<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Politics and Political News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:53:55 -0700 Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:53:55 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[ALEC Conference Met With Protests]]> Thu, 23 Jul 2015 07:18:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/elena6A0723_1200x675_490053699648.jpg NBC 7’s Elena Gomez reports on the second day of the American Legislative Exchange Council meetings downtown and two presidential hopefuls expected to attend. ]]> <![CDATA[WATCH: Lindsey Graham Destroy His Phone After Trump's Comments]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 13:37:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/graham+screen+shot.JPG

Lindsey Graham won't be receiving any unwanted phone calls for the time being.

A day after Donald Trump implored a campaign crowd to call a phone number belonging to the GOP presidential candidate and South Carolina senator, Graham responded with a tongue-in-cheek video showing him destroying his flip phone.

Graham teamed up with conservative news website Independent Journal Review for the aptly named video "How to Destroy Your Cell Phone With Sen. Lindsey Graham."

The video shows Graham wrecking his phone in a multitude of ways, including with a blender, a sledge hammer, and a toaster oven.

After throwing his phone off a building, Graham faces the camera and says, "Or if all else fails, you can always give your number to The Donald."

"This is for all the veterans," Graham says before a final toss of the phone.  

Trump had given out Graham's phone number during a televised campaign stop in South Carolina Tuesday where the real estate mogul brushed off criticism over comments he made about Sen. John McCain.

"He's a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured," Trump had said about the former Naval pilot held prisoner for nearly six years during the Vietnam War. 

Graham had called Trump a "jackass" over the McCain remarks. 

McCain, meanwhile, promoted Graham's new video with a tweet that read, "This is why Lindsey Graham hasn't been answering my calls!"

Trump has yet to respond to the video. 

Photo Credit: IJ Review
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<![CDATA[3 Presidential Hopefuls Travel to San Diego for ALEC ]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 12:49:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/generic+san+diego+skyline+chopper.jpg

Three Presidential hopefuls are traveling to San Diego this week to take part in the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) Conference.

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) will speak Wednesday, Mike Huckabee, former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential hopeful, will attend the meeting on Thursday and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) will speak on Friday.

Lawmakers and lobbyists will converge on downtown San Diego for meetings on public policy. Topics range from fiscal policy reform and e-commerce to environmental health and agriculture. A tour of the San Diego Port is also on the group’s three-day agenda.

All events will take place at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. The conference is not open to the public.

San Diego County Democratic Chair Francine Busby called the meeting “a ‘bill mill’ funded by corporations and billionaires.” Busby asked Mayor Kevin Faulconer not to take part in the conference. 

Local democratic party members are organizing rallies to take place Wednesday in anticipation of some of the attendees and events.

<![CDATA[Part of Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's Sentence Vacated]]> Wed, 22 Jul 2015 06:53:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/rod+blagojevich+1+year.jpg

Former governor Rod Blagojevich got bad news Tuesday from the court which has been considering his appeal for the last 18 months. The three judges on the federal appeals court threw out only five of the Blagojevich’s convictions, and ordered that he stay in prison.

The former governor will be resentenced, but his outlook is uncertain.

“I’ve had an opportunity to look over the opinion, and it’s not justice in my view,” said Blagojevich attorney Leonard Goodman. “He never put a penny in his pocket.”

Belying the notoriety of the case, the majority of the court’s opinion was rendered in strict legalese.

"The convictions on Counts 5, 6, 21, 22 and 23 are vacated; the remaining convictions are affirmed," the opinion stated. "The sentence is vacated and remanded for retrial on the vacated counts."

Those five counts related to Blagojevich’s negotiations for a cabinet job which he hoped to snag in exchange for appointing Presidential-choice Valerie Jarrett to a vacant U.S. Senate seat. But in other areas, the court made clear the former governor’s convictions should remain intact.

“Blagojevich viewed the opportunity to appoint a new senator as a bonanza,” Judge Frank Easterbrook wrote in the 23-page opinion. “Blagojevich asks us to hold that the evidence is insufficient to convict him on any count. The argument is frivolous. The evidence, much of it from Blagojevich’s own mouth, is overwhelming.”

“We’ve waited a long time for this decision and we are very disappointed,” said the former governor’s wife Patti. “If there’s any silver lining for us, is that possibly this is a step in the right direction, to getting him home with us.”

