Politics

CONGRESS AND ATTORNEY GENERAL WRANGLE OVER ACCESS TO SPECIAL COUNSEL MUELLER’S REPORT

By Miriam Raftery

March 29, 2019 (Washington D.C.)—Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s long awaiting report has been submitted to the Justice Department.  A summary written by newly appointed Attorney General William Barr has been made public, but thus far, Congress and the media have not seen the full report.

According to Barr’s summary, Mueller’s two-year investigation did not find evidence of a conspiracy involving President Donald Trump and Russia to tamper with the 2016 election despite “multiple offers from Russian-affiliated individuals to assist the Trump campaign.  But as for whether Trump committed the crime of obstructing justice, Barr states that while Mueller’s report does not recommend prosecution of Trump for obstruction of justice, “it also does not exonerate him.”

Trump called the report “a complete and total exoneration” based on Barr’s summary.

But that’s not fully accurate. The Justice Department has long held that it does not have the power to indict a sitting president, deferring investigation of presidential actions to Congress, which has the power to impeach under the Constitution. Without reading Mueller’s full report it is difficult to speculate on the Special Counsel’s intent, but Mueller could have intended for Congress to weigh any evidence his investigators found with regard to obstruction of justice.

ACTIVIST AEIRAMIQUE GLASS-BLAKE TAKES ON REP JUAN VARGAS AND THE DCCC

 
 
Story and photos by Angela de Joseph
 
March 28, 2019 (San Diego) - Democrat Aeiramique Glass Blake, a restorative justice consultant and community advocate, announced her 2020 candidacy for United States Congress (CA-51) January 17th on what would have been her mother’s 51st birthday.  The announcement date and Blake’s decision to challenge the four-time incumbent, Rep. Juan Vargas, in the Democratic primary are no coincidence. It was Blake’s mother who encouraged her to run for Congress, she was just waiting for the right time.

DISGRACED COUNCILMAN KALASHO RESIGNS, SETTLES SUIT WITH BEAUTY QUEENS—BUT ANOTHER DEFAMATION CASE REMAINS PENDING

Update March 27, 2019:  A press release from the city today states: "City staff will be presenting options of how to fill the vacancy to the City Council at an upcoming public meeting."  Public information officer  Monica Zech told ECM  that according to City Manager Graham Mitchell, "unless the City Council requests a Special Meeting sooner, we plan to present the Council with options to fill the vacancy during the April 9th City Council Meeting."

By Miriam Raftery and Paul Kruze

March 26, 2019 (El Cajon) – Citizens who filled the El Cajon City Council chambers last year calling on Councilman Ben Kalasho to resign finally got their wish. Kalasho has submitted a resignation letter effective immediately to the City Manager. 

His resignation creates a vacancy that Mayor Bill Wells said will most likely be filled by appointment to save taxpayers the cost of a special election.

TRUMP SECRETARY OF EDUCATION BETSY DEVOS PROPOSES SHARP CUTS TO SPECIAL OLYMPICS; ACTION WOULD DASH DREAMS FOR DISABLED ATHLETES

Update March 27, 2019:  Amid criticism over the DeVos budget, President Donald Trump today announced he will override her action and that Special Olympics funds will not be eliminated.

 

Budget would also slash funds for programs for economically disadvantaged and blind students

By Liz Alper

Photos:  2011 Special Olympics event held at Helix High 

March 26, 2019 (Washington D.C.) -- On Tuesday, President Donald Trump's Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos proposed massive budget cuts, nearly $18 million, to Special Olympics, a worldwide organization that allows children and adults with developmental disabilities to participate in athletics.

SAN DIEGO SENIORS VOTE 'AYE' ON MAKING A DIFFERENCE

 

Have you ever had ambitions to run for office but found the prospect of lawn signs, advertising and public appearances daunting?

If you’re a San Diego County resident over the age of 55, you can still fulfill your political aspirations without the rigors of a major campaign. The California Senior Legislature offers older adults the opportunity to advance issues important to them and advocate for legislation at the state level.

