Politics

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.

SUPERVISORS SHOOT DOWN ANDERSON PROPOSAL TO VACCINATE POLICE OFFICERS IMMEDIATELY

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: CC by SA
 
February 10, 2021 (San Diego) – By a 3-2 vote yesterday, San Diego County Supervisors shot down a proposal by Supervisor Joel Anderson that would have given law enforcement officers priority to receive COVID-19 vaccines.

SENATOR BRIAN JONES INTRODUCES BILL TO COMBAT PORCH PIRACY

Stolen goods hurt the most vulnerable in our community
 
Source: Senator Brian Jones
 
Photo: CC by SA-NC via Bing
 
February 10, 2021; updated Feb. 14, 2021 (Sacramento) – California State Senator Brian W. Jones (R-Santee) has introduced Senate Bill 358, a measure to increase the penalties on persons who steal packages from the porch or entryway of someone's home.

SENATOR BRIAN JONES COAUTHORS "LET THEM PLAY" RESOLUTION TO REOPEN YOUTH SPORTS

East County News Service
 
Photo: CC via Bing
 
February 8, 2021 (Sacramento) --  “It’s time to get our kids off the bench and into the game,” says State Senator Brian Jones (R-Santee).  Jones has signed on as a coauthor of the “Let Them Play” resolution, which calls on the  Newsom administration to reopen youth sports.

SHIRLEY WEBER SWORN IN AS SECRETARY OF STATE; SPECIAL ELECTION TO FILL HER SEAT WILL BE HELD APRIL 6

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Governor's Twitter feed: Sec. of State Shirley Weber is sworn in by Gov. Gavin Newsom

February 8, 2021 (San Diego) – Former Assemblywoman Shirley Weber, PhD, made history last week when she was sworn in as the first black woman to serve as California's Secretary of State. A special election to fill the 79th Assembly District seat will be held April 6, with several candidates in the running.

“I am excited to be nominated for this historical appointment as the Secretary of State of California. I thank @CAgovernor  for the confidence in me. Being the first Black Woman in this position will be monumental and I am up for the challenge,” Weber posted on Twitter.

AS DEJOY READIES NEW ASSAULT ON POSTAL SERVICE, PRESSURE GROWS FOR BIDEN TO 'CLEAN HOUSE'

"My solution starts at the top: firing the whole board who presided over Trump and DeJoy's wrecking of USPS," said Rep. Bill Pascrell, Jr.

By Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams

Originally published by Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license

February 8, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - With Postmaster General Louis DeJoy reportedly preparing to unveil plans for another round of service cuts and operational changes as soon as this week, President Joe Biden is facing growing calls from lawmakers, mail carriers and others to take urgent steps to protect the U.S. Postal Service from further damage, pave the way for DeJoy's removal, and shore up the agency's finances for the near and distant future.

RECALLING A CALIFORNIA GOVERNOR, EXPLAINED

By Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters

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

Photo:  Recall Newsom volunteer Pat Miller holds up a sign during petition-signing event at SaveMart in Sacramento on Jan. 5, 2021. Photo by Anne Wernikoff, CalMatters

February 5, 2021 (Sacramento) - “Recall Gavin Newsom” signs are popping up around California. At shopping centers and street protests, people fed up with the Democratic governor are asking voters to sign petitions. What began as a far-fetched effort by Republican activists has turned into a credible campaign attempting to throw Newsom out of office.

CHARGES FILED OVER CAPITOL ATTACK INCLUDE CONSPIRACY AND ASSASSINATION THREATS

By Alexa Oslowski and Miriam Raftery

Photo, left by C-Span: Insurrectionists storm Capitol

 February 1, 2021 (La Mesa) – The attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6 entailed a conspiracy among members of far-right militia groups, including some who intended to assassinate elected officials, according to federal charging documents.

According to USA Today, 179 people  were arrested with charges as of February 1.  In addition to coordination among extremist groups, actions of Pentagon officials are under scrutiny. Questions are also being raised over possible involvement of members of Congress and whether any foreign intervention may have occurred. As the FBI investigation continues, the U.S. House of Representatives has opened a separate investigation into the Capitol attack.

