Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Rep. Peters Pledges to Continue Seeking  "Practical, Centrist Solutions" in 2nd Term 


San Diego -- Following tonight's vote update from the San Diego County Registrar of Voters, Rep. Scott Peters released the following statement:

"I am honored the constituents of California’s 52nd Congressional District chose to send me back for another two years.  I thank my wife Lynn and my family for their steadfast support; my exceptional campaign team for their integrity, expertise, hard work, discipline and good humor; and the hundreds of volunteers who worked nonstop to remind voters in every corner of the district about the importance of this election. I also thank Carl DeMaio for his commitment to public service and government reform; while we disagreed on many issues, I congratulate him on running a tenacious, aggressive and tough campaign.

"My commitment to San Diego is to continue on the path I forged in 2012, working with members of both parties to break the gridlock and get things done for my district and the nation.  Election night was a hard one for the Democratic Party, but perhaps there are lessons from our path to victory here in our Republican-leaning district where we won this election by an even a larger margin than in 2012, a better year for Democrats.

"My campaign moved beyond the false choices that dominate the current dialogue in Washington, and answered the voters’ demand for practical, centrist solutions. The voters want real leadership on issues like protecting a woman’s right to choose, addressing climate change, providing fair wages and safe working conditions, and giving students the opportunity to afford a college education.  But they also want a strong commitment to national defense and a willingness to work with the business community in a partnership for job creation and economic expansion.  In San Diego that means renewed investments in basic infrastructure – our roads and bridges – and in emerging sciences and technologies like green energy, high tech and bio tech, and other innovative businesses that create good jobs. 

"As Democrats we can embrace our traditional values while giving business leaders a viable alternative to government shutdowns, ballooning deficits, credit downgrades, and partisan gridlock.  My campaign is proof that most Democrats, many Republicans and a majority of the fast-growing independent electorate will unite behind a candidate who embraces these goals.

"The business community is feeling evermore abandoned by many Republican congressional leaders.  The question now becomes whether Democratic leaders are willing to seize the opportunity, and the responsibility, for fostering business growth and
economic prosperity. I am committed to it and I thank the voters of the 52nd District for the honor they have given me."

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Statement of California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton on 2014 Election Results

It appears Democrats across the nation will always have California. On a night that saw Republicans make gains across the nation, much like in 2010, California held firm. At the statewide level, California remains a deep blue beacon because of the bold leadership of Jerry Brown and our strong Democratic majority in Sacramento.

In a repeat of 2010, California Democrats swept all statewide offices this year and even helped pass the most significant criminal justice reform measures in decades with Proposition 47.

Democrats under Governor Brown have accomplished much in just four short years and our victories at the statewide level serve as an affirmation of that reality.

While the results were less decidedly in our favor at the district level, the reality is California Democrats have had an embarrassment of riches for the past several election cycles and that has left us with many seats to defend, often in Republican leaning territory in low turn out cycles.

We look forward to recommitting to our efforts pressing into Republican strongholds, in particular the Central Valley. Many of the seats that were lost last night will be regained in just two years and there are many more which will be ripe for the picking from Republican hands in 2016.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

10News Civility Project Gives DeMaio Ad 'F,' Calls It "Outrageous'


San Diego -- The false and egregious new Carl DeMaio TV ad has been given a grade of 'F' by the 10News Civility Project, which analyzes political ads for truth and accuracy.

"On truth, relevance and civility, the group gives this ad an F," 10News anchor Virginia Cha told the station's viewers. To watch the 10News segment, click here:

"I just consider it outrageous," Jeff Marston, a Civility Project panelist, told 10News viewers last night.

"I see this ad as the total opposite of civility," added John Beatty, another member of the panel.

10 News aired the segment last night in response to the attack ad, which began airing on San Diego stations last week. The Scott Peters campaign is working with its lawyers to have the baseless spot removed from the airwaves.

