Politics

DECEASED CANDIDATE WINS RAMONA WATER DISTRICT ELECTION: BOARD TO DISCUSS HOW TO FILL VACANCY AT DEC. 8 MEETING

 

Update November 9, 2020:  The Ramona Water District Board voted last night to fill this vacancy by appointment.  Click here to learn more.

By Miriam Raftery

December 7, 2020 (Ramona) – Thomas Ace, 73, an incumbent on the Ramona Municipal Water District Board and former Lakeside Fire Protection District Chief, died October 24.  He still received the most votes in the November election for the water district’s Division 3 seat, with 1,766 votes to defeat Rex Schildhouse, who got 1,654 votes – a margin of just 112 votes, according to the election results certified Dec. 3 by the San Diego County Registrar of Voters.

The water district’s board of directors has the option to fill the vacancy by appointment, or call a special election. Options will be discussed at the next board meeting Dec.8 at 2 p.m., which will be held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board agenda indicates.

SENATOR JONES TO HOST VIRTUAL HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE DEC. 9

East County News Service

December 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – State Senator Brian Jones will hold his annual holiday open house online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“2020 has been a year of changes and challenges,” says Jones on the party invitaiton. “But in keeping with past traditions,my wife and I will still greet every attendee!” Each guest will have a 3-minute meeting slot assigned when you RSVP, as well as an opportunity to talk with staff on any ideas for legislation or if you need help with a state agency.

JOEL ANDERSON DECLARES VICTORY IN TIGHT SUPERVISOR RACE AFTER TALLY IS CERTIFIED

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

Photo by Chris Stone: Republican Joel Anderson returns to office after stints in the state Legislature.

December 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- Joel Anderson declared victory over fellow Republican Steve Vaus on Thursday as the San Diego County Registrar of Voters certified results of their close county Board of Supervisors race.

“I am grateful to have earned the trust and support of the residents of East County to represent them on the county Board of Supervisors,” said District 2 winner Anderson. “I also want to recognize Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the longest-serving county supervisor, for 28 years of dedicated service to East County.”

Results stayed the same as recent days — with Anderson edging Poway Mayor Vaus by 282 votes of nearly 290,000 cast.

UP IN SMOKE? LEMON GROVE LEADERS WEIGH RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA APPROVAL AND TAXATION TO EASE FISCAL CRISIS

By Helen L. Horvath, PsyD

 

November 28, 2020 (Lemon Grove) – One of the hottest topics on the November 17th Lemon Grove City Council meeting held via Zoom was how to develop revenue streams to decrease Lemon Grove’s budget deficit. This need to increase the City’s financial strength has led to many hard choices and a community desire to find innovative methods to raise tax revenues. 

REMAINING MEMBERS SELECTED FOR COUNTY REDISTRICTING COMMISSION

By Tracy DeFore, County of San Diego Communications Office

November 25, 2020 (San Diego) - All 14 of the required members for the County’s new Independent Redistricting Commission are now on board. The final six were selected on Friday.

READER’S EDITORIAL: PARDON ME

By Dr. Juan Andrade, Jr.

 

Photo via the White House

November 25, 2020 (Washington D.C.) -- Well, it’s that time of year, “I beg your pardon.” Just not sure which turkey should be pardoning which. Of course, Trump will try to pardon both the Feathered One AND the self-anointed “Chosen One,” if he can. There is no consensus among constitutional experts as to whether Trump could actually pardon himself, so don’t be surprised if he does. After all, the question would obviously be decided by a trumped up Supreme Court, so what would he have to lose?

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION AGREES TO BEGIN TRANSITION TO PRESIDENT-ELECT BIDEN'S TEAM

By Miriam Raftery

November 23, 2020 (Washington D.C.) – Today, President Donald Trump acknowledged that he has instructed his administration to begin the transition to President-Elect Joe Biden and his team.

The announcement came on Twitter, after Michigan and Georgia certified their electors and a judge dismissed Trump’s challenge in Pennsylvania.  Biden won the popular vote by more than 6 million votes and has 306 electoral votes; 270 are needed to win.

In a Tweet today, Trump stated that he was recommended that General Services Administration chief Emily Murphy “do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same.”

