Saturday, January 12, 2013


(San Diego)  Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins made the following statement in response to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed 2013-14 state budget, which he unveiled this morning:

“Governor Brown’s proposal is a balanced plan that reflects the hard work the legislature and the governor have done together to address a $26.6 billion deficit California faced two years ago.  It is an excellent starting point for the discussions we will hold in the legislature over the next several months as we craft a final budget.

For the first time in years, instead of facing the prospect of drastic cuts to critical education, health, and social services, we are hopeful that we may be able to achieve fiscal stability.  And while we will not be able to restore all of the cuts made in recent years, I applaud the Governor’s prioritization of investments in education and healthcare, both of which are critical to the well-being of our state and its residents.

The Governor’s budget recognizes the uncertainties we face – possible cuts from the federal government, a stalled economic recovery, and other difficult to predict factors – and reflects a fiscal constraint that my legislative colleagues and I will embrace.”

Following are some of the highlights of the Governor’s proposal that will be of particular interest to my constituents:

      ∙ Following years of underfunding, per pupil spending in our public schools will increase.  School districts with a higher share of students who are poor or who have learning challenges will receive additional financial support.  Local flexibility and accountability is increased.

      ∙ Student costs at our colleges and universities will be stabilized through an infusion of additional funding.  Community colleges, adult and online education, so critical to maintaining our trained workforce, also receive additional support.

      ∙ The implementation of the Affordable Care Act and other health care priorities will require additional funding, as reflected in the Governor’s proposal, but will ultimately result in health and financial security and well-being for thousands of Californians. The Governor’s proposal  also provides additional time for the implementation of the Coordinated Care Initiative adopted last year, ensuring a seamless transition of care for sick and needy Californians.

      ∙ Funding for local government programs such as public safety will be stabilized, based in part upon additional revenues approved by the voters through Proposition 30.

      ∙ The budget allocation for the state’s High Speed Rail program continues to anticipate that the system will be extended to San Diego in its second phase, bringing economic activity, jobs, and improved transit to our area.

      ∙ Two new Veterans Homes in Redding and Fresno will improve the services available to those who have served in uniform, many of whom have ties to San Diego.

The state legislature will soon begin a series of budget hearings to discuss and refine the Governor’s proposals and to establish its own financial priorities.  The final budget must be sent to the Governor by June 15.


Friday, January 11, 2013



SACRAMENTO, CA- Assembly Member Weber (D-San Diego) applauded Governor Jerry Brown for presenting a budget that protects education and puts California on a path to long term fiscal stability.  During his annual January press conference today in Sacramento, the Governor proposed a multi-year plan that is balanced, maintains a $1 billion reserve, and pays down budgetary debt from past years.

 “The Governor’s budget brings hope to many California communities, especially the educational community, which suffered tremendous cuts in the last couple of years,” said Weber.  “I applaud this plan which is balanced and contains a modest reserve that will help the Governor and the Legislature restore California’s fiscal situation in the next few years,” she said.

According to the Department of Finance, General Fund spending is projected to grow by five percent, from $93 billion in 2012-13 to $97.7 billion in 2013-14.  The vast majority of this year’s budget is proposed to be spent on education and health care issues.

“As a former educator and current legislator, I look forward to working with the Governor, my legislative colleagues and the educational community this year to ensure that educational revenues are expended wisely to benefit our students, including making K-12 education more effective and higher education more affordable.  I believe this is a budget that protects the very people we are elected to serve children, students, and working families,” Weber said.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Labor Council endorses Ben Hueso for State Senate and Myrtle Cole for San Diego City Council District 4

Strong advocates for working families receive support in special elections

SAN DIEGO - The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council this week voted to endorse Ben Hueso for California’s 40th State Senate District. Hueso, currently serving as the Assemblymember for the 80th District, is running to fill a vacancy created by Juan Vargas’ successful campaign to represent the 51st Congressional District.

