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HOUSE PASSES 10 BILLS TO COMBAT HUMAN TRAFFICKING

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 29, 2015 (San Diego) – It’s rare for both parties in Congress to agree on anything these days.  But the House of Representatives has just approved 10 bills to help combat human trafficking.  All five of San Diego’s Congressional representatives voted in favor of two of the bills and the rest passed by voice vote without a roll call of members.

CHANGES ON HORIZON FOR GROSSMONT CENTER & VICINITY

 

By Miriam Raftery; Kristin Kjaero contributed to this story

Big changes could soon be coming to Grossmont Center.

At the La Mesa City Council meeting on Tuesday night January 27th, Steve Cushman  gave a presentation  regarding the future of the regional shopping mall and surrounding properties owned by the Cushman family.

A 50-year lease with developers of the shopping center expired in mid-January and now the shopping mall and adjacent properties are reverting back to the Cushman family.  That includes 125 acres, extending beyond the mall itself to many surrounding sites.

HOUSE INDEFINITELY POSTPONES BORDER ACT

 

By Hayden Parsley

January 28, 2015 (Washington D.C.) - Leaders of the United States House of Representatives have decided to postpone a vote on the “Secure Our Borders Act.” Otherwise known as H.R. 399, the bill was called for by Republicans and would require the Border Agency to stop all illegal border crossings within five years or be penalized.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT

 

 

East County News Service

January 25, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) – Here are some of the most important items on agendas of our local boards, commissions and councils this week in San Diego’s East County.

CAMPO-LAKE MORENA PLANNING GROUP TO VOTE MONDAY ON STAR RANCH

East County News Service

January 24, 2016 (Campo)—The Campo Lake Morena Planning Group meets Monday evening at 7 p.m.  The agenda includes a staff update and vote on the latest version of the Star Ranch plan.  Officers will be elected and vacancies on the board filled.  In addition planners will discuss concerns raised by Boulevard and Jacumba planners over the addition of large battery storage facilities at the proposed Soitec Solar project.

To view the full agenda, click “read more” and scroll down.

PRESIDENT LAYS OUT POPULIST PLANS TO HELP MIDDLE CLASS IN STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS

 

By Hayden Parsley

Note: Full text of the President's speech is posted below this story.

President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Address this Tuesday. With the eyes of the nation on Washington, he focused on middle class economics. His main goals are child care, labor, education, and healthcare. President Obama called on Congress and the American people to advance these goals.

He also cited his administration’s accomplishments, including ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as implementing policies that he says resulted in “the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in 50 years.”

Still, he acknowledged that middle class families are struggling, and proposed solutions.

REPUBLICAN RESPONSE TO STATE OF UNION OFFERS SHARP CONTRAST TO PRESIDENT’S VISION

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – The official Republican Party response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech was delivered by Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa, a mother and  Lieutenant Colonel in the Army National Guard.

Ernst stated that “rather than respond to a speech, I’d like to talk about your priorities.” She said the newly elected Republican majority in Congress “understands how difficult these past six years have been” citing economic concerns and “frustration with Washington’s dysfunction.”

She then laid out priorities of the Republican party, casting clear differences for voters between the President’s goals and those of the GOP Congress.

WHAT OBAMA’S STATE OF THE UNION MEANS FOR SAN DIEGO

 

By Chris Jennewein

Reprinted with permission from Times of San Diego, a member of the San Diego Online News Network

White House photo: President Obama speaking to Congress.

January 21, 2015 (Washington D.C.) --President Obama’s nearly hour-long State of the Union speech on Tuesday had good news for a number of constituencies in San Diego, from veterans to scientists to immigrants.

The speech drew praise from Democrats in the San Diego congressional delegation, but criticism from Republicans. Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican, labeled it “old ideas” while Rep. Scott Peters, a Democrat, said he was encouraged by the president’s commitment to scientific research, tax changes and wider educational opportunity.

“I was encouraged to hear President Obama engaging on issues of importance to San Diego and the country, and calling for bipartisanship on economic growth,” said Peters, whose district covers most of central San Diego County.

Here’s a synopsis of the Obama’s comments on issues of specific importance to San Diego:

MITT ROMNEY SIGNALS WIFE'S BACKING FOR 2016 PRESIDENTIAL RUN

 

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

Story and photos by Chris Stone

January 17, 2015 (San Diego)--Mitt Romney on Friday gave the clearest hints so far that he is leaning toward another presidential bid, using the historic carrier Midway as a launching pad.

