<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - ]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/election-2012/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:56:24 -0700 Thu, 30 Oct 2014 21:56:24 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Brian Bilbray Concedes in 52nd District Race ]]> Mon, 19 Nov 2012 15:20:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Brian-Bilbray-1106.jpg

Republican Brian Bilbray officially conceded Friday in his race for the 52nd District Congressional seat.

Bilbray sent out a statement acknowledging that his opponent, San Diego Port Commissioner Scott Peters, won the campaign which garnered national interest. 

While ballots were still being counted in San Diego, Peters traveled to Washington D.C. -- where San Diego County's current delegation on Capitol Hill also has gathered, to resume the work of the House of Representatives.

"[Bilbray] wished me luck and offered his support," Peters said in a statement from Washington D.C. "We agreed that while it was a tough, hard-fought campaign, now is the time to put it behind us. I thanked him for his service and look forward to his support as I transition into office."

Bilbray, who served three terms as the 50th District Representative, has served seven terms in Congress overall. 

"I will continue fighting for the issues I believe in and that benefit San Diego, only in a different capacity," Bilbray vowed.

Peters is the first Democrat to represent North County constituents in Congress since 1952.

“There’s much to do," Peters wrote. "I’m encouraged by the tremendous group of colleagues I’ve met here so far: freshman members of Congress, because like me, they all heard loud and clear during their campaigns that voters are tired of the partisanship, tired of politicians who put party over people."

Peters' win gives Democrats their first-ever majority on the county's Congressional delegation, by a 3-2 margin.

In his statement he said he was "grateful to the hundreds of people who walked, called, contributed and gave me their support; it was their energy and enthusiasm that put us over the top in this close race."

He'll be sworn in Jan. 3, 2013. 

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<![CDATA[Obama: "The Best Is Yet to Come"]]> Tue, 27 Nov 2012 12:19:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama-lead-P1.jpg

President Barack Obama won a second term on Tuesday, emerging from a long, punishing campaign with a new mandate to lead a divided and anxious nation.

"Tonight in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up," Obama said in a victory speech in his hometown of Chicago. "We have fought our way back and we know in our hearts for the United States of America, the best is yet to come."

For full Decision 2012 coverage, visit NBCNews.com.

Obama said his re-election came with a sense of accomplishment and a new surge of hope.

"Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over," he said. "And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you. I have learned from you. And you've made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and about the future and life ahead."

But the cold reality is that when he arrives back in Washington, the president will face the same obstacles he did before the election. With Republicans maintaining control of the House of Representatives, the era of political gridlock will likely continue.

That challenge was articulated by one of his most outspoken opponents, Sen. Mitch McConnell, leader of Senate Republicans.

"Now it's time for the president to propose solutions that actually have a chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and a closely-divided Senate, step up to the plate on the challenges of the moment, and deliver in a way that he did not in his first four years in office," McConnell said. “To the extent he wants to move to the political center, which is where the work gets done in a divided government, we’ll be there to meet him half way."

Obama's triumph unfolded incrementally Tuesday night, as he racked up a string of victories in crucial battlegrounds. One after another, states that had been deemed competitive swing states before Election Day fell into the president's hands.

Pennsylvania. Wisconsin. New Hampshire. Iowa. Virginia. With each Obama win, the path to victory for his opponent, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, got narrower.

Finally, just after 11 p.m. ET, NBC News projected Obama to win Ohio, his so-called "firewall" and the one state that has sided with the winning presidential candidate in every election since 1960. Obama's win there, thanks in large part to the state's support of his bailout of the auto industry, handed him the Electoral College swing votes he needed.

Romney conceded the race in a phone call to the president just before 1 a.m. ET. He then took the stage at the Westin Boston Waterfront Hotel, telling supporters that he wished the president well.

"This is a time of great challenges for America, and I pray that the president will be successful in guiding our nation," Romney said.

Obama's battleground victories were so authoritative that Florida, which was considered the biggest  prize, wasn't even a factor.

Florida was the only state that remained too close to call as of 6:00 a.m. ET. Its results won't be known until after the start of business Wednesday. 

So many people turned out to vote Tuesday that Ohio, Florida and Virginia kept polls open long after official closing times to accommodate the people waiting in long lines that snaked from the doors of polling places.

Exit polls indicated that Obama was favored among women, young adults, singles and Latinos — the last group by wider margins than in 2008.

"Today is the clearest proof yet that, against the odds, ordinary Americans can overcome powerful interests," Obama wrote in an email to supporters.

The first person Obama called after getting the concession call from Romney was former President Bill Clinton, a campaign official told NBC News.

The former president was one of Obama’s top surrogates, and onlookers credited his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte with Obama's "Clinton bump" in the polls.

Obama, Romney and their proxies spent nearly $2 billion, a record amount for a presidential campaign.

In his concession speech, Romney said he had no regrets and hoped that the country would move past its partisan differences to solve the nation's problems.

"I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction," he said. "But the nation chose another leader."

Less than an hour later, at about 1:45 a.m. ET, Obama appeared before a roaring crowd at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago. His wife, Michelle, and their two daughters accompanied him on stage while Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" blasted. Then they left him to deliver his victory speech.

Obama congratulated Romney "on a hard-fought campaign."

“We may have battled fiercely, but it's only because we love this country, we care so strongly about its future," he said.

The president went on to say that the rancor and rift that characterized the campaign was understandable, given the nation's challenges.

"That won't change after tonight. And it shouldn't. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty, and we can never forget that as we speak, people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today."

Obama, 51, the country’s first black president, won election in 2008 on a promise of hope and change, but he triumphed this time with a starkly different message: asking voters to stick with him as he continues trying to fix the economy and improve America’s standing in the world.

He defeated Romney, 65, a wealthy venture capitalist who’d been running for president for the better part of a decade. A win for Romney would have been vindication, of sorts, for his family; his father, George, ran unsuccessfully for the Republican presidential nomination in 1968.

The 2012 race highlighted two contrasting visions of the country. Where Romney emphasized the need to lower taxes, relax federal regulations and cut government spending, Obama promised to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and deploy government’s help in pulling the country out of the economic doldrums.

Despite his image as stiff and disinterested in the plight of the middle class, Romney managed to make the race close by appealing to many voters’ disappointment in Obama and widespread anxiety about the economy. Romney promised to bring a businessman’s sensibility to the job, a point he drove home in the first presidential debate, which he dominated. That performance sparked a surge in the polls that made the race tight right up until Election Day.

But Romney, in the end, was not able to fully convince an edgy public that he could do a better job than Obama. Nor was Romney able to overcome Obama’s image as a more likable guy.

Now Romney may well have run his last race for public office.

Obama will begin his second term no longer a symbol of political catharsis but as a flawed but adaptive leader who took a lot of lumps and learned from them.

The president's re-election means there will likely be no overturning of his signature domestic policy achievement, the 2010 health care reform law. Obama has also promised to raise taxes on those earning more than $250,000 a year.

Obama must also make good on his campaign promises to finally correct America’s economic path by finding ways to add a million more manufacturing jobs, boost domestic energy production, reduce the county’s carbon footprint, shore up Medicare, cut students' college loan costs and slash the national deficit by $4 trillion.

When he returns to the White House, he won’t have much time to savor his victory, because he’ll face the threat of a year-end "fiscal cliff," when a series of tax cuts are set to expire and massive government spending cuts go into effect.

As he noted in his email to supporters Tuesday night: "There's a lot more work to do."



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Filner's New Opponent: the Clock]]> Mon, 12 Nov 2012 14:21:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/filner_politically_speaking1.jpg

This story originally appeared on VoiceofSanDiego.org.

Mayor-elect Bob Filner will take office Dec. 3, a day before the county registrar of voters is even required to certify votes to elect him.

He’ll lead more than 10,000 staffers and oversee a $2.75 billion budget but has less than a month to prepare — a turnaround much swifter than other cities with similar government structures.

Other major cities with the strong-mayor form of government, including New York and Chicago, give their leaders more time to ease in. Newly elected leaders in Fresno, Los Angeles and Oakland each get at least two months to hire new employees and set their agenda.

Filner's dash to assemble an administration is mandated by the city charter, which has long required an early December inauguration for its mayors. But Filner will be the first to experience such a whirlwind easing-in period because of the switch to the strong-mayor system approved in 2005.

Then, current Mayor Jerry Sanders spent one month as a traditional mayor before transitioning into the more powerful role in January 2006.

So Filner will get the first taste of something that former city officials and consultants acknowledge was never considered: a rapid changing of the guard.

“We never, ever, ever gave serious thought to this issue,” said Steve Erie, a University of California-San Diego professor who was one of the chief architects of the strong-mayor system.

Sanders' team also prepared well in advance for a transition. His staffers started working on his transition before he was even elected.

Ronne Froman, a retired Navy rear admiral and Sanders confidant, led the team.

Sanders knew it would take more than 30 days to prepare so his team started six months before the election, she said.

“If we lost, all that work would have been put in the dumper but it was all work that had to be done,” Froman said. “We knew that we had to be ready when we stepped into office.”

And Froman, who later became the city’s chief operating officer under Sanders, had more time than Filner.

The quick transition wasn’t so burdensome in the past.

With the previous council-manager form of government, which generally includes a city manager who runs day-to-day business and a mayor who is part of the city council, the mayor doesn’t need to be ready for an instant crisis. The manager handles it and consults the council as needed.

The strong mayor picks up those responsibilities under the new system approved in 2005, so Filner is tasked with more hires and with setting an agenda for the city. He has yet to provide many specifics on either front.

Filner, a Democrat following years of Republican city leaders, has said he’d like his office to focus more on neighborhood concerns than downtown interests.

That will require plenty of planning and direction. Allen Jones, a vice president at developer H.G. Fenton Company who once served as Filner’s chief of staff, has agreed to lead the transition team. Jones and Filner could not be reached for comment.

Filner announced this week that former Councilwoman Donna Frye will lead a new Open Government Department and he offered a post to primary challenger, Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher. Fletcher has yet to publicly say whether he’ll accept.

Filner still has a lot to do. He needs to bring in at least a dozen new staffers and may begin considering hundreds of appointments.

He’ll want to find ways to make inroads with the business community and to weigh in on city projects he may soon be embroiled in.

He’ll also have to scrutinize the city’s budget and operations.

It won’t be easy, said former San Diego city manager Jack McGrory, who called the city “a very, very complicated corporation.”

Filner will need to wrap his mind around a budget that varies based on often unpredictable revenue sources — sales-tax hauls, state-shared revenue and more — and spending on crises that can’t be planned.

Glen Sparrow, a Filner supporter who helped with Sanders’ transition, agreed that the 10-term congressman faces a steep learning curve.

