Saturday, July 12, 2014

Rep. Peters Joins CA-52 Residents Testifying at House Veterans Affairs Committee Hearing on PTS

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) temporarily joined the House Veterans Affairs Committee to hear the testimony of Dr. Howard and Jean Somers, Coronado residents, at its hearing “Service Should Not Lead to Suicide: Access to VA’s Mental Health Care.” The Somers’ son Daniel suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress (PTS) after serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom and tragically committed suicide in June, 2013. Since their son’s death, the Somers have been tireless advocates for the need to fix the VA system, preparing a twenty-five page report with recommendations based on their experience and research.

“I want to thank Howard and Jean Somers—not only for their participation in today’s hearing, but for their continued leadership and advocacy on behalf of our veterans and their families,” Rep. Peters said. “Their work in the face of such a tragedy is an inspiration to all of us. I have never met any veterans’ advocates more dedicated to sharing their unique perspective, raising awareness for the invisible wounds our servicemembers suffer, and committed to making a major impact on the way we care for our veterans.

“The Somers’ experience highlights the unacceptable, systemic problems with the way the VA delivers care. As a country, we have failed these men and women, and their families, who sacrificed so much to serve. I look forward to continuing my work with the Somers to fix these problems and provide our brave man and women with the care they deserve.”

Watch Rep. Peters’ recognition of the Somers in the House Veterans Affairs Committee HERE.

Recently, Rep. Peters joined the Somers at their inaugural “Operation Engage America” event held in San Diego, an annual forum during PTSD Awareness Month to bring attention to PTS and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) by educating veterans about local resources.

Congressman Peters serves the 52nd District of California which covers much of central San Diego County including Poway, Coronado, and large portions of the City of San Diego.  He is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Science, Space, & Technology.  He was named the fourth most independent Democrat by National Journal last year. The Congressman is a former environmental attorney, City Council President, and Port Commission Chairman.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Update from ICWJ regarding Immigrant Children Relief

--UPDATE from ICWJ--

First and foremost, thank you for the outpouring of “stuff” that was donated during this week!  See a few of the photos in this email.  WOW!!!!!   What a tribute of love and compassion.  Your donations are being dispensed to refugee families now and will continue to be as long as there is a need.  We cannot thank you enough!

There are a very few items that are still needed if you would like to make a donation:
    1.    Women’s underwear of all sizes (NEW ONLY)
    2.    Women’s socks of all sizes (NEW ONLY)
    3.    Feminine Hygiene Products

You can bring these items to our ICWJ offices, 3758 30th Street, San Diego, 92104.  Some of us are in the office between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on weekdays.  To be sure, give us a call before you come, 619-584-5740.

If you have collected other items, please bring them this Saturday, July 12th to the fabulous Fiesta Del Sol from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. -  in Barrio Logan on Logan Avenue between Cesar Chavez Parkway & South 26th Street.

Secondly , we are working with government agencies to provide support and comfort to the families who are arriving in San Diego County.  We have NO unaccompanied children arriving here .  All those who are coming to our region will be families.  More than 90% of the families are being reunited with family members already living in the states, mostly in the Eastern and Southeastern part of the country.  The stateside families are so excited to get the call from their relatives and are arranging transportation for them right away!  

We are in need of two things right now.
    1.    Volunteers who can help transport families to the bus station on their way to reunite with family.  If you have some time and would like to volunteer, please email us at  Send us your name, phone number, and email address.  Spanish speakers are heartily invited and non-Spanish speakers are great as well.
    2.    We are seeking people who can host a family for up to 10 days.  If you have a room with access to a bathroom, a guest house, granny flat, or basement apartment and are willing to host a family for three to ten days, please contact
We will continue to stay in touch about how we can support the families that are coming through “America’s Finest City!”.  Your outpouring of concern and support helps to relieve the humanitarian crisis!

Thank you and blessings,

Rabbi Laurie, Lisa, and your ICWJ staff

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Tours Facility Holding Unaccompanied Refugee Youth from Central America

Contact: Evan McLaughlin
Phone: (619) 850-2790

OXNARD, CA – (Tuesday, July 8, 2014) – California State Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, participated with other members of the California Latino Legislative Caucus to tour and observe a facility housing hundreds of unaccompanied  Central American refugee youth at Naval Base Ventura County. Assemblywoman Gonzalez made the following statement in response to her observations:

“Today, I had the opportunity to tour the Ventura County facility for unaccompanied refugee youth from Central America.

“I was pleased to see clean, adequate dorms and even happier to see content, well-behaved children – learning English and exercising – awaiting reunification with their parents and families in the United States. The Ventura County facility is just for 13- to 17-year-old youths who have a family member or sponsor already identified in the United States. I remain concerned about the younger children who can’t communicate their situation as easily and the youth who have come fleeing violent circumstances in their native country without a family here.

“The youth housed at the Ventura County facility are processed quickly, about two weeks in and out. The 575 kids we saw today, and others like them, should have the opportunity for due process in immigration court and not just be immediately deported. I’m hopeful our President will require the federal government to continue to abide by the 2008 law that processes these refugee youths in a manner that includes this due process.”

To interview Assemblywoman about her experience at the Ventura County facility or about the unaccompanied refugee youth from Central America, please contact Chief of Staff Evan McLaughlin at (619) 850-2790.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez represents the 80th Assembly District, which includes Chula Vista, National City and the San Diego neighborhoods of City Heights, Barrio Logan, Paradise Hills, San Ysidro and Otay Mesa, and serves as Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Women and the Workplace. For more information, visit .


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

DeMaio Went Missing in Action on Prop. 8

CONTACT: Alex Roth, 619-228-3253

San Diego -- Yesterday California officially repealed Prop. 8, the infamous ballot measure that outlawed same-sex marriages. Here's a reminder of what Carl DeMaio did to oppose this discriminatory law: Nothing.

In 2008, DeMaio refused to take a public stance on Prop. 8 when the controversial measure was on the California ballot. Not only that, while running for San Diego mayor in 20102 he took campaign contributions from some of Prop. 8's biggest supporters.

He convinced one such Prop. 8 supporter, Charles LiMandri, to back his mayoral candidacy by promising that he "would not push the gay agenda issues (including same-sex marriage)" as a "condition of [LiMandri's] support," according to San Diego CityBeat.

DeMaio's refusal to fight against LGBT discrimination is one of the reasons he was booed at the 2012 San Diego Pride Parade.

Rep. Peters, meanwhile, has been fighting for marriage equality since he first ran for City Council in 1999. At the time the controversial 'Knight Initiative (Proposition 22) was on the ballot. He opposed the measure even though he was running in a more conservative, Republican-leaning district. He served on the City Council from 2000-2008, and as council president, led the effort to have the Council join an amicus brief arguing that Prop. 8 was unconstitutional.

"Carl DeMaio has been missing in action when it comes to fighting for LGBT equality; he didn't oppose Prop. 8, and he refuses to call on Speaker Boehner to bring ENDA to the House floor," said Alex Roth, communications director for the Peters for Congress campaign.

Roth added, "DeMaio seems to think that if he puts his fingers in his ears, closes his eyes and hums, he can ignore these critical civil-rights issues by pretending they are only insignificant 'social issues.' But members of Congress vote on these matters. The public deserves to know where he stands and what types of votes he will cast in Congress."