Wednesday, October 1, 2014

10News Civility Project Gives DeMaio Ad 'F,' Calls It "Outrageous'


San Diego -- The false and egregious new Carl DeMaio TV ad has been given a grade of 'F' by the 10News Civility Project, which analyzes political ads for truth and accuracy.

"On truth, relevance and civility, the group gives this ad an F," 10News anchor Virginia Cha told the station's viewers. To watch the 10News segment, click here:

"I just consider it outrageous," Jeff Marston, a Civility Project panelist, told 10News viewers last night.

"I see this ad as the total opposite of civility," added John Beatty, another member of the panel.

10 News aired the segment last night in response to the attack ad, which began airing on San Diego stations last week. The Scott Peters campaign is working with its lawyers to have the baseless spot removed from the airwaves.

Halloween Scare: DeMaio's Proposed Cuts to Veterans' Benefits


San Diego -- If you want a real Halloween scare this season, consider Carl DeMaio’s horrifying plan to cut benefits for California’s military veterans.

DeMaio’s plan – which included kicking veterans off Medi-Cal and shutting down a historic veterans hospital -- is further evidence that his Tea Party approach is too extreme for San Diego.

DeMaio proposed these cuts in his so-called “Citizen’s Budget,” which he crafted in 2003 while working for the Reason Foundation, an extremist think-tank backed by the notorious, far-right Koch Brothers.

His proposed state budget for 2003-2005 calls for kicking all California veterans off Medi-Cal, regardless of their medical needs; closing down a historic veterans hospital that provides crucial medical services to vulnerable veterans; and imposing massive cuts on nursing homes that serve veterans.

“These are people who have served our nation and DeMaio wants to thank them by slashing their medical care,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Scott Peters for Congress Campaign.  “Absolutely outrageous.”

DeMaio’s ties to the Reason Foundation run deep. Since 2013 he’s been paid at least $240,000 in consulting fees from Reason, the exact same group for which he authored this frightening budget.

By contrast, Rep. Scott Peters has co-sponsored the Veterans Pension Protection Act, the Veterans Employment Transition Act, the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act and the Veterans Education Equity Act.

These are some of the reasons why Jack Harkin, a Republican and former chair of the United Veterans Council of San Diego County, stood next to other veterans at a recent press conference, praised Peters’ “honesty and fairness” and stated, “We must have Scott Peters kept in our Congress.”

Governor Signs Weber Bill Strengthening State’s Hate Crime Statutes

“For a right or a protection to have any meaning, you have to have access to the courts where they can be enforced”

SACRAMENTO – Governor Jerry Brown signed legislation Tuesday authored by Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) that will protect the rights of victims of hate crimes and civil rights abuses to have their cases heard in court.

It has become a widespread practice in consumer and employment contracting to force individuals to waive their rights to seek legal redress through the courts even when their civil rights have been violated. AB 2617 would prohibit requiring a waiver of any rights under California hate crimes or civil rights laws as a condition of entering into a contract for employment, housing, education or consumer goods and services.

“There is no right without a remedy,” Weber said. “In order for a right or a protection to have any meaning, you have to have access to the courts where they can be enforced. We have passed these laws not only to provide a mechanism of legal redress for victims, but also to send a signal to the rest of society that these acts are not sanctioned, whether committed by an individual or abetted by an institution. Forced arbitration compels victims to submit to proceedings where arbitrators are not even required to follow the state’s civil rights statutes when making decisions that the parties are bound by law to follow.”

The bill emanates from a case of a 15 year-old private school student who received graphic death threats from fellow students due to his perceived sexual orientation.  On the advice of law enforcement, his parents withdrew him from the school and relocated him to a school in a different part of California. The school, however, publicly disclosed the student’s new community and school.  Understandably upset, his parents took legal action to hold the school accountable for abetting the bullying and not disciplining the perpetrators, but a forced arbitration clause buried in the enrollment contract prevented the student from going to court to seek justice under the state’s civil rights statutes.

The student’s father, Lee Caplin, said he, his son and his family are pleased that their experience has resulted in a law that strengthens protections for all Californians.

“This is a great victory,” said Caplin, “This bill gives teeth back to the state’s civil rights and hate crimes laws.”

