Saturday, October 6, 2012

Weber Outraises England By More than 5 to 1 – Again

Weber continues fundraising success in the race for the 79th Assembly seat, outraising Republican Mary England by more than 5 to 1 for the second quarter in a row

Assembly candidate and first-place finisher in June’s primary election Shirley Weber outraised her opponent, Republican Mary England, in the most recent filing period by a margin of more than five to one. For the period ending September 30, Weber raised $147,089 while England brought in just $27,149. This ratio mirrors Weber and England’s performance in the prior fundraising quarter.

“I want to thank my friends and supporters, and all of the people in the 79th district who voted with their pocketbooks for common-sense leadership in Sacramento,” said Weber. “We will run this race like we are five points behind from now until Election Day.”

Weber has focused her campaign on creating high-wage jobs in the district, balancing the state budget and improving public education. Her campaign has been endorsed by Rep. Bob Filner, State Senator Chris Kehoe, Assemblymembers Ben Hueso and Toni Atkins, the California Small Business Association, California Highway Patrol, San Diego Firefighters, the California Teachers’ Association, Republican Mayor of La Mesa Art Madrid, and many more.

Overall, Weber has raised $345,902 to England’s $75,593. And in the crucial cash-on-hand metric, Weber heads into October with $104,716 in the bank, compared to England’s $19,654.

About Dr. Shirley Weber
Born to sharecroppers in Hope, Arkansas, Shirley Weber has lived in California since the age of three. Educated in our state’s public schools, she received her BA, MA and PhD from UCLA by the time she was 26. A respected community advocate known for her work on closing the academic achievement gap, Dr. Weber is the former President of the San Diego School Board. She currently serves as the mayor’s appointee and Chair of the Citizens’ Equal Opportunity Commission, where she has created jobs by tripling the number of small businesses contracting with the city of San Diego. Dr. Weber is also a professor at SDSU, and has lived in the 79th Assembly District for over 30 years.

To learn more, visit


Thursday, October 4, 2012

Taxpayer Advocate Lani Lutar Endorses Scott Peters for Congress

“Scott helped set the City’s pension system on the right path.” ~ Lutar

San Diego – The Scott Peters for Congress campaign today announced the endorsement of another highly-regarded independent: taxpayer advocate Lani Lutar. Lutar is the latest in a string of high-profile community leaders to endorse Peters over 12-year-incumbent Brian Bilbray, further demonstrating Peters’ ability to appeal to voters across the political spectrum.

“Scott helped steer our city through a very difficult decade and helped set San Diego on a path toward fiscal stability and pension reform,” said Lutar. “As a taxpayer advocate who has scrutinized numerous public investments and been involved in pension reform throughout the region, I know Scott played a pivotal role in righting the ship and creating jobs. He’s been an honest public servant, an effective leader, and he’ll be a terrific advocate for our region in Washington,” she said.

Lutar, who currently serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, said she was very pleased to give Peters her personal endorsement today. The San Diego County Taxpayers Association does not endorse candidates.

Lutar said her endorsement is based, in part, on the pension reform package Peters helped negotiate in 2008. The package of reforms, which will save the City of San Diego $23 million a year, included:

Banning the 30-year practice of pension underfunding; since 2004, the City has made this payment in full;

Requiring employees to pay a higher share of the cost of their benefits, saving the city money and lowering the pension deficit;

Hiring the City’s first Independent Budget Analyst, so the City Council would have its own check on management, with its own information and professional analysis; and

Creating the City’s Independent Audit function so the auditor that audits management is not reporting to management.

Based on these and other reforms, a Securities and Exchange Commission monitor ultimately said that the practices established in San Diego under Peters’ leadership were “a model that others can look to,” and that the SEC would look to “encourage other municipalities to similarly move in the direction San Diego has led.”

And a recent article published in U-T San Diego about other California cities forced into bankruptcy, pointed out that the reforms instituted while Peters was City Council President helped San Diego avoid the same course.

For more information about Scott Peters for Congress, go to


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

S.D. County Tilts Democratic Days Before Voting Begins

Local Volunteers to Gather for Presidential Debate Watch Party After Phonebanking

In what may be the largest month-to-month voter registration shift between San Diego County's political parties since the 2008 election, Democrats jumped nearly 4,000 votes ahead of Republicans countywide in September -- a key sign of momentum for Democratic candidates just before many ballots hit mailboxes next week.