That could be a long road. While the court ordered that Blagojevich be resentenced, they went out of their way to say they did not believe his existing 14-year sentence was unreasonable.

“It is not possible to call 168 months unlawfully high for Blagojevich’s crimes,” Easterbrook wrote. “But the district judge should consider on remand, whether it is the most appropriate sentence.”

Former Blagojevich lawyer Sam Adam, said he had to believe trial judge James Zagel would render a lower sentence.

“You have to reduce his sentence,” Adam said. “How could you say the 14-year sentence was right for all of them. Now you take five out and it’s still the same?”

“There’s just something about that that’s fundamentally unfair.”

The appellate court also took issue with Blagojevich’s argument that he should have been allowed to explain that his real plan was to offer the senate seat to Attorney General Lisa Madigan, in exchange for political cooperation from her father, House Speaker Michael Madigan. Easterbrook suggested that one apparent legal gambit did not negate possible shenanigans which were being plotted at the same time.

“A bank robber cannot show that on many other occasions he entered a bank without pulling a gun on a teller,” he wrote. “Nor can a teller charged with embezzlement show how often he made correct entries in the books.”

In 2009, Blagojevich was impeached from the governor's office after being charged with racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and attempted extortion, including the "sale" of Obama's Senate seat.

He was sentenced to prison and given a $20,000 fine in 2011 when he was convicted of 17 counts of corruption, including trying to sell now-President Barack Obama's Senate seat to the highest bidder. He had previously been convicted, in an earlier trial, of lying to the FBI.

Reached at his home in Nashville, Blagojevich’s brother Robert, said he was not hopeful Zagel would extend much mercy.

“I’m very cynical with regard to the whole system,” Blagojevich said. “I’m also jaundiced when it comes to the key players in this drama, especially Judge Zagel. So I’m not hopeful for Rod to get any measure of fairness from him.”

The elder Blagojevich was especially angry about comments the appellate judges made, blasting the former governor for involvement in a scheme to appoint Jesse Jackson Jr. to the senate seat in exchange for $1.5 million in campaign contributions.

“That is just flat out not true,” Blagojevich said, noting that as his brother’s chief campaign fundraiser, it was he who had been approached by Jackson’s emissaries with the $1.5 million offer.

“That is an altered reality to what I know and what I experienced,” he said. “That is just flat out wrong!”

Attorney Lauren Kaeseberg, who worked on the Blagojevich appeal and represented him at both trials, said she had to remain hopeful.

“Knowing him as a person, I’m sure he also sees some hope and is optimistic that he’ll be with his family again,” Kaeseberg said. “You know it pains him greatly to be missing out each day with his daughters.”

Her co-counsel Goodman, suggested that the decision defied common sense.

“I think most people agree the sentence is incredibly harsh for a case that’s all about politics,” Goodman said. “Never put a penny in his pocket. It’s all politics!”

<![CDATA[County to Obama: We Need Next-Gen Air Tanker]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 13:06:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Cal_Fire_next_gen_tanker_at_Ramona.jpg

County officials, frustrated over what was described as government bureaucracy, will petition the White House Tuesday to get involved in a regional fight over whether to station one of the government's largest firefighting aircraft in San Diego County.

In a rare move, the County Board of Supervisors will ask President Obama to force the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service to station one of its large firefighting air tankers in Ramona which houses a regional CalFire air attack base.

"Seconds count," said District 2 Supervisor Dianne Jacob. "Seconds in responding to a fire can mean the difference between life and death."

Jacob represents the largest district in San Diego County and one that suffered greatly in wildfires in 2003 and 2007. Her region covers from La Mesa and Poway to Jacumba and Santa Ysabel and includes the Ramona Air Attack Base.

Cal Fire already stations a pair of smaller S-2T airtankers there. However, the larger tankers contracted by the Forest Service can hold 3,000 gallons of fire retardant, two and a half times the amount of the S-2Ts. These could include RJ 85, BAE-145 or C-130 aircraft.

Tony Mecham with Cal Fire said the state has 22 of the next-generation air tankers. One is stationed in San Bernardino.

It takes approximately 45 minutes to load up and fly that air tanker to San Diego County, Mecham said.