“It’s a short period of time to understand a significant operation and remember it’s an operation that is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of a million and a half people so it can’t be taken lightly,” Sparrow said. “You can’t make any mistakes.”

But because of the tight timeline, Filner will be forced to speed date and perhaps put off some key hires.

He’ll likely have to replace at least a dozen top staffers who will depart along with Sanders and consider whether others might be worth keeping, at least for a time.

“It’s a daunting task to have so little time and so many appointments,” said Erie, the UCSD professor.

Sanders’ administration will try to help, said Alex Roth, a spokesman for the mayor's office. The current administration has set several meetings with Filner and his staffers to brief them on important city business, Roth said.

“We all understand that it’s in the city’s best interest for us to get the new mayor up to speed as quickly as possible,” he said.

Lisa Halverstadt is the newest reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at lisa.halverstadt@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.325.0528.

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<![CDATA[Romney: I Pray Obama Will Be Successful]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 06:38:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/RomneyConcedesLIM_5114461_722x406_6868547627.jpg Gov. Mitt Romney called the president to concede, and prayed for the well-being of the U.S. and President Barack Obama."I wish all of them well, particularly the president, the first lady and their daughters," he said. Romney said, "I ran for office because I'm concerned for America," and added, "Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign."]]> <![CDATA[Results for Untallied Ballots Trickle In ]]> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 08:50:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Uncounted-Ballots-Election.jpg

The election may be over, but there are still hundreds of thousands of ballots left to count in San Diego.

One of the closest Congressional races in the nation hangs in the balance along with the race for County Board of Supervisor for the 3rd District.

Click here to see Election 2012 results

San Diego County Registrar of Voters Deborah Seiler has lowered the number of uncounted ballots being processed by staffers.

Registrar officials originally said there were still approximately 475,000 mail-in and provisional votes left to count. Many were mailed in at the last minute, and 275,000 were just dropped off on Election Day.

However on Thursday, the Registrar of voters lowered the total number of outstanding ballots to 375,000, saying that the updated, lower number might shorten the overall counting time by a few days.

The Registrar also noted that the number could change again in the coming days.
Either way, the verification and counting process will be lengthy.

Dozens of people are working all hours to sift through tons of envelopes at the Registrar of Voters. It’s a long, tedious process to get all those votes properly counted.

Each one of the envelopes has to be opened by hand. The signature on each envelope has to be checked to make sure someone is not voting twice. Then, they have to be loaded by hand into the machine to actually scan the votes.

Though it may seem a little outdated to do this by hand, the Registrar of Voters office says it's the only way, so voters shouldn’t expect a faster method any time soon.

"I don't really see a shortcut for all of this. We have to be very meticulous. We have to be very careful. There's a lot at stake. Every vote has to count. And every vote has to count only one time. So, there's really not a very good way that we have around all of this,” said Deborah Seiler of the San Diego Registrar of Voters.

The Registrar said it’s the most ballots they’ve ever had to count. The legal deadline to finish counting all of the votes is by Dec. 4 – a full 28 days after the election.

But, realistically, most of the races still in question will be settled before that. Updates from the Registrar will continue to trickle in as more votes are counted.

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<![CDATA[Nancy Pelosi's Future As Minority Leader Uncertain]]> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 09:45:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dem-Wed-P13.jpg

Nancy Pelosi will continue to represent San Francisco in Congress for at least another two years. Less certain is how long she'll hang onto the title of House Minority Leader.
Since Tuesday's election, in which Democrats failed to retake the House of Representatives, Pelosi has been "uncharacteristically quiet," according to the San Francisco Chronicle. 
She will finish her term, but it's unlikely the Democrats will win any seats in the 2014 midterm elections, the newspaper reported. 
Last year, the Minority Leader's daughter, Alexandra, told media that she "would retire right now, if the donors she has didn't want her to stay too badly," the newspaper reported. 
But Pelosi has a "shocking level of energy" for someone who is 72, according to the newspaper. And Democrats still view her as the "heart and soul of the Congressional caucus and the Democratic Party," retiring Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey said.
It's up to Pelosi -- and she isn't saying what she'll do.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Could Romney Permanently Move to San Diego?]]> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 07:38:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mitt-romney-concession.jpg

Could Gov. Mitt Romney move to San Diego?

Questions about the former presidential candidate’s future are swirling, including whether that future means a more permanent presence in California.

A supporter of Romney recently told The Boston Globe that the former candidate and his wife are considering a permanent move to La Jolla, where he already owns a home on Dunemere Drive overlooking the water.

Romney’s La Jolla home is fittingly named Fin De La Senda, Spanish for "end of the road."

The former candidate visits the home frequently and made plans to remodel before the campaign took over his time. But now Romney is plenty free, as his presidential dream is dashed.

A city application notice from April still hangs informing the neighborhood of plans to bulldoze the current home and replace it with an 8,100 square-foot mansion – more than twice its current size, complete with car elevator.

But, the city of San Diego states the project is on hold at request of the applicant.

In the meantime, it's the big plans for the house that has everyone in the coastal neighborhood talking.

Mark Newcomer, who lives right across the street from the Romney home, is curious what the family will do with the existing property.

“There’s definitely lots of rumors that are always floating around,“ he said. “We don't know is the short answer. We've heard it’s something that was going to get done after he won the election, or if he won the election, or if he didn't win the election would be a good time to do it because doing that sort of work while you're in office is maybe tough to manage."

When Mitt returns some neighbors said they'll be glad the secret service isn’t with him - recalling times earlier this year when they'd need to stop and show Identification to drive down the one-way street.

“It’s been a little nerve racking you know," said neighbor Randy Clark. “They take up extra parking spots that's for sure, other than that they tend to be really, really nice people and engaging."

Other neighborhood rumors include Romney buying the house on a bigger lot next door, as it’s under renovation and belongs to a friend and major contributor to Romney's campaign.

While many questions remain, Romney's political future is certain: He won’t be residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. any time soon.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Peters Widens Lead for 52nd Congressional Dist.]]> Mon, 12 Nov 2012 21:08:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ScottPetersElectionNight.jpg

Port Commissioner Scott Peters has maintained a growing lead over U.S. Representative Brian Bilbray in the battle to represent the 52nd Congressional District.

On Monday, the Registrar of Voters released a new round of results in the tight race. Peters, a Democrat, now leads with about 1,900 votes.

Peters' lead on Bilbray, a Republican, has been growing since the morning after elections. Wednesday morning, the vote was narrowly split with just 685 votes separating the two candidates.

There are still about 260,000 mail and provisional ballots that have yet to be counted.

"I didn’t see us quite this good. I think it’s going to really tighten up," Bilbray said after early results were announced showing him in the lead Tuesday night.

Then, when he spoke to supporters several hours later, he warned them it may take days to iron out the race.

After many San Diegans went to bed, Peters pulled ahead with a slight lead and held on until all precincts were in.

The fight for California's newly-drawn 52nd was targeted with some of the most campaign cash and coverage nationwide.

“This district was drawn to be the battleground for the Congressional seats the other Congressional seats are pretty darn safe,” Bilbray told NBC 7 San Diego. “I think this is a great process even though I happen to have to be in the battleground again.

Bilbray is a Republican has represented the 50th District since 2006 as well as the former 49th District for three terms ending in 2001.

Bilbray voted Tuesday morning with his daughter, who was featured in one of his many campaign ads. Before voting, Bilbray went surfing. He told NBC 7 San Diego that if the warm reception he received from fellow surfers was any indicator of the night’s results, he felt confident in a win.

Peters is a Democrat who represented District 1 on the San Diego City Council for two terms, serving as Council president in his second.

Get more live results here

In an interview with NBC 7 San Diego at Golden Hall just hours before the polls closed, Peters said he also felt optimistic after the last minute campaigning of his team. In response to the negative attacks hurled against him, he said he was surprised, but that Congressman Bilbray represents negativity in Washington, D.C.

The two made it through a competitive primary race and faced a relatively even partisan divide in the district.

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<![CDATA[Axelrod: There Were a Lot of Tears Flowing]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 20:25:18 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama-link-p2.jpg

Between the time Tuesday's presidential race was called and the time Barack Obama took the stage at Chicago's McCormick Place to accept his victory, the president made and received two very important phone calls.

"He spoke with President Clinton. He wanted to call President Clinton after Gov. [Mitt] Romney called because President Clinton was valiant on behalf of this campaign, and, as the president said, [was] our most valuable player," Obama's Chief Campaign Strategist David Axelrod said Wednesday.

"He really wanted to share the moment with him," Axelrod added.

For the most part, Axelrod said Election Night was mostly stress-free.

"The tense time is before the votes start getting counted," he recalled. "As soon as the votes start getting counted, you have models. You can see where the votes are coming in from. We knew very quickly that it was going well."

After a night's sleep at his Hyde Park-Kenwood home, an invigorated and newly re-elected President Obama stopped by his 2012 campaign headquarters in the Prudential Building to meet with the hundreds of volunteers who helped in the effort to secure another four years.

"It was a really emotional visit," Axelrod said. "There were a lot of tears flowing up there and a lot of joy."

Some of the staffers stood on desks to get a better glimpse of the president as he spoke to those who, as Axelrod said, "worked their hearts out."

"He talked about what public service means ... I think the most powerful thing he said was he talked about his own career as a young community organizer and he said to them what inspires him so much is, 'You're so much better than I was. You know so much more,' and he said, 'You give me hope.'"

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


For Axelrod, it was his last hurrah in politics.

Back in January, Axelrod announced that he would head to the University of Chicago to create a new Institute of Politics meant to rival the Harvard Kennedy School. The University of Chicago Institute of Politics opens officially in 2013, but began offering preliminary courses in Summer 2012.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Brown: Prop 30 Taxes for "California Dream"]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 11:20:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jerry-Brown-152766328.jpg

Gov. Jerry Brown described voters' approval of his plan to temporarily raise taxes on well-off Californians to fund the state's education system and other services as a decision to raise taxes for the "California Dream."

The plan, which would increase income taxes for residents making more than $250,000 per year and increase the sales tax, was approved after initial returns suggested the measure was headed for a tight race. With 100 percent of precincts reporting, "Yes" votes led "No" votes with 54 percent of the vote.

"We have a vote of the people, I think the only place in America where a state actually said, 'Let's raise our taxes for our kids, for our schools, for our California Dream," Brown said Tuesday night.

Check statewide results here.

A few hours later at a Wednesday news conference, Brown talked about what 54 percent of voters communicated with approval of the measure.

"This is something around 54 percent, so like everywhere else in the world there's division," said Brown. "You don't want to over-read what the voters say. I see this as a vote of confidence with, certainly, some reservations."

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy told NBC4 the district would have faced a catastrophic funding hole without Prop 30.

"It would have taken a month of the school year, immediately," said Deasy. "We were going to watch the dismantling of public education."