Last month California Secretary of State Debra Bowen launched a website at where Californians can sign up to vote online for the first time ever. More than 100,000 people registered on the site during the first week it was introduced in September.

"While some states are making it harder to register and participate in this election, in California it's easier than ever for eligible voters to make their voices heard," said Jess Durfee, Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party. "In San Diego, we're already seeing our counywide majority of voters grow, and we plan to turn that into a countywide majority of votes for Democrats on November 6.


The momentum is also building among volunteers, some of whom will be phonebanking in San Diego's Democratic Unity Campaign Center hours before the first debate between this year's presidential nominees on Wednesday night. News media representatives are welcome to the Debate Watch Party:

WHEN: Wednesday, October 3 ~ Debate begins at 6:00 p.m.

WHERE: Democratic Unity Campaign Center, 8322 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Suite 202, San Diego (92111)

WHO: Democratic activists, volunteers, and supporters from throughout the county. San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee, also a member of the Democratic National Committee, will address attendees before the debate and will be available for interviews prior to the event.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

New Venue for Debate Watching with Dr. Shirley Weber 

Join Dr. Shirley Weber for a Presidential Debate Watch Party tomorrow, October 3rd, 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm, at our NEW VENUE: Oggi's Sports Bar and Grill, 2130 Birch Rd. #104, Chula Vista, 91915. To RSVP, contact Hattie Bryson at (619) 735-1839 or by email at


Top California Officials to Join First Presidential Debate Watch Parties with OFA-CA Volunteers

In Sacramento, Oakland, Santa Monica, Southeast Los Angeles, Cathedral City and San Diego California leaders will join volunteers to discuss what is at stake and watch the first Presidential debates.

SAN DIEGO  – TOMORROW, elected officials from across California including US Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, Santa Monica Mayor Richard Bloom, California Democratic Party Vice Chair Alex Rooker and many others will join Organizing for America-California volunteers as they tune in for the first debates hosted in Colorado.

After winning 16 out of 20 debates in the Republican primary, Mitt Romney will once again take the stage on Wednesday night – and this time he’ll be alongside President Obama.  Historically, presidential challengers benefit just by being on the same stage as the incumbent. That’s one of the reasons why five out of the last six presidential challengers were judged to have won the first debate.

California leaders speaking to volunteers at watch parties will highlight how Obama for America-California are using the debates as an organizing opportunity with supporters across the state engaging their friends, family, and communities at watch parties, helping the campaign continue to pursue our grassroots path to victory.  These leaders will discuss what the debates mean for both campaigns and how President Obama will clearly lay out the choice in this election between two vision for our country: one that moves us forward with an economy built from the middle-out or one that moves us backwards with an economy that writes off our middle-class and returns to the same failed top-down economics of the last decade.

WHAT:         San Diego Debate Watch Party
WHO:           Local San Diego volunteers
WHERE:      Organizing for America, San Diego
                      4660 El Cajon Blvd., Suite 206
                      San Diego, CA  92115
WHEN:         TOMORROW, October 3 at 5:30PM PST


Millionaire Bilbray Takes $174K Taxpayer-Funded Salary & 2 Pensions, Criticizes Peters for Giving His Pension to Fund Libraries

San Diego – The Scott Peters for Congress campaign today pointed out the plain hypocrisy of Brian Bilbray’s latest false attack on Peters. In a recent attack ad, the Bilbray camp criticizes Peters for receiving a “taxpayer funded pension.” The truth: Peters donates every penny of the city pension he earned as a member of the City Council – and more -- back to the City of San Diego to fund public libraries.

“Scott doesn’t keep a penny of his City pension; he pays taxes on it and then gives it back to the City to fund public libraries,” said Peters Communications Director MaryAnne Pintar.

“Brian Bilbray collects two taxpayer funded pensions, plus a taxpayer-funded salary, and he knows Scott doesn’t keep his pension, yet he criticizes him for it anyway,” she added. “Brian Bilbray has played fast and loose with the truth this entire campaign and thinks no one will notice. We expect better from a 12-year member of Congress.”

Bilbray, who frequently attempts to cast himself as “working class,” and called himself “poor” on a televised debate earlier this year, collects a $174,000 annual salary, plus two taxpayer funded pensions totaling nearly $29,000. In addition, according to Bilbray’s Personal Financial Disclosure Statement and property records, he holds interests in property valued at $4.5 million and other assets worth almost $1 million.

