Politics

MEET CONGRESSMAN JUAN VARGAS, WHO WINS SEAT IN 51ST CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT

By Janis Mork

Miriam Raftery also contributed to this report

November 7, 2012 (San Diego)- After Juan Vargas beat Republican Michael Crimmins 69.9% to 30.1%, Vargas’ supporters shouted, “Sí se puede!” (Yes we can!) and, “Juan! Juan! Juan!” After his impressive win, Vargas told ECM, “I’m very excited and very happy about the results I’m seeing so far, and very excited to be working with social justice.”

An American success story, Vargas who graduated from Harvard Law School is the son of farmworkers , where he was a classmate of President Barack Obama, before serving on San Diego's City Council and in the California Legislature. Vargas will replace Congressman Bob Filner, who has been elected Mayor of San Diego.

The 51st Congressional district spans the southern portions of San Diego County and extends into Imperial County.  Below are Vargas' goals in Congress and details his legislative record.

DEMOCRATS WIN SUPERMAJORITY IN BOTH HOUSES OF CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2012 (Sacramento )- For California Democrats, the biggest plum of yesterday’s election is the sweeping victory of state legislative candidates that has given the Democratic Party a two-thirds "supermajority" in both the Assembly and State Senate.  

A two-thirds majority means that Democrats can now pass tax increases without a single Republican vote. It also means that the Legislature has the power to override a veto by Governor Brown.

Governor Brown today called for "the prudence of Joseph,” a Biblical reference to planning for years of both prosperity and famine. "We have to make sure over the next few years that we pay our bills, we invest in the right programs, but we don't go on any spending binges," the Governor said in a press conference at the state capitol.

TWO INCUMBENTS WIN HANDILY IN EL CAJON; THIRD SEAT STILL IN CONTENTION AS REGISTRAR COUNTS REMAINING ABSENTEE AND PROVISIONAL BALLOTS

Update November 8, 2012,  5 p.m.:  McClellan's lead has grown to over 600 votes, making it appear likely that he has secured reelection.

November 8, 2012 (El Cajon) – Councilmen Tony Ambrose and Bill Wells  appear to have won reelection to the El Cajon City Council, while Councilman Bob McClellan retains a slim 114-vote lead over challenger Ben Kalasho. The Registrar of Voters still has 475,000 absentee and provisional ballots left countywide to count.  Asked how many are in El Cajon, the Registrar’s office declined to provide that information but said updates will be posted daily at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/voters/results/election.xml. The election must be certified by December 4, meaning close races could take weeks before a final outcome will be know.

GOOD NEWS FOR COLLEGE STUDENTS: CALIF. STATE UNIVERSITIES TO ROLL BACK TUITION HIKES DUE TO PASSAGE OF PROP 30

By Bill Weaver

November 8, 2012 (San Diego) –Tuition at 23 California State University campuses—including San Diego State University and Cal State San Marcos locally, will rescind a $249-per-semestser tuition fee hike that had taken effect in the fall term. Fees will now revert back to $5,472, the same rate as last year.

“We are hopeful that the passage of Proposition 30 will be the beginning of the state’s reinvestment in higher education,” CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed said in a statement issued yesterday.

HOT FIRE BOARD RACES IN EAST COUNTY: FIRED CHIEF WINS SEAT ON BOARD IN LAKESIDE, 2 NEW FACES ADDED TO SAN MIGUEL BOARD, PLUS MORE LOCAL RESULTS

By Janis Mork

November 7, 2012 (san Diego)- In the hotly contested Lakeside Fire District, former Lakeside fire chief Mark Baker captured 39.6% of the vote while fire captain/paramedic/ and board director Jim Bingham clinched 36.6%, beating out challengers.

There has been controversy over these two figures, since Bingham voted to fire Baker as Chief, a move that sparked a backlash among community members and questions of influence by firefighting union members on the board. (http://www.eastcountymagazine.org/node/11356). Nonetheless, these two will have to set aside their differences and work together in this district, where some of East County’s largest wildfires have occurred.

CALIFORNIANS SAY YES TO FIVE OF ELEVEN PROPOSITIONS

By Mayan Avitable

November 8, 2012 (San Diego) -- The most watched proposition by many who are involved in education was California's Proposition 30. This proposition was highly promoted by Governor Jerry Brown as a solution to school funding in the time of budget cutting. During the evening, the proposition changed from passing to not passing as the vote counts came in. Ultimately, the measure passed 53.9% to 46.1%, increasing taxes on earnings over $250,000 for seven years and sales taxes by ¼ cent for four years, to fund schools. In addition, it guarantees public safety realignment funding. School districts had prepared for spending reductions in case the proposition didn't pass.