Prop 30's tax increases on earnings over $250,000 would be in effect for seven years. A sales tax increase of a quarter-cent cent will be in effect for four years.

Its rival measure, Prop 38, garnered less support. That measure, under which taxes would be raised on most Californians to aid the state's struggling education system, picked up just 28 percent of the vote. The measure, promoted by billionaire Molly Munger, would increase income tax for most Californians for 12 years, depending on how much income those taxpayers earn.

Brown staked his political reputation on Prop 30, saying the measure was needed to save the state's education system and other services. If it did not pass, trigger cuts were set to go into effect that would take billions from public schools, community colleges and state universities.

Critics have argued that Prop 30 will not necessarily increase classroom spending. The money will go to the state's general fund and despite written assurances about accountability and support for schools, there is no guarantee that education will benefit.

“Prop 30 will not increase education spending," said NO on 30 spokesman Aaron McClear. "Instead, it just goes to the politicians to spend on whatever they want.”

Brown said Wednesday that the plan should not be considered a "cure."

"The state has been reaching into the pocket of schools districts because its couldn't pay our bills," he said. "Instead of the state borrowing hat-in-hand from our school districts, we're going to have enough money to fund the schools as our constitution requires. We're not going to see the big cutbacks."

Other critics say a tax hike would only work with voters if it is paired with reforms, such as allowing merit pay for teachers and eliminating the teacher seniority system.

“If [voters] feel they are getting something for the additional taxes, they will pay," said David Fleming of the Los Angeles County Business Federation. "They’ll probably say yes but right now they don’t because they feel it's all a one-way street."

The Mervin Field Poll, out last week, showed that a close vote was likely. The poll showed support dropping below 50 percent, but it also showed 14 percent undecided.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Election Day 2012: By the Numbers]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 13:37:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vote-day-P5.jpg

The most important number for President Barack Obama on Election Day was 270, the number of electoral votes needed to clinch his re-election. But for the rest of us, the culmination of the marathon 2012 presidential race provided a host of other fascinating figures.

From the numbers of women elected to the U.S. Senate to the stack of Donald Trump's disgruntled tweets after the race was called for Obama, here is a numerical guide to Election Day 2012:

303 – The number of electoral votes Obama was projected to have won as of Wednesday morning, with Florida still too close to call, according to NBC News. He needed 270 to win reelection.

206 – The number of electoral votes former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney was projected to have secured, as per NBC News.

2,625,875 – The number of votes separating Obama and Romney in the popular vote count with 97 percent of results in, according to NBC News.

118 million – The number of Americans who voted in the presidential election, with 97 percent of precincts reporting, according to The Associated Press. The number is sure to rise.

131 million – The number of people who cast ballots for president back in 2008, according to the AP.

71 – The percentage of Latinos who voted for Obama in this election, NBC News reported. Latinos represented 10 percent of the electorate.

27 – The percent of the Latino vote that Romney received, the lowest for any Republican in a generation, according to Slate.

89 – The percentage of all votes Romney won that came from whites, compared to 56 percent for Obama.

327,452 –- The peak number of tweets per minute after networks called the election for Obama at 11:19 p.m. ET. Twitter said the moment was its most-tweeted moment of Election 2012 by far.

396,372 – The number of new Facebook "likes" Obama received on Election Day.

20 — The number of women who will occupy the U.S. Senate come January, which will be a record high, NBC News reported.

53 —The number of U.S. Senate seats NBC News projected Democrats held. Another seat was held by Democratic-caucusing Vermont Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders, and a seat in Maine was won by Independent Angus King, who Democrats were confident would vote with them although he refused to say with whom he would caucus.

12:50 – The time early Wednesday morning that Romney called Obama to congratulate him on his victory, according to the Boston Globe.

43 – The number of applause interruptions during Obama's victory speech, according to a transcript of the president's speech.

1,118 – The number of words in Romney's prepared victory speech, according to the AP.

455,000 (and counting) – The number of people who retweeted President Obama’s "four more years" message with a photo showing him hugging his wife, according to Twitter.

9 – The number of tweets sent by Donald Trump after Obama was declared winner -- that Trump didn't delete later -- starting with "Well, back to the drawing board!" and concluding with "House of Representatives shouldn’t give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare." Trump deleted other tweets alleging Obama lost the popular vote and calling for "revolution," Mashable reported.

4 in 10 – The ratio of voters who said in exit polls they thought the economy is getting better, according to the AP.

10 – The number of defeated Democratic House incumbents, according to Politico.

12 – The number of defeated Republican House incumbents, per Politico.

2 – The number of states (Maine and Maryland) that approved gay marriage by popular vote, bringing the total number of states where same-sex marriage is legal to eight.

0 – The number of states where voters had previously voted in favor of allowing gay marriage.

1 – The number of members of Congress with backgrounds as reindeer ranchers and Santa Claus impersonators, according to the Detroit Free Press.

7.9 – The U.S. unemployment rate on Election Day, according to the Bureau of Labor Standards.

973,759 – The number of Hurricane Sandy victims still without power on Election Day, according to the Department of Energy.

15 – An estimate of the percentage decline in New York voter turnout compared from 2008 levels, according to the AP.

32 million – The number of early and mail-in ballots cast in 34 states and the District of Columbia before Election Day, according to the AP.

$3.46 – The national average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline on Election Day, according to the AP.

Alexandra Ward and Sam Schulz also contributed to this report.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Neighborhoods, Not City Hall, to Be Filner's Focus]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 05:40:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Filner-Smiles-Speech-Wed.jpg

Hours after San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio conceded in the election of San Diego's next mayor, Mayor-elect Bob Filner gave the first look at his administration during a post-election news conference held at a University Heights park.

Speaking in front of a playground at Trolley Barn Park, Filner stood with his fiancee Bronwyn Ingram and promised a "very open" administration that will come in with respect, understanding but will not be status-quo.

“I purposely had this news conference not in city hall to show we are going to respect and concentrate on neighborhoods,” he explained.

Filner thanked DeMaio for his respectful concession speech early Wednesday that marked the end of a grueling 17-month-long race and a record $13 million spent on attacks and campaigning. 

"It’s time for all sides to come together and put the best interest of San Diego first," DeMaio said.

Filner echoed those sentiments saying, "I need people who are experts in everything we do in our city and I will call on those who did support me and oppose me."

DeMaio dropped from a lead at about midnight, dropping 1 percent as more precincts reported. Then, at about 12:40 a.m., Filner jumped to lead the race with just over a 2,000 votes.

Filner has 51 percent and DeMaio had 49 percent of votes with 100 percent of precincts reporting. There are still more than 475,000 absentee and provisional ballots that need to be counted. The San Diego County Registrar said the final tally will be Thursday by 5 p.m.

With 10,000-vote lead, Filner said he can confidently look forward to his inauguration and term as mayor.

"I'm going to involve everybody," Filner said in NBC 7's newsroom Wednesday morning. "And I think the Republican members of the council are going to be surprised at how inclusive that we do this administration."

Mayor Jerry Sanders congratulated Filner on his victory shortly after DeMaio conceded.

"He’s a long-time San Diegan and my hope is that he will continue to move our city forward with the kinds of reforms that have fueled San Diego’s turn-around," said Sanders in a statement. "I wish him all the best and look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition."

DeMaio, a fiscal-conservative Republican, poured millions of his own fortune into his campaign, selling off two successful companies try and defeat the odds in a city accustomed to electing moderate mayors.

Filner says he will be an activist for San Diego communities, particularly those that have been neglected over the years.

He also promised an end to what he called "the vilification of our public employees and the unions that support them. That is going to stop."

Get complete coverage in our special section: Decision 2012

At about 11:15 p.m. Tuesday, DeMaio addressed supporters, even though results at that time were still uncertain. He thanked supporters and gave special mention to his sister and his partner, Johnathan Hale. DeMaio would have been the first openly gay and Republican mayor of a major city if elected.

“You know we’ve been out and proud this whole time, and that hasn’t really mattered,” DeMaio said, looking at Hale. “And that’s what I love about San Diego.”

He also stressed the importance of abandoning political labels and working together as a city.

“When you strip away all the labels too often used in politics,” he said to supporters. “One label remains, one is strong – we are all San Diegans.”

Shortly after, Filner also appeared before his supporters. He asked for positive thoughts, but said he still felt confident that the later votes would come in to his favor.

"If you pray, we need your prayers," Filner said. "Whether it’s Allah or God or whoever, we need your help tonight."

He also harkened back to the promise made throughout his campaign that he would shift the power in City Hall to those who have been underrepresented in past administrations.

“The same people who are at the seat of power are at this table,” Filner said in the speech, referring to the current City Hall dynamics. “And I said to these people ‘I’m just going to move you way over. And we’re going to have new people at the table. And they’re gonna look a little different. They’re the people at the neighborhoods that have been neglected. The working people of this city. The people who care about the environment, the people who care about education. They have not been at the table.”

The record-high amount of money spent throughout both campaigns, combined with 29 public debates from June to November, amplified their attacks on one another.

Asked if he had any regrets about the campaign, Filner said earlier Tuesday, "The tone was pretty negative, I regret that. I think the people of San Diego deserve a positive vision."

On the other hand, DeMaio said he does not regret the tone of the race, but that "Filner ran a spirited campaign."

Though the race is non-partisan, the political divide has been the driving factor in the race. And with a 40-percent Democratic electorate in San Diego, it appeared the city's make-up would end up determining the outcome. By early Wednesday morning, Filner took the lead with late Democratic votes.

DeMaio spent the time since the primaries reaching out to moderate voters. At one debate, he described himself as a “pro-choice environmentalist who takes on the downtown establishment time and time again.”

But his fiscal reforms and background as a conservative politician have stuck with those he will work with on the city council. Many have gone on to endorse Filner – who isn’t necessarily known for his warmth.

“The one thing DeMaio and Filner do have in common is that they have a competitive, abrasive personality,” said Political Science Professor Carl Luna.

This has been the major attack on Filner in the weeks leading up to the election. His former opponent in the race, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, said he is erratic, combative and disrespectful toward women.

In an interview with NBC 7, Filner said Dumanis’ criticism was unwarranted. He said his behavior is passionate, not erratic, but that one of his weakest qualities is that very few people understand his sense of humor.

“I plead guilty to being passionate,” he said. “Leaders have to be passionate, and that’s how you get things done.”

Aside from their personalities, the two presented platform goals that promised to lead San Diego in one of two very different directions.

In terms of jobs, Filner plans to expand port operations, which he estimates will create 50,000 jobs in the city by 2020.

Both candidates committed to repairing San Diego’s $2.1 billion pension fund shortfall, but the repair work has been a long time coming. Years of shortchanging contributions to the pension fund spawned the city's nickname, "Enron-by-the-Sea" in 2004.