“Mr. Bilbray is a millionaire who wants to end tax breaks for the middle class in order to give tax breaks to millionaires, billionaires and profitable oil companies, yet he has the audacity to criticize Peters for receiving a pension he gives back,” said Pintar.

“Mr. Bilbray has two taxpayer funded pensions and Congressional health care for life. He’s all set. Yet he voted to privatize Social Security and to essentially end Medicare for America’s seniors on a fixed income. Clearly he has the wrong priorities,” she said.

Bilbray has also voted repeatedly to support privatizing Social Security, to end Medicare as we know it, and to charge seniors up to $6,400 a year more for their health care.

Peters is backed in this election by high profile Republicans, Democrats, independents, three former Chairs of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, as well as the region’s and the nation’s leading worker advocates.

To get the facts on the race for the 52nd Congressional District, go to


Bilbray Has Interest in Nearly $5 Million Worth of Property, Salary, Pensions And Assets – Failed to Disclose What His Wife Made in 2011

[Bilbray PFD, filed 5/15/12; Houston Chronicle, 3/4/12; Union Tribune,5/25/12; Houston Chronicle, 3/4/12]


DeMaio's Billion-Dollar Tax Increase Draws Fire From Community Leaders

Mayoral Candidate Raises Taxes Without a Vote of the Public or Capping Convention Center Costs to City 

SAN DIEGO – (Monday, October 1, 2012) – After working for over a year, the push by downtown special interests to impose a $1 Billion tax without a public vote was officially approved by Republican mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio today.

The $1 Billion DeMaio tax increase will be imposed without any direct input from voters who rejected similar tax increases twice before. While the public won't see any new public services or education funding as a result of the tax increase, the major changes do benefit a number of powerful political donors who have supported DeMaio's campaign -- downtown business lobbyists, government contractors, real estate developers and hotel owners.

No proceeds of the tax are to be used on schools, public safety or repairing potholes in streets. All of the receipts of the DeMaio tax are to be used on a new downtown convention center expansion that will benefit a handful of corporations. Hotel owners and operators will get to control the money raised from the DeMaio tax. Downtown hotel owners have more say in how the money is spent than hotel owners outside of downtown.

Community leaders rebuked DeMaio and his tax increase:

Hon. Donna Frye, retired San Diego City Councilmember and open government advocate:
"Supporting a special tax without a public vote is bad public policy and puts the city’s budget at risk. Worse, no one knows if the special tax is even legal. The voters need to be aware of just how fast the self-proclaimed taxpayer watchdog, Carl DeMaio, rolled over for the right master and ignored the public’s right to vote on taxes."

Jim Mahler, President, American Federation of Teachers (San Diego and Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College Guild):
 “San Diego’s students face threats of shorter school years, cuts to vital academic programs, teacher layoffs and unaffordable college tuition. But Carl DeMaio’s tax increase doesn’t help restore education funding. Instead, his vote to raise taxes will  only benefit the downtown special interests that are funding his campaign.”
Pat Zaharopoulos, President of the San Diego Middle Class Taxpayers Association*:

"It's just common sense to include basic accountability about how the public's money is spent. Middle class families deserve protections that ensure taxpayers are on the hook for cost overruns. Carl DeMaio didn't stand up for that. He may prefer handing over the public's money to the downtown special interests funding his campaign, but raising taxes to benefit corporate profits is just another attack on San Diego's middle class."

 For more information, contact San Diegans for Bob Filner for Mayor 2012 committee spokesman Evan McLaughlin at (619) 850-2790 or

*organization used for identification purposes only.

San Diegans for Bob Filner for Mayor 2012 is a committee primarily formed to support Congressman Filner in the City of San Diego’s mayor race and does not coordinate with any candidate or candidate-controlled committee. ID # 1348840


Monday, October 1, 2012

Presidential Debate Watch Party with Dr. Shirley Weber

Join Dr. Shirley Weber, candidate for the 79th Assembly District, from 5:30 to 8:00 pm on Wednesday, October 3rd for a Presidential Debate Watch Party. This event will be held at The Brew House @ Eastlake, 871 Showroom Place # 102, Chula Vista, 91914. To RSVP or for more information, please contact Hattie Bryson at (619) 735-1839.


NOW Endorses Scott Peters for Congress

“Peters is Steadfast in His Support of Women's Rights, Equality, Protecting Social Security"

San Diego – The National Organization for Women (NOW) Political Action Committee has endorsed Scott Peters for Congress, the campaign announced today. Peters is running to unseat 12-year incumbent Brian Bilbray in the newly drawn 52nd Congressional District.

