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LORI SALDAÑA DROPS MAYORAL BID, ENDORSES COUNCILMAN ALVAREZ: FIRST MAYORAL DEBATE SET FOR FRIDAY

By Miriam Raftery

September 19, 2013 (San Diego) – After filing papers to run for Mayor,  former Democratic Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña yesterday announced she will not run and instead has endorsed Councilman David Alvarez. 

“David has a strong record of supporting neighborhoods and protecting the environment,” said Saldaña, who believes he is the best choice because of his “commitment to standing up for our communities.” Alvarez represents South San Diego and the Barrio Logan area.  Alvarez has also been endorsed by the Sa n Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council. 

Today, former Councilmember Donna Frye also endorsed Alvarez, stating, "David understands that people deserve to be treated with courtesy and respect and be provided an opportunity to have their issues heard in public, before (not after) decisions are made."

The first mayoral debate among prominent candidates is set for 3:15 Friday at the Westin Gaslamp Quarter Hotel, sponsored by the Asian Business Association.  Democrat Nathan Fletcher, a former Republican, declined to participate. However Democrats Alvarez and Mike Aguirre, the former city attorney, will participate along with Republican Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN LOOMS AS REPUBLICANS AIM TO LET FEDERAL SPENDING EXPIRE UNLESS HEALTHCARE REFORMS ARE REPEALED

 

By Alex Riggins

November 19, 2013 (Washington D.C.) -- Republicans in Congress are threatening to shut down the government if they don’t get what they want – the Affordable Care Act, or "Obamacare", defunded.

The House of Representatives will vote Friday on a bill to fund the government beyond the Sept. 30 budget deadline, but the bill would completely defund the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare.

MAYORAL CANDIDATES AMONG PANELISTS AT GREEN EXPERTS ACADEMY FORUM

 

September 18, 2013 (San Diego ) – On September 26, the Green Experts Academy presents a panel focused on green jobs, the clean tech sector development, renewable energy, climate mitigation, solar and the vision for America’s Finest Green City.  Participants include mayoral candidates David Alvarez, Nicole Capretz, Office of Interim Mayor Todd Gloria, Deanna Sphen, Office of Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins, and other green experts.

MIKE AGUIRRE LAUNCHES CAMPAIGN FOR SAN DIEGO MAYOR

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Nadin and Tom Abbott

September 17, 2013 (San Diego)—Mike Aguirre, former City Attorney, launched his formal campaign for San Diego Mayor on Friday at the FDR Grove. He seeks to replace Bob Filner, who was forced out of office amid a scandal that rocked the city.

“The events of the last few months, provide San Diego with a historic opportunity to a better way to conduct the people’s business. Let us propose a new politics for San Diego, one that is not based on endorsements or special interest contributions, private agendas or the self-interested few.”

Aguirre promised that his administration “will restore integrity to the Mayor’s office and support policies that prove beneficial to the greatest number of San Diegans. That is what local government should be about.”

ENVIRONMENTAL GROUPS DENOUNCE CHANGES IN FRACKING BILL, ASK GOVERNOR TO ISSUE MORATORIUM

 

By Miriam Raftery

 (September 14, 2013) – The Natural Resources Defense Council, Clean Water Action and California League of Conservation Voters are calling on the California leaders to fix newly passed California fracking legislation (SB 4) because the bill contains “dangerous amendments that undermine both critical safeguards to protect Californians from the dangers of fracking as well as foundational state environmental review processes,” a press release issued by the groups on September 12 states. 

A moratorium on fracking was removed and the revised version merely requires reporting of chemicals in fracking fluids, but would allow fracking to continue.  Fracking requires injecting water, sand and chemicals into deep rock formations to release oil or natural gas. Serious questions have also been raised about contamination of millions of gallons of water, a commodity in scarce supply already in California. 

LA MESA COUNCIL VOTES TO DEFUND PBID CONSULTANTS, MAY CONSIDER MAINTENANCE AGREEMENT

 

By Janis Mork

September 12, 2013 (La Mesa)- At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting, Council got a status report and update of  a revised and scaled down Planned Business Improvement District (PBID) development plan  from two members of the PBID  Formation Committee, Lynn McRey and Bill Ratan.  Council voted 4-1 to stop funding consulting fees for the faltering PBID effort,  dimming prospects for a PBID in La Mesa’s future. Mayor Art Madrid was the lone dissenting vote.