CONGRESSWOMAN SARA JACOBS TO INTRODUCE RESOLUTION TO CENSURE CONGRESSWOMAN MARJORIE TAYLOR GREENE, CALL FOR RESIGNATION

By Miriam Raftery

January 30, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – Congresswomen Sara Jacobs (D-San Diego) and Nikema Williams (D-GA) will introduce legislation next week to formally censure Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene. The Williams-Jacobs resolution condemns Greene’s remarks repeatedly supporting the assassination of current and former elected officials. It also calls for her to be censured in the House Chamber, and calls for her resignation from Congress.

SUPERVISORS MOVE TOWARD LEGAL CANNABIS FARMNG AND SALES; ANDERSON ADDS FUNDS TO SHUTDOWN ILLEGAL OPERATORS IMMEDIATELY

By Miriam Raftery

View video of hearing:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m-LEUgTBhFw

January 28, 2021(San Diego) – San Diego County Supervisors yesterday voted 4-1 to have staff bring back a plan within 90 days for reform the County’s policies on marijuana (cannabis), after obtaining input from community planners and other stakeholders.

The plan would create a framework to legalize and regulate sales, manufacturing and farming of cannabis whlie creating jobs in unincorporated areas, also beefing up code compliance to shut down illegal operations. Supervisors are expected to vote on the new regulations by July 1.The proposal was brought forward by Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas.

Newly elected Supervisor Joel Anderson, aware that the measure had a clear majority for passage, successfully added an amendment to provide $500,000 for aggressive enforcement to shut down illegal pot shops, labs or other unlicensed marijuana facilities – starting immediately, even before any new regulations are adopted.

CONGRESSMAN DARRELL ISSA NAMED TO HOUSE COMMITTEES ON JUDICIARY AND FOREIGN AFFAIRS

Source: Office of Congressman Darrell Issa

January 28, 2021 (Washington, DC) — The House Republican Steering Committee yesterday selected Congressman Darrell Issa (R-CA) to serve on the powerful House Committee on the Judiciary and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Issa released the following statement: 

“I am honored to return to service as a Senior Member of the Judiciary and Foreign Affairs committees this Congress. These committees stand at the forefront of our nation’s great challenges: protecting free speech, securing our border, reforming immigration, combating global terrorism and limiting government overreach. On behalf of the 50th District of California, I can’t wait to get to work and craft lasting solutions. 

“I look forward to the leadership of Judiciary Ranking Member Jim Jordan (R-OH) and Foreign Affairs Ranking Member Michael McCaul (R-TX). They are outstanding colleagues, and work tirelessly on behalf of our nation’s families, workers and small businesses.” 

EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO OUST PLANNING COMMISSIONER HUMBERT CABRERA

By Briana Gomez

January 28, 2021 (El Cajon) – On Tuesday, the El Cajon City Council voted 4-1 to remove Humbert Cabrera from his position as a Planning Commissioner.

The meeting also included other items impacting the community, including an update on COVID-19, a proposal to outlaw protests at individual homes, and a proposal to limit the city’s investment in alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.

Removal of Planning Commissioner Cabrera

The proposal to oust Cabrera was made by Mayor Bill Wells and Vice Mayor Gary Kendrick. A staff report cited conflicts of interest by Cabrera  in violation of the city’s ethics policy, since his company has numerous clients seeking city permits. Other reasons included his allegedly demeaning treatment of applicants before the planning commission and questions over his integrity based on conflicting residency statements that he made during a candidate forum hosted by East County Magazine. (See our prior coverage.)

BIDEN-HARRIS INAUGURATION BRINGS CHANGE, CALLS FOR UNITY AND HISTORIC FIRSTS

By Miriam Raftery

Photos: screenshots via C-Span

January 21, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – Under the heaviest security since the Civil War, one week after a violent attack on our nation’s Capitol, President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn into office on January 20.

