Saturday, September 1, 2012

San Diegans Ready to Rally at DNC Convention  


Local "Watch Party" Planned at Democratic Campaign Office

San Diego County's sole representative on the Democratic National Committee, Jess Durfee, has left for Charlotte, N.C., for a week of DNC business meetings and speeches culminating in President Barack Obama's formal acceptance of the Democratic Party's presidential nomination next Thursday night.

Finishing his last term this year as Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, Durfee was reelected last month to another four-year stint on the DNC.

"I'm excited to be joining Democratic Party officials and activists as we rally to support and reelect President Obama," said Durfee. "The Republican convention this week was full of what we've come to expect from them -- falsehoods, Tea Party extremism, and rhetoric more focused on tearing down our President than lifting up our country. By contrast, I think the Democratic convention will offer a message of opportunity, inclusivity, and enthusiasm to keep America moving forward with Democratic leadership."

Durfee is a "superdelegate" along with San Diego's Democratic members of Congress, Susan Davis and Bob Filner. Out of the local delegation of 38, an additional 25 were directly elected in local caucuses this spring, and another 10 are "at-large" or "party leader" delegates. San Diegans will be available for interviews in Charlotte throughout next week.

Jess Durfee can be reached at (619) 750-5377 and followed on Twitter @ChairJessDurfee.


The County Democratic Party will be holding an official convention "watch party" on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 5:30 p.m. at a new Democratic Coordinated Campaign Office located at 8322 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite 202, in Kearny Mesa. This event is open to the media; for details, call Meg Mandy at (858) 277-3367 or



Sacramento - Today I joined with my legislative colleagues to adopt AB 340, which implements a wide range of reforms designed to rein in the costs of employee pensions for state and local governments.  This balanced measure reduces pension benefits for new government employees and eliminates many of the pension-padding practices of the past, while still providing retirees with a stable, reliable standard of living in their senior years.

AB 340 represents a framework for responsible and fair pension reform.  The legislature will address additional proposed reforms in future legislative sessions. Local jurisdictions that desire to implement broader reforms have the authority to do so under AB 340.  In addition, charter cities such as San Diego are exempt from the bill, leaving Proposition B -- the pension measure recently adopted by San Diego voters -- intact.  This reform measure was supported by both the California League of Cities and the California State Association of Counties, both of which represent local governments.

A decade ago, the City of San Diego faced the consequences of having underfunded the city employee pension program since the 1980’s – unfunded liabilities that jeopardized funding for all city services.  I was a member of the City Council that ended that pattern.  As Chair of the City Budget Committee, I led the work to implement budget discipline that has resulted in fiscal stability for San Diego and a restoration of critical services for residents.

AB 340 will enable state and local governments to similarly bring pension costs under control and to demonstrate our commitment to responsibly managing the taxpayers’ money.


Friday, August 31, 2012


Sacramento -  The state legislature has adopted a bill by Assemblymember Toni Atkins to add computer technicians to the list of people mandated to report to law enforcement child pornography that they encounter in the course of their work.  On a unanimous bipartisan vote, AB 1817 was sent to the Governor, who has until the end of September to sign or veto the bill.

“We live in a digital age and it’s time to update our laws to reflect the world we live in by making computer technicians mandated reporters of child pornography,” says Atkins. “Online images last forever and each time child pornography is viewed that child is re-victimized.  My bill is about protecting those kids.”

Commercial film and photo processors are already mandated reporters under state law, but predators who sexually exploit children have evolved with the times, hiding most of the images which they create and exchange on personal computers and the Internet.  According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, 9.6 million images of child pornography had been identified by 2007.  Millions more are believed to be in circulation. And it is estimated that 200 new images of children being sexually abused are circulated each day to meet the insatiable demand of the child pornography market.  A study commissioned by the United States Department of Justice revealed that 96% of those images are in digital form.

