Thursday, March 21, 2013

Assembly Education Committee Passes Weber’s Bill Requiring Carbon Monoxide Detectors in California Schools

SACRAMENTO, CA- Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber’s (D-San Diego) AB 56 which would require carbon monoxide detectors in new and modernized school buildings, passed the Assembly Education Committee on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 with a 6-0 bipartisan vote.

Sponsored by the California State Firefighters Association, AB 56 requires all California K-12 public and private schools built on or after January 1, 2014 that have fossil fuel burning furnaces, to install carbon monoxide (CO) detectors. The bill also encourages public and private schools constructed before January 1, 2014 to install carbon monoxide detectors.

“The Legislature has recognized the necessity for carbon monoxide detectors to be installed in apartments, hotels, and new home developments,” said Assemblymember Weber. “We have to do everything in our power to be sure that we are creating the safest and healthiest environment in our schools for children. Installing carbon monoxide detectors in our schools is a no-brainer,” she said.
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 will 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.

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.

AB 56 is supported by the California State Firefighters Association; California Coalition for Children’s Safety and Health; American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, and California School Employees Association. The legislation will next be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee in the month of April.

Legendary Navy Leader Proudly Endorses Steve Castaneda for Assembly

Proven Leadership Matters in the Community and in the Capitol

CHULA VISTA, Calif. – Knowing a thing or two about the importance of steady leadership skills, retired Rear Adm. José Betancourt endorses Steve Castaneda for Assembly.

Betancourt, a Chula Vista resident and maritime small business owner, worked his way up the ranks during his more than 30 years of military service. Affectionately known as San Diego’s Navy Mayor, he served as commander of the Navy’s Southwest Region prior to his retirement and was one of the highest ranking officials in the United States Navy.

“I am so very honored and humbled to receive the support of one of the most decorated and respected Navy commanders to ever serve in this country’s military,” said Steve Castaneda, candidate for 80th Assembly District. “Whether serving in the line of duty as a City of San Diego police officer, protecting the public interests of all Chula Vista residents as a two-term councilman, or contributing to my local community as a family man and small business owner, I have always respected and held our military in the highest regard.

“That is why I am proud to have the support of retired Navy hero Rear Admiral Betancourt because he knows that I can get things done.”

Castaneda eagerly looks forward to being a voice for all brave men and women who serve or have served in America’s armed forces.

The San Diego region’s extensive history and valuable relationship with the U.S. Navy and its families will have no bigger supporter in Sacramento than Castaneda.
About Steve Castaneda for State Assembly

Steve Castaneda, a fiscally conservative Democrat, is a small business owner and former two-term Chula Vista councilmember. He is the father of two sons and is married to his beautiful and talented wife, Tanya Mannes Castaneda. The 80th Assembly District is located in southwest California, encompassing portions of Chula Vista, San Diego and National City. The 80th District special election is a result of an impending vacancy created by Assemblyman Ben Hueso's election to the California State Senate and will be held in early June 2013.

For more information, visit Join our online communities on FaceBook and Twitter for campaign updates.

The Conscious of the Council.

It has been said that nature abhors a vacuum and in 2010 when Donna Frye left the San Diego City Council a chasm was created. Since her time on the Council, Donna was almost always the consistent voice of leadership and conviction on the council. Sometimes she would irk her supporters from time to time but over all she was seen as someone who would always do what she thought was right and became the voice for those who felt left out of the Downtown power plays and would remind the Council, time and again that there was more to San Diego than Downtown and that there were other issues than redevelopment and the Convention Center.

If the past was any indication of what was to happen in the future then it would be a long time before someone would be that champion again. After all, almost everyone who has been elected to the Council seems to view it as a stepping-stone to a higher political office and seems to position their votes and support with an eye towards that goal of being in the Assembly, State Senate or Congress. So perhaps that saying didn’t apply in San Diego Politics.

Or did it?

In that same year, a small political upset took place when a relatively unknown candidate beat someone who’s family was an institution in the District and was seen as a shoo-in as he had the support of Labor and some big names. Yet even in the face of all those obstacles, David Alvarez was able to beat his opponent, Felipe Hueso by 15%.

During that campaign Alvarez promised that he would serve the full terms and would do his best to provide the District the representation it needed. A promise that resonated with the District but to many political observers it was seen a smart ploy that eventually he would have to reneg on because history was against it.  Possibly only one person served two full terms since 1980’s because either the person moved on to higher political office or had to resign in disgrace.

In his short time, Alvarez has been consistent in his views and his votes that he has fought for his district but, by extension, the communities that have been left out of those Downtown Power Plays. He as been an advocate of stopping needless waste as his efforts with reforming San Diego SAFE program with Lorie Zaph and most importantly was the lone voice against the giveaways to the Convention Center in 2012.

Also he has become a real leader with the other Democratic Councilmembers and yesterday’s meeting at Rules showed that.

