<![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 Fri, 29 May 2015 13:34:43 -0700 Fri, 29 May 2015 13:34:43 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Gavin Newsom Fans Want City Hall Bust]]> Fri, 29 May 2015 05:34:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/NEWSOM-INTERVIEW-RA---14073501.jpg

Fans of Gavin Newsom who want a bust of his head displayed at San Francisco City Hall plan to approach the San Francisco Arts Commission for approval this summer.

If approved, the likeness of San Francisco's former mayor (and California's current lieutenant governor) would sit in City Hall alongside the busts of past leaders like Harvey Milk, Dianne Feinstein and Willie Brown.

According to the Chronicle, Newsom has sat with artist Bruce Wolfe twice for a model of his head to be made, but he still isn't quite sure what to say about the potential tribute.

"I don't want to call it embarrassing, but it's a strange thing," Newsom said. "I'm just awkward about it."

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<![CDATA[Horton Plaza Park Contractor Has Expired License]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 16:30:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/horton+plaza+park+wall.jpg

NBC7 has confirmed a construction company building a new fire station in Mission Valley and a park near Horton Plaza does not have a valid contractor's license.

State records show the contracting license for Echo Pacific Construction expired April 30.

The company faces a $540 fine and possible sanctions from the state licensing board.

A lawyer for the company told the San Diego Union Tribune that the expired license is due to a clerical error, involving the renewal paperwork.

The $17 million project will create a new urban park on Broadway between Third and Fourth Avenues.

An opening is expected late next year.



Photo Credit: Gene Cubbison]]>
<![CDATA[Hillary Clinton Visits NH Brewery]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 15:21:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/228*120/Hillary+Clinton+smuttynose+2.jpg

Hillary Clinton received information on her private email server about the deadly attack on US Diplomatic facilities in Benghazi that has now been classified.

It's new information that came to light about the former Secretary of State as she campaigned at the Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton, New Hampshire, her second visit to the state as a presidential candidate.

Clinton says she wants people to be able to see all of the nearly 300 emails that have been released

"I'm aware that the FBI has asked that portion of one email be held back - that happens in the process of FOI responses," she said. "But that doesn't change the fact that all of the information i the emails was handled appropriately."

No laws were violated. But Friday's redaction shows that Clinton received information considered sensitive on her unsecured personal server, which came to light just as she was beginning her presidential campaign.

Clinton also seemed to give a more definitive answer when asked about her views on the future of US Policy in Iraq.

"This has to be fought by and won by Iraqis," said Clinton. "There is no role whatsoever for American soldiers on the ground to go back other than as trainers and advisers."

The candidate got an earful from small business as she spoke in defense of the Export Import Bank which guarantees loans to help U.S. exporters - opposed by some Republicans.

On the subject of the controversial Trans Pacific Trade Partnership, Clinton says she is still deciding her position.

"I do have concerns," she said. "I have concerns that the standards will not be tough enough. They will not be enforceable."

The Clinton Campaign has announced that her official announcement rally will be June 13. The location has not yet been announced.



Photo Credit: necn]]>
<![CDATA[Majority of Voters Not Paying Attention to Senate Race]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 10:27:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AC-KNTV-6PM-5192015---22012717.jpg

Voters are not paying much attention to next year’s open primary election for Barbara Boxer’s U.S. Senate seat, according to the latest NBC Bay Area Field Poll.

Kamala Harris is leading, but just 19 percent of voters selected her as their first choice. Nearly six in 10 likely voters are undecided, the poll shows.

The good news for Harris’s main opponent, Loretta Sanchez, is almost 60 percent of those surveyed aren’t even tuned in to the Senate race.

With so many voters having no preference whatsoever, there’s plenty of room for another candidate or two, NBC Bay Area political analyst Larry Gerston predicts. The deadline for candidates to file is in March 2016.


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<![CDATA[Jim Kenney Wins Philly Mayoral Bid]]> Wed, 20 May 2015 21:15:24 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/AP142050022358.jpg

Jim Kenney is poised to become Mayor of Philadelphia after winning the Democratic Party's nomination in Tuesday's primary.

"I am honored and forever humbled by the coalition of support that made me the Democratic nominee for mayor of the City of Philadelphia," the 57-year-old former at large city councilman proclaimed during his victory speech surrounded by family, former council members and key supporters.

Kenney was declared the winner at 9:03 p.m. with 62 percent of the vote. Only 24 percent of precincts had reported when the race was decided. The numbers narrowed as more votes were recorded, but he still carried the vote 2-1 or 56 percent.

Kenney bested five other opponents — Anthony Hardy Williams; Lynne Abraham; Nelson Diaz; Doug Oliver; and Milton Street — but his victory is far from a surprise. Heading into May, a poll of 600 likely voters showed Kenney had a huge 42 percent lead over his opponents. The survey was the only independent poll of the primary race and was conducted for NBC10/Telemundo 62, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Daily News and Philly.com.

Williams and Abraham each had 15 percent of pie while the others had 5 percent or less.

Kenney had the most endorsements including vital support from former colleagues on city council and several unions including the electricians, FOP and teachers. Some of the most important backing came from prominent African-American politicians from Northwest Philadelphia including Councilwomen Cindy Bass and Marian Tasco and state representative Dwight Evans.

"Our campaign was a broad and unprecedented coalition of diverse groups many of whom came together for the first time to support me," Kenney said.

