<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Politics and Political News]]> Copyright 2014 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, 24 Oct 2014 02:54:17 -0700 Fri, 24 Oct 2014 02:54:17 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Questions Raised About UT's "Slippery" Editorial]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 18:58:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carl-DeMaio-1017_1.jpg

Controversial and highly disputed emails provided to NBC 7 Investigates include statements from Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio where he appears to be bragging about his campaign writing a UT San Diego editorial that was highly critical of DeMaio’s opponent and had a “UT San Diego editorial board” byline.

Former DeMaio staffer Todd Bosnich said he and campaign spokesman Dave McCulloch were the authors of an editorial entitled “Scott Peters and the Mount Soledad Shuffle.”

Bosnich accused DeMaio of improper sexual conduct in an interview with CNN on October 10. The DeMaio campaign says Bosnich was fired for plagiarism.

Bosnich now tells NBC 7 Investigates that he and McCulloch were the actual authors of a December 2013 editorial, which blamed Peters for San Diego's pension crisis and questioned the sincerity of Peters’ support for the veterans’ memorial on Mount Soledad.

“I worked with Dave on it,” Bosnich said. “So it was, basically, the two of us who wrote it.”

The December 2013 editorial says that “The newly renewed debate over the Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial — and how Rep. Scott Peters, D-San Diego, actually feels about it — isn’t just a tiff over trivia. Instead, it’s a revealing reminder that Peters has a history of being both slippery and insubstantive.”

UT San Diego Editor-in-Chief and Vice-President Jeff Light told NBC 7 Investigates that the editorial was written by a UT San Diego editorial writer and no one else.

“My only on the record comment would be that this story is absolutely, categorically false, and NBC knew that before broadcasting it,” Light said.

The emails provided to NBC 7 indicate that after the editorial ran, McCulloch reached out to a consultant, other campaign staff and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) boasting that “UT San Diego scorched Peters over the Soledad Cross today, saying ‘Peters has a history of being both slippery and insubstantive’ and that ‘rewriting his own history and ducking responsibility for his actions have always come easy to Scott Peters.’"

In response, Alleigh Marree of the NRCC said: “This is great. Will be able to use these lines A LOT.”

In the email thread provided to NBC 7 Investigates, DeMaio wrote back, “Well, we did wrote (sic) it ourselves.”

William Osborne, editorial/opinion director of UT San Diego, told NBC 7 Investigates that UT San Diego editorial writer Chris Reed wrote the editorial. According to Osborne, the DeMaio campaign claimed the email thread had been fabricated.

“If that email is authentic, I cannot explain it and won’t speculate,” Osborne said. “I can only tell you that Carl DeMaio personally denied to me that he wrote it and said it (the email) was a ‘fabrication.’”

Bosnich said the email thread was not altered in any way, adding that the editorial appeared almost “exactly word for word” as he and McCulloch wrote it.

NBC 7 Investigates provided the email thread with the metadata, information that describes content and context of data files, to a cyber-security expert for review. Stephen Cobb, a senior security researcher at ESET, said the metadata and emails looked genuine.

NBC 7 Investigates watched Bosnich pull up the email from his Gmail server, which the cyber-security expert said would leave zero doubt about the validity of the contents of the emails.

Bosnich also allowed NBC 7 to go through the emails in his Gmail account to show nothing was forged or altered on the thread in question or in other campaign emails in the news.

In response to questions for this article, McCulloch declined to comment.

“We had an extremely cozy relationship with the UT San Diego that always struck me as something that was frankly unethical,” Bosnich said, adding that Reed regularly stopped by DeMaio campaign headquarters, “just to say a friendly ‘hi.’"

After the original version of this story posted, Reed tweeted: "Claim that I "regularly stopped" by DeMaio headquarters 100 percent false." He added in the tweet: "Never there once. And I wrote that edit."

“There’s nothing new about a partisan newspaper, but the length the UT would go always shocked me,” Bosnich said.

By contrast, Peters’ campaign aides said that starting in June 2013 the UT San Diego editorial board would not accept any op-ed articles from their campaign because the newspaper already considered Peters a candidate for re-election.

Peters’ campaign manager provided NBC 7 Investigates with a copy of an August 2014 email thread that discussed an op-ed submitted for consideration by Ed Lorenzen, a Peters supporter.

“Thanks, Ed, but we will not be able to use it,” Osborne replied to Lorenzen. “We have a policy of not using unsolicited op-eds supporting one candidate or another this close to an election.”

The “slippery” line from the anti-Peters editorial was later used in a television campaign ad against Peters, who appears in the ad as a cartoon character driving a convertible BMW with an announcer saying: "Why did the press call Congressman Scott Peters 'slippery?'"

McCulloch did not provide to NBC 7 Investigates any emails or documents that back up his position that the emails provided by Bosnich had been altered, falsified or fabricated.

Osborne also did not provide copies of edited versions of the editorial or internal discussions that would indicate Reed wrote the piece.

But before this piece published, Light created a website with links to a UT San Diego news article, the editorial in question and an email from McCulloch. The website included a full statement from Light about Bosnich’s claim:

“The claim that DeMaio's operatives were the secret authors of an editorial about Scott Peters' record on the Mt. Soledad issue is false. The editorial was written by Chris Reed, whose distinctive style is evident throughout the piece. Reed was responding in part to an email from DeMaio campaign spokesman Dave McCullouch. The editorial argues the same points raised in McCullouch's email, but there is no ethical (sic) breech there. The editorial board is lobbied daily by partisans of all stripes. As a matter of course, the editorial writers promote the arguments they agree with and attempt to refute the rest. Our writers do their own writing and their own research. Anyone familiar with Chris Reed's formidable intellect and scrupulous character would be struck by how utterly preposterous this claim is. There was nothing untoward about the process on the Soledad editorial. The claim that it was authored by DeMaio's team is bogus.”

Ed. Note: We updated this article to clarify William Osborne's response to the DeMaio email thread and to include Chris Reed's response that he has never been to DeMaio's HQ.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Rivals Debate in NH Senate Race]]> Wed, 22 Oct 2014 10:06:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/vlcsnap-2014-10-21-21h11m54s10.jpg

Scott Brown continued to hammer away at Democrat Jeanne Shaheen's record in Washington as the incumbent repeatedly accused her Republican opponent of fear mongering during a debate in New Hampshire's U.S. Senate race Tuesday.

Brown accused Shaheen of "outsourcing independence" by voting for policies backed by President Barack Obama. Shaheen, meanwhile, sought to distance herself from the president, who has low approval ratings in New Hampshire.

"In some ways I approve, in some ways I don't approve," of the president's decisions, Shaheen said when asked to answer "yes or no" if she approves of Obama's job in office.

The latest efforts to contain and prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus in the United States also became a hot topic, as Brown pushed for a travel ban from West Africa. Shaheen reiterated a comment from a day earlier that she would consider one if it would make a difference. That position was a reversal from last week, when she said she didn't think the idea "makes sense." 

The Democratic incumbent accused her rival of fear mongering on the Ebola virus, border security and the threat of terrorism posed by ISIS.

The two rivals remain locked in a close race as they headed into Tuesday's televised debate, which was hosted by New England Cable News, the Concord Monitor and the University of New Hampshire. A recent WMUR Granite State poll showed Shaheen leading her GOP challenger 44 percent to 38 percent among likely voters at the start of the month. Seventeen percent remained undecided.

The competitive race has attracted campaign cash and headlines from across the country, as one of several competitive seats Republicans are targeting in their bid to win control of the U.S. Senate in the Nov. 4 midterm elections.

Chuck Todd, NBC's "Meet the Press" host, moderated the debate from the Capitol Center for the arts in Concord.

Shaheen said she was proud of her vote for the Obama's landmark heath care overhaul, the Affordable Care Act, while Brown insisted Granite Staters wanted to repeal Obamacare.

Sparks also flew on the topics of immigration and border security.