In June 2011, DeMaio introduced what would become Prop. B, the pension reform initiative he helped craft. The measure, approved by voters in June, transitions city employees except for police officers from the current pension system to a 401(k) type of retirement contribution.

The reform vows to save at least $1.2 billion through 2014, but that savings depends on a 5-year pay freeze for new city employees.

Filner was initially opposed to Prop. B, but when voters approved it, he reluctantly climbed on board.

Throughout the 17 months of campaigning, there is hardly an issue that went untouched. The two explained their positions on community plans, keeping San Diego an attractive place for public safety jobs, how the candidates might fund a new stadium, and potential state challenges to the city's pension reform plan.

“We can make San Diego work again,” DeMaio said in his concession speech. “It’s up to all of us to come together and look at good ideas and we’re not going to place a label on them, we’re not going to judge them based on who they come from.”

Ed. Note: An earlier version of this article stated DeMaio would have been the first openly gay mayor of a major city. He would be the first openly gay Republican mayor, in fact.
 

Browse our Decision 2012 page for all issues related to this election.

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<![CDATA[California's Ballot Proposition Results]]> Thu, 08 Nov 2012 11:37:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Patriotic-Flag-Girl-Electio.jpg

California voters decided on 11 state ballot measures Tuesday night, including rival tax measures that involved education funding and a proposal that would have repealed the death penalty.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, voters said "Yes" to five measures.

Ballot Proposition Results:

Prop 30, Taxes-Education: Yes
Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed $6 billion-per-year tax increase. He said automatic spending cuts would hit public schools if the measure failed.

Prop 31, State Budget, State and Local Government: No
A "Yes" vote would have initiated a budget overhaul that involved a two-year budget cycle and other changes.

Prop 32, Political Contributions: No
The measure would have prohibited unions from deducting payroll funds for political purposes.

Prop 33, Auto Insurance: No
A "Yes" vote meant insurance companies would have been allowed to set prices based on a driver's insurance history.

Prop 34, Death Penalty: No
A "Yes" vote would have repealed the state's death penalty sentence, replacing it with life imprisonment without possibility of parole. The change would have been applied retroactively to existing sentences.

Prop 35, Human Trafficking: Yes
The measure increases prison sentences for human trafficking convictions. Convicted traffickers must register as sex offenders.

Prop 36, Three Strikes: Yes
The measure revises California's Three-Strikes law to impose life sentences only when a new felony conviction is considered serious or violent.

Prop 37, Genetically Engineered Food Labels: No
Requires labels for food from plants or animals with genetic material changes Such foods cannot be marketed as "natural."

Prop 38, Taxes for Education, Early Childhood: No
A rival to Prop 30, this measure was proposed by billionaire Molly Munger. The temporary tax increase would have been based on earnings using a sliding scale.

Prop 39, Business Tax for Energy Funding: Yes
Multi-state businesses are required to pay income taxes based on percentage of California sales. Revenues for five years are set aside for clean and efficient energy projects.

Prop 40, Redistricting State Senate: Yes
The "Yes" vote approved new State Sentate districts created by the Citizens Redistricing Commission.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Photo Most Retweeted Ever]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:45:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama-tweet1.jpg

As it became clear that President Barack Obama was headed for another term in office, the most digitally savvy leader of the free world took to Twitter.

 "This happened because of you. Thank you," he tweeted, with a photo of him hugging first lady Michelle Obama, captioned "Four more years."

In the minutes that followed, the photo broke the record for most retweets, wrestling the crown from Justin Bieber.

Meanwhile, celebrities, journalists and politicos of all stripes weighed in on Obama's re-election, none with as much unhinged fervor as Donald Trump.

A selection of the night's highlights:

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<![CDATA[South Bay Election Results Explained]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 07:19:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vote_nj_district.jpg

With most of the votes counted, an incumbent and a heavyweight South County Democrat are leading the races for two seats on the Chula Vista City Council.

Residents also are backing a measure aimed at how the city elects its representatives.

Until today, council members have been elected at-large, i.e. by all residents casting ballots for all candidates. Early returns show that 62 percent of voters favor electing representatives by district, where a representative is chosen by a divided portion of the city, like in San Diego.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Councilwoman Pam Bensoussan has a 19-point lead over challenger Larry Breitfelder, who lost against Councilwoman Pat Aguilar in 2010.

Bensoussan thanked the many volunteers who helped her campaign when she spoke at the U.S. Grant, where the Lincoln Club was holding a post-election soirée.

Bensoussan received strong support from all sides of the political spectrum with endorsements from the Labor Council, the Lincoln Club, the San Diego County Democratic Party and other business and community groups.

Linda Wagner, the chief council aide to outgoing Councilman Steve Castaneda and a fixture at City Hall, was losing by nearly 7,000 votes as of 6 a.m. Wednesday to former Assemblywoman Mary Salas.

Still, Wagner remained optimistic as the night drew to a close at Golden Hall.

“I feel fantastic,” Wagner said. “We’ve knocked on so many doors, and collected so much feedback from folks who are just too busy with work and their lives to come into City Hall, but who have some real concerns about issues facing this city. I’ve been watching these races long enough to see them turn around.”

The Chula Vista City Council races are officially non-partisan.

In other South County races, incumbent Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka held onto a startling 40-point lead over his challenger Councilwoman Barbara Denny.

As of 6 a.m. Wednesday, Brian Patrick Bilbray was among the top two vote-getters for a seat on the Imperial Beach City Council.

The top-two candidates earn a spot on the Imperial Beach council, but longtime councilman Jim King was less than a 100 votes away in the third spot.

The forerunner of that race is a new name, Bobby Patton, a lifeguard closely aligned with Councilman Ed Spriggs, elected in 2010.

Southwestern Trustee Humberto Peraza and San Diego City College professor William Stewart appeared to win a spot on the South County community college board, and Democrat Mitch Thompson held onto a few point lead on the Otay Water District board throughout the night.

Finally, in National City, Councilwoman Alejandra Sotelo-Solis received the most votes in a top two system, where incumbent Rosalie Zarate fell behind challenger Jerry Cano, an environmentalist and City Hall activist.

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<![CDATA[Block to Senate, Maienschein to Assembly]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:11:25 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sacramento1.jpg

In state politics, voters cast their ballots in two important races shaping California's political future.

Democrat Marty Block, a four-year veteran of the State Assembly, appears headed for the State Senate, in the 39th District.

He said Democrats will be running the show in Sacramento, with a solid majority in both the State Senate, and Assembly.

"With two-thirds now in the Senate, and we're going to get close to two-thirds in the Assembly, I think we'll break the stalemate,” Block said. “I think with the logjam now broken, we can do some good things for California."

A local Republican appears headed for a seat in the State Assembly.

Brian Maienschein was in a commanding lead over Democrat Ruben Hernandez, in the 77th district late Tuesday.

Maienschein is a former San Diego City councilman, who says his bi-partisan work on State Route 56 and recovery efforts on the county's two massive wildfires, will serve him well, in Sacramento.

"I’ve been somebody who's worked well with democrats and Republicans. I'm not a big believer in labeling people and vilifying people, being an ideologue,” Maienschein said. “That's never something that I've done in my career, and don't intend to start now."

Click here for latest results

In other state races, Shirley Weber defeated Mary England for the State Assembly seat in the 79th District, Democrat Toni Atkins prevailed over Republican Ralph Denney for the 78th District seat and Rocky Chavez was leading in the race for the 76th District seat when most San Diegans went to bed. 

Ben Hueso and Brian Jones will return to Sacramento to represent their respective districts and Escondido City Councilmember Marie Waldron will join them having earned the seat for the 75th District. 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Thanks Michelle]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 05:02:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama-gallery-P1.jpg Obama's victory speech included a heartfelt thank you to First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2 Chula Vista City Council Seats Up For Grabs]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:51:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/voting4.jpg

There are two council races in the City of Chula Vista, and election results are now coming in.

With 19 percent of precincts reporting, incumbent Pamela Bensoussan is leading over challenger Larry Breitfelder for Seat 3. Bensoussan held 57 percent of the vote as of 10:45 p.m.

Click here for live results in this race

Also, former state Assemblywoman Mary Salas held 54 percent of the vote over senior council aide Linda Wagner in the race for Seat 4.

In Seat 3, Bensoussan has heavy backing from the San Diego County Democratic Party, the Chula Vista Democratic Club and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.

Bensoussan was also endorsed by the pro-business Lincoln Club, a right-leaning organization that favored her opponent Breitfelder during the 2010 council races.

That endorsement opens the way for campaign funding for Bensoussan from former Chula Vista councilman David Malcolm, the group’s political action committee co-chair and a close ally of Republican Mayor Cheryl Cox.

For more election-related stories and election night results, check out Decision 2012 feature page.

First elected in 2008, Bensoussan is a professional certified art and antique appraiser. Breitfelder served on the Otay Water District from 2002 to 2010, and is the founding president of the Chula Vista Taxpayers Association.

Meanwhile, Salas is vying for an empty seat on the council, running against Wagner. Salas has raised more than three times her opponent with heavy support from mobile home park owners, according to the latest information available. Both candidates are registered Democrats.

Key issues in the race include rent control at Chula Vista’s 33 mobile home parks and the future development of the Chula Vista waterfront.

The council races are officially non-partisan.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Amador Leads in Judicial Race]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 02:44:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/148124145.jpg

One of the most controversial races in San Diego this year has been the one between an attorney and a prosecutor in the East County. 

With 91 percent of precincts reporting, Deputy District Attorney Robert Amador was defeating El Cajon-based business and family law attorney Jim Miller.

Amador had 59 percent of the vote as of 1:10 a.m.

Click here for live results in this race

Members of the local legal community gathered last month to call voters' attention to one candidate who they say lacks qualifications to be a Superior Court Judge in San Diego.

Miller, who earned the most votes in the primary, was given a “lacking qualifications” rating by the San Diego County Bar Association.

Amador supporters said they hoped to avoid a result similar to June's election of Gary Kreep.

The constitutional law attorney narrowly defeated 27-year veteran prosecutor Garland Peed in the June primary.

Kreep's victory attracted national scrutiny because he is a prominent advocate for the “birther movement” as our partners at VoiceofSanDiego.org reported.

Amador supporters say Kreep was elected because voters weren’t aware of his qualifications.

A candidate can be rated “Well Qualified,” “Qualified” or “Lacking Qualifications” by the non-partisan group of judges, attorneys and former members of the association.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sweetwater School Board Race Results]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 07:07:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/SweetwaterHS9252.jpg

In the embattled Sweetwater district, six candidates are striving for two seats on a South County high school district board that manages a $320 million budget and 41,000 students.

