIONS FOR PERSONAL CASUALTY LOSSES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (San Diego) – If you lose your home or personal property in a natural disaster such as a wildfire or earthquake, or suffer theft, accident or vandalism, you won’t be able to deduct those property losses off your taxes after December. That’s because both the Senate and House versions of the Republicans’ tax bill eliminates these tax breaks.

SENATE APPROVES TAX BILL WITH DEEP, PERMANENT CUTS FOR CORPORATIONS BUT ONLY SMALL, SHORT-TERM CUTS FOR OTHERS

 

Loss of deductions and undercutting Affordable Care Act could eliminate savings for many middle class and low-income families and individuals

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (Washington D.C.) --By a narrow 51 to 49 vote, the Senate has approved a sweeping tax overhaul bill that marks the first significant legislative victory for President Donald Trump.  The Tax Cut and Jobs Act is broad, providing major long-term cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals plus short-term tax cuts for millions of other Americans.

But many of the savings for ordinary Americans will be negated, since the bill also takes away numerous tax deductions and eliminates a key provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act Act, meaning premiums will rise and many will lose healthcare, the Washington Post, Forbes and New York Times report. 

A Washington Post analysis finds that 62 percent of Americans will get a tax cut of at least $100 in 2019, but 38 percent will get no tax cuts. Less than half (44 percent) would have cuts of $500 or more—and most of those are wealthy, not middle class or low income families. By 2027, only 16 percent of individuals will still have tax cuts; 84 percent of Americans will have none.  But the cuts for corporations are permanent.

53 MEMBERS OF CONGRESS PRESS FOR DISASTER AID FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE SURVIVIVORS, INCLUDING ALL SAN DIEGO MEMBERS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Smouldering remains of a mobile home park burned in the Tubbs Fire in October 2017;  CC by ATS

December 2, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Yesterday, 53 members of Congress including all five San Diego-area representatives signed a letter sent to House Appropriations Committee leaders urging that $4.4 billion to aid California wildfire survivors be added to a disaster relief fund. 

The action comes after President Donald Trump previously ignored pleas from California legislators and Governor Jerry Brown, sending a measure to Congress that included funds for hurricane survivors in Texas and Florida, but not a penny to help those who lost homes, businesses or family members in the October California firestorms.

FLYNN PLEADS GUILTY OF LYING TO FBI, CUTS DEAL WITH PROSECUTORS IN TRUMP-RUSSIA PROBE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 1, 2017 (Washington D.C.)—Former National Security  Advisor and retired Lieutenant General Michael Flynn pled guilty today to lying to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) about his back-channel talks with Russia’s ambassador Sergey Kislyak prior to Trump taking office in efforts to influence U.S. policies on sanctions against Russia and more.

 In court, federal authorities indicated Flynn is cooperating with Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump campaign ties to the Kremlin to potentially influence the U.S. presidential race outcome.  Court records indicate Flynn has admitted he was directed by Donald Trump’s transition team officials to contact Russia’s ambassador, the Washington Post reports. 

CA COUNTIES: SENATE TAX BILL WILL FORCE LOCAL GOVERNMENTS TO RAISE FEES, TAXES

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

November 30, 2017 (Sacramento) - The people who run many of California's counties are speaking out against the tax bill that is about to go up for a vote in the U.S. Senate. They say they're worried it will eliminate important deductions and force local governments to cut services or raise taxes or fees to compensate.

EAST COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT CANDIDATES APPEAR AT FORUM SPONSORED BY INDIVISIBLE

 

By Paul Kruze

November 29, 2017 (El Cajon) - With the election scheduled next year, some 200 East County Democratic Party faithful gathered at the Ronald Reagan Community Center in downtown El Cajon for a 50th Congressional District candidate forum moderated by KPBS public radio and television journalist Mark Sauer in early November, sponsored by the progressive group, Indivisible. The candidates appearing at the forum were Patrick Malloy, Ammar Campa-Najjar and Pierre (Pete) Beauregard. Candidate Josh Butner did not appear at the forum due to a scheduling conflict. Gloria Chadwick and Glenn Jensen, who had launched a campaign for the House seat in March, have since suspended their campaigns.

GAS TAX REPEAL EFFORT LAUNCHED

 

 

East County News Service


November 29, 2017 (San Diego) — A statewide gas tax hike that took effect November 1st under Senate Bill 1 raised gas excise taxes by 12 cents a gallon, also hiking up diesel fuel rates. An increase in vehicle registration fees is also slated to go into effect in January. The money is to be used to fix roads, highways and bridges as well as improving public transit.