Halloween Scare: DeMaio's Proposed Cuts to Veterans' Benefits


San Diego -- If you want a real Halloween scare this season, consider Carl DeMaio’s horrifying plan to cut benefits for California’s military veterans.

DeMaio’s plan – which included kicking veterans off Medi-Cal and shutting down a historic veterans hospital -- is further evidence that his Tea Party approach is too extreme for San Diego.

DeMaio proposed these cuts in his so-called “Citizen’s Budget,” which he crafted in 2003 while working for the Reason Foundation, an extremist think-tank backed by the notorious, far-right Koch Brothers.

His proposed state budget for 2003-2005 calls for kicking all California veterans off Medi-Cal, regardless of their medical needs; closing down a historic veterans hospital that provides crucial medical services to vulnerable veterans; and imposing massive cuts on nursing homes that serve veterans.

“These are people who have served our nation and DeMaio wants to thank them by slashing their medical care,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress Campaign.  “Absolutely outrageous.”

DeMaio’s ties to the Reason Foundation run deep. Since 2013 he’s been paid at least $240,000 in consulting fees from Reason, the exact same group for which he authored this frightening budget.

By contrast, Rep. Scott Peters has co-sponsored the Veterans Pension Protection Act, the Veterans Employment Transition Act, the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act and the Veterans Education Equity Act.

These are some of the reasons why Jack Harkin, a Republican and former chair of the United Veterans Council of San Diego County, stood next to other veterans at a recent press conference, praised Peters’ “honesty and fairness” and stated, “We must have Scott Peters kept in our Congress.”

Governor Signs Weber Bill Strengthening State’s Hate Crime Statutes

“For a right or a protection to have any meaning, you have to have access to the courts where they can be enforced”

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday authored by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) that will protect the rights of victims of hate crimes and civil rights abuses to have their cases heard in court.

It has become a widespread practice in consumer and employment contracting to force individuals to waive their rights to seek legal redress through the courts even when their civil rights have been violated. AB 2617 would prohibit requiring a waiver of any rights under California hate crimes or civil rights laws as a condition of entering into a contract for employment, housing, education or consumer goods and services.

“There is no right without a remedy,” Weber said. “In order for a right or a protection to have any meaning, you have to have access to the courts where they can be enforced. We have passed these laws not only to provide a mechanism of legal redress for victims, but also to send a signal to the rest of society that these acts are not sanctioned, whether committed by an individual or abetted by an institution. Forced arbitration compels victims to submit to proceedings where arbitrators are not even required to follow the state’s civil rights statutes when making decisions that the parties are bound by law to follow.”

The bill emanates from a case of a 15 year-old private school student who received graphic death threats from fellow students due to his perceived sexual orientation.  On the advice of law enforcement, his parents withdrew him from the school and relocated him to a school in a different part of California. The school, however, publicly disclosed the student’s new community and school.  Understandably upset, his parents took legal action to hold the school accountable for abetting the bullying and not disciplining the perpetrators, but a forced arbitration clause buried in the enrollment contract prevented the student from going to court to seek justice under the state’s civil rights statutes.

The student’s father, Lee Caplin, said he, his son and his family are pleased that their experience has resulted in a law that strengthens protections for all Californians.

“This is a great victory,” said Caplin, “This bill gives teeth back to the state’s civil rights and hate crimes laws.”

Caplin, whose father taught law to both John and Robert Kennedy and later served in the Kennedy Administration, said the timing is significant.

“My son noted that the bill signing comes in the same year as the 50th anniversary of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was initiated during the Kennedy era,” he said.

“We have fought long and hard for these protections,” Weber said, “But we are seeing attempts to erode the progress we’ve made, including attempts to subvert voting rights and to shield companies for wrongdoing in hate crimes cases. I am pleased that the Governor saw the wisdom in restoring an individual’s right to have their day in court.”

