Politics

GOV. BROWN SIGNS “URBAN FORESTS” BILL TO HELP PLANT TREES IN LOW-INCOME COMMUNITIES

 

East County News Service

October 14, 2017 (San Diego) – Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill by California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) that will protect California’s urban forests, a critical step in the state’s efforts to fight climate change.

KALASHO DEFIES EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL RULE ON WIRELESS DEVICES; COUNCIL UNANIMOUSLY APPROVES CRACKDOWN ON MARIJUANA

Story, videos and photos by Paul Kruze

October 12, 2017 (El Cajon) – An outburst and verbal kerfuffle between El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells and Councilman Ben Kalasho at the end of Tuesday’s El Cajon City Council meeting almost overshadowed an earlier unified 5-0 decision to ban outdoor growing  of marijuana by individuals and increase penalties for illegal commercial marijuana dispensaries and commercial growing facilities within the city limits of El Cajon.

WILL TRUMP EXECUTIVE ORDER UNDERMINE HEALTH-INSURANCE MARKETS?

 

 

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

October 13, 2017 (Sacramento) --  Some California groups are predicting that President Donald Trump's new executive order on health care could undermine health-insurance markets and lead to higher premiums for many people. The order, issued Thursday, directs federal agencies to loosen regulations, to allow small businesses to band together and offer low-cost plans across state lines that don't meet the minimum coverage standards of the Affordable Care Act.



Rachel Linn Gish, communications director for the California nonprofit group, Health Access, warns these plans will be similar to those outlawed by the ACA as "junk insurance," that cover very little in the event of a serious injury or illness.

ICE THREATENS CRACKDOWN ON IMMIGRANT NEIGHBORHOODS AFTER GOVERNOR SIGNS “SANCTUARY STATE” BILL

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 10, 2017 (San Diego) — Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law Senate Bill 54, the “sanctuary state” measure aimed at protecting undocumented immigrants in California. In his signing statement, Brown says, “These are uncertain times for undocumented Californians and their families, and this bill strikes a balance that will protect public safety, while bringing a measure of comfort to those families who are now living in fear every day.”

TRUMP TAX PLAN CUTS TAXES FOR WEALTHY AND BIG BUSINESSES, DOUBLES STANDARD DEDUCTION FOR COUPLES AND INDIVIDUALS--BUT MAY RAISE NATIONAL DEBT TO OVER $2 TRILLION

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 9, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has rolled out a tax reform plan that would slash the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20% and cap at 25% the rate for “pass through” entities from small businesses to large pass-through entities such as hedge funds.  It eliminates inheritance taxes on large estates and changes tax brackets from seven to just three—12%, 25% and 35%.  So, the poorest taxpayers now paying 10% would pay more, while the wealthiest now paying 39.6% would pay less.

LAS VEGAS MASSACRE REKINDLES GUN CONTROL DEBATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:Las Vegas Police Department:  Thousands turned out for a candlelight vigil to honor a fallen LVPD officer.

October 6, 2017 (Las Vegas) – While the families of 500 people wounded and 58 killed by a  mass-shooter Sunday in  Las Vegas  mourn the loss of their loved ones, Congress is weighing measures to ban ‘bump stocks’, which the Las Vegas Police Department confirms were used by mass shooter Stephen Paddock. 

The device converted semi-automatic weapons to fire at nearly the speed of banned automatic weapons.—from 45 to 60 rounds per minute to as much as 800 rounds per minute, the Los Angeles Times reports

But while some legislators resist even this modest proposal or any limits on what they view as 2nd Amendment rights,  many victims of deadly shootings are saying gun restrictions need to go further to protect public safety. 

ASSEMBLYMAN VOEPEL ANNOUNCES 71ST DISTRICT "LISTENING TOUR"

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 4, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- Today, Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R-Santee) announced he will be holding a "Listening Tour" through multiple communities within the 71st Assembly District including Santee, Julian, Lakeside, El Cajon, Ramona and Idyllwild.  The Listening Tour will provide an opportunity for constituents to hear a legislative update, ask questions, and offer ideas for how to improve California.