SKIP THE SLIP? CALIFORNIA LAWMAKER WANTS EMAIL RECEIPTS TO REPLACE PAPER ONES

 

 

By Elizabeth Castillo, CALmatters

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

Photo:  Carol Dahmen poses with a receipt that's more than 4 feet long—for the purchase of a single item. Photo via Kevin Eckery for CALmatters

March 22, 2019 (San Diego) - When Carol Dahmen discovered the CVS receipt draped across the counter of her Carmichael kitchen, she couldn’t resist pulling out her tape measure to document it.

Her husband had purchased one single prescription. The receipt, she discovered, stretched on to contain 11 coupons before topping out at an astonishing 4 feet 8 inches—the height of Olympic champion gymnast Simone Biles.

LA MESA SEEKS VOLUNTEERS FOR CITIZENS COMMITTEE ON HOMELESSNESS

 

 

East County News Service

March 20, 2019 (La Mesa) - The City of La Mesa is seeking volunteers for an ad hoc citizen committee on homelessness.  If you're passionate about homeless issues and want to make a positive difference in the community, you are encouraged to sign up.

MEDICAL EXAMINER PUTS 20 YEARS OF DATA ONLINE

 

 

By Yvette Urrea MoeCounty of San Diego Communications Office

Photo: Chief County Medical Examiner Dr. Glenn Wagner in an examining room for death investigations.

March 20, 2019 (San Diego) - In a model of government transparency, the San Diego County Medical Examiner is releasing 220 years' worth of data--from 1997 to the third quarter of 2018, in a free searchable online portal.  The site makes over 59,000 records available.

Valuable comparisons and conclusions can be drawn from the types and circumstances of sudden unexpected deaths that occur in San Diego County, and in changes over time.

JULIAN VOTES TO ABOLISH THE JULIAN CUYAMACA FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICT

By Paul Kruze, Contributing Editor

Miriam Raftery, Editor, contributed to this report

Update March 27, 2019: The margin has narrowed slightly but Measure A still leads by 114 votes and a 7.96% margin: yes 53.98%, no 46.02%

March 19, 2019 (Julian) – The County’s last all-volunteer fire department may soon be history. With 1,294 ballots counted tonight, Measure A is passing with 55.56%, the Registrar of Voters reports.

The measure would affirm a decision made last September by the San Diego Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) to abolish the 35-year-old Julian-Cuyamaca Fire Protection District. Fire and ambulance services would be shifted entirely to the County Fire Authority, under the direction of Cal-Fire.

The Registrar’s office will continue to accept ballots until Friday, if postmarked by today. It is unclear how many ballots mailed out have not yet been returned, or whether there could be enough to make up the 145-vote gap (719 to 575).

Cal-Fire firefighters’ union local #2881 posted on Facebook tonight, “Thank you to the Citizens of Julian and Cuyamaca for the opportunity to serve them.” (photo, left)

For backers of the JCFPD who have fought hard to keep their volunteer firefighters, however, the outcome sparked strong emotions.

TRUMP VETOES CONGRESSIONAL MEASURE TO BLOCK HIS EMERGENCY DECLARATION

 

 

President also threatens to veto Senate’s passage of a bill ending support for Saudis in Yemen civil war

By Miriam Raftery
 
March 19, 2019 (Washington D.C.) — A courtroom battle looms after President Donald Trump vetoed a resolution Friday passed by both houses of Congress. The Congressional resolution rejected Trump’s emergency declaration to fund a border wall. 

HELIX WATER DISTRICT APPROVES $8 MILLION PAY-DOWN OF PENSION LIABILITIES

 
 
Source: Helix Water District
 
March 19, 2019 (La Mesa) -- The Helix Water District Board of Directors approved on February 13, 2019 a one-time, $5 million payment in 2019 and an additional $3 million in payments over the next four years to reduce the district’s unfunded employee pension liabilities.