AB 2617 is supported by Equality California, the ACLU, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the California Chapter of the NAACP and the Consumer Attorneys of California.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sierra Club San Diego Endorses Peters

San Diego -- Sierra Club San Diego has endorsed Rep. Scott Peters for re-election, saying Peters “has spent his entire career protecting the environment.”

Sierra Club San Diego cited Peters’ work on a variety of environmental issues ranging from combating the impacts of climate change to increasing funding for wildfire preparedness. Peters currently chairs the Climate Task Force of the House Democratic caucus.

“We are confident that Scott will work to protect San Diego’s special environmental, for our families and for our future,” said Debbie Hecht, chair of the club’s steering committee.

During his first term in the House, Peters introduced legislation to reduce the emission of super-pollutants such as methane and black carbon; advocated for full funding of the nation’s climate research programs; introduced a drought-assistance bill that would maximize water resources; co-sponsored legislation to close the oil and gas industries’ air-pollution loophole in the Clean Water Act and co-sponsored a bill creating tax incentives for private landowners to grant public access National Scenic Trails.

Among other things, Rep. Peters has also sponsored legislation that would help coastal states plan for the impacts of climate change.

“I’m honored that the Sierra Club has recognized my persistent efforts on behalf of the environment both in San Diego and nationally,” Peters said. “I pledge to continue the important work of protecting San Diego’s precious natural resources and addressing the threat of climate change.”

The national Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, also has endorsed Peters.

Assemblymember Weber’s Response to the Governor’s Action on Her Kindergarten Legislation

SAN DIEGO - Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) issued the following response to California Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of AB 1719 (Full-Day Kindergarten) and vetoing of AB 1444 (Mandatory Kindergarten):

“I am grateful that the Governor decided to sign AB 1719 and am pleased that he agrees we need to evaluate existing Full-Day kindergarten programs with a view to implementing it statewide.

“I am, however, disappointed that he chose to veto AB 1444, a bill I jointly authored with Assembly Education Chair, Joan Buchanan, which would have required kindergarten attendance before entering the first grade. The recent report from the Attorney General’s office shows that chronic absenteeism is especially acute in kindergarten and first grade with the end result that these children only have a 17- percent chance of being able to read well by the 3rd grade. Without this critical skill, they have a significantly higher likelihood of dropping out of school altogether and ending up in the correctional system or dependent on social services.

“Making kindergarten mandatory will go a long way toward getting parents to take this critical early education seriously and giving their children an opportunity to succeed. I look forward to working with the Governor in the upcoming legislative session on this issue.”

Assemblymember Shirley Weber, representing California’s 79th Assembly District, is a member of the Assembly Education and Higher Committees and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Higher Education in San Diego County.

Kimber - Hunter Debate

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gov. Brown Signs Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s VOTE Act To Improve Voter Participation in Special Elections

AB 1873 creates San Diego County pilot project to provide all special election voters with postage-paid mail ballots, early voting opportunities

SACRAMENTO – (September 26, 2014) – Gov. Brown signed into law today Assembly Bill 1873 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) authorizing a pilot project that will help the State of California address the low voter turnout and high costs of special elections by instituting a 5-year trial in San Diego County legislative vacancy special elections.

“As elected officials, we have a responsibility to address the plummeting voter turnout and high taxpayer costs we’ve seen in recent special elections,” Gonzalez said. “AB 1873 creates a program that makes voting more accessible and elections cheaper while protecting the integrity of the voting process.”

Upon opting in to this pilot program, the County of San Diego will be required to meet several conditions that will improve a voter’s opportunity to cast a ballot in special elections for Congress, State Senate and Assembly vacancies.

Under AB 1873, every registered voter will be mailed a ballot with return postage paid. Voters would also have the opportunity to vote either at an early voting location the weekend before Election Day or on Election Day at a limited number of polling places for special elections held in San Diego County for Congressional or California Legislative vacancies. These special elections have historically resulted in low voter participation – with often less than 20 percent of registered voters casting ballots – and millions of dollars in costs to county taxpayers that, unlike statewide elections, are not reimbursed by the state.