DEMAIO CONCEDES: FILNER IS NEW MAYOR OF SAN DIEGO

By Nadin Abbott and Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2012 (San Diego)—Today, Carl DeMaio called Congressman Bob Filner and conceded defeat, then wished the Mayor-elect good luck. 

With this concession, one of the most divisive races in recent San Diego memory is over. Filner will be inaugurated on December 3.

With the victory of Sherri S. Leightner at 54% over her challenger Ray Ellis with 46%, the City Council will also be in Democratic hands, though FIlner has pledged to consult with people who opposed him as well as those who supported him as he sets up his administration.

INCUMBENTS ARE RETURNED TO LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

By Bill Weaver

November 7, 2012 (La Mesa) — Incumbents Emma Turner, Psy.D. was re-elected, as was William "Bill" Baber, a local attorney, to the La Mesa-Spring Valley School Board. Both are Republicans and both have shown support for public education in their district.

REPUBLICANS KEEP CONTROL OF HOUSE, BUT DEMOCRATS SEE SOME GAINS

By Nadin Abbott

November 7, 2012 (San Diego)—While Democrats failed to retake control of the United States House of Representatives, right now seats by party are at Republican 232, and Democratic at 191, with 12 seats still not decided. Among those not decided is San Diego’s own 52nd District contest between Scott Peters (D) and Congressman Brian Bilbray (R), where Peters now leads by a narrow margin.

DEMOCRATS KEEP CONTROL OF THE U.S. SENATE, EXTREMISTS ON RAPE ISSUES DEFEATED

By Nadin Abbott

November 8, 2012 (San Diego)-- The Democratic Party was expected to lose control of the Senate back in the Summer. Yet, they were able to maintain control, and this was due to a few important victories. 

Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin became the first openly gay woman to be elected to the Senate. Her victory over Republican Tommy Thomson helped the Democrats maintain control. John Tester, a moderate Democrat from Montana, won re-election as well.

PROPOSITION 30 PICKED UP A MAJOR WIN FOR EDUCATION FUNDING IN CA

By Bill Weaver

November 7, 2012 (San Diego)—Governor Jerry Brown has announced victory for Proposition 30. The ballot measure will raise income taxes on the wealthiest citizens in the state and temporarily increase the state sales tax by a quarter of a cent to fund K-12 schools, community colleges and state universities. Prop 30 is expected to raise more than $6 billion in revenue. If it had not passed, schools and colleges would have suffered significant trigger cuts in state appropriations.

DEMOCRAT DAVE ROBERTS PULLS AHEAD IN 3RD DISTRICT SUPERVISOR RACE

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2012 (San Diego) – By a slim margin, Democrat Dave Roberts is ahead of Republican Steve Danon with 100% of precincts counted, though provisional ballots remain.  Roberts would replace Republican Supervisor Pam-Slater Price, who is retiring and made a cross-party endorsement of Roberts.

“Tuesday's election is historic in two ways,” a press release from Roberts’ campaign said this morning.”It is the first time in 17 years there has been a new person elected to the San Diego County Board of Supervisors and Dave Roberts will be the first Democrat elected as County Supervisor in 19 years. The last Democrat to serve on the Board of Supervisors was Leon Williams who served until 1994.”

STERLING, ALESSIO WIN LA MESA COUNCIL RACE

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2012 (La Mesa) – Councilwoman Ruth Sterling won reelection to the La Mesa City Council, with 28.06% of the vote.  Attorney Kristine Alessio  also won election with 25.27% of the vote, replacing retiring Councilman David Allan, the Council’s only Democrat, for the second of two seats.

Despite more than $37,000 in special interest money from real estate interests poured into an independent expenditure campaign in support of her candidacy, realtor Laura Lothian finished last out of five candidates, with 10.15% of the vote.

WELLS, AMBROSE WIN REELECTION IN EL CAJON; MCCLELLAN LEADS KALASHO BY SLIM MARGIN

November 7, 2012 (El Cajon )—In one of the few victories for local conservatives thus far in the November 2012 elecitons, Councilmembers Tony Ambrose and Bill Wells have won reelection to the El Cajon City Council with 18.25% and 16.26% of the vote in the 8-person field. Councilman Bob McClellan is the likely victor in the third seat, with a narrow edge over challenger Ben Kalasho, 14.95% to 13.95%.

DEMOCRATS REGAIN MAJORITY ON LEMON GROVE COUNCIL

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2012 (Lemon Grove) – The election of Racquel Vasquez and reelection of George Gastil restores a Democratic majority to the Lemon Grove City Council.   Vasquez won 29.30% of the votes cast, followed by  Gastil with 23.01%.

