Politics

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.

PROTECTING VETERANS FROM RIP-OFF FOR-PROFIT COLLEGES

 

 

By Donald H. Harrison, Editor, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo:  House Education Committee members, from left, Reps. Susie Lee, Committee Counsel Claire Viall, Reps. Susan Davis, Mike Levin and Mark Takano at Grossmont College, April 24, 2019

April 25, 2019 (El Cajon) - Four Democratic members of Congress agreed Wednesday that the Trump Administration – particularly the Departments of Education and Veterans Affairs – must do more to protect veterans from the predatory practices of some for-profit colleges and technical schools.

DEADLINE TO APPLY FOR EL CAJON COUNCIL VACANCY IS APRIL 26

 

 

East County News Service

April 24, 2019 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon’s City Council will be choosing a new Councilmember to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Ben Kalasho.

 

The Council will make its decision at its regularly scheduled May 14th meeting.

CONGRESSIONAL SUBCOMMTTEES TO HOLD JOINT HEARING ON STUDENT VETERANS WEDNESDAY AT GROSSMONT COLLEGE

 

 

East County News Service

 

April 23, 2019 (El Cajon) -- On Wednesday, April 24, the Congressional Committee on Education and Labor’s Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Investment and the Committee on Veterans Affairs’ Subcommittee on Economic Opportunity will hold a joint field hearing entitled, “Protecting Those Who Protect Us: Ensuring the Success of our Student Veterans.”

 

SEARCHABLE PDF VERSION OF SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER'S REPORT ON 2016 RUSSIA MEDDLING

 

 

By Ken Stone

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

April 22, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) - U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday released the Special Counsel Office’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. But the report PDF was not searchable.

CONGRESS AND ATTORNEY GENERAL WRANGLE OVER ACCESS TO SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER’S REPORT

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2019 (Washington D.C.)—Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long awaiting report has been submitted to the Justice Department.  A summary written by newly appointed Attorney General William Barr has been made public, but thus far, Congress and the media have not seen the full report.

According to Barr’s summary, Mueller’s two-year investigation did not find evidence of a conspiracy involving President Donald Trump and Russia to tamper with the 2016 election despite “multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.  But as for whether Trump committed the crime of obstructing justice, Barr states that while Mueller’s report does not recommend prosecution of Trump for obstruction of justice, “it also does not exonerate him.”

Trump called the report “a complete and total exoneration” based on Barr’s summary.

But that’s not fully accurate. The Justice Department has long held that it does not have the power to indict a sitting president, deferring investigation of presidential actions to Congress, which has the power to impeach under the Constitution. Without reading Mueller’s full report it is difficult to speculate on the Special Counsel’s intent, but Mueller could have intended for Congress to weigh any evidence his investigators found with regard to obstruction of justice.

ACTIVIST AEIRAMIQUE GLASS-BLAKE TAKES ON REP JUAN VARGAS AND THE DCCC

 
 
Story and photos by Angela de Joseph
 
March 28, 2019 (San Diego) - Democrat Aeiramique Glass Blake, a restorative justice consultant and community advocate, announced her 2020 candidacy for United States Congress (CA-51) January 17th on what would have been her mother’s 51st birthday.  The announcement date and Blake’s decision to challenge the four-time incumbent, Rep. Juan Vargas, in the Democratic primary are no coincidence. It was Blake’s mother who encouraged her to run for Congress, she was just waiting for the right time.

DISGRACED COUNCILMAN KALASHO RESIGNS, SETTLES SUIT WITH BEAUTY QUEENS—BUT ANOTHER DEFAMATION CASE REMAINS PENDING

Update March 27, 2019:  A press release from the city today states: "City staff will be presenting options of how to fill the vacancy to the City Council at an upcoming public meeting."  Public information officer  Monica Zech told ECM  that according to City Manager Graham Mitchell, "unless the City Council requests a special meeting sooner, we plan to present the Council with options to fill the vacancy during the April 9th City Council Meeting."

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

March 26, 2019 (El Cajon) – Citizens who filled the El Cajon City Council chambers last year calling on Councilman Ben Kalasho to resign finally got their wish. Kalasho has submitted a resignation letter effective immediately to the City Manager. 

His resignation creates a vacancy that Mayor Bill Wells said will most likely be filled by appointment to save taxpayers the cost of a special election.

TRUMP SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BETSY DEVOS PROPOSES SHARP CUTS TO SPECIAL OLYMPICS; ACTION WOULD DASH DREAMS FOR DISABLED ATHLETES

Update March 27, 2019:  Amid criticism over the DeVos budget, President Donald Trump today announced he will override her action and that Special Olympics funds will not be eliminated.

