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“SPINELESS RUBBER CHICKEN” AWARD PRESENTED TO JUAN VARGAS, CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS IN KEY RACE FOR EAST COUNTY

By Miriam Raftery

February 16, 2012 (San Diego) – State Senator Juan Vargas came to the California Democratic Convention hoping to find support for his campaign to fill Bob Filner’s seat in Congress.  He won the party endorsement—but has lost support from many here.  A group of activists surprised Vargas in the hall and presented him with a “Spineless Rubber Chicken” award for twice ducking a vote on SB 810, a landmark healthcare reform bill opposed by the insurance industry. 

Insurers reportedly spent $1.46 million to elect Vargas to the Legislature. His Congressional campaign has taken another $140,000 in insurance and pharmaceutical contributions, as ECM previously reported http://eastcountymagazine.org/node/8577

CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATE CONDEMNS PAY RAISES FOR COUNCIL, MAYOR

 

 
Proposed Pay Raises Defy all Logic During These Economic Times, Kostrinsky says
 
February 17, 2012 (San Diego) – When the seven members of the City of San Diego’s Salary Setting Commission unanimously proposed to increase the salaries of Councilmembers from $75,000 annually to $175,000 annually while increasing the Mayor’s salary from about $100,000 to $235,000.  City Council candidate for District 7, Mat Kostrinsky has come out against the proposal.

FILNER PLEDGES TO OPEN VETERANS’ OFFICE AT CITY HALL, ASSIST SAN DIEGO VETERANS WITH JOBS AND MORE

“The official casualty count of Iraq and Afghanistan is 5,000 plus killed and about 45,000 wounded…You know how many men and women have approached the VA for help for war-related injuries from those two wars? Almost a million," said Congressman Bob Filner. "We need to take care of these kids when they get back here…Veterans are THE issue for Democrats.”

 

By Miriam Raftery and Mia Mykleberg

February 16, 2012 (San Diego) –Thousands of soldiers are returning home to San Diego County as the Iraq war ends and troop draw downs occur in Afghanistan. 

At the California Democratic Party’s newly formed Veterans’ Caucus, Congressman and Mayoral candidate Bob Filner, former Chairman of the Veterans Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives, laid out detailed plans to welcome home veterans with respect and hands-on help--including establishing a Veterans' Office for San Diego if he is elected Mayor.

2 LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL MEMBERS COAUTHOR BILL TO REQUIRE DISCLOSURE OF CORPORATE CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS

 

 
February 15, 2012 (Washington, D.C.) -- Two San Diego Congressional representatives, Susan Davis and Bob Filner, have taken steps to clean up the secret money plaguing our political system.  Both Democrats have joined colleagues in cosponsoring the Disclose 2012 Act (H.R. 4010) to require disclosure of the corporate and special interest money in politics.

REPRESENTATIVE HUNTER TO HOST JOB FAIR FEB. 24

 
February 15, 2012 (Poway) — Representative Duncan Hunter (R-El cajon)--announced today that he will host another community job fair, in partnership with the East and North County Career Centers, and the San Diego North and Poway Chambers of Commerce. The event will be held February 24, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon in the Poway Community Center auditorium, 13094 Civic Center Drive.  Admission is free.

 

ENDORSEMENT BATTLES IN TWO SAN DIEGO-AREA CONGRESSIONAL RACES STIR CONTROVERSY

 

By Miriam Raftery

February 12, 2012 (San Diego) – At this weekend’s California Democratic Convention, the statewide party issued pre-primary endorsements in three Congressional races but declined to make an early endorsement in two other races.

CALIFORNIA IS “BATTLEFIELD” STATE, LOCAL CONGRESSIONAL RACE AMONG KEY TARGETED DISTRICTS FOR DEMOCRATS, EX-SPEAKER PELOSI ANNOUNCES IN SAN DIEGO

 

Story and photo by Nadin Abbott

February 12, 2012 (San Diego) – Declaring it time to “regain control of the people’s House from the special interests,” California Democratic Party Chairman hosted a joint press conference with former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in San Diego, site of the 2012 California Democratic Convention themed “Battleground California.” 

Democrats’ hopes to pick up 25 Congressional seats in the 2012 elections include three seats in California—one of which is the newly redrawn  52nd Congressional District (formerly the 50th district) currently held by Republican Brian Bilbray.

Two well-known Democrats are vying for the nomination:  Lori Saldaña, former Assemblywoman and past Associate Dean at Mesa College,  and Scott Peters, former San Diego City Council president and Port director. 