Incumbent Pearl Quiñones appeared to hang onto her seat Tuesday night in the Sweetwater Union High School District board race, with about 85 percent of the votes counted.

The South Bay board member is facing felony bribery charges, tied to the San Diego County District Attorney’s “pay to play” corruption investigation. She has pleaded not guilty.

Quiñones is being elected to her fourth consecutive term on the South County school board. She failed to secure an endorsement from her own Democratic party, but had strong support from the mayoral forerunner Congressman Bob Filner.  She bested three challengers with her closest opponent 8-points behind as of 2:20 a.m. Wednesday.

Click here for results in this race

With 100 percent of  precincts reporting, Quiñones has 35 percent of the vote, Cameron has 27 percent, Saenz-Gonzalez has 23 percent of the vote and Vogel has14 percent.

There are still roughly 475,000 ballots in the county that need to be counted, however.

Another incumbent, teacher Bertha Lopez, is running against former Chargers player Burt Grossman for Seat 4. Grossman originally said he planned to run against Quiñones, but changed his mind to battle for a seat against Lopez in a smaller field.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Lopez has 55 percent of the vote over Grossman.

Check out our Decision 2012 page for all election day results. 

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<![CDATA[Handful of Votes Determine 52nd Seat]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 06:58:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ScottPetersElectionNight.jpg

With all precincts reporting, Port Commissioner Scott Peters held a slight lead over U.S. Representative Brian Bilbray in the battle to represent the 52nd Congressional District.

Earlier in the evening, both candidates said they felt confident as San Diegans headed to the polls.

The vote was narrowly split with just 685 votes separating the two candidates and there are still roughly 475,000 absentee ballots that need to be tallied.

Click here for the results in this race

"I didn’t see us quite this good. I think it’s going to really tighten up," Bilbray said after early results were announced showing him in the lead.

Then, when he spoke to supporters several hours later, he warned them it may take days to iron out the race.

After many San Diegans went to bed, Peters pulled ahead with a slight lead and held on until all precincts were in.

The fight for California's newly-drawn 52nd was targeted with some of the most campaign cash and coverage nationwide.

“This district was drawn to be the battleground for the Congressional seats the other Congressional seats are pretty darn safe,” Bilbray told NBC 7 San Diego. “I think this is a great process even though I happen to have to be in the battleground again.

For election-night results and all the issues facing voters this election, check out our Decision 2012 page

Bilbray is a Republican has represented the 50th District since 2006 as well as the former 49th District for three terms ending in 2001.

Bilbray voted Tuesday morning with his daughter, who was featured in one of his many campaign ads. Before voting, Bilbray went surfing. He told NBC 7 San Diego that if the warm reception he received from fellow surfers was any indicator of the night’s results, he felt confident in a win.

Peters is a Democrat who represented District 1 on the San Diego City Council for two terms, serving as Council president in his second.

Get more live results here

In an interview with NBC 7 San Diego at Golden Hall just hours before the polls closed, Peters said he also felt optimistic after the last minute campaigning of his team. In response to the negative attacks hurled against him, he said he was surprised, but that Congressman Bilbray represents negativity in Washington, D.C.

The two made it through a competitive primary race and faced a relatively even partisan divide in the district.

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<![CDATA[Sen. Dianne Feinstein Wins 4th Term]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 13:47:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/U.S.+Sen.+Dianne+Feinstein.jpg

It came as no surprise, but Dianne Feinstein was re-elected Tuesday to her fourth sixth-term seat as U.S. senator representing California.

The 79-year-old San Francisco Democrat faced a little-known challenger: Elizabeth Emken, a 49-year-old Republican from Danville, a small suburb near Oakland.

For "Di-Fi" - as the veteran senator has been nicknamed - winning another election was long considered to be "cakewalk," said Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University and an NBC political consultant.

Major mainstream newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle have all endorsed Feinstein, too. Feinstein's campaign had raised nearly $14 million through Sept. 30, campaign records showed, while Emken had raised slightly more than $700,000.

Feinstein is probably best known for these roles: chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee, supporting same sex marriage and immigration reform, and working to improve California's infrastructure.

Emken, meanwhile, is a political novice.

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Campaign's Top Moments]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 17:31:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama+romney2.jpg

After many months, countless attack ads and nearly $2 billion raised and spent, the presidential campaign is finally coming to a close. To help put the long slog of a race into perspective, we’ve dipped into the archives and come up with a list of some of the campaign’s most pivotal, and memorable moments.

Rick Perry’s debate brain freeze

There was a time, more than a year ago, when Texas Gov. Rick Perry was considered the front runner among a strong field of Republican primary candidates that included Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, conservative talk radio host Herman Cain, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Rep. Ron Paul of Texas, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum. But Perry had a crushing weakness: muddy debate performances. His string of live-action flubs culminated on Nov. 9, 2011, when he tried to name the three federal agencies he’d eliminate if he became president.

"It's three agencies of government when I get there that are gone," Perry said. "Commerce, Education, and the…what's the third one there? Let's see." Nearly a minute passed, as some of the other candidates tried to help him out with suggestions. But it did no good. “The third agency of government I would do away with - the education, the uh, the commerce and let’s see. I can’t the third one. I can’t. Sorry. Oops.” Later, he remembered: the Department of Energy. But it was too late. Perry was dogged by speculation that he would drop out. He vowed to fight on, but by January he was gone.

Cain withdraws from race

Even the most outsider candidates seem to have their surges of popularity, and for a brief time Herman Cain had his with a "9-9-9" tax plan. And then he fell just as quickly, as a series of women came forward with allegations that he had sexually harassed them while he ran the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s. Another woman claimed she had carried on a 13-year extramarital affair with him. Cain denied it all, but the charges overwhelmed his campaign, and on December 9, 2011, he dropped out, citing the “continued hurt on me and my family.”

Santorum shocks Romney

Perhaps Tom Brokaw said it best when he summed up Rick Santorum’s dogged candidacy by comparing the conservative former U.S. senator from Pennsylvania to a Hollywood action hero. "He's like a character in a Bruce Willis movie," Brokaw quipped during the head of the primary season. "He just knows how to stay alive.”

Santorum’s insurgency began with a surprising showing in the Iowa caucuses on Jan. 3. The Iowa GOP originally announced Mitt Romney the winner by eight votes, but reversed itself less than two weeks later, when a closer count revealed that Santorum had won by 34 votes. The difference was more than just a few votes; it established Santorum as a force to be reckoned with, and he rode that momentum for months, picking up primary victories in February and March. Romney finally got the better of Santorum in April, reeling off three victories that resulted in Santorum withdrawing on April 4.

Biden forces Obama’s hand on same-sex marriage

Vice President Joe Biden is known for his spontaneity, which can catch even his closest allies off guard. At no time was was that more evident than on May 6, when Biden went on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and declared that he was “absolutely comfortable” with same-sex marriage. The statement caught President Barack Obama by surprise, and effectively forced his hand on the issue. Obama had once stated his opposition to same-sex marriage, but had more recently conceded that his stance was “evolving,” and apparently intended to declare his support some time just before the Democratic National Convention in August. Instead, on May 9, Obama gave an interview the ABC News in which he endorsed same-sex marriage. "At a certain point, I've just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married." Biden reportedly apologized to Obama for upsetting the president’s plans.

Romney clinches nomination

The race between President Obama and Mitt Romney officially began on May 29, when Romney clinched the Republican presidential nomination with a landslide victory in Texas. The achievement was largely symbolic, because he was already considered the front-runner, and most of his challengers, including Rick Santorum and Ron Paul, had dropped out. Romney, whose father, George, a Michigan governor, failed in his run for the Republican nomination in 1968, vindicated that loss and became the first Mormon to become a major-party nominee. "I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy,” Romney announced. “And I am humbled to have won enough delegates."

Romney picks Paul Ryan

One of the biggest problems Romney faced as the GOP’s nominee was ambivalence from the party’s conservative wing. His solution was to pick Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin as his running mate. Ryan, the 42-year-old chairman of the House Budget Committee, was the author of a budget proposal that called for steep tax reductions, aggressive spending cuts, and a reorganization of the way Medicare and Medicaid operate. In short, Ryan was the answer to conservatives’ prayers: he was young, aggressive, well-spoken and, as a photo spread in Time illustrated, was in really good shape.

The choice highlighted the difference between the two campaigns on entitlements, taxes, the role of government in American life, and social issues, such as abortion. “There are a lot of people in the other party who might disagree with Paul Ryan,” Romney said at a rally in which he introduced Ryan. “I don't know of anyone who doesn't respect his character and judgment.” Ryan promised that he and Romney “won’t duck the tough issues. We will lead.”

Eastwood’s empty chair

On paper, Romney was the headliner of the Republican National Convention. But he was nearly outshone by an unlikely political speech-maker: Oscar-winning director Clint Eastwood, who was introduced as a surprise guest just before Romney was scheduled to take the stage in Tampa on Aug. 30 and formally accept the GOP nomination. Working without a script or teleprompter, Eastwood, 82, delivered a long, rambling monologue that mocked Obama and Biden. He arranged for an empty chair to be brought on stage with him, and conducted an imaginary conversation with the president. The crowd of delegates roared, but the speech delayed Romney’s by 10 minutes and dominated discussion of the night’s events.

The Big Dog returns

Obama, too, was upstaged at his party’s convention. But unlike Romney’s choice of Eastwood, Obama pretty much knew what he was getting when he asked Clinton to formally nominate him at the Democratic National Convention’s second night in Charlotte on Sept. 5. The president and Clinton had never been close – their rivalry dated back to Hilary Clinton’s primary battle against Obama in 2008 – but they agreed to bury the hatchet in order to keep the White House in Democratic hands. Clinton, out of office for 12 years, clearly relished the opportunity to invoke the fiscal prosperity of the late 1990s that marked his second term as president, delivering a sparkling speech that argued that Obama deserved another four years to fix the economy. Clinton continued stumping for Obama through Election Day.

Romney’s “47 percent” remarks

America got a rare glimpse of an unexpurgated Mitt Romney in September, when Mother Jones released a secretly recorded video of the former governor speaking to wealthy donors in Florida. Taken by a small camera or cell phone resting on a table, the video captured Romney saying how he wasn’t trying to appeal to the “47 percent of the people” who will vote for Mr. Obama “no matter what.” These voters, he said, were “dependent upon government, who believe that they are victims, who believe the government has a responsibility to care for them.” The video threatened to upend his campaign, and Romney, who had battled a prevailing image of him as out of touch with middle-class voters, immediately sought to contain the damage. He conceded the remarks were “not elegantly stated” and insisted, “this is a campaign about the 100 percent.” But the quote dogged him for the rest of the race.