In adopting this law, California would join ten other states in designating computer technicians as mandated reporters. The bill is supported by law enforcement and a broad coalition of groups working to end child pornography and sexual exploitation.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bilbray Challenges Peters to Debates Peters Agreed to Weeks Ago 

San Diego -- Today, entrenched incumbent Brian Bilbray, who has refused several debate requests, challenged Scott Peters to debates Peters already agreed to several weeks ago. The Peters campaign responded with the following:

“Mr. Bilbray has issued a challenge to debates we agreed to weeks ago,” said Peters’ Communications Director MaryAnne Pintar. “We’re just pleased he’s finally stepped up.”

Other organizations including the North County Chamber of Commerce, several rotary clubs, the Ocean Beach Town Council, and Voice of San Diego, have also been trying to organize debates for weeks. Peters agreed to them immediately; Mr. Bilbray has not.  The Peters campaign intends to honor these requests and calls on Mr. Bilbray to do the same.

“We look forward to comparing Scott’s record of accomplishment to Mr. Bilbray’s tenure as a member of the most poorly-viewed, ineffective Congress in history,” she said.

Pintar reminded members of the media that his campaign issued the same challenge early in the primary, and then did not show at all of them.


Local Leaders Respond to Mitt Romney's Nomination for President

Romney's extreme views are wrong path, threaten America's middle class

With Mitt Romney set to accept the Republican Party's nomination for President, Democratic Party and Labor leaders will discuss the importance of the Presidential race and the important choices facing voters in November. Every San Diegan has a stake in the outcome of elections this November, and it's important to make sure they're educated on the choice before them this year.

Speakers will discuss President Obama’s successful track record of leading the country back from the Great Recession and highlight the extreme policies that Mitt Romney has adopted heading into the general election. Threats to Medicare, Social Security, the Affordable Care Act, women's health, and the ongoing economic recovery are among the concerns that must be front and center as voters examine their choices in November.

Jess Durfee, Chair, San Diego County Democratic Party;
Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer/CEO, San Diego Labor Council;
Vince Hall, Planned Parenthood Action Fund;
Sandra Diaz, San Diego Director, SEIU-USWW.
All will be available to speak with media.

Thursday, August 30, 2012
12:00 p.m.

San Diego Republican Party Headquarters, 16935 West Bernardo Drive, San Diego, CA 92127

Patrick Pierce
619-807-0850 Cell



Sacramento - Seniors with chronic illnesses who are eligible for Medi-Cal or Medicaid will be offered enrollment in the Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) under legislation by Assemblymember Toni Atkins that was sent to the Governor today. 

PACE programs are managed care options that provide integrated care – including medical and home care, transportation, and daycare services – to seniors eligible for nursing home placement, most of whom are also beneficiaries of both Medi-Cal and Medicare.  AB 2206 would ensure that seniors are informed about their choices by requiring that information about PACE be presented whenever other enrollment options are presented.

“My bill will ensure that frail seniors are aware of this managed care program that could make the difference between living at home with their families and hospitalization,” says Atkins.  “In addition to preserving the independence and dignity of seniors, the PACE program is also a more cost effective alternative to nursing home care.”

Currently, five PACE programs operate in seven counties in California, including San Diego.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Scott Peters Tops 'Win Back the House Challenge’ 

Extra State Party Help Earned with Best Grassroots Support!

San Diego – The results are in: the Scott Peters campaign won the California Democratic Party’s ‘Win Back the House Challenge,’ a week-long contest held to determine which endorsed Democratic Congressional challenger in the state has the most online grassroots support! As the winner, Peters earned extra support from the state party in the form of on-line outreach and a fundraising email blast to the Party's statewide activist list.

The state party announced Peters as the winner in an email earlier today from Chairman John Burton. 

“(Scott Peters) is a great candidate who will be an outstanding representative for San Diego and our whole state,” Burton said in the email to California Democrats. “He's already got a track record of creating jobs as San Diego's first city council president, and he's completely committed to protecting Medicare and Social Security from Republican attacks,” he added. “He’s in a great position to win this race.”

The email also asked readers to support and contribute to Peters’ campaign.  

“This win shows that our supporters are as enthusiastic and energized as any other campaign in the state, and I’m very grateful to them for helping us win this,” Peters said.  “We galvanized our voters for this contest with on-line outreach and social media; we’ll do the same, and more, for Nov. 6 and look forward to another winning result,” he said.