TAX FIGHTER TO SPEAK FEB. 21 AT CAJON VALLEY REPUBLICAN WOMEN FEDERATED

 

 
February 14, 2012 (El Cajon)--The Cajon Valley Republican Women Federated will hold its monthly meeting on Tuesday, February 21st at 7:00 a.m. at The Pancake House restaurant, 1000 North Second Street. The guest speaker is Brian Brady, director of Stop Taxing Us, a north county based taxpayer advocacy group dedicated to holding candidates and elected officials accountable to California's taxpayers.

ASSEMBLY HIGHER EDUCATION CHAIR MARTY BLOCK CO-AUTHORS LEGISLATION TO MAKE COLLEGE MORE AFFORDABLE

 

February 10, 2012 (Sacramento)-- Assemblymember Marty Block (D-78th District),  Chair of the Assembly Higher Education Committee, has joined Speaker John A. Pérez on legislation that will keep college fees down for middle class families. The Middle Class Scholarship, which was introduced by Speaker Pérez today, will close a tax loophole for out-of-state corporations in order to cut college fees for middle income families.

 

THE WOMAN WHO STOOD ALONE AGAINST THE “THIEVING BANKS”

How Kamala Harris played hardball and won $18 billion to help California homeowners 

Story by Miriam Raftery, photos by Ron Logan

February 13, 2012 (San Diego) – Last September, the U.S. Department of Justice and attorney generals from other states were ready to sign a multi-state settlement of misconduct by banks that resulted in foreclosures.  The deal on the table? An estimated $4 billion or less for California, the state hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis. Moreover, no wrongdoers would be prosecuted.

So California’s Attorney General Kamala Harris stood up—and walked out. 

Her actions led to a dramatically different settlement reached last week that is expected to ultimately reach $40 billion—including an estimated $18 billion for California and $1.5 billion for San Diego homeowners.

OCCUPY PROTESTS AT CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION

By Nadin Abbott

February 13, 2012 (San Diego)--Several Occupy groups came together to protest outside the San Diego Convention Center at the California Democratic Convention on Saturday.

Around 100 people, including 40 local protesters and 60 from other areas including Los Angeles and Riverside, sought to draw attention of Democratic leaders and delegates. Issues included corporate power, civil liberties, homelessness and foreclosures. 

GOVERNOR, CONGRESSIONAL LEADERS AND STATEWIDE OFFICERS TO HEADLINE CALIFORNIA DEMOCRATIC CONVENTION IN SAN DIEGO THIS WEEKEND

 

February 10, 2012 (San Diego) – Democratic delegates and party activists from East County are among the participants at the three-day California Democratic Party Convention taking place Friday through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center. 

SUSAN DAVIS URGES PRESIDENT TO APPOINT HOUSING AGENCY DIRECTOR, BYPASS SENATE STONEWALLING


February 1, 2012 (Washington D.C.)--
Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), along with 27 other members of Congress, called upon President Obama to make an immediate appointment for the Director of the Federal Housing Financial Agency (FHFA).


“Reigniting the American Dream and expanding on our nation's economic recovery is contingent on restoring the housing market to the pillar of economic strength it once was," said Rep. Davis.  “We need a director in place at FHFA who can guide that effort and help middle class families avoid foreclosures and keep them in their homes.”

CONGRESSIONAL CANDIDATES FORUM FEB. 4 IN ALPINE


February 1, 2012 (Alpine)—Democratic, Republican and Libertarian candidates running against incumbent Congressman Duncan Hunter will be squaring off at a candidate forum on Saturday, February 4 at 1 p.m. in the Alpine Community Center, 1830 Alpine Blvd. in Alpine. 

CITIZENS’ ARREST OF MAYOR SANDERS ATTEMPTED OVER STADIUM NAMING RIGHTS DEAL

 

February 1, 2012 (San Diego) – A group of citizens attempted a citizens’ arrest of Mayor Jerry Sanders on Monday, alleging that his deal to temporarily change the name of Qualcomm Stadium without Council’s approval amounted to felony embezzlement.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith ruled that Sanders violated a municipal code by cutting a deal without the City Council's approval to allow a temporary name change for the stadium to “Snapdragon”, a company that provides mobile processing services to Qualcomm. 

2 VOTES NEEDED TO PASS SINGLE-HEALTHCARE BILL BY TUES. DEADLINE: VARGAS HAS NOT VOTED, COULD LOSE PARTY ENDORSEMENT

Update February 1, 2012:  SB 810 narrowly failed on reconsideration. After reportedly receiving thousands of call urging him to support the bill, Vargas ducked the issue and did not vote.