Caplin, whose father taught law to both John and Robert Kennedy and later served in the Kennedy Administration, said the timing is significant.

“My son noted that the bill signing comes in the same year as the 50th anniversary of the federal Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was initiated during the Kennedy era,” he said.

“We have fought long and hard for these protections,” Weber said, “But we are seeing attempts to erode the progress we’ve made, including attempts to subvert voting rights and to shield companies for wrongdoing in hate crimes cases. I am pleased that the Governor saw the wisdom in restoring an individual’s right to have their day in court.”

AB 2617 is supported by Equality California, the ACLU, the Western Center on Law and Poverty, the California Chapter of the NAACP and the Consumer Attorneys of California.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Sierra Club San Diego Endorses Peters

San Diego -- Sierra Club San Diego has endorsed Rep. Scott Peters for re-election, saying Peters “has spent his entire career protecting the environment.”

Sierra Club San Diego cited Peters’ work on a variety of environmental issues ranging from combating the impacts of climate change to increasing funding for wildfire preparedness. Peters currently chairs the Climate Task Force of the House Democratic caucus.

“We are confident that Scott will work to protect San Diego’s special environmental, for our families and for our future,” said Debbie Hecht, chair of the club’s steering committee.

During his first term in the House, Peters introduced legislation to reduce the emission of super-pollutants such as methane and black carbon; advocated for full funding of the nation’s climate research programs; introduced a drought-assistance bill that would maximize water resources; co-sponsored legislation to close the oil and gas industries’ air-pollution loophole in the Clean Water Act and co-sponsored a bill creating tax incentives for private landowners to grant public access National Scenic Trails.

Among other things, Rep. Peters has also sponsored legislation that would help coastal states plan for the impacts of climate change.

“I’m honored that the Sierra Club has recognized my persistent efforts on behalf of the environment both in San Diego and nationally,” Peters said. “I pledge to continue the important work of protecting San Diego’s precious natural resources and addressing the threat of climate change.”

The national Sierra Club, the nation’s largest grassroots environmental organization, also has endorsed Peters.

Assemblymember Weber’s Response to the Governor’s Action on Her Kindergarten Legislation

SAN DIEGO - Assemblymember Shirley N. Weber (D-San Diego) issued the following response to California Governor Jerry Brown’s signing of AB 1719 (Full-Day Kindergarten) and vetoing of AB 1444 (Mandatory Kindergarten):

“I am grateful that the Governor decided to sign AB 1719 and am pleased that he agrees we need to evaluate existing Full-Day kindergarten programs with a view to implementing it statewide.

“I am, however, disappointed that he chose to veto AB 1444, a bill I jointly authored with Assembly Education Chair, Joan Buchanan, which would have required kindergarten attendance before entering the first grade. The recent report from the Attorney General’s office shows that chronic absenteeism is especially acute in kindergarten and first grade with the end result that these children only have a 17- percent chance of being able to read well by the 3rd grade. Without this critical skill, they have a significantly higher likelihood of dropping out of school altogether and ending up in the correctional system or dependent on social services.

“Making kindergarten mandatory will go a long way toward getting parents to take this critical early education seriously and giving their children an opportunity to succeed. I look forward to working with the Governor in the upcoming legislative session on this issue.”

Assemblymember Shirley Weber, representing California’s 79th Assembly District, is a member of the Assembly Education and Higher Committees and Chair of the Assembly Select Committee on Higher Education in San Diego County.

Kimber - Hunter Debate

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Gov. Brown Signs Assemblywoman Gonzalez’s VOTE Act To Improve Voter Participation in Special Elections

AB 1873 creates San Diego County pilot project to provide all special election voters with postage-paid mail ballots, early voting opportunities

SACRAMENTO – (September 26, 2014) – Gov. Brown signed into law today Assembly Bill 1873 by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) authorizing a pilot project that will help the State of California address the low voter turnout and high costs of special elections by instituting a 5-year trial in San Diego County legislative vacancy special elections.

“As elected officials, we have a responsibility to address the plummeting voter turnout and high taxpayer costs we’ve seen in recent special elections,” Gonzalez said. “AB 1873 creates a program that makes voting more accessible and elections cheaper while protecting the integrity of the voting process.”