Romney dominates first debate

It was the wrong time for the president to take a nap. Just when Obama seemed to be pulling away in the polls, Romney routed him in the first presidential debate on Oct. 3. The Republican aggressively questioned the president’s ability to rescue the economy, but Obama often seemed uninterested in fighting back. Split-screen views of the debate showed Romney castigating Obama while Obama looked down as his lectern, grimly taking notes.

As front runner, Obama appeared to have adopted a strategy of caution, which rapidly backfired. Romney immediately gained ground in the polls, and pulled within striking distance of the president. Later, after he’d had a chance to review a tape of the debate, Obama conceded that he’d screwed up. In an appearance at a charity event with Romney, Obama joked about “the nice, long nap I had in the first debate.”

An unlikely hero to emerge from the first debate was Big Bird, after Romney put the character’s employer, PBS, on his hit list of government subsidies he’d cut. Immediately, supporters of Big Bird took to social media to defend the yellow-feathered victim. That weekend, Big Bird showed up on Saturday Night Live to defend himself.

Obama went on to rally in the second presidential debate, attacking Romney as a wealthy, far-right candidate who was masking himself as a moderate. At one point, the two men got in each other’s faces, appearing as if they might come into contact.

Their third and final debate, limited to foreign policy issues, was more subdued, and this time it was Romney who took a more cautious approach, while the president used sarcasm to mock Romney’s lack of experience in international affairs.

Sandy forces a pause in the race

Hurricane Sandy pummeled the Northeast a week before Election Day, forcing the candidates to briefly suspend their campaigns. As the devastation deepened, both men held off returning to the trail until after the worst was over. Whether the storm affects the race's result is a matter of debate, as questions remain about how millions of people still without power or access to transportation will get to the polls.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Record Number of Voters at Registrar's Office]]> Fri, 09 Nov 2012 12:39:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Election-San-Diego-Vote-Bal.jpg

A record number of San Diegans cast their ballots at the San Diego County Registrar's Office.

As of 6 p.m., there were roughly 1500 voters dropping off their ballots or using the polling center to cast their votes.

Voters will go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 6 to cast their ballots in several key races and NBC 7 San Diego is planning extensive election night coverage with live results on television, social, mobile and our website.

If you’re planning on being out after the polls close, you can

take our coverage with you on mobile.

For the first time, NBC 7 San Diego will provide live Election Night video on your mobile device.

Be sure to download our free apps before Election Day, follow us on Twitter or #NBC7Vote and “LIKE” us on Facebook to be alerted to live video when it happens. 

For those smaller races in your community, you can find live election results through our Decision 2012 section.

Then, join Mark Mullen and Catherine Garcia as they recap the day’s events on NBC 7 News at 11 p.m. and before you go to bed, check our apps and our social accounts for the latest local results.

Election Night 2012: NBC 7 San Diego will keep you updated on TV, on mobile, on social and on our website.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Slight Lead for Roberts in County Supervisor Race]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 15:32:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dave-Roberts-1107-3.jpg

For the first time in decades, voters are selecting someone new to represent San Diego County’s third district.

With all precincts reporting, Democrat Dave Roberts was in a virtual tie with Republican Steve Danon for a seat on the County Board of Supervisors.

As of 7 a.m. on Wednesday, less than 2,000 votes separate the two, with Roberts in a slight lead. Thousands of provisional and absentee ballots were still being counted at the county registrar's office.

The race however had flipped throughout the evening with Danon in the lead and then Roberts.

Click here for results in this race

Roberts gathered with volunteers to thank them and the voters but was hesitant to claim victory outright.

"I’m very optimistic about the results, the election results still are not certified yet," Roberts said. "We don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch."

The Deputy Mayor of Solana Beach characterized his campaign as a "David and Goliath story" claiming, “We were outspent 7 to 1 and yet we’re still almost 2,000 votes ahead in the current count so we’re feeling very optimistic." 

The two-decade incumbent, Pam Slater-Price, is retiring from the public sector, paving the way for the board's first new member since her first term in office 20 years ago.

Danon is Congressman Brian Bilbray's chief of staff, currently on unpaid leave of absence.

Though the race is nonpartisan, the candidates’ opposing political viewpoints will make a difference in how either helps manage the county’s $5 billion budget.

For more election-related news stories and election night results, check out our Decision 2012 page.



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Nearly a Dozen School Bond Measures on Ballot]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 20:43:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/school_generic.jpg

Nearly a dozen financially strapped school districts in San Diego County are appealing to voters with a bond measure this election.

Here's a list of the bond measures and the amount they're asking voters to authorize:

  • PROPOSITION C - Cajon Valley Union School District - $88.4 million
  • PROPOSITION D - Dehesa School District - $3 million
  • PROPOSITION E - Chula Vista Elementary School District - $90 million
  • PROPOSITION G - Mountain Empire School District - $30.8 million
  • PROPOSITION R - Ramona Unified School District - $66 million
  • PROPOSITION V - Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District $398 million
  • PROPOSITION Y - South Bay Union School District - $26 million
  • PROPOSITION Z - San Diego Unified School District - $2.8 million
  • PROPOSITION AA - San Dieguito Union High School District - $449 million
  • PROPOSITION CC - Del Mar Union School District - $76.8 million
  • PROPOSITION EE - MiraCosta Community College District - $497 million

Propositions C, D, and Y are considered "Reauthorization Bonds," meaning the measures are versions of previously passed bond measures. The new measures would authorize the issuance of new bonds.

The number of bonds in the county has grown significantly since 2010, when there were four school bonds on ballots countywide.In 2008, there were eight, including one in the Primary Election, versus three in 2006.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in bonds for schools and community colleges in general,” said Scott Himelstein, director of USD’s Center for Education Policy and Law in a previous article. “I think it’s viewed in these fiscal times as a way to bring dollars to the district not controlled by the state.”

Himelstein said the rise and success of bond measures on the ballots over the past several years shows that voters generally favor bonds over tax increases, such as the state's upcoming Proposition 30.

That measure, proposed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would raise personal income tax on individuals who make more than $250,000 per year for the next seven years, and would use some of the revenue for schools throughout the state.

On the other hand, bond measures such as those set to appear on the November ballot use a percentage of property taxes to pay off loans purchased under the measures. Most go directly to capital improvement projects or much-needed educational supplies, district advocates say.

Many school districts urge the passage of the state’s Prop. 30 in addition to their bond measures. But the bond measures tend to appeal more to the local community, and are marketed as district-specific, said Himelstein.

“People feel much more comfortable paying taxes that support their local schools,” he said. “You drive by these schools, you know the teachers, maybe you have kids who go to the schools.”

However the bonds have their drawbacks, Himelstein pointed out. They are financed over a period of time, usually about 20 years. With so many bond measures passing, the debt runs the risk of piling up, especially if property values in the area continue declining.

“Within these bonds, there is a perilous future debt,” he said. “It raises some serious fiscal questions.”

The potential risk became especially apparent after Poway Unified School District came under fire for using a financing method called a Capital Appreciation Bond. The bond will eventually cost 10 times more than the district borrowed, as our media partner, the Voice of San Diego reported.

“The general public, in my view, doesn’t have a full understanding of what these bonds mean in terms of the debt,” Himelstein said.

He urged voters facing a decision on a school bond this fall to look into how the money will be spent, and how it will be financed. For example, bonds that pledge money to deferred maintence projects are especially favorable, he said, since on average, schools in San Diego are about 43 years old.

For more information on this year’s election, check out the County Registrar of Voters’ website, or read through our coverage of election issues on our Decision 2012 page.
 

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Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF]]>
<![CDATA[Elizabeth Warren Wins Mass. Senate Race]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 06:51:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/ELizabeth+Warren+victory.jpg

Elizabeth Warren took back a U.S. Senate seat in Massachusetts for Democrats after beating Republican Sen. Scott Brown, helping her party hang onto its majority in the chamber, according to NBC News projections.

With 95 percent of the vote in, the Harvard law professor and consumer advocate had 54 percent of the vote compared to 46 percent for Brown, NBC News reported.

"For every family that has been chipped and squeezed and hammered, we're going to fight for you," Warren said in a victory speech Tuesday night. "We're going to fight for a level playing field and we're going to put people back to work."

Warren's projected victory came after a tough, contentious battle against the incumbent, who stunned the political establishment in 2010 when he won the seat held for 47 years by the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. She will become the first woman to represent Massachusetts in the Senate.

Warren, 63, had the backing of the president, who tapped her to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and gave her a prime speaking spot at the Democratic National Convention this fall. She cast herself as a champion of consumers, the middle class and women, who overwhelmingly supported her bid, according to The New York Times.

Brown, 53, portrayed himself as a moderate everyman in a state dominated by Democrats.

"You've got no business in politics unless you respect the judgment of people," Brown said in a concession speech Tuesday. "And if you run for office, you've got to be able to take it either way, winning or losing, and I accept the decision of voters."

The race drew national attention for the amount of money poured into it — at least $68 million, according to The Associated Press — and for several flaps that came out of the months-long contest.

It was Warren's speech about the role of government in private sector success that morphed into the "you didn't build that" line Republicans used against the president.

"There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own, nobody," Warren said last August, according to the Los Angeles Times. "You built a factory out there? Good for you. But I want to be clear: You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for, you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate, you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for."

President Obama riffed on that speech with his own, which became fodder for the Mitt Romney campaign and led to accusations that he was anti-business.

Warren also came under scrutiny after admitting that she had identified herself as a minority, claiming Native American ancestry in a law faculty directory. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Diane Feinstein Runs For 4th Term vs. Danville Republican]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 21:42:41 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/feinstein-split.jpg

It's almost a given that Diane Feinstein will be re-elected for her fourth sixth-term seat as U.S. senator representing California.

The 79-year-old San Francisco Democrat is facing a little-known challenger: Elizabeth Emken, a 49-year-old Republican from Danville, a small suburb near Oakland.

Still, for "Di-Fi" - as the veteran senator has been nicknamed - winning another election should be a "cakewalk," said Larry Gerston, a political science professor at San Jose State University and an NBC political consultant.

The latest polling showed that Feinstein had 51 percent of the vote, while Emken had 32 percent. Feinstein last won her seat in 2006 with a commanding 59.4 percent of the vote. She also beat out 23 challengers in the June primary election, including five from her own party.

Major mainstream newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News and San Francisco Chronicle have all endorsed Feinstein, too. Feinstein's campaign had raised nearly $14 million through Sept. 30, campaign records showed, while Emken had raised slightly more than $700,000.

Feinstein is probably best known for these roles: chairing the Senate Intelligence Committee, supporting same sex marriage and immigration reform, and working to improve California's infrastructure.

Emken, meanwhile, is a political novice.

