Politics

PRESIDENT BIDEN ANNOUNCES NEW BILL TARGETING INFRASTRUCTURE AND CREATING NEW JOBS

By Alexa Oslowski

 

April 11, 2021 (San Diego) - On March 31, President Joe Biden announced the American Jobs Plan, which is focused on rebuilding infrastructure and creating millions of American jobs. 

 

The infrastructure portion of the $2 trillion plan includes money for repairing roads and highways, as well as improving access to clean drinking water, upgrading electric grids, and providing high-speed broadband for all Americans. Biden’s plan also includes updating millions of homes, school buildings, childcare facilities and federal buildings, with a focus on those that serve veterans.

LEMON GROVE PROPOSES LIMITING COUNCILMEMBERS’ SPEECH

By Miriam Raftery
 
April 11, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – On April 20, the Lemon Grove City Council will hear a proposal that would limit councilmembers’ speaking time to five minutes per agenda item, plus three additional minutes later on.  The proposed action targets new member Liana LeBaron, who has been criticized by colleagues for lengthy comments up to 45 minutes and questions to staff that some say are rude or reflect a lack of preparation.

REP. ISSA INTRODUCES BILL TO ASSIST MEDICARE PROVIDERS DURING PANDEMIC RECOVERY; REP. LEVIN CO-SPONSORS MEASURE

East County News Service

April 9, 2021 (Washington, D.C.)  — This week, San Diego Congressman Darrell Issa (CA-50) introduced the Better Way for Providers to Repay Act, which will delay the Medicare Advanced and Accelerated Payment (AAP) loan program repayment start date by three months. Upon introduction, Issa said:

CONGRESSWOMAN SARA JACOBS ANNOUNCES NEW ADDITIONS TO SAN DIEGO AND WASHINGTON D.C. STAFF

East County News Service

 

April 7, 2021 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) yesterday announced the addition of six new staff members to her San Diego and Washington, D.C. offices. A majority women of color, these new hires serve as Press Secretary, Legislative Assistants, Staff Assistant, and Community Representatives. Like the first slate of staff announced in January, these individuals have extensive ties to San Diego and California’s 53rd District.

 

In celebration of these additional hires, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs issued the following statement:

DR. AKILAH WEBER TAKES BIG LEAD, COULD AVOID RUNOFF IN SPECIAL ELECTION FOR 79TH ASSEMBLY DISTRICT

Update April 11: Dr. Akilah Weber has won the election outright, avoiding a runoff with 52% of the votes. Only 300 ballots remain to be counted, not enough to change the outcome.

By Chris Jennewein, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association

April 7, 2021 (La Mesa) -- La Mesa City Councilmember Dr. Akilah Weber took a big lead Tuesday night and could avoid a runoff in the special election to succeed her mother in the 79th Assembly District.

The seat is open because five-term Assemblymember Shirley Weber was appointed to succeed Alex Padilla as Secretary of State in a series of changes prompted by Sen. Kamala Harris’ election as Vice President. Padilla was appointed to succeed Harris in the Senate.

The younger Weber, a Democrat, received 52% of the vote, according to final unofficial election-night results from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

The projected number of outstanding ballots is 9,500, according to the Registrar of Voters. If Weber’s total remains above 50%, she will be elected without a runoff. If it falls below 50%, she will face Marco Contreras, the lone Republican in the field of five candidates, in a runoff June 8.

JONES’ MEASURE TO PROVIDE PPE TO SOCIAL WORKERS PASSES KEY SENATE COMMITTEE

East County News Service
 
April 7, 2021 (Sacramento) -- Legislation authored by Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) aims to make sure that when social workers are declared “essential workers” during any state of emergency, that they are also prioritized to receive personal protective equipment (PPE), just as all other essential workers receive. 

CONGRESSWOMAN SARA JACOBS TO HOST TOWN HALL THURSDAY

East County News Service

April 7, 2021 (San Diego) -- On Thursday, April 8, Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-CA-53) will host a virtual town hall in San Diego. This event will be Congresswoman Jacobs’ first district-wide town hall, following a series of community events our office has hosted since January. 

 During the town hall, Congresswoman Jacobs will talk about her first three months in office, highlight the resources San Diego will receive from the American Rescue Plan, and take questions from constituents. 