Known for his big personality and sometimes brash comments in person and on Twitter, the South Philadelphia-native said he'd like to provide universal prekindergarten education, raise minimum wage to $15 an hour and banish stop-and-frisk. They're all topics that were of top importance to voters, our polling showed.

Kenney spent 23 years in council and was seen for being progressive on issues like the environment, ethics and marijuana decriminalization. He's long supported the LGBT community, police and firefighters as well.

But he has walked back on comments about police's use of force, which some likened to brutality, and, years ago, distanced himself from former state senator Vince Fumo, who was convicted of corruption.

Kenney will now face lone Republican challenger Melissa Murray Baily in the November general election, but he's expected to win as Democrats outnumber Republicans 7-1 in the city. He said he'll be spending the next six months earning every vote.

"We need this coalition to grow even larger," he said "Together I know we can achieve even greater things, so let’s get to work."



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Should College Be Free? Bernie Sanders Says So]]> Tue, 19 May 2015 16:35:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/471658670.jpg

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont, announced a proposal Tuesday that would make undergraduate tuition at four-year public colleges and universities free to students. The idea would be largely funded through new fees on Wall Street.

“It'll strengthen our economy and give us a better-educated workforce,” said Sen. Sanders, who is also running to the left of Hillary Clinton in seeking the Democratic nomination for the White House.

The Wall Street speculation fee would be levied on investment houses, hedge funds, and other speculators, according to a summary of the legislation posted on the website of Sen. Sanders. The fees would amount to $.50 on every $100 of stock. A .1 percent fee would be tacked onto bonds and a .005 percent charge would be levied on derivatives.

It is estimated that the fees could raise hundreds of billions of dollars a year, Sanders said. Through that, the federal government would cover two-thirds of the free college tuition, with states responsible for the remaining third, according to the legislation summary.

Nationally, total tuition at public colleges and universities amounts to about $70-billion a year, according to the office of Sen. Sanders.

The Independent, who is a self-described Democratic Socialist and admirer of how several European nations provide free higher education, also wants lower interest rates on student loans. The legislation Sanders introduced would give borrowers the ability to refinance student loans at lower interest rates, as homeowners can currently do with their mortgages.

“It is totally absurd that in America today, we have hundreds of thousands of bright young people who can no longer afford to go to college,” Sanders told necn.

Other reforms the College for All Act would implement include expanding the federal work study program, which offers part-time employment to students, and simplifying the student aid application process, Sanders added.

As for Sanders' proposal to tax Wall Street to make college free, many observers believe the GOP-controlled Congress will pay little or no attention. Still, Sanders said Washington has to do a better job of listening to families struggling to pay for education.

Separately, education leaders in Vermont announced Tuesday that high schoolers can continue taking up to two college courses free.

“This is really quite a big deal,” said Jeb Spaulding, the chancellor of the Vermont State Colleges. “It’s really a major economic advancement tool for many students who wouldn’t otherwise get to post-secondary education.”

A state law was about to make towns kick in half the costs, possibly stifling participation in the so-called “dual enrollment” program which more than 1,000 Vermont students took part in in the past year, according to Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont.

A new fix means the state education fund will now cover the costs of that coursework, Shumlin announced, noting he would like to see more students apply to dual enrollment programs before upcoming deadlines.

Kenyan-born Lule Aden, 18, a senior at Burlington High School, said she enjoyed taking University of Vermont classes well before she even graduated high school. She said she will be the first in her family to go to college when she heads to UVM in the fall, planning to study communication sciences and disorders.

“Taking these courses, getting a feel of how college feels, and how the courses are, and how long classes are, I feel more prepared for it,” Aden said, describing how her dual enrollment experience left her more ready for college. “And I'm going to be able to do it and hopefully be successful.” 

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<![CDATA["Hello, Twitter!" President Obama Gets His Own Account]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 09:43:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/obama-blackberry-459365998.jpg

President Barack Obama has joined the Twitterverse. 

With his second term more than halfway through, the president sent his inaugural tweet from a new @POTUS Twitter account on Monday. 

The verified account, which attracted more than 146,000 followers within 30 minutes of posting the first tweet, carries the bio "Dad, husband, and 44th President of the United States."

The official @WhiteHouse account retweeted the message and posted confirmation of its own.

The tweet wasn't the first 140-character missive sent from the 44th president. The White House's existing practice was to sign tweets from the president on the @BarackObama handle with his initials, "-bo." That @BarackObama account, launched in March 2007, is run by the staff of Obama's non-profit Organizing for Action group. 

The new account followed all major Chicago sports teams except one — the Cubs. 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Analysis: Early Advice for Assessing CSAG’s Plan]]> Mon, 18 May 2015 17:56:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/160*120/Qualcomm-Chargers-Stadium.jpg

NBC 7's Gene Cubbison offers this analysis on the latest dealings behind the Chargers' stadium scramble.

First, let’s all take a deep, deep cleansing breath.

Slow down the speed of the game.

No dancing around maypoles yet or dismissing things out-of-hand for, let’s say, 48 hours.

Wednesday is when this report was due anyway, but CSAG apparently thought it timely and prudent to push the deadline up a couple days.

Why?

Because NFL owners are meeting in San Francisco this week, and let’s face it, a “new, multi-use” stadium is for the benefit of The Shield and Bolts first and foremost.