CONGRESS LETS CHILDREN’S HEALTHCARE PROGRAM FOR NINE MILLION POOR KIDS EXPIRE: CHIP FUNDS ALSO COVERED MATERNITY CARE

 

Meanwhile, Congress weighs bill to ban abortions after 20 weeks, but robs babies of healthcare at birth

By Miriam Raftery

October 3, 2017 (Washington D.C. ) – Nine million children in low-income families and poor  pregnant mothers are losing healthcare nationwide due to the Republican-led Congress failing to allow a vote on renewing the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), letting  it expire on September 30th, the Washington Post reports.

CAMPO-LAKE MORENA PLANNING GROUP OFFICIAL THREATENS TO PUNCH SENIOR WOMAN IN THE FACE

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 1, 2017  (Campo) – After being blocked on a neighborhood watch forum, Campo-Lake Morena Community Planning Group member Keven Owens posted a profanity-laced podcast on his “Erroneous Opinions” webpage in which he threatened to punch 69-year-old Claudia Millerbragg in the face.

A partial transcript of his more than 20 minute rant is below, asprovided in writing by Owens in an email response after ECM sent him an inquiry. You can hear an audio excerpt at the audio link above published under the Fair Use doctrine on a matter of clear public interest:

Audio: 

GOVERNOR SIGNS HUESO BILL TO BAN UTILITY SHUT-OFFS FOR PEOPLE WITH CRITICAL MEDICAL NEEDS, STUDY HOW TO REDUCE DISCONNECTIONS OF POOR HOUSEHOLDS

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 2, 2017 (San Diego) — Residential disconnections for nonpayment of gas and electric bills have gone up sharply in California, from 547,000 in 2010 to 816,000 in 2015.  According to Senate Bill 598, a bill authored by San Diego Senator Ben Hueso, gas and electric service shut-offs threaten the health of two million people a year, causing significant impacts on infants, children, the elderly, low-income families, communities of color, the disabled and persons with life-threatening medical conditions.

GOVERNOR SIGNS PACKAGE OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING BILLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Governor's Office

October 2, 2017 (Sacramento) - Governor Jerry Brown has signed into law 15 bills that aim to ease the state’s affordable housing crisis, but which also restrict the abilities of local governments, environmentalists and neighborhood groups to block projects in their communities.

In a signing statement, the Governor says, “These new laws will help cut red tape and encourage more affordable housing, including shelter for the growing number of homeless in California.”

Here are summaries of the new laws:

HOUSE COMMITTEE HOLDS HEARING ON SOLUTIONS TO MOVE NUCLEAR WASTE AWAY FROM SAN ONOFRE

 

East County News Service

September 27, 2017 (San Diego) -- Congressman Issa (R-Vista) took part in a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee yesterday, examining nuclear waste storage policy and solutions that would allow nuclear waste, like that from the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS), to be moved out of our communities.

BILL TO REQUIRE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES TO RELEASE TAX RETURNS HEADS TO GOVERNOR

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 27, 2017 (Sacramento) -- Donald Trump is the first president in modern times who did not release his tax return. But if he wants to be on the ballot for reelection in 2020, he may soon have to make his tax documents public.

SUPERVISORS BAN WEAPONS AT BORDER WALL PROTESTS AS CONSTRUCTION OF PROTOTYPES BEGINS

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Existing border fence in Campo

September 27, 2017 (San Diego) – Construction of eight border wall prototypes, each costing up to a half million dollars, is now underway in Otay Mesa.  After testing of alternative materials and designs built here, President Donald Trump aims to erect a wall along the entire U.S.- Mexico border at a cost of some $60 billion.  But it is unclear why San Diego was chosen for the prototypes and many local officials have raised concerns.