“Even if they have to download their retardant a little bit, because of the turnaround time for fires in San Diego is so much shorter we feel we can deliver more retardant on the fire which is ultimately what we want to do,” Mecham said.

Jacob said the county wants one of those tankers stationed here but the U.S. Forest Service has said the runway in Ramona is too short and doesn't have the load capacity to handle the heavier aircraft.

In a letter dated June 25, Tom Harbour, Director of Fire and Aviation Management (FAM) outlined several reasons why the agency decided to place the tankers in San Bernardino.

“Ramona does not meet the accelerate/stop distance requirements for transport category aircraft of this size and weight, with full payload, at the Ramona average summer temperature and elevation,” Harbour writes.

That argument took a hit recently however when a similar aircraft, used by Cal Fire, landed on the runway without any problems.

“So for the Forest Service to just say ‘No, it doesn’t work’, they’re wrong. It works. And it was demonstrated last week” said Jacob. “So, now what’s their excuse? Give us one of these airplanes."

Harbour added that Brown Field, with its 8,000-foot runway, would be a backup for San Bernardino if needed.

He also said it’s not cost effective to operate such large aircraft at less than full payload.

Jacob admits an appeal to the president is a rare move saying the last time she remembers doing it, President Bill Clinton was in office.

On Tuesday, the supervisors voted unanimously to send a message to President Obama asking for him to get involved in the placement of the tankers.

Harbour's letter was addressed to San Diego County’s Congressional leaders and offered additional helicopters and water scoopers that can “safely operate” out of Ramona in the event of a wildfire incident.

San Diego County owns three firefighting helicopters, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has two firefighting helicopters and Cal Fire has helicopters and fixed wing aircraft based here in San Diego.

Photo Credit: Cal Fire]]>
<![CDATA[GOP Field Grows to 16 as Ohio Gov. Kasich Announces 2016 Run]]> Tue, 21 Jul 2015 09:33:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kasich-GettyImages-471835132.jpg

Saying "big ideas change the world," Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination Tuesday and set about trying to distinguish himself in a bustling contest with other high achievers.

The outspoken swing-state governor declared his candidacy Tuesday before a crowd of 2,000 at Ohio State University, saying "the sun is going to rise to the zenith in America again." The 63-year-old is the 16th notable Republican to enter the race. 

"I am here to ask you for your prayers, for your support, for your efforts because I have decided to run for president," Kasich, a strong-willed and sometimes abrasive governor, said in a scattered speech packed with family anecdotes, historical references and a pitch for his well-rounded resume.

A veteran congressman as well as governor, Kasich is telling voters he is the only GOP candidate with experience in three broad areas of political leadership — the federal budget, national security and state government. As well, he spent nearly a decade at Lehman Brothers.

"I have the experience and the testing," he said, "the testing which shapes you and prepares you for the most important job in the world and I believe I know how to work and help restore this great United States."

As budget chairman in the House, he became an architect of a deal in 1997 that balanced the federal budget.

Now in his second term in swing-state Ohio, he's helped erase a budget deficit projected at nearly $8 billion when he entered office, boost Ohio's rainy-day fund to a historic high and seen private-sector employment rebound to its post-recession level.

This, through budget cutting, privatization of parts of Ohio's government and other, often business-style innovations.

Unions that turned back an effort by Kasich and fellow Republicans to limit public workers' collective bargaining rights say Kasich's successes have come at a cost to local governments and schools, and that new Ohio jobs lack the pay and benefits of the ones they replaced. They plan a protest outside Tuesday's launch.

Kasich embraces conservative ideals but bucks his party on occasion and disdains the Republican sport of bashing Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton.

His entry nearly rounds out an unusually diverse Republican lineup with two Hispanics, an African-American, one woman and several younger candidates alongside older white men. So many are running that it's unclear Kasich will qualify for the GOP's first debate in his home state in just two weeks.