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL TAKES A STAND FOR VOTING RIGHTS

Georgia Public Officials’ Voter Suppression Law already costing jobs and revenue

 

By East County News Service 

 

April 3, 2021 (Washington D.C.) -- Major League Baseball (MLB) Commissioner Rob Manfred announced Friday that the 2021 All-Star Game and MLB draft will no longer take place in the state of Georgia after the state recently passed legislation designed to disenfranchise voters. The following is a statement from Damon Hewitt, acting president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law..

SANTEE COUNCIL SETS PRIORITIES TO REAP REVENUES, INCLUDING POSSIBLE LEGALIZATION OF CANNABIS BUSINESSES

 
By Mike Allen
 
March 30, 2021 (Santee) - While other East County cities such as La Mesa and Lemon Grove tap into taxes that legalized marijuana shops generate, Santee has staunchly kept these enterprises illegal.
 
But that could change. At its most recent meeting, the Santee City Council announced a list of 11 priorities it wants to address in the next two years. At No. 11 was one to “consider economic development and regulatory options for cannabis businesses in the city, with a funding ordinance for the November 2022 election.”

CONGRESSMAN ISSA INTRODUCES BILL TO TRANSFER SACRED LANDS TO PALA BAND OF MISSION INDIANS RESERVATION

Source: Pala Band of Mission Indians

 

March 23, 2021 (Pala) --  On March 17, 2021, Congressman Darrell Issa introduced the Pala Band of Mission Indians Land Transfer Act (H.R. 1975), a bill that will transfer approximately 721 acres of land adjacent to the Pala Reservation into federal trust status. This land was purchased by the Pala Band of Mission Indians in 2016 in order to prevent the construction of a landfill on sacred Chokla (Gregory Mountain), a site of tremendous cultural significance to Pala’s people.

 

“The Pala Band is grateful to Congressman Issa for his partnership and willingness to introduce this bill. Transferring the Gregory Mountain cultural property into trust ensures that it will be forever protected as a part of the Pala Reservation. The Pala Band also wishes to acknowledge Congressman Juan Vargas, who has worked with the tribe since 2016 to facilitate this land transfer, according to a press release issued by the tribe.

EAST COUNTY REPRESENTATIVES SPLIT VOTES ON COVID RELIEF BILL SIGNED INTO LAW BY PRESIDENT BIDEN

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, via C-Span: President Joe Biden signs the  American Recovery Act

March 17,2021 (San Diego) – The  American Recovery Act signed into law last week by President Joe Biden will provide $1.9 trillion to aid those impacted by COVID-19 and provide an economic boost. 

The measure includes a new round of stimulus checks of up to $1,400 for most Americans, up to $2,800 for couples and additional help for families with children, extension of unemployment benefits just days before benefits would run out, and aid to some business sectors hard-hit by the pandemic. The new law also funds vaccinations, reopening schools, and aid to local, state and tribal governments for COVID-19 related costs.

East County’s Congressional representatives split their votes down party lines, with Democrats Sara Jacobs and Juan Vargas voting in favor, while Republican Darrell Issa voted against the landmark COVID-19 relief bill.

The members each provided statements to justify their votes.

Below are highlights of their remarks, followed by a summary of what the bill includes.

SUPERVISORS VOTE TO ASK STATE TO KEEP SAN PASQUAL ACADEMY FOR FOSTER YOUTHS OPEN

By Briana Gomez

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

 

Photo, left: Rev Shane Harris held a press conference last week at the San Pasqual Academy

 

March 16, 2021 (Escondido) – In a win for foster youths, San Diego County Supervisors today voted unanimously to approve a motion asking state officials to grant a reprieve to the San Pasqual Academy, a boarding school for foster youths slated to close later this year.

 

The school has been a safe haven for foster youths, who found a home at the academy when they were unable to be placed with families as they aged out of the system.

 

Rev. Shane Harris, president of the People's Association of Justice Advocates, has led efforts to keep the school open. After today's vote, he stated, “I thank the Board of Supervisors for their unanimous support of this motion. Today we have taken a step toward reimagining what foster care can look like in San Diego County and beyond, starting with the nation's first residential educational campus for foster youth, San Pasqual Academy. The fight for a carve out to keep San Pasqual in existence in our nation begins now. Let's reimagine foster care together." 

