Politics

ATTORNEY GENERAL BECERRA CO-LEADS BIPARTISAN COALITION OF 43 ATTORNEYS GENERAL URGING VIDEO STREAMING INDUSTRY TO PROTECT YOUNG VIEWERS FROM TOBACCO

AGs provide policy guidelines to streaming industry to combat increasing use of tobacco products by young people

Source:  Attorney General Becerra

August 8, 2019 (Sacramento) - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson today led a bipartisan coalition of 43 attorneys general in urging the streaming industry to limit tobacco use in their video content. Due to the growing use of tobacco products amongst teens, the attorneys general urge the streaming industry to take proactive steps to protect the lives of young viewers. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of middle and high school students using e-cigarettes rose from 2.1 million in 2017 to 3.6 million in 2018.

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATE AMMAR CAMPA-NAJJAR HOSTS TOWN HALL IN ALPINE AUGUST 18

East County News Service

August 7, 2019, 2019 (Alpine) – Congressional candidate Ammar Campa-Najjar will be at a Town Hall Meet and Greet open to the public at the Alpine Community Center on August 18th from 1 to 4 p.m. Food and beverages will be served. The event is hosted by Alpine resident Anne Craig-Tillmond.

 

Campa-Najjar is facing off in the November, 2020 elections against incumbent Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Jr. and/or other primary challengers.

 

The Town Hall format offers an opportunity for constituents to ask questions about issues that matter most to them.

HEAR OUR INTERVIEW: CONGRESSIONAL CANDIATE AMMAR CAMPA-NAJJAR ON HIS PLANS TO BRING HIGH-INCOME JOBS TO EAST COUNTY AND MORE

By Miriam Raftery

Listen to the full interview, originally aired on KNSJ radio: click the audio link.

Learn more about Ammar Campa-Najjar's town hall at the Alpine Community Center on August 18 from 1-4 p.m. by clicking here.

August 9, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – “We need an economy and a government that works for working people,” says Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is running for the 50th Congressional district seat currently held by indicted Congressman Duncan Hunter. So we sat down with Campa-Najjar on our radio show to discuss those plans in detail.

Headlines tout a strong GDP as well as low unemployment. But  those numbers don’t tell the full story,  Campa-Najjar points out. “That’s great if you own stock.  But it’s not great if unemployment is low because one person is working three jobs, barely making a living and living paycheck to paycheck, having to choose whether to buy a gallon of gas or a gallon of milk.”  He says that in talking with people across the district, he’s hearing from people who are having to cut prescription pills in half or who can’t pay for insulin, choosing which bills to skip paying to cover basic survival needs. “These are real issues in the district, especially in rural areas."

Unlike most candidates who have run for this seat through the years, Campa-Najjar says he is uniquely positioned to bring good jobs to East County and elsewhere in the district because “I worked at the Department of Labor to create good-paying jobs, not just in San Diego County, but throughout the country.”

At the Department of Labor, he worked on creating apprenticeship jobs to train workers in high-paying fields, as well as setting up summer youth jobs and opportunities for veterans.  He later worked for the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as communications and marketing director, which included promoting opportunities for small businesses to secure contracts with the federal government and corporations. He’s also worked as an educator teaching at UCSD, USD and SDSU.

He’s also a small business owner and Jamul resident who was born in La Mesa and raised by a working class Catholic mother. His first job was as a janitor at his church, where he became a youth leader before graduating from San Diego State and later working in the White House and at the U.S. Department of Labor.

So what kinds of jobs would he bring to the district, including rural areas, small towns and Native American reservations?

Audio: 

Ammar Campa-Najjar interview

PROSECUTION SEEKS DELAY IN SENTENCING OF REP. HUNTER’S WIFE

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 6, 2019 (San Diego) – Federal prosecutors have filed a request in U.S. District Court asking to postpone the sentencing date for Margaret Hunter until December 2, after the trial of her husband, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), the San Diego Union-Tribune reports.