In recent months, he's made trips to New Hampshire, South Carolina, Iowa, New York and Michigan, and will be returning to early voting states. His allies at the political organization New Day for America reported raising $11.5 million on Kasich's behalf before his entry into the race. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[McCain Calls Trump's Comments 'Totally Inappropriate]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 07:21:49 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NC_trumpmccain_1500x845.jpg Senator John McCain says Donald Trump owes an apology to all the prisoners of war he served with. Trump recently stated that McCain is not a war hero, is only considered a war hero "because he was captured" and "I like people that weren't captured." McCain was reluctant to call himself a hero, but added that Trump's recent comments criticizing P.O.W.'s were "totally inappropriate."]]> <![CDATA[Walker: Trump 'Needs to Apologize' for McCain Comments]]> Mon, 20 Jul 2015 04:19:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-473663490+%281%29_scott_walker.jpg

Wisconsin Gov. and Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker said Donald Trump "needs to apologize" for his comments questioning whether Sen. John McCain is a war hero. 

Walker, who tried to ignore Trump's inflammatory rhetoric by leaning on the old "Reagan commandment" that discourages attacks against fellow Republicans, also had a message for the real-estate mogul's supporters.

"At a minimum, he needs to apologize," Walker said in an interview with NBC News. "I think more people need to push him. Not just candidates or elected officials, I think more people across America including some of those who, maybe up until now, have been supporters of him."

Trump said Saturday McCain is "not a war hero because he was captured. I like people that weren't captured." Under fire, Trump later acknowledged that McCain's sacrifice was heroic.

Walker was careful not to mention Trump by name but said his insulting rant against McCain went too far, "when it came to personal attack like this against the military, an American hero, I'm gonna call it like I see it."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[California Leads U.S. in Campaign Donations]]> Fri, 17 Jul 2015 15:35:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/minimum-wage-cash.jpg

California leads the nation in the amount of money being contributed to the 2016 presidential election according to official filings released this week.

California outranks New York and Florida and leads the states with $12.7 million in contributions made between January 1 and June 30.

The total cost of the 2016 presidential election is expected to reach an unprecedented $5 billion, according to MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks money’s influence on politics.

In the July 15 filings, candidates had to report to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) how much money their campaigns have raised.

The outside donor groups, like single-candidate super-PACs, will be filing with the FEC on July 30.

Get more details from MapLight’s report here. 

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<![CDATA[EIR Is Bolts' 'Worst Nightmare': City Attorney]]> Wed, 15 Jul 2015 15:47:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Jan-Goldsmith-0826.jpg

San Diego's City Attorney shared his opinion Wednesday on what the City Council's decision to spend $2.1 million on an environmental review of the Mission Valley site would mean to San Diego Chargers owners.

The money approved by the city council will be spent on an EIR for the site proposed by the mayor’s Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG).

The San Diego Chargers, who are considering moving to a joint-use stadium in Carson near Los Angeles, have said they prefer a downtown San Diego site.

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said if the city wants to keep the Chargers or any NFL team in town, an EIR was the next step in an interview on KUSI-TV.

“If the Chargers are going to go to their partners and say, 'Hey we need to move to Los Angeles because it’s not doable in San Diego', their worse nightmare is that we’re actually doing it,“ Goldsmith said.

He also said city officials were talking "behind the scenes" with the NFL and "know the layout of the land." 

"We’re in the game because we’re moving forward with the EIR," he said adding that the city's experts on NFL negotiations suggested the city continue.

Get our complete coverage on the Stadium Scramble in our special section.

<![CDATA[Boston Mayor Says Trump Should Apologize or Stay Out of Boston]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 09:17:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/walshtrump.jpg

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh has a message for Donald Trump: Apologize for your comments about Mexico or stay out of Boston. 

"I think his comments are inappropriate," Walsh told the Boston Herald on Monday. "And if he wanted to build a hotel here (in Boston), he'd have to make some apologies to people in this country."

Trump, a Republican candidate for president, has come under fire in recent weeks for criticizing Mexico and immigrants who come to the U.S. illegally. He said they bring drugs and crime with them and are "rapists."

NBC, which owns this website, cited Trump's comments when it cut business ties with him as the former partner in the Miss USA pageant and dropped its pageant telecast. Macy's, which carried a Trump menswear line, also ended its relationship with him. 

Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[City Council OKs Environmental Report Funds for Stadium Site]]> Tue, 14 Jul 2015 21:51:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Boltman-City-Council-071415.jpg

San Diego’s City Council voted Tuesday to spend $2.1 million in an attempt to stay in the NFL stadium game and keep the Chargers in town.

When city leaders met with NFL officials in June, the message was clear — fast tracking an Environmental Impact Report (EIR) is key to the project moving forward.