BILL TO PROTECT BOBCATS PASSES LEGISLATURE

 

Local legislators divided on measure

Photo: Bobcat family in Lakeside, photo by Billy Ortiz

September 13, 2013 (Sacramento) – A bill to prohibit trapping of bobcats around public parks and wildlife refuges in California is now on the Governor’s desk awaiting signature.  The bill, AB 1213, would also prohibit trapping bobcats on private property without the landowner’s permission.   

An estimated 1,813 bobcats were killed in the 2011-2012 license season, up 51% over the prior year. The vast majority of those (1,499) were taken by trappers, the rest by hunters.  Bobcat pelt prices have soared from $78 in 2009 to over $700 today, the Los Angeles Times reported.

ASSEMBLYMAN JONES CONDEMNS THE "GUT AND AMEND" PROCESS

 

September 12, 2013 (Sacramento) – As the first year of the 2013-14 Legislative Session comes to a close, Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) has issued a statement condemning the “gut and amend” process.  A common practice in the final days of session that circumvents public review, a “gut and amend” is when a bill is stripped and replaced with completely unrelated language.  Jones says, “It’s one of their favorite, sneaky maneuvers to keep the public out of the process.”  

MOST MEMBERS OF CONGRESS STILL UNDECIDED ON SYRIA STRIKE

 

 

4 of 5 local Congressional members not sure yet how they will vote; both CA Senators support military intervention

By Miriam Raftery

September 4, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Three days ago, NBC news reported that San Diego’s Congressional delegation had “mostly positive” reactions to news that President Obama had decided to ask Congresss for approval before waging a military air strike on Syria.  But a  poll by CNN of Congressional members found San Diego’s representatives remain mostly undecided on whether to vote for war or not.  Both California Senators, however, support the President’s call for military action.

Overall, the CNN poll found the majority in both houses of Congress have not yet committed how they will vote.  In the Senate, 24 Senators say that they will support the war declaration, 16 will oppose it, and 58 remain undecided. In the House, 27 support going to war, 91 oppose, 254 are undecided, and the positions of 61 others are unknown.

This is a rare issue in which the vote does not split down party lines. Both parties are split, with many members on each side of the weighty issue appearing ready to vote their consciences or the will of their constituents, not a party preference.

WAR WITH SYRIA: SHOULD THE U.S. LAUNCH AN ATTACK?

 

Senate committee approves military strike; full Congressional authorization still needed to launch war

By  Miriam Raftery

September 4, 2013 (Washington D.C.) – Should the U.S. attack Syria? What are the potential remifications for the U.S. and the world?  What are the key issues and arguments on all sides of this compelling questions -- and where do your representatives stand?

President Barack Obama has asked Congress for approval to launch a military air strike against Syria amid indications that the Syrian president  used chemical weapons against civilians in his own country, including children.  Today, the Senate Foreign RelationsCommittee voted 10-7 to approve limited authorization. Chairman John Kerry said there is "no question" that Syria used chemical weapons in violation of international law. The full Senate and the House of Representatives must both approve the action.

In the interest of providing our readers with a variety of views and information on this important issue, we’ve rounded up articles from around the world and across the nation in our special section below. Click any headline to view full text of these articles. We've even included "9 questions about Syria you were too embarassed to ask" for those who haven't kept up with the news on this emerging world crisis. 

Syria news stories:

THE RACE FOR SAN DIEGO MAYOR HEATS UP

 

 

 

By Nadin Abbott

September 5, 2013 (San Diego)—The special election set for November 19 to replace Bob Filner, who resigned August 30, is starting to shape up.  To date, 21 people have thrown their hat in the ring. But thus far, only three candidates  have strong name recognition.

The first, and no surprise to any observer of San Diego politics, is former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher who previously ran for Mayor against Filner. The second is Second District Councilmember Kevin Faulconer. The third is former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, recently recently has represented consumer groups fighting utility companies and big businesses.

