Citizen's Action Report
Calls, e-mails and letters to your elected officials often do make a difference. It’s important for public officials to know how the people feel about important issues and votes. It’s vital to let our elected members know that we are keeping an eye on how they vote – and will hold them accountable at election time if they ignore the will of the people!
Whose interests are your elected officials representing: the people--or the special interests?
Too many voters haven’t got a clue—so East County Magazine is shedding light into those smoke-hazed back-rooms in Washington D.C. and Sacramento, enabling you to keep up with what your elected officials are doing – and decide whether or not they deserve your vote next election. You can also share your views on key issues with the handy tools we’ve provided.
Find out how they voted: In our Capitoil Report: How They Voted reports,, we’ve chosen major bills listed by Vote-Smart.org, a nonpartisan organization, as well as key measures tracked by public interest groups. Below are some of the most important recent bills—and how our representatives cast their votes.
For details and information on more bills, visit www.vote-smart.org.
July 5, 2012 – The Homeowners Bill of Rights is one of the most significant consumer protection reforms this year. Find out how your representatives in San Diego County voted on this important legislation, which passed both houses in Sacramento and is expected to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown.
FOLLOW THE MONEY: 2 NEW SITES LET YOU LOOK UP GIFTS TO OFFICIALS -- AND CHECK FOR CONFLICTS OF INTEREST
April 19, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Who’s giving money to your elected officials? Are there conflicts of interest?
Now you can find out easily thanks to two new websites just launched.
Editor’s note: Recently, elected boards throughout California were put on notice that Californians Aware will file suits to enforce open meeting laws that are routinely being violated. Your rights to open government are protected under the Ralph M. Brown Act. Below is a guide to what it requires—and how you as a member of the public can enforce those rights.
By E.A. Barrera
February 4, 2011-- The rules of procedure by which all elected boards conduct their meetings are spelled out in a 1953 statute signed by former U.S. Supreme Court Justice and California Governor Earl Warren. Called the Ralph M. Brown Act, it establishes rules for conducting public meetings - and under what specific circumstances a public agency may operate in secret. All political and public agencies in the state of California are subject to the Brown act, unless specifically exempt.
By: Jeremy Los
December 23, 2010 – So much for the “lame duck session” on Capitol Hill. The last winter session after an election, before the new Congress is sworn in, is often an uneventful time of farewells. The 111th Congress, though, seemed determined to end the year with a bang, bringing meaningful legislation to the forefront as exiting members of Congress strived to put their stamp on the future of our nation in a big way.
Major bills passed include repeal of the military’s `don’t ask, don’t tell’ ban and a bill to improve food safety. Bills that fell short, without enough votes, include the Dream Act, which would have allowed children of undocumented immigrants a pathway to citizenship, and a bill that would have paid for healthcare costs of 911 first responders.
Do you know how your representatives voted? Find out here.
By Jeremy Los
November 27, 2010 (Washington and Sacramento) -- Do you know how your Congressional and State Legislative representatives voted on important recent bills? Find out here! Recent major bills include the Paycheck Fairness Act, the Small Business Jobs & Credit Act, the State Budget, plus bills to reform campaign financing and raise age limits for pre-school and kindergarten. Scroll down for details.
San Diego’s Congressional representatives earned grades from A to D. Who scored the highest--and the lowest? The answers will surprise you.
October 25, 2010 – Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)'s Congressional Report Card grades members of Congress on support for combat veterans in the past two years. San Diego’s Congressional delegation includes the Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, two veterans, a mlitary spouse, the wife of a military contractor, and a veterans' subcommittee member. So how did our legislators rank on supporting the many veterans in their districts?
March 26, 2010 (Washington and Sacramento) – Do you know how your Congressional and State Legislative representatives voted on important recent bills? Find out here!
For more information on these and other bills, visit www.vote-smart.org, www.govtrack.us, www.opencongress.org and www.aroundthecapitol.com.
January 25, 2010 (San Diego) – Ten out of 11 local legislators made the California Small Business Association Honor Roll for 2009, in recognition of their voting records to protect the interests of small businesses. Conspicuously absent from the list was State Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta), whose district encompasses the bulk of East County.
January 13, 2010 (Sacramento) - The Sacramento Bee has launched a new database where you can look up the voting record of every state legislator in California. Wondering how often your legislator broke party ranks, missed a vote or voted to support your interests instead of special interests?
November 29, 2009 (Washington and Sacramento) – Do you know how your Congressional and State Legislative representatives voted on important recent bills? Find out here!
By Miriam Raftery
May 6, 2009 (San Diego’s East County)—The May 19 election includes six statewide ballot initiatives (1A, 1B, 1C, 1D, 1E, and 1F) that are among the most confusing in recent memory. The stakes are high: stability of California’s budget process and the ability to fund vital services such as education, healthcare and public safety for the future.
But an array of conflicting arguments has left even customary allies on opposite sides of the fence on many of the initiatives. We’ve provided the most comprehensive guide yet to help you sort through the strongest arguments on all sides and understand these measures—so you can make an informed choice. Also remember, the last day to request an absentee ballot for the May 17 election is May 12.
Congress approved several major bills in January, including measures to improve healthcare for low-income children, provide oversight of bail-out funds, delay conversion to direct TV, set aside public lands and ocean areas as environmental preserves, protect fair pay for women, and improve remedies for victims of discrimination. The Senate also approved nomination of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. Do you know how your elected officials voted? Find out here!
How did your elected officials vote on the most important bills in Congress and the California Legislature? Find out here!