The money approved by the city council will be spent on an EIR for the Mission Valley stadium site proposed by the mayor’s Citizens Stadium Advisory Group (CSAG).

“Regardless of what ultimately happens with the team, this environmental impact report is valuable to taxpayers," said Mayor Kevin Faulconer in a release. "Whether a new stadium is built or Qualcomm Stadium is simply demolished, this environmental analysis can be used.”

Other city leaders and the Chargers team itself disagreed. Councilmembers Todd Gloria, David Alvarez and Marti Emerald voted against funding the EIR, and Chargers' special counsel Mark Fabiani said the team wanted nothing to do with this "debacle" that is a sequel of the convention center saga. He was referring to a proposed expansion of the convention center that was tossed out after lawsuit challenges.

"All of this begs the question: What part of 'no' do stadium boosters not understand?" said Emerald. "The Chargers say they want no part of this and I say it's time to listen. Take them seriously and let them go to Carson."

The EIR, which assesses the environmental cost of destroying the current Qualcomm Stadium and building a new one, usually takes a year to complete.

This report can be expedited, the mayor's office said, because the project would be the same type of facility on the same site. Work on the EIR started on June 22.

Fabiani said a "fast-tracked" EIR process in San Diego is impossible because even if it does get finished in a few weeks for under $3 million, the issue will still get tied up in the courts and eventually invalidated, just like the convention center.

Faulconer’s office said the money for the report would be from unrestricted state funds that were previously owed to the city. The money will pay for city staff time and the professional services of planning firm AECOM to create the EIR.

However, NBC 7’s partners at the VoiceofSanDiego report that now that the City Council approved the expense, the plan to use retail development money to help pay for the new stadium would no longer be an option.

When CSAG delivered the completed proposal for a new NFL stadium in Mission Valley, their proposal included $225 million from development of some of the land at the current Qualcomm Stadium site.

“They are taking major piece of the puzzle that we all thought was going to help pay for the stadium off the table,” said reporter Liam Dillon. “This is a major development.”

However, spokesperson Matt Awbrey denied the mayor’s plan includes money from the sale of space for retail shops and condos.

“Our plan will not include new taxes, does not rely on the development that’s around it and we need to keep moving forward,” Awbrey said.

Tuesday's vote commits the city to moving forward with stadium plans. According to the mayor's office, if a lawsuit is filed, the city council will see the litigation in a closed session and direct the city attorney on how to proceed.

Negotiations between Chargers team owners and city officials kicked into high gear five months ago when it was announced that the Chargers and Oakland Raiders were involved in negotiations to build a joint-use complex in Carson.

CSAG proposed a plan to build a 65,000-seat stadium at the current Qualcomm stadium site. The financing plan would include a $1.1 billion price tag and has the Chargers paying for $300 million of it.

The Chargers have said the teams' owners prefer a downtown stadium site.

Moving forward with an environmental review of the Mission Valley site only shows the NFL that when it comes to keeping the team in town, San Diego means business, Awbrey added.

He said an EIR for a multiuse stadium would be valuable for the city because such a site could be used for other purposes “if things don’t work out with the Chargers.”

Fans in support of keeping the Chargers in San Diego held a rally in front of city hall before the vote.

A planning meeting is slated for July 15 at Qualcomm Stadium to go over a draft EIR for the Mission Valley site recommended by CSAG.

City officials say it's possible to get environmental approval for the stadium in Mission Valley and be able to put the issue to an anticipated special election on January 12, 2016.

A downtown stadium is not off the table, officials said, but if the Chargers do decide to go with the idea, the timeline would increase and the costs would increase by at least $150 million.

The Chargers have said an NFL owners' special meeting in August may offer insight into what is likely to occur during the remainder of 2015.

Photo Credit: Greg Stickney, NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Trump: 'Nobody Wants to Talk About' Immigration, Crime]]> Sat, 11 Jul 2015 09:26:06 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Donald+Trump2.jpg

Presidential candidate Donald Trump decried the American media's supposed unwillingness to cover undocumented immigration in his press appearance at a Los Angeles hotel Friday, doubling down on controversial remarks even as protesters gathered outside.