“The special elections held since 2012 show that a majority of voters choose to cast ballots in the four weeks leading up to Election Day by mail rather than at a polling place on Election Day itself. And for the large numbers who don’t cast ballots at all – whether it’s because they have a busy work schedule, family commitments or just plain forgot – it’s time California and their county elections offices try cutting them some slack by giving them a larger window of time to exercise Democracy,” Gonzalez said.

Even by paying for the postage of every voter’s returned mail ballot, setting up Election Day drop-off locations for last minute voters, and allowing for in-person voting before Election Day, the VOTE Act is projected to save taxpayers money when special elections are needed. For example, the cost of every poll voter who cast a ballot in the 40th Senate District special election last March cost $221.43, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. For every mail ballot counted in that race, the taxpayer cost was only $8.73.

The bill was supported by the County of San Diego, as well as the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials, California State Association of Counties, California State Association of Letter Carriers, the Rural County Representatives of California and more. Assemblywoman Gonzalez worked diligently with San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu, the Office of the Secretary of State, and several disability rights, language access and voting rights activists to improve this innovative voting bill.

AB 1873 was approved by the Assembly on a 47-29 vote and by the State Senate 24-8 on August 28. Since then, the bill has garnered significant attention in debates for the upcoming election for Secretary of State, the office that oversees all elections in California.

Governor Brown Signs Bill to Enhance Bicycle Safety 

San Diego Bike Coalition says new state law allows local governments to incorporate physically separated lanes 

SAN DIEGO, September 26, 2014 – This week Governor Brown signed AB 1193, The Protected Bikeways Act, giving local governments the liberty to implement modernized bicycling infrastructure. Sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and authored by California Assemblymember Phil Ting, The Protected Bikeways Act encourages the implementation of bicycle lanes with physical separation from automobile traffic through the use of medians, curbs, posts and more.

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition celebrates Governor Brown’s decision to make physically separated bikeways viable options for local bicycle infrastructure and the anticipated effect such safety enhancements will have on local riders.

“The key to getting more people on bicycles is giving them a safe place to ride,” says Bike Coalition Executive Director Andy Hanshaw. “Governor Brown’s signature is a gift that allows regions to utilize highly regarded bicycle safety standards from around the globe.”

Used safely and effectively for years in the top bike-friendly cities of the world, such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen, protected bike lanes make urban bike riding a pleasant, practical and safe way to make everyday trips, such as taking children to school or running errands. In the United States, cities that added protected bike lanes such as Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. saw as much as a 250 percent increase in local ridership.

According to the Bike Coalition, a safe and designated area for bicyclists improves conditions for bike safety, car traffic, and even pedestrians on sidewalks. The Coalition says that 90 percent of riders surveyed in recent reports feel safer with protected bike lanes.

“On the heels of the new Three Feet for Safety law, this bill adds to a new era for the safety of bicycle lovers in our city,” says Hanshaw. “With a physical separation between bikes and automobiles, I won’t be surprised when we see a great increase of people commuting, exercising, or recreationally enjoying the beauty of San Diego at a two-wheeled pace.”

For more information on the Protected Bikeways Act, please click here. To learn more about how the San Diego Bike Coalition protects and advocates for the rights of all people on bicycles countywide, please visit www.sdbikecoalition.org.

San Diego Bike Coalition is a nonprofit organization that advocates for and protects the rights of all people who ride bicycles. They promote bicycling as a mainstream, safe and enjoyable form of transportation and recreation. For more information, visit www.sdbikecoalition.org.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Congressman Scott Peters Endorses Carol Kim for City Council, 6th District  


SAN DIEGO - Congressman Scott Peters today announced his endorsement of Carol Kim for City Council. Peters represents the 52nd Congressional District, which includes the 6th City Council District in its entirety.

“I am excited to announce my endorsement of Carol Kim,” Peters said. “We share a passion for San Diego and many of the same issues, including providing better services for veterans and improving education.”