For more information, check out Scott’s website at Follow him on Twitter @ScottPetersSD and @ScottPetersCA52.


SAN DIEGO – August 28, 2012 – 77th Assembly Distrcit candidate Ruben “RJ” Hernandez has invited Dustin Steiner to join his team as a Land Use Advisor following the November general elections.

“I have formally invited my former opponent Dustin Steiner to join our team, upon election to the Assembly, as Land Use Advisor to help represent San Diego's interests in that capacity in Sacramento,” Hernandez said. “I found him to be a man of professionalism and a hard worker, and I'd welcome the opportunity to work with him toward the betterment of our quality of life and the protection of our communities' interests.”

A graduate of the California public university system and business owner, Hernandez wants to bring practical solutions to the State’s management of public funds for land use.  Steiner is Chairman of the Miramar Ranch North Planning Committee and an alternate on the County Republican Party. He spent five years in Washington D.C. in the U.S. House of Representatives as staff for three members of Congress. He currently serves as the new Chief of Staff to San Diego County Board of Supervisors Chairman Bill Horn.  He is the
2010 recipient of the Wendell Cutting Award for Legislative Staff Member of the Year and holds a Master's degree in Public Policy from American University in Washington, DC.

Hernandez thinks Steiner’s local experience and expertise are strong complements to his own personal background and campaign platform.  He looks forward to the opportunity of working with him for the betterment of the district and state. He feels that together, they can achieve great things.

Hernande is running in a district comprised of Poway, Rancho Bernardo, 4S Ranch Rancho Penasquitos, Rancho Santa Fe, Carmel Valley, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Tierrasanta, Kearny Mesa, and North and East Clairemont. Find out more about District 77 and RJ Hernandez at

Door-to-door transit service for Encinitas and Solana Beach begins

Encinitas, CA — A new economical, on-demand, door-to-door transportation service,     that connects riders in shared vehicles to shopping districts, medical appointments, or any other destination in Encinitas and part of Solana Beach, was officially launched at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in Encinitas.

Solana Beach Deputy Mayor Dave Roberts, a Executive Committee member of the North County Transit District Board of Directors, spoke at the ceremony highlighting the new transportation service for area residents. Treggon Owens, President of the Mainstreet 101 Association in Encinitas, also spoke at the kickoff event.

“By being creative and thinking outside the box, we established this innovative, on-demand transit service at a great price,” Roberts said. “For only $5, passengers can travel anywhere in Encinitas and any part of Solana Beach west of Interstate 5,” he said. The Flex 374 route is a groundbreaking new service to meet the local needs of residents who need public transportation, but don’t live near a bus or train station.

“Not only is this service easily accessible and economical for the rider, but participants are doing the environment a favor by carpooling to their destination. Many of us may not take the bus because the nearest bus stop is too far to walk to. But now, with door-to-door service, we are bringing the ride to you,” Roberts added.

The FLEX Route 374 is an on-call, convenient, and inexpensive way for riders to get to shopping and other destinations in Encinitas and the western portion of Solana Beach. The service operates 4:50 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. weekdays.  For $5, passengers can travel anywhere in the route’s zone (see attached flyer for zone map).  COASTER monthly pass holders are able to use the service at no additional charge; and it is half-price for seniors or customers with Medicare and disabilities.

FLEX 374 passengers must make a reservation at least 30 minutes in advance by calling (855) 844-1454   More information is available online at


Sacramento - The California State Assembly has adopted a resolution carried by Assemblymember Toni Atkins requesting that the United States Postal Service honor slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk with a postage stamp.   HR 41 recognizes Milk’s many accomplishments as a leader of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and will be added to letters from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other leaders in urging the postal service to create a Milk stamp.

“A postage stamp draws attention to important people who may not be familiar to all Americans,” says Atkins.  “Harvey Milk, who gave his life because he led the way for equality, is an ideal choice for this honor.”