Trump said Mexico's leaders are "smarter" than those in the United States, and that Mexican leaders send people "that they don't want" across the U.S. border. Similar remarks over the past week have provoked two celebrity chefs to pull out of deals with Trump hotels.

"They're sending criminals to us and we're sending those criminals to jail, oftentimes after they've killed somebody or hurt somebody," Trump said at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

The families of several people killed by undocumented immigrants joined Trump at the news conference and said they stood behind the outspoken mogul's comments on illegal immigration, which have also inspired multiple businesses — including NBC Universal and Univision — to cut ties with Trump's business.

"No one really listened to us, our story really wasn't heard," said Sabine Durden, whose 30-year-old son was killed by a driver who was an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala three years ago. "When I heard Mr. Trump, I started screaming," she said. "Finally, someone who had the guts to say what millions are thinking."

Meanwhile, protesters rallied outside the hotel in response to Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants. The protest was organized by the CHIRLA Action Fund, the political arm of a California-based immigrant rights organization.

Some protesters carried Donald Trump piñatas filled with trash to "represent the type of language the candidate has been spewing," according to a CHIRLA statement.

"There is no way a candidate for the highest elected office in the land can utter the type of hateful language that Trump is known for and expect to win the Latino/immigrant vote," Diana Colin, CHIRLA Action Funds program director, said in a statement. "And everyone knows the road to the White House is paved with Latino/immigrant votes. Mr. Trump should do the math."

Trump also met with the father of a high school football standout killed by a gang member who was in the country illegally. Trump told syndicated talk show host Dana Loesch he was meeting with Jamiel Shaw — the father of Jamiel Shaw II -- "and pay my respects to him."

The elder Shaw praised Trump in interviews this week on the Fox News Channel and with Loesch for his criticism of illegal immigration. Shaw told Loesch that Trump's criticism of illegal immigration is "resonating in the black community because we see all the carnage that's happened and all the memorials. We see all the jobs that are gone. We see the whole community changing."

Jamiel Shaw II was a Los Angeles High School football standout who was shot and killed in 2008 near his Arlington Heights home by a gang member who prosecutors said mistakenly perceived him as a gang rival because he was carrying a red Spider-Man backpack. Pedro Espinoza, convicted of first-degree murder in 2012 and sentenced to death, was living in the United States without legal permission at the time of the killing. He had been freed from jail two days before the shooting without immigration authorities placing a hold on him.

Trump's arrival in Los Angeles follows a week of fallout from his comments about immigrants. Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, said Thursday that the PGA of America's decision this week to move a golf tournament from a Trump-owned course was a step in the right direction.

The PGA and other major golf organizations should agree to keep tournaments off Trump properties in response to his comments about Mexican immigrants, Nogales said. The PGA said it relocated its Grand Slam of Golf, in mutual agreement with Trump.

NBC ended its partnership with Trump on the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants after the celebrity billionaire, in announcing his presidential campaign, said some Mexican immigrants to the U.S. bring drugs and crime, and some are rapists.

"When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best," he said. "They're sending people that have lots of problems, and they're bringing those problems with (them). They're bringing drugs. They're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

Trump vowed to file paperwork next week ensuring he would qualify for next month's Republican presidential debate, where his immigration policies could emerge as a focus on national television. Trump said Thursday that his Republican competitor Jeb Bush is "a joke" for suggesting that Mexican immigrants cross the border illegally as "an act of love."

"This has nothing to do with love," Trump said in an interview airing Thursday on Fox News Channel's "Hannity." "They are taking people that should be in Mexican prisons, Mexican jails and they are pushing them over to the United States. These are dangerous people."

<![CDATA[Bill to Bring Transparency to CPUC Passess Committee]]> Wed, 08 Jul 2015 10:54:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/215*120/CPUC+Still.png

A bill intended to bring increased transparency to the California Public Utilities Commission passed the California Senate Energy Committee Tuesday.

Assembly Bill 825, introduced by Assemblyman Anthony Rendon (D-Lakewood), would establish an independent authority to investigate the CPUC. It would also create a Public Advisor within the Commission to put transparency measures in place.

Right now the CPUC is enduring a growing barrage of criticism from electricity customers and lawmakers. Critics in both camps claim it's become beholden to private interests.

Under investigation by federal prosecutors and other agencies are CPUC proceedings and negotiations that led to shareholders dodging 70 percent of the $4.7 billion in shutdown costs.

