Politics

DUNCAN HUNTER'S CRIMINAL TRIAL PUSHED EIGHT DAYS CLOSER TO MARCH 2020 ELECTION

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

Photo:  Trailed by news cameras but no protesters, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter leaves federal court after agreeing to new trial date. Photo by Ken Stone

October 7, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter’s criminal trial on campaign spending misconduct was reset Monday for Jan. 22, 2020, at his legal team’s request — an eight-day delay to accommodate a 9th Circuit appeal.

LEMON GROVE COUNCIL HEARS PLAN FOR CAMERAS TO AID LAW ENFORCEMENT AND MORE

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson

October 6, 2019 (Lemon Grove) -- A San Diego Sheriff pilot project introducing a video federation program, election sign regulations for Lemon Grove City Council candidates and other matters were discussed by the Council at their meeting Oct. 1st at the Lemon Grove Community Center.

The video federation project was introduced by San Diego Sheriff Lt. Mike Rand. 

Lt. Rand said the department has begun the process of community awareness of a video sharing platform named “SafeSanDiego.” The first community forum in Lemon Grove was held on Oct. 3.  Businesses, government agencies and residents will be allowed to share video with law enforcement to help authorities investigate and solve criminal cases.

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE BRIAN JONES OFFERS TO LEAD NON-RESIDENT RIVALS ISSA AND DEMAIO ON TOUR OF EAST COUNTY

“Whenever you are confronted with an opponent. Conquer him with love.” ― Mahatma Gandhi

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor and Miriam Raftery, Editor

October 6, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – In the rough and tumble world of politics, State Senator Brian Jones has found a witty way to drive home a key advantage of his Congressional candidacy: unlike two prominent rivals, former Rep. Darrell Issa and talk show host Carl DeMaio, Jones actually lives in the 50th Congressional district that each hopes to represent.

After Issa and DeMaio held dueling press conferences in downtown El Cajon to draw media attention to their efforts to oust indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Jones posted an open letter via the San Diego Rostra website last Friday inviting  his non-resident rivals on a tour of the district. The tour led by Jones at the wheel would include rugged backcountry terrain and a stop at a shooting range.

SUPERVISORS WEIGH BAN ON VAPING PRODUCTS; MAYO CLINIC FINDS CHEMICAL BURNS IN LUNGS OF PATIENTS HOSPITALIZED OR DEAD AFTER VAPING

East County News Service

October 4, 2019 (San Diego) -- County Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Nathan Fletcher are proposing a ban on the sale and distribution of flavored tobacco made for electronic cigarettes, along with a moratorium on the sale and distribution of the e-devices in the county’s unincorporated area. They are encouraging cities in San Diego County to do the same. According to a new report by the Mayo Clinic, lung biopsies reveal damage consistent with chemical burns, leading researchers to suspect chemical additives may be to blame for over 1,000 serious lung injury cases and 18 deaths, all associated with vaping or e-cigarette use.

County public health officials and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control are also advising people to stop vaping, as investigators continue looking into what’s causing a nationwide epidemic of respiratory illnesses among those that use the e-cigarettes or vaping products.

BILL TO REQUIRE EXPEDITED TESTING OF RAPE KITS NOW ON GOVERNOR’S DESK

By Miriam Raftery

October 2, 2019 (Sacramento) - After passing both houses of the California Legislature unanimously, Senate Bill 22 is now awaiting action by Governor Gavin Newsom.  If signed into law, the measure will require law enforcement agencies and forensic labs to expedite the handling, analysis and testing of rape kit evidence.

BERNIE SANDERS HOSPITALIZED FOR STENTS TO CLEAR BLOCKED ARTERY

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Sanders during 2016 campaign stop in San Diego

Update Oct. 4:  Sanders has been released from the hospital. His doctors released a statement, along with the Sanders campaign, confirming the Senator had a heart attack but has "good expected progress."  Senator Sanders issued a statement indicating "I feel great, and after taking a short time off, I look forward to getting back to work.”

Update Oct. 3:  Jane Sanders released a statement which reads in part: "Bernie is up and about. Yesterday, he spent much of the day talking with staff about policies, cracking jokes with the nurses and doctors, and speaking with his family on the phone. His doctors are pleased with his progress, and there has been no need for any additional procedures. We expect Bernie will be discharged and on a plane back to Burlington before the end of the weekend. He'll take a few days to rest, but he's ready to get back out there and is looking forward to the October debate.”

