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TONI ATKINS NAMED SPEAKER OF ASSEMBLY

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 11, 2014 (San Diego) - There’s a new Speaker of the Assembly in California-- and she’s from San Diego.Former Sam Diego Councilwoman Toni Atkins was sworn in Monday in Sacramento.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT REPORT: WEEK OF MAY 12

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 11, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--El Cajon’s Council meets Tuesday, May 13.  This week, Council will consider a measure to support creation of a veteran’s memorial in El Cajon.  They will also consider proposals to regulate secondhand shops, create a crime-free motel and hotel program, and establish an incubator businesses program to help local entrepreneurs. The council will also hear a first reading of a moratorium on new hookah lounges.

HOUSE PASSES EDUCATION BILL WITH DAVIS PROVISION ON SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL LEARNING

 

May 10, 2014 (Washington D.C.)--Last night, The U.S. House of Representatives passed bipartisan legislation - Strengthening Education through Research Act (H.R. 4366) - to improve research on education programs and ensure those programs are effective in meeting national education priorities. H.R. 4366 includes language from a bill carried by U.S. Rep. Susan Davis (CA-53) to help schools integrate social and emotional learning (SEL). The provision from Davis’s The Supporting Emotional Learning (SEL) Act (H.R. 4509) would make SEL a topic for educational research.

DEMOCRATIC BASE PROTESTS PRESIDENT OBAMA IN LA JOLLA OVER TRADE AGREEMENTS & KEYSTONE PIPELINE

 

Labor & Community Groups Rally Against the Pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)

May 8, 2014 (San Diego)-- Labor and community groups lined the streets outside a fundraiser featuring President Barack Obama today to protest the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Free Trade Agreement, a pact they say threatens to ship California jobs overseas.  The Democratic fundraiser was held at the home of Irwin Jacobs, founder of Qualcomm, a high-tech company that already does much of its production overseas and has been lobbying for the TPP.

MORE JUDICIAL CANDIDATES SPEAK OUT, CRITICIZE SAN DIEGO BAR’S RATING SYSTEM

 

Hear a podcast of our interview with Carla Keehn (photo, left), Superior Court judicial candidate: http://kiwi6.com/file/x3reawfy6g.  The interview aired on KNSJ 89.1 FM.

By Miriam Raftery

May 7, 2014 (San Diego) – How fair are ratings for judicial candidates meted out by the San Diego County Bar Association?

Last week, the Bar’s Judicial Election Evaluation Committee (JEEC)came out with rankings in five contested Superior Court judicial races.  The Bar ranked three candidates as “lacking qualifications” including one with extensive experience and no disciplinary actions. The professional lawyers’ group also gave a “highly qualified” rating to an incumbent judge who  pled guilty to reckless driving  with alcohol involved and has faced multiple legal disciplinary actions.

Now some candidates are speaking out to criticize the Bar’s ratings system—calling for its abolishment or dramatic changes to make the system more transparent and fair.

One of those candidates, Carla Keehn, has erected billboards starting today to reveal her opponent’s criminal conviction.  “Vote for Carla Keehn, the only candidate without a criminal conviction. No one is above the law—not even judges,” the billboards read.

DONNELLY, CANDIDATE FOR GOVERNOR, CALLED ON TO REPUDIATE DEFAMATORY ANTI-MUSLIM FACEBOOK POST

 

Minute Man leader/anti-immigrant candidate is endorsed by East County Assemblyman Brian Jones

By Miriam Raftery

May 6, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)—Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a Republican candidate for Governor who founded California’s largest anti-immigrant California Minute Man chapter, is now drawing fire for anti-Muslim remarks made about a prominent member of his own party.  

Donnelly, one of 14 candidates including five Republicans in the gubernatorial primary, has won the endorsement of East County Assemblyman Brian Jones as well as the Tea Party. 

At the state Republican convention, Jones said he believed Donnelly had heeded party leaders’ advice to be more “inclusive” in his message, Huffington Post reported,. Jones added that he believed Donnelly was “saying the same things, but in a more welcoming manner.”