 

Harris is an alumni of San Pasqual Academy, which he credits with helping him develop leadership skills after years in foster care.

 

79TH DISTRICT CANDIDATES DISCUSS VACCINES, PUBLIC EDUCATION, AND POLICE REFORM IN VOICE OF SAN DIEGO FORUM

By Alexa Oslowski

 

View the complete two-hour candidate forum here.

 

March 16, 2021 (La Mesa) - The five candidates looking to serve as the next 79th District Assembly member came together on February 24 to participate in a candidate forum hosted by Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis. The district includes La Mesa, Del Cerro, Lemon Grove, Otay Ranch and East Chula Vista.

DEB HAALAND CONFIRMED AS FIRST NATIVE AMERICAN TO SERVE AS SECRETARY OF THE INTERIOR

Update: View video of Deb Haaland's swearing in ceremony:  https://twitter.com/i/status/1372571598486695942

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – By a 51-40 vote, The U.S. Senate has confirmed Deb Haaland to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Department of the Interior, the first Native American to lead a federal cabinet agency and only the third woman to head up the Interior Department. Her appointment by President Joe Biden has been hailed by Native American leaders and environmentalists  nationwide. 

LA MESA JOINS CITIES NATIONWIDE TO CAP FEES ON FOOD DELIVERY APPS; LORENA GONZALES PROPOSES SIMILAR BILL IN CALIF. STATE LEGISLATURE

By Alexa Oslowski

March 9, 2021 (La Mesa) – On January 26, the La Mesa City Council voted unanimously to pass a temporary emergency ordinance placing a cap on commissions that can be charged by delivery apps (Postmates, Uber Eats, etc.) to restaurants.

“People have been using delivery services during the pandemic at higher rates than they have in the past, myself included,” Councilmember Colin Parent said during the City Council meeting. “One of the things I’ve come to understand is some of those apps can charge really exorbitant fees.”

The ordinance, which was proposed by Parent, received overall support in comments by members of the public, which were read in the meeting by City Clerk Megan Wiegelman.

LEMON GROVE HOLDS VIRTUAL COMMUNITY WORKSHOP ON HOUSING MARCH 9

East County News Service

March 9, 2021 (Lemon Grove) – Do you have ideas about housing in Lemon Grove?  The city invites you to join a virtual community meeting on Tuesday, March 9 from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. You can also fill out a community questionnaire on how the city can better address housing needs for everyone in Lemon Grove.

Your ideas could help shape Lemon Grove for years to come.

STIMULUS BILL PASSES SENATE, IS EXPECTED TO BE SIGNED BY BIDEN THIS WEEK: HERE’S WHAT’S IN IT

Update March 11, 2021:  President Biden has signed this measure into law.

Read full text of the American Recovery Act 2021

By Miriam Raftery

March 8, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – By a 50-49 margin without a single Republican vote, Senate Democrats passed a COVID-19 relief measure that now heads back to the House to approve changes. The House is expected to approve the bill as early as Tuesday, which President Joe Biden has said he will sign into law immediately.

The measure includes a new round of stimulus checks for most Americans and extension of unemployment benefits, but also many less-publicized forms of aid ranging from expansion of child tax credits to relief for restaurants, event venues, and other businesses hardest hit by the pandemic and much more.

One major element removed in the Senate version of the bill is a minimum wage increase, which the Senate Parliamentarian ruled did not fit the rules required to pass the stimulus bill by a simple majority vote needed to avoid a filibuster. The Biden administration is expected to propose a separate bill to address the minimum wage issue in the future.

Here are highlights of what the $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill includes:

ISSA CALLS ON GOVERNOR TO RESUME COSMETOLOGY EXAMS AND ALLOW APPRENTICESHIPS TO HELP BEAUTY SCHOOL GRADUATES GET JOBS

Story and photos by Briana Gomez

Photo: Congressman Darrell Issa meets with Bellus Academy student Jessica Yerkey

March 6, 2021 (El Cajon) – Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego)  visited Bellus Academy in El Cajon yesterday after receiving pleas from students and staff at the beauty and wellness school for help to obtain licenses needed for jobs.