 

October 2, 2019 (San Diego) – Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, who has consistently polled among the top three Democratic presidential contenders, has been hospitalized after experiencing chest pain Tuesday evening at a campaign event. Testing revealed a blocked artery and Sanders underwent surgery to insert two stents.

TRUMP SOUGHT ALLIGATOR-FILLED MOAT, SPIKES TO SHRED FLESH, AND SHOOTING OF IMMIGRANTS: NEW YORK TIMES REPORT

By Miriam Raftery

October 2, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – A New York Times report based on interviews with a dozen White House officials describe disturbing statements by President Donald Trump last March, when he repeatedly pressed aides to take illegal actions toward migrants before ultimately ordering the border shut down. 

“Privately, the president had often talked about fortifying a border wall with a water-filled trench, stocked with snakes or alligators, prompting aides to seek a cost estimate. He wanted the wall electrified, with spikes on top that would pierce human flesh,” the Times reports. “After publicly suggesting that soldiers shoot migrants if they threw rocks, the president backed off when his staff told hm that was illegal But later in a meeting, aides recalled, he suggested that they shoot migrants in the legs to slow them down. That’s not allowed either, they told him.”

Trump attacked the Times report in a Tweet, calling it “fake news” and misspelling “moat” as “moot.”

CA DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIR HEADLINES “CATCH THE NEXT BLUE WAVE” EVENT IN LA MESA OCT. 3

East County News Service
 
October 1, 2019 (La Mesa) – Rusty Hicks, Chair of the California Democratic Party, will offer insights into the state party and its future in 2020 at “Catch the Next Blue Wave,” hosted by the San Diego Democratic Party East on Thursday, October 3 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center (4975 Memorial Drive).

TRUMP THREATENS WHISTLEBLOWERS, ACCUSES CONGRESSMAN OF TREASON OVER IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS AND EVOKES “CIVIL WAR” IN TWITTER STORM

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  President Trump and Congressman Adam Schiff, whom Trump accused of “treason” for chairing an impeachment inquiry

September 30, 2019 – Attorneys for the whistleblower whose complaint launched an impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump have sent letters to the Acting Director of National Intelligence and to Chairs of the House and Senate intelligence committees requesting federal protection for their client.  The letter cites overt threats made by the President calling for the death of whistleblowers and leakers. On Sept. 26, Trump stated during a meeting with United Nations leaders caught on tape by the Los Angeles Times:

ARMY VETERAN AND FEDERAL CONTRACTOR HELEN HORVATH, INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS, TAKES AIM AT HUNTER’S SEAT

 

"I believe we need more independents in Congress because  parties are so mired in their fighting…they’re not representing the country. I value our community, and I want to serve the country.”  -- Helen Horvath, mliitary veteran, federal consultant and Alpine resident

By Miriam Raftery

September 29, 2019 (San Diego) – Like many voters, Helen Horvath is an independent whose views on key issues cross political aisles. She’s a fiscal conservative who wants to use her expertise to cut the national debt, but also believes we need to move toward a clean energy future and protect women’s rights, while taking a moderate stance on gun issues. She supports strong border security while also showing compassion for refugees fleeing violence, and pledges to be a strong voice for military families and veterans.

Now she’s entered the 50th Congressional district race, vying against indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter,  Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar, conservative talk show host Carl DeMaio, former Rep. Darrell Issa and State Senator Brian Jones. (Note: the latter two entered the race this week, after our interview).

Hear our interview: In an interview originally aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM radio last month, Horvath shared her thoughts in depth. Listen to the full interview by clicking the audio link,  and scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 

LA MESA COUNCIL APPROVES CANNABIS ORDINANCE AND GRANTS TO IMPROVE WEST LA MESA

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 28, 2019 (La Mesa) – A citizens-led effort to clean up their blighted West La Mesa neighborhood has borne fruit. On Tuesday, the La Mesa City Council unanimously approved two pilot programs offering grants to businesses in the area to improve the streetscape. 