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay elected official from a major city in the United States when he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisor in 1977.  Before he was assassinated in 1978, Milk encouraged LGBT people to live their lives openly as the only way to change society and achieve social equality.  In 2009, Milk was inducted into the California Hall of Fame and was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  His birthday, May 22, is recognized annually in California.  Milk was also named one of Time Magazine’s one hundred persons of the century.  Recently, a street in San Diego was renamed for Milk and the California State Senate adopted a resolution urging the Secretary of Defense to name a Navy ship after Milk.

The campaign to honor Harvey Milk with a postage stamp has been led by several community groups, including the Harvey Milk Foundation, The International Court Council, and the GLBT Historic Task Force of San Diego.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Extreme, Tea Party-Based GOP Platform Includes Ryan/Brian Plan 
to Essentially End Medicare, Raise Health Care Costs for Seniors

San Diego – Today, the Scott Peters for Congress campaign urged seniors in the newly drawn 52nd Congressional District to take a hard look at the Republican Party’s extremist, Tea Party-driven national platform. Congressman Brian Bilbray is in Tampa to support the Republican National Convention proceedings, which today included formal adoption of a platform that makes the kind of overhaul in the Ryan/Brian plan to end Medicare as we know it an official tenet of the Republican Party.

“The Ryan/Brian plan will essentially end Medicare,” said Peters Communications Director MaryAnne Pintar. “It steals away from seniors the guaranteed benefit of Medicare they’ve earned over a lifetime of hard work, by turning it into a voucher system that raises health care costs for seniors by more than $6,000 per year,” she said.

“We must strengthen Medicare in order to preserve it for tomorrow’s seniors,” said Peters. “We can and must protect and preserve the Medicare guarantee and still reduce costs by making administration and overhead more efficient; that will be my focus,” he said. He added that, as a nation, we must work toward a health care system that emphasizes wellness and incentivizes prevention, and away from one that focuses on sick care and expensive procedures.

The GOP platform adopted today also rejects a woman’s right to choose, and officially adopts Rep. Todd Akin's no-choice-with-no-exceptions position on abortion, even in the case of rape or incest. Over the past five years, Bilbray has voted with Akin over 90% of the time.

This year’s platform is viewed by many as one the most extreme in recent history. In fact, in a recent editorial published in the Washington Times, Phyllis Schafly the national chairperson of the ultra-conservative Eagle Forum, praised it as the party’s “best yet.” Bilbray was a featured speaker at the local chapter of the Eagle Forum last year.

In sharp contrast, “Scott Peters is 100 percent committed to protecting and preserving Medicare for our seniors because he knows they’ve earned it and are counting on it,” said Pintar. “Scott knows, for many of our seniors, their Medicare benefit means the difference between making ends meet and poverty,” she added.

Peters is endorsed by Planned Parenthood. The organization gave him a 100% rating for his unwavering commitment to standing up for women’s rights.

For more information, go to



Sacramento - Legislation authored by Assemblymember Toni Atkins, which re-directs under-utilized housing funds to multi-family projects that provide homes for low income residents and reduce homelessness, was passed by the state legislature today and sent to the Governor for his signature.

AB 1951 shifts $30 million from unused funds within the Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund to the Multifamily Housing Program, a popular and successful program to build and rehabilitate rental housing that has exhausted its available funding.  The Housing and Emergency Shelter Trust Fund was created by Prop 1C, passed by California voters in 2006.

“The foreclosure crisis, job loss, and our state’s rise in homelessness have made the need for affordable housing more critical than ever,” says Atkins.  “Californians made housing a priority when they passed Prop 1C and my bill re-directs funds that are sitting idle to where they can do the most good, increasing available resources at no additional expense to taxpayers.”

The Multifamily Housing Program, which provides low interest loans for the development of affordable rental housing, is one of the most highly utilized programs created by Prop C and there are currently no funds available in its account.  The shift in funding would allow the many affordable multifamily projects currently in development to compete for the funds and increase the availability of homes for Californians.  Affordable housing funds have been negatively impacted by the recent elimination of Redevelopment programs, which by law set aside 20% of new tax revenues generated in redevelopment areas for affordable housing.

AB 1951 is supported by the California Housing Consortium, Corporation for Supportive Housing, Housing California and Habitat for Humanity.  It has no opposition.  Governor Brown has until September 30 to sign or veto the legislation.