Saturday, June 29, 2013

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Names Tony Stewart “District 80 Veteran of the Year”

Chula Vista Veterans Leader Honored This Week in Sacramento for Outstanding Service to Veterans and Returning Military

SACRAMENTO – (Friday, June 28, 2013) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) named Chula Vista resident Anthony “Tony” Stewart the “District 80 Veteran of the Year” this week, honoring him for his tireless community service and leadership in developing innovative programs for returning military and their families.

“Ensuring our returning military heroes are afforded the dignity and respect of the services, benefits and support they need is a major priority for San Diego County and Tony has worked relentlessly to make these connections for South Bay’s veterans community,” Assemblywoman Gonzalez said.  “Our region is fortunate to have someone with Tony’s energy and tenacity working on the behalf of veterans and their families.”

Mr. Stewart and other veterans leaders around California were honored at the Assembly Committee on Veterans’ Affairs’ 6th Annual Veterans Recognition Luncheon in Sacramento on Wednesday.

Mr. Stewart is a strong advocate and leader in today’s community service and veterans related causes. Shortly after military service, he worked as a Veterans Service Representative for the Veterans Benefit Administration of U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He has served as Post Commander of American Legion Post 434 in Chula Vista at a time when Post 434 has been presented with Top Honors by the California American Legion Convention for its community service and youth programs. Mr. Stewart was honored as the City of Chula Vista’s Veteran of the Year in 2011-12 and 2012-13 and served as Master of Ceremonies for the 2010 Chula Vista Veterans Day celebration. Mr. Stewart is also an avid volunteer and supporter for the Operation Comfort Workers, Wounded Warriors program at Balboa Park’s Naval Hospital, and the Veterans Village of San Diego. He currently serves as a founding member of United States Submarine Veterans and as a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2111 and Fleet Reserve Association Branch 61, both based in Chula Vista.

Mr. Stewart served in the United States Navy from 1987 to 2007, joining the Navy at the age of 19 to serve in the Navy’s Submarine Force. During a distinguished 20 year period, he served onboard four of the Navy’s submarines and three submarine support squadrons during a career in which he moved up the ranks quickly and received nine Navy Achievement Medals, two Navy Commendation Medals, and various campaigns ribbons and medals for professional achievement above and beyond the call of duty.

Mr. Stewart resides in Chula Vista and is the proud father of four daughters and six grandsons. He currently works for the United States Navy as Administrative Officer for Naval Special Warfare Basic Training Command leading the administrative support services department supporting the mission of training future Sea, Air, and Land (SEAL) Special Warfare Operators and Special Warfare Combatant-Crewman (SWCC) Special Boat Operators.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013



Statement of Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins on Today’s Marriage Equality Rulings

Today, equality for same sex couples became the law of the land for California and the other twelve states that have chosen marriage equality.  It is a great day to be a Californian and a great day to be an American.

Five years ago, almost to the day, our “Summer of Love” began.  For four months in 2008, gay and lesbian couples in California could marry the person they loved and enjoy all the dignity and respect that a legal marriage confers.  But then Proposition 8 took that right from us.  Today, the United States Supreme Court gave it back.

For five long years since the passage of Prop 8, gay and lesbian Californians have had to live with the stigma that their relationships weren’t considered as good as those of heterosexual couples.  For couples married in the other states with marriage equality, the federal government has denied same sex couples more than one thousand important federal benefits.

The Supreme Court has now rejected that notion of second class status and recognized that the federal government should not block gay and lesbian Americans from committing their lives to the person they love and have that commitment respected by society.

As one of the 18,000 couples who were able to marry before the passage of Prop 8, I personally know how important both of today’s rulings are.

Certain rights are fundamental and cannot be taken away at the ballot box.  This is one of the self-evident truths of the American system. I have always believed in the essential fairness of the American people and in the promise of equality that is embedded in the U.S. Constitution. In poll after poll, a majority of Californians say they support marriage equality.  Today’s Supreme Court ruling brings that belief closer to reality. Now we must work to establish equality throughout the nation.

Until then, at least in California, let the weddings begin!

Block: ‘Celebrate wedding bells and bells of liberty’

Sacramento – State Senator Marty Block issued the following statement today upon the U.S. Supreme Court decisions in two cases involving same-sex marriage:

“At long last, loving and committed partners of the same sex can celebrate both wedding bells and the bells of liberty.

