Politics

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION REMOVES FLORIDA FROM OFFSHORE DRILLING

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf Coast

January 10, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Just days after Trump’s Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke announced plans to open up 98% of our nation’s coastlines to offshore oil drilling and fracking, Zinke said he is removing Florida off that list, stating, “I support the governor’s position that Florida is unique and its coasts are heavily reliant on tourism as an economic driver.”

CONGRESSMAN ISSA TO RETIRE, SETTING UP A BATTLE TO FILL THE 49TH DISTRICT SEAT

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2018 (San Diego) – Congressman Darrell Issa announced Wednesday that he will retire at the end of his term, creating an open seat in the 49th Congressional District for the first time in 18 years.  The action sets the stage for a battleground in the November election, since the 49th is considered a swing district that Democrats hope to capture in their effort to retake control of Congress.

ASSEMBLY CANDIDATE JAMES ELIA SUPPORTS INVESTIGATION OF OUTAGES PLANNED BY SDG&E

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 9, 2018 (San Diego’s East County) – 71st Assembly candidate James Elia is speaking to support an investigation into the SDG&E planned power outages in December that left many thousands of residents across the county without electricity, in some cases for a full week.

KRISTIN GASPAR TO CHAIR BOARD OF SUPERVISORS

 

Supervisor Kristin Gaspar was unanimously voted chairwoman of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for 2018 on Tuesday. The Board also named Supervisor Dianne Jacob to serve as vice chairwoman and Supervisor Greg Cox as chairman pro tem.

RUSSIA'S HACKING OF THE DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL COMMITTEE

 

Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House, by Donna Brazile (Hachette Book Group, Inc., 2017, New York, NY, 268 pages).

 

Book Review by Dennis Moore

 

January 5, 2017 (San Diego) - Donna Brazile, former Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman has written a provocative and timely book about election politics and alleged Russian influence in our political process; Hacks: The Inside Story of the Break-ins and Breakdowns That Put Donald Trump in the White House.

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION PROPOSES OPENING COASTLINES FOR OFFSHORE DRILLING, INCLUDING SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Santa Barbara oil spill, 1969, dumped up to 100,000 barrels of crude oil off California's coast, killing 3,500 sea birds as well as marine mammals such as dolphins and seals. (Dick Smith Collection, University of Santa Barbara)

January 5, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke yesterday issued a sweeping proposal to open up 98% of all outer continental shelf areas for offshore oil drilling -- including off San Diego’s coastline.  By contrast, drilling is currently allowed in only 6% of those areas.

The proposal, which also includes plans to drill in the Arctic, elsewhere along the west coast, the Atlantic coast and the Gulf coast, has drawn strong opposition from environmental groups and from California’s Attorney General.  View map of proposed drilling sites. The public will have an opportunity to weigh in however in public comments and public meetings to be held around the country.  A schedule of those meetings will be posted here.  Online comments at regulations.gov will be accepted starting January 8th.

CHILDREN'S GROUPS PRESS LAWMAKERS TO PASS DREAM ACT

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo: Avid Creative

January 4, 2018 (Sacramento) -- Almost 250 California businesses and children's groups have sent a joint letter to the state's members of Congress, urging them to pass the Dream Act, which would give certain undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as children a work permit and a path to citizenship.

DEMOCRATS LOSE SUPERMAJORITY IN SACRAMENTO

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 3, 2018 (Sacramento) – As the state Legislature reconvenes to consider important matters including the state budget, the process just got more complicated for Democrats.  Resignation of three Democratic members means the party has lost its supermajority.  So even though Democrats still retain a majority, without the two-third supermajority required, they won’t be able to pass any measure that raises taxes without Republican support.

TRUMP APPROVES DISATER AID FOR SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA

 

East County News Service

January 3, 2018 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump on Tuesday approved a request by California Governor Jerry Brown for a federal disaster declaration due to wildfires in southern California that began December 4th, including the Lilac Fire in San Diego as well as devastating fires in Los Angeles, Ventura and Santa Barbara counties.

