Politics

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATORS PROPOSE NEW SLATE OF COVID-19 VACCINE LAWS

By Elizabeth Aguilera, CalMatters

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

Photo:  an Oakland resident receives a COVID-19 vaccination at the La Clinica de la Raza community vaccination site in Oakland on Jan. 4, 2022. Photo by Martin do Nascimento/CalMatters

March 2, 2022 (Sacramento) - Gov. Gavin Newsom is easing mask restrictions and declaring that the pandemic is moving into a less critical phase. Yet an aggressive slate of COVID-19-related bills — to mandate vaccines for children and workers, to allow 12 to 17 year-olds to get the vaccine without parental consent and more — remain in play under the Capitol dome.


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WORKING FAMILIES ORDINANCE ADOPTED BY SUPERVISORS IN CLOSELY DIVIDED VOTE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: CC via Bing

February 25, 2022 (San Diego) – By a 3-2 vote, San Diego County Supervisors approved a Working Families Ordinance on Feb. 8.  The measure requires payment of prevailing wages and use of a skilled, trained workforce on construction projects over $1 million on county lands.  It also brings sick leave requirements in line with state standards.

A second reading is set for March 1st. if approved then, it will go into effect 30 days later on new contracts or projects up for renewal.


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CONGRESSMAN ISSA CRITICIZES BIDEN AND NATO OVER UKRAINE INVASION; NATO BOLSTERS FORCES TO DEFEND ALLIES IN EUROPE

 

East County News Service

Photo, left: Congress Darrell Issa, via Issa’s office

Photo, right: NATO Secretary Jens Stoltenberg, courtesy of NATO

 

February 24, 2022 (San Diego) -- WASHINGTON D.C. - Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50) issued a media statement today after the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

"This is a disastrous day for free nations everywhere and a direct assault by tyranny and aggression that will compel the world to take notice,” said Issa, a Republican.

He added, "This is also a defining moment for the Biden Administration, which has manifestly failed to bolster a coalition of allies and partners to keep and secure the peace."


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CONGRESWOMAN JACOBS SHARES REACTION AFTER UKRAINE INVASION

 

East County News Service

February 24, 2022 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) today released a statement on the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Jacobs is a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and the House Armed Services Committee. In late January, she traveled to Kyiv, Ukraine, as part of an official bipartisan Congressional delegation led by Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory Meeks.

“I condemn President Putin’s unjustified attack on Ukraine that will have devastating and deadly consequences for the Ukrainian people and widespread consequences for the European continent. I stand with the Ukrainian people who woke up to Putin’s declaration of war, to explosions rocking their cities, and to a new and horrifying reality for the future," Jacobs says, adding,  “When I visited Ukraine with my colleagues last month, it was clear that the United States Congress and the Biden Administration – along with our NATO allies and partners – are united in our strong support for the Ukrainian people."


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STATE-FUNDED BATHROOM PROJECTS APPROVED IN LEMON GROVE FOR BERRY AND WASHINGTON STREET PARKS

By Elijah McKee 

Photo: New restrooms may look similar to these, according to Mayor Racquel Vasquez

 

February 21, 2022 (Lemon Grove) — “I’m really excited to be able to replace these aging, crumbling bathrooms,” reveled Councilmember Jennifer Mendoza. According to her, the restrooms at the Berry Street and Washington Street parks are going on 60 years old. 


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RECALL DRIVE AGAINST POWAY MAYOR VAUS FALLS SHORT BY AT LEAST 1,500 SIGNATURES

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

Photo:  Poway Mayor Steve Vaus spoke to the media after Chabad of Poway fatal shooting in April 2019. Photo by Chris Stone

February 18, 2022 (Poway) - Poway Mayor Steve Vaus won’t face a recall election over alleged violations of political laws and supposed nondisclosures about his annual Christmas charity concert.


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ASSEMBLYMEMBER WEBER SEEKS NOMINATIONS FOR WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH

Source: Dr. Akilah Weber’s office

February 18, 2022 (San Diego) -- In preparation for Women's History Month, Assemblywoman Akilah Weber invites constituents to submit your nominations bFebruary 25 for women leaders in the following three categories:


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LEMON GROVE COUNCIL MEETING UNRAVELS, ADJOURNS EARLY

By Elijah McKee

February 17, 2022 — Sixty-two — that is the number of times Mayor Racquel Vasquez hit her gavel during Lemon Grove’s City Council meeting on February 15, 2022. In the end, the meeting was adjourned early and scheduled to resume two days later at 6 p.m.