“Racquel is a breath of fresh air,” said Gastil, who called the election of Vasquez, an African-American woman, “historic. She is the first person who is not white to be elected to the Council—and she comes in first place, which is a testament to her involvement in the community.”

BILBRAY AND PETERS IN DEAD HEAT

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott and Nadin Abbott

November 7, 2012 (San Diego)—Congressman Brian Bilbray’s slim lead has evaporated in the 52nd Congressional District. With over 95% of the vote now counted, Democrat Scott Peters has edged into the lead--first by just 13 votes, and now by 311 votes. 

Brian Bilbray addressed the press around 10:30 last night, thanking his supporters for knocking on doors, calling voters and walking precincts. This was a very hard campaign for the Congressman in the newly redrawn 52nd District, where the once-strong Republican majority is now razor-thin. Democrats have targeted this race nationally, hoping to unseat the incumbent Congressman who has been the brunt of ads critical of his ties to special interests.

INCUMBENT WOODS LOSING SEAT IN GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT

Update Nov. 8: With 100% of precincts counted and a portion of the late absentee ballots, Schreiber and Stieringer have retained solid leads. 

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – In one of the most bitterly contested races in East County, incumbent Priscillla Schreiber won reelection handily with 95% of votes counted with 28.17% of the vote in the Grossmont Union High School District. A Republican, Schreiber has been an outspoken champion for building a new high school in Alpine--and a vocal critic of the board majority on a range of issues. 

That majority may shift, with challenger Jim Stieringer in second place at 19.04%--ahead of incumbent Gary Woods, who has 18.66%. Woods has taken heat for his opposition to the Alpine High School at a time when a Grand Jury investigation is probing possible misallocation of bond monies approved by voters for projects including the high school in Alpine.

COLOR OF CHANGE: SAN DIEGO SENDS FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN TO LEGISLATURE

By Miriam Raftery

November 7, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – For Shirley Weber, PhD,  victory in the 79th Assembly District is particularly sweet.    “This is the first time an African-American has served in theLegislature in San Diego or south of Los Angeles,” Dr. Weber told ECM.  “The 79th district is only 10% African American, which says a lot about voters in this district.”

The daughter of a sharecropper, Weber found education to be the key to her future.  She earned three degrees by age 26.   “I’ve always been a strong voice for education,” said Weber, a Democrat. With over 88% of the votes counted, Weber leads her Republican challenger, Lemon Grove Councilwoman Mary England, by approximately a 60-40% margin.

CONGRESSMAN BOB FILNER TAKES LEAD IN SAN DIEGO’S MAYOR’S RACE

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

November 7, 2012 (San Diego)-- As we left the Lincoln Club Party downtown late this evening, Carl DeMaio was in the lead and had just faced the press to note that “We do not have the final outcome.” This was about two hours ago, and as of now Congressman Bob Filner has gained a slim lead at 50.37% with Carl DeMaio trailing at 49.63% with 78% of precincts counted. This race is as tight as it can get.

EARLY ELECTION RESULTS FOR EAST COUNTY CONGRESSIONAL AND LEGISLATIVE SEATS

November 6, 2012 (San Diego)--Congressional members Duncan Hunter and Susan Davis appear headed for easy victories, while Juan Vargas has won the seat vacated by Bob Filner.  Rep. Brian Bilbray has a slim 3 point margin over Scott Peters in the hotly contested 52nd district.

In the Assembly races, Dr. Shirley Weber has a solid lead with 54.23% over business leader Mary England's 40.19%. Brian Jones has won reelection over Pat Hurley, while Brian Maienschein has a strong lead over RJ Hernandez.  Marty Block appears headed for victory in his State Senate race over George Plescia, 51.38 to 42.39%.

LAST MINUTE SPECIAL INTEREST MONEY POURS INTO LA MESA COUNCIL RACE

By Kristin Kjaero

November 5, 2012 (La Mesa) -- ECM reviewed the October 25 final financial reports before the election, and discovered that special interest money from out of town and out of state has poured into the La Mesa City Council race.

The California Real Estate Committee PAC located in Los Angeles filed an Independent Expenditure Report that showed they spent $30,000 on mailers for Laura Lothian, and had received a $7,716 contribution for a poll from the National Association of Realtors Fund located in Chicago.

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WHO POSTED MISLEADING HIT PIECE IN EL CAJON COUNCIL RACE?