California's State Board of Cosmetology halted licensing exams in March 2020 due to the pandemic. According to Issa and the staff at Bellus, the State Board of Cosmetology is operating at half-capacity due to COVID-19 closures and furloughs, causing some students who graduated during the pandemic to be delayed up to a year in taking their state board exams – a delay that is preventing students from obtaining jobs.  That’s created a backlog of 7,000 graduates waiting for exams now being offered at half-capacity at a limited number of locations.

Issa has sent a letter to Governor Gavin Newsom calling on the state to come up with a solution to “offer a final licensing exam,” such as waiving requirements for part of the exam to be in-person, or allowing graduates to work under supervision in licensed spas, salons, or barber shops. “Now that the students have fulfilled their obligations, it is time for the State of California to do the same,” Issa’s letter states. 

SUPERVISOR VOTE ON FINAL APPROVAL TO RESTORE, IMPROVE EL MONTE RIVER VALLEY LAND IN LAKESIDE

East County News Service

March 6, 2021 (Lakeside) -- San Diego County’s Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Wednesday to set aside $6.44 million to restore and improve roughly 98 acres of newly acquired open space, trails and recreational facilities in Lakeside’ scenic El Monte River Valley. The board hailed the action as a “great” project for the region.

The Board previously voted Feb. 10 to spend $3.2 million to buy the property that includes important coastal sage scrub, riparian scrub and riparian forest habitats, open space and already existing equestrian and youth sports playing fields. That action came after a petition signed by thousands and a march with hundreds of residents and Kumeyaay Native Americans urged support of the acquisition.

Board members envision the land as the home for future trail connections to other County parks, and recreational facilities for the public to enjoy in addition to the open space. The land is located nearby the County’s existing Cactus County and Louis A. Stelzer parks, and its future $18 million Lakeside Equestrian Park.

HOUSE PASSES EQUALITY ACT; ISSA OPPOSES WHILE OTHER SAN DIEGO REPRESENTATIVES SUPPORT

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2021(San Diego) – By a 224 to 206 vote, the U.S. House of Representatives has passed the Equality Act (H.R. 5) , a sweeping civil rights bill intended to prohibit discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in both public and private places.  But the bill will face an uphill battle in the Senate.

The Equality Act prohibits discrimination against members of the LGBTQ+ community in the areas of employment, education, credit, housing, jury service, federal funding and more by adding gender identity and sexual orientation to existing anti-discrimination civil rights protections.

SANTEE DELAYS RESPONSE ON COUNTY NEEDLE EXCHANGE PROGRAM, AMENDS CURRENT FISCAL YEAR BUDGET UPWARDS

By Mike Allen

 

Photo: needle exchange; CC by SA-NC

 

February 28, 2021 (Santee) -- Santee wants San Diego County to conduct comprehensive research about its recently resumed needle exchange program before the Santee City Council weighs in on supporting or opposing the formerly banned program.

HOUSE PASSES COVID RELIEF BILL; MEASURE ADVANCES TO SENATE

By Miriam Raftery

February 27, 2021(Washington D.C.) – By a 219-212 margin without a single Republican vote, the House of Representative today passed a $1.9 trillion pandemic relief bill called the “American Rescue Plan.”    

The bill aims to get money immediately into the hands of those  most in need. It includes stimulus payments of up to $1,400 per individual or $2,800 per married couple, as well as an extra $400 a week in unemployment benefits that Democrats aim to pass before unemployment extensions run out March 14.  Funds are also provided for vaccine distribution, rental assistance, reopening schools, and aid to local governments hard-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The measure contains many other forms of relief, ranging from food bank funding to aid for struggling farmers. View full text of the bill.

WAS DONALD TRUMP A RUSSIAN ASSET?

 

AMERICAN KOMPROMAT: How the KGB Cultivated Donald Trump, and Related Tales of Sex, Greed, Power, and Treachery, by Craig Unger (Dutton, New York, NY, 2021, 345 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

February 25, 2021 (San Diego) - Craig Unger, author of the New York Times bestselling book, House of Trump, House of Putin, has written an explosive and provocative book that is destined to be another bestseller; American Kompromat. Unger asks; “Was Donald Trump a Russian asset? Just how compromised was he?” There are certain aspects of this book that reminds me of Robert Ludlum’s The Matarese Circle, which was also published by Unger’s publisher.