FOUR RIVALS DROP OUT AND ENDORSE ISSA IN RACE TO REPLACE HUNTER; DEMAIO DISRUPTS WITH COMPETING RALLY

 

CA Senator Brian Jones, also running, chides non-resident candidates for holding press conference in “wrong district”  

Video excerpt: Darrell Issa

Video excerpt: Carl DeMaio

by Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

September 26, 2019 (El Cajon) -- The weather in El Cajon Thursday morning was cloudy and drizzly in front of City Hall. But the political rhetoric was sweltering. In the race for San Diego’s 50th Congressional District, four Republican candidates for the seat bowed out and swung their support to former 49th District Congressman Darrell Issa.

Another candidate, former San Diego City Councilman and conservative radio host Carl DeMaio, held a rival press conference some 100 feet away to attack Issa. State Senator Brian Jones, who is also running, chose to remain above the fray by staying away.

DEMOCRATS LAUNCH IMPEACHMENT INQUIRY, FULL WHISTLEBLOWER COMPLAINT NOW REVEALED

Inspector General for intelligence community warns that whistleblower complaint is “an urgent concern” that raises “serious national intelligence and security risks.”

Hear audio of the declassified whistleblower complaint read aloud here.

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2019 (Washington D.C.)  -- A whistleblower complaint against President Donald Trump has been declassified and released today in its entirety.  The complaint states that the President abused his power during a July 25, 2019 phone call,  pressuring the Ukraine’s president to investigate the son of Trump’s political rival, former Vice President Joe Biden, in an effort to influence the 2020 election.

The whistleblower, whom the New York Times reports is a CIA agent assigned to the White House, also alleges that Trump tried to hide his actions by locking up records of the call. The Washington Post reports that just one week before the call to the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump ordered a halt to military aide promised to the Ukraine. 

The Trump administration’s own intelligence community Inspector General Michael Atkinson warned that the whistleblower complaints to be both credible and an “urgent concern” that raises “serious national intelligence and security risks.”

LEMON GROVE SALES TAX INITATIVE SPURS JUICY DEBATE

Mary England and George Gastil sound off in arguments for and against measure

By Miriam Raftery

September 26, 2019 (Lemon Grove) – Advocates of a ballot measure proposing a three-quarters of a cent sales tax increase argue that the measure will sweeten Lemon Grove, shoring up a structural budget deficit to fund city services wanted by residents, such as parks, road repairs, and improving public safety. 

But former Lemon Grove Councilwoman Mary England, also president of the Chamber of Commerce in neighboring La Mesa, is sour on the idea.

Both England, who opposes the ballot measure dubbed the “Lemon Grove Security Petition,” and former Councilman George Gastil, a leader of the citizens’ group advocating for the petition, agree that the city has had a structural deficit for years, with a budget that’s nearly entirely consumed by rising police and fire protection services.  But they disagree sharply on solutions.

9TH CIRCUIT TO HEAR DUNCAN HUNTER APPEAL OF CORRUPTION CHARGES IN DECEMBER

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, 42, will have to make his case in the 9th Circuit in December. Photo by Ken Stone

September 26, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep Duncan D. Hunter will get a shot at arguing for dismissal of his corruption charges in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.  But government prosecutors got their way on the time frame.

DEMOCRATIC HOPEFUL ELIZABETH WARREN PLANS SAN DIEGO TOWN HALL ON OCT. 3

Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be paying her first visit to San Diego as a presidential candidate

 

By Ken Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association; Miriam Raftery, East County Magazine editor, also contributed to this report.

Photo by Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons 

September 25, 2019 (San Diego) -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, a top-tier Democratic candidate for president, announced Tuesday that she’ll hold an outdoor Town Hall meeting next week in San Diego.

BRIAN JONES ANNOUNCES RUN FOR CONGRESS IN HUNTER'S DISTRICT

September 25, 2019 (Santee) -- State Senator Brian Jones announced today that he will seek election to the US House of Representatives in California's 50th District, the seat currently represented by Duncan D. Hunter. Hunter goes on trial in January on 60 federal corruption charges for allegedly diverting campaign funds for personal use and related charges.

“I am entering the race for Congress to provide a trusted, conservative voice for the people of this district,” says Jones.  “I grew up here and have represented the people of this district as a Santee City Councilmember, State Assemblyman and now as a State Senator.”