Utility executives are holding out against providing key documents behind how the costs were divvied up.

Transparency advocates questioned the removal of a portion of AB 825 relating to the California Public Records Act and state open meetings law.

Kevin Liao, Communications Director for Rendon, said those provisions were removed but the bill will rely on the existing Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act instead.

If passed, the bill would allow for public testimony to take place at the beginning of meetings or prior to new agenda items, according to Liao. He said in the past public testimony was sometimes heard after decisions were actually made.

“Rendon’s goal is to have the law applied to and enforced at the PUC like it is at all other state agencies,” Liao said.

The bill will next be in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee for approval.

Rendon is chair of the Assembly Committee on Utilities and Commerce.

<![CDATA[SD Mayor's Road Repair Plan Kicks Off]]> Mon, 06 Jul 2015 15:10:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/mayor-faulconer-sherman-kersey.jpg San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer (C) was joined by Councilmembers Scott Sherman (L) and Mark Kersey as he kicked off a program to repair roads around the city.]]> <![CDATA[Trump Blames Border for SF Shooting]]> Sun, 05 Jul 2015 13:44:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/180*120/DonaldTrump_Getty_07032015.jpg

Donald Trump on Friday blamed the United States' vulnerable southern border for this week's fatal shooting of Kathryn Steinle at Pier 14 in San Francisco.

“This senseless and totally preventable act of violence committed by an illegal immigrant is yet another example of why we must secure our border immediately," the Republican presidential hopeful said in a statement.

Steinle, 32, of Pleasanton, was gunned down Wednesday evening near the Embarcadero and Mission Street in the city's South Beach neighborhood. Police arrested Francisco Sanchez following what they believe is a random incident.

New details emerged about the suspect Friday when the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency reported that Sanchez is an undocumented immigrant with nearly a dozen aliases and a long criminal history. He has previously been deported to Mexico five times, according to authorities.

San Francisco County Sheriff's Legal Counsel Freya Horne told NBC Bay Area Friday that the city and county of San Francisco are sanctuaries for immigrants, and they do not turn over undocumented people – if they don't have active warrants out for them – simply because immigration officials want them to.

For his part, Trump deemed the situation “absolutely disgraceful” and blasted his fellow candidates for lacking the “guts to even talk about it.”

“The American people deserve a wall to protect our jobs, economy and our safety,” he added. “I am the only candidate who would build it. I will make America great again!”

Trump’s candidacy announcement June 16 had a similar flavor.

"The U.S. has become a dumping ground for everybody else's problems," he said. "And these aren't the best and the finest. When Mexico sends its people, they're not sending their best...they're sending people that have lots of problems...they're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists. And some, I assume, are good people."

But several business organizations — including NBC, Univision, Macy’s and NASCAR — have disassociated themselves from Trump after his incendiary comments came to light.

Hispanic leaders have also pressed the rest of the GOP presidential candidates to condemn Trump. So far, most of the candidates have either stayed mum or quietly sidestepped his statements. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has even defended him, saying that "I salute Donald Trump for focusing on the need to address illegal immigration."

Only Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, who is Hispanic, denounced Trump's statements as "not just offensive and inaccurate, but also divisive."

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[2016 Hopefuls Flood NH for July 4 Weekend]]> Fri, 03 Jul 2015 13:33:21 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP136093298170.jpg

Presidential hopefuls are going on parade throughout the Granite State this July 4. 

At least seven 2016 candidates will spend Independence Day courting residents who will vote in the nation's first presidential primary contest next year, according to scheduled logged in necn's 2016 New Hampshire Primary Candidate Tracker, making a combined 14 stops.

While parades are by far the most popular stops during the holiday tour — at least 11 such appearances are expected — candidates' Saturday calendars also include breakfasts, cookouts and grassroots events. Revelers along the routes in Amherst and Merrimack will watch no fewer than three candidates strut by. The resort town of Wolfeboro, where 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney owns a home, will be greeted by at least two GOP hopefuls.

For some candidates, one parade just isn't enough. Republicans Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Perry, as well as Democrat Lincoln Chafee, are marching in two apiece. Perry, the former Texas governor, appears to have the busiest public schedule on Saturday so far, stopping by parades in Amherst and Merrimack before greeting crowds at the Windham GOP July Fourth Cookout later in the day.