"The border is secure when people don't come across it," Brown said to the applause of supporters after Todd asked him to define a secure border.

Shaheen attacked Brown's record on abortion rights, which he says he supports; Brown, while senator for Massachusetts, supported the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed any employer with moral objections to opt out of requiring to cover birth control in 2012.

When Brown said Shaheen was anti-nuclear as the subject of rising energy costs came up, she countered, "No, I'm not!"

Brown suggested repeatedly that Shaheen backs a new national energy tax, an assertion PolitiFact has deemed "mostly false."

In a final lightning round, Shaheen said her priority after being re-elected would be to refinance student loans; Brown said he would push the U.S. Senate to come up with a budget. Both declined to say they'd back their respective party heads in the Senate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, for another term in leadership. 

Barbs were also thrown after Brown defended his decision to run in New Hampshire this year instead of seeking to win back the Massachusetts seat he lost to Democrat Elizabeth Warren in 2012 by saying he didn't run "because I live here." 

"I don't think New Hampshire is a consolation prize," Shaheen said.


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<![CDATA[Death Threat Made to Daughter of Prop 46. Co-Author]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 11:49:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/lafile-proposition-prop-46-bob-pack-carmen.jpg

The co-author of a California ballot proposition says he will continue to support the initiative despite receiving a death threat against his young daughter.

Bob Pack confirmed to NBC4 that he and his wife, Carmen, recently received a phone call at their San Francisco Bay Area home in which the caller warned the couple that if they didn't withdraw their support for Prop. 46 serious harm would come to their 8-year-old daughter.

Prop 46 would increase the cap on pain and suffering damages in medical negligence lawsuits from $250,000 to over $1 million.

The measure would also require California doctors to undergo drug and alcohol testing and would force health care practitioners to look at a state prescription drug history database before prescribing some controlled substances.

"I absolutely believe in Prop 46 and we will keep fighting right to the end for it despite these kinds of episodes taking place," Pack said. "The sheriff's and Attorney General's Office is currently handling it and we will go on with our march of Prop. 46 and do what we need to do."

The Contra Costa County Sheriff's Department said they have identified the caller as a 41-year-old man from Concord. He has not been arrested, but sheriff's officials have sent their report to the district attorney's office for possible prosecution.

Pack and his wife got involved in Prop. 46 as a result of a crash that took place a decade ago, when a woman addicted to prescription drugs blacked out while driving and struck and killed the couple's two young children.

Among other provisions, Prop. 46 would require doctors to check a database before prescribing drugs to a patient.

The ballot measure has received the support of Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-California).

"There isn't one part of this initiative that isn't common sense," Boxer said.

Opponents of Prop. 46 argue that it will add millions of dollars in costs to health coverage in California.

"We join with the Pack family in condemning this act by clearly a troubled individual," said Michael Bustamante, the No on 46 campaign spokesman. "This has no place in any campaign, it certainly has nothing to do, no connection whatsoever with our campaign."

<![CDATA[CA Voter Registration Now Offered in 10 Languages]]> Tue, 21 Oct 2014 06:15:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/votehere.jpg

Californians voting in the Nov. 4 election will have eight new languages to choose from when registering online.

Aside from English and Spanish, Californians will now be able to choose between Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai and Vietnamese, according to a statement from Asian American’s Advancing Justice Los Angeles.

In 2012, about 58 percent of Asians and Latinos were registered to vote in California, as opposed to 72 percent of non-Hispanic whites and 69 percent of African Americans, according to Advancing Justice.

The legal and civil rights group hopes the new languages offered online will boost participation “among Asian Americans and Latinos in California who tend to have relatively low voter registration rates.”

Registrants will need a California driver's license or identification card, the last four digits of their social security card number, and date of birth.

Monday, Oct. 20 is the last day to register to vote in November. Those interested in registering can do so by clicking this link.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[City Council Approves Mandatory Water Restrictions]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 22:09:19 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/web_prosper_water_restrictions.jpg

As parched California continues to run dry, the San Diego City Council hopes to increase the region’s conservation through mandatory water restrictions, voted into action Monday.

Under the Level 2 Drought Alert, city leaders aim to cut water use by 20 percent, a goal laid out in January by Gov. Jerry Brown. Right now, the city is saving only 4 percent with voluntary measures in place, Councilmember David Alvarez says.

The mandatory rules, which include restrictions on watering lawns, washing vehicles and using fountains, go into effect Nov. 1.

Most of the water keeping San Diego’s plants alive comes from the State Water Project, where supply is running low, according to Brent Eidson, deputy director of the Water Department’s External Affairs.

The city is only allowed to import five percent of its usual amount, so it is relying heavily on storage. The restrictions are an attempt to ease that burden, officials say.

Under the mandatory rules, you will be limited to watering your yard three days a week. From January to October, each watering can be ten minutes a day, but November through May, it drops down to seven minutes.

Odd-numbered addresses will water Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even-numbered addresses will water Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Apartments, condominiums and businesses are allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Vehicle washing will be restricted to before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., while you can water potted plants, gardens and fruit trees before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m.

You are required to use hoses with automatic shut-off nozzles or timed sprinkler systems. All ornamental fountains must be turned off.

According to Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who supports the restrictions, ten city employees will be charged with implementing them.

“Our first steps are education,” said Eidson. “If we find folks are still not complying, then we do have the opportunity to levy fines outside of your regular water bill.”

The last time the city adopted Level 2 drought measures was from 2009 to 2011. During those two years, only one fine was levied.

Still, some believe the city is taking the restrictions too far because neighbors are already using less.

“I do think they’re already taking it upon themselves,” said North Park resident Elba Galindo. “I don’t think a law should be made or any type of enforcement.”

City officials argue that conserving now is critical because if San Diego uses more than it is allowed, its wholesalers could cut back on what they sell, making water more expensive for all residents.

To help households, the city published a pamphlet titled "24 Ways to Save Hundreds of Gallons of Water Every Week." 

Here are some of the suggestions: 

  • Replace regular shower heads with low-flow shower heads
  • Keep showers less than 5 minutes
  • Never let water run while brushing your teeth or shaving
  • Hand wash dishes just once a day
  • Never use hot running water to defrost frozen food
  • Only run dishwashers when fully loaded
  • Never wash less than a full load of laundry
  • Use a cover over a pool to cut down evaporation
  • Never hose down your patio or balcony, but instead use a broom

The San Diego County Water Authority activated mandatory conservation in July, calling all residents to save 20 percent of their water.

Those restrictions are the same as the city's, plus a few more. The county requires residents to eliminate runoff from irrigation systems, hotels to offer guests the option of not laundering towels and linens daily, restaurants to serve water only when asked and construction crews to use recycled or non-potable water when available.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[No Charges in DeMaio Sexual Harassment Allegations]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 20:37:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DeMaio-Carl-1017_2.jpg

There will be no charges filed in the allegations of sexual harassment involving a San Diego congressional candidate, officials announced Monday.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office and Chief of Police announced the decision not to file charges in the allegations of harassment made by a former staffer against Republican Carl DeMaio who is running for the 52nd District seat against Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters.

Former DeMaio staffer, Todd Bosnich, said he was subjected to unwelcome touching and repeated sexual harassment while working on the congressional campaign for the former San Diego city councilman and 2012 mayoral candidate.

On Oct. 10, Bosnich released polygraph results that supported his claims that DeMaio sexually harassed him.

DeMaio called Bosnich "clearly troubled" and said the former campaign worker "manufactured a story" to cover for a plagiarism incident earlier in the year.

On Monday, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office announced it has completed its review of the sexual harassment claims against the candidate. The DA’s office said there is not enough evidence to press charges.

"This is a happy day," said DeMaio. "This confirms what I was told long ago — not a shred of merit to these allegations."

At the same time, both offices said there would be no charges in the DeMaio campaign headquarters break-in. DeMaio had alleged that Bosnich was responsible for the break-in.

“The San Diego Police Department’s investigations of these matters have been very thorough, objective and professional. SDPD committed significant resources to the investigations and no stone was left unturned,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in part in a statement Monday.

