Politics

REPUBLICANS HAVE NARROW MARGIN TO PASS HEALTHCARE BILL: SAN DIEGO MEMBERS COULD CAST DECIDING VOTES

 

East County News Service

March 22, 2017 (San Diego) – To pass the Republican healthcare bill will require the support of all but 21 Republicans. So far, 27 have said they are leaning against it or opposed, putting passage in jeopardy.  San Diego Republican Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa are both listed as supporters of the measure, according to NBC News.

VOEPEL'S VETERANS EMPLOYMENT PARITY ACT CLEARS FIRST LEGISLATIVE HURDLE

 

East County News Service

March 21, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) -- This afternoon, the Assembly Committee on Veterans Affairs voted to support AB 353, the Veterans Employment Parity Act, with unanimous support (10-0).



"The Veterans Affairs Committee took an important step today toward expanding job opportunities for our nation's veterans. With a higher unemployment rate than the national average, it's critical that we provide private employers with the option to give preference to veterans during the hiring process," said Voepel.

FBI DIRECTOR CONFIRMS INVESTIGATION INTO TRUMP-RUSSIA TIES IN TESTIMONY BEFORE SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – FBI Director James Comey has confirmed that his agency is investigating alleged collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s campaign.  Comey also made clear that there is no evidence to support President Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped during the campaign.

CA LAWMAKERS PUSH STATE TO DIVEST FROM COMPANIES BUILDING TRUMP’S BORDER WALL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2017 (Sacramento) – Assemblymembers Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher (D-San Diego), Phil Ting (D-San Francisco), and Eduardo Garcia (D-Coachella) have announced legislation that would require the state’s pension funds to divest from companies involved in the construction of the president’s wall along the United States-Mexico border.

20% CUTS PROPOSED TO NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF HEALTH

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2017 (San Diego) – President Donald Trump’s budget proposes to slash 20% of funding to the National Institute of Health.  California received $3.69 billion in NIH grants in the last fiscal year, so such deep cuts could put key research projects at risk.  Medical research leaders nationally and locally warn that the cuts will eliminate many California jobs and threaten research to find new treatments and cures for medical conditions.

BILL WOULD BAN MINORS FROM MARRYING IN CALIFORNIA

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 20, 2017 (Sacramento) – A bill introduced in the state Capitol would prohibit anyone under 18 from getting married.

California is currently tied with Tennessee for the sixth highest rate of marriages by minors in the nation, even though some safeguards already exist to protect young would-be brides and grooms. But the state already has laws in place to prevent would-be Romeo and Juliet couples from getting hitched without their parents’ permission.

VOEPEL NAMES ANITA BAUTISTA AS 71ST ASSEMBLY "DISTRICT WOMAN OF THE YEAR" FOR 2017

 

Source:  Assemblyman Randy Voepel

March 19, 2017 (San Diego) - On March 2, Assemblyman Randy Voepel announced that he named Anita Bautista as the 2017 Woman of the Year for the 71st Assembly District.

"Throughout her life, Anita has touched thousands of people with her warmth, kindness, and generosity of spirit," said Voepel. "Whether it's brightening a room with her warm smile, dedicating hundreds of volunteer hours on behalf of our city, or happily cooking for our local first responders, Anita's contribution to this community is invaluable."

TRUMP STARTS PROCESS TO WEAKEN VEHICLE FUEL EMISSION STANDARDS: ACTION COULD MAKE YOU PAY MORE TO FILL YOUR TANK AND INCREASE AIR POLLUTION

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo:  Los Angeles smog in 1972, before the current standards; photo by Gene Daniels, public domain via Wikimedia.

 

March 18, 2017 (Washington D.C.) — California has threatened legal action after President Donald Trump ordered the Environmental Protection Agency to abandon strict fuel efficiency standards for vehicles and rules that limit emission of greenhouse gasses.

CONSUMERS UNION GIVES PROPOSED HEALTHCARE PLAN AN “F”

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2017 (Washington D.C.) — Consumers have long relied on information from Consumers Union regarding testing and rating of products from appliances to cars.  Now, Consumers Union has issued a report card for the new healthcare bill proposed by Congressional Republicans, which scored an “F” in every category rated.

DEMOCRATS TAKE AIM AT HUNTER: FIVE OPPONENTS TO SPEAK APRIL 20 IN SANTEE

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 18, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – The 50th Congressional district seat held by Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter has long been considered a safe seat, with a solid conservative majority.  But Hunter’s unwavering support for Trump administration policies have mobilized activists, sparked protests, inspired at least five Democratic candidates to say they’ll run against Hunter in 2018-- and prompted the San Diego Democratic Party to announce it will invest money to target Hunter’s seat for the first time ever.

TRUMP'S PROPOSED BUDGET COULD THREATEN HUNTING AND FISHING'S FUTURE

 

Deep cuts at the agencies responsible for conservation and sportsmen’s access would be felt in every corner of the country

East County News Service

March 18, 2017 (Washington D.C.) -- Hunters and anglers would find less healthy habitat and more public access closures under President Trump’s proposed budget, officially released this morning. In fact, the ripple effect of major budget cuts at the agencies that oversee conservation in America would likely be felt most in the rural communities that thrive off outdoor recreation spending related to public lands and other hunting and fishing access.

