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VARGAS, CRIMMINS TO VIE FOR FILNER’S SEAT IN CONGRESS

 

By Miriam Raftery

June 7, 2012 (San Diego) – Congressman Bob Filner’s departure from Congress to run for mayor has left an open seat in the 51st Congressional district, which spans southern portions of San Diego and Imperial Counties. In the June primary, a field of seven candidates has been narrowed to two: Democratic State Senator Juan Vargas and Republican Michael Crimmins, a retired Marine  Corps officer and teacher.

NEWSPAPER CHARGES VARGAS USED TAXPAYER FUNDS FOR MAILERS WHILE IGNORNING CONSTITUENTS AMID CONGRESSIONAL BID


“This is exactly the kind of behavior that infuriates voters and must be stopped.” – Denise Ducheny, former state Senator and current 51st Congressional district candidate

 

May 31, 2012 (San Diego)– State Senator Juan Vargas is under fire again, this time in an article from The Press Enterprise, published yesterday. The article catalogued the actions of Vargas and his Senate office, who stand accused of using taxpayer dollars to fund mail pieces aimed at helping his candidacy.  Vargas is now running for the 51st Congressional District seat, which spans San Diego and Imperial Counties, seeking to replace Bob Filner who is retiring to run for Mayor.

“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

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.

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.

POLITICAL WRANGLING: HOW LOW CAN THEY GO? NATIONAL & LOCAL CANDIDATES TAKE SCAPE-GOATING AND MUD-SLINGING TO NEW DEPTHS

By Buck Shott
 

September 14, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) –Top Republican presidential candidates this week seemed to be vying to show who was the most heartless. Ron Paul dissed disaster victims, calling for an end to federal aid to survivors of hurricanes and wildfires. Michelle Bachmann suggested lowering the minimum wage might lure corporations back from overseas. Rick Perry disavowed “compassionate conservatism” altogether. All seek to eliminate or slash Social Security.

 

But the most bloodthirsty of all was the Tea Party crowd at this week’s presidential debate. When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer asked whether a 30-year-old man without health insurance should just be allowed to die if he goes into a coma, Tea Party members shouted "Yeah," exhibiting all the zeal of ancient Roman spectators cheering on a a lion vs. gladiator fight.

POLITICAL LEADERS PARRY QUESTIONS, TRADE BARBS AT POLITICS IN PARADISE

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

August 25, 2011 (Rancho San Diego) – The weather was sultry and the political discourse even hotter at Politics in Paradise last Friday night, hosted by the San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce in the Water Conservation Garden at Cuyamaca College.

 

 Congressmembers Bob Filner and Duncan Hunter, Assemblyman Brian Jones and former Senator Denise Ducheny fielded questions on a broad range of issues, from jobs and healthcare to a new stadium for the Chargers. The evening yielded insights, humor, and surprises.

POLITICAL WRANGLING: TUSSLES, PAYOFFS AND TALL TALES

 

 By Buck Shott

 

August 1, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Gearing up for another rough-and-tumble campaign season, our Political Wrangling column is back with answers to questions inquiring minds want to know.

 

  • Which Presidential candidate flunked 13 of 13 fact-checks?
  • What prominent candidates are eyeing Bob Filner’s seat in Congress, in a redrawn district that includes the southern chunk of East County?
  • Which liberal school board member may be living outside her San Diego district, making her potentially ineligible to serve?
  • Which local Republican official admits to paying off folks to pack a council hearing in support of hiking rental rates for mobile home owners?
  • What national office holder is collecting rent from public servants providing security for his family?

 

LEGISLATURE SENDS BUDGET TO GOVERNOR; LOCAL LEGISLATORS REACT

 

By Miriam Raftery

October 8, 2010 (Sacramento) The State Senate today approved a budget which is now on the Governor’s desk. The finished measure includes pension reforms for state employees and the complete elimination of the Cal-Works program as well as more deep cuts in education spending.

 

Democrats had sought to halt a rollback of tax breaks that haven’t taken effect yet for corporations as well as a ¼ percent change in personal income tax rate to halt what Senator Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego), who chairs the budget committee, warns will be “a generation of children left on the streets, left homeless, left without education.”

EDITORIAL: WHAT CALIFORNIA CAN'T AFFORD

 

By Senator Denise Ducheny
Chair, Senate Budget Committee

 

“Thoughtless slashing would eliminate a whole series of State investments that are necessary to our recovery and to providing a sound base for our future prosperity.”