EL CAJON WEIGHS STIFFER PENALTIES FOR STORES SELLING TOBACCO TO KIDS

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 5, 2019 (El Cajon) – El Cajon’s City Council will consider tough new penalties for retailers caught selling tobacco to minors. A proposed new ordinance includes cracking down harder the very first time a retailer violates the law, since there have been 43 instances of first-time offenders selling tobacco to youths from 2017 to the present.

DEPUTY SHERIFFS DENOUNCE DEMAIO RUN FOR CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 5, 2019 (San Diego) – The San Diego Deputy Sheriff’s Association today announced its unanimous decision to oppose former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio’s just-announced candidacy for the 50th Congressional District seat held by indicted Rep. Duncan Hunter. 

CARL DEMAIO TO RUN FOR HUNTER’S SEAT IN CONGRESS

By Miriam Raftery
 
File photo: Carl DeMaio on election night
 
August 5, 2019 (San Diego) – Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio is the latest Republican to announce plans to run for the 50th Congressional district seat currently held by indicted Congressman Duncan D. Hunter.

'WE'RE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO SURVIVE': WHY CALIFORNIANS COULD BEAR THE BRUNT OF TRUMP FOOD STAMP CUTS

By Jackie Botts, CALmatters

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

Photo:  Antoinette Martinez does her weekly grocery shopping at FoodMaxx, and worries that new proposed Trump administration cuts to food stamp eligibility will make it harder for her to stretch her food budget. Photo by Anne Wernikoff for CalMatters

August 1, 2019 (San Diego) - When Antoinette Martinez rolls her cart through the produce section of the FoodMaxx in Watsonville, her 5-year-old son Caden often asks for strawberries and blueberries. 

Sometimes Martinez bends, but usually she sticks to the produce on sale: Roma tomatoes for 69 cents a pound, cucumbers at three-for-99 cents. And banana bunches are relatively cheap.

FULL HOUSE AT EAST COUNTY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL FORUM: IDEAS FOR SOLVING REGION’S BIGGEST ISSUES

By Miriam Raftery
 
August 1, 2019 (El Cajon) – “We’re not interested in headlines today  We’re interested in the long-term,” George Gastil, founder of the East Count Leadership  Council, told a capacity audience at the El Cajon Library at a July 27th regional issues forum.

SENATOR JONES SAYS HIGH-USE ELECTRICITY CHARGES UNFAIRLY IMPACT PEOPLE IN HOT INLAND AREAS

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 25, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – “Punish people in hotter communities for trying to survive the record heat – are you kidding me?” State Senator Brian Jones asks in a video he made after learning that the California Public Utilities Commission has refused a request from SDG&E to eliminate or suspend high use charges (HUC).  

EAST COUNTY LEADERSHIP COUNCIL HOSTS REGIONAL ISSUES FORUM ON JULY 27

By Miriam Raftery

July 9, 2019 (El Cajon) – The East County Leadership Council will host its second annual regional issues forum on July 27 from 1-3 p.m. at the El Cajon Library (201 E. Douglas Ave. in El Cajon).

COUNTY PLANNERS AMEND SMALL CELL WIRELESS ORDINANCE: SUPERVISORS TO HEAR PROPOSAL AUGUST 7

Update:  Staff planners have recommended against  the 100-ft. setback from homes that the Planning Commission had recommended, which would allow the 5G devices to go right next to homes, among other changes. See Susan Brinchman's second message in the comments section below for details.

By Miriam Raftery

View video of hearing:  http://sdcounty.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=12&clip_id=2333

July 24, 2019 (San Diego) — Following a hearing on a proposed zoning ordinance update for small cell wireless facilities in the county’s unincorporated areas, planners voted to support stricter guidelines on where the devices can be placed. The new requirements were all on a list of suggestions provided by area residents including Susan Brinchman, director of the Center for Electrosmog Prevention in La Mesa.