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BY 3-2 VOTE, SUPERVISORS APPROVE PLAN TO IDENTIFY INFILL AREAS IN UNINCORPRATED AREAS WHERE NEW HOMES WOULD BE EXEMPT FROM VEHICLE MILEAGE TAX

By Miriam Raftery

February 17, 2022 (San Diego) – The state’s new Vehicle Miles Traveled Law seeks to reduce greenhouse gases by requiring fees of developers for projects that result in vehicles traveling farther than the regional average.  Projects where drivers travel 15% fewer miles than the regional average, such as infill developments near roads, jobs, and transit, can be built without costly studies and mitigation required of other projects.

So last week, San Diego Supervisors voted 3-2 to attempt to balance housing needs with the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, in a two-phase approach.


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SUPERVIORS APPROVE PROPOSAL TO CREATE COUNTY’S FIRST SHALLOW SUBSIDY PROGRAM FOR AT-RISK OLDER ADULTS

Source: Serving Seniors

Photo: CC via Bing

Supervisors’ discussion of Item 13 can be viewed about 18 minutes into this videohttps://youtu.be/lDpMKzsFiEs  

 

February 17, 2022 (San Diego) -- With a unanimous vote of 5-0, San Diego County Supervisors on Feb. 8 passed a proposal introduced by Supervisors Joel Anderson and Terra Lawson-Remer asking County staff to design a new pilot program providing a “shallow subsidy” to low-income, rent-burdened older adults at risk of homelessness.


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ARAB COMMUNITY OBJECTS TO EL CAJON COUNCIL RETAINING DISTRICT LINES

By Elijah McKee
 
“It is unfathomable that a community hasn’t changed in five years.  This is a form of voter suppression, by dividing a community that can and should be kept together.” –Jeanine Erikat, Policy Associate at the Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans
 
February 15, 2022 (El Cajon) — The City Council of El Cajon unanimously chose its Council districts map last Tuesday night, February 8. The decision, as part of decennial redistricting, determined how the City will elect council members for the next ten years. 
 
Instead of drawing new district lines, the Council voted to keep the same boundaries drawn up in 2017, despite sharp criticism from El Cajon’s large Arab-American community, whose leaders argue that their population has changed since five years ago. They asked for updated districting to create a fair and complete representation of El Cajon. 

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LA MESA PASSES ORDINANCE TO LIMIT IMPACTS OF SB 9, NEW STATE LAW INCREASING HOUSING DENSITY

By Elijah McKee

Photo: CC by NC via Bing

February 15, 2022 (La Mesa) — This past September, the State of California passed a pivotal housing law called Senate Bill 9. Now, like many localities around the state, the City of La Mesa is charged with considering how to best implement the legislation with local ordinances — such as the one that passed the City Council last Tuesday night. 


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WILL PADRE DAM BOARD ADJUST MEETING TIME FOR TEACHER/MEMBER, WHO COULD FACE OUSTER?

 

Update: At their meeting on February 16, Padre Dam's Board of Directors voted to begin the approval process of a time change from 3:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. Staff will first research the change, such as impacts on other personnel's schedules and any financial ramifications, before sending it back to the Board of Directors for final approval at a later meeting, as per their rules.

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 15, 2022 (Santee) – Suzanne Till, a teacher, has asked her colleagues on the Padre Dam Municipal Water District Board to move meeting times from 3:30 to 4 p.m. since she has repeatedly been late due to the long commute from her job at a Chula Vista school.  But so far, the board has not done so.  The issue of moving the meeting time to later will be on the agenda for the board’s virtual meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 16 at 3:30 p.m., item 12. 

But some fear the board majority, all Republicans, may vote to oust Till, a Democrat, for tardiness in a partisan maneuver rather than accommodate a minor shift in meeting times. Till has fought against water rates, also opposing fines for late payments and water shutoffs during the pandemic. She holds a PhD in water resources geography and is a former Marine Corps Captain.  Her website details her record:  www.suzannetill.com .