CONGRESS APPROVES BILL TO ALLOW FREE ACCESS TO NATIONAL PARKS FOR WOUNDED VETERANS

By Miriam Raftery

 

November 23, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The House of Representatives passed the Wounded Veterans Recreation Act to provide all veterans with a service-connected disability a National Parks and Federal Lands Pass free of charge. The bill already passed the Senate and after House approval, now heads to the President’s desk to await signature.

SENATOR FEINSTEIN COSPONSORS RECOVERY ACTS FOR BUSINESSES AND THEATERS, BUT COMMITTEES STALL ACTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo by Ron Logan

November 22, 2020 (San Diego) – Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) is cosponsoring two measures aimed at helping struggling businesses as other benefits run out, as well as a measure specifically aimed at helping arts organizations such as theaters.

Senator Feinstein states, “More assistance is clearly needed.  Artistic and cultural institutions are struggling for their survival.”

HOUSE PASSES REP. SUSAN DAVIS' LEGISLATION TO EXPAND APPRENTICESHIPS, INVEST IN WORKFORCE TRAINING

East County News Service

November 20, 2020 (Washington, D.C.) - The House of Representatives passed Congresswoman Susan Davis’s (CA-53) legislation to reauthorize the National Apprenticeship Act that would create nearly one million new Registered Apprenticeship, youth apprenticeship, and pre-apprenticeship positions over the next five years. The National Apprenticeship Act of 2020 invests nearly $3.5 billion over five years to scale-up apprenticeship opportunities, streamline access to apprenticeships for workers and employers, and expand apprenticeships into new in-demand industry sectors and occupations. Davis’s bill passed on bipartisan vote of 246 to 140.

UNMASKED: DOCTORS’ ASSOCIATION EXECS JOINED NEWSOM AT LOBBYIST’S BIRTHDAY BASH

By Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters

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

Photo: The exclusive French Laundry restaurant in the Napa Valley, where California Gov. Gavin Newsom and representatives of the California Medical Association, the doctors' lobby, dined at a birthday party for lobbyist Jason Kinney — despite telling the public to avoid such gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic. Photo by K Tao via Flickr

November 18, 2020 (Napa Valley) - The dinner party Gov. Gavin Newsom apologized this week for attending — saying it was a mistake to dine with so many people amid the coronavirus pandemic — included two guests who lobby on behalf of California doctors, the very profession that has been imploring people to refrain from social activity that could hasten the virus’ spread. 

INVESTIVATIVE REPORTER GREG PALAST SPEAKS OUT ON 2020 ELECTION INTEGRITY

November 18, 2020 (San Diego's East County) -- ECM held an interview via ZOOM yesterday with investigative reporter Greg Palast. 

The award-winning journalist and author shared results of his latest investigative results publicized by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). His investigation found massive numbers of disenfranchised minority voters in Georgia, who were falsely taken off voting rolls for having moved, but they never relocated. His findings have helped many of those voters reregister in time to have their votes counted.

Palast also talks about the Georgia recount, possible (though unlikely) scenarios for  Congress to determine who won the 2020 election should any states refuse to certify their electors, and the upcoming Georgia Senate runoff races that could determine the balance of power in the U.S. Senate.

Palast has East County roots; his late parents were long-time residents of La Mesa. 

ANDERSON WIDENS LEAD, SANTEE COUNCIL RACE STILL CLOSE

By Miriam Raftery

November 16, 2020 (San Diego's East County) - With the latest update from the Registrar of Voters, former State Senator Joel Anderson has increased his lead over Poway Mayor Steve Vaus in the second supervisorial district to 259 votes, out of nearly 290,000 votes cast.  Anderson has 50.04% and Vaus 49.96%, a difference of less than one-tenth of one percent.  But with only 10,000 ballots remaining to be counted countywide, with perhaps only around 2,000 ballots per supervisorial district, hopes of Vaus to regain the lead are rapidly diminishing.

Both Anderson and Vaus are Republicans, though Anderson was endorsed by the County Republican Party. Vaus won endorsement of Dianne Jacob, who is retiring as Supervisor after over 25 years due to term limits. If Anderson's lead holds, he may well owe his election to party slate mailers backing his candidacy. Both candidates were well funded and blitzed votes with a barrage of mailers of their own, some touting their experience and issue positions, others focused on negative messaging regarding their opponents.