TRUMP TAUNTS KOREAN LEADER ON NUCLEAR BUTTON SIZE

 

By Miraim Raftery

January 3, 2018 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump starting the New Year off with a Tweet mocking North Korean President Kim Jong Un’s power and the sizes of his nuclear button. The action came in response to Kim’s New Year’s announcement in which the North Korean strongman stated that “The whole territory of the U.S. is within the range of our nuclear strike,” though adding that he would not attack first unless threatened, and he voiced support for talks.

SANTEE WANTS A HIGH-END HOTEL, BUT MAY NOT HAVE A PLACE TO BUILD IT

 

By Paul Kruze

December 29, 2017 (Santee) – Santee’s City Council would like nothing more than to follow in the footsteps of El Cajon and lure a large hotel chain to build a business-class hotel in the growing city. But at Council’s December 13th meeting, it became evident that the biggest question these days is not whether the sprawling community could support such an investment, but rather where to put it. So says a San Francisco-consultant firm that was hired by Santee last Spring to develop a feasibility study on what it would take for it to happen in short order.

KALASHO’S COUNTERSUIT AGAINST ACCUSERS THROWN OUT BY SAN DIEGO JUDGE

 

By Paul Kruze

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

Read Judge Taylor’s full decision dismissing Kalasho’s cross complaint.

December 27, 2017 (San Diego)--San Diego Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor gave his early Christmas gift Friday to embattled El Cajon City Councilman Ben Kalasho: a proverbial piece of coal.

The judge dismissed a countersuit filed by Kalasho against two beauty pageant contestants and a taco shop owner who are suing Kalasho on serious allegations of abusive behavior including sexual misconduct, fraud, defamation, and cyberharassment.

With Kalasho stoically standing next to his attorney, Judge Taylor found that the countersuit filed by Kalasho, a public figure, met the definition of a SLAPP suit meant to intimidate individuals’ constitutional rights of freedom of speech and petition for the redress of grievances. SLAPP suits are illegal under California law. The judge affirmed that the plaintiffs have a right to redress their grievances against Kalasho in a court of law and to speak about their grievances in the media. “Lawsuits are public proceedings,” Taylor admonished Kalasho’s attorney, Stephen J. Liosi.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 28, 2017 (El Cajon)—El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells was our guest for an in-depth interview on our radio show last week.  You can hear the full interview, originally aired on KNSJ, by clicking on the “audio” link.  Our topics included the performing arts center, a major new goal for helping the homeless, and economic revitalization in the community.

Mayor Wells shared details about the city’s exciting new partnership with Live Nation to reopen the East County Performing Arts Center.  The Mayor, who plays several musical instruments, recalled how music made a big difference in his own life.  “It was the first thing I was really good at,” he reflected, also sharing a humorous anecdote about how he talked his way into the school band as a youngster growing up.

Audio: 

MORE NEW CALIFORNIA LAWS TAKE EFFECT IN 2018

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 26, 2017 (San Diego) – Besides new laws affecting motorists, there are several other important new laws taking effect in 2018, including a minimum wage increase, legal marijuana sales, new protections for workers and job applicants, new requirements for employers and general contractors, limits on where you can buy ammunition, and more.

EL CAJON APPROVES LANDMARK AGREEMENT WITH LIVE NATION TO REOPEN ECPAC

 

Landmark vote sets path to reopen theatre in 2019 for headline acts, though community groups’ use of theatre may be limited

By Paul Kruze

Photo by Miriam Raftery, left: Arich Berghammer, Live Nation, addresses Council prior to historic vote

December 20, 2017 (El Cajon) -- After many community discussions, public meetings and  frustrations over the East County Performing Arts Center (ECPAC) remaining closed for nearly the past decade, the El Cajon City Council last Tuesday unanimously approved a preliminary draft agreement for City Manager Doug Williford to ink worldwide concert producer Live Nation as the new manager of the theatre. (Councilman Ben Kalasho was absent, citing an emergency.)

Prior to the landmark vote which longtime councilmember Gary Kendrick has characterized as “the most important vote and the biggest thing to happen to El Cajon. Everybody wins.” He added that Live Nation “has the Midas touch. Every performing arts center they touch turns to gold.”

TAX BILL SIGNED INTO LAW BY TRUMP

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 22, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has signed into law a final version of a sweeping ta reform bill.   The measure provides huge, permanent tax cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals, also providing temporary tax relief for many other individuals that will take effect in 2019 and expire eight years later.  Many of those cuts will be offset, however, by loss of popular tax deductions and a provision that is expected to raise rates for Affordable Care Act healthcare policies.