JUDICIAL CANDIDATE SPEAKS OUT, CALLS FOR CHANGES TO COUNTY BAR’S RATING SYSTEM (HEAR PODCAST)

 

 

Missed the show? Listen to our podcast of this interview, now posted here:

http://kiwi6.com/file/aoqg1fau02

May 5, 2014 (San Diego) – Superior Court Judge candidate Michele Hagan was a guest on our May 5 East County Magazine Show on KNSJ 89.1 FM.

“We don’t let football players choose referees. So why are we letting lawyers choose judges?” asks Hagan, a former prosecutor and judge pro tem who also publishes a blog on legal issues.

She contends that the County Bar Association gave her a “lacking qualifications” rating because she spoke out in her blog about a local judge who awarded alimony to a man convicted of a violent sexual act against his wife, then worked to pass a new state law, AB 1522, to protect victims from having to pay alimony to spouses convicted of a violent sexual felony.

She contends that the Bar’s rating system for judicial candidates is flawed, subject to bias, and not transparent.   To read her credentials for the job, click "read more" and scroll down.

POOR PEOPLE EXCLUDED FROM HEARING ON POVERTY

 

By Miriam Raftery

May 2, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Republican Paul Ryan plans to hold a Congressional committee hearing next week on poverty – but he has refused to let any poor people testify.

COUNTY BAR ISSUES RATINGS FOR JUDICIAL CANDIDATES, RANKS 3 AS “LACKING QUALIFICATIONS”

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2014 (San Diego) – The San Diego County Bar Association’s Judicial Elections Evaluation Committee (JEEC) has issued ratings for candidates in five contested judicial races.  The ratings rank three candidates – Ken Gosselin, Michele Hagan, and Douglas Crawford, as “lacking qualifications.”

Two of those have been embroiled in controversy.  Gosselin was required by a court to change statements on his ballot regarding his experience and education that a judge found to be misleading.  Crawford is appealing suspension of his law license due to passing along a threat made by a client to initiate an IRS audit of an opposing party in a lawsuit. 

JUNE BALLOT MEASURES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 30, 2014 (San Diego’s East County)--Several measures have qualified to appear on the June ballot, and others are still pending.  Ballot initiatives approved to appear on your June ballot thus far include measures impacting homeless veterans, health insurance rates, your rights to open government, and more.

JUDGE WITH EXTENSIVE RECORD ON BENCH CHALLENGED BY CANDIDATE FACING SUSPENSION BY STATE BAR

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 25, 2014 (San Diego) – Judge Ronald Prager has been a Superior Court Judge for 26 years, with an unblemished record.

 “I’ve handled more important cases and complex litigation than any other judge,” said Prager, who has presided over many of our region’s most high profile cases.  He told ECM that he has been endorsed by all 125 Superior Court judges as well as Sheriff Bill Gore, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, the Public Defender, Deputy District Attorneys Association, the Lawyer’s Club, and San Diegans Against Crime, a crime victims’ rights group.

His opponent for Superior Court seat 9,  Douglas James Crawford,   faces suspension of his law license for advising opposing counsel of threats made by his client to instigate an IRS audit if settlement talks in a lawsuit were not commenced.  He denies wrongdoing and has filed an appeal.  He has also drawn criticism for racial remarks regarding an African-American judge and for offering free legal advice to white supremacist groups. In addition, an East County Magazine investigation reveals that Crawford has previously been sanctioned by the California 4th District Court of Appeal for “intentionally misleading” a court and bank regarding his mother’s death.  Moreover, the court found that Crawford  claimed to represent his mother’s  estate after allowing his license to practice law to become inactive.