“At every stop in his career, Ben Hueso has built a record as a staunch warrior for working families with the ability to bring people together around the issues that matter most for San Diegans,” said Lorena Gonzalez, Secretary-Treasurer/CEO of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council. “He will be a tremendous asset to the 40th District and all Californians as he continues his advocacy in the Senate.”

The Labor Council also voted to endorse Myrtle Cole for San Diego’s 4th City Council District. A special election will fill a vacancy created by the resignation of former 4th District Councilmember Tony Young.

“Myrtle Cole has been an indispensable part of organizing and campaign efforts in San Diego for many years, and her outspoken commitment to working families is second to none,” said Gonzalez.
 “She’s exactly the passionate advocate that can ensure District 4 is heard at City Hall and work with Mayor Bob Filner to bring the proper support and resources to long-neglected communities.”

To receive an endorsement from the Labor Council, a candidate must receive two-thirds approval from Labor Council unions and delegates.

San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO includes 135 affiliated labor groups in the region with a membership of more than 200,000 working families.  Founded in 1891, the Labor Council advocates for more jobs, better jobs and better lives for all of San Diego’s workers – union and non-union.

KNSJ Community Radio in San Diego Fundraising for a Broadcast Antenna

SAN DIEGO--KNSJ Radio and Activist San Diego are hosting The People’s Ball, a gala and night of dancing with musical performances and surprise guests, Saturday, Jan. 19, 2013 at the World Beat Center at 2100 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101.  This gala is to raise funds to bring a new and needed radio voice to San Diego—KNSJ 89.1 FM out of Descanso, a truly independent community radio station of the people, by the people and for the people in San Diego county’s border region.

KNSJ radio is already streaming original local community programs online at from contributors such as San Diego's East County Magazine, the San Diego Troubador, Ricardo Beas, David Rovics, Philip Raquel, Zenger's Magazine, and band Liquid Blue. A list of KNSJ's current shows can be found here.

What now stands between having this unique non-commercial community-based radio station of, by and for the people on the airwaves, and losing the FCC license all together, is $20,000 and 5 months. 

The $20,000 will purchase an $11,000 specially manufactured antenna, $4,000 for installation of the antenna, and $6,000 for the purchase of additional equipment for the KNSJ Radio studio.  A full list of the financial break down can be seen on the KNSJ Radio Indiegogo fundraising campaign page at

KSNJ Radio founder Martin Eder explains “It was a 1 year application process.  Then the FCC gave us 3 years to get on-air.  We are down to the last five months, so its do or die time.”

The group continues to apply for grants but as with other non-profit organizations has found that foundations are not able to meet the needs of many of the applicants.

Tickets for the People’s Ball can purchased online at

About KNSJ Radio:

KNSJ Radio, YOUR Network for Social Justice, is an independent, non-commercial community radio station in the San Diego County and border region area.  KNSJ is a radio station of the people, by the people and for the people, and as an independent media outlet will give a voice to hundreds of thousands of people currently unheard.  KNSJ Radio is a project of Activist San Diego, a non-profit 501(c)(3)organization.

KNSJ’s Vision is to train and empower organizations and community members to produce their own news, culture and media, believing that a vibrant democracy depends on information, communications, and mobilization of, by, and for the people in our local and global society.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Republican's new best friend on the San Diego City Council.

Four years ago the voters of District Three voted for a Councilmember that they felt would continue in the path of Christine Kehoe and Toni Atkins and be a voice for Democratic values on the Council. Of course there were those who were saying "Caveat Emptor" and were supporting Stephen Whitburn. They felt that Mr. Gloria's views could be prone to mailability for the right prize. However those gripes were shunted aside with the response that at the end of the day Todd would do the right thing by San Diego and that a little pragmatism is best in a city that has a Republican strong Mayor. 

For a while that was the case as Todd pushed for stricter guidelines on new Wal-Mart Supercenters within city limits but not for an outright ban in 2010 and for the creation of a permanent shelter in Downtown but things began to change once redistricting happened. With the addition of Downtown to D3 and the removal of City Heights to D9 there seemed to be shift by Todd to be more pragmatic than usual. 