Among San Diego’s representatives, only Republican Duncan Hunter voted in favor.  Republican Darrell Issa joined with Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters, and Juan Vargas to vote against, as did California’s two Senators, Kamala Harris and Dianne Feinstein.

Here's a summary of what’s in the final bill, including key last-minute changes:

SANTEE TO REMAIN ONLY EAST COUNTY CITY TO ALLOW SMOKING IN PUBLIC PARKS; COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS BAN FOR HIKING TRAILS

 

By Paul Kruze

Hear audio of meeting: http://www.mediafire.com/file/bo4c5wwv6k6tmcb/SanteeSPARC12142017Meeting.mp3

 

December 21, 2017 (Santee) -- Cigarette smokers in our region may end up with one less place to smoke if the Santee City Council approves a recommendation of the Santee Park and Recreation Committee (SPARC) to ban smoking on its numerous hiking trails located within the city limits. Smoking would still be allowed in public parks, leaving Santee the last city in San Diego County to still allow smoking in public parks, although the city does restrict smoking to designated areas during special events.

Smoking marijuana, however, will remain prohibited in Santee parks, although the state is set to decriminalize use on January 1 after voters passed Proposition 64 legalizing the public recreational use and commercial purchase of marijuana.

LEMON GROVE SHERIFF DEPUTIES HAVE BODY CAMERAS; MAYOR TO SERVE AS REPRESENTATIVE TO SANDAG

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: December 19, 2017 was declared Marcos’ Jewelry Day in honor of the retirement of Marcos Ortega.

December 20, 2017 (Lemon Grove) -- Lieutenant S. Amos updated the Lemon Grove City Council yesterday on the Sheriff’s Department progress on body-worn cameras. Amos announced that all Sheriff’s deputies assigned to the Lemon Grove station (excluding those there on overtime from other stations) have body-worn cameras.

POST-NET NEUTRALITY, CAN MUNICIPAL ISPS FREE THE INTERNET?

 

By Suzanne Potter, Public News Service

Photo:  The Institute for Local Self-Reliance predicts that, for the 129 million Americans who have access to just one internet provider, monopolies will have greater power with the repeal of net neutrality. (Fabienne/Morguefile)

December 18, 2017 (Sacramento) - After the Federal Communications Commission voted to kill net neutrality on Thursday, some California cities are looking to create or expand municipal internet service to preserve open, fair and affordable online access. Manhattan Beach is exploring the possibility, and Santa Monica, Burbank, Beverly Hills and Long Beach already have small, publicly-owned broadband networks.

EL CAJON MAYOR BILL WELLS PAINTS POSITIVE PICTURE IN STATE OF CITY ADDRESS

 

 

 

by Paul Kruze

Hear audio of Mayor Wells’ State of the City address

 

December 15, 2017 (El Cajon) -- El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells painted a positive picture of his city in his annual “State of the City” address at the City Council Chambers on Tuesday.

Wells began his address saying that for the past several years, the City of El Cajon has attempted to create a new atmosphere for its businsses, residents, and visitors. He said that in 2017 the city had made significant progress towards this goal. “New and exciting things are continuing to happen for El Cajon, and more is yet to come,” he stated. “The City of El Cajon is taking enormous strides to improve the quality of life liveability of the city for residents and businesses. The city is engaged in major economic development making our city more effiicient, increasing the safety of the community, and rebranding El Cajon as a family friendly place.”

READER’S EDITORIAL: HUNTER, LIKE MOORE IN ALABAMA, COULD LOSE SEAT TO A DEMOCRAT

 

By Andrew Zelt

December 15, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- To the GOP:  after this week's stunning defeat of Roy Moore in Alabama, the Republican Party of San Diego must take a closer look at itself.  It must remind itself what it's true principles are and what it is fighting for.  It cannot become so wrapped up with an unwavering support of a candidate that no matter what that candidate might do wrong, they are still willing to support them.  A politician is accountable to the people.  It's time the Republican Party of San Diego follows the people's lead and holds a candidate responsible for their actions.  In Alabama, the GOP had a weak candidate embroiled in controversy and lost a seat that couldn't have been safer for a Republican candidate.  Sound familiar?