By Miriam Raftery

January 30, 2011 (San Diego) – State Senator Juan Vargas, a former insurance industry executive who has taken massive donations from the insurance industry, may cast the deciding vote Tuesday on whether or not millions of Californians will receive  guaranteed universal healthcare and dental care coverage.

HUNTER INTRODUCES BIPARTISAN RESOLUTION HONORING SERVICE OF U.S. MILITARY IN IRAQ

 
January 29, 2012 (Washington D.C.) 
— Friday, Representatives Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and Tim Murphy (R-PA), introduced a bipartisan resolution with 100 original cosponsors, expressing gratitude to members of the U.S. Armed Forces for their service and sacrifice in Operations Iraqi Freedom and New Dawn.  The resolution is available here.

 

MARTY BLOCK SETS SIGHTS ON 39TH STATE SENATE SEAT; HIGH COURT AFFIRMS NEW SENATE DISTRICT BOUNDARIES


By Miriam Raftery

January 28, 2012 (San Diego) – Yesterday, the California Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision to leave newly redrawn state Senate boundaries in place for this year’s elections. That’s good news for Assemblyman Marty Block, a Democrat and education expert running for the 39th State Senate district. The redrawn district has a 38.1% Democratic registration, 30.9% Republican and 26.1% decline to state, giving Block a clear advantage. 

In an exclusive interview with ECM, Block shared his goals and recapped his legislative accomplishments. Last year, Block authored 14 bills that were signed into law by the Governor—more than any other Assemblymember. Bill topics ranged from helping veterans and military families to protecting safe drinking water. But most reflect his passion for strengthening public education for California’s children, teens and college students. 

HOUSE PASSES WAR MEMORIAL PROTECTION ACT AUTHORED BY HUNTER


January 28, 2012 (Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 290, the War Memorial Protection Act. The legislation was introduced by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The War Memorial Protection Act—which allows for the inclusion of religious symbols on war memorials—was introduced by Hunter in response to a ruling by the Ninth Circuit which declared San Diego’s Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial unconstitutional. The measure is expected to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

COUNTY BACKS DOWN AFTER LAWSUIT OVER ALLEGED BROWN ACT VIOLATIONS

 

Feb. 29 meeting will allow public testimony on Red Tape Reduction Task Force recommendations, including developers’ proposal to eliminate community planning groups and Resource Protection Ordinance

By Miriam Raftery

January 27, 2012 (San Diego)—A lawsuit filed by Californians Aware has succeeded in persuading the San Diego County Board of Supervisors to vacate votes that approved key changes made by a developer-stacked Red Tape Reduction Task Force without public input. The lawsuit alleged that the Board violated the Brown Act by voting on items not listed as action items on the agenda.  Now, the County has announced it will hold a public hearing on February 29. 

LOCAL REACTIONS TO STATE OF UNON SPEECH: LEADERS IN BUSINESS, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SHARE THEIR VIEWS

By Miriam Raftery and Mia Myklebust

January 26, 2012 (San Diego’s East County) - President Barack Obama laid out some ambitious new legislative plans in Tuesday night’s State of the Union speech. Here’s a bipartisan sampling of reactions from local business and community leaders, as well as voters.

Scott Alevy, president and chief executive officer of the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, voiced support for some of the president's economic proposals, while voicing skepticism over other points in the speech. “Anything that brings jobs to Americans, be it jobs coming back from another company or creating jobs, is good,” said Alevy. “As a veteran myself, I love the idea of employing the veterans coming back with a Jobs Corps.”

OBAMA OUTLINES PLANS FOR “AN AMERICA BUILT TO LAST” IN STATE OF THE UNION SPEECH

President calls for trade reforms to bring jobs back to U.S., tax fairness and more

By Mia Myklebust and Miriam Raftery

January 26, 2012 (San Diego)—The State of the Union address traditionally reviews the condition of our nation and previews the President’s legislative plan for the future. This year, Barack Obama’s speech had added importance as his last State of the Union address before the 2012 election.  The incumbent presidents challenges were to address successes of his current term and his long-term goals for a potential five more years.    