EL CAJON COUNCIL IN HOT SEAT WITH HOMELESS FEEDING BAN

 

 

By Paul Kruze

View video of public comment on homeless feeding ban: https://youtu.be/_jJg7WDx_vw

November 28, 2017 (El Cajon) – Members of the El Cajon City Council and Mayor Bill Wells faced vocal opposition Tuesday over the Council’s recently passed temporary ordinance that makes it illegal to feed homeless individuals in City of El Cajon parks.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: JUDICIAL CANDIDATE TIM NADER

Listen to the audio link to hear the full interview, and scroll down for highlights.

"Certainly, I would make sure that I would conduct myself in a way that litigants would know that whatever their background, they are going to be listened to, they are going to get a fair shake, and decisions are going to be made based on the evidence in the case and not based on other factors or biases. I think those are the most important prerequisites for being a good judge." -- Tim Nader

By Miriam Raftery

November 24, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) –  In an interview originally aired on the East County Magazine Show on KNSJ radio,  San Diego Superior Court Judge candidate Tim Nader discusses his experience and judicial values and views of our criminal justice system. 

Nader has criminal , civil and family law experience. He  worked for the state Attorney General  for many years.  He later served as Mayor and City Councilmember in Chula Vista, as a nonprofit executive director, as a community college board trustee, and  as a child support attorney for the County before returning to the Attorney General’s office.

His opponent, Judge Gary Kreep, was censured by the State Commission on Judicial Performance , which found Kreep engaged in 29 acts of judicial misconduct. demonstrating lack of judicial temperament and ran his courtroom in a manner that suggested bias. Kreep made derogatory comments about women attorneys, minorities and people with cases him, among numerous other controversies.

Audio: 

TRUMP REFUSES DISASTER AID SUPPORT FOR CALIFORNIA WILDFIRE VICTIMS; FEDS PROVIDE NOT ONE PENNY

 

Update: An earlier version of this article stated that only one of California's Congressional Republicans joined with Democrats in signing a letter to President Trump asking for disaster aid for the fire victims.  The article has been updated to include a separate letter signed by Congressman Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, both San Diego Republicans, asking Trump for the disaster aid.

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Just in time for Thanksgiving, President Donald Trump’s White House sent Congress a skimpy disaster relief funding request that includes not one penny for survivors of the worst wildfires in California history, those that ravaged the wine region and other areas recently.  The measure provided only bare-bones funding for states that suffered hurricane damage.

LEMON GROVE CITY COUNCIL TAKING RISKS TO INVEST IN CITY STREETS

 

Photo: (L-R) Councilmember Jerry Jones, Mayor Pro Tem Jennifer Mendoza, Mayor Racquel Vasquez, Councilman Matt Mendoza, Councilman David Arambula

By Jonathan Goetz

November 22, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- Two recent votes by the Lemon Grove City Council allocate additional funds for city streets based on promises of additional funds that may or may not materialize.

CONGRESSMAN HUNTER ASKS SHERIFF GORE FOR CLARITY ON CONCEALED GUN PERMITS

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By Miriam Raftery

November 20, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego County Gun Owners (SDCGO), a political action committee promoting Second Amendment rights, has long opposed what it contends is an undisclosed internal policy on who can qualify for a concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit. SDCGO says that Sheriff Bill Gore routinely denies CCW permits to law-abiding, trained county residents who qualify under state law for a CCW.

TAX BILL PASSES HOUSE, OPPOSED BY 4 OF 5 SAN DIEGO CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS: SENATE ADDS HEALTHCARE REPEAL TO TAX MEASURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated with analysis from Forbes Magazine.

November 19, 2017 (San Diego) – House Republicans rammed through passage of a sweeping tax reform measure without holding a single hearing on the 400-page bill and without allowing any input from Democrats.   The measure, hailed as the first major legislative victory for President Donald Trump, was opposed by San Diego’s three Democratic representatives as well as by Republican Darrell Issa, but was supported by Republican Duncan Hunter. 

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CONVENES SESSION WITH GREEN BUILDING INDUSTRY LEADERS TO BRING MANUFACTURING JOBS TO EAST COUNTY

 

“We can create at least 6,000 jobs here.” – Pete Beauregard

By Miriam Raftery

November 17, 2017 (Ramona) – Out of the ashes of the 2007 firestorm in Ramona, Casa Aguilar arose.  The home of Pete  Beauregard and his wife, Amy McQuillan, just won the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 Innovation Award for zero net energy use. It’s also built to withstand wildfires. 

On October 24, Beauregard, a rancher, veteran, ex-rodeo bullrider and candidate for Congress in the 50th Congressional district took the bull by the horns and convened a think tank meeting at his visionary home. The event brought together top green industry leaders to brainstorm ideas for bringing green manufacturing and building jobs to East County.

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