SDPD Chief Shelley Zimmerman said, "Both the alleged burglary to Carl DeMaio’s campaign office and the allegations of sexual misconduct against Carl DeMaio were taken seriously and investigated thoroughly by the San Diego Police Department."

Bosnich's attorneys released a statement Monday, saying their client is pleased the DA has cleared him.

“As a hopeful for public office, it has always been disappointing that despite the lack of evidence noted by the District Attorney, Mr. DeMaio attempted to convict Todd of a crime he did not commit in the public eye," the statement read.

For his part, DeMaio said he was "disappointed that not enough evidence existed beyond a reasonable doubt to convict him of his crime against the campaign."

Also Monday, several sources told NBC 7 that FBI agents were questioning potential witnesses in connection with anonymous emails sent to Bosnich.

A source close to the investigation told NBC7 Investigates the emails threatened Bosnich's political career and put pressure on him to accept the $50,000, saying "you better keep your mouth shut and take the deal."

In an interview with CNN, Bosnich claims that after he confronted DeMaio regarding inappropriate behavior in the workplace he was offered a position with the San Diego County Republican Party, instructed to sign a nondisclosure agreement and offered a payment of $50,000.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[FBI Investigating DeMaio Accusations ]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 13:14:10 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

Anonymous emails, sent to the former staffer who accused Republican congressional candidate Carl DeMaio of sexual harassment, are the subject of FBI agent interviews with potential witnesses, sources have confirmed to NBC7 Investigates.

DeMaio is locked in a nasty, raging battle against first-term incumbent Rep. Scott Peters for the 52nd Congressional District.

In a CNN interview, the former DeMaio staffer, Todd Bosnich, said he was subjected to unwelcome touching and repeated sexual harassment while working on the congressional campaign for the former San Diego city councilman and 2012 mayoral candidate.

DeMaio says those claims are "outrageous lies."

In a June interview with KFMB’s Mike Slater, Bosnich also said both he and his mother had received threatening and harassing anonymous emails

On Friday, Bosnich's attorney declined to release any emails.

But several sources close to the investigation told NBC7 that FBI agents and a lawyer from the U.S. Attorney's office asked questions focused on the accusation the Bosniches had received harassing emails, and an alleged hack of his Gmail account.

The investigators also inquired about Bosnich’s claim that he was offered $50,000 to sign a non-disclosure agreement.

A source close to the investigation told NBC7 Investigates the emails threatened Bosnich's political career and put pressure on him to accept the $50,000, saying "you better keep your mouth shut and take the deal."

FBI spokesman Darrell Foxworth said his agency does not confirm or deny the existence of an investigation.

DeMaio says Bosnich is "clearly troubled" and has "manufactured a story" to cover for a plagiarism incident. DeMaio addressed Bosnich's sexual harassment allegations Oct. 8 prior to the airing of the CNN report. DeMaio said that Bosnich had been involved in vandalism at a campaign headquarters just six days before the June primary. DeMaio said Bosnich fabricated the sexual allegations in order to divert attention away from what he says what his attack on the campaign office.

“It’s unfortunate, you know, that an individual who is the prime suspect to the break-in in our campaign office would manufacture such an outrageous lie — but again, all the evidence that was collected by the police department clearly indicated this individual was the prime suspect. And it’s unfortunate, but we will continue to allow the district attorney to proceed with her case, and weighing the case, to prosecute for the break-in of our office,” DeMaio said. 

Police have not named any suspects in the break-in case. 

The DeMaio campaign office in Miramar was  broken into on May 28. Computer screens were smashed, cords and cables were cut, gas cards were stolen and water was poured over laptops, printers and copiers.

DeMaio also announced on NBC 7’s Sunday show “Politically Speaking” that a book containing campaign strategy documents was stolen during the May 28 break-in, and that the Peters campaign somehow received the book after the break-in.

Peters said he turned the material over to police within 24 hours of receiving it. His campaign added that nothing was contained in the stolen material that wasn’t already broadcast on social media.

On Oct. 8, DeMaio told reporters that San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman assured him he was cleared in the sexual allegations investigation. Zimmerman would not confirm this to NBC7.

"Reports of any criminal activity received by the San Diego Police Department are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly," SDPD Lt. Kevin Mayer said. "Once an investigation is complete, it is turned over to the District Attorney's office for review at which point we do not provide further comment about the names of potential victims, witnesses or alleged suspects."

<![CDATA[52nd District Candidates Campaign Amid Controversy]]> Sun, 19 Oct 2014 13:55:26 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/demaio_peters_pic_1200x675_344379971996.jpg The California’s 52nd District Congressional seat is one of the most contentious races in the country. Congressman Scott Peters and challenger Carl DeMaio are locked in a tight race that's been rocked by scandal this week. NBC 7’s Liberty Zabala reports. ]]> <![CDATA[DeMaio's Campaign Manager Red Flags Black, Young People]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 20:08:04 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/DemaiocampaignemailsUSETHIS.jpg

Republican challenger for the 52nd Congressional District Carl DeMaio has pledged to take on his own Republican Party to be more inclusive and accepting of diversity.

But Friday, a national conservative political action committee called for the resignation of DeMaio’s campaign manager for his comment about black people.

An internal campaign email obtained by NBC 7 to DeMaio’s staff from Campaign Manager Tommy Knepper offers tools for spotting a “tracker” – a person attending campaign events to catch a candidate saying or doing something that could be used against him.

Some red flags, Knepper wrote: being young and being black.

“We were hugely disappointed and frankly disgusted with the campaign manager there in California 52nd District and the comments he made about black people,” said Ali Akbar, a senior adviser to the board of the Black Conservative Fund, which said Knepper should resign.

In the email thread, DeMaio immediately responds by saying “drop black from the criteria.”

On Friday, NBC7 received an apology statement from Knepper.

“I apologize for my inappropriate and offensive comments, which do not reflect me or my values or the values of this campaign,” he said. “We value the support from all San Diegans in this election.”

Not enough, says Akbar.

"We want to see him step down. We want to see him terminated immediately. We don’t want to see him finish out this last stretch of the campaign,” Akbar said, adding that he was relieved that the attitude did not trickle up to the candidate.

“We were pleased to see that the candidate (DeMaio) in principle spurned him (Knepper) inside of that email, but it’s really wholly unnecessary to ‘red flag’ black attendees, and for that matter youth attendees, to GOP events,” Akbar said. “We need to be a party of inclusion.”

During a taping of NBC 7's "Politically Speaking" segment with candidates DeMaio and incumbent Scott Peters, DeMaio had little to say in response to questions about the email.

When asked by NBC7’s political expert Gene Cubbison what was up with the profiling of oppo trackers as young African Americans, DeMaio said:

“This is the dysfunction of politics. This doesn’t get anyone a job and that’s what San Diegans have told me they want me to focus on,” DeMaio said. “This doesn’t fix our financial crisis in our nation.”

Akbar says if Knepper isn’t off the payroll by Monday, his organization is going to be asking with his pocket book.

You can watch the entire “Politically Speaking” episode on Sunday at 9 a.m. right after “Meet the Press.”

<![CDATA[DeMaio Campaign Book Falls Into Hands of Peters' Staff]]> Mon, 20 Oct 2014 10:40:34 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/carl+demaio+scott+peters.JPG

A new bombshell dropped Friday in the race for California’s 52nd Congressional District when both candidates confirmed a Carl DeMaio campaign strategy book, allegedly stolen during an office break-in, found its way into the hands of incumbent Scott Peters’ staff.

It is the latest revelation in an already ugly race peppered with attack ads and sexual harassment allegations.

The two had a chilly meeting Friday morning at a taping of NBC 7’s Politically Speaking, as DeMaio walked right by Peters’ hand outstretched for a handshake.

During the session, DeMaio discussed the burglary and vandalism at his campaign headquarters on May 28. Cords and cables were cut, water was poured over laptops and printers, computer screens were smashed in and one important item was taken: DeMaio’s campaign playbook.