CLASSROOM SAFETY BILL HELD IN ASSEMBLY FINANCE COMMITTEE

 

 

September 4, 2013 (Sacramento) – A measure that would require all school modernization projects seeking state funding to include classroom doors that lock from the inside was held today in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

State Senator Marty Block of San Diego (SD-39) who authored the legislation – SB 316 – said he was dismayed. “I’m deeply disappointed that SB 316 did not make it through the Assembly committee,” said State Senator Marty Block (SD-39). “It is a blow to school safety and common sense. We are beyond the point where inside door locks would be a nice thing to have, they are imperative if we want to protect children and teachers in the classroom.”

ECONOMIC PRESENTATION AT LA MESA-FOOTHILLS DEMOCRATIC CLUB SEPT. 4

 

August 31, 2013 (La Mesa) – The La Mesa-Foothills Democratic Club has invited Professor Isaac Martin to present “Why do the Rich get Richer and Stay Richer?” on September 4 at 7:00 p.m. at the La Mesa Community Center, 4975 Memorial Drive, La Mesa.  Martin is a professor of sociology at UC San Diego and the author of the books Rich People’s Movements: Grassroots Campaings to Untax the One Percent and The Permanent Tax Revolt: How the Property Tax Transformed American Politics.

50TH ANNIVERSARY OF MARCH ON WASHINGTON FOR CIVIL RIGHTS REFLECTS ON PROGRESS FROM THE PAST AND CHALLENGES FOR THE FUTURE

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2013 (Washington D.C.) -- Fifty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his now-famous “I have a dream” speech to a crowd of marchers in Washington D.C.  from across the nation  in support of civil rights. That  movement in 1963 led ultimately to signing of the Civil Rights Act.

Yesterday, a massive crowd of  people filled Capitol malll for a commemoration of that historic event. President Barack Obama delivered a speech at the Lincoln Memorial, site of Dr. King’s famed  oration.

“The March on Washington teaches us that we are not trapped by the mistakes of history; that we are masters of our fate,” the President said. “But it also teaches us that the promise of this nation will only be kept when we work together.  We’ll have to reignite the embers of empathy and fellow feeling, the coalition of conscience that found expression in this place 50 years ago.” View video of the President’s speech.

Attorney General Eric Holder also spoke, alluding to the Supreme Court’s recent decision weakening the Voting Rights Act.

SPECIAL ELECTION SET FOR NOV. 19 TO CHOOSE NEW SAN DIEGO MAYOR

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 29, 2013 (San Diego) – San Diego’s City Council has voted unanimously to set November 19 as the special election date for voters to choose a new Mayor.  Councilmember Todd Gloria will serve as Acting Mayor after August 30, when Mayor Bob Filner’s resignation takes effect, until the election.

The special election is expected to cost taxpayers approximately $6 million—an amount that could increase sharply.  If no candidates wins a majority of votes, a run-off election would be held. So far at least 13 candidates have filed papers with the Registrar of Voters indicating an intent to run. Only one, former  Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, is well known.  Fletcher resigned from the Republican party to become an independent and more recently, a Democrat. 

Who else may throw their hats in the ring? 

EL CAJON COUNCIL APPROVES ALCOHOL RESTRICTIONS FOLLOWING SPIRITED HEARING

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 28, 2013 (El Cajon) – A century ago, one of the first actions of El Cajon’s City Council was to outlaw saloons due to concerns over negative influences of alcohol on the community. Those restrictions were later relaxed.  But yesterday, Council once again voted to restrict sales of alcohol, over the objections of local merchants and the East County Chamber of Commerce.

By a unanimous vote, Council approved the “deemed approved” ordinance aimed at curbing serial inebriates from purchasing single-serve alcoholic beverages at markets.

GOVERNOR SIGNS BILL TO ALLOW LEGAL RESIDENTS WHO ARE NOT CITIZENS TO WORK AT POLLS

 

By Elena Butler

August 27, 2013 (Sacramento)--Governor Jerry Brown has signed into a law Assembly Bill 817, a bill that will allow appointment of up to five legal residents who are not citizens per jurisidiction  to work at polls on election day.

AB 817 sparked some controversy after it was introduced by Assemblymember Rob Bonta (D-Alameda) in February. Bonta’s goal is to increase turnout of eligible voters for whom English has proven to be a barrier that keeps many from exercising their right to vote.