EL CAJON COUNCIL MOVES TO END COMMISSIONS ON ARTS AND CULTURE, HUMAN RELATIONS AND VETERANS

 

Update Sept. 27, 2019 -- Estela de Los Rios,  a community leader who plans to run for El Cajon City Council, sent these comments objecting to the demise of the commissions.  "I believe it our right as citizens of El Cajon to have these board commissions and have them open until we seek people to serve on them. There has to be a better way to recruit. This is a prime example of the city council's actions that need to change for the best interest of our city. It makes no sense to have a Magnolia Performing Center but no Arts Commission?"

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 23, 2019 (El Cajon) – The agenda for tomorrow’s El Cajon City Council meeting includes second reading and adoption of a code amendment to eliminate three city entities  The Veterans’ Commission, the Commission on Arts and Culture, and the Human Relations Commission, which advises the council on diversity issues.

LA MESA COUNCIL TO CONSIDER RECREATIONAL CANNABIS BUSINESSES AND REVITALIZATION GRANTS TUESDAY

By Miriam Raftery
 
Updated September 24 with statement from CASA opposing the measure
 
September 23, 2019 (La Mesa) – Is it high time to legalize recreational adult-use cannabis sales, commercial cultivation, manufacturing, testing and delivery in La Mesa?   If so, should revenues be used to help property owners near illegal pot shops that caused problems for neighbors?  Those are among the burning issues on the La Mesa City Council’s agenda this Tuesday.

LA MESA HEARS REPORT ON CITIZEN POLICE OVERSIGHT PRACTICES, SEEKS CHANGES TO CHIEF'S PROPOSAL

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: Screenshot, City of La Mesa video

September 20, 2019 – (La Mesa) – La Mesa Police Chief Walt Vasquez presented a report on citizen police oversight practices at last week's City Council hearing and made suggestions for an 11-member Citizen Public Safety Panel to exchange information for the betterment of public safety in La Mesa. But his panel would lack investigative powers to look into complaints involving the police department.

Public testimony was against the Chief's proposal, and Councilwoman Dr. Akilah Weber grilled Vasquez on whether he adequately canvassed residents for input.

GEORGETTE GOMEZ SECURES PROMINENT EARLY ENDORSEMENTS IN BID TO SUCCEED SUSAN DAVIS

By Jonathan Goetz

September 20, 2019 (San Diego) - Approximately 200 people packed the United Domestic Workers Union Hall in Rolando in East County on Saturday, to witness San Diego Council President Georgette Gomez kick off her campaign to succeed Congresswoman Susan Davis in the 53rd Congressional District.

Her endorsement list is a who’s who of prominent Democrats and leaders in the Latinx, LGBTQ and environmental justice community including State Senate Speaker Pro Tem Toni Atkins, Congressman Juan Vargas, San Diego City Attorney Mara Eliott, Former Senator Christine Kehoe, Escondido City Councilwoman Olga Diaz, California Air Resources Board member Diane Takvorian, Former Chief Executive of San Diego LGBT Center Delores Jacobs, National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, Queen Mother Nicole Murray-Ramirez and former San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee, among others.

SANTEE GETTING ON BOARD THE CCA TRAIN WITH COASTAL CITIES

By Mike Allen

September 19, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee and Carlsbad would seem to be strange bedfellows, given their geographical locations and the latter being twice the size in population. But the cities are moving closer to joining forces to form a new entity to purchase more of their power from renewable sources starting in 2021.

TROUBLING FINDING IN FBI BACKGROUND CHECK STALLS ISSA TRADE APPOINTMENT

By Miriam Raftery

 

September 19, 2019 (San Diego) – Retired Congressman Darrell Issa has said he will run against Rep. Duncan Hunter if his appointment by President Trump to head up the U.S. Trade and Development Agency is not approved by early November.  But now, both Democratic and Republican leaders of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee say that an FBI background file on Issa raises red flags.