REPUBLICAN AUTHORS OF HEALTHCARE REPEAL BILL, GRAHAM AND CASSIDY, DEBATED INDEPENDENT SANDERS AND DEMOCRAT KLOBUCHAR ON FUTURE OF HEALTHCARE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Screenshot, CNN debate

September 26, 2017 (Washington D.C.) -- In a lively debate on the future of healthcare in America hosted by CNN last night, Republicans Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Bill Cassidy (R-LA) authors of a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA or Obamacare) sought to defend their measure while admitting they lack enough votes for passage. 

TRUMP CALL FOR FIRING OF NFL PLAYERS WHO KNEEL DURING NATIONAL ANTHEM TRIGGERS WAVE OF PROTESTS IN PROFESSIONAL SPORTS

 

By Liz Alper

Cover photo:  several New England Patriots players kneel during the national anthem at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA on Sunday.  Courtesy u/MAINEiac4434 on Reddit

September 26, 2017 (San Diego) - With Puerto Rico walloped by a hurricane and North Korea threatening nuclear war, President Donald Trump has taken time to lob criticisms at NFL players for kneeling during the national anthem, ratcheting up controversy that has now enveloped multiple professional sports.

AFFORDABLE HOUSING DENSITY BONUS, DRAFT MARIJUANA ORDINANCE AND FERRETS ON LA MESA COUNCIL’S AGENDA TUESDAY

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2017 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa City Council will take up several hot issues at its meeting on Tuesday, September 26th at 6 p.m. The Council’s decision could make it easier for developers to increase density and decrease parking, create new marijuana regulations, and declare La Mesa a ‘ferret friendly” city.

A proposed change in meeting time and openings on several boards and commissions are also on the agenda.

VOTER’S WATCHDOG: RUSSIANS TRIED TO HACK CALIFORNIA ELECTION SYSTEMS, HOMELAND SECURITY REVEALS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 24, 2017 (Sacramento) -- “Today, my office was informed for the first time by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security that Russian cyber actors scanned California’s Internet-facing systems in 2016,” California Secretary of State Alex Padilla announced on Friday.

CALIFORNIA, QUEBEC AND ONTARIO SIGN AGREEMENT TO LINK CARBON MARKETS

 

Photo by Sonia Carcoilo, Government of Ontario:  Governor Brown (right), Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne (left) and Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard (center) sign agreement to expand cap-and-trade partnership.

Source: Governor’s office and government of Ontario, Canada

September 24, 2017 (Quebec City) – California Governor Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown Jr. yesterday signed an agreement with the leaders of Quebec and Ontario to officially integrate their cap-and-trade programs, expanding the three-year partnership between California and Quebec to include Ontario, Canada's most populous province and leading industrial region. The agreement takes effect January 1, 2018.

HUNTER CALLS FOR FIRST STRIKE AGAINST NORTH KOREA: DRAWS BLASTS FROM BOTH REPUBLICAN AND DEMOCRATIC OPPONENTS

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 22, 2017 (San Diego) – In an interview aired on KUSI this week, Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) repeatedly called for the U.S. to launch an attack on North Korea in response to nuclear threats.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEBER FAILS TO DERAIL FLETCHER ENDORSEMENT BY SAN DIEGO DEMOCRATS

 

By Ken Stone

Reprinted from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

Photo, left:  Nathan Fletcher said after his endorsement: “Every candidate is going to fight and have their base of support. And what we see as Democrats is we come together, post primary and focus on what we have to do, which is Democrats winning the seat.” Photo via Wikimedia Commons

September 20, 2017 (San Diego) -- Former GOP Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher easily won the San Diego County Democratic Party’s endorsement Tuesday night in his bid to “take back our county government.”

NEW HEALTHCARE REPEAL BILL EVEN MORE SEVERE THAN MEASURE DEFEATED PREVIOUSLY

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 20, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Like the proverbial Lazarus rising from the dead, efforts to repeal Obamacare have been revived. Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy have introduced a measure that would repeal Obamacare with no replacement.  The bill would give block grants allowing states to let insurance companies deny coverage or charge more for preexisting conditions, and to eliminate lifetime caps on coverage for people needing costly care to survive.  It also cuts funds for Medicaid expansion and eliminates all subsidies for low and moderate income Americans. 