 

August 24, 2010 (Sacramento) -- In the wake of the global economic turmoil of the past few years, there are signs California’s economy has hit bottom and is beginning to recover. While our recovery is fragile, and it will take time to make up ground lost to the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, California is still the 8th largest economy in the world. California’s future is still bright--if we can sustain ourselves in the short term.

POWERFUL LEADERS FROM SACRAMENTO & WASHINGTON JOIN "POLITICS IN PARADISE" PANEL FRIDAY AUG. 20

 

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.

A TALE OF 3 BUDGETS: STATE LEGISLATURE GRAPPLES OVER DUELING PROPOSALS

May 27, 2010 (Sacramento) – Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, Senate and Assembly Democratic leaders have proposed three separate budgets with drastically different approaches to closing a $20 billion gap.  Should California completely eliminate safety nets for children, poor families and the elderly? 

 

That's what the Governor has proposed -- and what Republican leaders in both houses support. Or should corporate tax breaks be delayed to help balance the budget, as Senate Democrats propose?  Or should a compromise measure from Senate Assembly leaders, that includes both cuts and a tax on oil companies, plus outsourcing management of bottle bill revenues, be considered?  

 

Those are among the touch choices facing state legislators.  

HOLLINGSWORTH BILL TO REDUCE PENSIONS FOR STATE WORKERS IS HEARD IN COMMITTEE

By Miriam Raftery
May 10, 2010 (Sacramento) – Senator Dennis Hollingsworth (R-Murrieta) whose district includes most of East County, had a hearing in the Senate Public Employees and Retirement Today on his Senate Bill 919. The measure would increase retirement age from 55 to 65 and require higher contributions from state employees to their retirement accounts. It would also require that retirement benefits be based on the highest three years of wages, instead of the highest one year.

 

The measure, which would reduce pension benefits while asking workers to pay more into their pension funds, has sparked controversy in Sacramento, drawing opposition from teachers and other state workers.

DEMOCRATS’ JOBS PACKAGE ADVANCES IN STATE SENATE

 

May 9, 2010 (Sacramento) – “The Senate continues to make progress to restore California's economy and put people back to work,” Senator Christine Kehoe (D-San Diego) announced. In April, Senate committees passed several bills as part of “Agenda 2010”, Democrats’ plan that aspires to create 140,000 jobs without raising taxes or dismantling workplace and environmental protections.

SALAS RUNS FOR STATE SENATE

 

February 18, 2010 (San Diego) – Assemblywoman Mary Salas (D-Chula Vista) has announced plans to run for the 40th State Senate seat. Senator Denise Ducheny (D-San Diego) will be stepping down due to term limits. Running on the campaign slogan, “a real Democrat,” Salas was honored as Legislator of the Year in 2009 by the San Diego County Democratic Party for her legislation that benefited senior citizens, children and veterans.

HOW DID YOUR LEGISLATOR VOTE ON CONSUMER ISSUES? HOLLINGSWORTH RANKS 2ND WORST IN LEGISLATURE; SALDANA RANKS 100%

November 18, 2009 (San Diego’s East County) – Legislators representing astern areas in San Diego County got mixed scores from Consumer Federation of California's 2009 scorecard for California lawmakers. The scorecard ranks state Senators and Assemblymembers for votes to protect consumers on issues including food safety, identity theft, health care reform, toxics, false advertising, real estate lending reform, and deceptive insurance industry practices.

CA BUDGET ONE VOTE SHY OF PASSAGE: HOLLINGSWORTH LEADS OPPOSITION

hollingsworth.jpeg

 

By Miriam Raftery

 

February 18, 2009 (San Diego) -- Efforts to pass a $40 billion state budget plan collapsed over the weekend due to Republicans refusal to support the plan, which fell one vote shy of passage in the Senate. The state has halted refund checks to taxpayers and payments to vendors, stopped 2,000 public works projects and announced plans to stop payments for foster parents and other social services because California has no more money. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has ordered furloughs for state workers and tonight said he will send lay-off notices to 20,000 people on Tuesday. Loans are no longer an option due to the state’s bad credit rating.

 

“I don’t know what it takes for people to believe this really is a crisis,” said Senator Denise Ducheny, (D-San Diego), chair of the Senate Budget committee, whose district includes Lemon Grove, Spring Valley, and some eastern portions of San Diego.

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