SOMETHING TO SING ABOUT: EL CAJON COUNCIL VOTES TO FUND SAN DIEGO YOUTH CHOIR

 

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 24, 2014 (El Cajon) – By a unanimous vote, El Cajon’s City Council on Tuesday voted to grant $10,000 to fund the San Diego Youth Choir, a multi-racial, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural community youth choir based in El Cajon. The group’s mission statement is to empower young leaders through musical excellence.  It’s mantra is “Empowering San Diego County youth, one note at a time.”

“What it really is, is an investment in children’s future,” Councilman Gary Kendrick told East County Magazine. “$10,000 today could save us $100,000 tomorrow in police costs and property crimes.”  He added that performing together also builds self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment, as well as forging bonds that can last a lifetime.  “My son still has close friendships in Hollywood that started when he was in Christian Youth Theater in San Diego,” Kendrick recalled.

 The San Diego Youth Choir (www.youthchoirsd.org) aims to be housed in a central location in El Cajon with state of the art rehearsal space, practice rooms, dance rooms, and a recording studio.

CHRISTIAN VOTERS POLITICAL PAMPHLET SENT BY DEMOCRATIC BACKER IN EL CAJON VIOLATED CAMPAIGN FINANCE LAW, FPPC ENFORCEMENT OFFICER ADVISES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 23, 2014 (El Cajon)—The Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) is weighing a proposed stipulation order that if signed, would impose a $2,000 fine against Bonnie Burns Price for a mailer from “ Christian Voters for a More Transparent Government in East County."  Price is the former chair of the East County Democratic Club and a supporter of Ben Kalasho, a candidate who ran for El Cajon Council and lost by a narrow margin in 2012.

SPRING VALLEY COMMUNITY PLANNING GROUP VACANCY NOTICE

 

April 23, 2014 (Spring Valley) - This is to announce a vacancy has occurred on the Spring Valley Community Planning Group, due to the resignation of Richard Preuss, Seat 7. The BOARD OF SUPERVISORS makes this appointment. Please refer to the Roster of Boards, Commissions and Committees on our web site at http://www.sdcounty.ca.gov/cob/.

JUDICIAL CANDIDATE FACES ETHICS CONTROVERSIES

 

Court stipulation requires changes in ballot statement claims; fundraiser for Issa and large donations raise further ethical questions

By Miriam Raftery

April 22, 2014 (San Diego) –Three candidates are vying for Superior Court Judge, seat 25, on the June ballot. The top two will face off in November.  The official ballot designations list them as Deputy Attorney General Brad Weinreb, attorney/fraud examiner Michele Hagan, and attorney/court volunteer Ken Gosselin.

Controversy has arisen surrounding Gosselin,  after Weinreb filed a legal challenge alleging exaggerated experience and education claims on Gosselin’s ballot statement. 

In addiiton, an ECM investigation has found that a fundraiser that Gosselin held at his home for a non-judicial candidate, Congressman Darrell Issa, may have violated California's Judicial Canon of Ethics, which prohibit judicial candidates from fundraising for or endorsing non-judicial candidates. A second Congressional candidate has also stated that Gosselin endorsed him.  Other violations may have occurred due to hefty campaign contributions made by Gosselin to the San Diego County Republican Party, which later endorsed him, and to the Lincoln Club.

MAYOR MADRID LAUNCHES REELECTION CAMPAIGN, RUNS ON RECORD OF SUCCESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 22, 2014 (La Mesa) – La Mesa Mayor Art Madrid held a press conference yesterday, flanked by his supporters,  to formally launch his reelection campaign.  “I pledge that the city will continue to be properly managed and that I will vigorously protect its character and heritage,” said Mayor Madrid.  He cited successes under his leadership during his 24-year tenure as Mayor and his 10 years previously on the City Council, as well as a decade serving on civic boards and commissions.

“In 1990 when I was elected Mayor, my commitment then was to help make La Mesa the best community in the region in which to live and raise a family,” said the Mayor, adding that his leadership, collaborative governance and management skills have helped fulfill that dream.  “I’ve led the transformation of la Mesa into a vibrant, proactive and inclusive community that continues to attract new families and businesses to our city.”