It was well known that Alvarez was going to put up a resolution that would support Immigration Reform with a path towards Citizenship to those who have worked and labored in the shadows. With the help of fellow Councilmembers Sherri Lightener and Marti Emerald they were all set to do so but jumping in on the bandwagon for the sake of political survival the four Republicans, with Mark Kersey leading the pack, decided to draft their own resolution, sign it, force it on the docket and blab to the U-T and the media about it and not tell their Democratic Counterparts.

Maybe Kersey thought his watered down, mealy-mouthed resolution would be acceptable to everyone. I mean it calls for “legal status” so maybe he can say he snag some Latino votes in some future City wide run and since it doesn’t say citizenship so he say to the right that they don’t get citizenship. Win-win, right?


Alvarez, at the Rules meeting, called the Republicans out for their attempt at playing politics with their antics of going around the other Councilmembers, drafting a vague resolution and doing so as an act of political survival. He denied Kersey’s attempt to co-opt the resolution he and the other Dems on the Council drafted and so Kersey and Kevin Faulconer voted against the true Immigration Reform resolution and now both go up to the Council for a vote.

So where is Todd Gloria in all this?

You guess is as good as mine.

Will Todd support the sham Republican resolution that in essence would call for a permanent immigrant ambiguous status not fully a part of our society?

Or will he stand with Alvarez, Emerald and Lightner with a resolution that lives up to the creed of this nation and give those who have labored, fought and risked their lives to come to this county a chance to be a part of this country that they have sacrificed so much to be a part of?

I’m not holding my breath…

Nathan Fletcher Endorses Lorena Gonzalez in 80th Assembly District Special Election

Marine Corps Combat Veteran and Author of “Chelsea’s Law” Announces Support for Pro-Jobs Democrat at Wednesday Press Conference

SAN DIEGO – (Wednesday, March 20, 2013) – Former State Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher today announced his endorsement of pro-jobs Democrat Lorena Gonzalez's campaign for the 80th Assembly District.

Fletcher, who served in the California State Assembly from 2008 to 2012, is a Marine Corps combat veteran and the chairman of a broad coalition in support of comprehensive immigration reform.

During his remarks, Fletcher praised Gonzalez for her work in bringing solutions to difficult challenges in the community, mentioning her leadership in:
-- Bringing the teachers union and San Diego Unified School District together to reach an agreement that prevented 1200 teacher layoffs.
-- Working with business leaders and elected officials across the spectrum to work out an agreement on the convention center expansion that requires living wages and local workers get priority employment.

-- Assisting in convening a broad coalition of local business, labor, law enforcement, civil liberties and faith based groups together to forge consensus on immigration reform.

“I served in Sacramento and I know what it takes to be successful. You need someone who is willing to lead, build a coalition and be a part of a solution,” Fletcher said. “I have seen Lorena do this time and again.”

Known as “Chelsea’s Law,” Fletcher authored landmark legislation to increase penalties, parole provisions, and oversight of child predators. Fletcher  is currently the Senior Director of Corporate Development for Qualcomm, Inc. and a professor at University of California, San Diego where he teaches Political Science.

“I am honored to have the endorsement of someone who made such an incredible impact in such a short period of time in the State Capitol,” Gonzalez said. “Nathan Fletcher was a legislator who worked across the aisle to get things done for all of San Diego, and I hope to do the same.”

Gonzalez is a candidate to replace State Senator-elect Ben Hueso in the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the City of San Diego neighborhoods of San Ysidro, City Heights, Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, Otay Mesa, Paradise Hills and Golden Hill.

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

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Endorses Lorena Gonzalez for Assembly

Pro-Jobs Democrat Earns The Support of California's Top Insurance Watchdog

SAN DIEGO – (Tuesday, March 19, 2013) – California State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones has endorsed pro-jobs Democrat Lorena Gonzalez's campaign for the 80th Assembly District, her campaign announced today.

As Insurance Commissioner, Jones is the chief executive for the state's largest consumer protection agency. Jones has been at the forefront of securing crucial victories for consumers in health care and insurance coverage during his service in the Insurance Commissioner's office and the California State Assembly before that. 

"As California works to implement federal healthcare reform, we need our state leaders to look out for the best interests of consumers. Lorena has fought to make healthcare affordable and accessible for all San Diego County residents and I know she will continue to be a strong voice for consumers in the State Capitol," Jones said.

Lorena is a candidate to replace State Senator-elect Ben Hueso in the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the City of San Diego neighborhoods of San Ysidro, City Heights, Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, Otay Mesa, Paradise Hills and Golden Hill.

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

Chair Francine Busby's Statement on Republican "Post-Mortem"

Today the Republican National Committee released a report reviewing the Party’s failures in 2012 and promising “a path forward” to win future elections. San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Francine Busby issued this statement in response:

"After losing seats in both houses of Congress last year and losing the presidency by an electoral vote landslide, the Republican Party had a chance to honestly reexamine its extremist policies and commit to representing the whole country, not just the conservative base.

