San Diego’s Congressional representatives earned grades from A to D. Who scored the highest--and the lowest? The answers will surprise you.
October 25, 2010 – Iraq & Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)'s Congressional Report Card grades members of Congress on support for combat veterans in the past two years. San Diego’s Congressional delegation includes the Chair of the Veterans Affairs Committee, two veterans, a mlitary spouse, the wife of a military contractor, and a veterans' subcommittee member. So how did our legislators rank on supporting the many veterans in their districts?
photo: left to right--Mike Benoit, Duncan Hunter, Ray Lutz
By Miriam Raftery
October 18, 2010 (El Cajon) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, who served in the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, is an experienced combat veteran. Friday night, he found himself under fire on two fronts, as he defended his record in Congress during a debate with two challengers. Democrat Ray Lutz, a businessman and founder of the Citizens Oversight Projects (COPS: http://www.citizensoversight.org/) and Libertarian Mike Benoit, a small business owner and Constitutional advocate, peppered Hunter with criticisms of his stances on issues ranging from war to civil liberties.
The debate among 52nd Congressional district candidates, held at Cuyamaca College in El Cajon, was sponsored by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce. Scroll down for our detailed coverage of each candidates' responses to questions posed by audience members, as well as a link to the full video and to our "fact check" on the debate.
By Miriam Raftery
Photos by Ron Logan and Miriam Raftery
October 18, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter squared off Friday night in a heated debate with Democrat Ray Lutz, a local businessman and community activist, and Libertarian Michael Benoit, also a businessman. View Two area publications described the challengers' assault on Hunter, a combat veteran. (See ECM's coverage of the challengers' assault on Hunter, a combat veteran. (View video of the full debate: http://www.copswiki.org/Common/M1071.) The lively exchange, sponsored by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, was held at Cuyamaca College.
East County Magazine ran a fact check on key points rasied in the debate. Scroll down to see which claims stood up to our fact-checking team’s research, which facts were fuzzy, and who told the biggest whopper.
East County Magazine Editor Miriam Raftery was interviewed on KPBS Radio’s “These Days” program today regarding several East County political races: 77th Assembly, La Mesa Mayor, El Cajon Mayor, Padre Dam Municipal Water District, and 52nd Congressional District. Here is a link to the program: http://www.kpbs.org/news/2010/oct/11/east-county-election-races-heating/
Here are links to recent ECM articles with in-depth coverage of the races discussed:
Congressional debate to follow Stop Powerlink events
September 25, 2010 (Lakeside) – A rally for San Diegans who oppose the Sunrise Powerlink will be held Saturday, September 25th in Lakeside. The rally will be held at Lindo Lake Park (by the pavilions near the playground) at 10 a.m., followed by a march through Main Street in downtown Lakeside.
September 24, 2010 (Washington, DC) –Several important consumer protection features of health reform went into effect yesterday, six months after the Affordable Care Act (also know as the Patient's Bill of Rights) was signed into law. While even supporters contend the bill is no panacea, it does contain some key reforms that may affect you and your family.
“The Patient’s Bill of Right makes sure that health care is available to you when you need it most and outlaws the most egregious abuses by the insurance industry,” said Congressman Filner (D-San Diego). For plan years beginning on or after September 23, 2010, all privately-insured Americans now have the following protections:
September 23, 2010 (Washington D.C.) -- Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) is encouraging individuals involuntarily retained in the military under the “Stop Loss” program, between September 11, 2001, and September 30, 2009, to submit an application for retroactive pay before the October 21st deadline. Veterans and current servicemembers, as well as the survivors of servicemembers who were retained, are eligible to receive a retroactive payment of $500 for each month of extension.
To date, only 58,000 of 145,000 eligible claims have been paid. Information on the “Stop Loss” compensation program and links to the application are available at: www.defense.gov/stoploss.