ATKINS BILLS TO PROTECT SAN DIEGO RIVER, FUND AFFORDABLE HOUSING ADVANCE IN LEGISLATURE

 

View a video on the San Diego River Conservancy’s report to the Legislature

March 18, 2017 (Sacramento) -- This week, two bills authored by Sen. Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego) cleared key policy committees and moved on to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration. One wil help enhance portions of the San Diego River in East County. The other provides funding to build affordable housing.

KALASHO SAYS EL CAJON MAYOR’S PROPOSAL TO BAN COUNCIL MEMBERS' USE OF ELECTRONIC DEVICES IS ILLEGAL

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 17, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Mayor Bill Wells has proposed banning City Council members from using iPads, cell phones or other electronic devices during Council hearings.

They Mayor says his goal in introducing item 6.3 on the agenda during the March 14th public hearing was to assure that members are giving public hearings their full attention and not engaging in outside communications, assuring transparency.  But Councilman Kalasho claims the move is unconstitutional and targets him.  Members of the public who spoke sided with Kalasho in a testy exchange that can be viewed on video (starting at approximately 52 minutes, 44 seconds):  https://elcajonca.iqm2.com/Citizens/SplitView.aspx?Mode=Video&MeetingID=1049&Format=Agenda

SUPERVISORS, BY A ONE-VOTE MARGIN, BAN ALL MARIJUANA SALES PLUS FARMING CANNABIS AND HEMP

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – The majority of voters in San Diego County, including most in unincorporated areas, voted to legalize recreational marijuana.  But instead of heeding voters wishes for more access to pot, San Diego Supervisors voted 3-2 on Tuesday to outlaw all marijuana sales in unincorporated areas, including medical marijuana.   (Licensed dispensaries already open and those approved for construction will have five years to shut down.) Supervisors also voted to outlaw all farming of marijuana and hemp.

AS ROAD CONDITIONS WORSEN, SUPERVISORS SEEK NEW FUNDING SOURCES FOR REPAIRS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2017 (San Diego) — County Supervisors voted 4-0 on Tuesday to direct staff to come back in 90 days with recommendations on new funding sources to pay for road repairs. 

The latest Pavement Condition Index, or PCI, back in September gave the county a score of just 60, or “fair” – and that was before winter rains and flooding caused cracks and potholes to proliferate.  Supervisors’ set a goal to raise that score to 70, or “very good” within five years.

TRUMP PROPOSES TO END ALL FUNDING FOR PUBLIC BROADCASTING

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 15, 2017 (Washington D.C.) - President Donald Trump’s budget contains a radical proposal to completely eliminate all funding for public broadcasting, including National Public Radio, or NPR, and PBS, the Public Broadcasting System which includes KPBS here in San Diego.

GONZALEZ-FLETCHER BILL TO HELP DEPORTED U.S. VETERANS PASSES JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

 

AB 386 creates legal aid fund for veterans seeking to return to United States

East County News Service

March 14, 2017 (San Diego) — When immigrants signed up to serve in America’s armed forced, they were promised that they would be given expedited citizenship. But now President Trump has begun deporting these veterans.  Now, California’s Assembly Judiciary has approved a bill to establish a legal aid fund to help deported veterans.

REALTORS TRADE GROUP WILL HOST ASSEMBLYMAN RANDY VOEPEL FOR MEET-AND-GREET

 

East County News Service

March 16, 2017 (El Cajon) – The Pacific Southwest Association of Realtors (PSAR), a real estate trade group for San Diego-area realtors, will host California Assemblyman Randy Voepel for a meet-and-greet from 8:30 to 10 a.m., Friday, March 31, at PSAR’s East County Service Center, 1150 Broadway, El Cajon. The public is invited to attend. Members of PSAR’s East County Governmental Affairs Committee are organizing the event.

CONGRESSWOMAN DAVIS DRAWS OVER 1,000 CONCERNED CONSTITUTENTS AT TOWN HALL

 

By Miriam Raftery; Jonathan Goetz also contributed to this report

View full video of town hall:  https://www.facebook.com/RepSusanDavis/videos/1499056013470282/

March 12, 2017 (San Diego) -- Concerns over healthcare reforms, deportations, attacks on public education, troops in Syria, climate change, and Trump’s Russian ties were among the issues raised by constituents of Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) at a town hall forum yesterday.  More than 1,000 people filled Montezuma Hall at San Diego State University to capacity.

ACLU BLASTS CONGRESSIONAL BILL THAT WOULD LET INTERNET PROVIDERS SELL YOUR PERSONAL DATA

 

 

East County News Service

March 10, 2017 (Washington D.C.) -- The Senate introduced a resolution today to overturn a Federal Communications Commission rule that requires internet service providers to get customers’ permission before they sell sensitive consumer data, such as browsing history.

CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS CAN’T BAN VIDEOTAPING BY CITIZENS AT TOWN HALLS, CALAWARE ATTORNEY SAYS

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 10, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) – Terry Francke, General Counsel for Californians Aware (CALAWARE),  a nonprofit protecting citizens rights to open government, has informed East County Magazine that Congressmen Darrell Issa ‘s plan to ban citizens from videotaping his town hall meetings this Saturday is unconstitutional.

 By contast,  Rep. Duncan Hunter, who also has a town hall this weekend in Ramona, will allow videotaping by constituents, ECM has confirmed. Both Issa and Hunter are Republicans. 

DISSECTING THE REPUBLICAN HEALTHCARE BILL: AARP AND AMA WARN MEASURE HURTS PATIENTS AND SENIORS

 

By Miriam Raftery

AARP warns that seniors age 50-64 will pay $8,500 a year more for health insurance premiums each year, on average, under the GOP plan. Read the bill here

March 10, 2017 (San Diego’s East County) –Major organizations representing patients, doctors, nurses and senior citizens have come out against the “American Health Care Act” ( AHCA or “Trumpcare”), Congressional Republicans’ plan for replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA Obamacare) that’s being fast-tracked through Congress. 

The American Medical Association (AMA),  the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and others warn that the plan will weaken benefits and make healthcare much more expensive than many people are paying now, whether you’re on an ACA plan, private health insurance or Medicare/Medicare.   

“As drafted, the AHCA would result in millions of Americans losing coverage and benefits,”  Dr. Andrew Gurman, prseident of the AMA, the nation's largest organization of doctors, said Wednesday. "By replacing income-based premium subsidies with age-based tax credits,  AHCA will also make coverage more expensive—if not out of reach—for poor and sick Americans. For these reasons, the AMA cannot support the AHCA as it is currently written.”

KALASHO HOSTS SECOND TOWN HALL TONIGHT, ACCUSES MAYOR OF SEEKING TO MUZZLE HIS VOICE

 

 

 

Councilman speaks out against Mayor Wells' proposal to prevent any councilmember from placing items on the agenda without support of another member

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2017 (El Cajon) – El Cajon Councilman Ben Kalasho will hold his second town hall meeting tonight from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the El Cajon Police community room, 200 Civic Center Way in El Cajon. 

In a video posted on his Facebook page,  Kalasho asks public support to block a measure introduced by Mayor Bill Wells that would prevent any individual councilmember from adding an item to the agenda without support of another member.  The only Democrat on the Council, Kalasho contends that the proposal is targeting him. That measure is expected to be on the agenda for the March 14th Council hearing at 3 p.m..

ALL VOW “CIVIL” TOWN HALL FOR REP. DUNCAN HUNTER ON SATURDAY

 

By Ken Stone

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

Photo by Ken Stone:  Rep. Duncan Hunter (left) and Darrell Issa (center) greet Donald Trump in San Diego.

March 9, 2017 (San Diego) -- Rep. Duncan D. Hunter’s deputy chief of staff says the Republican congressman is looking forward to Saturday’s long-awaited Town Hall in Ramona.

 “We anticipate it being a really good event,” said Michael Harrison, the aide. ”And we’re confident and hopeful it’s going to be productive.”

SUPERVISORS TO WEIGH BANNING ALL MARIJUANA FACILITIES IN UNINCORPORATED AREAS AT MARCH 15 MEETING

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 9, 2017 (San Diego) — On Wednesday, March 15,  San Diego County Supervisors will consider amending zoning regulations to outlaw all marijuana facilities,  medical and recreational.  At a recent meeting, Supervisors instructed staff to draw up language to ban all facilities including shutting down existing lawfully operating dispensaries. However staff is recommending that existing medical marijuana facilities be allowed to stay open.  County staff also recommended that  Supervisors consider possible zoning ordinance amendments to address regulations permitting cannabis farming in agricultural zones, though thus far Supervisors have voiced opposition to requests from farmers seeking to grow cannabis.

LEMON GROVE LIKELY TO SEE THREE MARIJUANA DISPENSARIES AS EARLY AS LATE SUMMER

 

 

By Jonathan Goetz

Photo: With exclusions around sensitive sites and each other, it appears three dispensaries will open in the western portion of Lemon Grove along Federal Boulevard

March 8, 2017 (Lemon Grove) – Lemon Grove City Council held a public hearing Tuesday about the new medical marijuana dispensary application process that opens March 20th to comply with  Measure V, which Lemon Grove voters approved in November legalizing medical cannabis sales.   

ATTORNEY GENERAL SESSIONS RECUSES SELF FROM RUSSIAN PROBE AFTER MISLEADING CONGRESS ABOUT HIS OWN MEETINGS WITH RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR

 

By Miriam Raftery

March 2, 2017 (Washington D.C.) – Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced today that he will recuse himself from a federal investigation into the Russians’ interference in the 2016 presidential election, following bipartisan pressure for him to step aside. 

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