Politics

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.

SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS GERRYMANDERING FOR PARTISAN PURPOSES

“The bottom line is voters should choose their representatives, not the other way around.” – ACLU voting rights attorney Alona Thomas Lundborg, criticizing the decision

By Miriam Raftery

June 27, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – By a 5-4 vote, the U.S. Supreme Court’s conservative majority has ruled that gerrymandering, or the redrawing of district lines to benefit a political party, is not unconstitutional. The ruling drew a blistering dissent by Justice Kagan and harsh criticism from voting rights advocates.

PROSECUTION DETAILS FIVE 'ROMANCES' BY REP. DUNCAN HUNTER USING CAMPAIGN CASH

By Ken Stone

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

June 25, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter carried on “romances” with five women starting as early as April 2009 using campaign funds to pay for trysts, prosecutors wrote Monday in a motion devastating in detail.

LA MESA COUNCIL APPROVES 3-YEAR OKTOBERFEST CONTRACT AND INCREASED EDCO FEES

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: LMVA president Peter Soutowood and Councilwoman Akilah Weber, during Oktoberfest discussion

June 26, 2019 (La Mesa) – La Mesa’s City Council, majority approved a 3-year permit for McFarlane Promotions to run the city’s popular Oktoberfest in partnership with the La Mesa Village Association, which will be from October 4-6 this year.

This year’s event will include several changes including an additional beer garden that will be German-themed with traditional German music, foods, and German-costumed servers.  Event-goers can still find a broader variety of music and foods at another beer garden plus food trucks that will be moved to a side street for improved flow; a total of 45 food vendors and 95 nonfood vendors will be included. There will be two kids fun zones with attractions such as a trampoline, inflatable jumps, and face painting. Wiener dog (dachshund) races, another crowd favorite, will return but be moved to Alison Avenue.

McFarlane will  provide a 50% cost recovery to the city, up to a maximum of $50,000 per year. Councilmembers Kristine Alessio and Akilah Weber voted no, wanting a higher cost recovery rate in the wake of projections that the city will likely have to tap its reserves to balance its budget in the next couple of years.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER: EMAIL PROVES WHY FEDERAL PROSECUTION IS POLITICAL

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, shown at recent Ramona forum, says a Freedom of Information Act request generated a Secret Service email indicating San Diego federal prosecutors attended a Hillary Clinton fund-raiser for the sake of getting a photo with the eventual Democratic presidential nominee. Photo by Ken Stone

June 25, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter has long accused the San Diego U.S. Attorney's Office of being out to get him for political reasons. Now his lawyers are hoping a motion filed Monday proves it.

INDEPENDENT VOTERS RISK BEING IRRELEVANT IN CALIFORNIA PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY

 

By Ben Christopher, CALMatters

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

Photo:  Sign at San Diego County Registrar of Voters Office in Kearny Mesa directs customers. Photo by Ken Stone

June 23, 2019 (San Diego) - Presidential challengers hoping to glide to victory through California’s newly relevant primary, a heads-up: Your electoral fate may hinge on convincing enough left-leaning millennials to send postcards over the holiday season.

CALIFORNIA GAS TAX RISES TO HIGHEST IN NATION

East County News Service

June 23, 2019 (Sacramento) --- Starting July 1st, California’s tax on gasoline will rise to over 60 cents per gallon, up from 55.2 cents currently, as a result of legislation signed by former Governor Jerry Brown.  That will make the state’s gas tax the highest in the U.S., so you may want to fill your tank before the end of June.

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE DEBATES SET FOR JUNE 26 AND 27

By Miriam Raftery

 

June 22, 2019 (San Diego) - The first two debates among Democratic presidential candidates vying to run against Pres. Donald Trump will be held on Wed. and Thurs., June 26 and 27 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo. The debates can also be viewed live on the three networks’ websites and via their mobile apps.

REGISTRATION SHIFTS COULD IMPACT EAST COUNTY RACES

By Miriam Raftery

June 21, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – A generation ago, San Diego County was considered a bastion of conservatism and East County was solid red Republican territory. But that’s changing. First the city of San Diego turned blue and now has nearly twice as many Democrats as Republicans. Then the county flipped; today 35.7% of all county residents are Democrats and 27.2% are Republicans, with 31.6% no-party-preference voters. Two of East County’s four incorporated cities now have more Democrats than Republicans, one is evenly split, and a fourth is still staunchly Republican.

