July 5, 2011 (Culver City) -- The California Citizens Redistricting Commission, in order to accommodate and incorporate greater public input, voted to move its release of second draft district maps to July 12th. The Commission is charged by voters to draw California Congressional, Legislative and Board of Equalization districts.
Fire parcel fee, redevelopment cuts, tuition hikes, freeze on teacher lay-offs, and "crippling" cuts in border crimes enforcement among the budget impacts on our region
By Miriam Raftery
June 30, 2011 (Sacramento) –Governor Jerry Brown and Democrats in the state Legislature have approved a majority-vote budget without a single Republican vote. The move ends a months-long impasse in which Republicans held out for an all-cuts budget, while Democrats sought revenue increases to prevent slashing programs ranging from healthcare to law enforcement. The budget includes $7.9 billion in cuts which aim to reduce the state’s $26 billion deficit to $5 billion.
By Miriam Rafery
June 29, 2011 (San Diego)—The California Citizens Redistricting Commission heard input from area residents this month, including some residents of East County and Imperial County who objected to the redrawing of Congressional and state leglsiative district lines to lump the two regions together.
COUNTY BARS ALPINE PLANNING GROUP FROM REMOVING MEMBER LOUIS RUSSO, AFTER ACLU SAYS SANCTIONS UNCONSTITUTIONAL
By Miriam Raftery
June 27, 2011 (Alpine) – San Diego County Counsel Thomas Montgomery has barred the Alpine Planning Group from removing Louis Russo, a member. The board had attempted to oust Russo after he wrote an article published online in the Alpine Community Network criticizing recent board decisions and suggesting that the planning group may need to be disbanded.
June 20, 2011 (Sacramento) – Legislation authored by Senator Joel Anderson (R-El Cajon) aimed at protecting taxpayers and businesses from the impacts of state-issued IOUs has been approved by the State Senate.
“What’s good for the goose is good for the gander,” stated Senator Joel Anderson. “Right now, the state IOU process is a forced-borrowing scheme at the expense of the taxpayers. This measure will offer taxpayers protection by forcing the state to accept its own IOU as payment.”
June 19, 2011 (San Diego) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego), whose district may soon extend to include La Mesa, part of El Cajon and other areas in East County with reapportionment, has joined several other legislators in sending a letter asking Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct an investigation into oil speculation. The legislators seek to “determine whether illegal practices may be artificially inflating oil and gas prices” and also ask for “common sense limits" on the trading of oil futures.
“It's infuriating that major oil companies continue to profit from tax exemptions while American families struggle with rising gas prices," Davis said in a letter to constituents. "I joined in sending a letter to Vice President Biden asking him to make sure that cutting unnecessary tax subsidies for major oil companies is part of a deal to reduce the deficit.”
CUTS TO MEDICARE APPROVED BY GOP HOUSE WOULD HAVE MAJOR IMPACTS ON EAST COUNTY SENIORS AND DISABLED PEOPLE, ANALYSIS FINDS
In the 52nd Congressional District represented by Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), a Democratic analysis estimates the plan would shift thousands of dollars in costs onto individuals --$182,000 to $287,000 per person for those ages 44-54--while sharply cutting benefits for those over age 54 and the disabled.
June 19, 2011 (Washington D.C.) – How will the bill passed in April by House Republicans’ to cut $1 trillion in Medicare costs impact people in East County and San Diego?
The plan would eliminate Medicare for those now under 55, making them use vouchers for private insurance instead. Some benefits for current Medicare beneficiaries and the disabled would be cut immediately. Seniors would pay more for prescriptions and government reimbursement to private insurers would not keep pace with the rising cost of medical care, resulting in seniors paying higher costs. That's based on numerous independen analyses, from the Wall Street Journal to the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
Now ranking members of the House Energy and Commerce Committee have posted a breakdown by Congressional districts that shows majorl impacts on seniors and even greater cuts to those currently under 55.
Garrick reportedly was set to run for redrawn Senate district in East County
By Miriam Raftery
June 16, 2011 (San Diego) – Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-74th district), who currently represents North County, was arrested yesterday in Sacramento for driving under the influence of alcohol, after speeding, running a stop sign and fleeing from two California Highway Patrol officers.
Garrick, a former vice chair of the local Republican Party and past GOP Assembly leader, has been put forward by the Republican Party as a potential candidate to run for State Senate in a redrawn 38th State Senate district that would include areas in East County north of Interstate 8 if proposed redistricting plans are approved as drafted.
By Miriam Raftery
June 12, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Who will your future representatives be for Congress, State Senate and Assembly? Starting next year, many East County residents will find themselves in different districts-- if draft maps drawn up by the California Citizens Redistricting Commission are adopted. While most legislators appear likely to keep fairly safe seats, some districts have become more competitive. Key East County districts will have drastically different boundaries, forcing elected officials to campaign on unfamiliar turf--and even adjacent counties.
The commission was formed following a ballot initiative approved by voters. The goal was to take redistricting out of the hands of politicians in Sacramento in hopes of creating more competitive and geographically rational district lines instead of gerrymandering. Public comment is sought in June before the commission finalizes its plans.