The open city council seat in Santee is even closer, with only five votes separating the two candidates. Dustin Trotter, a contractor, leads Samantha Hurst, a research and teacher, by 3,911 to 3,906 votes. Should the race end in a tie, state law would require that it be decided by random draw. 

UPDATES ON CLOSE RACES

November 13, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) -- As of the Thursday night updates posted by the county Registrar of Voters, East County has several tight races.  The closest is in Santee, where city council candidates Dustin Trotter and Samantha Hurst are separated by just four votes, with Trotter taking the lead after the two were actually tied earlier in the week.

Hurst, a UCSD researcher and instructor, opposes the controversial Fanita Ranch development and supports racial tolerance.  Trotter is a building contractor who has drawn controversy over his involvement with Defend East County, a group recently banned from Facebook, and Working Class Patriot, a group that advocated for people to “pray for peace and prepare for war” on Election Day.

HOW ARE TIES OR CLOSE LOCAL RACES RESOLVED?

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2020 (San Diego) – With Santee’s City Council candidates separated by just two votes and Supervisor candidates Joel Anderson and Steve Vaus just seven votes apart, readers have been asking questions.  What happens if there is a tie in a local election?  (One on social media suggested determining the winner via a duel.)

Does a close race trigger a recount?  Have any local races changed when a recount was done? When will the counting be done?

ECM reached out to San Diego Registrar of Voters Michael Vu to get answers to these and other questions.

ANDERSON TAKES RAZOR-THIN LEAD OVER VAUS IN SUPERVISOR RACE; SANTEE COUNCIL CANDIDATES ALSO IN NEAR TIE

Update November 22, 2020:  Joel Anderson now leads by 284 votes over Steve Vaus, with 7,500 ballots left to be tallied countywide.  In Santee, Dustin Trotter is ahead by just seven votes over Samantha Hurst.

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – With 33,000 votes countywide remaining to be tallied, but far fewer ballots left in individual races, the latest update from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters shows several major contests in East County are still too close to call.

In the important race to fill retiring Supervisor Dianne Jacob’ district 2 seat, former State Senator Joel Anderson has taken a scant seven-vote lead over Poway Mayor Steve Vaus. 

Santee’s City Council race to fill an open seat, meanwhile, has Samantha “Samm” Hurst retaking the lead over Dustin Trotter by just two votes after being tied just one day earlier.

TOM METZGER DIES AT 82; NOTORIOUS KKK BOSS; SUPREMACIST WHO RAN FOR CONGRESS

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

Photo:  Tom Metzger moved from Fallbrook to northern Indiana in 2006 but later returned to Southern California. Photo via splcenter.org

November 10, 2020 (San Diego) - Tom Metzger, one of the nation’s most notorious white supremacists and anti-Semites, has died, according to a post on his White Aryan Resistance website. He was 82. 

HELIX WATER DISTRICT INCUMBENTS ALL WIN RE-ELECTION AFTER DISTRICT DELAYS RATE INCREASE DUE TO COVID-19

By Jonathan Goetz 
 
Photos (L – R): McMillan, Scalzitti & Gracyk (source: Helix Water District)
 
November 9, 2020 (La Mesa) – Directors Dan McMillan, Joel Scalzitti and Mark Gracyk will all return to the Helix Water District Board, after voters rewarded the incumbents for delaying rate increases due to COVID-19, when many ratepayers are struggling financially. Instead, Helix is dipping into its reserves.
 
McMillan defeated Doug Sterling with 75% of the vote.  Scalzitti took 57% of the vote in a four-candidate race, topping Vickie Knight Butcher who got 27%, Lu Tejeda 12%, and Tyler Logan 4%. Gracyk ran unopposed. 

SOME EAST COUNTY RACES FLIP, OTHERS TIGHTEN IN LATEST ELECTION RETURNS

By Miriam Raftery
 
Photos by Erik Herrara:  poll worker wears protective gear during pandemic; voters head to poll on Election Day in Santee.
 
November 9, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Amid a pandemic, 80.7% of registered voters in San Diego County have cast ballots. Of more than 1.9  million registered voters, over 1.5 million have voted – and more than 1.4 million of those opted to vote by mail.  Only a little over 166,000 voted at the polls.