The candidate confronted Peters about the book on “Politically Speaking.”

“And Mr. Peters, I just want to ask a very simple question. Did your campaign come into possession of our strategy book, all of our direct mail pieces in the last five months?” asked DeMaio.

Peters responded with: “In early June, information was forwarded to our campaign which we immediately turned over to the police.”

DeMaio pressed the issue, asking Peters why he did not let his opponent’s campaign know that he had seen DeMaio’s playbook all along.

“I’ve obviously never seen it,” said Peters. “We turned it directly over to the police within 24 hours of getting it because what was contained in it was potentially part of a criminal investigation.”

He added his campaign manager “looked at it enough to know what it was.”

On Friday evening, Peters' Communication Director Alex Roth sent out the following statement about the revelation:

"To clarify, we do not know what a campaign playbook is; nor has our campaign ever received anything that could be characterized as 'a campaign playbook' as Mr. DeMaio called it. To reiterate, our campaign staff received information in early June that we immediately transmitted in its entirety to the police.This is nothing more than an attempt by Mr. DeMaio to divert attention away from the Filner-esque sexual harassment allegations that have been made against him.”

During the show's taping, Peters said he felt as if he had been cast as the perpetrator of the break-in, which was portrayed with Watergate-like overtones when it first happened.

DeMaio told his opponent he does not believe Peters had anything to do with the burglary.

Instead, he blames former aide Todd Bosnich.

Bosnich has publicly accused DeMaio of sexually harassing him while he worked for the former San Diego City Councilman, releasing the results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims.

Called the allegations “outrageous lies,” DeMaio said Bosnich is trying to get revenge for being fired as a suspect in the break-in.

However, the candidate said he will not take a polygraph exam to rebut Bosnich’s allegations.

CNN reports Bosnich's lawyers sent the news outlet the results to a second polygraph test Friday in which Bosnich was asked if he broke into the campaign headquarters last May. The test shows Bosnich's "no" answers were "truthful and found "no deception."

Bosnich confirmed the story to NBC 7 via text message.

DeMaio's spokesman David McCulloch defended the candidate, saying in a statement, "Both Carl DeMaio and Tommy Knepper — named in a series of vile smear attacks — have taken lie detector tests that have shown these smears are baseless. Meanwhile, Mr. Peters admitted on NBC7/39 this morning that his campaign received stolen property from our campaign — begging the question: who provided this sensitive campaign material?"  

McCulloch later clarified that statement that the lie detector test taken by DeMaio was one in August 2013 after a former colleague accused DeMaio of lewd acts in San Diego's City Hall.

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<![CDATA[San Diego Voter's Guide 2014 November Election]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:10:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/10-13-2014-decision-2014-election-blurb.jpg

Use the guide below to view your ballot for the 2014 November election. Mobile users, click here to access the ballot lookup feature.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Faulconer Defends Water Habits]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 12:17:13 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mayor-Kevin-Faulconer-030351.jpg

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer is pushing back on reports he's using too much water at his home.

The Center for Investigative Reporting says Faulconer's water usage was 20 percent higher than the state average in 2013.

But the mayor's office said Wednesday that data was from the time before conservation limits were imposed by the state.

In the first six months of this year, they said Faulconer and his family reduced their water usage by more than 18 percent.

Read the CIR report on California officials and their water use here.

<![CDATA[Campaign Ad Featuring James Foley Pulled]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 09:58:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_james_foley_ejecucion_isis_syria.jpg

A conservative ad campaign that featured James Foley, the New Hampshire journalist slain by ISIS, moments before his execution, will be pulled, the group responsible for the ad said.

Secure America Now President Allen Roth said in a statement that his group didn't intend to upset Foley's family with the ad attacking Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and that they "apologize for any pain we inadvertently caused.“

“It has been brought to our attention that a news report image of American hostage James Foley that appeared in a Secure America Now video has upset his parents, so we have decided to take the video down," the statement continued. “The purpose of the video was to draw attention to Washington’s failure to secure our borders from real threats by terrorists. That remains our objective and we will continue to engage in this public debate.”

Foley, a Rochester native, was beheaded by Islamic State militants in August, nearly two years after he was kidnapped in Syria. His parents say the ad was "deplorable" and told NECN in an emotional interview that they were demanding that the ad be pulled from New Hampshire.

Secure America Now used the image in a 15-second Internet ad attacking Shaheen, who is locked in a tight race against Republican Scott Brown, and other Democratic incumbents in critical Senate races nationwide.

"It makes me very sad that people would use the brutality of our son's death for their own political purposes," Mrs. Foley said.

Shaheen issued a statement on Wednesday afternoon condemning the ad.

"This is a disgraceful ad that dishonors the memory of a respected journalist and New Hampshire native," she said. "It hurts all who loved and knew Jim, and the people behind this ad owe the Foley family and apology."

According to Elizabeth Guyton, communications director for Scott Brown, Brown said, "This is completely inappropriate and disrespectful to the Foley family.”

Roth says the group did not contact the Foley family before making the ad public.

Secure America Now emphasized that the Foley execution video and the image have been used in other campaigns across the country several different times.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[McCann Files Lawsuit Over Political Flier]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 16:44:35 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/john+mccann+still.jpg

Chula Vista City Council candidate John McCann filed a lawsuit today against a trade union he says defamed him in a political mailer.

McCann claims the San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, distributed the mailer last week saying he was “sentenced for felony.”

McCann served on the Sweetwater School District board with four other members who were convicted in a widespread corruption scandal that included Sweetwater District president Jim Cartmill. He was the only member not indicted.

“Chula Vista deserves better,” McCann said at a press conference on Thursday. “The negative campaign that the special interests that are supporting my opponent and my opponent’s negative campaign is something that is turning people off.”

He is running against former Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla in the City Council race. Padilla said he received the mailer and didn't see anything inaccurate.

"I think what this entire lawsuit and press conference says is that John is running from his time at Sweetwater," he said. "Just because he was not indicted does not mean he wasn’t part of the culture of corruption in this community."

McCann said he wants to focus on other issues in the area, such as his controversial plan to put a two-month moratorium on the toll on State Road 125.

<![CDATA[Escondido Denies Appeal for Unaccompanied Minor Shelter ]]> Thu, 16 Oct 2014 09:15:11 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/escondido+city+council+immigrant+shelter+hearing.JPG

The Escondido City Council denied an appeal for a proposed undocumented immigrant children shelter after hearing nearly 100 impassioned pleas from both sides Wednesday.

Seeking a full council vote, the American Civil Liberties Union was appealing the planning commission's rejection of a conditional use permit for the project.

In July, nonprofit Southwest Key proposed turning the Palomar Continuing Care Center — a now-defunct nursing home in southwest Escondido — into a 96-bed facility to house unaccompanied immigrant children while their cases go through court.

The temporary shelter would help deal with an influx of minors from Central America entering the U.S. illegally.

The planning commission refused to grant the permit needed in mid-July, citing concerns over noise, safety and the type of traffic it could cause. The ACLU filed its appeal on behalf of Southwest Key just two weeks later.

The council’s chamber was packed Wednesday night with about 250 residents, more than four times the number of people who attend the average meeting at City Hall. About 100 of those attendees signed up to lend their voice to the issue.

But first, the ACLU made its argument, saying that the shelter would bring in $8 million a year to Escondido and provide about 100 new jobs as local businesses sell goods and services to Southwest Key.

"The federal government pays all of the costs. There are no indirect costs. Children do not enroll in local schools, all medical care and all necessary services are paid for under the federal contract," said David Loy, the ACLU’s San Diego legal director.

He said there is more than enough parking at the facility and there is no evidence of noise and traffic issues, calling the concerns “red herrings.”

After Loy was questioned by the council, residents began taking the microphone, expressing opinions on both sides of the issue.