Thoughts of new sugarplum stadia and “enhanced revenues”/profits in short order are twerking in their scheming heads – that’s why they’re moving up their own deadline for pulling the trigger on relocation decisions that later (maybe not that late) this year.

I’ve already received and zigzagged through the report’s 42 pages (including a most appealing cover) – under an embargo that doesn’t lift until 12:30 p.m.

But in my admittedly naïve opinion, the CSAG members seem to have acquitted themselves admirably.

No folks ‘born yesterday’ are aboard that ship, and the study deserves the Chargers’ most serious consideration before, if so inclined, declaring it a failure of ‘the smell test’.

Sure, it just might be a non-starter if in fact the team’s mind already is made up on other courses of action, so negotiations with One San Diego’s mayor would be a Fool’s Errand.

Early details from “informed sources” that still aren’t embargoed:

No new taxes – so no two-thirds voter approval needed!

No taxpayer resources or land given away – just sold on the open market!

The City and County appear to have a Marriage Made in Heaven!

Or Hell, if things really go south.

But let’s not be so negative right out of the gate.

Just sayin’.

It’s not clear whether the longstanding promises of a public vote (even if a 55% voter majority is required to approved an “Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District”) will be kept – because legally speaking, they may not “at the end of the day”, because municipal bonds and other borrowing packages are routinely floated without direct citizen involvement.

However, such a move potentially could gaslight a groundswell of naysaying in this “World’s Smart City” (see National Geographic).

Natives are suspicious/paranoid enough as it is.

And given San Diego’s humiliating and outrageous history of being taken to the cleaners by the Chargers – we should expect early on to echoes of the Who’s great refrain “Won’t Get Fooled Again”!

Can’t reveal much more without betraying embargoes – but will update early this afternoon with as much “chapter and verse” as can be parsed and digested.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA["SNL" Heralds the Summer of Hillary Clinton]]> Sun, 17 May 2015 03:37:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Hillary-Clinton-SNL-Louis-CK-16-May-2015-2.jpg

Summer is only a calendar page away. But nevermind the sunny skies and balmy breezes: the season of straw polls and caucuses has arrived, and Hillary Clinton was in campaign mode on "Saturday Night Live."

In the musical opening sketch, the former senator and secretary of state (portrayed in her latest "SNL" incarnation by a manic, delighftully unhinged Kate McKinnon) took to beaches and sand castles to introduce herself to a younger generation.

"May I have just a moment of your summer? I'm Hillary Clinton and I'm running for president of these United States," said Clinton, clawing at the air, her hands like pincers.

"But that's not for a long time," one (Kenan Thompson) said. "Now it's summer vacation."

"My last vacation was in 1953," she replied. "I played one round of hopscotch with a friend. I found it tedious. Why hop when you can march — straight to the White House."

She then issued her percussive laugh — something like "ah HA HA haaaaaa" — as her mouth curled into a snarling rictus.

She spoke with some kids (Aidy Bryant and Pete Davidson), whose parents remained resolutely against her political aspirations.

"I like your sand castle," she said.

"Thanks," Bryant's character replied. "It's our dream house."

"That's nice. This is my dream house," Clinton said, embracing a massive, sandy model of the White House.

Also on the campaign trail were a few surfers (Kyle Mooney, Jay Pharoah and Beck Bennett).

“Hey there, 18-to-25-year-olds," she said, stiffly hula-twisting up to a surfboard. "How does it hang?”

Blank stares.

"You know what's cool? In two years I'll be 69," Clinton said. (More blank stares). "You like that? Bill told me to tell that to young males."

The former president made a brief appearance himself (in the person of longtime "SNL" impersonator Darrell Hammond), if only to help a young woman (Sasheer Zamata) apply sunscreen.

"Billary Rodham Clinton, what are you doing?" the former first lady hissed at her husband.

"Sorry," Mr. Clinton told Zamata's character. "It's my mom."

The Clintons weren't the only political dynasty to take some flak on Saturday night. On "Weekend Update," co-host Colin Jost skewered Jeb Bush for his fumbled responses to questions related to his brother's record in Iraq.

"Jeb Bush said in an interview this week that, like his brother, he would have authorized the invasion of Iraq," Jost said. "But he wouldn't have done it for the same George did: to capture the genie from Aladdin."

Jost also noted that Jeb Bush faced criticism during a Nevada town hall meeting, where a college student said George W. Bush "created ISIS."

"But that's really not fair," Jost said. "It's more like he co-created it," as a photo of Bush and former Vice President Dick Cheney appeared.



Photo Credit: Broadway Video
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<![CDATA[County Supervisor Defends Himself Amid Call for Resignation]]> Fri, 15 May 2015 17:56:09 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Dave-roberts-051215_3.jpg

San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts said allegations against him, claiming that he misused public funds and retaliated against employees, have not affected his “accessibility or responsiveness” to his district.

In an email to his Third District constituents on Friday, Roberts said he is disheartened to see the claim filed by former scheduler Diane Porter against San Diego County. In it, Porter says Roberts improperly spent county funds on campaign items, carried on an inappropriate relationship with a staffer and retaliated against those who spoke out against it.

Roberts said in the email that the claim contains many inaccuracies, which will be “proven for what they are” if the case moves forward.

“In light of recent media coverage related to former personnel, I wish to assure the public that those matters have not impacted my accessibility or responsiveness, nor my determination to provide the best possible representation to the Third District,” his email reads.

