Politics

11 INITIATIVES ARE CIRCULATING FOR STATEWIDE BALLOT, BUT COURT BLOCKS MEASURE TO SPLIT UP CALIFORNIA

 

Wacky or worthwhile petitions?  You decide

By Miriam Raftery

July 21, 2018 (Sacramento) – California’s Supreme Court has blocked a controversial initiative from appearing on the November ballot, pending the outcome of a lawsuit challenging its constitutionality. That measure sought to split California into three states. However, 11 other initiatives have been approved by the state’s Attorney General for circulation to collect signatures.   

Before you sign any petitions, read below for summaries, or click the link below this story for full details on these proposed initiatives ranging from practical to bizarre.

One proposed ballot initiative seeks to make California a separate nation. If passed, the Legislature would be required to declare independence from the United States, but there’s no Constitutional provision allowing a state to secede – and secession efforts by southern states are what led to the Civil War.  Any attempt to secede would likely require an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which takes approval of both houses of Congress and ratification by two thirds of all the states.

Another initiative proposal would ban local governments or special districts from spending bond money on anything not in the bond measure. 

CA DEMOCRATIC PARTY BANS DONATIONS FROM PRIVATE PRISONS; DONATES FUNDS TO AID IMMIGRANTS AND REHABILITATION EFFORTS

 

East County News Service

July 21, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) - California Democratic Party Chair Eric C. Bauman announced today that the CDP will no longer be accepting contributions from companies or trade associations that operate private prisons, private detention centers or other incarceration services as for-profit businesses. 

DR. AKILAH WEBER ANNOUNCES RUN FOR LA MESA CITY COUNCIL

 

East County News Service

July 18, 2018 (La Mesa) – Dr. Akilah Weber, a physician who is the daughter of Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, has announced she is running for the La Mesa City Council.

If elected, she says her three top issue priorities will be public safety, health and wellness, and housing affordability.

SHOULD EL CAJON CENSURE COUNCILMAN KALASHO?

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 15, 2018 (El Cajon) – As the scandals involving Councilman Ben Kalasho mount, with 11 citizens calling for his resignation at the last City Council meeting, some community members are now asking why the City Council has not censured Kalasho, who has announced his intent to run for Mayor. 

TWITTER DROPS FAKE FOLLOWERS; KALASHO’S FOLLOWERS SHRINK BY OVER HALF

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 14, 2018 (El Cajon) – Yesterday, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho posted on Twitter, “Just blocked over 3,000 `reporters and so-called journalists’ from my twitter. Only accepting real people. No snooping snakes. Honest reporters welcome.”

Fact check:  Kalasho’s announcement comes the same day that Twitter dropped tens of millions of fake followers in an effort to halt fraud on social media, the Atlantic Journal Constitution reports:  https://www.ajc.com/news/national/twitter-removes-fake-accounts-users-may-see-drop-followers/Qk4eCHLsFaiiMJBfwocZCN/.

COMMUNITY MEMBERS URGE KALASHO TO RESIGN OVER SEXUAL HARASSMENT FINDINGS AND ALLEGED THREATS

 

 

A group of people in a roomDescription generated with very high confidence

 

 

 

By Briana Ghaffery

View video of Council meeting: https://elcajonca.swagit.com/play/07112018-1233

 

July 11, 2018 (El Cajon) – Eleven speakers called on Councilman Ben Kalasho to resign during public comments at Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting, where the audience included protesters who held signs reading “hands off our daughters” and “sex predator Kalasho belongs in jail” complete with a photoshopped picture of Kalasho as an inmate.

Kalasho has also announced his intention to run for Mayor, challenging incumbent Bill Wells.

JUDGE FINDS FACTS TRUE AND ADMISSIBLE IN CASE AGAINST KALASHOS: FAKED NUDE PHOTOS, SEXUAL HARASSMENT, DEFAMATION, AND OFFER TO TRADE SEX FOR PAGEANT CROWN

 

 

Judicial finding that Kalashos engaged in cyber-harassment, defamation and other intimidating actions comes within days of ECM reporter Paul Kruze filing a police complaint alleging that Councilman Kalasho threatened him with an attack dog and defamed him on social media.

Update: The judge's tentative ruling is now final and the link has been updated.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ben and Jessica Kalasho at  a Chaldean American Chamber of Commerce event, before the U.S. Patent and Trademark office forced them to change the name of the organization due to trademark infringement.