MAYOR FILNER STEPS DOWN FROM OFFICE EFFECTIVE AUGUST 30

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Tom Abbott

“The hysteria ended up playing into the hands of those who wanted a political coup--the removal of a democratically elected Mayor, purely by rumor and innuendo.” – Mayor Bob Filner

"I have never felt prouder of the people of San Diego." -- Michael Pallamary, leader of the recall effort

"It is time for San Diego to come together. It is time to heal." -- Todd Gloria, who will serve as Interim Mayor until a special election

August 24, 2013—Mayor Bob Filner will step down from office effective at 5 p.m. on Friday August 30, under a deal that will have the City pay limited legal fees to defend Filner against sexual harassment allegations.  Councilman Todd Gloria will serve as interim Mayor and a special election will be held 90 days after the mayoral seat is vacated to fill the seat.

The Mayor apologized for his “personal failings” and to those who have been hurt, but insisted that he believes he will be ultimately cleared of legal wrongdoing and further, contended that he is being forced from office by the city’s power brokers in a “political coup”  based on unproven allegations.  Hear his full resignation speech.

SAN DIEGO DEBATE CLUB TO EXAMINE MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION

 

August 19, 2013 (San Diego) – This Thursday, August 22, the San Diego Debate Club will host a panel discussion to argue the proposition, “Should marijuana be legal in the United States?”  The debate will consist of two, four-person panels, one in favor of legalizing pot and one opposed; a moderator; and a live audience.  It will be held from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Moose Lodge, 3636 Ruffin Road in San Diego (map).  The event will be broadcast on KNSJ 98.1 radio, is open to the public, and will feature an audience participation segment.  A happy hour will precede the event starting at 6:00 p.m. 

GONZALEZ BILL PROVIDES IMMIGRANTS PROTECTION FROM FRAUD

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 20, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – San Diego Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has announced plans to introduce legislation to prevent payment for immigration reform services until federal immigration reform is enacted and to ensure that other consumer protections are provided to immigrants pursuing a pathway to U.S. citizenship under the federal immigration reform act pending in Congress.

ALCOHOL ORDINANCE ON EL CAJON COUNCIL AGENDA FOR AUGUST 27

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 20, 2013 (El Cajon) – El Cajon City Council will consider an ordinance to restrict alcohol sales at its next meeting on August 27.

The law aims to restrict sales of single-serve alcohol containers to individuals with repeated arrests for alcohol-related offenses.  The law would not affect restaurants or bars.  It would restrict sales at future stores and would also require current stores to comply with the law. 

HUNDREDS AT CIVIC CENTER DEMAND MAYOR FILNER RESIGN

 

By Nadin Abbott

Photos by Nadin and Tom Abbott

August 19, 2013 (San Diego)—Hundreds of people came to the Civic Center Plaza yesterday for a “Freedom from Filner” rally.  Michael Pallamary, organizer of an effort to recall the Mayor, spoke about the drive to get 102,000 valid signatures on a recall petition over the next 39 days. 

“We started to gather the signatures at midnight at the Gaslamp,” he said. “The recall will not be involved with any candidate or political party” during the next mayoral race, he added.

100 FILNER SUPPORTERS RALLY AT CIVIC CENTER PLAZA FOR THE EMBATTLED MAYOR

 

Leaders in Latino, African-American and Native American communities defend Mayor

By Nadin Abbott

August 19, 2013 (San Diego)—They approached the podium singing “We Shall Overcome,” a classic from the Civil Rights marches of the 1960s.

Enrique Morones, a community activist and supporter of Mayor Bob Filner, led them. Morones started the rally by informing the press that the silent majority “will be silent no longer.” He said that many groups, ranging from labor, to neighborhoods, to veterans and women, were standing together “stopping the public mockery of our judicial system.”

CONGRESSMAN DARRELL ISSA TO RECEIVE CLIMATE CHANGE DENIER AWARD

 

August 15, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – Members of the national, California, and San Diego Leagues of Conservation Voters will deliver a climate change denier award to Rep. Darrell Issa in recognition of his extreme anti-science views, which put him at odds with 97 percent of scientists and a majority of the American people. The event is part of a “Day of Action” held nationally in coordination with Organizing for Action to hold climate change deniers accountable.