BILL TO BAN MOST ABORTIONS AFTER 20 WEEKS SET FOR VOTE IN HOUSE JAN. 22

 

By Hayden Parsley and Miriam Raftery

January 17, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – A bill pushed forward by the Republican majority in the House of Representatives seeks to ban abortions after 20 weeks—five months-- except in cases of rape, incest, or a serious danger to the mother.

HOUSE PASSES VETERANS' SUICIDE PREVENTION BILL

 

East County News Service

January 15, 2015 (Washington D.C.)—The House of Representatives has unanimously passed HR 203, the Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act. This bipartisan legislation – originally passed by the House in the 113th Congress, but blocked by a single U.S. Senator – addresses the epidemic of suicide among our nation’s veterans.

HOUSE VOTES TO BLOCK IMMIGRATION REFORM FUNDING

 

East County News Service

January 14, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--The House of Representatives has voted to block funding for immigration reforms ordered by President Barack Obama. The action puts the status of millions of undocumented people who would have been allowed to stay in America under that order in limbo.  The language to block funding was inserted into a measure to fund the Department of Homeland Security through September.

In addition, the House added an amendment to halt the Deferred Action for Children Arrivals Program, which stopped deportation for some immigrants who were children when they came to America.

LA MESA CITY COUNCIL ROUNDUP

 

Free parking extended, key appointments made

By Kristin Kjaero

January 14, 2015 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa City Council held their first full meeting since being sworn into office in December.  

The annual State of the City address, outside Board council assignments, village parking meters, a marketing and communications plan, and the appointment of two students to the Youth Advisory Commission were the topics of the day.

LA MESA STATE OF THE CITY

January 14, 2015 (La Mesa) – Incoming Mayor Mark Arapostathis presented the annual State of the City address at this Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

East County Magazine is pleased to present it in full here.

FEINSTEIN AND DAVIS MOVE TO EXTEND MARRIAGE EQUALITY RIGHTS

 

January 10, 2015 (San Diego)--U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (D-San Diego) became an original cosponsor of legislation that would end the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in its entirety and ensure marriage equality for all. A companion bill in the Senate has been introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California).

WILL THE POST OFFICE BE DISMANTLED?

 

 

Overnight mail service ends; privatization push triggers boycott of Staples

By Hayden Parsley

Miriam Raftery also  contributed to this report.

Click here to hear our radio interview with Tom Wood and Eddie B. Cooper Jr. with the American Postal Workers Union Local 197 in San Diego.

January 9, 2015 (San Diego) – Many Americans are shocked to learn that effective January 5th, the U.S. Postal Service has stopped all overnight deliveries. Nationwide, 82 mail processing plants are closing, hours have been cut at Post Offices, and patrons are being steered toward competitors such as Staples, triggering a backlash in the form of a Staples boycott.

It’s all part of an effort by conservatives in Congress to slow down, outsource and privatize postal services—a move that could ultimately lead to the demise of the Post Office completely. That could mean price hikes for stamps and delivery services, lay-offs for workers, inconveniences and new costs for businesses, as well as potential cuts in delivery for rural residents.  That’s concerning for those reliant on mail deliveries of vital items such as prescription medications.

GOVERNOR BROWN'S BUDGET BOOSTS EDUCATION FUNDING, AIMS TO STOP TUITION HIKES, BUT FAILS TO RESTORE DEEP CUTS IN SERVICES FOR THE POOR

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 11, 2015 (Sacramento)—Governor Jerry Brown has unveiled his proposed $164.7 billion budget for the 2015-2016 fiscal year(including $113.3 billion in general funds), drawing mixed reactions from around the state following several months of healthy revenue growth.   Seeking a fiscally prudent path, the Governor aims to pay down long-term debts and boost California’s rainy day fund for budget reserves by $2.8 billion.

REPUBLICANS SET STAGE TO SLASH SOCIAL SECURITY AND DISABILITY BENEFITS

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 10, 2015 (Washington D.C.) – On the first day of the new Congressional session, House Republicans pushed through a rule change that advocates for senior citizens and the disabled warn will lead to major benefit cuts for retirees and people on disability.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) legislative policy director calls the action “a mistake” that could lead to devastating 20% cuts for people dependent on disability payments as well as negative impacts for retirees--including reductions in benefit payments and another rise in retirement age, which is already set to go up from age 65 to 67.

Without a single Democratic vote, House Republicans pushed through a rule change that prohibits members from approving any financial fix to the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) program unless it is tied to broader “reforms” in Social Security that critics including the AARP say will lead to privatization of the program and weakening of benefits.  

HOUSE WEAKENS MANDATE FOR EMPLOYERS TO PROVIDE HEALTHCARE

 

East County News Service

January 8, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--The House of Representatives voted today to strike down a portion of the Affordable Care Act’s healthcare mandate.  The law requires that employers must provide healthcare for all employees working 30 hours a week or more.