ECM’s analysis of the maps yields some intriguing findings. Among them:
Supervisors to consider proposed plans June 28
June 15, 2011 (San Diego County) -- After a series of public meetings that began in February, the County’s Redistricting Advisory Committee voted Monday to forward three proposed redistricting plans to the Board of Supervisors. The citizen’s committee was tasked with gathering public input and forwarding no more than three plans for the Board’s consideration. The Redistricting Advisory Committee finished that work and held its final meeting Monday.
The Board of Supervisors is expected to hear the committee’s proposed plans at its regular Board meeting at 9 a.m. on June 28.The Redistricting Advisory Committee’s three proposals can be viewed at the County’s redistricting website at www.sdcounty.ca.gov/redistricting. Once at the site, please choose “view/submit plan” from the left menu; then choose “view the latest proposed plans.” This will take you to the online viewer, where you can “Choose (a) Plan.”
June 15, 2011 (Santee) -- Assemblyman Brian Jones, Republican representing the 77th district, announces opening of a new district office location at 10152 Mission Gorge Road in Santee.
SENATE APPROVES ANDERSON MEASURE TO DEDICATE “BORDER PATROL AGENT ROBERT W. ROSAS MEMORIAL HIGHWAY” IN EAST COUNTY
June 15, 2011 (Sacramento)-- Senate Concurrent Resolution 37, authored by State Senator Joel Anderson (R - El Cajon) has been approved by the California State Senate. The measure would dedicate a portion of Interstate 8 in honor of f Border Patrol Agent Roberrt Rosas Jr., who was murdered while on duty in the Campo area of San Diego’s East County on July 23, 2009.
June 15, 2011 (San Diego) – A workshop on proposed redistricting will be this Thursday, June 16 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the City Heights Wellness Center, 4440 Wightman Street, #200 in City Heights.
Redistricting will determine California’s political boundaries for the next 10 years. California’s Citizens Redistricting Commission will draw district lines for the first time in California history for state Congressional, Senate, Assembly and Board of Equalization Districts. Latinos comprise nearly 40% of California’s population—and representatives from the Latino community want to make sure that redistricting will assure representation that reflects those numbers.
STATE SENATE PASSES LANDMARK BILL TO PROVIDE HEALTH INSURANCE TO LOW-INCOME RESIDENTS---AT ZERO NEW COST TO CALIFORNIA TAXPAYERS
4 local legislators take massive donations from insurance industry--and vote against bill
June 3, 2011 (Sacramento) – Today the California State Senate voted 25-14 to pass SB 703, which would establish a low-cost health insurance plan to cover an estimated 720,000 people for premiums as low as $30 a month. If passed by the Assembly and signed by the Governor, the measure would provide coverage for more than 723,000 uninsured people who earn between 133% and 200% of the federal poverty level.
Measure drew bipartisan support in Congress, though local representatives split votes down party lines
June 7, 2011 (Washington D.C.)—By a 268-145 vote, the House of Representatives rebuked President Barack Obama for not seeking Congressional authorization for military conflict in Libya. House Resolution 292, authored by Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) asked the President to provide Congress with justification for U.S. involvement in NATO-led military strikes.
June 6, 2011 (Sacramento) -- The method for assessing skills of incoming community college students will become more efficient and less costly to taxpayers under a bill approved by the California State Assembly. AB 743 by local Demcratic Assemblyman Marty Block (AD-78), chair of the Higher Education Committee, establishes a standardized assessment system at the California Community Colleges for the purpose of placing and advising students, and promoting uniform assessment across all campuses.
June 5, 2011 (La Mesa) --Volunteers to conduct walk audits and evaluations of City of
CA ASSEMBLY PASSES BILL TO MAKE HEALTH INSURERS GET STATE APPROVAL BEFORE HIKING RATES; REPUBLICANS WALK OUT IN PROTEST
Updated June 3, 2011
June 2, 2011 (Sacramento) – Car insurance and homeowner insurance companies have long been required to get state approval before raising rates. But not health insurers. Some have hiked up rates multiple times a year; Blue Cross sought to jack up rates 59% with three increases in six months.
Gouging consumers with unjustifiable rate hikes will no longer be allowed if AB 52 becomes law. The bill would require health insurers to provide justification and get permission from state regulators before imposing increased costs for health care premiums, copayments, or deductibles on consumers.
June 2, 2011 (San Diego’s East County) – Assemblyman Brian Jones (R-Santee) has issued a press release sharply criticizing Governor Jerry Brown for signing a contract for Will Lightbourne to head up the state’s Department of Social Services. The contract totals $1.25 million, spread over the next three and a half years.
June 3, 2011 (Washington D.C.) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) last week introduced legislation to spark innovation within San Diego’s biotech and medical device industry. The Therapeutic Tax Credit Act would provide federal assistance through tax credits and grants to develop promising new lifesaving medications or medical devices.