Listen to our exclusive interview with the author on our "East County Magazine Live!" radio show by clicking here.

This is a story of dirty secrets, and the most powerful people in the world. It has been quoted as stating: “Damning in its accumulation of detail, terrifying  in its depiction of the pure evil of those Trump chose to do business with.” I couldn’t put the book down!

SENATE ACQUITS TRUMP, BUT LAWSUIT SEEKS TO HOLD HIM AND MILITIA GROUPS ACCOUNTABLE FOR CAPITOL ATTACK UNDER 1871 STATUTE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left:  Capitol under heavy security at nightfall on Jan. 6, after the attack

February 21, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – On February 13, 57 Senators including seven Republicans voted to convict Donald Trump of inciting the violent attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6.  But the action fell 10 votes short of the two-thirds margin needed for conviction. 

VIEW OUR INTERVIEW WITH CONGRESSWOMAN SARA JACOBS

 

February 15, 2021 (San Diego) -- Last week,we interviewed San Diego's newly elected Congresswoman Sara Jacobs on the momentous events during her first few weeks in office.

She shared her experiences during the Capitol insurrection, as well as an update on efforts to enact COVD-19 relief legislation, her views on impeachment, her assignment to key committees and her plans to help military families.

View video of our interview at this link: https://youtu.be/3wignKaa3mc

Hear an audio version of our interview aired on KNSJ radio: https://www.eastcountymagazine.org/sites/eastcountymagazine.org/files/au... .

Audio: 

SANTEE COUNCIL CONDEMNATION OF FLETCHER OVER RECALL REMARKS DRAWS REBUKES

By Miriam Raftery
 
February 12, 2021 (Santee) – The Santee City Council voted 4-0, with one abstention, to condemn Nathan Fletcher, chair of the County Board of Supervisors, for “divisive language”  referring to backers of efforts to recall Governor Gavin Newsom.  

SMOKING GUN FOR IMPEACHMENT: PROOF TRUMP’S CALL TO MARCH ON CAPITOL WAS A CRIME

By Greg Palast

 

February 12, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - Here is the smoking gun.

Trump’s GOP defenders say that Trump merely called for a march to the Capitol, a legal act of protest.

Except for this: it wasn’t legal. And Trump and his team knew it.

INTERIOR ANNOUNCES SERIES OF TRIBAL CONSULTATIONS IN RECOGNITION OF THE IMPORTANCE OF NATION-TO-NATION RELATIONSHIPS

Source:  U.S. Department of the Interior

February 11, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - The Department of the Interior announced today that it will host initial consultations with Tribal leaders next month. In addition to honoring and strengthening the nation-to-nation relationship, these steps will help ensure that future White House and Interior efforts at addressing the four converging crises of our time – COVID-19, economic security, racial justice and climate change – are inclusive of Tribal Nations’ priorities and recommendations. 

DEMOCRACY IN ACTION: SUPERVISORS VOTE TO HONOR COMMITMENT TO COMMUNITY BY PURCHASING 98 ACRES IN EL MONTE VALLEY, LAKESIDE

By Henri Migala

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report.

Photo, left: Billy Ortiz and Bobby Wallace, co-organizers of efforts to preserve El Monte Valley

February 11, 2021 (Lakeside) – Thanks to widespread community engagement, San Diego County Supervisors yesterday voted unanimously to purchase 98 acres in El Monte Valley from Helix Water District for $2.92 million, preserving the land for public use.

The action came after the board received a petition with over 2,000 signatures and heard unanimous public testimony in support of the purchase. In addition, some 200 residents and tribal members held a march through the valley calling for the land to be protected.

Supervisor Joel Anderson, East County’s newly elected representative whose district includes Lakeside, initially voiced concerns over the cost and disrepair of facilities on the site. But after the majority of the board voiced support for the acquisition initiated by former Supervisor Dianne Jacob, Anderson ultimately not only voted for the land purchase, but also pushed his colleagues to support additional funds to restore dilapidated ball fields and other facilities on the site.

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