Upon opting in to this pilot program, the County of San Diego will be required to meet several conditions that will improve a voter’s opportunity to cast a ballot in special elections for Congress, State Senate and Assembly vacancies.

Under AB 1873, every registered voter will be mailed a ballot with return postage paid. Voters would also have the opportunity to vote either at an early voting location the weekend before Election Day or on Election Day at a limited number of polling places for special elections held in San Diego County for Congressional or California Legislative vacancies. These special elections have historically resulted in low voter participation – with often less than 20 percent of registered voters casting ballots – and millions of dollars in costs to county taxpayers that, unlike statewide elections, are not reimbursed by the state.

“The special elections held since 2012 show that a majority of voters choose to cast ballots in the four weeks leading up to Election Day by mail rather than at a polling place on Election Day itself. And for the large numbers who don’t cast ballots at all – whether it’s because they have a busy work schedule, family commitments or just plain forgot – it’s time California and their county elections offices try cutting them some slack by giving them a larger window of time to exercise Democracy,” Gonzalez said.

Even by paying for the postage of every voter’s returned mail ballot, setting up Election Day drop-off locations for last minute voters, and allowing for in-person voting before Election Day, the VOTE Act is projected to save taxpayers money when special elections are needed. For example, the cost of every poll voter who cast a ballot in the 40th Senate District special election last March cost $221.43, according to the San Diego County Registrar of Voters. For every mail ballot counted in that race, the taxpayer cost was only $8.73.

The bill was supported by the County of San Diego, as well as the California Association of Clerks and Elections Officials, California State Association of Counties, California State Association of Letter Carriers, the Rural County Representatives of California and more. Assemblywoman Gonzalez worked diligently with San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu, the Office of the Secretary of State, and several disability rights, language access and voting rights activists to improve this innovative voting bill.

AB 1873 was approved by the Assembly on a 47-29 vote and by the State Senate 24-8 on August 28. Since then, the bill has garnered significant attention in debates for the upcoming election for Secretary of State, the office that oversees all elections in California.

Governor Brown Signs Bill to Enhance Bicycle Safety 

San Diego Bike Coalition says new state law allows local governments to incorporate physically separated lanes 

SAN DIEGO, September 26, 2014 – This week Governor Brown signed AB 1193, The Protected Bikeways Act, giving local governments the liberty to implement modernized bicycling infrastructure. Sponsored by the California Bicycle Coalition and authored by California Assemblymember Phil Ting, The Protected Bikeways Act encourages the implementation of bicycle lanes with physical separation from automobile traffic through the use of medians, curbs, posts and more.

The San Diego Bicycle Coalition celebrates Governor Brown’s decision to make physically separated bikeways viable options for local bicycle infrastructure and the anticipated effect such safety enhancements will have on local riders.

“The key to getting more people on bicycles is giving them a safe place to ride,” says Bike Coalition Executive Director Andy Hanshaw. “Governor Brown’s signature is a gift that allows regions to utilize highly regarded bicycle safety standards from around the globe.”

Used safely and effectively for years in the top bike-friendly cities of the world, such as Amsterdam and Copenhagen, protected bike lanes make urban bike riding a pleasant, practical and safe way to make everyday trips, such as taking children to school or running errands. In the United States, cities that added protected bike lanes such as Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. saw as much as a 250 percent increase in local ridership.

According to the Bike Coalition, a safe and designated area for bicyclists improves conditions for bike safety, car traffic, and even pedestrians on sidewalks. The Coalition says that 90 percent of riders surveyed in recent reports feel safer with protected bike lanes.

“On the heels of the new Three Feet for Safety law, this bill adds to a new era for the safety of bicycle lovers in our city,” says Hanshaw. “With a physical separation between bikes and automobiles, I won’t be surprised when we see a great increase of people commuting, exercising, or recreationally enjoying the beauty of San Diego at a two-wheeled pace.”

For more information on the Protected Bikeways Act, please click here. To learn more about how the San Diego Bike Coalition protects and advocates for the rights of all people on bicycles countywide, please visit

San Diego Bike Coalition is a nonprofit organization that advocates for and protects the rights of all people who ride bicycles. They promote bicycling as a mainstream, safe and enjoyable form of transportation and recreation. For more information, visit