Since the beginning of the year, eight of his 11 staff members have resigned. Roberts said he has taken actions to strengthen his team, including hiring a new chief of staff, Mel Millstein. 

“I appreciate your confidence in me and not automatically jumping to conclusions before the facts are known,” Roberts wrote in the email.

The supervisor said he cannot comment further because the allegations present a litigation threat to the county. Roberts’ district covers neighborhoods like Encinitas, Escondido, Del Mar, Rancho Penasquitos, Sorrento Valley and Carmel Valley. Click here for a map.

On Friday, Michael Pallamary, an organizer behind 2013's Recall Filner campaign, called for Roberts to resign by May 22.

"Accusations of the sort leveled against you, regardless of the motivation or merit, do irreparable harm to the office that you occupy," he said in a letter to the supervisor. "In addition, a controversy such as this will escalate and end up costing taxpayers thousands of dollars while concurrently interrupting the important flow of public business."

Pallamary told Roberts that the accusations will become a major distraction, so he thinks the supervisor should focus his time and attention to defending himself against the allegations — in private.

Escondido Mayor Sam Abed echoed the sentiment, saying if Porter's claim is true, he too wants Roberts to step down. He called on Roberts to publicly address the charges against him.

“Public office is a high trust and if the allegations against Supervisor Dave Roberts are true, he should immediately resign. The people put their faith in elected officials to uphold the highest standards of integrity and above all, to uphold and abide by the law.” Abed said in a statement. “No one is above the law and the only remedy for restoring the public’s confidence once violated, is to promptly resign.”

Porter filed her claim against the county Wednesday, asking for $250,000 to settle it. In the document, she details how she was asked to perform Roberts’ campaign and personal tasks on county time.

In one example, Porter said Roberts had his staff buy “Dave Roberts baseball cards” for just under $1,000, using county funds. When his friends said they look too political, Roberts told Porter to “make them disappear,” she wrote in the claim.

Click here to read other allegations of taxpayer money misuse.

Through her complaint, Porter also claims that Roberts pursued an “inappropriate” relationship with Harold Meza, an intern-turned-staffer who acted as Roberts’ chauffeur.

On trips to Brawley and the Colorado River, Roberts and Meza shared a room, Porter said. His chief of staff at the time, Glynnis Vaughan, confronted the supervisor about the situation, telling him it is not right to sleep in the same room as an employee. From that point on, Porter said Roberts sent his hotel booking plans to her personal email.

According to the claim, fellow employees took issue with Meza’s work, but when Vaughan and Porter brought it up to Roberts, “it just turned into Dave telling us how wonderful Harold was and he’s amazing and he’s perfect,” Porter said.

So Vaughan and Porter took their complaints to Human Resources. Later that night, they learned Roberts had been told everything they said. According to Porter, HR first told her she would be transferred elsewhere in the county, but then told her she had to return to work in Roberts’ office.

On April 1, another Roberts' staffer called Porter with a warning. She said Roberts was planning on firing Porter because he blamed her for the problems in the office. The staffer told Porter she was offered the official deputy chief of staff position with a pay raise, and in exchange, she would have to go to HR and tell them Porter's reports were a lie.

Instead Porter resigned on April 14.

The county’s board of supervisors has declined to comment on the accusations, but it did say earlier this week that any settlements with Roberts’ former staffers will be paid by him, not taxpayer dollars.

On Thursday, legal experts told NBC 7 Investigates that if three of the accusations prove to be true, Roberts could face a criminal investigation.

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<![CDATA[GROSS: Rand Paul Staffer Licks Super PAC's Camera]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 16:47:52 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP759153459907.jpg

A New Hampshire staffer for Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul's campaign licked the camera of a Democratic super PAC trying to videotape the candidate on Monday.

A YouTube video posted by the group American Bridge, which is tracking GOP candidate on the trail, shows David Chesley, Paul's New Hampshire political director, staring into the video camera for several seconds before giving the lens a big lick.

Boston Globe political reporter James Pindell was at the event - a Town Hall in Londonderry - and asked Chesley afterward what the lick was all about, but said he got no answer.

Necn has an email in to the Paul campaign seeking comment.



Photo Credit: FILE
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<![CDATA["SNL" Skewers GOP Presidential Candidates]]> Mon, 11 May 2015 04:33:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Ted-Cruz-Bobby-Moynihan-SNL-9-May-2015.jpg

The 2016 presidential election cycle has officially begun — and in the comedy world, that means it's open season on the high-profile politicians clamoring for a shot at the Oval Office.

"Saturday Night Live" skewered Republicans running for the presidential nomination in a skit featuring the Southern Republican Leadership Conference, but Hillary Clinton didn't exactly escape unscathed.

In the cold open sketch, GOP leaders emerged onstage at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference accompanied by over-the-top shoutouts from a DJ (Cecily Strong).

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (Beck Bennett) promised to shred the Obamacare and the IRS like his basslines, while Dr. Ben Carson (Kenan Thompson) likewise promised to do the same.

"Put this guy in prison, because he's about to steal your vote!" the DJ said. "But be careful, because if sexuality works the way he says it does, he might turn gay in there." (For the record, Carson apologized for saying that being gay is a choice.)