“We refuse to give in or bend to the government at any level of the body politic throughout America,” said one speaker. “If I have it my way, I will deport each and every one of them and not even bat an eye if they are babies or toddlers or old men or women.”

“We who have the means are called to be a shelter for those who need refuge,” said another resident. “We of all faiths and no faiths are called to compassion. We have the opportunity to open our hearts to children, remember children afraid, defenseless, and in danger.”

While Deputy Mayor Olga Diaz sided with the ACLU, the rest of the council agreed with the planning commission’s initial assessment: an immigrant shelter does not belong at that location.

A formal decision will soon be submitted by the council. Loy said how it's written will determine if the ACLU will file another appeal.

<![CDATA[Accusations Fly in Ads for Peters, DeMaio]]> Fri, 17 Oct 2014 15:00:56 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Demaio-Peters-Congressional.jpg

With 20 days left before Election Day, accusations between the candidates for California’s 52nd Congressional District are heating up, with Democrat incumbent Scott Peters claiming Republican challenger Carl DeMaio crossed an ethical line.

At a press conference Wednesday, Peters said an ad on behalf of DeMaio suggests the current congressman did something illegal. The issue comes a week after DeMaio accused Peters of running ads that were false and deceptive.

“It’s an assault on my integrity, my wife’s integrity. It almost suggests illegal behavior,” Peters said.

He called on DeMaio to speak out against the campaign ad, which was paid for by the Republican Party, just as he spoke out about a video run on his behalf by the Democratic Party.

“The one with kids holding up signs, and I objected to them using kids,” said Peters. “I thought it was the wrong thing.”

DeMaio told NBC 7 the ad in question was paid for by a political action committee and was not approved by him.

The Republican added he is prohibited by law from getting involved with the PACs.

“What I will say is I don’t believe these outside super PACs are healthy things for politics,” said DeMaio, “but this is outrageous. Mr. Peter is running ads under his own control, falsely accusing me.”

He claimed Peters is trying to portray him as a Tea Party extremist who wants to cut Medicare and is against student loans and equal pay for equal work.

“For him to stand in front of a camera and say he’s an innocent bystander here is breathtaking, and it’s what we see from politicians,” said DeMaio. “They say one thing and do another. My ads are all positive and I’m proud of that.”

According to Peters, people can come after him on his record because in a campaign, voters have to contrast the candidates and understand their differences.

“There’s nothing illegal about being in the Tea Party. It’s not an assault on his integrity. What I’m saying is that’s a fair attack” said Peters. “If he said my political views are extreme, if he said I was a communist, that would not be an attack on my personal integrity. That would not be suggesting he’s breaking the law. That why that’s different.”

As for those who want the whole truth and nothing but the truth, both candidates say voters should look closely at their political records.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Scott Peters Has "No Comment" on DeMaio Allegations]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:12:36 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PetersRAWSOT_1200x675_343096387968.jpg U.S. Rep. Scott Peters was asked about recent allegations made against his challenger, Carl DeMaio, accusing the former City Councilman of sexual harassment. NBC 7's Rory Devine asks Peters to comment on the claims. ]]> <![CDATA[Carl DeMaio Responds to Sexual Harassment Claim]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 15:10:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/CarlRAWSOT_1200x675_343097411552.jpg Candidate for the 52nd District Congressional seat Carl DeMaio talks with NBC 7's Rory Devine on Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014 in response to sexual harassment allegations made by a former employee.]]> <![CDATA[First Pot Shop Permit Approved in San Diego]]> Wed, 15 Oct 2014 11:52:29 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marijuana-Dispensary-Owners.jpg A college professor holds the permit for the first legal marijuana dispensary in the City of San Diego. NBC 7's Matt Rascon reports.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[NH Lawmaker Calls Congresswoman "Ugly as Sin"]]> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 16:22:59 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/Steve+Vaillancourt.jpg

Candidates for New Hampshire's 2nd Congressional District are speaking out after a state lawmaker described one of them as "ugly as sin."

The story has gained national attention and has both candidates denouncing the remarks. Republican state Representative Steven Vaillancourt wrote a blog post on Friday after he says he saw a poll that claimed more attractive candidates have the upper hand with voters.

In the blog, he wrote, "Does anyone not believe that Congressman Annie Kuster is as ugly as sin?"

Vaillancourt then compared her to a drag queen.

"Look, it's rude and offensive," Congresswoman Kuster said. "But I have a thick skin."

Kuster's Republican challenger, Marilinda Garcia, said the post was just plain mean.

"She doesn't deserve to be treated that way," Garcia said.

Congresswoman Kuster said Vaillancourt's comments reflect a broader issue with the Republican Party.

"I am more frustrated with the positions they stand for, and frankly, that leads to an environment where people say disrespectful things," Kuster said.

Garcia said she is frustrated that exactly three weeks before the election, the conversation has turned to this.

"Looks and appearance seem to supersede commentary and observation and the other things that are more important," Garcia said.

In Vaillancourt's blog, he called Garcia, "One of the most attractive women on the political scene anywhere."

Garcia, who has worked with Vaillancourt during her four terms as a state representative, said the comments are not surprising and she is not at all flattered.

"He certainly is an equal opportunity offender," Garcia said.

NECN tried to reach Vaillancourt for comment, but no one answered when crews knocked at his Manchester home. He later sent an email referring NECN to his latest blog entry, which was posted Monday evening. Vaillancourt answers reporters' questions about whether or not he stands by his statements, writing, "Stand by the fact that Ms. Garcia is better looking than Ms. Kuster? If the reporters themselves don't see that, then they should question their own abilities to function."

In that same blog, Vaillancourt makes it clear, none of this is about supporting his party affiliation. In fact, he went on to criticize Republican gubernatorial candidate Walt Havenstein and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

"Anyone who has followed what I've written (more than 500 posts this past year) knows that neither looks nor race nor sexual orientation nor sex matters a whit to me," Vaillancourt wrote.

As for the 2nd Congressional District Race, the most recent poll shows Kuster with a two point lead over Garcia.

Photo Credit: NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Speaker Boehner Attends DeMaio Fundraiser in PB]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 13:46:27 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/6pmShereneDeMaio_1200x675_340969027832.jpg About 100 people, including House Speaker John Boehner, attended a fundraiser brunch for Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio Saturday at a Pacific Beach home. This comes after sexual harassment claims by a former DeMaio staffer that the candidate vehemently denies. NBC 7’s Sherene Tagharobi reports. ]]> <![CDATA[Voters React to Allegations Made About Carl DeMaio]]> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 09:49:00 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carl-DeMaio-1010.jpg NBC 7's Dave Summers talks with voters in the Bird Rock, Pacific Beach area - an area considered to have the highest number of independent voters - about the allegations made in the race for the 52nd Congressional District seat. ]]> <![CDATA[Local Pol Backtracks on ISIS at Border Claim]]> Sat, 11 Oct 2014 10:55:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Duncan-Hunter-Letter-ISIS.jpg

A California Congressman is backtracking on claims he made on national cable television earlier in the week that as many as ten ISIS fighters crossed the border into Texas from Mexico.

NBC 7 asked U.S. Rep. Duncan Hunter R-50th District about his statements Friday at an event in El Cjaon.

When he talked about the presence of ISIS fighters on the Texas border Hunter said he should have chosen his wording more carefully. Hunter said he shouldn't have said ISIS.

“I should have said terrorist affiliated military aged males coming across the border,” Hunter said.

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said there is no credible evidence to support Hunter's claims that ISIS fighters were apprehended or attempted to enter the U.S. along its border with Mexico. 

Hunter said four people from Turkey had ties to the terrorist organization PKK, providing a letter he sent to the Ambassador of Mexico.

The letter shows DHS numbers that more than 250,000 people from countries other than South America were caught at the southwest border. Included in that group were 13 people from Syria and 30 people from Pakistan, the letter stated.

Given what is happening at the border when it comes to people who enter without being caught, Hunter said he doesn't trust or have confidence in DHS.