Congressman Peters, who was twice elected to the San Diego City Council, also served as the Council’s first-ever Council President. “Good government begins on the local level, and I have confidence in Carol to serve the people of her district well,” he stated.

Carol Kim is a former school teacher and education specialist who lives in Mira Mesa with her husband and their two children, both of whom attend San Diego public schools. Carol has lived in the 6th District and been active in her community for nearly a decade. For more information about Carol and her campaign please visit www.carolkimd6.com.

Peters Campaign Unveils New TV Ad: "Cares"


Ad Features Powerful Testimonial from Republican Veteran

San Diego -- The Scott Peters for Congress Campaign released its fourth TV ad, “Cares,” today. The ad tells the story of Michael Renstrom, a Republican and Vietnam War veteran, who spent decades trying to get his medical records from the VA before Rep. Peters finally got him the help he needed. The ad will air throughout California’s 52nd Congressional District on network and cable television as well as on line.

Renstrom, a San Diego resident and Air Force veteran, spent four decades trying without success to locate his military medical records, which had been misplaced by the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs. His previous congressmen had been unable to locate the records. But after taking office in 2012, Rep. Peters’ office tracked down the long-missing file, so Renstrom could finally apply for the medical coverage he had earned.

"I was a sergeant in the United States Air Force," Renstrom says as the ad opens. "I fought in the Vietnam War."

Renstrom's narration continues: "Entering the VA system, we found out I probably had a traumatic brain injury. Those medical records had never caught up with my file. I've been dealing with this for 43 long years. Seemed like it was never going to happen."

As Renstrom explains in the ad, Rep. Peters stepped in, "cut through the red tape" and "got me the help I needed."

"I'm a Republican but I'm for Scott Peters," Renstrom says as the ad concludes.

"Michael Renstrom's story is a powerful testimonial and a first-hand account of Rep. Scott Peters’ effectiveness and service to his constituents. Scott Peters will make sure our nation honors its promises to our veterans," said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress Campaign.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Major Differences Revealed in First Live Debate


DeMaio Whoppers Dominate the Discussion

San Diego -- The biggest revelation of tonight’s KNSD CA 52 debate: DeMaio opposes the broad bipartisan support for the U.S. national defense commanders’ actions in Syria and Iraq.  Shockingly, DeMaio did not outline any alternative course of action to protect American families against an imminent threat.

As usual, DeMaio told a series of whoppers during tonight’s debate. So let’s set the record straight on some things:

1. DeMaio claims he isn’t aligned with the Tea Party

In 2012, DeMaio stood in front of a Tea Party group, called the Tea Party the “conscience of the accountable-government movement” and said he would owe them “everything” if elected mayor.

DeMaio has publicly cited Ted Cruz as an example of someone who is making a difference in Washington, D.C..

While on the City Council, DeMaio took an obstructionist approach to government that is identical to the Tea Party’s tactics in D.C.. He repeatedly voting no on everything to the point that even the city’s Republican mayor threw up his hands in disgust.

There’s a reason the U.S. Chamber of Commerce endorsed Peters, not DeMaio, in this race. The Chamber has made clear it will actively oppose obstructionist, Tea Party-aligned candidates who are more interested in flame-throwing and causing gridlock than helping solve problems.

As Peters said during the debate, “Sending a Tea Party extremist to fix the Tea Party extremism is not the way to fix the problem.”

2. Medicare/Social Security

DeMaio claims Peters has voted to cut Medicare and Social Security. This is simply false.

DeMaio bases his claims on national Republican talking points that have been refuted repeatedly. Peters has voted against repealing the Affordable Care Act. Republicans have been claiming that the ACA includes more than $700 billion in cuts to Medicare, which isn’t true. The ACA does produce that amount of long-term savings to Medicare by forcing providers to become more efficient and competitive.  Various news orgs have discredited the Republicans’ claim about the supposed $700 billion in Medicare cuts. Here’s one such fact-check.