BUDGET BATTLES IN CONGRESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 22, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Three competing budgets have been proposed in Congress-one by House Republicans, another by President Obama, and a third by the House Congressional Progressive Caucus.

All aim to balance the budget over time. The Republican plan focuses on cuts to social services and tax breaks to businesses and wealthier Americans in line with the trickle-down economic theory. The President and progressive budgets focus on raising revenues to closing tax loopholes for corporations and the rich, providing more help to middle class and low-income taxpayers under a rising tide floats all boats strategy.

But how do these three budgets stack up compared to what polls show most Americans want Congress to do?

ASSEMBLY MEMBER WEBER MEETS CONSTITUENTS IN LEMON GROVE

 

By Nadin Abbott; photos Tom Abbott

April 20, 2014 (Lemon Grove)--Assembly Member Shirley Weber (79th-D) held a coffee day with constituents at the Lemon Grove Library on April 19. Weber explained that the issues that face the district are as diverse as the area she represents, adding that the issues of Lemon Grove are ever present in her mind.

TSIMBOUKAKIS VIES FOR SENATOR ANDERSON’S SEAT: TAKES STAND AGAINST INDUSTRIAL-SCALE ENERGY PROJECTS IN EAST COUNTY

 

 

By Jessica Richmond

Listen to our radio interview with Fotios “Frank” Tsimboukakis here:  http://kiwi6.com/file/t5e89mc5cl

April 12, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) - The race for California’s 38th State Senate district seat has been heating up since the arrival of Fotios “Frank” Tsimboukakis.  He has made it a point to challenge incumbent Joel Anderson on many key issues—including taking a stand against environmentally harmful energy projects in East County. Tsimboukakis has testified in public hearings against industrial solar and wind projects, as well as the Quail Brush gas-fired power plant, while Anderson has been largely silent on these controversial plans, critics have pointed out.

Tsimboukakis has also proposed plans to make college tuition free, cut wasteful spending, and convene public hearings on funding firefighting, with an eye toward possibly repealing or amending state fire fees.  He has also pledged to hold regular town hall meetings in the district to hear from voters, faulting Anderson for not hosting town halls for constituents to share their views.

HUNTER TARGETED BY BILL MAHER'S "FLIP A DISTRICT"

 

 

 

 

 

 

East County News Service

April 16, 2014 (San Diego’s East County) –HBO’s Real Time Host, Bill Maher, has launched a “flip a district” series in which voters are invited to submit videos showing why their representative should be ousted.  His latest target? Congressman Duncan D. Hunter,. Hunter was asked about his opposition to a measure aimed at protecting women against pay discrimination.   When Hunter responded that “there really isn’t gender discrimination,” the audience responded by booing him.  View video:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDGjia4VgCA&feature=youtu.be

STORM THE HILL: VETERANS CALL FOR ACTION TO STOP SUICIDES

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 16, 2014 (Washington D.C.) –Veterans from across America converged on Capitol Hill on March 31, meeting with members of Congress and the administration. They sought help to prevent suicides among returning veterans.

LA MESA COUNCIL VOTES AGAINST CELL PHONE BAN FOR COUNCIL MEMBERS DURING MEETINGS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 14, 2014 (La Mesa) - La Mesa’s City Council voted down a proposal by Mayor Art Madrid that would have banned Councilmembers from using their cell phones during public meetings, including closed sessions.  Mayor Madrid argued that since members of the public in the audience are asked to silence their cell phones, council members should, too.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN WEBER HOSTS COMMUNITY CHAT IN LEMON GROVE APRIL 19

 

April 13, 2014 (Lemon Grove) - Assemblymember Shirley Weber will host a Community Coffee Chat on Saturday, April 19th. Attendees will have the opportunity to be updated on what’s happening in Sacramento and to share their concerns on statewide issues. This event is a free and open to the public.