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (Bobby Moynihan) entered and ripped off his suit jacket, revealing a fluorescent shirt. Former HP executive Carly Fiorina (a loony Kate McKinnon) one-upped that, riding in on a motorcycle flanked by pyrotechnics.

"Her maiden name is Snead, and she's just got what you need — unless it's foreign policy experience," the DJ said over the blaring hip-hop.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul (Kyle Mooney) rode in a skateboard as the DJ explained his stance on pro-marijuana legalization: "He's a small man who loves small government and fat blunts."

And Florida Sen. Marco Rubio (Taran Killam), who apparently eschewed an undershirt in favor of tanning oil, entered with a bevy of dancers to a background track from Miami rapper Pitbull.

"Won't it be fun to watch all these guys lose to Jeb Bush?!" the DJ says as the candidates gather onstage.

But Weekend Update co-hosts took a few jabs at Democratic favorite Hillary Clinton, too.

"A new poll shows that Hillary Clinton's poll points have dropped two points since she made her campaign official," Michael Che said. "Because for some reason, once a woman tries to make it official, we suddenly lose interest."

And then there was this, also from Che: "Hillary Clinton reportedly met with potential donors for her presidential super PAC, three weeks after she criticized that practice. The super PAC's name is Hillary's Political Action Committee for Democracy, or HiPACracy."



Photo Credit: Broadway Video
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<![CDATA[Coronado to Study Bridge Barrier]]> Wed, 06 May 2015 10:19:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sandiegogeneric_san_diego_generic.jpg

A grassroots effort to add a barrier to prevent people from jumping to their deaths from the Coronado Bay Bridge received the support of the Coronado City Council Tuesday.

The Coronado Bridge Collaborative - Suicide Prevention wants to research barrier options for the iconic bridge that has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country.

Cari McLaughlin’s brother, Bryan Bell, jumped to his death from the span eight months ago. She believes if he was unable to take his own life that day, the family may have been able to get him help.

“He’s not the only one. The day after he did it, somebody was up there,” she said. “It’s just so easily accessible.”

The side rails of the bridge are just 36 inches, she said. McLaughlin also said the phone positioned for those feeling suicidal was not functioning on the day her brother walked across the bridge.

McLaughlin was among the supporters who showed up to the council meeting Tuesday night wearing yellow ribbons and sharing stories of heartache.

Al Molano of Bankers Hill also spoke to the council. His 23-year-old step-daughter, Lisette, suffered from alcohol abuse and depression.

He said he doesn't want to see any other families go through the heartbreak that he and his family have suffered.

"I will do anything to save another life," Molano said. "I can't see how anyone would want to go through this especially when we can prevent this."

Several research projects show suicide barriers have proven successful in not only reducing jumping deaths at the site, but in the surrounding areas, as well.

The vote by the Coronado council gives the project a symbolic head start. Unlike the $76 million project to install nets on the Golden Gate bridge, this one has a long way to go.

There were no details offered on what the barrier would look like or how much it would cost.

San Diego County suicide rates are approximately 20 percent above those statewide, officials reported last year, with an annual increase of six percent each year for three straight years.

The county offers resources for those feeling suicidal thoughts or know someone who is threatening suicide.

Some warning signs of suicide include talking of hurting or killing oneself, increased alcohol or drug use, isolation from family and friends and daring or risk-taking behavior.

For more information click here or call the county's Crisis Hotline at (888) 724-7240.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Faulconer Proposes 7% Hike in City's Budget]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 11:28:54 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mayor-Kevin-Faulconer-030351.jpg

The first of five hearings is scheduled to take place Monday as city officials discuss how public dollars will be used in the next year.

Since the city is expected to bring in more money from sales, property and hotel taxes, Mayor Kevin Faulconer has pledged to dedicate more to public services and maintenance.

The mayor has proposed spending $3.2 billion, seven percent more than the current fiscal year.

Monday’s session in City Council will focus on the budget for police and fire departments.

For years, the San Diego Police Department has been losing trained officers to other departments around the county and state.

Mayor Faulconer wants an increase of $16 million for police, that's a 3.5 percent bump up.

Earlier this year, we already saw one of the largest police academy recruiting classes in several years.

The mayor is also proposing spending an extra $10.5 million on San Diego Fire-Rescue Department providing for overtime and two extra fire academies, that's more than a four percent increase.
 

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<![CDATA[Ex-Christie Aides Plead Not Guilty]]> Mon, 04 May 2015 15:56:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kelly-Baroni.jpg

Two former political allies of Gov. Christie entered not guilty pleas Monday after they were charged for their alleged involvement in politically motivated lane closures of the George Washington Bridge in 2013.

Christie's former deputy chief of staff, Bridget Kelly, and his former top appointee at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, Bill Baroni, entered the pleas through their attorneys in the nine-count indictment unsealed Friday after a yearlong investigation.

"I would never risk my career, my job and my reputation for something like this," Baroni said after the brief court hearing. "I am an innocent man."

Kelly didn't talk to reporters Monday, but said she was also innocent at a news conference on Friday.

Bail for both was set at $150,000 and U.S. District Court Judge Susan Wigenton set a tentative trial date of July 7.

David Wildstein, who went to high school with Christie and later became a top official in the Port Authority, pleaded guilty Friday to two criminal counts. He admitted that he helped plot lane closures in Fort Lee on an approach to the world's busiest bridge as political payback against that community's Democratic mayor for failing to support Christie's re-election campaign.