November 5, 2012 (El Cajon) -- An anonymous Facebook ad attacking three El Cajon councilmembers and another candidate has been taken down--but not before hurling blatant falsehoods and misrepresentations into cyberspace.

The ad included an unauthorized use of the City's official seal with a message claiming that the E l Cajon City Council has been involved in "lies, cheats, scandals and much more."  A letter from the city attorney indicates such misuse for purposes of distortion is a felony.

RENO DISPATCH: ONE QUESTION BEFORE YOU VOTE—WHO IS BETTER FOR VETERANS?

By Jamie Reno

Despite the fact that we have been a nation at war for more than a decade, sadly, and surprisingly, the plight of America's veterans has not by any measure been a front-burner issue in this presidential election. But it's not too late for you to make it one.

Full column:  http://therenodispatch.blogspot.com/2012/11/election-eve-question-wholl-be-better.html

CANDIDATES AT COUNCIL FORUM WRESTLE OVER LEMON GROVE CITY FINANCES

November 4, 2012 (Lemon Grove)-- How can Lemon Grove find the money to repair its pot-holed streets, revive its downtown and restore its shuttered Recreation Department?

At a candidate forum Monday night, incumbents and challengers offered a wide range of proposed solutions. Read full coverage at Lemon Grove Patch.

GO VOTE!

November 5, 2012 (San Diego's East County) --  There are many important issues on your ballot, from president to local school boards, council races and initiatives. Early voting is underway at the Registrar's office, or vote at your polls on Tuesday.  If you have questions, contact the Registrar of Voters.

View East County Magazine's nonpartisan voter guide . View the nonpartisan League of Women Voters Smart Voter guide.  View the nonpartisan Project Vote Smart .  Also see the County Democratic Party voter guide and County Republican Voter guide.

A LOOK AT DUNCAN HUNTER’S RECORD

November 3, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – Four years after winning election  to replace his father in the House of Representatives, what sort of record  has Congressman Duncan D. Hunter amassed in Washington?   To help voters assess Rep. Hunter’s two terms, ECM has taken a look at his voting record, legislation, campaign finances,  campaign promises, and ratings from a variety of interest groups ranging from senior citizens, women and immigrant groups to business groups, educators, labor, gun rights, environmental, and veterans organizations.

Hunter refused to participate in any debates against his opponent, David Secor since the primary election. Secor interviewed with ECM and asserts that Hunter has ignored the needs of middle class voters and those who struggling in his district, also taking extreme stances on women's and senior's issues. 

Hunter, a combat veteran of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, failed to respond to interview requests from ECM and other prominent East County media. He also failed to provide information to the League of Women Voters for its nonpartisan SmartVoter site.  He has not held a single live town hall meeting in his district .  Locally, his appearances have been largely restricted to Chamber of Commerce and Tea Party events, as well as Republican fundraisers.  

Below is the information on his record that we’ve compiled based on nonpartisan independent sources and his own legislative office.

LUNCH WITH STATE SENATOR JOEL ANDERSON ON NOV. 15

November 3, 2012 (Alpine) – The Alpine Mountain Empire Chamber hosts a lunch with State Senator Joel Anderson on November 15, from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. at the Paparazzi’s Restaurant, 1347 Tavern Road, Alpine.  The topic for discussion is “An Update from Sacramento”.  Anderson, State Senator from the thirty-sixth Senate District, represents over 1,000,000 constituents.  He was named the “California State Senate Legislator of the Year” by the California Small Business Association and California Small Business Roundtable.

Tickets for the event are $20 and may be purchased at www.alpinechamber.com/membership/payments.html.

JOHN CHIANG, CALIFORNIA STATE CONTROLLER NOV. 15 TO HEADLINE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS LUNCHEON

November 3, 2012 (San Diego) – The League of Women Voters’ Lunch with League will feature Controller John Chiang as guest of honor on November 15 at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse Restaurant, 2150 Harbor Island Drive, San Diego from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.  Chiang, California’s chief fiscal officer, has fought to make finances more transparent and accountable to the public and to weed out waste, fraud and abuse of public money.  He has also led efforts to reform the state’s public pension systems, helped local governments navigate difficult economic times, protected precious natural resources and launched financial and tax assistance seminars.

GLOVES COME OFF IN EMBATTLED GROSSMONT UNION HIGH SCHOOL DISTRICT RACE

Doug Deane and Jim Kelly confirm Grand Jury investigation; education leaders clash on Alpine High and bond money issues

By Miriam Raftery

November 2, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) – A prominent education leader has stepped forward to defend GUHSD board member Priscilla Schreiber and candidate Jim Weaver from attacks made by board member Jim Kelly in an editorial published in East County Magazine.

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