FINDING MIDDLE GROUND: CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE CAMPA-NAJJAR SPEAKS OUT ON KEY ISSUES, IN HIS OWN WORDS

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor and Miriam Raftery, Editor

View video of complete town hall: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj9ot7tcbXchttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fj9ot7tcbXc

 

“We are one nation, under God, indivisible. But right now, I think that notion is being tested at our deepest core. I think it is time for us to lead with our values again as a nation." -- Ammar Campa-Najjar

September 17, 2019 (Alpine)—At a town hall meeting in Alpine on August 18, some 100 East County residents heard Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar field questions on a wide range of issues. He offered thoughtful responses, many moderate positions and at times, maverick views on topics such as healthcare, gun violence, climate change, jobs, education, immigration and more.

The Jamul resident and Democratic contender has worked at the national level on both business and labor issues. Now he’s running for the 50th Congressional district seat held by indicted Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, whose federal corruption trial begins in January.

Dressed in a long-sleeved sports shirt and blue jeans, the 30 year-old hopeful emphasized that to win in 2020, he has to attract voters across party lines. The Republican party still holds a substantial registration advantage, but Campa-Najjar came within three percentage points of ousting Hunter in 2018 in what had long been considered a GOP stronghold.

First, Campa-Najjar gave an overview of his platform. Next he answered questions on 10 topics randomly pulled from questions submitted beforehand. Then came live questions posed by audience members at a microphone.

SENATOR JONES VOICES CONCERNS OVER FIRE INSURANCE CRISIS, SEX EDUCATION PROGRAM AT LAKESIDE TOWN HALL

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

View video of entire town hall: tinyurl.com/SenJonesTownHall

September 14, 2019 (Lakeside) -- California Sen. Brian Jones (R-Inland San Diego County) confidently faced a large mostly well-behaved crowd in a packed community room at the Lakeside Community Center on August 22.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: CORY BRIGGS RUNS FOR CITY ATTORNEY AS ADVOCATE FOR TAXPAYERS, WATCHDOG FOR DEMOCRACY

Listen to our interview: click here.

By Miriam Raftery

September 18, 2019 (San Diego) -- Cory Briggs has a two decades-long record as an attorney challenging insider power brokers who’ve dominated city hall for decades. He’s been described by Times of San Diego as the “bane of downtown developers” and has filed numerous lawsuits successfully championing taxpayers, voters’ rights, the environment and government transparency. He’s also taught law--including professional ethics.

Now he’s running for San Diego City Attorney against incumbent Mara Elliott, promising to be a taxpayers’ advocate if elected.  In our interview originally aired on KNSJ radio, he criticizes Elliott for trying to gut California’s Public Records Act, backing “frivolous” suits thrown out of court, and mishandling allegations of child abuse at the San Diego Junior Theatre, among other issues.  Click the audio link to hear the full interview, and scroll down for highlights.

Audio: 

GOVERNOR TARGETS VAPING WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER, BUT APPEALS TO LEGISLATURE FOR HELP

By Ben Christopher | Calmatters

Photo credit:  https://www.ecigclick.co.uk/

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

Photo:  A man vaping with an e-cigarette. Photo via Wikimedia Commons

September 18, 2019 (Sacramento) - California lawmakers ended the Legislative session without doing much on vaping. Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is stepping in.

On Monday morning, the governor signed an executive order which he said would be “pushing the envelope” to regulate the burgeoning e-cigarette industry despite a lack of new legal authority from the state Assembly and Senate.

WALDRON BILL WOULD REQUIRE VOTERS’ APPROVAL FOR CHANGES TO TRANSNET FUNDING ALLOCATION

By Miriam Raftery
 
September 17, 2019 (Escondido) – For months, officials in East County and North County have assailed as “highway robbery” a plan announced by the San Diego Regional Association of Governments (SANDAG)  to cancel some highway projects and instead, spend TransNet extension funds approved by voters in 2004 on transit projects such as high-speed rail and shared electric vehicles instead.

U.S. ATTORNEYS ACCUSE DUNCAN HUNTER LAWYER OF DISTORTING JUDGE REMARKS

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  Devin Burstein of downtown San Diego’s Warren & Burstein is Rep. Duncan Hunter’s lawyer before the 9th Circuit. Photo via warrenburstein.com

September 16, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan Hunter’s lawyer left out facts and distorted a federal judge’s remarks when he asked an appeals court to hear arguments he hopes would lead to the Alpine Republican’s corruption case being dismissed, prosecutors say.

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