"If David Wildstein was willing to repeatedly lie to settle a petty political grudge, nobody should be surprised at his eagerness to concoct any story that he thinks will help him stay out of federal prison," said Baroni's lawyer Michael Baldassarre. "We're confident that everyone will see this desperate ploy for exactly what this is."

Kelly's attorney, Michael Critchley, said that the case was built solely on information from Wildstein. He said that her brief appearance with Baroni in court Monday was the longest Kelly and Baroni have ever spent together.

Christie has not been implicated in the criminal case.

The charges provide mixed news for Christie as he tries to regain momentum in support of an expected presidential bid.

Christie appears to have been cleared of any allegations that he personally participated in the scheme, but the charges brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office in New Jersey still hit close to home.

A Monmouth University poll of 500 New Jersey residents conducted from Friday through Sunday and released on Monday found that half believe Christie was personally involved in the decision to close the toll lanes. Sixty-nine percent don't believe he's been completely honest about what he knew.

Less than one in 10 believe the three individuals who've been charged in the scheme were the only ones involved. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points.

Several recent polls have found Christie's job approval rating in the state has also sunk to an all-time low.

Christie's aides and backers hope the developments will allow the governor to put this chapter behind him less than a year before the first presidential primaries, even as legal proceedings have just begun. In many ways, the outcome was the best he could have hoped for — little new information and no names mentioned beyond those Christie had already cut ties to.

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<![CDATA[Sen. Sanders Announces White House Bid]]> Thu, 30 Apr 2015 09:21:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/sanders-announce.jpg U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders discusses his plans to run for the White House in 2016.]]> <![CDATA[San Diego Leaders Head to DC]]> Wed, 29 Apr 2015 10:10:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Myrtle-Cole-0412.jpg Three San Diego City Council members will travel to Washington, D.C., to speak with federal officials and Congressional representatives. They're expected to discuss their "families first" agenda, plus drought and water issues impacting San Diego. NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports on April 29, 2015.]]> <![CDATA[SD Congressional Members Sound Off on Threats, Gridlock]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:50:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/san+diego+congressional+leaders+luncheon.png

NBC 7's Political Reporter Gene Cubbison has this analysis on the dealings of San Diego politicians in Washington, D.C.

San Diego County's Congressional members increasingly find themselves focusing on issues far beyond the timeless mission of "bringing home the bacon" to their constituents.

In an ever-more dangerous world, they’re thinking globally as well as locally – from the prospects of trouble that could rock the world, to the depths of California’s drought crisis.

The dangers to national security posed by rogue states and terrorists both foreign and domestic can take a toll on Beltway sleep patterns.

"In the face of all these new threats and expanding threats, we have to be really competent,” said U.S. Rep. Scott Peters (D-52nd District). “We're fighting new wars. We have to train cyber-warriors. We have to give attention to space that we didn't have to give before."

Peters and three of his four colleagues from the county's Congressional delegation -- representing the world's largest military-industrial complex -- spelled out some of the big challenges to a Monday luncheon audience of nearly 600, hosted by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce members.

Much of the international affairs conversation involved how to deal shrewdly with both friend and foe – and when to say 'no.'

"We do have to rethink foreign policy,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-49th). “We have to stop being in a position in which everyone figures we're going to come in and fight their wars, train them, equip them -- and then they will take these guard posts so long as no one's shooting at them."

Cautioned Rep. Susan Davis (D-53rd): "When we ask people what do they need, and I think this goes for other countries that we're involved in, is finding the level of sharing intelligence that is appropriate. We're not going to share all the intelligence, and in fact they're not bringing all they know to us. But there are ways that we can better do it."

Referring to delicate diplomacy in the explosive Middle East, Rep. Juan Vargas (D-51st District) offered this observation: "ISIS, ISIL, Da'ish -- whatever you want to call them -- that's an issue, but they're not the existential threat to Israel and they're not the threat to us, ultimately. They are, somewhat, but they're not like nuclear Iran. And that's what I say we have to focus on and do a better job. Because I'm not convinced that we got the best deal we could've gotten."

Meantime, with sparks already flying in the 2016 presidential campaign, is Congress really going to get anything substantial done in the 18 months until the election?

The race for 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue figures to be a huge distraction in the halls of Congress – whose approval ratings are bottoming in single-digit trends, as episodes of partisan legislative gridlock abound.

But San Diego’s Capitol Hill delegation say there are still plenty of members with eyes on the prize of bipartisan measure that could be signed into law by the president.

"At this point, if we can get thing to his desk, it's our job to get them there,” Issa told NBC 7 in an interview Monday. “If he's unwilling to negotiate before they get there, if he insists on vetoing something because it's not perfect, that will be his decision."

Said Peters: "I don't go to Washington for the weather. I wouldn't get on the plane every week if I didn't think we could get something done. I think there's a lot of academic agreement about what we should do. It's just, politics is more difficult that the academics."

Vargas’ take: "It's in all of our interests to get things done. So I'm going to be hopeful. I don't think the presidential race will suck all of the oxygen out of the room. Now it could. But I hope it doesn't."

Schedule conflicts prevented Rep. Duncan D. Hunter (R-50th) from attending the Chamber luncheon --but if there's a consensus about the three Democrats and two Republicans representing San Diego, it's about the effective way they work 'across the aisle' to further mutual interests.