REP. HUNTER ADDRESSES POLONIA UNITED

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 12, 2014 (La Mesa)—Polonia United, an organization of Polish Americans in San Diego, hosted a meet and greet with Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-Alpine) at a private home in La Mesa.

“I am proud to have fought for people who want to be free,” said Hunter, a veteran who has served multiple tours of duty in Afghanistan.Hunter spoke of the need for the U.S. to support its allies that value freedom including nations in Europe such as Poland, while guarding against those who seek to cause harm.

TERM LIMITS TACTICS TAKE NEGATIVE TURN IN LA MESA

 

Hear our radio interview with term limits advocates Craig Maxwell and La Mesa Vice Mayor Kristine Alessio: http://kiwi6.com/file/257ktyze5y

By Miriam Raftery

April 12, 2014 (La Mesa) – An ad sent in a mailer to La Mesa residents by the La Mesa Term Limits Committee is sparking controversy.  The ad, topped by a no career politicians message, has two photos of convicted former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner – one in 1979, labeled “idealistic, committed, zeal of a new recruit” and the second in 2013 labeled “corrupt, drunk on power, self serving.”  The ad then admonishes voters to “keep all our reps honest with term limits.”

“How could the innuendo in this not be profoundly offensive to the current La Mesa City Council?” asks Anthony McIvor, a La Mesa resident, who calls the mailer a “regrettable smear” piece.

ASSEMBLYWOMAN GONZALEZ TO CHAIR NEW SELECT COMMITTEE ON WOMEN IN THE WORKPLACE

 

April 8, 2014 (San Diego)--California State Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez today announced the creation of the Assembly Select Committee on Women in the Workplace and named Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) as its chair.

A STATE FROG? LEGISLATOR "JUMPS TO CONCLUSIONS"

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 7, 2014 (San Diego's East County) - Mark Twain’s classic short story, The Celebrating Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, told the tale of a gambler in the Gold Rush era who won a bet by loading up a competitor’s frog with buckshot.  The star of that tale, California’s red legged frog, was made famous—and the town of Angel’s Camp re-creates the fictional even each year.

LA MESA RACES HEAT UP : ARAPOSTATHIS TO CHALLENGE MADRID FOR MAYOR

 

Ewin to step down, leaving two vacancies to fill on Council

By Miriam Raftery

April 6, 2014 (La Mesa) – The filing deadline isn’t until  August for La Mesa’s city council and mayoral races.  But at least two candidates have already declared their intention to vie for Mayor.  Art Madrid announced on East County Magazine’s radio show that he is seeking reelection. Listen to interview here.  Councilman Mark Arpostathis held a press conference to announce he plans to challenge Mayor Madrid. View video of his announcement here.

Whether Aropstathis wins or loses the mayoral challenge, it will open up his seat on the city council.  In addition, long-serving Councilman Ernie Ewin announced this week that he will not seek reelection and has further indicated he will not run for mayor, San Diego Rostra reported. That leaves two open seats on La Mesa’s  council –and a potential shift in the balance of power and priorities for La Mesa.

MEET THE CANDIDATES RECEPTION APRIL 29

 

April 6, 2014 (San Diego) – The League of Women Voters of San Diego will hold a Meet the Candidates Reception on April 29, 2014 from 6 to 8 pm.  The event will be held at the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park.  There is no charge to attend.

SUPREME COURT STRIKES DOWN CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTION LIMITS

 

By Miriam Raftery

April 2, 2014 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down limits on how much money an individual can donate overall during elections.  By a 5-4 vote in the case, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, the court’s majority tossed out restrictions on how much a person can donate to political parties, political action committees or PACs, and candidates in any two-year period, though limits on how much one can give to any single candidate remain in place.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the opinion, finding that the limits intruded on what he called a “citizen’s ability to exercise the most fundamental First Amendment activities.”

But Common Cause, a nonpartisan organization dedicated to transparency in government and helping ordinary Americans have their voices heard, denounced the high court’s ruling as a “decision against democracy.”

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