It was a day of historic firsts. Harris is the first woman, first African-American and first Asian-American to become Vice President. Her husband, who is Jewish,became First Gentleman. The nation’s youngest Poet Laureate, 22-year-old Amanda Gorman, delivered a powerful rendition of her poem, “The Hill We Climb”, a message of unity, healing and courage written after she witnessed the insurrection at the Capitol.

Chief Justice John Roberts swore in President Biden. In his inaugural speech, Biden said the day represents “A day of history and hope” adding, “Democracy has prevailed.   So now on this hallowed ground where just days ago violence sought to shake this Capitol’s very foundation, we come together as one nation, under God, indivisible, to carry out the peaceful transfer of power as we have for more than two centuries.”

GROUPS “FLOORED” BY BIDEN IMMIGRATION PROPOSAL

By Suzanne Potter, California News Service

Photo: Creative Commons by SA

January 20, 2021 (Sacramento) -- On his first day in office, President Joe Biden is pressing for bold immigration reform, proposing a path to citizenship for an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants.

The proposal would apply to people who have a clean criminal record and were in the United States before Jan. 1. If approved, this would be the first so-called "mass legalization" since 1986, during the Reagan administration.

Carlos Guevara, associate director for immigration policy for the group Unidos US, said there's a lot of pent-up demand for change in the immigration system.

IN FIRST 24 HOURS AS PRESIDENT, BIDEN TAKES DOZENS OF MAJOR ACTIONS

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – Within hours after his inauguration, President Joe Biden has issued dozens of executive orders, announced ambitious efforts to combat the coronavirus, bring relief to struggling Americans including renters and students with loans, bring aid to local governments, fight climate change, reunite families separated at the border, and more. He also fired three Trump administration officials who had sought to undermine their agencies’ missions. In addition, he announced daily themes for his first month in office.

FORMER CONGRESSMAN RANDY “DUKE” CUNNINGHAM RECEIVES PARDON FOR CRIMES INCLUDING BRIBERY

By Rebecca Jefferis Williamson and Miriam Raftery

Jan. 20, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) -- Former San Diego Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who previously represented the 50th, 51st, and 44th districts, has received a conditional pardon from Donald J. Trump during the final day of his presidency. 

Cunningham, a Republican, served seven years in prison after pleading guilty to bribery, fraud, and tax evasion. He accepted $2.4  million from defense contractors, reportedly the largest Congressional bribe in history, and infamously kept a bribery price list,  the San Diego Union reported.

Prior to serving in Congress, he was a commander, fighter pilot and Top Gun instructor in the United States Navy, honored with a Navy Cross, two Silver Stars, a Purple Heart, and 15 Air Medals.

Dean Calbreath, part of the Pulitzer Prize-winning team of investigative reporters who exposed Cunningham's crimes, shared his reaction to today's pardon on Facebook.

AMMAR CAMPA-NAJJAR FOREGOES ASSEMBLY RACE, PAVING WAY FOR AKILAH WEBER

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

Photo:  Dr. Akilah Weber and Ammar Campa-Najjar. Campaign photos

January 20, 2020 (San Diego) - Ammar Campa-Najjar released a poll Tuesday showing himself the leading Democratic contender for the 79th Assembly District vacancy.

OVER 100 ARRESTED AFTER CAPITOL INSURRECTION; HUNDREDS MORE UNDER INVESTIGATION

By Miriam Raftery

January 18, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – According to the U.S. Justice Dept., more than 100 people have been arrested for federal crimes related to the Capitol insurrection on charges ranging from possession of numerous bombs and other weapons to violent entry and disorderly conduct. 

The arrests include a heavily armed man who threatened to kill House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, another who left a note threatening Vice President Mike Pence, and others engaged in acts of violence  Another 275 people are reportedly under investigation related to the capitol insurrection.