Davis and Issa are in their eighth term, Hunter’s in his fourth, and Peters and Vargas in their second.

Cynicism and squabbling among themselves seems at a bare minimum.

The last Congress was only marginally more productive than its predecessor -- which was the worst in history, in terms of “Do Nothing.”

As for the current, 114th Congress?

It hasn't given a real indication that it’ll produce anywhere near the 900-plus laws that the 80th Congress (1947-49) got signed by then-President Truman – the original “Do Nothing Congress” – whose output tripled that of the 114th.

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<![CDATA[WATCH: Obama Jokes at Correspondents' Dinner]]> Sun, 26 Apr 2015 02:09:02 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Obama-White-House-Correspondents-Dinner-1.jpg President Obama poked fun at politicians, government officials and himself at this year's White House Correspondents' Dinner.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[City Councilwoman Discusses Retirement Plans]]> Wed, 22 Apr 2015 12:10:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marti+Emerald+Retires+Press+Conference+Generic.jpg

San Diego Councilwoman Marti Emerald elaborated on her decision to retire from City Council at a press conference.

In her announcement Wednesday morning at the Ridgeview Community Gardens, Emerald said she came to the realization after she returned to work after a series of chemotherapy treatments for cancer.

She got back to her office, she said, and looked at all the younger people around her and realized it was time to retire.

"Eight years is really enough," Emerald said. "I've never been a fan of term limits, but I can understand that after eight years, it's easy to get cynical or take things for granted and I never want that to happen."

At her press conference, she announced that her Chief of Staff, Ricardo Flores, would be running for the District 9 seat she has held for nearly seven years once vacated.

She said she wanted to announce her retirement early so as to encourage others to run without having to race against an incumbent.

"But I wanted to make this decision early enough to give Ricardo [Flores] and or anybody else who is running an opportunity to know I'm not in the race so if they're thinking about doing it, they don't have to consider running against me," Emerald said. 

Last September Emerald, who represents Council District 9, confirmed she was battling breast cancer with a message posted to her Facebook page.

The councilwoman said her doctors told her she had an “excellent prognosis for full recovery.” She has remained active in her leadership role since her cancer diagnosis.

Emerald, a former broadcast journalist of 30 years, joined the San Diego City Council in 2008. She represented District 7 until 2012 and has since led District 9.

The College Area resident is currently serving her seventh year as the Chair of the Public Safety & Livable Neighborhoods Committee.

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<![CDATA[Calif. Bill Would Mandate Teens Take CPR Training]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 14:24:32 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CPR-Generic.jpg

A California lawmaker has introduced a bill that would mandate that high school students receive CPR training before they graduate.

AB 319 will be heard in a committee hearing on Wednesday. Assemblyman Freddie Rodriguez, D-Chino, introduced the bill in February.

The bill calls for statewide school districts and charter schools to implement a curriculum on how to perform CPR and using an automated external defibrillator.

This training would be offered in physical education classes or another course needed for students to graduate.

The program would be developed by the American Heart Association or the American Red Cross.

In emphasizing the reason for a law, the bill notes that only 10 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest survive.

“If no CPR is provided or no defibrillation occurs within three to five minutes of collapse, the chances of survival drop,” the bill states.

Two students died in 2006 and 2014 in the Placentia-Yorba Linda School District to sudden cardiac arrest, leading that school district to become the first in the state to implement “hands only” CPR training.



Photo Credit: Friso Gentsch/picture-alliance/d]]>
<![CDATA[Clinton Has Qualms on Trade Deal]]> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 15:16:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/l_apclintonburritox1200.jpg

The second day of her first 2016 campaign visit to New Hampshire found Hillary Clinton at another roundtable, this one at New Hampshire Technical Institute in Concord.

Clinton says community colleges need to reinvent themselves and better market what they offer.

"It's one of the reasons why I really support President Obama's efforts to try to raise the visibility of Community Colleges and make it even more affordable for even more people to go," said Clinton.

Obama's proposal calls for community college to be free.

In contrast, Clinton expressed qualms over the trade deal the Obama administration is negotiating with Pacific nations.

Clinton's campaign previously said she would be closely watching efforts by the administration to complete the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Her comments Tuesday were her first on the subject on the campaign trail.

"We need to build things, too," she said. "We have to do our part in making sure we have the capabilities and skills to be competitive," while getting back to "a much more focused effort, in my opinion, to try to produce those capacities here at home."

Even so, she stopped short of rejecting the Trans-Pacific Partnership - an agreement opposed by many manufacturing unions.

The next stop for Clinton is the Concord home of 94-year-old Mary Louise Hancock, a New Hampshire Democratic Party stalwart who has hosted dozens of Presidential candidates in her living room over the years.

In keeping with Clinton's no media strategy, reporters were held at bay. And it's not just reporters frustrated by the lack of access.

"She is being insulated to the degree that she should not be as a candidate," said independent voter Brian Blackden. "We don't run campaigns in New Hampshire, never have, with one candidate from the party, and it's wrong."

The Clinton campaign doesn't disclose most of her stops - but Hillary Clinton is not difficult to find. Just look for the crowd of people, motorcade of cars and secret service.

Another stop, not on the public schedule, a visit with Democrats at party headquarters where Clinton is warmly supported - though the progressive wing of the party is listening closely and Clinton is responding.