ISSA DECLARES VICTORY, CAMPA-NAJJAR CONCEDES IN HARD-FOUGHT 50TH CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RACE

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Darrell Issa announcing his candidacy at an El Cajon press conference earlier this year.

November 8, 2020 (San Diego) – Former Congressman Darrell Issa will return to Congress, where he served for 18 years.  Issa, a Republican, declared victory in the 50th Congressional district race after the Associated Press projected that he has won the race. He currently leads 53.7% to 46.3%, a margin of 22,470 votes, according to the California Secretary of State’s website.  His opponent, Democrat Ammar Campa-Najjar posted on Facebook that he has called to congratulate Issa.

Unlike the Presidential race, in which Donald Trump has yet to concede, both Issa and Campa-Najjar sought to put a sometimes bitter campaign behind them and offer praise for each other to unite the district.

In a statement on his Facebook page, Issa thanked all voters as well as his supporters and volunteers.  “Whether you supported me in this election or not, I will work tirelessly in Congress for all who call the 50th District their home, for the State of California which I love so much, and for our great country.”  Issa thanked his opponent for a “spirit campaign” adding “I wish him the best moving forward.” He praised his endorsers and primary opponents, adding, “I hope to continue to work with all of you for the betterment of our community.”

CAMPAIGNING AMID A PANDEMIC: LEADING COUNCIL CANDIDATES SHARE EXPERIENCES AND GOALS

View the interview at https://youtu.be/4zjc_ssHY8g

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Former Lemon Grove Councilman George Gastil is poised to regain his seat.

November 7, 2020 (San Diego’s East County) – Who are the potential newest faces on East County City Councils—and what was it like to campaign amid a pandemic?

ECM invited all non-incumbents leading in East County City Council races as of November 5 for a Zoom interview to share secrets of their apparent successes and what they hope to accomplish if they win their elections to become the newcomers on local councils.

BIDEN WINS PRESIDENTIAL RACE OVER TRUMP, ALL MAJOR NETWORKS REPORT

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2020 (San Diego) – All major TV networks including Fox, CNN, CBS and NBC as well as the Associated Press today declared former Vice President Joe Biden the winner in the 2020 presidential election. The announcement came after Biden took a decisive lead in Pennsylvania, Biden’s birthplace. Biden and his  Vice President-elect, California Senator Kamala Harris, have captured at least 290 electoral votes – substantially more than the 270 needed for victory, with not enough uncounted votes remaining to change the outcome.

Biden also leads in three remaining swing states as the final ballots are being tallied:  Nevada and two formerly conservative strongholds: Arizona and Georgia in the heart of Dixie and the Congressional district formerly represented by the late civil rights leader John Lewis.  In Arizona, the Navajo nation, which has had among the highest rate of COVID-19 deaths in the nation, had a 97% turnout rate and more than 97% cast votes for Biden.

He received more votes than any other presidential candidate in U.S. history – 74.5 million votes, surpassing Trump by over 4 million votes. In the end, Biden held onto every state won by Hilary Clinton in 2016, also regaining the rust let states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania while flipping some long-term red states blue, if his leads hold in the final states tallying votes. Trump, by contrast, did not flip a single state from blue to red.

Trump defiantly refused to concede the election and pledged to start “prosecuting our case in court" though legal experts thus far report such efforts appear to be long shots.

NEWSOM'S PICK? HERE'S WHO MIGHT FILL KAMALA HARRIS' SENATE SEAT

By Ben Christopher, CalMatters

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

Photo:  Then Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Kamala Harris walks on stage during a gun safety forum, Oct. 2, 2019, in Las Vegas. Today, Joe Biden announced Sen. Harris as his running mate. Photo by John Locher, AP Photo

November 7, 2020 (Sacramento) - The victory of Joe Biden and California’s junior senator, Kamala Harris in the 2020 presidential race brings to a close one of the most protracted post-Election Day waiting games in modern political history. It also opens up a relatively rare thing in the Golden State: the prospect of an open Senate seat.