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ISSA TACKLES SUPPLY CHAIN CRISIS WITH LEGISLATION THAT PASSES THE HOUSE

East County News Service

Photo: Cargo ship, CC-by-SA-NC

February 12, 2022 (Washington, D.C.) - Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA-50) issued the following statement on Feb. 7 after passage of his amendment by the House of Representatives. The Issa legislation requires the Department of Commerce to report to Congress within 60 days outlining policy changes that can be implemented within 30 days to address the continuing supply chain crisis.


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LOTHIAN SUCCESSFULLY PITCHES PUBLIC ARTS FOCUS ON MURALS IN LA MESA

By Elijah McKee

Photos:  Councilmember Lothian envisions murals, such as this one projected onto a currently blank building wall.

February 12, 2022 (La Mesa) — Ever drive through La Mesa and notice the blank gray side of a building? Councilmember Laura Lothian sure does, and she’d like to change what people see. 


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SANTEE INKS AGREEMENT FOR NEW TROLLEY SQUARE HOTEL ON SITE ONCE DESIGNATED FOR LIBRARY

By Mike Allen

February 12, 2022 (Santee) -- Santee’s grand plan to turn part of Trolley Square into an arts and entertainment district took a big step forward on February 9 when the City Council approved the sale of a parcel for a four-story, 89-room hotel.


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PERMIT FOR NEW LA MESA URBN LEAF DISPENSARY NOW A PIPE DREAM AFTER CASA WINS APPEAL AT HEARING

By Elijah McKee

February 11, 2022 (La Mesa) — Phil Rath could see the light at the end of the tunnel. He had the La Mesa Planning Commission’s stamp of approval, as well as the Design Review Board’s. It appeared that his employer, Urbn Leaf, would soon have a new cannabis dispensary at 7901 Hillside Drive.


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LA MESA ANNOUNCES MORTGAGE AND RENTAL ASSISTANCE

Source: City of La Mesa

February 10, 2022 (La Mesa) -- To help struggling La Mesa families impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City announced today the expansion of the current Mortgage Assistance Program to also include rent payment relief for residents. Beginning Monday, February 14,  applications will be accepted for rental assistance.


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WITH A HEFTY SURPLUS, WHAT SHOULD CALIFORNIA’S BUDGET PRIORITIES BE?

By Miriam Raftery

February 9, 2022 (San Diego) – Despite a pandemic and record wildfires, California is experiencing a strong economic record and higher than expected revenues, resulting in a projected record budget surplus, The state projects a $45 billion surplus, including $20.6 billion in discretionary funds  Just how those funds should be used, however, has prompted a wide range of opinions.


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BILL TO ALLOW TEENS TO RECEIVE VACCINES WITHOUT PARENTAL CONSENT SPARKS CONTROVERSY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo credit:  San Diego County

February 8, 2022 (San Diego) – Senate Bill 866, the Teens Choose Vaccines Act introduced on January 21 by California State Senator Scott Wiener, a Democrat, would allow young people age 12 and up to receive vaccines for COVID-19 and other serious illnesses without parental consent. The bill, which is sparking conflicts among public health experts and parental choice advocates, has not yet been scheduled for hearing. 


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LEGISLATION AIMS TO PROVIDE ALL CALIFORNIANS WITH QUALITY HOMEOWNERS’ INSURANCE AND GRANTS TO FIRE HARDENING

East County News Service

Photo: CC by SA

February 6, 2022 (Sacramento) -- As homeowners across California continue to find their property insurance policies cancelled or struggle to find affordable, comprehensive property insurance, Assemblymember Marc Levine (D – Marin County) today announced legislation that will require mandatory issuance of homeowners’ insurance and establish a grant program to harden residential properties in areas prone to wildfires.


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JONES INTRODUCES MEASURE TO CRACKDOWN ON CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT IN CALIFORNIA

 

Supply chain snags, high cost of precious metal leads to increasing thefts with few arrests or prosecutions.

February 3, 2022 (Sacramento) --  Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) this week introduced a measure to crackdown on the growing crime of catalytic converter theft in California. 

 “The crime of stealing catalytic converters in California has skyrocketed in the last several months,” stated Senator Brian W. Jones. “Unfortunately, unless some changes in the law are made it will only get worse. Thieves often face few risks in getting caught or prosecuted, yet the car or truck owner faces thousands of dollars in repairs and the inability to use their vehicle for days or weeks while it’s being repaired. My bill will help discourage, prevent, and prosecute the growing crime of catalytic converter theft in California.”