The U.S. Justice Dept.has set up a website listing those charged to date. According to the federal site and media reports on CNN, The Hill and other major news outlets, the arrests include these suspects:

BIDEN-HARRIS INAUGURATION EVENTS JANUARY 20: HOW TO WATCH

East County News Service

January 18, 2021 (Washington D.C.) – The inauguration of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris is slated to take place this Wednesday, January 19 in front of the Capitol. Washington D.C.is under heavy security following last week’s capitol insurrection, with 25,000 National Guard troops stationed there—five time more than the number of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

Due to threats of violence and the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of guests will be limited to mainly members of Congress and guests. The Capitol mall is closed to the public for security reasons. The event will be live streamed by the Presidential Inaugural Committee.  You can also watch the inauguration on C-span, CNN and other major networks. Throughout the day and evening, a variety of inaugural events will be held that the public can watch or paticipate in virtually.

FEARING POSSIBLE ‘INSIDER ATTACK,’ FEDS VETTING 25,000 NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS AHEAD OF BIDEN INAUGURATION

"The very people assigned to protect the city over the next several days could present a threat to the incoming president."

By Jake Johnson, staff writer, Common Dreams

Originally published by Common Dreams under a Creative Commons license

Photos courtesy of the National Guard

January 18, 2021 (Washington, D.C.) - Federal authorities are heavily vetting the tens of thousands of National Guard troops that are heading to Washington, D.C. from around the nation to help secure President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration ceremony, additional screening reportedly prompted by fears of a possible "insider attack" on the event by right-wing extremists among the soldiers' ranks.

SUPERVISORS APPROVE HOUSING FOR MENTALLY ILL HOMELESS AND THOSE AT RISK

Supervisor Anderson plans pilot programs for more homeless help in the future

By Miriam Raftery

January 16, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) The San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously voted Tuesday to apply for $12 million in additional state funding for the No Place Like Home program.  No Place Like Home provides funding for the creation of affordable housing units for those with serious mental illness who are experiencing or are at-risk of homelessness.

Tuesday’s authorization also provides County behavioral health supportive services for tenants in No Place Like Home units for a period of 20 years.

So far, the County has approved six developments through the No Place Like Home program in in San Diego, the South Bay, and North County – but not East County, even though East County has a large homeless population in places like El Cajon, Spring Valley and Lakeside.The County has previously received some funding through the program and could ultimately qualify for up to $117 million through 2024.

SANTEE COUNCIL SETS FANITA RANCH ELECTION FOR NOV. 2022, ALSO APPROVES DIVERSITY PROGRAM

By Mike Allen

January 15, 2021 (Santee) -- Santee residents will get a chance to vote on the Fanita Ranch project, but will have to wait until November 2022 to do so.

At its Jan. 13 meeting, the Santee City Council voted 4-0, with Mayor John Minto absent, to place the controversial 3,000-unit residential development on the next regularly scheduled city election rather than rescinding its earlier approval vote for the project or setting a special election. According to the county Registrar of Voters, a special election would cost the city about $850,000.

This wasn’t what the Council originally intended. In September the board approved a slew of amendments to the Fanita Ranch Specific Plan and approved the project in a 4-1 vote, with former Councilman Stephen Houlahan opposed.

GOVERNOR ACTIVATES 1,000 CALIFORNIA NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS TO PROTECT STATE CAPITOL

 

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

January 15, 2021 (Sacramento) - Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday the deployment of up to 1,000 California National Guard troops to guard the state Capitol in Sacramento amid threats of right-wing violence.

CONGRESSWOMAN SARA JACOBS TO HOST INFORMATION SESSION ON COVID-19 VACCINES THURSAY AT 2 PM

 

Source: Congresswoman Sara Jacobs

January 14, 2021 (Washington D.C.) -- Today,, East County's newly elected Congresswoman Sara Jacobs (D-A-53) will host an informational session on the COVID-19 vaccine featuring local public health experts. The virtual event, entitled “Learn the Facts: COVID-19 Vaccine Truths with Congresswoman Sara Jacobs,” will take place on Thursday, January 14 at 2:00 PM Pacific Time. Members of the public can register to attend the virtual event here.