NOW advocates on a wide range of issues including equal pay, equal rights and access to health care for women. The organization is also actively engaged in opposing efforts to privatize Social Security by putting these funds at risk in the stock market, something Bilbray has supported throughout his career.

NOW is backing Peters because he has a strong record on all of these issues while Bilbray’s record is dismal.

“Particularly this year, when women’s rights have come under attack by extremists like Rush Limbaugh, Todd Akin and Brian Bilbray, we need another voice for women’s rights in Congress,” said Gloria Johnson, President of the San Diego County Chapter of NOW.
“Scott Peters is steadfast in his support for equal pay and equal hiring for women and protecting Social Security, Brian Bilbray is not. I urge everyone who cares about women’s rights, equality and economic opportunity to get behind Scott Peters for Congress,” she said.

Founded in 1966, NOW is the largest, most comprehensive advocacy group for for women in the United States, with 500,000 members and hundreds of chapters. Peters is also endorsed by Planned Parenthood, with a 100% rating for his unwavering support for access to reproductive health care.

In glaring contrast, Brian Bilbray has a 9% rating from Planned Parenthood for his votes to limit access to women’s preventive healthcare, contraception and reproductive health services.
In 2011, Bilbray voted to strip funding for Planned Parenthood, a safety net provider of reproductive and preventive healthcare for millions of women. He also supported extremists’ efforts to shut down the federal government over opposition to the program. This year, Bilbray voted to eliminate funding for clinics that provide reproductive and preventive health services to low-income women, including breast and cervical cancer screenings. And, he voted to undermine key principles of the Violence Against Women Act, an 18-year-old law that increased the ability of law enforcement agencies to protect victims of stalking, domestic violence and sexual assault.  He is also a proponent of risking Social Security our seniors have earned in a volatile stock market.
For more information, go to


Bilbray Supported Privatizing Social Security. In April 2006, Bilbray said he “supports Social Security reforms that include investments in the markets.” He continued, “I do believe that any Social Security Reform will have to include methods of investment and personal ownership.” [North County Times, 4/1/06]

 Bilbray Said He was Open to Private Accounts for Social Security. In 2000, Bilbray said he was open to the idea of private accounts in Social Security: “I support looking seriously into the option of allowing workers to save a portion of their payroll taxes in a personal retirement account. This should not be a replacement for the current Social Security program, but a supplement where the current program acts as a safety net. We are approaching a time when the baby boomers will be reaching retirement age and the SS Trust Fund is endangered of becoming insolvent. This option and others need to be explored thoroughly and soon.” [, accessed 2/17/12]

Bilbray Voted Against Protecting Social Security and Medicare Benefits from Privatization. In March 2011, Bilbray voted against a measure that would have prohibited continuing appropriations funds for fiscal year 2011 for being used in developing or implementing a system that cuts Social Security benefits or that privatizes Social Security. The amendment also prohibited funds from being used to develop or implement a system that cuts Medicare benefits, eliminates guaranteed health coverage for seniors or establishes a Medicare voucher plan that limits payments to beneficiaries in order to purchase health care in the private sector. The motion failed, 190-239. [HJR 48, Vote #178, 2/15/11]

Labor Council Applauds Gov. Brown’s Approval of A.B. 1248

SAN DIEGO - San Diego Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez made the following statement in response to Governor Brown signing AB 1248 addressing local public employees’ retirement:

“Every worker deserves the basic right to Social Security. While Social Security alone is not enough for any individual to retire on, it is a safety net that the labor movement is completely committed to protecting for all workers: union and non-union.

The San Diego Labor Council applauds the leadership of Assemblymember Hueso for carrying this bill to ensure a safety net for San Diego’s public workers and the common sense approach taken by Governor Brown in signing it.”

A.B. 1248 was authored by Assemblyman Ben Hueso in response to Carl DeMaio’s attack on the retirement security of city employees who would not receive a defined-benefit pension or Social Security upon retirement under DeMaio’s proposal. The bill ensures that the City of San Diego will include the safety net of Social Security for any employees who are subject to DeMaio’s proposal.


San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO represents more than 192,000 union workers in the region and advocates for an economy with more jobs, better jobs and better lives for all workers in the region - union and non-union.