HOME STATE ADVANTAGE: WHAT A VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS MEANS FOR CALIFORNIA

By Laurel Rosenhall, CalMatters

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

Photo:  President-elect Joe Biden arrives with his running mate, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris to speak in Wilmington, Deleware, on the evening before the Associated Press called the race for them. Her role is likely to be an asset for her home state of California. Photo by Carolyn Kaster, AP Photo

November 7, 2020 (Sacramento) - Goodbye, state of resistance. Hello, state of influence. 

California’s status has shifted dramatically with the election of Joe Biden as the next president. The reasons are both political—deep blue California will have more inroads to a White House controlled by Democrats—and personal: For just the second time in American history, a Californian will serve as vice president. 

CALIFORNIANS WAIVE LABOR LAW FOR UBER AND LYFT; KEEP CASH BAIL AND AFFIRMATIVE ACTION BAN; PROP AND HOT RACE CALLS

By Ben Christopher, CalMatters 

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

Photo:  Volunteer poll worker David Saunders helps a voter at a Los Angeles Elementary School polling place on Election Day. Early California results provided some answers but remaining questions. Photo by Tash Kimmell for CalMatters

November 7, 2020 (Sacramento) - California’s app-based corporate luminaries such as Uber and Lyft just waged the most expensive state ballot measure campaign in U.S. history—and it paid off big time, allowing those companies to thwart the will of all three branches of California government. 

SAN DIEGO ACTIVISTS RALLY TO COUNT EVERY VOTE

By Miriam Raftery

Photos by Erik Herrara

November 5, 2020 (San Diego) – Yesterday, the day after the presidential election, the San Diego March for Democracy Coalition held a press conference and “Count Every Vote” car caravan through local communities.  The action was called to protest President Donald Trump’s premature victory claim and demand for vote counting to stop.

In the early hours after Election Day, when no media outlets had declared a winner and with millions of votes yet to be counted in key battleground states, Trump stated, “We want all the voting to stop.”  The votes being counted were cast legally on or before election day.

CNN labeled Trump’s premature victory claim and demand to stop vote counting as “false, authoritarian and undemocratic.” Many Republican leaders have also denounced the President’s actions.

Biden, by contrast, has said he believes he will win but has urged that every vote be counted.

METSCHEL AND HARPER IN NEAR DEAD-HEAT FOR EL CAJON COUNCIL DISTRICT 2; ORTIZ WINNING ELECTION HANDILY IN DISTRICT 4

Update November 9, 2020: Metschel has opened a lead of 57 votes. Letitia Dickerson has pulled into second place,with Stephanie Harper just 13 votes behind Dickerson

 

By Briana Gomez

Miriam Raftery and Jonathan Goetz also contributed to this story

Photo, Michelle Metschel (Left) and Stephanie Harper (Right)

November 4, 2020 (El Cajon) – Demonstrating that every vote counts, the top two candidates in El Cajon’s City Council District 2 were tied at 936 votes each through most of the night. This morning, Michelle Metschel has nosed ahead by a slim 44 vote margin (1,061 to 1,017) in a race that’s still far too close to call at 21.1% to 20.23%. A close third is Letitia Dickerson with 19.81 percent of votes.

 

WELCOME TO A DEM-CONTROLLED COUNTY

Democrats appear to have taken control of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for the first time in at least a generation. But that doesn’t mean they’ll automatically agree on what to prioritize, or how to go about it.

By Jesse Marx and Maya Srikrishnan, Voice of San Diego

Photo:  from left: Democrats Terra Lawson-Remer, Nathan Fletcher and Nora Vargas / Photos by Adriana Heldiz

November 4, 2020 (San Diego) - Democrats appear to have taken control of the San Diego County Board of Supervisors for the first time in at least a generation.

UPSET HAPPENING IN PADRE DAM WATER DISTRICT RACE

By Mike Allen

If voting trends continue, the Padre Dam Municipal Water District will see a new face on its five-member board.

Teacher Suzanne Till was leading longtime incumbent Augie Scalzitti by a 48 to 31 percent margin as of the latest tally from the county’s Registrar of Voters early Nov.4.

James Sly, chief operating officer at the East County Economic Development Council, was third at 20 percent of the vote.

The race was in the No. 2 Division. In Division 4, Augie Caires was unopposed and will win his third term on the board. He served as the district’s CEO for 13 years.

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