Saturday, May 10, 2014

San Diego Symposium on Energy and Climate Change 

Energy and climate change have become conflictive and political issues in the San Diego community, with groups becoming too polarized to effectively deal with solutions. This is a first effort at bringing everyone to the table, to work out our differences and brainstorm ideas that will both provide our energy needs and safeguard us from global warming.

In collaboration with the University of San Diego and the San Diego World Affairs Council, this symposium will feature panel discussions and speakers from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, California Center for Sustainable Energy, California Independent System Operator, California Air Resources Board, General Atomics, Sempra Energy, San Diego Gas and Electric, Climate Action Reserve, and University of San Diego Center for Sustainability.

Community partners for this event include the American Nuclear Society, San Diego Gas and Electric, Pacifica Institute, the Global Network Energy Institute, America's Power Plan, UNA-USA, San Diego Diplomacy Council, San Diego Indian America Society, St. James by the Sea Episcopal Church, Congressman Scott Peters, SanDiego350, Citizens Climate Lobby and Sempra Energy.

This symposium is also an opportunity for area students to hear about new employment opportunities in energy and climate mitigation. Presenting at the symposium about these opportunities will be representatives from Qualcomm, KYOCERA Solar, General Atomics, Akamai and other area corporations.

     What:    Symposium on energy and climate change.
     When:   Wednesday, May 14, 7:30 am - 5 pm
     Where:  Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice
     University of San Diego, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego
     Cost:       Registration fee information can be found at

The San Diego World Affairs Council is a non-profit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to educating and engaging San Diegans in global politics, international relations, and cultural diversity. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

Assemblymember Weber Applauds Court Decision Restoring Voting Rights to Thousands of Californians

SACRAMENTO – Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) said she applauds a ruling Wednesday that restores the voting rights of thousands of Californians.

“We have seen attempts to disenfranchise voters in other states, but never expected it in California,” Weber said. “I am gratified that the court supports our position and restored the voting rights of nearly 42,000 citizens.”

An Alameda County Superior Court Judge decision affirmed that thousands of California citizens were illegally stripped of their voting rights by California’s Secretary of State Debra Bowen two years ago.

In response to Bowen’s action, Assemblymember Weber introduced legislation, AB 938, that would have clarified the voting rights’ status of former offenders who were placed in the Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and mandatory supervision programs under California’s Criminal Justice Realignment Act. The bill passed the Assembly, but stalled in the State Senate after aggressive lobbying by the Secretary of State’s office

With the passage of Proposition 10 in 1974, California voters affirmed that former offenders who have served the time of their sentences and completed the terms of their parole are allowed to have their voting rights restored. Wednesday’s ruling determined that offenders who were placed in PRCS and mandatory supervision programs fall into that category.

“No eligible voter should be kept from fulfilling their responsibility and civic duty due to an unjustified misinterpretation of the law.” Weber further said, “I will be working to resurrect AB 938 to make sure that point is absolutely clear in statute.”

Weber has introduced two related measures, AB 149 and AB 2243, that would ensure eligible ex-offenders are given accurate information about their voting rights. AB 149 was signed into law last year; AB 2243 has been passed by the Assembly and will be considered in the Senate later this year.

Block to Rialto school district: Holocaust absolute historical fact

SACRAMENTO – Senator Marty Block (SD-39) today issued the following statement after learning that the Rialto Unified School District assigned eighth grade students an essay debating the reality of the Holocaust:

“Recently eighth grade students in the Rialto Unified School District were asked to assess whether the Holocaust ‘was an actual event in history, or merely a political scheme created to influence public emotion and gain wealth.’

“As chair of the California Legislative Jewish Caucus, it is abhorrent to me that students would be asked to question whether the Holocaust occurred. The assignment trivializes a painful and despicable episode in human history that is well-documented.  There are many issues open to robust debate that can test students’ critical thinking skills. The reality of the Holocaust is not one of them. It is absolute historical fact. Holocaust denial is the province of white supremacists, virulent anti-Semites and neo-Nazis, not responsible historians.

“I was pleased to learn that the Rialto school district has canceled the assignment, but it is my hope that students, faculty and administrators seize this opportunity to study the Holocaust and ponder its tremendous cost. As important is the lesson that we must all fight the intolerance and hate that led to the depraved crimes that constituted the Holocaust.

“The Legislative Jewish Caucus thanks Senator Norma Torres (SD-32) and Assemblymember Cheryl Brown (AD-47) who represent the Rialto school district for their immediate condemnation of this outrageous assignment.”

Peters for Congress Launches New Website Design

New layout launched as mail voters seek candidate information

San Diego – The Scott Peters for Congress campaign unveiled a refreshed, newly designed website today. It is launched just as voters across the 52nd congressional district begin receiving mail ballots this week for the 2014 primary election on June 3.

“As I continue my work in Congress to create middle class jobs, protect our environment, serve our veterans, and guarantee civil rights for all Americans, this new, more robust website will help voters get the information they need to understand the dramatic contrasts between me and the challengers in this race,” Peters said.

The new format is simpler to navigate and makes it easier for voters to read breaking news, learn about new endorsements and upcoming events, as well as how to get involved and find their polling place.

A recently updated issues section reflects Peters' experience serving the 52nd District in Congress, as well as his record while on the City Council and as a San Diego Port Commissioner.