CHARITABLE AND BUSINESS DEDUCTIONS TAKEN AWAY IN TAX BILL

 

Home office deductions and deductions for service businesses, self-employed and independent contractors are also slated for elimination

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Nonprofits are voicing concerns over a provision in the Republican tax bill now in Congress that could harm charities by taking away incentives for the vast majority of Americans to donate to nonprofit organizations.

DEMOCRAT DOUG JONES WINS ALABAMA SENATE SEAT OVER ROY MOORE, NARROWING REPUBLICANS CONTROL OF U.S. SENATE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – By a slim 1.5% margin, Democrat  Doug Jones, a prosecutor, won Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat over Roy Moore, a former Alabama Supreme Court Justice.  Moore’s race was marred by allegations from numerous women who claimed sexual improprieties by Moore, including alleged sexual assault of a 14-year-old when he was in his 30s. Moore has denied the allegations.

The victory means Republicans will have only a 51 to 49 majority in the U.S. Senate after Jones is sworn in. If even a single Republican votes with Democrats or is absent, Republicans could only secure passage by having Vice President Mike Pence cast a deciding vote. If two members defect or are absent, key measures such as legislation or judicial appointments could be blocked.

LA MESA JOINS REGIONAL HOMELESS TASK FORCE, CHANGES COUNCIL MEETING TIMES

 

 

 

SDG&E defends its record on safety and clean energy

By Jonathan Goetz

Photos Courtesy City of La Mesa

December 11, 2017 (La Mesa) - City Council voted at its last meeting to officially become a due-paying member of the Regional Task Force on the Homeless. La Mesa has been participating by sending staff to the meetings, and this action makes the relationship official. Additionally, meetings will now be held at a standard 6 p.m. instead of the rotating 4 p.m. and 6 p.m., and SDG&E’s Public Affairs Manager Cameron Durckel and La Mesa Parks and Recreation Foundation President John Fonseca shared PowerPoints.

READER'S EDITORIAL: THE ULTIMATE UNTHINKABLE OF UNTHINKABLES: TRUMP AXES MUELLER AND GETS AWAY WITH IT

 

By Shaun Mullen, with credit to the Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego online news network)

December 11, 2017 (San Diego) - Will Donald Trump fire Robert Mueller? In an era when the unthinkable occurs with numbing regularity, it looks increasingly likely that he will. But will he get away with it?

BURNED OUT? ROBBED? ACCIDENT VICTIM? TAX BILL TAKES AWAY DEDUCTIONS FOR PERSONAL CASUALTY LOSSES

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (San Diego) – If you lose your home or personal property in a natural disaster such as a wildfire or earthquake, or suffer theft, accident or vandalism, you won’t be able to deduct those property losses off your taxes after December. That’s because both the Senate and House versions of the Republicans’ tax bill eliminates these tax breaks.

SENATE APPROVES TAX BILL WITH DEEP, PERMANENT CUTS FOR CORPORATIONS BUT ONLY SMALL, SHORT-TERM CUTS FOR OTHERS

 

Loss of deductions and undercutting Affordable Care Act could eliminate savings for many middle class and low-income families and individuals

By Miriam Raftery

December 4, 2017 (Washington D.C.) --By a narrow 51 to 49 vote, the Senate has approved a sweeping tax overhaul bill that marks the first significant legislative victory for President Donald Trump.  The Tax Cut and Jobs Act is broad, providing major long-term cuts for corporations and wealthy individuals plus short-term tax cuts for millions of other Americans.

But many of the savings for ordinary Americans will be negated, since the bill also takes away numerous tax deductions and eliminates a key provision of the Affordable Healthcare Act Act, meaning premiums will rise and many will lose healthcare, the Washington Post, Forbes and New York Times report. 

A Washington Post analysis finds that 62 percent of Americans will get a tax cut of at least $100 in 2019, but 38 percent will get no tax cuts. Less than half (44 percent) would have cuts of $500 or more—and most of those are wealthy, not middle class or low income families. By 2027, only 16 percent of individuals will still have tax cuts; 84 percent of Americans will have none.  But the cuts for corporations are permanent.

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