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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.

HUESO PLEADS TO RECKLESS DRIVING CHARGE

 

East County News Service

December 18, 2014 (San Diego) – State Senator Ben Hueso has accepted a plea deal from prosecutors in Sacramento County.  Hueso, a Democratic legislator from San Diego, was originally charged with drunk driving but pled guilty to a lesser charge of reckless driving involving alcohol.

EL CAJON TURNS THE CORNER: MAYOR BILL WELLS DELIVERS OPTIMISTIC STATE OF THE CITY 2014 ADDRESS

 

By Paul Kruze

Photo by Randy Jordan

December 16, 2014 (El Cajon)--It has been the worst of times and it has been the best of times for the city of El Cajon.

Mayor Bill Wells painted a generally optimistic picture in his State of the City address delivered on Tuesday, December 9th shortly after he was sworn in before a full City Council chamber. The mayor’s upbeat message came despite having to deal with some formidable headwinds during the past year—a year that saw the fifth largest city in San Diego County deal with political appointments surrounded by controversy, a crackdown on the city’s liquor stores, the city’s improving financial stability and ongoing renovation plans for the embattled East County Performing Arts Center.

HUNTER ACTION TO TRANSFER MOUNT SOLEDAD CROSS TO PRIVATE GROUP PASSES CONGRESS

 

December 14, 2014 (San Diego) - Language added to the Defense Authorization Act by San Diego Congressman Duncan Hunter would transfer the Mount Soledad cross to a private war memorial organization.  Congress passed the bill on Friday and it is now awaiting signature by President Barack Obama.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN AVERTED; PRESIDENT SIGNS CONTROVERSIAL BUDGET BILL

 

Update:  The Senate passed the spending bill tonight.  California Senator Barbara Boxer voted no; Senator Dianne Feinstein did not vote. President Barack Obama later signed the measure.

By Miriam Raftery

December 13, 2014 (Washington D.C.) –A spending bill with more pages than the epic novel War and Peace passed the House Thursday night.  If not approved by midnight tonight by the Senate, when government funding runs out, the government is set to shut down. 

But controversial provisions slipped in by House Republicans have outraged consumer advocates and many Democrats.These include provisions that would allow big banks to “gamble with taxpayer money,” by repealing key provisions of the Dodd Frank Act separating money in traditional FDIC insured bank accounts from trades, warns Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts).  Other controversial items would increase campaign donations to political parties by wealthy donors ten-fold, block money for implementing Medicare and Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act,  slash spending for education reforms and the Environmental Protection Agency, among other things.

VACANCY ON LA MESA-SPRING VALLEY SCHOOL BOARD

 

East County News Service

December 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – La Mesa-Spring Valley School District is accepting applications now through January 12th to fill the vacancy left by former trustee Bill Baber. Baber won election to La Mesa’s City Council.

HOUSE PASSES DOOMED DROUGHT BILL, SETTING STAGE FOR CALIFORNIA WATER WARS

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 10, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--A bill passed by House Republicans is reigniting water wars in California and faces virtually certain defeat in the Senate, due to opposition from both of California’s Senators and a veto threat by President Barack Obama.

TORTURE REPORT DRAWS FIRE

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 9, 2014 (Washington D.C.) --California Senator Dianne Feinstein, chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has released a 500-page executive summary of  the committee’s report on enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA after the 9/11 attacks. Those treatments on 119 suspects amounted to torture in some cases, said Senator Feinstein, who concludes that the CIA’s actions a decade ago are “a stain on our values and on our history.”

DEMAIO ESTABLISHES A SUPER-PAC

 

By Miriam Raftery

December 9, 2014 (San Diego) – Former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio lost his runs for mayor and Congress, defeated by Congressman Scott Peters in the 50th Congressional District.

TEA PARTY VS. OCCUPY DEBATE MODERATED BY MIKE AGUIRRE DEC. 2

 

November 26, 2014 (San Diego) - On Tuesday December 2nd 2014, the San Diego Debate Society in partnership with KNSJ 89.1 FM will conduct a debate between the San Diego Tea Party and San Diego Occupy.  The debate will cover topics such as the 1%, corporate policy, taxes, etc.  It will be held at the Church of the Brethren on Tuesday December 2nd, 2014 between 6:00 to 10:00 p.m.