“Martin Luther King Jr. correctly foretold the history of civil rights in our country when he observed, ‘The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.’”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Cheers Supreme Court Decisions on Marriage Equality Cases

SACRAMENTO – (Wednesday, June 26, 2013) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) made the following statement today in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions to strike down the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and to reject the appeal by proponents of Proposition 8 in California:

“Equality has rarely been achieved easily, but it's a value Americans know is worth fighting for. I am elated to know that same-sex couples now have the opportunity to marry and look forward to celebrating with friends who are no longer legally barred from pursuing their own happiness, regardless of who they love. Today is a great day to celebrate a renewed commitment to equal treatment and respect of one another, but I pledge to defend equal rights for all people as the injustice created by inequality still persists in many corners of our society.”

Monday, June 24, 2013

A Tale of Two Mayors (and Two City Attorneys)

Its been awhile since I posted to this site, but I'd like to talk about a special relationship that's brewing Downtown - the relationship between Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.  To call it frosty would be an understatement.  We're pretty much in open warfare.

Now, this breakdown in the relationship is both ironic and completely not surprising.  Let's start with the not surprising part.  Jan Goldsmith is a conservative Republican who's been part of the San Diego Downtown establishment for many years.  According to this wikipedia page, Goldsmith is the former mayor of Poway, who then went to the State Assembly (where he worked to legalize ferrets and sounds like he did good for juvenile justice), and then after failing a bid to become the State Treasurer, was a judge for nine and a half years.  Given all of this, you can tell that Goldsmith is part of the old boys network that ran San Diego for years.

Bob Filner, meanwhile, is a liberal Democrat.  In the 1960's, he was a Freedom Rider, then became a history professor at San Diego State.  From there, he successfully ran for School Board of San Diego City Schools (also known as San Diego Unified School District), and then was elected to Congress in 1993, a position he held until December of 2012.  In contrast to Goldsmith, Filner's base of support has been from Labor Unions, the Democratic Party, and other progressive groups.  These groups have largely been out of power in San Diego.  So, Filner represents the new power base in San Diego, and Goldsmith represents the old.  Which is pretty much why there was bound to be a conflict.

But here's the ironic part of the conflict - Goldsmith ran for City Attorney in 2008 on the basis that he got along with the Mayor and City Council.  At the time, as some of you may remember, Mike Aguirre was City Attorney, and Mike believed that the City Attorney should be an independent voice for the people of San Diego, and fight against special interests and corruption.  Of course, Mike was exceptionally undiplomatic about his efforts, as is his wont.*  Goldsmith, meanwhile, ran on the vision that the City Attorney should act as the attorney to the Mayor and City Council and provide both with good legal advice.  Naturally, at the time, Jerry Sanders (Republican, but generally good guy) was Mayor.

Fast forward four years, and suddenly its Jan Goldsmith holding press conferences attacking the Mayor's office of improprieties in the same way that Mike Aguirre used to do.  Only this time, its a Republican City Attorney attacking a Democratic Mayor, rather than a Democratic City Attorney attacking a Republican Mayor.

Of course, since Goldsmith has ties to the old boys' network that is used to running things in San Diego, there are editorials by the Union Tribune attacking Filner for being, essentially, the asshole in the argument.  And make no mistake, Filner is kind of an asshole.  The thing is, everyone knows this.  It was an issue during the campaign (in sort of a kettle meets pot kind of a hit piece by Carl DeMaio).  Its been an issue in other campaigns.  So everyone knows Filner is an asshole, and for the most part, we're all okay with it.  Better to have an asshole who gets things done than a nice guy who doesn't.  This too has lead to awesomeness, such as when Filner interrupted one of Goldsmith's press conferences.

But for all of his faults, Filner is getting a lot done.  He renegotiated the City's leases, saving taxpayers millions of dollars, he figured out how to clean the guano from La Jolla Shores (we think), and he figured out how to close Plaza de Panama to parking.  These were all issues that dogged the City for years.  At the end of the day, will the public side with Filner or Goldsmith?  I honestly don't know. 

*Editor's Note - Given San Diego was called "Enron by the Sea" when Aguirre was first elected, Aguirre wasn't exactly wrong about being undiplomatic.