 

Budget would also slash funds for programs for economically disadvantaged and blind students

By Liz Alper

Photos:  2011 Special Olympics event held at Helix High 

March 26, 2019 (Washington D.C.) -- On Tuesday, President Donald Trump's Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed massive budget cuts, nearly $18 million, to Special Olympics, a worldwide organization that allows children and adults with developmental disabilities to participate in athletics.

SAN DIEGO SENIORS VOTE 'AYE' ON MAKING A DIFFERENCE

 

Have you ever had ambitions to run for office but found the prospect of lawn signs, advertising and public appearances daunting?

If you’re a San Diego County resident over the age of 55, you can still fulfill your political aspirations without the rigors of a major campaign. The California Senior Legislature offers older adults the opportunity to advance issues important to them and advocate for legislation at the state level.

SKIP THE SLIP? CALIFORNIA LAWMAKER WANTS EMAIL RECEIPTS TO REPLACE PAPER ONES

 

 

By Elizabeth Castillo, CALmatters

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

Photo:  Carol Dahmen poses with a receipt that's more than 4 feet long—for the purchase of a single item. Photo via Kevin Eckery for CALmatters

March 22, 2019 (San Diego) - When Carol Dahmen discovered the CVS receipt draped across the counter of her Carmichael kitchen, she couldn’t resist pulling out her tape measure to document it.

Her husband had purchased one single prescription. The receipt, she discovered, stretched on to contain 11 coupons before topping out at an astonishing 4 feet 8 inches—the height of Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles.

LA MESA SEEKS VOLUNTEERS FOR CITIZENS COMMITTEE ON HOMELESSNESS

 

 

East County News Service

March 20, 2019 (La Mesa) - The City of La Mesa is seeking volunteers for an ad hoc citizen committee on homelessness.  If you're passionate about homeless issues and want to make a positive difference in the community, you are encouraged to sign up.

MEDICAL EXAMINER PUTS 20 YEARS OF DATA ONLINE

 

 

By Yvette Urrea MoeCounty of San Diego Communications Office

Photo: Chief County Medical Examiner Dr. Glenn Wagner in an examining room for death investigations.

March 20, 2019 (San Diego) - In a model of government transparency, the San Diego County Medical Examiner is releasing 220 years' worth of data--from 1997 to the third quarter of 2018, in a free searchable online portal.  The site makes over 59,000 records available.

Valuable comparisons and conclusions can be drawn from the types and circumstances of sudden unexpected deaths that occur in San Diego County, and in changes over time.

JULIAN VOTES TO ABOLISH THE JULIAN CUYAMACA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, contributed to this report

Update March 27, 2019: The margin has narrowed slightly but Measure A still leads by 114 votes and a 7.96% margin: yes 53.98%, no 46.02%

March 19, 2019 (Julian) – The County’s last all-volunteer fire department may soon be history. With 1,294 ballots counted tonight, Measure A is passing with 55.56%, the Registrar of Voters reports.

The measure would affirm a decision made last September by the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to abolish the 35-year-old Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. Fire and ambulance services would be shifted entirely to the County Fire Authority, under the direction of Cal-Fire.

The Registrar’s office will continue to accept ballots until Friday, if postmarked by today. It is unclear how many ballots mailed out have not yet been returned, or whether there could be enough to make up the 145-vote gap (719 to 575).

Cal-Fire firefighters’ union local #2881 posted on Facebook tonight, “Thank you to the Citizens of Julian and Cuyamaca for the opportunity to serve them.” (photo, left)

For backers of the JCFPD who have fought hard to keep their volunteer firefighters, however, the outcome sparked strong emotions.

TRUMP VETOES CONGRESSIONAL MEASURE TO BLOCK HIS EMERGENCY DECLARATION

 

 

President also threatens to veto Senate’s passage of a bill ending support for Saudis in Yemen civil war

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 19, 2019 (Washington D.C.) — A courtroom battle looms after President Donald Trump vetoed a resolution Friday passed by both houses of Congress. The Congressional resolution rejected Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a border wall. 

HELIX WATER DISTRICT APPROVES $8 MILLION PAY-DOWN OF PENSION LIABILITIES

 
 
Source: Helix Water District
 
March 19, 2019 (La Mesa) -- The Helix Water District Board of Directors approved on February 13, 2019 a one-time, $5 million payment in 2019 and an additional $3 million in payments over the next four years to reduce the district’s unfunded employee pension liabilities.

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