When Tony Young announced his departure from the Council and Todd declaring his intent to succeed Tony as Council President there were fears among Democratic observers that somehow Tony would broker his vote to support Republican Kevin Faulconer since he was seen at GOP's best friend on the council. 

Yet at the 11th hour Faulconer backed down and Todd unanimously became Council President and many breathed a sigh of relief. Yet some observers were a little concerned that perhaps a deal was brokered and the terms may have been something big enough to let the GOP backdown without a fight.

Fast Forward to this past Monday and yesterday and perhaps the terms of the brokered deal was the Port vote and to act as a firewall to New Mayor. 

It is possible, especially with Kevin acting as the de facto leader of the GOP on the council and both he and Todd have friends in common like consultant Jennifer Tierney, who recently headed up the Bonnie Dumanis mayoral campaign and is the consultant for both Kevin and Todd tool.

If anything there seems to be more leadership coming from David Alvarez than Todd among the Democratic council members and is more and more being seen as the adult in the room. 

After all it was Alvarez who nominated the openly Democratic candidates for Port Commission and has been the most consistent vote on the issues that Democrats care about like living wage jobs, open and accessible government and the environment. Also his seemingly close relationships with Marti Emerald, Sherri Lightner and the Mayor have given him increased leverage and power in City Hall. 

In fact it is within the realm of possibility that we could be seeing a 5-4 council with the GOP running the table thanks to their new best friend. 

I mean after all, you do need a lot of money to run for Congress, right?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Weber Introduces Bill to Require Carbon Monoxide Monitors in California Schools

SACRAMENTO, CA- Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) introduced Assembly Bill 56, which requires California public and private schools built or modernized after January 1, 2014 to install carbon monoxide detectors.

“Keeping students safe in our schools is my top priority,” said Weber. “It is common sense to protect our children’s safety and ensure they have a healthy learning environment.”  “Installing carbon monoxide detectors in our schools is a no-brainer.”

On December 3, 2012, 43 students and 10 adults from Finch Elementary School in Atlanta, Georgia were evacuated and taken to the local hospital after firefighters discovered a carbon monoxide leak from the school’s furnace, causing it to work overtime and leak high levels of CO into the public areas and classrooms.

Assemblymember Weber hopes the proposal would protect California students from the deadly effects of carbon monoxide gas, known as the “silent killer,” and prevent an incident such as the one in Atlanta from happening here.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.  Each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

AB 56 requires all California public and private schools, grades k-12, that are built or modernized on or after January 1, 2014 to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and encourages public and private schools constructed before January 1, 2014 to install carbon monoxide detectors.  The bill also requires that the carbon monoxide device be installed in close proximity to each furnace located within the school building.

Currently, only the states of Connecticut and Maryland require schools to have carbon monoxide detectors.  The states of Georgia and New Jersey are pursuing similar measures.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Assemblymember Weber Gets Appointed to Assembly Committees by Speaker of the Assembly 

 Sacramento, CA - Today Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) announced her appointments to the following Assembly Committees by Speaker John A. Pérez:
·         Assembly Committee on Appropriations
·         Assembly Committee on Banking and Finance
·         Assembly Committee on Education
·         Assembly Committee on Higher Education
·         Assembly Committee on Rules

"I am excited about the opportunity to serve my San Diego community through these committee assignments," said Weber. "I thank Speaker Pérez for appointing me to these committees, especially issues such as education that I am passionate about. These assignments give me the opportunity to incorporate the perspective of San Diegans and provide my input as a long-time educator as legislation moves through these committees."

Every session as the Legislature reconvenes; the Speaker of the Assembly appoints committee chairs and Members to serve on the various Assembly policy and fiscal committees.  Assemblymember Weber was elected to the California State Assembly on November 2012, and was sworn into office last month for the 2013-14 Legislative Session.