SENATOR BOXER ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT IN 2016

 

By Hayden Parsley

January 8, 2015 (Washington D.C.)--After two decades in the senate, California Senator Barbara Boxer announced this Thursday that she will not run for reelection in 2016.

At 74 years old, Boxer states she will put effort into ensuring her seat remains with her Democratic Party. She also says she will, “Keep fighting for the issues I love,” and plans to spend her time helping people. She says that neither her age nor the Republican majority are factors in her decision, but that she wants to come home to the state that she loves.

ISSA REPLACED AS CHAIR OF HOUSE OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 8, 2015 (San Diego’s East County Magazine)—Congressman Darrell Issa (R-San Diego) has been replaced by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) as chair of the powerful House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform.

STATE COMPLETES INVESTIGATION OF SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT OVER FUNDING DISCREPANCIES: LOCAL TAXPAYERS TO FOOT BILL

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 7, 2015 (Spring Valley) – The State Controller’s Office has issued its final review report on the San Miguel Consolidated Fire Protection District’s administrative and internal accounting controls.

“Our review did not identify any significant deficiencies with the District’s administrative and internal accounting controls,” the report states. None-the-less, the report indicates the state plans to charge the district for the cost of the investigation. report indicates the state launched the investigation  because it had “reason to believe that the Annual Report of Financial Transactions submitted by the District is misstated, incomplete, or incorrect.”

NEW CALIFORNIA LAWS THAT MAY AFFECT YOU

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 5, 2015 (San Diego’s East County)—Governor Brown has signed 930 bills into law, covering a broad spectrum of issues.  These range from laws to protect consumer rights and privacy to laws that affect gun owners, immigrants, senior care facilities, renters and condo owners, youth sports, students, prisoners, dog owners, parents, business owners, and many others.

HOT HEARINGS IN EAST COUNTY THIS WEEK: LAKESIDE, BOULEVARD, COUNTY SUPERVISORS AND HELIX WATER BOARDS

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 4, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) –Many hot agenda items are coming up before boards, commissions and councils across East County during this first week of the new year.

BILLS BY SAN DIEGO’S SENATOR BLOCK BECOME LAW IN JANUARY

 

Senator’s 2015 agenda includes stopping UC tuition hikes

By Miriam Raftery

January 1, 2015 (San Diego) – Four bills by State Senator Marty Block (D-San Diego) become law today.  Two aim to protect the elderly in residential care facilities, a second will protect victims of human trafficking and save the state money by consolidating trials from multiple jurisdictions, and a fourth will speed up testing of beach water quality.

One of his top goals for 2015 will be to keep higher education “accessible and affordable for all of California’s students.”  Block and Senate President pro Tem Kevin de León recently introduced SB 15 which would eliminate tuition increases for the University of California system and provide substantially greater support to all of the state’s public education institutions.

HOUSE MAJORITY WHIP SPOKE TO WHITE SUPREMACISTS

 

 

December 31, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - The new Republican Whip in Congress, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, is drawing scrutiny amid revelations that he spoke to a white supremacist group in 2002 that was founded by David Duke, a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

JEB BUSH JUMPS TO TOP OF GOP PRESIDENTIAL POLL PACK

 

By Joe Gandelman, Editor in Chief, The Moderate Voice

Reprinted with permission from The Moderate Voice, a member of the San Diego Online News Association (SDONA)

December 28, 2014 (San Diego)--Yes, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush is a contender for the Republican Presidential nomination, even if he has not officially announced. Bigtime. A new poll shows his leaping to the top of the GOP presidential poll pack:

GOV. BROWN NAMES MICHAEL PICKER, EX-AIDE, TO CHAIR CPUC

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Michael Picker during a visit to the University of San Diego

December 25, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – Following the resignation of disgraced California Public Utilities President Michael Peevey, Governor Jerry Brown has appointed his former renewable energy advisor, Michael Picker, to head up the CPUC as president of the board. Picker also served in the same capacity for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s administration.

ALPINE FIRE BOARD MEMBERS REAPPOINTED; NO OPPONENTS RAN

 

East County News Service

December 19, 2014 (Alpine)--Four of the five Board Members of the Alpine Fire Protection District were sworn into office for additional terms at the December 16th Board Meeting.  At the meeting, District legal counsel Steve Fitch, administered the oath of office to all four at the same time.

ERA ENDS IN LA MESA

 

East County News Service

December 19, 2014 (La Mesa)--It was the end of an era last Tuesday night at the La Mesa City Hall, where Mayor Art Madrid stepped down after a quarter of a century at the helm—one fourth of the time since La Mesa became a city.

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