KEYSTONE PIPELINE FAILS IN SENATE BY JUST ONE VOTE

 

By Miriam Raftery

Satellite: Photo: Strip mining of Athabasca oil sands, courtesy NASA

November 18, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – By a single vote, the Senate blocked passage of a measure to authorize building the controversial Keystone XL pipeline.  The measure previously passed the House of Representatives 252-161.

But with Republicans taking control of the Senate in January, Senate Majority Leader-elect Mitch McConnell vowed to bring the matter up again soon after the new Congress convenes. Even if passed, however, the measure could face a veto by President Barack Obama.

California Democratic Senator Barbara Boxer opposed the XL Pipeline, calling it the “Extra Lethal Pipeline.” She cited health risks from chemicals that can cause lung damage as well as serious environmental concerns.  "The facts are the facts are the facts," she said. "If you're not a scientist then be humble and listen to the peer-reviewed scientists.”

NATIONAL SECURITY EXPERT TO SPEAK ON MIDDLE EAST CRISIS NOV. 20 IN EL CAJON

 

November 11, 2014 (El Cajon)--The East County Democratic Club (ECDC) will focus on the Middle Eastern crisis brought on by actions of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) (also known as the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL)) on November 20, 2014.  Dr. Todd Myers will address the issues involved at 7 p.m., at Coco’s Restaurant, 1026 Fletcher Parkway, El Cajon.   The public is invited to the meeting, without regard to membership in the club or party.

EAST COUNTY SCHOOL BOARD RESULTS: WARNER SPRINGS AND RAMONA RACES STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL

 

By Janis Russell and Miriam Raftery

November 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – A week after the election with 28,000 absentee and provisional ballots remaining to be counted countywide, two East County race remain too close to call.

SPLIT RESULTS ON EAST COUNTY SCHOOL BONDS

 

By Janis Russell

November 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)-  Cajon Valley, Lakeside, Lemon Grove, and Ramona’s school districts  all had school bond measures on the ballot. Each bond measure needed 55% of the votes to pass.  Lemon Grove’s school bond passed by a healthy margin.  Lakeside’s school bond narrowly won approval.  Cajon Valley and Ramona’s bonds appear to have failed by slim margins, though the Registrar of voters still has about 28,000 absentee and provisional ballots countywide left to count.  Below are details.

DEMAIO CONCEDES DEFEAT

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 8, 2014 (San Diego) – Republican Carl Demaio has conceded defeat to Democratic Congressman Scott Peters in the hotly contested 52nd Congressional District race.

On election night, DeMaio was on top by a slim margin.  But as provisional and absentee ballots delivered to polling places came in, Peters took the lead by over 4,700 votes.  Associated Press called the race in favor of Peters this weekend with less than 10,000 ballots left to be counted.

DeMaio told a UT San Diego reporter, “Because I care about San Diego, I wish Mr. Peters the best and hope he will endeavor to represent the district well.”

PETERS TAKES LEAD OVER DEMAIO

 

East County News Service

Photo: Scott Peters and family

November 6, 2014 (San Diego)-- Democratic Congressman Scott Peters has taken the lead over Republican challenger Carl DeMaio in the 5nd Congressional District– by a slim margin of just 861 votes, Registrar of Voters Michael Vu announced late today.  That’s a switch from election night, when DeMaio was on top by 752 votes.

LA MESA'S PROP J GOES UP IN SMOKE, BUT NATIONALLY MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION GAINS

 

By  Leon Thompson

November 5, 2014 (La  Mesa)  - The hopes for an ordinance that would allow for medicinal cannabis dispensaries in La Mesa went up-in-smoke as Proposition “J” failed in last night’s election.   A similar measure in Encinitas suffered the same fate.

STATEWIDE INITIATIVE RESULTS

 

By Paul Kruze

November 2014 (Sacramento)--So what was on the mind of California voters on Tuesday  in voting on ballot initiatives? 

They approved new water projects and set aside funds for a rainy day. They voted against allowing the state’s insurance commissioner to have authority over insurance rates, also defeating mandatory drug and alcohol testing for medical doctors and caps on malpractice awardsVoters gave their approval for criminal sentences for simple drug possession and other property crimes to be reduced immediately to misdemeanors, but dealt a major blow to the gambling aspirations of three small California Indian tribes  by voting down a measure which would allowed them to build a casino outside the borders of their reservation.