Lorena Gonzalez Raises More Than $125,000 By New Years Eve Deadline For Assembly District 80 Campaign

More than 300 Donors Fuel Pro-Jobs Democrat’s Fundraising Mark 

SAN DIEGO – (Monday, January 8, 2013) – The campaign to elect pro-jobs Democrat Lorena Gonzalez to California’s 80th Assembly District topped $125,000 by the New Years Eve fundraising deadline, garnering early financial support from 311 contributors in the first 26 days since Lorena announced her intention to run.

When campaign finance disclosures are filed later this month, Lorena’s campaign will show her campaign raising $126,276.97 from a variety of sources – students, teachers, small business owners, conservationists, firefighters, construction workers, local San Diego companies, as well as Democratic and Republican elected officials.

“I’m counting on the grassroots support of the people who want San Diego County to be a better place to live and work to help put me over the top. So far they’ve exceeded anything I could have ever expected. I’m very grateful for their confidence in my leadership,” said Lorena, the Secretary-Treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

The donations wrap up a fast-paced month for Lorena, who announced on Dec. 5 her intention to run for the 80th Assembly District upon Assemblyman Ben Hueso’s departure. At the time of her announcement, the campaign received endorsements from a bipartisan collection of elected officials and community leaders, including San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, U.S. Congressman Juan Vargas, Assemblyman Ben Hueso and others.

Of the 311 contributions made to Lorena’s campaign through the Dec. 31, 2012 fundraising deadline, 282 were made by individuals.

A full listing of donors will be provided when the campaign files its Form 460 with the Secretary of State later this month.

Learn more about Lorena’s campaign at or by e-mail

Sunday, January 6, 2013

District 4 Electricians' Statement on the Exclusion of District 4's Working Families in the Appointment of Port Commissioners

by Kevin Alvin and Kevin Gorman
As union electrical workers and District 4 residents, the most important issue for us in the 2012 election was good jobs. We volunteered to get out the vote in our neighborhoods because we need progressive change when it comes to jobs and sharing prosperity in our City.
We share Mayor Filner's vision for a City that creates jobs by focusing on a combination of the energy and maritime sectors and that adds 50,000 family-sustaining jobs in the City by 2020. This ambitious goal cannot be met unless all of San Diego's communities are engaged in the effort to expand the deployment of renewable energy and efficiency technologies, to upgrade and improve our energy infrastructure, and to expand the capacity of the Port.
We believe Port commissioners must be selected because they have a proven commitment to creating high-quality careers by driving investment and developing the framework to provide access to jobs and careers for unemployed, underemployed and dislocated workers.  We need Commissioners who will be focused on job creation, who will work to boost economic recovery, and who will drive bold smart policy making that will responsibly expand business opportunities and invest in infrastructure.
This is why we are deeply disappointed that District 4 residents will not be represented for the selection of two San Diego Port Commissioners this coming Monday, January 7, 2013. We believe these appointments should not be made until an election is held to fill the vacant District 4 Council seat.
We hope that principled San Diegans will step-up and join us in speaking out for District 4.  We deserve a voice in San Diego government all the time. It is especially important when it comes to the Port because it is critical to creating jobs and shared prosperity in the City.
We believe Monday's vote would likely have a different outcome if 4th District families had a representative on Council. The vote scheduled for Monday could and should be postponed until we have a District 4 Council Representative.

Kevin Gorman is the President of the San Diego Electrical Workers Minority Caucus (EWMC) and Vice President of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW 569). Kevin Alvin is an EWMC board member and a Business Agent for IBEW 569. Kevin Gorman and Kevin Alvin are both residents in San Diego City Council District 4.

The Electrical Workers Minority Caucus  (EWMC) San Diego is a local organization that supports and assists organizing efforts of minority workers in the IBEW, fosters leadership development, performs community service projects, and facilitates the involvement of minority workers in community and political affairs.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) is the oldest and largest union dedicated to electrical workers in the United States. Local 569 is comprised of approximately 2500 men and women in San Diego and Imperial Counties.