Peters has actually fought specifically against cuts to Medicare. As a result of his efforts, he was able to convince the White House to limit certain cuts to Medicare’s prescription-drug coverage.

DeMaio is also claiming that Peters’ vote in favor of using the Simpson-Bowles approach to balancing the budget is a vote to “cut” Medicare. The 2010 Simpson-Bowles report did list certain long-term cuts to entitlement programs within a long list of potential options. But Peters’ vote was on using the general framework of Simpson-Bowles as an approach to deficit reduction; Peters never voted in favor of specific entitlement cuts.

3. Social Issues
DeMaio repeatedly said Congress shouldn’t involve itself in “social issues.” His exact quote during the debate was, “I don’t believe social issues should be part of Congress’s agenda.” This is a very odd position for someone who wants to serve in the House of Representatives, which deals with social issues all the time.

DeMaio never explained why he has repeatedly refused to so much as fill out a questionnaire from Planned Parenthood. He never explained why he stayed silent for months on whether or not he supports the Paycheck Fairness Act, which guarantees women equal pay for equal work.  To this day, he has never made clear where he stands on the Supreme Court’s draconian Hobby Lobby ruling, which allows corporations to decide whether their employees are entitled to birth-control coverage.

DeMaio did say he opposes the Affordable Care Act, which mandates no co-pay prescription coverage of birth control and other preventive health care for women.  Given an opportunity to explain his refusal to take a stand on Proposition 8, which banned same-sex marriage, DeMaio refused to say anything about the controversial initiative.

Voters deserve to know where DeMaio stands on these issues. “Social issues should not be part of Congress’s agenda” is simply not an acceptable answer.

4. Auto Allowance

As DeMaio well knows Peters took the exact same car allowance as all other members of the City Council. As DeMaio also knows, Peters hasn’t kept a penny of his city pension, turning over every cent to the city’s libraries. Plus Peters donated more than $40,000 of his 2008 council salary to improving constituent services in his district.

What’s more, DeMaio’s current TV ads prominently feature Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who continues to take a car allowance from the city.

Let’s also recall that DeMaio is the one who publicly bragged about owning a BMW, telling the Union-Tribune, “Don’t people know I’m a man of means now. I drive a BMW!” At the time DeMaio made that statement he was making a fortune off government contracts, many of them no-bid.

5. DeMaio supposedly solved the city’s pension problems
During the debate, DeMaio repeatedly used the word “we” when talking about solving problems while at City Hall. Odd use of this word, considered DeMaio was the lone-dissenting vote on the Council as staggering 102 times. Not once did he vote for Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders’ budget. That’s one of the reasons Sanders absolutely eviscerated DeMaio in a 2012 press conference, saying DeMaio never voted yes on anything because doing so “might have muddied up his political calculations.”

DeMaio also claimed Peters did nothing on pension reform, an assertion that is belied by this 2008 video in which DeMaio stands next to Peters at a press conference and praises the Council’s work on pension reform. Specifically, DeMaio called those reforms “the first step toward sustainable pension benefits for the city of San Diego.” As DeMaio knows, the pension reforms instituted when Peters was council president will save the city $22 million a year.

DeMaio also engaged in wild distortions in his relentless pursuit of credit for supposedly fixing the city’s pension problems. DeMaio repeatedly took credit for passing Proposition B without acknowledging that virtually all those savings come from freezing pensionable pay – a freeze that, for most employees, had already been in place for the five years before Prop. B. And even with the passage of Prop. B, the only way to enact a multi-year freeze on pensionable pay is with the agreement of the unions. DeMaio had nothing to do with these successful negotiations, having already left the Council when the city negotiated the pensionable-pay freeze with its unions.

DeMaio repeatedly avoided answering questions, instead resorting to scripted personal attacks -- while also bizarrely claiming to be the victim of personal attacks.