July 6, 2018 (El Cajon) – Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor has issued a judgment granting a motion  filed by beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner against El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho and his wife, Jessica. The ruling allows documents and a supporting declaration  submitted by plaintiffs’ lawyers to be admitted as facts at trial and  most damning, orders evidence of the following admissions to be submitted  at trial as true facts--meaning the Kalashos cannot dispute the accuracy of these findings in court:

  • Kalasho, his wife their entities created fake nude photos of Miss Middle East pageant Queen Zhala Tawfiq and published them online “intending to cause and causing Ms. Tawfiq severe emotional distress.”
  • Kalasho propositioned pageant contestant Paris Kargar, offering sex in exchange to ensure she won the 2016 Miss Middle East pageant. He made statements indicating her declining this proposition cost her a fair shot at the title.
  • Kalasho whispered in Kargar’s ear, “You are so f*cking hot, I cannot take my eyes off you.” He also made comments about her breasts jiggling as she walked down the runway.
  • Kalasho conducted one-on-one recorded interviews with 2016 contestants including Tawfiq and Karger, but destroyed these videos after the lawsuit in which Kargar contends she was harassed during her interview.
  • Kalasho,his wife and his entities created multiple alias Facebook profiles used to make defamatory posts against Tres Taqueria, including fabricated poll results and false claims of food poisoning after the restaurant owner refused to post Kalasho campaign signs.

SENATOR HUESO NAMED TO CONFERENCE COMMITTEE ON WILDFIRE PREPAREDNESS AND RESPONSE

 

East County News Service

July 5, 2018 (San Diego) -- California Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) has announced the appointment of Senators who will serve on the Conference Committee on Wildfire Preparedness and Response. They include Senator Ben Hueso (D-San Diego), whose district includes the southern portion of East County.

FLOWERS, BUDGET AND TAX PROPOSALS TAKE ROOT AT LEMON GROVE COUNCIL MEETING

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo:  Lemon Grove Management Analyst Miranda Evans, smiling, received flowers for her self-taught videography in Lemon Grove's 40th birthday year of celebration and history minutes.

July 5, 2018 (Lemon Grove) -- It wasn’t all flowers Tuesday as the City Council discussed roads, sidewalks, a memorandum of understanding with firefighters and bringing various proposals before voters in order to raise revenue for the City of Lemon Grove, which is forecasting a budget deficit.

FEDERAL JUDGE RULES ASYLUM SEEKERS MUST HAVE HEARINGS AND CAN’T BE ARBITRARILY DETAINED

 

Despite having committed no crime, some asylum seekers have been kept in windowless cells for over a year, never allowed outside even a single day

By Miriam Raftery

July 2, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – People who ask for asylum when they arrive at the U.S. border after fleeing violence and persecution have committed no crime, unlike people who cross the border illegally. Yet the Trump administration has been imprisoning asylum seekers for over a year, even after they passed background checks, were found likely to receive asylum, and in some cases, even after a court granted them asylum but the administration was appealing the cases.

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS JOINS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN IN PRESSING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION TO EXPLAIN “WHERE ARE THE GIRLS?”

 

East County News Service

June 28, 2018 (San Diego) – Earlier this month, members of Congress visited detention facilities holding boys separated from their immigrant parents at the border. But thus far, no members have been allowed to go inside facilities holding girls who were taken from their mothers or fathers, and no photos have been released showing girls inside the detention centers including one in Lemon Grove.  Now San Diego Congresswoman Susan Davis has signed a letter along with over 50 Democratic women members of Congress pressing the  Secretaries of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) to release details about immigrant children separated from their parents. 

JUSTICE KENNEDY TO RETIRE IN JULY: TRUMP NOMINATION EXPECTED TO SECURE CONSERVATIVE CONTROL OF SUPREME COURT

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2018 (Washington D.C.)-  Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy has announced he will retire on July 31st.   Kennedy has long been a swing vote on key issues including abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action, often siding with liberal justices in the key years.

Many key rulings have been decided by a single one-vote margin, so the 82-year-old justice’s retirement means President Donald Trump will have an opportunity to secure solid conservative control of the high court, potentially for decades to come.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE BUDGET INCREASE: PRIORITIES INCLUDE HOUSING, HOMELESSNESS AND MENTAL HEALTH FUNDING

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2018 (San Diego) – San Diego’s County Board of Supervisors has unanimously approved a budget of over $6 billion budget for the new fiscal year starting July 1st, an increase of 8.4 percent over last year.

TRUMP NOMINATES ROBERT BREWER TO BE U.S. ATTORNEY IN SAN DIEGO

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump has nominated Robert “Bob” Brewer to serve as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.  Brewer is a former assistant U.S. attorney and deputy district attorney who once ran for San Diego district attorney, but was defeated by incumbent Bonnie Dumanis. 

Brewer has prosecuted cases including espionage, bank robberies, smuggling, narcotics, murder for hire and civil rights violations.

He has spent most of his career, however, as a defense attorney representing clients such as Sempra Energy at a time when Sempra was facing bribery allegations in Mexico. In 2011, he was named San Diego’s criminal defense white collar lawyer of the year by Best Lawyers. He’s also been recognized in The Best Lawyers in America.