HOW WOULD A VACANCY BE FILLED IF REP. HUNTER IS CONVICTED AND EXPELLED FROM CONGRESS, OR RESIGNS?

By Miriam Raftery

June 17, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s trial on 60 counts of federal corruption charges is scheduled for September. He has pleaded not guilty. However, last week his wife, wife, Margaret, pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy and is now cooperating with prosecutors. Court documents reveal that she has implicated Rep. Hunter in serious crimes and affirmed that the campaign treasurer told the Hunters that their actions were illegal, but his advice was ignored. Hunter is accused of spending $250,000 of campaign funds for personal use and falsifying federal campaign finance filings to cover up the thefts.

If Congressman Hunter is convicted and either resigns or is expelled by the House of Representatives, a vacancy would be declared and a special election could be called. When or if that could occur, however, depends on several factors.

AT CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAM IN SAN DIEGO, CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS ANNOUNCES SUPPORT FOR GREEN NEW DEAL

By Donald H. Harrison, San Diego Jewish World, a member of the San Diego Online News Association
 
June 15, 2019 (San Diego) -- Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) surprised and mollified a restive crowd of environmentalists Saturday when she announced that when she returns to Washington for Tuesday’s Congressional session she will “be signing onto the Green New Deal.”

CONGRESSWOMAN SUSAN DAVIS ADDS KEY PROVISIONS TO NDAA LEADING UP TO COMMITTEE CONSIDERATION OF BILL

Source:  Congresswoman Susan Davis

June 14, 2019 (Washington D.C.) - As the House Armed Services Committee considers the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) throughout the day today, Congresswoman Susan Davis (CA-53) added key measures to the base bill. As a senior member of the committee, Davis influences policy changes and crafts key provisions each year in the bill.

TRUMP SAYS HE’D TAKE DIRT ON AN OPPONENT FROM FOREIGN GOVERNMENT; FEC CHAIR CONFIRMS THAT’S ILLEGAL

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos: President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin
 
June 14, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump has sent shockwaves through the nation’s capital after he told ABC news that if a foreign government offered him dirt on a political opponent in the 2020 election, “I think I’d want to hear it…I think I’d take it.”  

FLIPPING ON CONGRESSMAN HUSBAND MAY SPARE MARGARET HUNTER ANY PRISON TIME

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 and his wife, Margaret, are seen in La Mesa at the 2014 Polosia United event for Polish-Americans in the San Diego region. Margaret is the oldest daughter of Steve and Miroslawa Jankowski, a couple who moved their two daughters to America in the late 1980s, escaping “the bleak landscape of communist Poland,” according to Steve Jankowski’s 2010 obituary quoted by The San Diego Union-Tribune.  Photo by Miriam Raftery

June 14, 2019 (San Diego) - Downtown attorney Jeremy Warren had work to do Thursday, but he took time to comment on what transpired in the federal courthouse a few blocks away.

Hunter changing her plea to guilty in the corruption case enveloping herself and her husband, Rep. Duncan D. Hunter.

REP. DUNCAN HUNTER'S WIFE IMPLICATES CONGRESSMAN IN VAST MISUSE OF CAMPAIGN FUNDS

By Ken Stone

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

Photo: San Diego Union Tribune's Twitter Feed, via Times of San Diego

June 13, 2019 (San Diego) - Silver-haired Judge Thomas Whelan smiled to a packed federal courtroom Thursday as he took his chair in a case that could lead to the unseating of Rep. Duncan D. Hunter. 

But Hunter’s wife, Margaret, wasn’t smiling as she pleaded guilty to one charge of conspiracy to use campaign funds for a family vacation in November 2015 — and attested to $200,000 in fraudulent spending involving at least 30 illegal transactions.

REP. HUNTER’S WIFE TO CHANGE PLEA TO GUILTY IN CORRUPTION CASE

Story and photo by Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Rep. Duncan D. Hunter and his wife, Margaret, in 2014

June 12, 2019 (San Diego) — Congressman Duncan D. Hunter’s wife, Margaret, is scheduled in court Thursday morning before Judge Thomas Whelan to change her plea to guilty in a federal corruption case, according to the court calendar. The Hunters are charged with 60 counts of stealing campaign funds for personal use and falsifying campaign finance reports to hide the thefts.

NEW COUNTY BUDGET PRESENTED TO SUPERVISORS

 

The County’s most vulnerable residents are the focus of a new recommended budget formally presented to the County Board of Supervisors Monday. The $6.21 billion budget for Fiscal Year 2019-2020 invests $112 million in new spending for residents struggling to get by in our region.