During the event, Congresswoman Jacobs will talk about her experience receiving the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine as part of the President Policy Directive to maintain continuity of government. She will then be joined by community and public health leaders who will discuss the science behind COVID-19 vaccines, their safety and efficacy, and offer an update on when members of the public can expect to be vaccinated.

10 HOUSE REPUBLICANS JOIN DEMOCRATS, VOTE TO IMPEACH TRUMP FOR INCITING INSURRECTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo, left, cc by Tyler Merbler:tear gas during Capitol insurrection

January 13, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) – Donald Trump is now the only president in U.S. history to be impeached twice. Today, 10 Republicans including Liz Cheney, the third highest ranking Republican, joined with Democrats int voting to  impeach Trump for “incitement of insurrection.” The action comes after a violent mob stormed the capitol with intent to halt the certification of Joe Biden as president.

Five people died in the invasion of the Capitol, including a Capitol Police officer, and dozens of officers were injured.  Some chanted “death to Pence,” the Vice President; one of those arrested had a semi-automatic weapon and had posted his intent to assassinate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. President Trump, at a rally at the White House ellipse just before the violent takeover, urged his supporters to march to the Capitol and “fight” to halt the vote, also accusing Pence of cowardice if he did not certify the vote. Pence later returned that night and voted to certify the election with Joe Biden the winner, as did the majority of legislators.

VOEPEL STATEMENTS ON CAPITOL INSURRECTION PROVOKE CALLS FOR EXPULSION OR RESIGNATION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via a recent "Tea Time" video for the Tea Party on Assemblyman Voepel's Facebook page

January 13, 2021 (San Diego’s East County) --  Days after insurrectionists violently took over the nation’s capitol, threatening lives of legislators and resulting in five deaths including a police officer, statements made by East County Assemblyman Randy Voepel are drawing sharp criticisms, including calls for his resignation or expulsion from the Legislature.

Voepel, also a former Santee Mayor, said of the insurrection, “This is Lexington and Concord. First shots fired against tyranny. Tyranny will follow in the aftermath of the Biden swear-in on January 20," the San Diego Union-Tribune reported on January 10.

That prompted numerous posts on the Republican Assemblyman’s Facebook page overwhelmingly condemning his statements, including several calls for him to resign and an organization that promotes national security after 9/11 urging the Legislature to expel Voepel.

FORMER SANTEE COUNCILMAN HOULAHAN WILL RUN FOR CONGRESS

By Mike Allen

January 13, 2021 (Santee) -- Stephen Houlahan, the former Santee Councilman who lost to Mayor John Minto in November, announced he’s running for the 50th Congressional District in a race two years down the road.

The seat was won in November by Republican Darrell Issa , who beat out Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar by about 28,000 votes or an 8 percent margin.

Through a spokesman, Houlahan, a registered nurse and political independent, said he intends to register as a Democrat, and expects to come in the top two in a primary in March 2022.

Among the main reasons for his decision was the terrible way the federal government has handled dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, said spokesman Bobby Borisov.

EX-GOV. SCHWARZENEGGER: TRUMP SOUGHT “COUP”, LIKENS CAPITOL INSURRECTION TO NAZIS IN HIS NATIVE AUSTRIA

 

View Schwarzenegger’s video: https://youtu.be/x_P-0I6sAck

By Miriam Raftery

Rebecca Jefferis Williamson contributed to this story.

January 13, 2021 – California’s former Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian immigrant, delivered a powerful video message  in response to the insurrection at out nation’s capitol this week.  He likened it to Kristallnact, a night of rampage in his native Austria carried out against Jews by the “Nazi equivalent of the Proud Boys.” 

In an emotional tone, Schwarzenegger warned of where such actions can lead if left unchecked. He recalled growing up “in the ruins of a country that suffered the loss of its democracy,” adding, “Growing up, I was surrounded by broken men, drinking away their guilt over their participation in the most evil regime in history.”  That included his own father and neighbors.

He recalled that it all started with “lies and intolerance” and warned that this could happen here. He blamed President Donald Trump for spreading lies to try and overturn “a fair election” adding. “He sought a coup by misleading people with lies.”

Pages