“We have a chicken suit and we may have someone wear it to stand in for Duncan Hunter in debates.” – Ray Lutz, Democratic candidate, 52nd Congressional District
You Tube violates 1st Amendment, removes debate videos of Hunter in 2008
September 17, 2010 (Ramona) – The Ramona Forum will host a 52nd Congressional District candidates debate on Wednesday, September 22 at 6 p.m. in the Sizzler banquet room, 344 Main Street in Ramona. Democrat Ray Lutz and Libertarian Michael Benoit will appear, but incumbent Republican Congressman Duncan Hunter has declined, according to event organizers. Now his opponents are turning up the heat.
Calls provision allowing school lunch equipment purchases "wasteful spending"
August 31, 2010 (Washington D.C.) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon) , a member of the House Education and Labor Committee, voted against sending H.R. 5504, the Improving Nutrition for America’s Children Act, to the full House for consideration.
The bill aims to make school lunches more nutritious and get junk food out of schools. The goal is to improve children's health and cut down on childhood obesity, a national epidemic. From 1980 to 2009, childhood obesity in America has tripled--and poor nutritional habits are largely to blame. In California, 30.5% of all children are obese, putting them at higher risk of diabetes and heart problems later on.
August 25, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) -- After 11 days of fasting, Democratic Congressional Candidate Ray Lutz announced Monday that after founding a new national organization (Debate for Democracy) to carry on the fight for congressional debates in districts nationwide, he will end his fast. eat. Libertarian candidate Michael Benoit has also resumed eating.
August 23, 2010 (El Cajon) – Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) has announced plans during the Congressional recess to tour over a dozen San Diego area businesses representing a wide variety of industries, in order to hear directly from local job creators about the challenges of today’s economy.
By Miriam Raftery
August 22, 2010 (El Cajon ) – Two Congressmen and four local lawmakers fielded questions from the audience Friday night, trading quips and barbs on topics ranging from healthcare to gay marriage. The occasion was the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce’s annual “Politics in Paradise” event in the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College, where the weather was sultry and the politics even hotter.
Candidates are “hungry for debate” with Rep. Duncan Hunter
East County News Service
August 22, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) –Ten days into a hunger strike, Democratic Congressional candidate Ray Lutz has become the topic of national news coverage, including an interview Thursday on CNN . Lutz and Libertarian candidate Michael Benoit are holding the hunger strike to draw attention to Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) refusing to debate them until after absentee ballot voting has begun. In San Diego, 60% of voters cast absentee ballots last election.
At Friday night’s “Politics in Paradise”, the two candidates joined dozens of supporters in a protest outside the event where Hunter and other elected officials participated in a public forum, but challenger candidates were not included. Hunter has claimed his legislative schedule precludes him from returning to his district for a debate prior to October.
August 19, 2010 (San Diego's East County) -- It may be the hottest political show of the season. On Friday, the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce hosts its annual “Politics in Paradise” event, giving the public an opportunity to hear from top elected officials. This year, confirmed participants include Congressional representatives Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon) and Bob Filner (D-San Diego), as well as State Senator Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego), Assemblyman Marty Block (D-Lemon Grove), and Supervisor Dianne Jacob.
The bipartisan lineup includes some of San Diego’s most influential and powerful legislative leaders. Ducheny chairs the Senate budget committee in Sacramento. Block chairs the Higher Education committee n the Assembly. Filner chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee. Jacob, with decades of experience, has previously chaired the County Board of Supervisors. Hunter, a first-term Congressman, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee that his father formerly chaired.
By Patrick Riggs
Ray Lutz, Democratic candidate for the 52nd Congressional district, slammed incumbent Rep. Duncan D. Hunter’s vote against the Tribal Law and Order Act HR725. Democratic Lutz, I assume, did not read the “riders” (90 pages) added to HR725 which seem to be contradictory and at times confusing. This seems to be the rule with most good bills that have pages of “riders” attached. These riders authorized over $1 billion in spending which would be an additional burden on the taxpaying citizens.