"But the only thing today’s report gets right is the assessment of the Republican Party by its own focus groups, who called it 'out of touch,' 'narrow-minded,' and a Party of 'stuffy old men.'

"Last year the Republicans actually made their platform even more extreme, calling for a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage and the criminalization of abortion with no exceptions for rape, incest, or a mother’s safety.

"As long as the Republican Party continues to oppose reproductive rights, same-sex marriage, climate science, and policies that respect America's diversity, its plans for a multimillion-dollar marketing campaign to women, youth, and people of color won’t accomplish a thing.

"The Republicans’ fundamental problem isn’t style. It’s substance. Growing majorities of Americans don’t want to buy what they’re selling, no matter how it’s packaged.

"That’s why President Barack Obama has won a majority here in San Diego County two elections in a row. And that’s why Democrats outnumber Republicans in our county by a greater margin now than any in decades.

"San Diego Democrats will continue to earn that vote of confidence, build on it, and translate it into electoral successes at every level. We don't need a focus group to know why we're the Party of the present -- and of the future."


(Sacramento)  Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins today introduced ACR 36 which calls for the expansion of a court system that offers rehabilitative solutions for former service members.   Known as the Veterans Treatment Review Calendar (VTRC,) or Veterans Court, this special court program assists veterans who have unaddressed behavioral health problems and resulting legal issues, which adversely impact their ability to relate to family, obtain a stable job or keep from becoming homeless. The first pilot VTRC was in Atkins’ San Diego district and currently only thirteen counties in the state have similar programs, which have been shown to dramatically improve outcomes for these veterans.

“We owe it to our returning warriors to help them re-establish productive civilian lives,” says Atkins.  “Veterans Courts are a proven success that pay off in the long run for veterans, their families, and their communities.”

The cases most commonly heard in current Veterans Courts are first-time offenses that are eligible for probation. The program typically requires each veteran to undergo a three-phase treatment program that lasts from 12 to 18 months and is tailored to address the individual’s needs and challenges.  Following each phase, the veteran must submit a letter to the judge, requesting permission to advance to the next level, where he or she is given another set of goals to accomplish.  At completion, the judge may waive court or criminal fees, commute felonies or even, under a new provision in the California Penal Code, expunge charges completely.

At approximately two million, California has the largest veteran population of any state, 160,000 of whom are combat veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan.  Thirty thousand combat veterans are expected to return every year for the foreseeable future.  As many as 20% of these returning veterans show signs of mental health problems, with post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, anxiety, and acute stress being common. Many of these veterans turn to drugs and alcohol in order to self-medicate and many end up homeless.

Most veterans who participate in the VTRC program succeed in overcoming their substance abuse and homelessness and are able to move forward to productive post-military lives.  ACR 36 calls on California’s superior courts to establish Veterans Courts tailored to local needs.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Controller John Chiang Endorses Lorena Gonzalez for Assembly

Pro-Jobs Democrat Earns The Support of California's Chief Fiscal Officer

SAN DIEGO – (Monday, March 18, 2013) – California State Controller John Chiang has endorsed pro-jobs Democrat Lorena Gonzalez's campaign for the 80th Assembly District, her campaign announced today.

As Controller, Chiang serves as the state's chief fiscal officer and serves on the Board of Equalization, State Lands Commission and numerous other state boards. Chiang has used his independent auditing powers to expose over $2.4 billion in government waste, fraud and inefficiency and has helped Californians recover more  than $1 billion in previously unclaimed property and assets.

Lorena is a candidate to replace State Senator-elect Ben Hueso in the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the City of San Diego neighborhoods of San Ysidro, City Heights, Barrio Logan, Sherman Heights, Otay Mesa, Paradise Hills and Golden Hill.

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

Sunday, March 17, 2013


San Diego, CA: Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) will pay tribute to outstanding women in honor of Women’s History Month TODAY Sunday, March 17, 2013, 3:30 p.m. at San Diego State University’s Parma Payne Alumni Center.  “There are many unsung ‘SHeroes’ in the 79th District deserving recognition for their work as women leaders. I am excited to host this Inaugural Salute in the 79th District to highlight their efforts,” she said. Women’s History Month was established in 1987 and is celebrated throughout the month of March to honor women’s contribution to society.

To qualify, nominees must be work or attend school in the 79th District, which includes the communities in the City of San Diego, Lemon Grove, La Mesa, National City, Chula Vista, Bonita and a small part of Spring Valley. The nominee must also perform extraordinary service in the Arts, Business, Community Activism, Education, Government, Health Sciences or Social Services.

Joining in the celebration will be poetry artist Kendrick Dial of Collective Purpose, singer Alyssa Mae Servenas and the Morse High School Pacific Islander Association culture. For more information, please contact JoAnn Fields via cellphone at (619)884-9886.