Jones’s Senate Bill 919 would attack the crime of catalytic converter theft in distinct three ways: 


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ISIS LEADER DEAD AFTER U.S.SPECIAL FORCES RAID, WHITE HOUSE REPORTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via @WhiteHouse on Twitter: President Biden, Vice President Harris and members of the President’s national security team observe the counterterrorism operation responsible for removing from the battlefield Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi — the leader of ISIS.

February 3, 2022 (Washington D.C.) – President Joe Biden announced this morning that the leader of ISIS is dead. The terrorist leader detonated a suicide bomb as troops closed in at his home in Syria, killing his own family members rather than be captured, President Joe Biden and White House officials announced.

There were no U.S. casualties, according to the Pentagon. The raid also reportedly killed an ISIS lieutenant, who barricaded himself in a room and engaged in a firefight with U.S. soldiers.


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SANTEE REDRAWING ITS DISTRICT BOUNDARIES

By Mike Allen

Photo:  the current Santee district boundaries

February 2, 2022 (Santee) -- The city of Santee continues the process of redoing the boundaries for its four electoral districts, which will likely result in keeping the lines as they currently are.


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CONGRESSWOMAN JACOBS TESTS POSITIVE FOR COVID-19

East County News Service

February 2, 2022 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) announced that she tested positive today for COVID-19. 

“I have been testing daily – and tested negative as recently as 6pm last night – but tested positive on an antigen test this morning,” a statement sent to media advises. “Thankfully, I am fully vaccinated and boosted and am only experiencing mild symptoms. I will be isolating and working remotely in accordance with public health guidance. I encourage everyone to get vaccinated, get boosted, test regularly, and stay safe.”


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JONES INTRODUCES BILL TO SAVE OFF-HIGHWAY VEHICLE COMPETITIONS IN CALIFORNIA

East County News Service

February 1, 2022 (Sacramento) – State Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) today introduced a measure to save off-highway vehicle (OHV) competitions in California. Senate Bill 894 is the third OHV competition bill Jones has authored in the last three years, with the two previous measures easily clearing the Senate only to become stalled in the Assembly.


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READER'S EDITORIAL: DURING BLACK HISTORY MONTH, WE ARE LOSING THE RIGHT TO VOTE

By Kathleen Harmon

 

February 1, 2022 (San Diego) – Born during the Great Depression, I was in my 30s when President Lyndon Baines Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, guaranteeing that after taking office, he would pass a major tax cut bill, the Clean Air Act, and the Civil Rights Act. In addition to banning job discrimination, these laws also forbade segregation of public accommodation (for example, not allowing blacks to use the bathroom). 


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COUNTY SUPERVISORS MOVE FORWARD WITH ALTERNATIVE HOUSING PLANNING

By Elijah McKee

January 30, 2022 (San Diego’s East County) – In the past, getting zoning approval for shelter space in San Diego County could take up to two years and require costly payments. 

Now, after the Board of Supervisors unanimously amended a zoning ordinance on Wednesday, there will be fewer obstacles for multiple kinds of safe shelter and housing options, which could especially serve East County.


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SUPERVISORS APPROVE ANDERSON’S AND DESMOND’S REQUEST TO ADDRESS SHORTAGE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Sheriff recruits, via San Diego Sheriff’s Department

January 30, 2022 (San Diego) – San Diego County Supervisors on January 25 unanimously approved a request by East County Supervisors Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond to resolve an anticipated shortage of law enforcement officers as vaccine mandates, retirements, COVID-19, recruitment and retention issues impact staffing levels.


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VOTING RIGHTS BILLS HIT ROADBLOCK IN SENATE, WITH DEMOCRACY ON THE LINE

By Elijah McKee

Photo, left by Rebecca Jefferis Williamson:  Voter casts ballot at San Diego Register of Voters

January 26, 2022 (San Diego) — With year one of the Biden Administration completed and the 2022 midterm elections on the horizon, Congress’s pivotal tug-of-war over federal voting rights legislation continues to escalate.

 

In January 19 in the Senate, Republicans blocked the Democrats’ attempt at passing both the Freedom to Vote Act and the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. The legislation — which was also blocked several times in 2021 — sought to strengthen the protections of voters in light of many recent state laws that suppress voting rights. 

 

Such laws have been levied across the nation in the wake of the 2020 Presidential election and the January 6 attack on the Capitol. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) recently warned, “Our voting rights – and our democracy – are on the line.”


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