CALIFORNIA POLITICANS REACT TO TRUMP ORDER ON FAMILY SEPARATION; STATE FILES LAWSUIT

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2018 (San Diego) – East County legislators and California’s state attorney general are taking action in response to President Donald Trump’s executive order to end separation of immigrant children and parents. Some argue that the directive does not go far enough to protect children and babies, since they could still be detained with parents and since it’s unclear how or when youngsters already taken from parents will be reunited.

Trump's reversal came after audiotape of terrified, crying children at a detention facility was released by ProPublica and after a judge sharply criticized the Trump administration upon learning that records were not kept when some children were taken from their anguished parents, who have been unable to get any information on their children's whereabouts 

"I can’t understand this," the exasperated judge reportedly told the attorney. "If someone at the jail takes your wallet, they give you a receipt. They take your kids, and you get nothing? Not even a slip of paper?”

CONGRESSIONAL DEMOCRATS TOUR MIGRANT CHILDREN DETENTION FACIITY IN EL CAJON, DENOUNCE SEPARATION FROM PARENTS

 

 

Protest planned Saturday downtown

Story and photos by Miriam Raftery

Photo: Congressman Juan Vargas, right, and Congresswoman Susan Davis, left, arrive at child detention facility in El Cajon.

June 18, 2018 (El Cajon, CA) – San Diego Congressional members Susan Davis and Juan Vargas joined House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic members of the Hispanic Caucus in touring three local facilities holding child immigrants, including a fenced facility in EL Cajon with 65 migrant boys, 10 percent of whom were forcibly separated from their parents by the Trump administration’s new “zero tolerance” policy of prosecuting all undocumented parents.  In the past six weeks, the federal government has acknowledged taking away over 2,000 children from parents at the border, including infants and toddlers.

“The United States should have a zero tolerance policy for the immoral treatment of children,” said Rep. Davis (CA-53), a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee whose district includes part of El Cajon. “We are a nation of values and we ask our men and women in uniform to defend those values every day. This policy is in no way consistent with those values.”

SANTEE ACTIVISTS HOLD TWO PETITION DRIVES THIS SUNDAY ON TRAFFIC GRIDLOCK INITIATIVE AND PETITION TO STOP GAS PIPELINE

 

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

 June 17, 2018 (Santee) – Activists in Santee are spending Father’s Day  gathering signatures on two petitions on issues impacting Santee and Mission Trails Regional Park areas.   

 The first aims to put the Santee General Plan Initiative on the ballot to require voter approval of development projects larger than the general plan currently allows.  The second calls on the California Public Utilities Commission to halt SDG&E’s proposed gas pipeline. Click links in this paragraph to read ECM’s prior articles on these issues.  Below are details on where you can find petition gathers and rallies: 

SAN DIEGO REPUBLICANS ARE READY FOR A FIGHT

 

By Eric Bartl

June 14, 2018 (San Diego) -- It wasn't your typical political rally. About 600 people gathered for the San Diego County Republican Party’s bi-monthly event Monday evening, June 11th, at the Town and Country Hotel in Mission Valley. It was the first time California’s 2018 statewide Republican nominees appeared together.

G-7 ALLIES SAY TRUMP BACKED OUT OF AGREEMENT IN TWEETSTORM HOURS LATER

 

 

Does photo released by Germany’s Chancellor show a bold president standing up for U.S. interests, or a petulant outsider betraying America’s strongest allies and being scolded by a powerful woman leader?  It all depends on your perspective.

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Jesco Denzel, posted by German Chancellor Angela Merkel via Instagram

June 12, 2018 (Berlin) – Hours after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced at a news conference that leaders of all seven nations at the G-7 summit signed a communique agreeing on a broad range of economic and foreign policy goals, a statement affirmed other allied leaders, President Donald Trump sent tweets aboard Air Force One blasting apart the reputed deal. Trump accused Trudeau of “false statements” and said he has instructed Congress “not to endorse the Communique.”

Further frustrating allies, Trump also called for Russia to be readmitted to the G-7. Russia was kicked out for its backing of the Crimean invasion, a violating of international law, the New York Times reports.

TRUMP ASKS COURT TO TAKE AWAY PROTECTIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITIONS, BREAKS CAMPAIGN PROMISES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 9, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – The Trump administration is asking a court to strike down a provision in the Affordable Care Act which requires insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions, the Los Angeles Times reports.

JUIDICAL RACE OUTCOMES

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 8, 2018 (San Diego) – Superior Court Judge Gary Kreep, who was censured for 29 counts of judicial misconduct, failed to win reelection outright, earning only 31.5% of the vote – far short needed for a majority.  He will enter a run-off race in November against Deputy District Attorney Matt Brower, also a judge advocate in the military, who earned 21.7% of the vote in the five-man race.

Brower is rated as qualified by the County Bar Association, which rated Kreep as lacking qualifications.