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PASSES BILL THAT WOULD STRIP WOMEN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE, REDUCE PRIVATE INSURANCE OPTIONS FOR ABORTION COVERAGE
By Jeremy Los
“This bill is an unprecedented assault on women’s health care. For the first time, restrictions would be placed on how women with private insurance can spend their own dollars in purchasing health insurance.” – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego)
May 31, 2011- Women’s rights are under siege as Republicans in control of the House of Representatives recently passed H.R. 3. The No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act would sharply restrict access to abortion.
Championed by Rep. Christopher Smith (R- NJ), the bill passed the House with 251 "aye" votes, of which 235 were Republicans--including San Diego Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa. (Brian Bilbray (R-San Diego) abstained from voting, while local Democratic representatives Susan Davis and Bob Filner voted "no.")
May 28, 2011 (Washington) --The House of Representatives has passed an amendment offered by Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-Alpine), a member of the House Armed Services Committee, directing the Secretary of the Navy to name the next available ship after Marine Corps Sergeant Rafael Peralta. Hunter offered the amendment during House consideration of the Fiscal Year 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
May 27, 2911 (San Diego's East County) -- San Diego Taxpayers Association has presented its not-so-coveted Grand Golden Fleece award this year to Sweetwater Union High School District for its declaration of "Let the Taxpayers Eat Wedding Cake!”
The "award" spotlighted taxpayer funded mailings and suggested improprieties involving contractors invited to the Superintendent's daughter's wedding.
BLOCK'S BILL TO START A 4-YEAR BACCALAUREATE PILOT PROGRAM AT GROSSMONT AND CUYAMACA COLLEGES CLEARS COMMITTEE
Program to be funded by workforce partners in community and through student fees
May 23, 2011 (Sacramento) – To help meet demand for more college graduates to help drive California’s economy, Assembly Higher Education Chair Marty Block (AD-78) has authored legislation to look at alternate ways to help students achieve a baccalaureate degree.
AB 661 would allow Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District and San Mateo County Community College District to establish baccalaureate degree pilot programs in subject areas where workforce need is high. Yesterday, AB 661 cleared the Assembly Higher Education Committee without opposition.
May 25, 2011 (Washington D.C) —With the U.S. government expected to hit the $14.294 trillion debt ceiling this week, Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, called for action on H.R. 1551, the Guarantee Paychecks for America’s Military Families Act.
The legislation guarantees that, in the event the debt limit is reached or a lapse in federal funding occurs, all military families, in addition to civilians working in combat zones, continue to receive paychecks. Cosponsors include San Diego representatives Bob Filner, a Democrat, and Republican Brian Bilbray.
May 21, 2011 —Recently, U.S. Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA) personally viewed photographs of Osama Bin Laden after he was killed by U.S. Special Forces in Pakistan. As a member of the House Armed Services Committee, Hunter was provided the opportunity to view the photographs along with other selected House members at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia.
“The series of photographs clearly show Osama Bin Laden from the time after the raid to his burial at sea,” said Congressman Hunter. “Our nation’s Special Forces did an exceptional job and deserve great credit for their work.”
May 18, 2011 (San Diego) – Congresswoman Susan Davis (D-San Diego) invites constituents to a town-hall style public meeting on Wednesday, May 18 from 6-7 p.m. in the Normal Heights Community Center at 4649 Hawley Blvd., San Diego 92116.
“Please come share your ideas, ask a question, and get an update about what’s happening in Congress at my Mid-City/Uptown Neighborhood Day this Wednesday evening,” the Congresswoman said.
Thousands of students turned away as education opportunities fade for many;
College leaders & students issue plea for public to ask help from local legislators who continue to oppose budget measures to protect community college funding
By Miriam Raftery
May 17, 2011 (El Cajon) –Tens of thousands of students have been turned away from community colleges in our region this summer following $73 million in budget cuts---at a time when California had the largest high school graduation rate in history and unemployment levels are soaring. Fees have gone up by nearly a third and staff positions have been slashed—but the worst may be yet to come.
“An all-cuts budget would be nothing short of an educational Armageddon,” warned Cindy Miles, Chancellor of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District (GCCCD). Miles joined leaders of six community college districts in a press conference at Grossmont College today to show the dire consequences of recent budget cuts and worse impacts if the all-cuts budget is enacted. She and other leaders praised Governor Jerry Brown for requesting an extension of existing taxes to prevent the all-cuts budget option. (View a video with more of Miles' remarks.)
But Republicans (including East County representatives Joel Anderson and Brian Jones) have refused to support the Governor’s budget. They remain determined to force an all-cuts budget regardless of consequences on local students and our region’s economy, top educators warned.
May 17, 2011 (Sacramento) – Assembly Higher Education Chair Marty Block (AD-78) issued the following statement in response to Governor Brown’s May Revise budget proposal:
“Governor Brown’s May Revise is a responsible roadmap with a long-term vision that preserves education funding and provides hiring incentives to get people back to the workplace – two critical components to maintaining our economic recovery. Given the remaining deficit and difficult choices before us, I am encouraged to see this plan provides funding for K-12 education and community colleges. An otherwise all-cuts budget proposal would have caused unprecedented damage to our public colleges and universities, already grappling with deep cuts that will undoubtedly impact access and affordability."