FIRST AMENDMENT LAWYERS CRITICIZE COUNCILMAN KALASHO FOR LAWSUIT THREATS AND INSULTS MADE TO UNION-TRIBUNE REPORTER

 

By Miriam Raftery

“His behavior is extraordinarily irresponsible. A public official should not be in the business of threatening groundless litigation over acts that are things that reporters do every day.”  -- David Snyder, executive director, First Amendment Coalition

September 19, 2017 (San Diego) – El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho sent emails to San Diego Union-Tribune reporter Jeff McDonald repeatedly calling the award-winning journalist a “troll” and threatening legal action after McDonald asked tough questions about Kalasho’s business dealings and apparent conflicts of interests.

BILL PREVENTING WOMEN FROM BEING FIRED FOR PREGNANCY HEADS TO GOV'S DESK

 

Lorena Gonzalez-Fletcher bill would protect a woman’s right to make her own reproductive health decisions

East County News Service

September 15, 2017 (Sacramento) -- California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego) won final Legislative approval of her bill protecting women from being fired for a pregnancy. The Reproductive Health Non-Discrimination Act would also prevent an employer for firing or disciplining a woman for making any other decision related to her reproductive health. The bill now heads to the Governor, who has until Oct. 15 to either sign or veto the proposal.

COUNCILMAN FACES NEW TURMOIL: ATTORNEY GENERAL PROBES CHARITY; WASTE MANAGEMENT WITHDRAWS CORPORATE SUPPORT OF KALASHO’S CHAMBER

 

By Paul Kruze

September 8, 2017 (El Cajon) – With hurricanes in the headlines this week, El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho finds himself in the eye of a storm—or several--yet again.  California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has sent Kalasho a letter of inquiry probing the Miss Middle East Beauty Pageant USA” run by Kalasho.

CITY COUNCIL APPROVES MARIJUANA GROWING AND MANUFACTURING IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 12, 2017 (San Diego) — San Diego’s City Council has voted 6 to 3 in favor of legalizing marijuana growing, manufacturing and testing operations to supply storefronts selling both medical and recreational pot products.

CALIFORNIA SUES TRUMP ADMINISTRATION OVER DACA REPEAL

 

State joined by Minnesota, Maryland, and Maine in lawsuit standing up for Dreamers

East County News Service

September 11, 2017 (Sacramento) -- Today, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, joined by the attorneys general for Minnesota, Maryland and Maine, filed a lawsuit against the Trump Administration over its decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative (DACA). The four States filed the suit in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California arguing that the Trump Administration violated the Constitution and federal laws when it rescinded DACA.

TRUMP SIGNS DISASTER RELIEF BILL, AFTER PARTNERING WITH DEMOCRATS TO RAISE DEBT LIMIT CEILING

 

By Miriam Raftery

September 9, 2017 (San Diego)—President Donald Trump has signed into law H.R. 601, to provide $15.25 billion in emergency appropriations for disaster response. The measure also extends authorization of the National Flood Insurance Program through December 8th to help those impacted by disasters including Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

The President confounded Republicans in Congress by crossing the aisle to work with Democratic leaders to pass the disaster relief bill, which also extends the nation’s debt ceiling until December 8th.  Conservatives have opposed raising the debt ceiling, wanting to take money from other programs instead and/or avoid further debt ceiling decisions closer to next year’s elections.  In the end, some Republicans joined with nearly all Democrats to pass the bill.

NATIONAL CONSUMERS LEAGUE BLASTS HOUSE VOTE TO EMBOLDEN PYRAMID SCHEMES

 

Source: National Consumers League

September 15, 2017 (Washington D.C.) - The National Consumers League (NCL) is warning consumers over the inclusion of language in an appropriations bill approved today by the U.S. House of Representatives that will enable pyramid schemes to proliferate, putting millions of consumers at increased risk of financial harm.

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