Challenger accuses Rep. Hunter of dodging early debates; Hunter wants to wait until Congress is in recess--after absentee ballots have been mailed
By Miriam Raftery
August 12, 2010 (El Cajon) – In the 52nd Congressional District, Democratic candidate Ray Lutz is dishing up a new campaign tactic: a hunger strike. He hopes to convince Rep. Duncan D. Hunter to participate in a series of debates before absentee voting by mail begins. “Until Hunter steps up to the plate, I’ll be stepping away from the dinner plate,” Lutz said in a press release.
Hunter representative defends vote on cost, transparency issues
August 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Ray Lutz, Democratic candidate for the 52nd Congressional district, slammed incumbent Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon) for voting against the Tribal Law and Order Act HR 725), calling it a “vote protecting rapists.” President Barack Obama signed the bill into law on July 30, as ECM previously reported.
The measure allows tribal councils to prosecute criminals including rape victims when the defendant is an outsider and the U.S. Department of Justice has declined to prosecute. A study by Amnesty International found that one in three Native American women is raped during her lifetime; 86% of those rapes are committed by non-native men, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
By Buck Shott
August 4, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – This week, our Political Wrangler brings you the lastest from those smoke-filled rooms in Washington and San Diego. Amid pressing world issues, which of your U.S. legislators has a bill to ban marijuana brownies? Who is drawing fire for cozy ties to tobacco lobbyists after backing a cigar club for legislators? Which Congressman is fighting to make it easier to send cigarettes to our troops? Did a certain Supervisor break the law in doling out $80,000 in taxpayer money to a special interest group?
July 30, 2010 (Washington D.C.) – Congressman Duncan D. Hunter (R-El Cajon), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, today highlighted a report by the bipartisan Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) Independent Panel, which calls for increasing the Navy to a 346-ship fleet and expanding America’s focus to prepare for threats in the Western Pacific.
LUTZ SLAMS FILIBUSTER OF $30 BILLION FOR SMALL BUSINESS LOANS; ACCUSES REPUBLICANS OF “SABOTAGING” ECONOMY FOR POLITICAL GAIN
July 29, 2010 (San Diego's East County) – “This is destructive...It’s sabotage,” said Ray Lutz, Democratic challenger to the 52nd Congressional seat. Lutz was reacting to Senate Republicans' filibuster of the Small Business Lending Fund Act, which would create a $30 billion lending fund for small businesses. The bulk would be used to help community banks and credit unions start lending money again to local businesses.
Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, Lutz’s opponent, voted no on the measure in the House June 17--four days after telling local business leaders that he shared their concerns over the need to help community banks and credit unions free up funds to lend to small businesses.
July 28, 2010 (Rancho San Diego) – San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce will host its second annual “Politics in Paradise” event on August 20 from 6-9 p.m. at the Water Conservation Garden. The bipartisan program provides voters in East County with the opportunity to hear from legislators representing them in Washington, in Sacramento, and at the County level.
The evening will allow guests to pose questions to representatives and hear their opinions on hot button political issues and current events. Legislators confirmed to attend so far include Congressmen Duncan Hunter and Bob Filner, Assemblyman Marty Block, and Supervisor Dianne Jacob. More RSVPs are expected.
Hunter introduces bill to block federal lawsuit against Arizona; local activists head to Arizona for mass protest
Obama administration audits thousands of companies to force them to drop undocumented immigrant workers
By Miriam Raftery
July 23, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) –Local opponents and supporters of Arizona’s new immigration law are taking actions ranging from protests to legislation. Meanwhile, a new statewide Field poll of California voters released this week finds the public nearly evenly divided, with 49% in support and 45% opposed.
LOCAL LEADERS REACT TO DECISION WITH SHOCK & AWE
July 13, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – The last 19-mile link of SDG&E’s controversial Sunrise Powerlink transmission line project has been approved by Cleveland National Forest director William Metz, the Union-Tribune reports.
“We are not surprised by Metz’s decision, although we are disappointed,” Laura Cyphert, cofounder of the East County Community Action Coalition (ECCAC), an organization representing 79,000 people opposed to Powerlink, told East County Magazine. “Metz was under considerable political pressure. Fortunately we have anticipated this day, and are prepared to take every necessary legal action…Over a year ago, the legwork was started for a lawsuit against the Forest Service in the event that they permitted this project. We are well positioned to prevail in the court room.”