CALAWARE ATTORNEY: COUNCILMAN PARENT SHOULD RECUSE FROM VOTING ON FARMER’S MARKET

 

By Miriam Raftery

July 23, 2019 (La Mesa) – An attorney with Californians Aware (CalAware), an organization that protects the public’s rights in open government matters, has advised ECM that Councilman Colin Parent should likely recuse himself from tonight’s vote on the La Mesa Farmer’s Market for showing bias prior to public testimony.

Four applicants have submitted applicants. Three would keep the market downtown and one, Grossmont Center, would move it to the regional shopping mall.

ECM sought Calaware's opinion after Councilman Parent posted a notice on the NextDoor forum urging residents to email a form letter to fellow councilmembers asking that the farmer’s market be kept downtown. A resident sent us a reader’s editorial and a letter to the full Council and  City Manager complaining of bias.  

Parent also sent a media advisory announcing a press conference to be held at 5 p.m., before tonight’s meeting, which he plans to hold with Brian Beevers, who currently operates the farmer’s market along with the La Mesa Village Association. The media notification states,  “ Both support the current location and date of the Farmer’s Market.”

STATE AUDITOR SEEKS APPLICANTS FOR 2020 CITIZENS REDISTRICTING COMMISSION

Update July 25:  The State has announced it does not have enough women or Latino applicants and is actively seeking more applicants to assure a balanced commisson.

By Chris Jennewein

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

Photo:  Eligible voters are urged to register at a Democratic rally in 2018. Photo by Chris Stone

July 21, 2019 (San Diego) - Concerned about the political gerrymandering that is the norm across much of the United States?  

You can do your part to make California different by applying for one of the 14 seats on the 2020 Citizens Redistricting Commission.

HOUSE VOTES TO REPEAL HEFTY TAX SET TO LEVY EMPLOYEES’ HEALTH PLANS

By Miriam Raftery
 
July 19, 2019 (San Diego) – By an overwhelming 419 to 6 vote, the House of Representatives has passed H.R. 748, the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019.  The measure, if approved by the Senate and the President, would repeal the so-called “Cadillac Tax,” an Affordable Care Act provision set to roll out in 2022 (postponed from 2020). It would impose a 40% excise tax on generous employer-provided health insurance plans for employees and families.

LA MESA COUNCIL WEIGHS PARKING DISTRICT FUND TO ATTRACT SHOPPERS DOWNTOWN, HOUSING ON EX- POLICE STATION SITE, AND CANNABIS TAX FIX

By Allan Acevedo
 
July 19, 2019 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa City Council meeting last week started with public comments from speakers advocating to keep a Farmer’s Market downtown. The early testimony foreshadows what could be a contentious next session, when Council will consider four proposals for the future of its farmer’s market.  

HUNTER ORDERED TO HALT USING MARINE CORPS SYMBOL AND SLOGAN IN CAMPAIGN AFTER LATEST ATTACK MAILER

By Miriam Raftery

July 18, 2019 (San Diego) – The U.S. Marine Corps has sent a letter ordering Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) to cease and desist using the official Marines emblem and slogan on any campaign materials. 

The demand comes after Hunter sent a misleading and Islamophobic mailer to smear his Democratic opponent, Ammar Campa-Najjar, who is Catholic. 

HOUSE VOTES TO CONDEMN `RACIST’ TWEETS BY TRUMP AGAINST FOUR CONGRESSWOMEN OF COLOR

By Miriam Raftery

July 16, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – For the first time in over 100 years, the House of Representatives today voted to condemn the actions of a President. Congressional members voted 240 to 187 to formally condemn President Donald Trump’s Twitter posts attacking four minority Congresswomen as “racist,” in the words of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in her floor speech.

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL APPOINTS CABRERA TO PLANNING COMMISSION

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Photo, from left to right:  Mike Aquawi, Humbert Cabrera, Nathan Cornett, Robert Pennoyer, Amanda McGimpsey, Jaqueline Sona

 

July 15, 2019 (El Cajon) --The final chapter of the drama-filled Ben Kalasho novel was written on Tuesday when local businessman Humbert Cabrera was appointed to the El Cajon Planning Commission. The seat was recently vacated by the recent appointment of Phil Ortiz to the El Cajon City Council in May to replace Kalasho, who resigned in March after two stormy years on the Council.

CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS INTRODUCES BILL TO END STUDENT LOAN TAX

East County News Service

July 13, 2019 (Washington, D.C.) - Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-CA), Chair of the Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee,  Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Ranking Member of the subcommittee, and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS) have introduced legislation to eliminate all administrative fees on federal student loans, which would save students over $1.7 billion per year.

DUNCAN HUNTER'S LAWYER IS HEAVY DEMOCRATIC DONOR; GAVE CLINTON NEARLY $7,500

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  Gregory A. Vega of downtown San Diego’s Seltzer Caplan McMahon Vitek law firm came to the defense of his old friend Gonzalo Curiel when the federal judge came under attack from Donald Trump. Image via YouTube.com

July 9, 2019 (San Diego) - At Monday’s hour-long hearing for Rep. Duncan D. Hunter, 22 minutes were devoted to whether two (or possibly three) assistant U.S. attorneys had a political ax to grind against the indicted Republican.

JUDGE DENIES HUNTER REQUESTS TO DROP CHARGES, REMOVE PROSECUTORS, OR MOVE TRIAL OUTSIDE REGION

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo by Chris Stone, Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
July 8, 2019 (San Diego) – U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan has rejected a trio of requests sought by Congressman Duncan Hunter’s legal team, City News Service reports.
 
Hunter’s lawyers argued that all 60 federal corruption charges should be dismissed or that two prosecutor should be removed because they once attended a presidential campaign event for Hillary Clinton in 2015. The U.S. Attorney’s office said the prosecutors attended the event in their official capacity to help law enforcement. Whelen ruled that prosecutors had sufficient probable cause to prosecute Hunter regardless of the reasons why prosecutors attended the function. 

WHO WANTS TO BE OUR NEXT CONGRESSMAN? HERE ARE THE CANDIDATES RUNNING SO FAR

By Miriam Raftery

Photos, top left to lower right:  Bill Wells, Sam Abed, Matt Rahn, Larry Wilske, Ammar Campa-Najjar, and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter

July 7, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – With Congressman Duncan D. Hunter slated for trial starting in September on 60 federal corruption charges, one Democrat and four Republicans, all men, have established campaign committees to run for Rep. Hunter's seat in 2020. At least two other prominent names have been floated as possible contenders, with more entries possible.

Here are the contenders to date:

HUNTER TWEETS, THEN DELETES PHOTO WITH WHITE NATIONALIST ON JULY 4TH AFTER CRITICISMS

Update July 9:  This photo has been deleted off Hunter's social media. The San Diego Union-Tribune reports Hunter spokesman Michael Harrison stated, “Congressman Hunter has never supported or been accused of supporting white supremacy and if anyone were to espouse any such beliefs in a photo with Congressman Hunter they did so without his knowledge or consent,” Harrison said in an email. “To be clear, Congressman Hunter does not personally know this individual, or what his views may be.”

Updated July 7 with information on identity of the man standing next to Hunter: Kristopher Wyrick, founder of an avowed white nationalist organization.  Updated July 8 with statement from Ammar Campa-Najjar.

By Miriam Raftery

July 6, 2019 (Alpine) – A photo making the rounds on social media claims Congressman Duncan D Hunter spent the Fourth of July in the company of white nationalists.  A photo shows Hunter standing next to a man flashing a hand signal that’s commonly used as a white power symbol as well as A-okay sign.  The image was cropped down from a group photo taken in Alpine, where Rep. Hunter participated in the town’s annual 4th of July Independence Day Parade.

 

However, the man in the photo has an apparent history of participating in and leading groups that espouse white nationalist positions and of  violence against protesters as shown in videos.