“This comes from guys on the ground that actually see what is happening on the border itself. That is different than what the administration tells us is the truth and frankly I don't believe them because I know otherwise,” Hunter said.

Hunter's opponent for the 50th District seat Democrat James Kimble is retired from the Navy and said he takes national security seriously.

He accused Hunter of trying to drum up fear.

“Certainly if there were ten members of ISIS crossing over the border into Texas from Mexico there would have been an alert message that would have gone out to all the border cities,” Kimber said. “They would have known about it here. But Mr. Hunter would have everybody believe that, in his words or his staff's words, the right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing."

Johnson assured Americans the border is not “porous.” He said four people detained for unlawful entry were members of a Kurdish Workers Party fighting against ISIS.  He said the detainees will be deported.

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<![CDATA[Top Cops Divided on Prop 47]]> Sun, 12 Oct 2014 09:49:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/prop-47-pol-speak-1010.jpg

California voters have the fate of thousands of prison inmates and future defendants in their hands.

With enough "yes" ballots cast on Proposition 47 next month a number of what are now felonies could be turned into misdemeanors.

Backers say the measure emphasizes rehabilitation over incarceration.

"The best way to rehabilitate and to treat somebody for drug addiction or mental health illness is locally, with family support. That is what this is all about, to keep people here locally," said former San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne.

Prop. 47 would apply to inmates and defendants involved in "non-violent, non-serious" offenses who have no prior serious, violent or sex-crime convictions.

New sentences would be based on full case reviews and risk assessments.

Proponents say prison-cost savings of $250 million a year would go toward treatment, education, and victims' recovery programs.

Critics like Chula Vista Police Chief David Bejarano warn, the measure is filled with legal cracks through which dangerous felons could fall.

“These are career criminals who will be back in our communities without rehab and treatment. That could put communities at risk,” Bejarano said.

He adds that there are no guarantees how the funds will be sent down to the counties.

“Unfortunately we don't trust the state. They've taken millions from us. We haven't seen a lot in return," Bejarano said.

Robert Monsour with Alliance for a Safer California said felons with prior convictions for armed robbery, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, carjacking, child abuse, and many other violent felonies can still have their sentences reduced under Prop 47.

"Even worse, it rewrites the definition of 'dangerousness' under California law, so that Three Strikes inmates who were previously denied release because they were too dangerous can now be freed," Monsour said.

A recent Public Policy Institute poll shows 62 percent of the voters surveyed in favor of Prop. 47.

Watch a debate on the issue on "Politically Speaking", Sunday Oct. 12 at 9 a.m. on NBC 7.

<![CDATA[Carl DeMaio Accused of Lewd Acts by Ex-Staffer]]> Fri, 10 Oct 2014 19:49:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carl-DeMaio-0827.jpg

A former staff member for congressional candidate Carl DeMaio has released results of a polygraph test that he says support his claims that DeMaio sexually harassed him.

Todd Bosnich says he was subjected to unwelcome touching and repeated sexual harassment while working on the congressional campaign for the former San Diego city councilman and 2012 mayoral candidate.

DeMaio says Bosnich is "clearly troubled" and has "manufactured a story" to cover for a plagiarism incident.

His campaign spokesperson called the allegations "completely false."

The battle between DeMaio and Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Scott Peters for the 52nd Congressional District seat has been ugly at times, with allegations of plagiarism and gay slurs reposted on a campaign website.

The National Republican Congressional Committee, which has strongly backed DeMaio, reiterated its support Friday.

“We fully support Carl DeMaio, and we don’t make decisions based on unsubstantiated claims,” said Andrea Bozek, the NRCC's communications director.

In a CNN report that first aired Friday, Bosnich described an alleged incident in which he says DeMaio asked him to come to his office. Bosnich says that when he arrived, the office door was open, and he says that DeMaio had his penis in his hand and a smile on his face.

Bosnich also says that in a separate incident, after a night of drinks with campaign staff, DeMaio reached into Bosnich’s lap and grabbed his crotch.

The four-page polygraph report Bosnich has released, generated from polygraph examiner Darryl Bullens, said there was "no deception indicated" in six answers Bosnich gave about DeMaio's alleged unwelcome sexual advances.

One question included was, "Did you fabricate the story about Carl DeMaio masturbating in front of you?" to which Bosnich answered "no." Another was "Did you fabricate the story about Carl DeMaio touching your sexual parts?" Bosnich answered "no."

Bosnich told CNN that he warned DeMaio to stop the behavior or drop out of the race.

He says that after that meeting, he was offered a position with the San Diego County Republican Party, instructed to sign a non-disclosure agreement and offered a payment of $50,000.

Bosnich said he left the campaign without the money and without signing any papers.

DeMaio addressed Bosnich's allegations Wednesday prior to the airing of the CNN report. DeMaio said that Bosnich had been involved in vandalism at a campaign headquarters just six days before the June primary.

DeMaio said Bosnich fabricated the sexual allegations in order to divert attention away from what he says what his attack on the campaign office.

“It’s unfortunate, you know, that an individual who is the prime suspect to the break-in in our campaign office would manufacture such an outrageous lie — but again, all the evidence that was collected by the police department clearly indicated this individual was the prime suspect. And it’s unfortunate, but we will continue to allow the district attorney to proceed with her case, and weighing the case, to prosecute for the break-in of our office,” DeMaio said.

The DeMaio campaign office in Miramar was  broken into on May 28. Computer screens were smashed, cords and cables were cut, gas cards were stolen and water was poured over laptops, printers and copiers.

On Wednesday, DeMaio told reporters that San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman assured him he was cleared in the sexual allegations investigation.

A spokesperson for the San Diego Police Department would not confirm that information but issued a statement to NBC 7.

"Reports of any criminal activity received by the San Diego Police Department are taken seriously and investigated thoroughly," police said. "Once an investigation is complete, it is turned over to the District Attorney’s Office for review at which point we do not provide further comment about the names of potential victims, witnesses or alleged suspects."

When asked about any investigation into a claim of sexual harassment, Steve Walker with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office said his office "thoroughly reviews any investigation forwarded to our office by law enforcement."

Gomez Trial Attorneys, the law firm representing Bosnich, said their client recounted the story of harassment to local radio host Mike Slater and the San Diego Police Department before he was contacted regarding the break-in at DeMaio campaign headquarters.

DeMaio's campaign spokesman Dave McCulloch called Bonsich's allegations "completely false."

"The individual making the claims was fired from the campaign months ago for plagiarism. The individual only made these false allegations after the San Diego Police Department started investigating him as the suspect for the campaign office break-in,” McCulloch said.

Speaker John Boehner is slated to appear with DeMaio at a fundraising brunch in Pacific Beach on Saturday. There is no indication that Boehner will cancel that appearance.

When asked for comment on the allegations, Republican Party of San Diego County Chairman Tony Krvaric told NBC 7, “It’s clear the silly season is upon us.”

This is not the first time DeMaio has faced allegations of committing lewd acts at the office.

In August 2013, the candidate opened up to NBC 7 about what he called “disgusting, humiliating” accusations made in a published report.

A piece published on the website Voice of Orange County claimed that city officials and members of the press knew that DeMaio would regularly excuse himself from Council Chambers to masturbate in the bathroom.

DeMaio blamed Democratic State Sen. Ben Hueso and organized labor for spreading the accusations, the same groups he said worked to get former mayor Bob Filner into office.

Hueso is embroiled in his own legal run-ins, after his DUI arrest on August 22 in Sacramento.

Photo Credit: NBC 7 News
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<![CDATA[Campaign Turns Ugly in 52nd District]]> Wed, 08 Oct 2014 19:11:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Voting-generic-election-vot.jpg Voters in the 52nd Congressional District are being bombarded with negative commercials and mailers about Democrat Scott Peters and Republican Carl DeMaio. DeMaio is criticized for his Tea Party affiliation, and Peters is knocked for his family’s fortune. NBC 7 political reporter Gene Cubbison has more.