“I am persuaded that this project will not be built. It was conceived in secrecy ….sold with misleading information.” – Stephen Volker, attorney
Anonymous donor pledges to match donations for legal battle up to $20,000
June 24, 2010 (Alpine) – A standing-room-only crowd of around 700 people packed into the Alpine Community last night, where Supervisor Dianne Jacob and the Protect Our Communities Foundation convened a meeting for the public to provide input on SDG&E’s proposal to route Sunrise Powerlink through the Cleveland National Forest. No representatives were present from the U.S. Forest Service or SDG&E.
Many public officials and candidates for office came out in opposition to the project—while others were conspicuous by their absence or failure to take a stance.
The public has until June 29 to submit comments to Forest Supervisor William Metz. You may submit your comments online at email@example.com and include the subject line “Sunrise Powerlink Comments” or call to leave recorded comments at (858)673-6180.
Economy, bank bailout, war, and oil spill among concerns discussed
By Miriam Raftery
June 22, 2010 (Rancho San Diego) – Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) had a breakfast meeting with members of the Rancho San Diego-Jamul Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors yesterday morning at the Press Box Sports Bar & Restaurant to discuss the business climate and provide an update from Washington D.C. for Chamber leaders.
HUNTER ALSO WINS EASILY; WATCHDOG TO FACE CONGRESSSMAN IN NOVEMBER
June 9, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Raymond Lutz won a decisive victory in the 52nd Congressional district Democratic Primary, winning 70.63% of the vote. His opponent, community activist Connie Frankowiak of Anza-Borrego, received 29.3% with all precincts counted.
In November, Lutz will face off against incumbent Republican Congressman Duncan D. Hunter, who won a resounding primary victory over Tea Party activist Terri Linnell by a 90.5 to 9.5% margin.
By Miriam Raftery
June 3, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – While other candidates are hitting the campaign trail, Congressman Duncan D. Hunter is in Afghanistan visiting troops and getting an update on the war. On the home front, four candidates are on the ballot in the June 8th primary, each taking aim in hopes of representing the 52nd Congressional district.
While running against the Hunter family legacy (the current Republican Congressman replaced his father, also named Duncan Hunter), may seen a daunting task, Democrats Ray Lutz and Connie Frankowiak, as well as Republican Terri Linnell and Libertarian Michael Benoit, are taking on the challenge.
June 2, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – Ray Lutz, Democratic candidate for the 52nd Congressional District, praised the U.S. Senate's confirmation of Laura Duffy as new U.S. Attorney in San Diegio. Duffy, appointed by President Barack Obama, fills the position once held by Carol Lam, "who was surprisingly dismissed after she successfully prosecuted Randy 'Duke' Cunningham, Dusty Foggo and Brent Wilkes," noted Lutz.
Lam, along with numerous other U.S. Attorneys, was fired by the George W. Bush administration despite winning a conviction against then-Congressman Cunningham for bribery and other charges. Suggestions have long been made by critics of the Bush administration that Lam’s abrupt dismissal may have been an effort to squelch her investigation into another powerful Congressman – Duncan Hunter, then chair of the House Armed Services Committee.
May 24, 2010 (Washington D.C.) - Congressman Duncan Hunter praised a not guilty verdict in the case of Navy SEAL Matthew McCabe, who faced court-martial for allegedly beating Iraqi detainee Ahmed Hashim Abed and lying to investigators.
Abed was arrested in September in Iraq for allegedly orchestrating the 2004 murders of four U.S. contractors working for Blackwater USA in Falluja. The contractors' burned bodies were later hung from a bridge, triggering the siege of Falluja.
By Patrick Osio, Editor, www.HispanicVista.com
May 20, 2010 (San Diego's East County) -- Ignorance is a sad state. It stops being sad when the ignorant person holds public office, where actions can be harmful to the community, state or nation he/she serves. This is particularly true when adding to ignorance are biases and a narcissist personality. Further damage is often done by passing on to sons/daughters those traits.