 

According to a Times of San Diego report published July 7, the man flashing the white power sign is believed to be Kristopher Wyrick, a cofounder of the Bordertown Patriots, a white nationalist group that organized an event at Chicano Park that reportedly resulted in clashes with counterprotesters and multiple arrests. Wyrick is also reportedly a former member of San Diego Proud Boys and the United Patriot National Front. Will Johnson, who has had two court battles with Wyrick, told Times of San Diego that he's certain it's Wyrick in the photo because  "I've seen him so many times."  Johnson sought a restraining order against Wyrick but lost; Wyrick later won a small claims court against Johnson over lost work time and gun storage costs.

REVOLUTIONARY WAR AIRPORTS? TRUMP STUMBLE ON HISTORY PROMPTS TWITTER WIT

 

East County News Service

July 5, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – During a Fourth of July Salute to America in Washington D.C. yesterday featuring fireworks, tanks and a flyover by military planes, President Donald Trump made a statement filled with historical gaffes, prompting wits to take to Twitter in response.

 

While speaking of the Revolutionary War in 1775 that resulted in American independence from Britain, Trump stated, “The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter in Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown. Our army manned the airports, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory. View video.

 

The first reported airplane flight wasn’t until 1903 with the Wright Brothers,  long after both the Revolutionary War and the later War of 1812 at which Fort McHenry was bombarded by British ships, not America’s army. 

 

The White House has blamed a teleprompter that failed for the President’s ad libbed inaccuracies.

Wits promptly took to Twitter with the hashtags #RevolutionaryWarAirports and #RevolutionaryWarAirportStories.

 

Here are a few humorous highlights:

PROSECUTORS OF DUNCAN HUNTER 14-0 ON MOTIONS, WINNING EVERY PRETRIAL ARGUMENT SO FAR

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  Ammar Campa-Najjar addresses media outside the courtroom after Duncan Hunter motions hearing. Photo by Ken Stone

July 2, 2019 (San Diego) - The pretrial Game of Motions isn’t over in USA v. Hunter et al, but Monday saw the government’s attorneys take a 14-0 lead against Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and his legal team.

In a 33-minute flurry of rulings, federal Judge Thomas J. Whelan handed setback after setback to Hunter lead lawyer Gregory A. Vega, hoping to keep his Republican client out of prison on charges including wire fraud, falsification of records and embezzling campaign contributions. He denies them all.

REP. HUNTER’S LAWYERS FILE MOTION TO SUPPRESS EVIDENCE OF AFFAIRS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Activists have announced a rally Monday morning calling on Rep. Hunter to resign

June 29, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s legal team has filed a motion asking a federal court in San Diego to deny the prosecution’s motion which seeks to admit evidence that Hunter’s alleged misuse of campaign funds included money spent on five extramarital affairs.

'THAT LITTLE GIRL WAS ME': WATCH KAMALA HARRIS CONFRONT JOE BIDEN OVER OPPOSITION TO SCHOOL BUSING AND PRAISE FOR SEGREGATIONISTS

Harris pointed to her personal experience as a child who was "bused to school every day" and slammed Biden's "hurtful" comments on his relationship with senators who built careers on opposition to civil rights

By Jake Johnson

Reprinted from Common Dreams under a creative commons license

Photos:  Kamala Harris, file photo via Ron Logan, and Kalama Harris Facebook page

June 28, 2019 (Miami) - Sen. Kamala Harris directly confronted Joe Biden over his civil rights record during Thursday night's Democratic presidential debate, highlighting the former vice president's opposition to school busing as a senator in the 1970s and his fond recollection of the "civility" of notorious segregationists.

DID AFFAIRS WITH LOBBYISTS INFLUENCE REP. HUNTER’S VOTES? ETHICS WATCHDOG GROUP VOICES CONCERNS

 

Sexual harassment allegation also surfaces

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

Update:  Hunter's attorneys have filed a motion seeking to suppress the evidence of the affairs, claiming it would be prejudicial to a jury. Read details.  A judge later denied the motion and ruled that evidence of alleged affairs can be entered as evidence.

 

June 28, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – After federal prosecutors revealed evidence Monday alleging that in Rep. Duncan Hunter illegally spent campaign funds on romantic affairs with five women, including three lobbyists, a major government watchdog group today raises questions over a potentially deeper scandal.

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