WOMEN AT THE FOREFRONT OF POLITICS

 

For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Politics, by Donna Brazile, Yolanda Caraway, Leah Daughtry, Minyon Moore, with Veronica Chambers (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2018, 316 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

somebody/anybody sing a black girl’s song, bring her out to know herself, to know you, but sing her rhythms … sing her sighs, sing the song of her possibilities, sing a righteous gospel, the makin of a melody, let her be born, let her be born & handled warmly.

-NTOZAKE SHANGE

May 8, 2019 (San Diego) - Ironically, in my earlier review of Donna Brazile’s book Hacks in the East County Magazine in San Diego, she makes the profound statement; “I am not Patsey the Slave.” This was in reference to her involvement in the Clinton campaign and her being chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and despite that fact, Brazile being marginalized by Clinton’s brain trust in New York, with Brazile specifically stating: “Y’all keep whipping me and you never give me any money or any way to do my damn job. I am not going to be your whipping girl!”

This book is rich in history and politics, which includes the personal insight from four fabulous and acclaimed black women!

HUNTER VOTES AGAINST WILDFIRE RELIEF BILL FOR CALIFORNIA VICTIMS

"I find it disgusting that Hunter would vote against the disaster relief bill to bring relief to those families caught in recent disasters, like the Camp fire that devastated Paradise. My sister and her husband lost their house and everything in it due to that fire..." -- Ray Lutz, El Cajon
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo:  Lutz family's home in flames
 
June 5, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter was one of only two California Republicans who voted against a $19.1 billion federal disaster relief bill that includes an estimated $12.6 billion to help survivors of devastating wildfires in our state.  

DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES VENTURE TO CALIFORNIA TO PAN FOR DELEGATE GOLD

Read highlights of all 14 presidential hopefuls seeking California’s 416 delegates—the nation’s biggest electoral prize in the 2020 election  



Article and photos by Angela de Joseph



June 5, 2019 (San Francisco) – Fourteen of the 24 Democratic presidential candidates brought their “A” games and Olympic stamina to a three-day mini-marathon at the California Democratic Party (CDP) “Organizing” Convention,  held at the Moscone Center in San Francisco May 31-June 2.

CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATS LOUDLY LEAN LEFT--BUT QUIETLY MAKE A SAFE CHOICE

By Ben Christopher, CALmatters

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

Photo:  Delegates at the California Democratic Convention in San Francisco snap selfies with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who’s once again seeking the party’s nomination for president. Photo by Elizabeth Castillo for CALmatters

June 4, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - Anyone who spent the weekend at the California Democratic Party’s convention—watching 14 White House contenders try to impress what one Congresswoman called “the wokest Democrats in the country”—observed the following:

HUNTER DRAWS FIRE FOR ADMISSIONS HE SHOT AT CIVILIANS AND POSED WITH DEAD IRAQI SOLDIERS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Duncan D. Hunter, right, via Duncan D. Hunter for Congress campaign

June 2, 2019 (San Diego) – Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter is drawing fire for admitting that he fired at civilians in Iraq while serving combat duty with the Marines, also posing with corpses of dead enemy combatants.

Hunter has been vocal in his public support of Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Gallagher, a San Diego-based Navy Seal charged with war crimes including shooting at civilians and fatally stabbing a young wounded prisoner, then posing with the corpse.

During a town hall meeting in Ramona over Memorial Day weekend, Hunter stated that Gallagher “did one bad thing that I’m guilty of too –taking a picture of the body and saying something stupid,” Times of San Diego reported, posting an audio recording.

Hunter doubled down on those remarks during a later taped interview with the online site Zero Blog Thirty, in which he stated, “So, I was an artillery officer and we fired hundreds of rounds into Fallujah, killing probably hundreds of civilians,” adding, “probably killed women and children if there were any left in the city when we invaded. Do I get judged, too?”

As for the charges Gallagher faces of murdering a teenage ISIS fighter who had been brought in for medical treatment, Hunter told Zero Blog Thirty, ““I frankly don’t care if he was killed. I just don’t care.” He added that even if Gallagher did stab the wounded prisoner to death, he still “deserves a break”, indicating Gallagher should not be held accountable for violating the Military Code of Justice.

Barstool Sports, which publishes the Zero Blog Thirty podcast, released a statement Sunday calling Hunter’s rhetoric “horrific.”