AS NATION TURNS RED, CALIFORNIA STAYS BLUE WITH SWEEP OF STATEWIDE OFFICES

 

By Paul Kruze

November 5, 2014 (Sacramento)--Tuesday night was not a happy one for Democrats. A red wave of Republican wins resulted in the party increased its hold on the House of Representatives and gained formidable control of U.S. Senate. But as a consolation prize, Democrats were able to keep California in the “blue state” column by keeping a firm hold on the state’s highest offices.

Early on in the vote counting, major news organizations projected that voters had granted Governor Jerry Brown a second consecutive four-year term  (the fourth in his political political career)  by a comfortable margin which did not change throughout the evening.  Incumbent Democrat Gavin Newsom was able to stave off a challenge by East County resident and former chairman of the California Republican Party, Ron Nehring.

REPUBLICANS WIN CONTROL OF SENATE, GAIN HOUSE SEATS INCLUDING ONE LIKELY IN SAN DIEGO

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 5, 2014 (San Diego) -- Nationally, Republicans have won control of the Senate and increased their margin of dominnance in the House of Representatives. One of those gains appears to have occurred in San Diego's 52nd Congressional District.

With all votes tallied except several thousand provisional ballots, former Councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican, has just 752 votes more than Democratic incumbent Scott Peters, up by 50.26% to 49.74%.  It is not yet known whether Peters will request a recount, which is his right under the law with such a narrow margin. 

In other local races, Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter captured 71.55% of the vote over challenger James Kimber, a physician assistant in the 50th Congressional District.  In the 51st District, Democratic Congressman Juan Vargas scored a solid victory with 68% of the vote over his opponent, Stephen Meade. 

Two other races were somewhat closer. Congresswoman Susan Davis, a Democrat, fought off a challenge from ex-Navy Seal Larry Wilske, a Republican. Davis won with 57.88% of the vote in the 53rd District; Wilskie picked up  42.12%. Congresman Darrell Issa, a Republican who has drawn national media scrutiny as chair of the House Oversight Committee held his seat with 57.97% of the vote over Democratic challenger Dave Peiser, who receivecd 42.03%.

CHALLENGERS OUST INCUMBENTS IN SAN MIGUEL FIRE DISTRICT

 

East County News Service

November 5, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- The biggest political upset in East County this electionappears to have taken place in the San Miguel Fire District, where a slate of challengers has won three seats on the board, ousting incumbents.

On top with 100% of precincts counted Mike Vacio, Jim Ek and Theresa McKenna with 20.16%, 18.25% and 16.26% of the vote.

RONN HALL WINS SEAT ON SANTEE COUNCIL; INCUMBENTS REELECTED

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

Photo: Ronn Hall

November 5, 2014 (Santee) -- Santee City Council members John Minto and Rob McNelis have won reelection with  26.02% and 22.79% of the vote respectively with 100% of precincts counted.  But the biggest vote getter was Ronn Hall, who drew 27.39% of the vote to fill a vacant seat on the Council. Hall, an insurance broker, is past President and a current board member of the Santee Chamber of Commerce, with strong name recognition in the community.

Challengers Maggie Acerra and Keshav Damoor, who ran on reform platforms, drew 15.44% and 8.32% of the vote.

Unlike some local cities that are built out, Santee weathered tough economic times with a sound budget due in part to new development including a sports complex that created new property tax revenues.  The fate of remaining undeveloped lands in the city was a key campaign issue, with pending projects including Fanita Ranch, a proposed theater complex, and land around the Carlton Hills Golf Course that recently sold.

MAYOR WELLS, COUNCILMAN KENDRICK SCORE STRONG WINS IN EL CAJON

 

 

Photo: Mayor Bill Wells celebrates victory with suporters; photo by Randy Jordan, R. Jordan Photgraphy

By Miriam Raftery and Janis Russell

November 5, 2014 (El Cajon) -- Mayor Bill Wells thumped two opponents to win 81.6% of the vote, winning reelection handily over Allen Theweny and Jonathan Wright.  Councilman Gary Kendrick took over two-thirds of the vote (64.14%) over his opponent, Elwood Alexander.

The incumbents had the benefit of an improving economy and new policies such as the city's outreach to car dealers to bring more revenues to El Cajon, a city with the county's highest poverty rate.  El Cajon's leaders have also had success in healing relations with the city's large Iraqi Chaldean population, with Mayor Wells speaking out publicly in support of bringing persecuted Christian Chaldean refugees to El Cajon.