Photo Credit: clipart.com]]>
<![CDATA[Mayor Proposes Mandatory Water Limits]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:14:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Drought-water-plant_0801.jpg

Citing a “bleak” outlook in the statewide drought, San Diego’s mayor proposed mandatory water restrictions for all residents beginning Nov. 1

This year has been the driest in a generation, Mayor Kevin Faulconer said Tuesday as he proposed the city move to the next level of conservation - "Drought Alert."

“Looking ahead to 2015, if consistent rains do not materialize things could go from bad to worse,” Faulconer said.

If approved by the City Council, the voluntary measures that have been in effect since July will become mandatory.

Homeowners in San Diego will be able to water their lawns no more than three days a week and for no more than seven minutes on those days. Odd-numbered addresses will water Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Even-numbered addresses will water Saturdays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Apartments, condominiums and businesses would be allowed to water on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Residents can wash vehicles before 10 a.m. or after 4 p.m. during the months of November through May.

Also, irrigation will not be allowed during a rain event and ornamental fountains must be turned off

This isn’t the first time San Diego has San Diego followed mandatory water restrictions. The city successfully instituted the measures from 2009 to 2011.

As for enforcement, Faulconer said it's not difficult to get San Diegans to comply.

"This is a way of life that most San Diegans have been doing," he said.

Even so, there will be a staff of 10 employees who will be responsible for educating the public and businesses about any new restrictions.

Among the "24 Ways to Save Hundreds of Gallons Every Week" suggestions from the city:

  • Turn the water off while lathering-up in the shower. Then turn the water back on to quickly rinse.(Saves 75 gallons a week per person).
  • When doing the laundry, never wash less than a full load. (Saves 100 gallons a week).
  • Never let the water run while brushing your teeth or shaving. (Saves 35 gallons a week per person)
  • Don't allow children to play with the hose (Saves 10 gallons a minute) 

The city has implemented a hotline for residents to report water wasters at (619) 533-5271.

For more on the restrictions currently in place, click here.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[New Law Cracks Down on Farmers Market Phonies]]> Tue, 07 Oct 2014 08:32:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/farmers-markets.jpg

A new California law that goes into effect in January will crack down on farmers market vendors who sell produce bought wholesale.

Starting next year, farmers will have to pay a higher fee to participate in farmers markets. That money will be spent to investigate suspicious farmers who didn’t grow the food themselves.

Farmers market shoppers will soon see signs that say “We grow what we sell.” Any vendor caught lying about the produce they sell could be hit with a $2,500 fine and spend up to six months behind bars.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the new law Friday. Farmers are hoping it will benefit family farms.

“I think it’s important for the consumer to know they aren’t being bamboozled at a farmers market,” said Ken Brown, a third generation farmer at Andy’s Orchard, where the last plums of the season are still on sale.

Back in 2010, an undercover investigation by NBC LA caught a farmers market vendor loading up his truck with produce from big commercial farms, some as far away as Mexico. Brown says it happens more often than many shoppers realize. “Dried Turkish apricots, saying they grow them in the valley,” Brown said. “That’s not possible.”

Mitch Mariani II specializes in cherries. He says growers should be able to answer detailed questions about how and where the food was harvested.

“If it doesn’t look like it grows in the area, and it doesn't look like something you know is in season, best bet is to walk away,” Mariani said.

Vendor fees to participate in farmers markets will increase to $2 a day, up from 60 cents. The state plans to spend $1 million on the farmers market investigators.

<![CDATA[Clinton Recommends Grandmotherhood]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 17:39:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tlmd_hillaryclinton7.jpg

Thousands waited hours in the sun to see Former First Lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday in South Florida.

Clinton was signing copies of her new book "Hard Choices" at Books & Books at 265 Aragon Ave. in Coral Gables.

There, she spoke about her book and about becoming a grandmother just a few days ago, saying, "I highly recommend it!"

Earlier on Thursday, Clinton spoke at the Crew Network Convention & Marketplace at the Loews Hotel in Miami Beach.

Her message for the 1,200 professional women at the event was one of empowerment.

"You can't get tied into knots by what others say and think, because we all know women sometimes get judged by different criteria -- even powerful women in powerful positions," she said.

Karyl Argamasilla, with the Miami Crew chapter, said she took Clinton's message to heart.

"At the end of the day, she's someone who has broken all the glass ceilings," Argamasilla said.

At one point, a woman in the audience shouted out, "2016!" -- the only mention of a possible presidential run during Clinton's Miami stops. But those in attendance said they don't doubt she'll be joining the race.

"She's already been to Iowa," said Steve Sails. "She's running."

<![CDATA[Text-to-911 Coming to California Under New Law]]> Thu, 02 Oct 2014 08:05:05 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/texting-sexting.jpg

The ability to text 911 in an emergency is on its way to California.

The state’s Office of Emergency Services is required to lay out a plan and timeline for a Next Generation 911 system under Senate Bill 1211, signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown Tuesday.

The Next Generation 911 includes the text-to-911 innovation, which officials say will be help hearing-impaired users or those who are afraid to talk in the midst of an emergency.

The Federal Communications Commission ordered all wireless carriers to enable their customers to text 911 by the end of 2014. The big four carriers — AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, and T-Mobile — agreed in May to support the emergency texts in all areas where they can be received at 911 call centers, known as "public safety answering points."

However, California’s dispatch centers have not purchased or installed the upgrades needed to receive those messages.

As directed by SB 1211, the Office of Emergency Services will develop target dates for testing, implementing and operating the Next Generation 911 system throughout California. The office must also calculate and report the estimated cost of such an endeavor.

When the system is incorporated, California will join 18 other states that have enabled text-to-911 in various counties.

Officials tested out the texting system earlier this year with the help of police departments in Downey, Arcadia and California State University Long Beach.

Even after text-to-911 is enabled, law enforcement agencies say they want residents to use it only in special circumstances. A phone call will still be the preferred method.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Climate Action Plan Calls for 50% Emissions Cut by 2035]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 18:27:31 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/solar+panels6.JPG

An updated Climate Action Plan released Tuesday aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions in San Diego by half and switch to all electricity use to renewable sources by 2035.

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, City Council President Todd Gloria and Council President Pro Tem Sherri Lightner announced the strategies from the Alvarado Water Treatment Plant and outlined steps to achieve the ambitious targets.

"This is a plan for creating economic opportunity for every San Diego family and community, and I truly believe that we have an opportunity to make San Diego one of the green energy and solar capitals of the world," said Faulconer.

The city’s goals are in line with state requirements to significantly reduce greenhouse gases by 2050.

According to Faulconer, the Climate Action Plan is designed to create new renewable energy jobs, improve public health and air quality, increase water quality and save taxpayer money by cutting water, energy and waste use.

The city leaders listed actions they could take to carry out the plan, pending city council approval:

  • Create a set of regulations and incentives to improve buildings’ energy and water efficiency
  • Cut vehicle travel and encourage alternative transit like biking, walking and public transportation
  • Retime stoplights across the city to better coordinate traffic
  • Install 20 roundabouts by 2035
  • Reach a 75 percent waste diversion rate to landfills by 2020 and a 90 percent rate by 2035, meaning trash should be reduced through recycling, reuse or composting
  • Build electric vehicle charging stations
  • Convert the city’s fleet to 50 percent electric vehicles by 2020 and 90 percent by 2035
  • Capture 98 percent of methane from wastewater treatment plants by 2035
  • Run 100 percent of city trash trucks on natural gas by 2035

“This plan demonstrates that San Diego is a progressive leader in addressing climate change, and that we value our people and our environment enough to take such decisive and strong action,” said Gloria.

This draft of the Climate Action Plan is open to public input. Once all feedback is accounted for, city staff will revise the outline, perform an environmental review and bring it in front of the city council in spring 2015.

<![CDATA[California Gun Restriction Bill Signed Into Law]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 13:53:40 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Gun-Control-generic.jpg

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- California will become the first state that allows family members to ask a judge to remove firearms from a relative who appears to pose a threat, under legislation Gov. Jerry Brown said Tuesday he had signed.