Political analyst Dean Spiliotes says, "She's sounding much more populist, much more progressive. Wall Street supporters for now seem to be kind of okay with that . They see it as a strategic choice that she has to make."

Besides free community college, Clinton now supports same sex marriage as a constitutional right and she is talking about limiting "unaccountable money" in politics.

 

Content from the Associated Press was used in this report.



Photo Credit: AP | Charlie Neibergall]]>
<![CDATA[Nancy Pelosi, California Reps Visit Naval Base SD]]> Mon, 20 Apr 2015 21:20:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/nancy+pelosi+and+Susan+Davis.JPG

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi paid a visit to Naval Base San Diego Monday as she seeks to get a closer look at the needs of the U.S. Navy.

The San Diego stop wraps up Pelosi’s three-week international trip, which included stops in Japan, Korea and Guam.

The California Congresswoman wants to assess the Navy’s requirements as it rebalances resources in the Pacific, positioning 60 percent of its fleet in the world’s biggest ocean.

“Coming full circle as to how we are repositioning toward Asia, re-balancing toward Asia and our role that the state of California places in that, and of course the role that our military and all the services play,” said Pelosi.

She joined fellow U.S. Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters -- both of whom are on the Armed Services Committee -- along with Congressman Juan Vargas, who represents the district where Naval Base San Diego is located.

They met with Vice Admiral Thomas Rowden, the commander of the Naval Surface Forces, as well as representatives of the Fleet and Family Services, which assists Navy families.

The focus was on the needs of the Navy moving forward, the possibility of sequestration toward the end of this year and other budget issues.

"The issue of sequestration is one that everybody was in agreement on," said Pelosi. "We cannot go down that path again. We have to stop. We have to come to some other kind of budget agreement because that is not in furtherance of our national security."

With Fleet and Family Services, the politicians talked about better opportunities for spouses. The military group wants to make it easier for military spouses to qualify for certain jobs through federal requirements that would be valid state to state. Standard teaching credentials would be an example.

“If our sailors out at sea think that there is something wrong at home, they can't perform their jobs,” said Danielle Grayhart, a Navy wife and Ombudsman. “They rely on us and Ombudsman and Fleet and Family Services so they know there is somebody their families can go to to have their backs.”

Following the meetings, Pelosi and the Congressional members toured USS Coronado, one of the Navy's newest combat ships.
 

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<![CDATA[City Sidewalk Liability Now Under Review]]> Fri, 24 Apr 2015 16:24:14 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/san+diego+city+sidewalk.jpg

There are 5,000 miles of sidewalks in the city of San Diego, and all too many can be unsafe for strollers, joggers, cyclists and skateboarders.

Who should pay for upkeep and repairs – not to mention medical bills, if someone's hurt?

Other California cities target property owners.

Right now, under San Diego City Council policy 200-12, homeowners and landlords share the cost of fixing "trip hazards" with the city.

But it's not a formal law, and a council committee is looking at potential new options.

In San Jose and Sacramento, city governments disclaim any legal responsibility.

NBC 7 took the issue to street level Monday in the Stockton district, where – at the intersection of 30th and K Streets -- we quickly found stretches of sidewalk that seem anything but user-friendly.

"I come through here every morning sometimes 4 or 5 o'clock in the morning, and that can be a hazard, a safety hazard,” said longtime, nearby homeowner Ricardo Donaldson, staring down at a broken stretch of asphalt on the southwest corner.

“So I don't know, between the owner and the city,” Donaldson added hopefully, “I would like to see it fixed.”

Just across the street was a sidewalk upheaved in two places by tree roots from a large, leafy side-yard tree behind the wooden fence of a house to the east -- just waiting to snag the wheels of a baby buggy, maybe a skateboard, or the feet of some schoolkids in a big hurry leaving the King-Chavez Academies.

For law-making purposes, we heard this suggestion from James Wright, who lives near the intersection of 31st and J Streets: “I think it should be 75-25 (percent) … 75 from the city and 25 from the homeowner. My property is damaged. I'm willing to pay for it and get it fixed.”

Wright, a resident of the neighborhood since 1948, lamented the prospect of a future doctor, lawyer or president being paralyzed or brain-damaged by a serious fall on a substandard sidewalk.

”The thing about people now, it's all about suing somebody,” he told NBC 7. “But if you fix it, you can't sue anybody."

Any other ideas that City Hall might put on the table?

"There's one that's been advocated by a professor at UCLA for a long time,” offered Voice of San Diego staff writer Liam Dillon, who’s extensively covered city infrastructure issues, “that as a part of selling your house, there's a point of sale where fixing your sidewalk is a condition of selling your house. So if you do that, you will insure that sidewalks ultimately get fixed. But obviously, that's something that the realtors aren't going to like."

There may, however, be other acceptable options without provoking realtors or lawyers.

Long Beach subsidizes fixing the "worst" sidewalks and curbs in all council districts.

Would voters approve San Diego doing the same, as part of next year's planned “mega-bond” ballot measure?

Council discussion begins Thursday afternoon at City Hall, when the Infrastructure Committee takes up the issue -- and the results of a $1 million, first-ever assessment of city sidewalk conditions.

Ed. note: After this piece aired, a city spokesperson wanted us to clarify that homeowner for sidewalks is actually a state policy. Get information here.



Photo Credit: Gene Cubbison]]>