APPLICATIONS SOUGHT FOR CITY OF EL CAJON PLANNING COMMISSION

Are you interested in shaping El Cajon’s future? The El Cajon City Council seeks interested applicants to fill a vacant seat on the City’s Planning Commission.

Source:  City of El Cajon

June 1, 2019 (El Cajon) - The El Cajon City Council is accepting applications for the Planning Commission to fill the vacancy left by the appointment of commissioner Phil Ortiz to the City Council. The planning commission has long been a stepping stone to higher office, with many past commissioners going on to win election or appointment to council or mayoral seats.  The filing period is open through June 27, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. 

RACE TO FILL DIANNE JACOB’S SUPERVISORIAL SEAT TAKES SHAPE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos (top left to bottom right):  Steve Vaus, Joel Anderson, Tom Lemmon, and Kenya Taylor

Update:  Lemmon has opted not to run.

May 30, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – Stepping down due to term limits in 2020 after 28 years, San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob leaves some big shoes to fill.  Four candidates, two Republicans and two Democrats, have thus far announced plans to run for the 2nd Supervisorial district, which covers 2,000 square miles encompassing the eastern two-thirds of the county.

The contenders for the ostensibly nonpartisan race are Poway Mayor Steve Vaus and former State Senator Joel Anderson, both Republicans. Democrats Tom Lemmon, a labor leader who heads up the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council, and Kenya Taylor, a mental health counselor and NAACP board member, are also in the running.

Below are highlights of their backgrounds and goals if elected, as well as analysis of the challenges each may need to overcome to win the race.

A BOOK IN CELEBRATION OF MEMORIAL DAY

 

Saving Lou, by Linda Loegel, (Linda Loegel, Columbia, SC, 2017, 242 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

May 27, 2019 (San Diego) - Linda Loegel, a born New Englander, and former East County resident of San Diego (El Cajon), now living in Garner, North Carolina, has written a poignant and heartwarming story; Saving Lou.

Having written two earlier reviews of Loegel’s books, Bumps Along the Way and If you Don’t Like Worms, Keep Your Mouth Shut, I can attest to the author being a master story teller. Saving Lou follows suit. She tells this story from beginning to end in her own inimitable and folksy manner, which is characteristic and expected of her from readers such as myself and others that have read her book(s).

REP. HUNTER ON WAR CRIMES SUSPECT GALLAGHER: I'M GUILTY OF SAME 'BAD THING'

 

Story and photo by Ken Stone

Click to view video in which he admits to posing with dead combatants

A version of this story is reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network; updated to add statement from Ammar Campa-Najjar, Hunter's opponent in the 50th Congressional District race, and link to the Geneva conventions for treatment of the dead.

Photo" Rep. Hunter shakes hands  with his father, former Rep. Hunter, at start of Ramona forum.

May 26, 2019 (San Diego) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter told a Ramona audience Saturday that he’s guilty of the same behavior that led to Navy SEAL Chief Eddie Gallagher being charged with war crimes — posing with a dead combatant.

'NOT A TOWN HALL,' BUT REP. DUNCAN HUNTER, FATHER TO TALK BORDER AT RAMONA FORUM

 

 

By Ken Stone

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

Photo:  Former Rep. Duncan Lee Hunter chats with former constituents at Ramona Mainstage before his son’s town hall in March 2017. Photo by Chris Stone

May 22, 2019 (Ramona) - Rep. Duncan D. Hunter returns to the scene of a raucous 2017 town hall when he takes part Saturday in another Ramona Mainstage event.

But his office doesn’t call it a town hall.

LA MESA FARMERS MARKET MAY END IN AUGUST UNLESS A NEW OPERATOR COMES FORWARD

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 19, 2019 (La Mesa) – Frustrated by a lack of compromise between local businesses for and against the Friday night farmers market in downtown La Mesa, the city council has voted unanimously to end its contract with the La Mesa Village Association to run the market.  Council will put out a request for proposals from other operators to potentially move the market to another location or a different day,or keep the same location and days, but with improvements to resolve the rift.

If no entity comes forward, East County’s longest running farmer’s market could end after July 31, when the LMVA contract runs out.

CALIFORNIA'S CONTROVERSIAL PRO-DEVELOPMENT HOUSING BILL UNEXPECTEDLY SHELVED

 

 

By Matt Levin and Ben Christopher, CALmatters

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

May 19, 2019 (San Diego's East County) - Shock. Depression. Relief.

Those were just some of the reactions as the year’s most controversial state housing bill met its sudden demise. But very few people—supporters, opponents, and even the author himself—can claim to have seen this coming.

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