HOUSE VOTES TO ELIMINATE ALL FOOD STAMP BENEFITS; SENATE SEEKS COMPROMISE AS FARM BILL HANGS IN THE BALANCE

 

By Miriam Raftery

August 4, 2013 (San Diego’s East County) – By a bare majority, the Republican-controlled House of representatives passed the Farm Bill after stripping out all funding for food stamps to feed the poor, but approved lavish subsidies for agribusiness.  After the Senate passed a less extreme version, a conference committee is now seeking a compromise. But thus far, the Republican leadership has shown no concern for the potential to leave millions of Americans facing starvation.

Among San Diego’s five Congressional representatives, only Republican Darrell Issa voted for  the measure.  Republican Duncan Hunter did not vote, but previously  voted for earlier deep cuts in Food Stamps and against restoring benefits. Democrats Susan Davis, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas voted against stripping Food Stamps from the Farm Bill.

  Issa’s 49th district includes 7,691 households receiving food stamps (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP). Of those, 44.2% have incomes below the poverty level and 79.5% have children; 20.2% have at least one senior citizen.

CLAIMS FROM THE MAYOR’S LAWYER OVER LACK OF TRAINING ON HARASSMENT RAISE CREDIBILTY DOUBTS

 

An ECM special report finds Bob Filner had good cause to know  the seriousness of sexual harassment claims—long before he was the target of complaints

By Nadin and Tom Abbott

August 2, 2013 (San Diego)— Amid mounting sexual harassment accusations against Mayor Bob Filner, including a civil lawsuit, on Wednesday Filner’s lawyer tried to place all the blame on the City. In a letter to the city Harvey C. Berger writes “The City has a legal obligation to provide sexual harassment training to all management level employees within six months of hire.”

He also claimed in the letter that the “trainer for the City unilaterally cancelled and never rescheduled such training for the Mayor.”  http://media.10news.com/image/Harvey_Berger_letter.pdf

But later, Voice of San Diego revealed, “Former city Chief Operating Officer Jay Goldstone said Filner’s office canceled several training sessions, which would have covered payroll, benefits and other employee and management roles and responsibilities, because the mayor’s office said it didn’t have time for them.” http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/07/31/sources-mayors-office-canceled-harassment-related-training-sessions/

So we decided to look a little deeper, and what we found was highly problematic.

COUNTY LEAGUE DAY 2013 LUNCH ON FRIDAY, AUGUST 9

 

July 29, 2013 (San Diego) – The League of Women Voters of San Diego County presents the annual County League Day on Friday, August 9, 2013 at the new County Operations Center in Kearny Mesa at 5510 Overland Avenue, San Diego. 

The host is County Supervisor and League Member Dave Roberts.  Lunch will be provided at the center and a tour of the art installations will be given.

FILNER TO SEEK THERAPY: REFUSES TO RESIGN

 

By Nadin Abbott

July 27, 2013 (San Diego)—One day after the County Democratic Party voted overwhelmingly to call for his resignation, Mayor Bob Filner announced today that he is not stepping down.

Instead Filner announced that he will enter therapy on starting on August 5.

COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY ASKS MAYOR FILNER TO STEP DOWN

 

By Nadin Abbott

July 25, 2013 (San Diego) Late today, the Central Committee of the San Diego County Democratic Party voted 34 to 6 to ask Mayor Bob Filner to step down over sexual harassment allegations made by numerous women. This was a supermajority vote.

“With very heavy hearts but clear minds the members of the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee met this evening,” said Francine Busby, chair of the party. We affirmed our commitment to our vision of a San Diego as a city of diverse vibrant communities where every neighborhood is a priority.”

EL CAJON CITY COUNCIL VOTES AGAINST ADDING SEWER SERVICE CHARGES ON TAX BILL

 

By Janis Mork

 July 25, 2013 (El Cajon)- At the July 9 El Cajon City Council meeting, Council voted against putting sewer service charges on the property tax bill after 168 residents objected to the proposal.

Dennis Davies, Deputy Director of Public Works, informed Council of the proposal to take sewer bi-monthly bills (six times a year) and include those charges with the property tax bill.

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