Filner talks civil rights and diversity

A line of civil rights activists stood behind mayoral candidate Bob Filner near Hepner Hall as the former San Diego State professor spoke about ethnic inclusion, homelessness and his history with civil rights. Last Friday morning’s forum, centered on minorities and marginalized groups, included the participation from an ethnically rich and diverse group of Filner’s colleagues, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights activist Stuart Milk, nephew of Harvey Milk, first openly gay official elected in the U.S.

Milk said his uncle did not stand only for gay rights, but spoke for immigrants, Latinos, Asians, the elderly and the working class, as well. “He, for the first time, brought communities together,” Milk said about his uncle. “And that is what we need here in San Diego. We don’t need someone who only represents Doug Manchester, our big downtown developer. We need someone who represents everybody.” Filner took the microphone after several others shared their history with the democratic candidate. Most recalled Filner’s intervention with the law as a young demonstrator for civil rights. Filner said when he was 13, he met Martin Luther King Jr., an experience to which he credits his drive for equality.

When he was 18-years-old, Filner was put in jail for protesting against segregation in the South as part of the Freedom Riders movement. Filner said the experience gave him optimism for change. “This city has a majority of ethnic minorities,” Filner said. “Everyone should get to sit on the table, because if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu.”

Toward the end of his speech, Filner touched on the issue of homelessness in San Diego. According to Home Again, a nonprofit organization determined to end chronic homelessness in San Diego, current evaluations set the number of homeless San Diegans at 8,500. One in four homeless people are young adults of ages 18-30 and one in six are military veterans. Filner said the issue should be confronted not only in an economic manner, but also in a more humanitarian one. He said homeless people in permanent housing is the first step to end the problem and with the help of social service volunteers, the homeless may work on their issues of mental illness and/or alcohol/drug abuse and eventually find a job.

“A large motel in downtown, which houses 400, has become available and yet nobody has tried to use that for homeless,” Filner said. “(Homelessness) costs us more than the $20-million to buy (it).” Filner said the money would come from federal or state finances.

Filner said university campuses should not penalize in-state and local students because there is not enough money coming from the legislature. The remark was in relation to the recent California State University suggestion and decision to increase the out-of-state student population in order for college campuses to raise revenue. Filner said other priorities, such as building more prisons instead of more schools, get in the way of the legislature providing more money to universities.

Milk proposed changes to better the economy of San Diego, such as focusing on the future of the working class and furthering the inclusivity of San Diego’s LGBT community. “If you have somebody whose one parent may be doing janitorial work and one may be doing house work, let’s make sure that their children get some education to move to the next level,” Milk said. “That’s how communities grow economically.”

Milk said San Diego has done one of the best jobs in growing LGBT inclusion with other communities. “We need to make it comfortable where people who are going to the Gaslamp District can go to Hillcrest, and vice versa, where people who are LGBT couples would feel free to hold hands in Hillcrest can do that in the Gaslamp District and not worry about it,” Milk said. Milk said such advancements require societal change through leadership at the top. “Inclusion and the celebration of diversity means economic prosperity,” Milk said. “I’ve traveled the world and seen world-class cities and those that are thriving in this economy are the communities that include everyone.”

Sunday, September 30, 2012


(San Diego) - A bill by Assemblymember Toni Atkins that would prevent those convicted of violent sex crimes against their spouse from forcing their victim to pay spousal support following a divorce was signed into law today by Governor Jerry Brown.  AB 1522 received unanimous support in both houses of the state legislature.

AB 1522 was inspired by the case of Crystal Harris, a San Diego area woman who was ordered by a court to pay her husband’s legal fees, plus monthly spousal support, despite the fact that he was convicted of committing violent sex crimes against her and was ultimately sent to prison.   The bill was sponsored by San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who brought Harris’ case to Assemblymember Atkins’ attention.

“With the Governor’s signing of AB 1522 a wrong has been righted,” says Atkins.  “Crystal Harris was victimized twice – first by the husband who sexually assaulted her, a crime for which he was ultimately convicted, and then again by a court that forced her to pay him.  With AB 1522 now part of the law, this can no longer happen in California.”

“I want to applaud Crystal Harris for the spirit and tenaciousness she showed in working to change the law to reflect common sense and fairness.  I also want to thank the District Attorney, my colleagues in the legislature, and the Governor for protecting victims of domestic violence.”

Current law already prevents spousal support in cases of the attempted murder or soliciting the murder of a spouse.  AB 1522 would add violent sex felonies to the list of convictions that disqualify a person from obtaining financial benefits from their ex-spouse in a divorce proceeding.