HELIX WATER BOARD TO HEAR FINAL REPORT ON COMPENSATION STUDY AT PUBLIC WORKSHOP MARCH 27

 
 
Source: Helix Water District
 
March 19, 2019 (La Mesa) - On March 27, 2019, the Helix Water District Board of Directors will hear the final report on the compensation and benefits study conducted for the district by Reward Strategy Group. The public workshop will begin at 6:00 p.m.  on March 27 at Helix’s administration office, 7811 University Avenue in La Mesa. 

CALIF. BILL WOULD BAN COSMETICS WITH CHEMICALS LINKED TO CANCER OR REPRODUCTIVE HARM

 

 

East County News Service

March 19, 2019 (Sacramento) -- Landmark legislation introduced today would ban the use in cosmetics sold in California of 20 highly toxic chemicals known to cause cancer, reproductive harm or hormone disruption. Assembly Bill 495, authored by Assemblymembers Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance) and Buffy Wicks (D-Oakland), states that cosmetics products containing toxic chemicals like mercury, lead, phthalates, formaldehyde, triclosan and the fluorinated compounds known as PFAS are “adulterated cosmetics” that may not be sold in California. The legislation is sponsored by Environmental Working Group and CALPIRG.

ANDREW MCCABE DEFINES TRUMP AS A NATIONAL THREAT

 

The Threat: How the FBI Protects America in the Age of Terror and Trump, by Andrew G. McCabe (St. Martin’s Press, New York, NY, 2019, 274 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

March 18, 2019 (San Diego) - Andrew G. McCabe, former Deputy Director of the FBI, has written an incisive and titillating story of America at the crossroads of history, an America that seems to be under siege by the President himself. To put this book in historical perspective, McCabe states: “The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s official mission is ‘to protect the American people and support the Constitution of the United States.”’

To read this book, it does not seem as if the mission statement of the FBI is being allowed. The author lays that at the feet of the President of the United States, Donald Trump.

TRANSPARENCY CONCERNS PLAGUE LA MESA COUNCIL OVER GRANNY FLAT ORDINANCES

 

 

By Allan Acevedo

 

March 16, 2019 (La Mesa) – What a difference two weeks makes. The La Mesa City Council heard robust public comment from diverse perspectives concerning the approval of two so-called “granny flat” ordinances. On narrowly won passage from a divided Council, while the second passed unanimously.

MARCH BREAKFAST MEETING WITH CITY COUNCIL MEMBER AKILAH WEBER IS PITCH PERFECT

 

 

Source:  La Mesa Chamber of Commerce

Photo courtesy Sandra Small

March 14, 2019 (La Mesa) - The La Mesa Chamber of Commerce held their second breakfast meeting of the year on Wednesday, March 6th. There was an overwhelming crowd that gathered to meet La Mesa’s newest elected Council Member, Dr. Akilah Weber. There were many new faces in the crowd, including new members that joined us on this special morning. Dr. Weber was elected to the La Mesa City Council in November 2018. Dr. Weber is a board-Certified obstetrician/gynecologist and the Director of the Pediatric & Adolescent Gynecology Division at Rady Children’s Hospital-San Diego. Dr. Weber shared her commitment to listening to members of the community and encouraged people to email her on any issue that they wish addressed. To reinforce that commitment, Dr. Weber shared that she is launching her “Community Chat with Your Councilmember” on Saturday, May 4th. She invited everyone to attend and be a part of the dialogue on any subject they wish. This first community chat will be held at Sylvan Learning, 8366 Parkway Drive in La Mesa at 7:00 a.m. Dr. Weber discussed items that have recently been on the Council agenda and took questions from the audience.

TRUMP BUDGET SLASHES SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE AND MEDICAID IN VIOLATION OF CAMPAIGN PROMISES

By Miriam Raftery

March 14, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – In direct contradiction to his campaign trail promises not to cut Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, President Donald Trump has proposed a budget that would deeply slash all of these programs—programs which help the elderly, the poor and the disabled.

“I was the first & only potential GOP candidate to state there will be no cuts to Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid,” Trump tweeted on May 7, 2015, adding, “Huckabee copied me.”  He repeated that pledge in media interviews and at rallies.