The holiday hand-shaking isn't limited to July 4 itself. Christie, New Jersey's Republican governor, has been barnstorming the state since making his official entry into the race on Tuesday, including several events on Friday. Perry and Democrat Hillary Clinton are also getting their patriotic partying started early with Friday events, while former New York Gov. George Pataki and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, both candidates for the GOP nomination, will join New Hampshire residents wishing America a belated birthday with Sunday celebrations.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Peas in Guacamole? Obama Weighs in on Twitter Debate ]]> Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:15:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/guacamole-GettyImages-456804252.gif

President Barack Obama has a message for The New York Times: please don't pass the peas.

Into the guacamole, at least. 

The president joined the online masses piling on the newspaper on Wednesday afternoon following a much-retweeted story suggesting "adding fresh English peas" to the popular avocado dip.

The tweet sparked cries of culinary foul from users, gaining hundreds of retweets in the process. The Times' public editor even suggested that the backlash could rival the "Minnesota Grape Salad outcry" that hit after the paper listed the obscure recipe as a state favorite. 

When asked about the suggestion during an #ASKPotus Twitter chat Wednesday, the president suggested he'll stick to a more traditional recipe. 

First lady Michelle Obama, a vocal advocate of incorporating more green veggies into daily diets, has yet to weigh in. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Ex-California Sen. Leland Yee Pleads Guilty]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 18:58:37 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_senado_california_suspende_leland_yee.jpg

Leland Yee, a former California state senator,  pleaded guilty on Wednesday to a felony racketeering charge in an organized crime and public corruption case that brought down the once-popular legislator known for good government and gun control, ending his political career.

Yee, who previously has pleaded not guilty to bribery, money laundering and other felony charges, was scheduled to go on trial in late July in the sweeping case that was centered in San Francisco's Chinatown.

But he changed his plea Wednesday in San Francisco federal court and will likely serve some time in prison, legal analysts say. He could face a maximum of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to federal sentencing guidelines and the plea agreement obtained by NBC Bay Area. He admitted to a long list of crimes, including wire fraud and quid pro quo favors in return for campaign contributions, from 2011 to March 2014, in a spree called the "campaign," the plea deal shows. In many of the cases, Yee was interacting with undercover FBI agents.

U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer is scheduled to sentence Yee on Oct. 21.

Before the hearing, reporters tweeted that he was smiling and chatting with them as he was forced to sit in the media section as there wasn't enough room. Afterward, neither he nor his attorney had any comment.

Right after Yee, Keith Jackson, a former San Francisco school board member who acted as Yee's consultant and fundraiser, pleaded guilty to the same charge.

In a statement, Jackson's attorney at Morrison and Foerster said: " Keith Jackson has entered an honest plea to what he actually did when the FBI embroiled him in their activities. The FBI started by hiring Mr. Jackson and paying him money to do perfectly lawful things. They also promised him great wealth. After they had done that, they began to embroil him in the matter that brings him to his plea today. Mr. Jackson has contributed a great deal to this community over the years. He is attempting, by this plea, to put his life back together in hopes that he will be allowed to contribute more in the future. ”

Jackson's son, Brandon Jackson, and former sports agent Marlon Sullivan, also pleaded guilty to racketeering charges on Wednesday, under separate plea deals.

The FBI arrested Yee and 19 others last year during a series of raids throughout the San Francisco Bay Area. NBC Bay Area first broke the news of his arrest in March 2014.

Yee was accused of soliciting and accepting bribes from an alleged Chinatown gang leader in exchange for providing help from Sacramento. The FBI also alleged that the San Francisco Democrat, who was running for secretary of state at the time, conspired to connect an undercover agent with an international arms dealer in exchange for campaign contributions.

The arrests were the culmination of the FBI's eight-year investigation of Raymond "Shrimp Boy'' Chow, the elected "dragonhead'' of a Chinese-American association called Ghee Kung Tong. The FBI alleges the association was a racketeering enterprise and that undercover agents laundered $2.6 million in cash from illegal bookmaking through the organization.

Chow has pleaded not guilty to money laundering and other charges.

Sudhin Thanawala from the Associated Press and NBC Bay Area's Mark Matthews and Stephanie Chuang contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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