According to her campaign, she is the former vice president for government relations at Autism Speaks, an advocacy group for autism. Her 20-year-old son, Alex, has autism spectrum disorder. She was an efficiency and cost cutting expert at IBM and graduated from UCLA in 1984 with dual degrees in economics and political science. She has campaigned on a platform against excessive debt and "greater accountability."

She has been endorsed by the National Tax Limitation Committee president and founder, Lew Uhler and the conservative Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

Emken hasn't resisted taking shots at Feinstein - specifically for her age and how it relates to the use of modern technology. In a statement emailed to NBC this week, her campaign called Feinstein an "out-of-touch entrenched incumbant," and described Emken as a "fighter and problem solver."

In January, Emken accused Feinstein of being out of touch with the 21st century for failing to use Facebook or Twitter. "If you want to know what she's doing in Washington, you'll have to mail her a letter or send her a telegram," Emken sent out in a fundraising letter.

The next day, Feinstein, who already had a Twitter account, but had never used it, tweeted five times, including a link to the State of the Union address.

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<![CDATA[Voters Reject Prop. 32]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 08:38:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sacramento1.jpg

California voters rejected a measure that would've ended campaign fundraising by labor unions.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Yes on Prop 32 dropped to 44 percent of the vote while the 'No' vote had 56 percent of the vote.

Under the ballot measure, unions would have been barred from using payroll deductions for political purposes if Proposition 32 passes. Early figures showed the yes vote with a slight lead, but that support dropped as more precincts reported.

Prop. 32 has been billed as a "paycheck protection" and "stop special interest money" initiative.

Critics see it as a showdown that pits business against labor. Backers insist corporations will be reined in, too.

Get live election results

The arguments played out several times a day in commercials running in major California media markets.

Organized labor sees itself as the real target of Prop. 32, even though corporations and government contractors would be subject to payroll-deduction bans.

Prop. 32 backers say union members could still opt contribute voluntarily – but that the unions just couldn't take that money for granted any more.

Lorena Gonzales of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council explained why the defeat of the ballot measure was good for education.

"It's great that teachers are going to be able to continue to participate in the political process the same as billionaires," she said.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[California State Propositions Explained ]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 20:43:12 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/decision+2012+voting+information+psa.jpg

When voters tackle the November 2012 ballot, they'll face 11 statewide measures, also called propositions.

Propositions are assigned numbers by the Secretary of State, and require a simple majority to pass.

Many voters skip some propositions when they are uncertain how to vote.

Here is our coverage of each proposition on this year's ballot to help you decide how you'll vote on Election Day: 

SD Explained: Prop 30 and Prop 38
California’s Prop 31 Explained
Prop 32 Explained
Insurance on the Ballot: Prop 33
Death Penalty Up for Vote: Prop 34
Prop 35 Raises Penalties for Human Trafficking
Prop 36 Would Alter Three-Strikes Law
Food for Thought: Prop 37
Prop 39 Effects on Out-of-State Business
Prop 40: Keeping State Boundaries
Guide to Decide: SDUSD’s Prop Z
Nearly a Dozen Bond Measures on Ballot

If you’re planning on being out after the polls close, you can take our coverage with you on mobile.

Click here for NBC 7 San Diego Election Night Coverage Plans

For the first time, NBC 7 San Diego will provide live Election Night video on your mobile device. Be sure to download our free apps before Election Day, follow us on Twitter or #NBC7Vote and “LIKE” us on Facebook to be alerted to live video when it happens.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Out-of-State Tax Rule Measure Prop. 39 Results Come In]]> Fri, 04 Jan 2013 11:20:03 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/welcometo_california_generic.jpg

Results for the measure that will limit the tax choices available to out-of-state businesses are beginning to show 63 percent in favor and 37 percent opposed with just five percentage of precincts reporting.

Click here for live results

Proposition 39, a ballot measure that would require multi-state businesses to base their income tax liability on the percentage of their sales in California, according to the official ballot summary.

Busineses that operate in California currently have two choices in how they pay taxes: One method bases a multi-state business’ tax off the amount of sales, property, or employees the firm has in California.

The other method bases the tax off the number of sales conducted in California. If Prop. 39 passes, businesses would be required to use this method. Some of the revenue generated from the taxes will fund clean energy jobs in the state.

Check back here for election results, or browse our Decision 2012 page

The legislature and governor established the two-choice system three years ago. The choice is currently not available to California-based firms.

Prop. 39's backers say it closes a tax loophole that gives multi-state businesses an unfair advantage over California firms.

However, out-of-state manufacturers say California's tax climate is too business-unfriendly already, and the measure will keep them from investing more here.


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<![CDATA[Road to the White House ]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 10:47:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama-wed-add-P1.jpg It's go time and with the 2012 presidential campaigns comes to a close, president Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney rally for last minute support for their bid at the White House.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Candidates to Break Pattern of Moderate Mayor in San Diego]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 17:26:07 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DeMaio_Filner0927.jpg

No matter who wins the seat for San Diego’s next mayor on Tuesday, the city’s moderate path seems sure to converge in one of two partisan-driven directions.

If the fiscally conservative Councilman Carl DeMaio wins, he promises to reform the city’s finances. If his opponent, liberal Congressman Bob Filner is elected, he says he will be an activist for San Diego communities, particularly those that have been neglected over the years.

Get complete coverage in our special section: Decision 2012

Both candidates toured the city Tuesday, getting last-minute support from constituents.

Asked if he had any regrets about the campaign, Filner said "The tone was pretty negative, I regret that. I think the people of San Diego deserve a positive vision."

On the other hand, DeMaio said he does not regret the tone of the race, and that his team’s attacks on Filner’s temperament showed voters how important that trait is for the next mayor.

“I’m thrilled with the campaign this team has run to lay out our vision,” DeMaio said. “And I’m confident about the issues we’ve raised about temperament and how the next mayor needs to be someone with a level head and treat people with respect."

In the end, this much is clear: Both Filner and DeMaio would break a decades-long pattern in San Diego of electing a moderate mayor. And it won’t have come cheap. From start to finish, candidates spent approximately $13 million in their campaigns. The money has helped amplify the attacks on television and in mailers.

“The fact that it is a race at all is interesting because San Diegans typically chose between jovial, moderate candidates. This election, we’re seeing two candidates for whom the term jovial is not attached,” said political science professor Carl Luna, who is not affiliated with either candidate.

PERSONALITY AND POLITICS

Though the race is non-partisan, the political divide has been the driving factor in the race. It also may ultimately determine the winner. San Diego’s electorate, according to the county’s final voter registration figures for this election cycle, comprises 40 percent Democrats and 27 percent Republicans and a slightly higher 27-plus percent bloc of independent voters.

Watch Video: Candidates Appeal to Undecided Voters

Some pundits say this will result in a win for Filner. However DeMaio has spent the time since the primaries reaching out to moderate voters. At one debate, he described himself as a “pro-choice environmentalist who takes on the downtown establishment time and time again.”

In conversations about his electability, he consistently describes reaching across the table of the council to work with Democratic members. He also avoided endorsing his party’s nominee Presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

“We have an opportunity to finish the job of fiscal reform,” DeMaio said in a recent taping of Politically Speaking, “to move our city forward, to bring Democrats, Republicans and independents together to get things done.”

But his fiscal reforms and background as a conservative politician have stuck with those he will work with on the city council. Many have gone on to endorse Filner – who isn’t necessarily known for his warmth.

“The one thing DeMaio and Filner do have in common is that they have a competitive, abrasive personality,” Luna said.

This has been the major attack on Filner in the weeks leading up to the election. His former opponent in the race, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, said he is erratic, combative and disrespectful toward women.

In an interview with NBC 7, Filner said Dumanis’ criticism was unwarranted. He said his behavior is passionate, not erratic, but that one of his weakest qualities is that very few people understand his sense of humor.

“I plead guilty to being passionate,” he said. “Leaders have to be passionate, and that’s how you get things done.”

ON THE ISSUES

Both candidates will spur job growth but in different ways. Filner plans to expand port operations, which he estimates will create 50,000 jobs in the city by 2020.

DeMaio released his “Roadmap to Recovery” economic plan a full two years ago, before he even announced his candidacy. Many of the items on his agendas have already been accomplished by the mayor and council, with and without him.

More recently, he says he will create an “aqua economy” in which San Diego's green economy would combine with the budding "blue sector" of maritime trade.

Click here for NBC 7 San Diego Election Night Coverage Plans

Both candidates have committed to repairing San Diego’s $2.1 billion pension fund shortfall, but the repair work has been a long time coming. Years of shortchanging contributions to the pension fund spawned the city's nickname, "Enron-by-the-Sea" in 2004.

In June 2011, DeMaio introduced what would become Prop. B, the pension reform initiative he helped craft. The measure, approved by voters in June, transitions city employees except for police officers from the current pension system to a 401(k) type of retirement contribution.

The reform vows to save at least $1.2 billion through 2014, but that savings depends on a 5-year pay freeze for new city employees.

Filner was initially opposed to Prop. B, but when voters approved it, he reluctantly climbed on board. 

Luna said both candidates will have a difficult time negotiating the pay freeze, and regardless of who wins, San Diego may see strikes and unrest during those talks.

“Union leaders don’t have any intention of making DeMaio look good,” Luna said. “Filner might get a better deal with labor unions, but he’s going to have to get municipal workers to swallow larger pay cuts than they may want to.”

Education has mostly stayed outside of City Hall until recently, but with the state’s school system in such disrepair, both have taken on the issue.

DeMaio’s “Clean and Safe Schools” initiative has three goals: to make every school “clean and safe,” to restore after school programs and generally to make the city more involved in education discussions.

Filner’s 8-point plan would establish connections between city social services for children and the services that the district already provides. He would establish a youth development office to serve as a liaison between services from the city and district, he announced Wednesday at a press conference.

Throughout the 17 months of campaigning, there is hardly an issue that went untouched. The two explained their positions on community plans, keeping San Diego an attractive place for public safety jobs, how the candidates might fund a new stadium, and potential state challenges to the city's pension reform plan.

You’ll know which direction San Diego is headed by staying with NBC 7 on election night. We’ll be broadcasting results and posting them on our website throughout the night. You can also watch from your mobile device or computer. Browse our Decision 2012 page for all issues related to this election.

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<![CDATA[Election Results for the 51st Congressional District]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:02:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Juan-Vargas-Election-Night-.jpg

With 37 percent of precincts reporting, Democrat Juan Vargas has 66 percent of the vote for the 51st Congressional District, while his opponent Republican Michael Crimmins has 34 percent.

The 51st district includes the entire border with Mexico and Imperial Valley. The seat is open, since incumbent Congressman Bob Filner is stepping down to run for mayor of San Diego.

Click here for latest results on this race

Crimmins has said he is running because he wants to make a difference by encouraging economic growth and strengthening national security.