His proposed new budget, however, would cut trillions of dollars from Medicaid and Medicare. Social Security would also be slashed by $25 million over the next 10 years, including whacking $10 billion from the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) for people who are unable work.

The administration claims it will make up for these deep cuts in Social Security,Medicare and Medicaid programs by finding waste, fraud and abuse. But if not enough waste, fraud or abuse is found--and there have been years of efforts to do--benefits to recipients could be reduced reduced and some poor, disabled and elderly Americans might be denied medical or disability coverage completely.

LEMON GROVE COUNCIL HEARS POLICE AND FIRE UPDATES, PLANS TO REGULATE INFLATABLE JUMPERS IN CITY PARKS

 

 

By Allan Acevedo

 

March 11, 2019 (Lemon Grove) –  The Lemon Grove City Council conducted business this week in the absence of Councilmember Matt Mendoza. The remaining four councilmembers received annual updates from fire and police. Additionally, the Council discussed at length the possibility of adding a local ordinance regulating inflatable jumpers as soon as this summer.

 

FROM THE SOUTHSIDE OF CHICAGO TO THE WHITE HOUSE

 

Michelle Obama: A Life, by Peter Slevin (Alfred A. Knopf, New York, NY, 2015, 418 pages).

Book Review by Dennis Moore

“A deeply informed portrait of the first lady and her native Chicago…. Her larger story, told so powerfully in Slevin’s biography, which suggests she will forever be a force with which to be reckoned.” – Chicago Tribune

March 11, 2019 (San Diego) - Peter Slevin, who has written extensively about Barack and Michelle Obama, from his vantage point of being on the staff of The Washington Post, before joining Northwestern University’s School of Journalism, where he is currently an associate professor, has written a uniquely American story of a woman from the Southside of Chicago that changed the course of prior inhabitants of the White House; Michelle Obama: A Life.

SAN DIEGO SPJ ASKS SEN. BEN HUESO, CITY ATTORNEY MARA ELLIOTT TO RETHINK PROPOSED CHANGES TO STATE RECORDS ACT

 

 

Source:  Society of Professional Journalists

March 7, 2019 (San Diego) - The San Diego Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists is deeply troubled by proposed state legislation that would make it more difficult for journalists and the public to understand how government works and hold officials accountable.

REP. HUNTER SEEKS TO PROMOTE HUNTING ON PUBLIC LANDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 4, 2019 (San Diego) – Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) has introduced a resolution calling on the House of Representatives to prioritize hunting and recreational access to public lands. The action seeks to reinforce Executive Order 13443 issued by President George W. Bush.

CA ATTORNEY GENERAL’S REPORT FAULTS CONDITIONS IN IMMIGRATION DETENTION FACILITIES

 

 

Source:  California Department of Justice

March 4, 2019 (San Francisco) - California Attorney General Xavier Becerra has announced the release of a California Department of Justice (DOJ) report on immigration detention facilities in the state. The report is the result of Assembly Bill 103, which passed in 2017, requiring the DOJ, over a 10-year period, to report on: conditions of confinement; the standard of care and due process provided to detainees; and the circumstances around the apprehension and transfer of detainees to facilities. This initial report is intended to provide increased transparency around immigration detention facilities in California. The report is an important step forward in understanding the conditions under which civil immigration detainees are living, including their access to critical health and legal resources.

BOARD VOTES TO SPONSOR STATE BILL GIVING LOCAL HEALTH OFFICERS MORE AUTHORITY

 
 
By Miriam Raftery
 
Photo: County News  Service
 
March 1, 2019 (San Diego) -- San Diego County Supervisors voted this week to support Assembly Bill 262, a statewide measure which would strengthen the authority of the County public health officer to direct actions of governments in other local jurisdictions affected by an infectious disease outbreak, such as the hepatitis A outbreak locally in 2017.

RESIDENTS, BUSINESS OWNERS OFFER IDEAS ON LA MESA’S FARMERS MARKET

 
 
By Mike Allen
 
Photo, left:  Chris Gonzalez
 
March 1, 2019 (La Mesa) - After relocating the La Mesa Farmers Market from the Civic Center parking lot to La Mesa Boulevard last May, a lot of businesses on the main street of the Village cried foul, saying the Friday event was hurting their sales.