The bill was proposed by several Democrats and responds to a deadly rampage in May near the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Supporters had said such a measure could have prevented the attacks, winning out over critics who said it would erode gun rights.

Law enforcement authorities in Connecticut, Indiana and Texas can seek a judge's order allowing them to seize guns from people they deem to be a danger.

The new California law gives law enforcement the same option and extends it to family members.

It continues California's efforts to lead the nation in preventing firearm injury and death, said Amanda Wilcox, an advocate for the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, whose daughter was a victim of gun violence.

The greatest effect might be in preventing suicides or intervening where there is a history of domestic violence, she said.

"It's hard to know how much it will be used or how much it will prevent," Wilcox said. "It only takes avoiding one loss for this to be worth it."

Lawmakers approved the bill by Democratic Assembly members Nancy Skinner of Berkeley and Das Williams of Santa Barbara amid pleas that they act after the May 23 attack in which six people were fatally stabbed or shot and 13 others wounded in the community of Isla Vista.

Relatives of the victims and other supporters of the bill said the parents of 22-year-old Elliot Rodger were thwarted in their attempts to seek help for their troubled son before the rampage.

Weeks earlier, his parents had his therapist contact Santa Barbara County mental health officials. Sheriff's deputies talked to Rodger but never entered his apartment or checked to see if he owned guns.

They decided he was not a threat to himself or others and took no further action.

Rodger later wrote that had deputies searched his room, they might have found guns that police said he used to shoot three people after stabbing to death three others. Rodger killed himself while being pursued by police.

Under the California bill, whoever seeks the restraining order would have to sign an affidavit under oath. If they lie, they could be charged with a misdemeanor.

A court hearing would be held within 14 days after the restraining order is granted to give the gun owner a chance to argue there is no danger.

Republican lawmakers and some Democrats voted against the measure, known as AB1014.

In Rodger's case, there is no evidence his parents or anyone treating him knew he had weapons. That prompted Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson, D-Santa Barbara, to introduce a related bill that would require law enforcement agencies to develop policies that encourage officers to search the state's database of gun purchases as part of routine welfare checks. That bill, SB505, also was signed by the governor.

Brown's signing of the bills "helped to honor the life of my son, Christopher, and so many others killed by senseless gun violence," said Richard Martinez, father of Isla Vista shooting victim Christopher Ross Michaels-Martinez and an advocate for the group Everytown for Gun Safety.

"Nothing we can do will bring back Christopher, but I'm confident this new law will help save lives and prevent other families from experiencing this same kind of tragedy. States around the country should be exploring this life-saving measure," he said in a statement about the restraining order legislation.

Currently in California, authorities can seize legally purchased guns only from people convicted of a felony or a violent misdemeanor, those subject to a domestic violence restraining order, or those who are determined to be mentally unstable.

The National Rifle Association and other gun-rights groups opposed the restraining order legislation.

"Our concern is not so much what they intended to do; our concern is with the method they put in place to address people with mental or emotional issues," said Sam Paredes, executive director of Gun Owners of California. "We think this just misses the mark and may create a situation where law-abiding gun owners are put in jeopardy."

Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego]]>
<![CDATA[California: First State to Ban Plastic Bags]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 15:23:45 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/212*120/Plastic+Bag+Ban+Store+Counter+copy.jpg

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed the nation's first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags Tuesday.

The measure, first proposed by Democratic Sen. Alex Padilla of Los Angeles, would prohibit single-use plastic bags at grocery stores and large pharmacies in 2015 and at convenience stores in 2016.

It includes $2 million in loans to help manufacturers shift to producing reusable bags and lets grocers charge 10 cents each for paper and reusable bags.

The bill had sparked one of the most contentious debates in the last weeks of the legislative session, with aggressive lobbying by environmentalists and bag manufacturers.

Moments after Brown signed the measure, the American Progressive Bag Alliance called it a “back room deal between grocers and union bosses to scam California consumers out of billions of dollars without providing any public benefit – all under the guise of environmentalism.”

The group plans to launch a referendum effort for the November 2016 ballot to repeal the measure.

San Diegan Laura Quinn-Stalker had mixed feelings about the news.

“Although I reuse my plastic bags constantly and will miss that,” she posted to NBC 7’s Facebook page, “I think this is important to do.”

“Won't see a dime saved in my pocket. Now, I have to buy garbage bags,” Oxnard resident Wade Wilson posted.

For years, a statewide plastic bag ban has been an elusive goal for lawmakers trying to reduce the buildup of plastic waste in oceans and waterways that costs millions of dollars to cleanup.

About 100 local jurisdictions in California already have adopted similar bans, including Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Mandatory Cuts on Water Use Proposed]]> Tue, 30 Sep 2014 07:58:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Drought-generic-water-irrig.jpg

San Diego's voluntary water restrictions could soon become mandatory as temperatures again start to climb toward the triple digits.

Monday night, two city councilmembers said the city has to do more to conserve water or suffer the consequences.

"The state is looking to conserve 20 percent of our water. We're not really hitting the mark there,” said Councilman David Alvarez.

He said with a voluntary water use restrictions already in place, the city of San Diego is only conserving about 4 percent of water. It is the main reason why Alvarez and Councilman Ed Harris want to make the voluntary restriction into a mandatory one.

"It's really dry and we need the rain, so I understand that it's tough out there,” said homeowner Russell Berkley.

His family has already made changes by cutting down watering from ten minutes to six, explaining "during the summer you need at least six minutes or your grass turns brown and then it's not worth watering at all.”

The San Diego County Water Authority is already under a "Drought Alert" which mandates 20 percent conservation. Among the measures currently in place for businesses within the county area: offering table water to patrons only on request, offering hotel guests the option of not laundering towels and linens daily, watering only during the late evening or early morning hours and repairing all leaks within 72 hours.

Alvarez said they've been warned by the Metropolitan Water District, which supplies half of the city's water, that they might have to go to a rationing system if changes are not made soon.

Right now, the City of San Diego is at a Level 1 "Drought Watch," meaning residents are asked to water their yards before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m., use automatic shut-off nozzles on hoses and not to wash sidewalks and driveways unless necessary.

Moving into a Level 2 "Drought Alert," residents would be forced to abide by Level 1 restrictions, could only irrigate three days a week and would have to stop fountains unless recycled water is used.

At Spot Free Rinse, a carwash in Pacific Beach, people are constantly using water. They understand the sacrifice.

“I think keeping my car clean is not a top priority. I think the situation we're in with drought and water shortage should come first,” said Victor Park

“Every little bit makes a difference. So it all adds up, We're ready, willing and able to do our own part,” said James Clarkston.

Alvarez said the last time San Diego had mandatory water use restrictions in place, residents saved 14 percent of their water.

This is just a recommendation, so it will go to the Environment Committee next week. If it passes there, the proposal will go to the city council.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Kamala Harris Says She's Not Interested in Eric Holder's Job]]> Thu, 25 Sep 2014 17:15:33 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/181*120/Kamala4.jpg

California Attorney General Kamala Harris waved off speculation Thursday that she might be next in line to replace U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who announced Thursday that he will resign after leading the Justice Department for nearly six years.

Harris issued a statement after her name surfaced on lists of possible replacements for Holder’s job, along with candidates such as Solicitor General Don Verrilli, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole.

“I am honored to even be mentioned, but intend to continue my work for the people of California as Attorney General,” Harris, who is is on the Nov. 4 ballot running for a second term, said in a statement. “I am focused on key public safety issues including transnational gangs, truancy and recidivism.”

Patrick also downplayed his interest, saying the job is "not one for me right now."

President Barack Obama has not yet made a final decision about a replacement for Holder. Holder, the first African-American U.S. Attorney General, bade an emotional goodbye Thursday, thanking the president and his family for their support during his time in office.

Obama said Holder has agreed to stay on until his replacement is confirmed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>