DEMOCRATS PICK UP SEAT ON LEMON GROVE COUNCIL

 

By Miriam Raftery

Updated November 5, 2014 (Lemon Grove)--Democratic challenger Jennifer Mendoza has ousted incumbent Councilman Howard Cook, a Republican, to increase Democratic control on Lemon Grove's Council.  Jerry Jones, an incumbent who is also a Democrat, also won reelection. Though officially a nonpartisan race, the political parties threw their weight behind candidates in the race.

Chair of the city's Planning Commission, Mendoza is also a paralegal and as a board member of the Soroptomists, Boy Scouts, PTA, and other community groups. She has made street repairs her number one goal if elected.

ARAPOSTATHIS DEFEATS LA MESA MAYOR ART MADRID, BABER & MCWHIRTER WIN COUNCIL RACES

 

Photo, left: Baber and McWhirter's victory party at Tiramisu Trattoria in La Mesa

 

Republicans, developer-backed candidates in Council race

Updated November 5, 2014 (La Mesa) - Mayor Art Madrid, who has led La Mesa for the past 24 years, has been unseated by Councilman and teacher Mark Arapostathis.  With 100% of precincts counted, Arapostathis has received 58.8% of the vote to Madrid's 41.11%.

INCUMBENTS WIN HANDILY IN STATE SENATE AND ASSEMBLY RACES

 

By Miriam Raftery

November 4, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) – By large margins, legislative candidates representing East County have won their reelection bids. Republican State Senator Joel Anderson leads Democratic challenger Fotios “Frank” Tsimboukakis by a 69.29% to 30.71% margin, with 37.7% of votes counted in the 38th district. 

In the 40th State Senate District, where two Democrats are in a run-off due to the top-two primary system, incumbent Senator Ben Hueso leads challenger Rafael Estrada 55.29% to 44.71% with a third of all precincts counted in San Diego County, though results from Imperial County are not yet available. Hueso enjoys the substantial lead despite an arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol.

NEWCOMERS FAIL IN BID TO WIN SEATS ON GROSSMONT HIGH SCHOOL BOARD

 

Updated November 5, 2014 (San Diego's East County) -- With 100% of votes counted, incumbents Robert Shield and Jim Kelly won reelection on the Grossmont Union High School District Board with 24.31 and 22.58 % of the vote respectively. Dr. Gary Woods, who lost his seat in the last election and consistently voted in a block with Kelly and Shield, is in third place with 22.2%,  beat by a substantial margin over challengers Shirley Anderson (14.39%), Barbara Stevens (11.39%) and Steve Mattia (5.12%).  Woods will fill the vacant seat left by Dick Hoy', who did not seek reelection.

The election outcome will solidify control of the GUHSD board by staunch conservative members opposed to building an Alpine High School or backing Alpine parents' wishes to split up the district and unify with the Alpine Union School District.  The district is currently embroiled in two lawsuits over its obstructionism on turning over funds from two bond measures into an escrow account to assure funds intended by voters for building a high school will be used for that purpose. 

FASCINATING FACTS FROM THE REGISTRAR OF VOTERS

November 4, 2014 (San Diego) – Voters are casting ballots today at 1432 precincts with 1236 polling places manned by 6300 poll workers. Polls close at 8 p.m. tonight.  Unusual polling places include an equestrian center in Ramona, a pet wash and a fencing center in Escondido, a bowling alley in San Marcos, a theater in San Diego, and a museum in Vista.

The Registrar of Voters is forecasting a 50 to 55 percent turnout in today’s gubernatorial election. If accurate, that would be lower than the 64% in2010 and 57% in 2006.  As of noon yesterday, only 281,147 mail-in ballots out of 868,122 issued countywide had been turned in. Voters who have not yet mailed in absentee ballots can drop them off at polling places.

EAST COUNTY VOTING GUIDE: NONPARTISAN INFORMATION FROM EAST COUNTY MAGAZINE

 

 

 

East County News Service

November 3, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)— East County Magazine has compiled this handy guide for you with links to all of our coverage of local races, as well as some statewide and federal (Congressional) races on your ballot for the election on Tuesday, November 4. 

We invited all candidates running in local races listed below to be interviewed, and include print and/or  radio interviews with those who responded.   We also have links to our coverage of debates, candidate forums, analysis, editorials submitted by our readers (ECM does not editorialize), and other relevant information on candidates and ballot propositions. Also see below for links to additional nonpartisan resources for info on these and other races.

Our nonpartisan guide is arranged in three sections: local, state, and federal (Congressional) races, with  the races alphabetical under each section. To view, click "read more" below and scroll down.

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