The President provided evidence that economic recovery is underway. He touted his administration’s success in combating terrorism, eliminating Osama bin Ladin, ending the Iraq War and improving America’s relationships overseas. In addition, he laid out ambitious proposals for “an America built to last.”  He issued repeated calls to action, among them:

  •   Trade reforms and tax credits for businesses that bring jobs back to America
  •   Tax “fairness” to help middle class Americans
  •   Invest savings from ending the Iraq war into reducing the deficit and creating jobs
  •  Creation of a Veterans Jobs Corps
  •  Prevent high school drop-outs and provide incentives to stop tuition hikes
  •  End oil subsidies, increase U.S. oil production, and support clean energy  technologies

CONSERVATIVE AND LIBERAL GROUPS CALL FOR REP.HUNTER’s RESIGNATION OVER “INDEFINITE DETENTION OF CITIZENS” VOTE

 

February 3 protest planned at Congressman’s El Cajon office

January 25, 2012 (Ramona)—Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. On February 3rd, members of the liberal Ramona Forum will join forces with conservative members of the TEA party to demand the resignation of Congressman Duncan Hunter. The protest will be held at Rep. Hunter’s office, 1870 Cordell Street in El Cajon, from 1 to 4 p.m.

CONGRESSMAN BOB FILNER, SD MAYORAL CANDIDATE, TO SPEAK FEB. 1 IN LA MESA


January 25, 2012  (La Mesa) -- Congressman Bob Filner, the sole Democratic candidate for San Diego mayor, is the featured speaker at the Wednesday, February 1 general meeting of the La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club. The meeting, which is free and open to the public, will be held at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, in La Mesa.  Refreshments will be served t 6:30 p.m, followed by the meeting at 7 p.m.

GOVERNOR BROWN CITES ECONOMIC IMPROVEMENTS, CHALLENGES IN STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS

Republicans draw fire for criticizing speech—before it was written or delivered

January 22, 2012 (Sacramento ) – Governor Jerry Brown laid out his vision for restoring California’s reputation as a leader in innovation, job creation and renewable energy in his State of the State speech last week.

“Wherever I look, I see difficult choices,” he said of the budget decisions to come. “But I also see a bright future up ahead and a California economy that’s on the mend.”

ALPINE WEIGHS LAND USE CHANGES THAT MAY IMPACT 3,000 ACRES ON PRIVATE LANDS WITHIN NATIONAL FOREST

 

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2012 (Alpine) – The Alpine Community Planning Group (ACPG) is holding a series of public hearings on proposed land use changes that could impact about four percent (3,000 acres) of all lands in the APCG planning area.  The properties are among some 77,000 acres countywide of privately owned lands within Cleveland National Forest. 

ATKINS BILL WILL DENY VIOLENT ABUSERS SPOUSAL SUPPORT FROM THEIR VICTIMS

 
January 21, 2012
 (Sacramento)  Assemblymember Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) has introduced legislation to prevent abusive ex-spouses from forcing their victims to pay them spousal support and other financial compensation following a divorce.  AB 1522 was inspired by the case of a San Diego area woman who was ordered by a court to pay her husband's legal fees plus monthly spousal support, despite the fact that he was convicted of committing violent sex crimes against her and was ultimately sent to prison.  

 

CONGRESSMAN FILNER INTRODUCES BILL TO HELP VETERAN-OWNED BUSINESSES

 
January 21, 2012 (Washington, DC) -- Congressman Bob Filner recently introduced legislation to ensure that the Department of Defense meets its obligation to contract with small businesses owned and controlled by service-connected disabled veterans.

 

BROWN ACT VIOLATION ALLEGED BY ALPINE PLANNING GROUP MEMBER; CRITICS CALL FOR REMOVAL OR PROSECUTION

January 25, 2012:  Updated to include comments by Terry Francke, General Counsel at Calaware, who concludes this was not a Brown Act violation and a response from the San Diego District Attorney declining to prosecute the matter.

By Miriam Raftery

January 21, 2012 (Alpine) – Alpine Community Planning Group member George Barnett appears to have violated the Brown Act when he expressed his views on an agenda item in an e-mail to members of the ACPG’s Public Facilities Subcommitee meeting, a top County official has concluded. In the e-mail, Barnett voiced strong views regarding a hand-out by the East Alpine Property Owner’s Alliance on proposed land-use changes, calling its conclusions “nuts” and “needlessly alarmist.” 

EAST COUNTY DEMOCRATS HOST “UNDER THE BIG BLUE SKY” EVENT, PLAN TO OPEN A CAMPAIGN HEADQUARTERS


January 18, 2012 (La Mesa) – East County has long been a conservative bastion.  But with changing demographics, party registration has shifted in some communities; La Mesa is now a majority Democratic and El Cajon has only a slight Republican edge. With reapportionment, La Mesa and much of El Cajon have shifted into districts represented by Democrat Susan Davis, raising visibility for the party.
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