SANTEE LOOKS TO CREATE A BRAND

 
 
By Mike Allen
 
March 1, 2019 (Santee) -- Santee’s brand needs a makeover.
 
That’s the determination of the City Council, which on Feb. 27 approved spending $80,000 and possibly more for a consultant to help the city “uncover” its brand.
 
The Council voted 4-0 (with Councilwoman Laura Koval absent) to hire Tennessee-based North Star Destination Strategies, following a decision to delay the issue to consider a proposal from a local public relations firm.

COHEN IMPLICATES TRUMP IN CRIMINAL ACTIONS, PROVIDES CHECK SIGNED BY PRESIDENT FOR “HUSH MONEY”

By Miriam Raftery

View video of Cohen’s complete testimony:   https://www.c-span.org/video/?458125-1/michael-cohen-president-trump-he-racist-con-man-cheat

View highlights:  https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4782554/trump-lawyer-michael-cohen-apologizes-lying

February 28, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – President Donald Trump’s long-time personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, called his former boss a “liar”, a” conman” and a “racist” during several hours of testimony before the House Oversight and Reform Committee this week.  Cohen testified that Trump knew in advance that Wikileaks planned to release stolen Democratic Committee emails.  He also told committee members that Trump directed him to violate the law—and Cohen provided a check signed by Trump after he became president for “hush money” paid to cover up an affair with porn star Stormy Daniels.

Republicans grilling Cohen sought to discredit him, since he previously lied to Congress and since his cooperation with federal prosecutors could result in a reduction of his three-year prison sentence. However Cohen also handed over documents to the committee, including extensive financial records that Cohen suggested implicate Trump and Trump’s family members in financial crimes.

Democrats on the committee probed Cohen’s knowledge of other potential witnesses to the alleged criminal activities, also laying the groundwork to subpoena the President’s tax records.  Cohen has apologized and voiced remorse for lying and covering up illegal activities on behalf of Trump.

LA MESA APPROVES GRANNY FLAT ORDINANCE AND CREATION OF CITIZENS COMMITTEE ON HOMELESSNESS

 
 
By Allan Acevedo
 
February 28, 2019 (La Mesa) – With a packed agenda, the La Mesa City Council addressed concerns of increased homelessness, the ongoing housing crisis, and the City’s action plan to meet 2020 and 2035 greenhouse gas reduction goals.

SUPERVISORS VOTE TO STUDY IDEA OF BUYING, SELLING ENERGY THROUGH A COMMUNITY CHOICE PROGRAM

 
 
East County News Service
 
February 27, 2019 (San Diego) -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to study the idea of buying and selling electricity to give county residents an alternative to having to buy it from the region’s utility, San Diego Gas & Electric. Under a community choice program, residents would still have the option to stay with SDG&E if they choose to do so.

HUNTER OPPOSES SPENDING BILL, BUT VOICES CONCERNS OVER EMERGENCY DECLARATION

 
 
East County News Service
 
February 19, 2019 (Washington D.C.) – Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine) voted against last week’s spending bill that forestalls another federal shutdown due to lack of funding for a border wall sought by President Donald Trump.  But he also voices concerns over the President declaring a national emergency to build the border wall that the majority of Congress declined to fund.

LOCAL CONSERVATIVES SEEK LEGISLATIVE SUPPORT FOR CONVENTION OF STATES TO AMEND U.S. CONSTITUTION

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Assemblyman Randy Voepel, center, gives a thumb up to a Convention of States during meeting with local supporters

February 19, 2019 (San Diego’s East County) – The U.S. Constitution grants states the power to call a Convention of States to propose amendments to the federal constitution. To do so would require that 34 states agree to call a convention, though it would take 38 states to ratify any proposed amendments.

A national movement has begun among conservatives seeking to convene such a convention, with Assemblyman Randy Voepel (R-Santee) the latest to voice support for the idea.

Pages