Scott Peters was elected to Congress in 2012 and serves on the House Armed Services and Science Space and Technology Committees. He has a track record of bipartisan leadership and is recognized across as San Diego and in Washington D.C. as an effective, pragmatic, problem-solver who gets things done. Launches FWD California Campaign

CA Representatives, DREAMers, Tech Entrepreneurs, CA Growers Urge Full California House Delegation to Support Immigration Reform Legislation This Year

(San Francisco, CA) — today launched the FWD California campaign, calling on every member of the California U.S. House of Representatives delegation to support bringing immigration reform legislation to a vote this year. Representative Scott Peters (CA-52), Executive Director Todd Schulte, tech entrepreneur Alex Torrenegra, DREAMer Sarahi Salamanca, and California grape grower and fourth-generation family farmer Ryan Zaninovich discussed why passing immigration reform legislation is critical to maintaining California’s economic competitiveness, and called on California’s congressional delegation to advocate aggressively for bringing reform legislation to a vote this year.

“Reforming our broken immigration system is a top priority for business, labor, faith, and agricultural communities across the country,” Representative Scott Peters said. “It will grow the San Diego, California, and national economies and help keep our country globally competitive. If we want the next big company to get started or scientific discovery to be made here in America, this has to get done. I firmly believe that reform deserves a vote in the House of Representatives and will continue pushing for that until it happens.”

“I was brought to this country when I was four years old. I have been here for 20 years, and I have worked hard to contribute in my community to make it a better place,” said DREAMer Sarahi Salamanca. “This is the only place I know as my home because my parents decided to bring us where we could have a better life and a brighter future. I pray that members of Congress understand one day that our parents brought us here for the same reason their ancestors left their native countries many years ago: a better life.”

Joe Green, President & Founder,, said, “We expect every member of California’s House delegation to stand strong and actively demand that Republican leadership bring legislation to a vote in 2014. The stakes are too high in my home state of California- and across the country - if Congress fails to fix the broken immigration system. The time is now for House Republicans to act on reform.”

“By closing our doors to immigrant entrepreneurs, we are allowing other nations to welcome them with open arms, and we are losing potential U.S. jobs and revenue,” added Alex Torrenegra, Founder and CEO of Bunny Inc. and Torrenegra Labs. “Today, what we are seeing is a country that is turning away hard-working immigrants who want to contribute to the U.S. economy - even though more than 200 Fortune 500 companies that were founded by immigrants. Imagine the repercussions on the U.S. economy if these companies were turned off by the U.S. attitude toward immigrants and chose to build elsewhere. That's why I'm joining tech entrepreneurs throughout California to call on all of our elected congressional representatives to help bring reform legislation to a vote this year.”

Ryan Zaninovich of V.B. Zaninovich and Sons, a California grape grower and fourth-generation family farmer, added, “The importance of immigration reform for domestic food production across the country, as well as to California’s economy - where this state’s farm gate value alone totals approximately $45 billion annually - cannot be overstated. We have kicked this can down the road for far too long, and California's entire House delegation must act now to push for a vote on immigration reform legislation.”

As the fifth-largest economy in the world, arguably no other state in the country has as much to gain as California from fixing the country’s fundamentally broken immigration system. The state of California would see enormous economic benefits from immigration reform across all sectors of its economy, particularly in agriculture and tech, industries that are critically important to the state.

Additionally, an estimated 2 million of the U.S.’ population of 11 million undocumented immigrants lives in California. Immigration reform would bring the undocumented out of the shadows and keep families together, allowing the vast majority of these aspiring Americans who are already contributing to California’s economy and communities to do so fully.

The FWD California campaign will include ramping up’ significant advocacy efforts already underway in the state, with activities such as digital advocacy campaigns; highlighting stories of immigrant entrepreneurs and immigrants' incredible contributions to California's past, present, and future; hosting events in key districts with stakeholders of the broad, diverse coalition of organizations supporting reform, such as the faith community, agriculture, tech and business leaders, advocates and community members, all with the goal of sending a clear message to California's full delegation to the House of Representatives: with so much at stake for Californians, every single member should be pushing for House Republicans to bring immigration reform legislation to a vote this year.

Weber’s Education Bills Pass First Test

SACRAMENTO – Two kindergarten bills jointly authored by Assemblymembers Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) and Assembly Education Chair Joan Buchanan (D-Alamo) were passed by the Assembly Committee on Education Wednesday.

Assembly Bill (AB) 1719 would require all school districts offering kindergarten implement a full-day kindergarten program.

“Students are being held to more rigorous academic standards under the K-12 Common Core curriculum,” Weber said.  “A full-day kindergarten program would provide students - in particular those children unable to attend preschool - an opportunity to strengthen the foundational skills necessary to succeed in school.”

Assembly Bill 1444 would require kindergarten for all of the state’s schoolchildren before entering the first grade. Weber, a former San Diego City School Board trustee and president noted that the voluntary status of kindergarten allows parents to delay their child’s entrance into school, leaving students unprepared for the educational environment when they enroll in first grade.

“We are making a significant investment in the state’s K-12 system,” she said. It’s time we made kindergarten mandatory to ensure that our investment in student success is maximized,”

The Committee also passed AB 2380, a measure authored by Weber aimed at increasing parental participation in spending decisions under the new local control funding formula.  This bill was passed with bipartisan support.

Weber has been successful in moving a large number of measures from her bill package in recent weeks, including. AB 2591, that would establish a mechanism for providing basic material needs to homeless children; AB 2566 extending Cal Grant eligibility for one year; AB 2278 which would help small businesses compete for large state contracts; AB 2617 exempting civil rights laws from forced arbitration agreements; and AB 2243, which helps former offenders fully reintegrate into society by exercising their voting rights.