He is a retired military officer and a San Diego teacher with two master degrees in education. Crimmins is a resident of Point Loma. But if elected, he says, he would move to Imperial Beach.

Vargas, a native of National City, has pledged to work to preserve Medicare and Social Security benefits.

Vargas is a Senator in the State of California, 40th District and a former member of the California State Assembly.

Get more Election Results here

He spent some of his campaign funds for the June 2012 primary on mailers to promote Republican Michael Crimmins, who finished second and edged out former Democratic state lawmaker Denise Ducheny for the right to face Vargas in the November 2012 election.

Both Crimmins and Vargas have said they look forward to a spirited race.
 



Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[Obama Mural Ordered Covered at Pa. Polls]]> Tue, 06 Nov 2012 14:08:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/MURAL-COVERED2.gif

A Philadelphia court judge ordered poll workers to cover up a mural of President Barack Obama that was inside a polling place at a local school.

The uproar started when upset voters began circulating pictures via social media after voting at Ben Franklin Elementary School Tuesday morning.

The Republican Party quickly took action, filing a lawsuit that claimed illegal electioneering. The Republican Party of Pennsylvania Chairman Rob Gleason issued this statement on PAGOP.ORG.

“Whether it’s blocking Republican Election Day workers form doing their job or violating Pennsylvania law by electioneering in the polling place, it is clear the Obama campaign has taken their campaign in the gutter to manipulate this election however they can.  Based on the Obama campaign’s behavior today, it certainly raises the question: what are Democrats doing in the polls that they are working so hard to shield folks from monitoring this election?”

Judge Milton Younge, Jr. of the Court of Common Pleas ordered that the mural be covered for the rest of election day with "blank paper or similar material" and "in its entirety," according to NBC News' Pete Williams.

As of 2 p.m., the mural was not entirely covered. NBC10 snapped a picture showing three sheets of paper covering the president's face.

In other Pennsylvania election news, a Department of State official told The Associated Press that a voting machine was recalibrated and put back into service after a Perry County voter reported that it had switched his switched his vote from Obama to Mitt Romney.



Photo Credit: NBC10 Philadelphia]]>
<![CDATA[Election 2012: A Look Back]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 04:49:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/vote-day-P6.jpg It's go time and with the 2012 presidential campaigns coming to a close, president Barack Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney rally for last minute support for their bid at the White House.

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Jay-Z, Springsteen Hit the Trail With Obama]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 17:42:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama+springsteen+jay+z.jpg

Someone has to introduce the president.

On Monday, the final day of the presidential campaign, President Barack Obama, however, didn't bring along an opening act. He brought along two main acts.

Bruce Springsteen. Jay-Z. Theirs wasn't an introduction, it was pop culture moment.

The Boss was spending the entire day with Obama, traveling on Air Force One from Madison, Wis., to Columbus, Ohio, and then to Des Moines, Iowa, where Obama planned a coda for his campaign, a finale where his run for the presidency began five years ago.

Jay-Z boomed his way into Columbus's Nationwide Arena, performing a rendition of his hit "99 Problems" with a political twist for a crowd estimated by fire officials at more than 15,000 people. He changed a key R-rated word to make his own political endorsement. "I got 99 problems but Mitt ain't one," he sang.

"They tell the story of what our country is," Obama said of the two performers, "but also of what it should be and what it can be."

Springsteen added a whole new sense of vigor, even giddiness, to the Obama entourage, with many of the president's aides and advisers clearly star-struck by the rocker's presence.

Springsteen, in jeans, black boots, a work shirt, vest and leather jacket, was not wearing the typical Air Force One attire. But the Obama camp has left formality aside; many aides are growing beards through Election Day and ties have been left behind in favor of sweaters for the chilly outdoor events during the last hours of the campaign.

Asked if there was any downside to using celebrity glitz instead of substance to drive voters to the polls in the final days, Obama spokeswoman Jen Psaki laughed. "I think Bruce Springsteen might be offended by you calling him glitzy," she said.

"Bruce Springsteen, and some other celebrities who have been helping us, reach a broad audience that sometimes tune out what's being said by politicians," she said.

As Psaki spoke to reporters at the back of the plane, Obama was up front and on the phone with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie discussing the recovery from Superstorm Sandy. Christie, who says he has attended more than 100 Springsteen concerts, said Obama then handed the phone to Springsteen, a New Jersey native whose songs often have been tributes to his youth in the state.

Upon landing in Columbus, Springsteen told a reporter that it was his first trip on Air Force One. Grinning, he said: "It was pretty cool." As for New Jersey, he said "I'm feeling pretty hopeful" that the state's hard-hit shore will recover

In Madison and Columbus, Springsteen serenaded audiences with renditions of top anthems "No Surrender," ''Promised Land," and "Land of Hope and Dreams." But he also has a custom made campaign song named after the Obama motto "Forward" - "Not the best I've ever written."

"How many things rhyme with Obama?" he asked.

Obama, no doubt, didn't mind.

"I'm going to be fine with Bruce Springsteen on the last day that I'll ever campaign," he said above the din of the crowd.

"That's not a bad way to bring it home. With The Boss. With The Boss"



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[SDUSD Board Race Comes to a Close]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 02:48:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sdusd_school_board_candidates.jpg

With 93 percent of precincts reporting, two candidates backed by San Diego's teacher union took the lead in the San Diego Unified School District Race.

In District A, current board member and psychologist John Lee Evans appeared to have claimed victory with 53 percent of the vote against realtor Mark Powell, who walked away with a close 47 percent of the vote. 

In District E, Administrator Bill Ponder had 31 percent of the votes, while educator Marne Foster has 69 percent of the vote.

District D’s incumbent trustee Richard Barerra ranunopposed.

In the past few years, the district has shifted into reverse after heading toward “the brink of insolvency,” as one trustee put it. In June, board members negotiated with the teachers union to prevent more than 1,400 teacher layoffs.

Powell received the most votes in the primary, despite being relatively new to district politics. Evans won the endorsement of the local teachers union, and has the backing of his colleagues on the board.

Ponder and Powell both opposed the $2.8 million bond measure, Prop. Z, which won a 60 percent majority of support in Tuesday's election with 87 percent of the vote. 

Foster is also backed by the teachers union and is an elected board member with the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931.

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<![CDATA[Guide to Decide: SDUSD School Board Race]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 14:21:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sdusd_school_board_candidates.jpg

Two races in the San Diego Unified School District will test the strength of board members in the state’s second-largest school district.

In the past few years, the district has shifted into reverse after heading toward “the brink of insolvency,” as one trustee put it. In June, board members negotiated with the teachers union to prevent more than 1,400 teacher layoffs.

Much of the agreement came under the hope that Gov. Jerry Brown's tax initiative, Proposition 30, would pass come Election Day.

However, polls show the measure losing ground, and the candidates in SDUSD could inherit unsettling consequences of the potential failure.  If Prop. 30 doesn’t receive enough support, the district could be in for a potentially crippling round of teacher pay cuts and up to 14 additional furlough days.

THE RACES

Trustees represent five districts throughout San Diego. Districts A, D and E all have open seats, but District D’s incumbent trustee Richard Barerra is running unopposed.

In District A, current board member and psychologist John Lee Evans and realtor Mark Powell are running against each other. Schools in District A run through the middle of San Diego from Mira Mesa to Clairemont.

Powell received the most votes in the primary, despite being relatively new to district politics. An educator-turned businessman, Powell promises to get SDUSD on sounder financial footing and to negotiate a uniform teacher evaluation system. He hopes to avoid shortened school years.

Evans won the endorsement of the local teachers union, and has the backing of his colleagues on the board. Yet his lack of overwhelming support in the primary suggests some dissatisfaction with the way trustees are managing the district. Nevertheless, he saw the district through improved test scores and helped to keep class sizes low, he said.

Administrator Bill Ponder is running against educator Marne Foster in District E. The boundaries include schools in the southeastern corner of San Diego County from La Mesa to National City. The area struggles with a wide achievement gap between its minority and white students, according to recent Academic Performance Index scores.

Ponder aims to reform the district and restore public trust in board members. He said at a recent debate that he opposes the district’s $2.8 million bond measure, Prop. Z, which will fund school construction and technology.

Foster is also backed by the teachers union and is an elected board member with the American Federation of Teachers, Local 1931. She plans on harnessing better partnerships and grants. She also says as a mother of four, she will work on a personal-level to improve student achievement.

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<![CDATA[Election Day in San Diego]]> Wed, 07 Nov 2012 12:45:23 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/westinthumb.jpg San Diegans line up to cast their ballots and walk away with their very own sticker. ]]> <![CDATA[Candidates Campaign to Last Minute]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 07:31:01 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/11PYPKGSUNDAYCAMPAIG_KNSD0N24_722x406_6351427914.jpg NBC 7's Chris Chan heard from some of the candidates today and found out what they can agree on. Get more coverage in our special Decision 2012 section ]]> <![CDATA[Democrats Outnumber GOP Voters: Registrar]]> Thu, 01 Nov 2012 09:23:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/demelection.png The office of the registrar released numbers showing which way voters swing in San Dieo. NBC 7 reporter Gene Cubbison explains the impact it could have on the mayoral race.]]> <![CDATA[Proposition 36 Would Alter Three-Strikes Law]]> Mon, 05 Nov 2012 10:15:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/218*120/jail6.jpg

Polly Klaas was kidnapped from her home in 1993, and murdered by a career criminal.

Her case resulted in California’s Three Strikes law. According to the law, if repeat offenders with previous convictions for at least two violent or serious crimes commit a new felony, they must be sentenced to 25 years to life.

On the ballot in November, Proposition 36 would alter that law. If passed, Prop 36 it would require that the third penalty also be a serious or violent felony.

This change would allow for the re-sentencing of inmates serving life sentences when their third strike was not a serious crime. Those whose first offense was rape, murder or child molestation would be exempt from the law, and would stay in prison.

MORE: Anti-Death Penalty Prop. Heavily Funded, Gaining | Measure J: Speed Up Work, Bill Taxpayers 'Til 2069

Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley is among the proposition’s supporters.

Stanford law professor Michael Romano said plenty of inmates are now serving life terms for minor offenses.

"Stealing a pair of socks; shoplifting gloves from Home Depot. These people should be punished," Romano said, "but life sentences for these crimes is a waste of money. It's not what the people wanted and not good law enforcement."

However, opponents say judges and district attorneys already have the option not to seek a third-strike felony against a convicted criminal if they believe that final offense was not worthy of a life sentence.

They contend that the current law allows them to put away career criminals before they commit another serious criminal act.

"Whose daughter, mother, brother or sister do we want to take a risk on to let a career criminal out because his last offense was for stealing a car when he has some violent and serious priors," said Michael Rushford, of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation.

Polls show support for the measure remains strong going into the Nov. 6 election.

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