<![CDATA[NBC 7 San Diego - San Diego Politics and Political News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcsandiego.com/news/politics http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/KNSD+RSS+Feed+logo+blue.png NBC 7 San Diego http://www.nbcsandiego.com en-us Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:06:00 -0700 Mon, 27 Apr 2015 19:06:00 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![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.

<![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.

<![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]]>
<![CDATA[Waning Water Supplies Spawn Tidal Wave of Challenges]]> Sun, 19 Apr 2015 09:18:42 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/drought-generic-april-13_3.jpg


California’s virtual perma-drought crisis is being called "the new normal" for life going forward in the Golden State.

Scientists think it actually might be the “old normal," given climate and sparse rainfall patterns going back centuries -- to when coastal Southern California, especially, was a barren, semi-arid landscape.

But it seems water conservation alone is far from the only or optimum way to manage the challenges, and that myriad other approaches aren’t quite evolved enough to bring the necessary “bang” for all the bucks that must be spent to stabilize a society begging for hydration.

There have been calls for moratoriums on residential construction, among them.

Many frustrated homeowners who have cut their water dramatically are wondering why they should keep saving when builders keep adding to the population.

Temporary halts to homebuilding construction are already under discussion in a few California communities – and could wind up being taken to court.

Local homebuilders warn that shutting their operations would cause vast, unintended consequences because the area's population-driver is the local birthrate.

"Even if you put a fence around the county and said 'No more building, no more people,' the population is still going to increase,” says Matt Adams, a vice president of the San Diego Building Industry Association. “And we still have to provide homes for our future citizens here in San Diego County."

In a Friday recording session for Sunday’s edition of NBC 7’s “Politically Speaking” program, Adams pointed out that what the industry has been bringing to market cuts water use in half, compared to homes built before 1980.

And, that the less-efficient older housing stock actually needs replacing.

It may be that backyard pools become more of a liability than a selling point.

But whatever trends develop as water gets scarcer, Adams says homebuyers shopping in the current drought cycle might welcome incentives to be part of the solution, rather than the problem – especially when it comes to outdoor irrigation.”

"On the average, 70 percent (of home water use) is in landscaping outside,” Adams said. “There's where the water is going that is not for human consumption."

Water policy consultant Carl Nettleton buys into that logic: "The market comes from people wanting houses that are sustainable, that use water and energy wisely -- because it saves them money and makes them feel good about the future."

Another issue that’s prompted outcries is the fairness of across-the-board cutbacks that don't take into account people's baseline use in recent months in years.

Should those who have managed the largest decreases in their water consumption be given more of a break?

And those who have done the least be obliged to save a much greater percentage -- and pay higher conservation rates?

Could that be addressed through rebates and surcharges linked to different use trends, and customer tiers?

Experts offer cautionary words about potential devils in the details.

"There are lot of cuts being handed down from wholesale water agencies as well as the state,” noted Stephen Heverly, managing director of San Diego-based Equinox Center.

“And some water districts started responding by handing down emergency or drought conservation rates even as early as last July,” Heverly added. “But that impacts water bills."

The relative bargain prices for water being paid by agricultural interests are coming under fire.

“We’ve got to raise the price of water,” argued Milt Burgess, an engineer with four decades’ experience in hydro-delivery systems. “Let the market decide where we grow fruits and vegetables in California … if we can get the price of water up, then the market would make that decision.”

Focus also has intensified on replacing -- as well as reusing -- whatever water that remains available in a thirsty state.

Residents have gotten comfortable with the practice of reclaiming water from sewage for the purpose of irrigation.

But it's taken a longer time for people to accept the production of "potable" drinking water, and using it in showers, sinks, dishwashers.

That's just what modern scientists have managed pull off -- to the point where the finished product is just as safe and savory as the bottled water consumers readily buy.

Surveys now show that the so-called "ick factor" of what used to be dismissed as "toilet to tap" is evaporating, since the reality of a seemingly endless drought is really sinking in.

Potable H20 also is cheaper to produce than desalinated seawater, with fewer environmental downsides.

However, desalination is expected to become more widespread due to the diminishing number pristine lakes, streams and underground aquifers to meet our needs.

Next year, in Carlsbad, the $1.3 billion Poseidon desalination plant is expected to begin full operations, producing about 7 percent of our current consumption level countywide.

A splash in the bucket, so to speak -- but a sorely needed start.

After all, San Diegans daily flush 160 million gallons of bathroom and kitchen wastewater into deep ocean canyons off Point Loma, after so-called "advanced primary" treatment.

Efforts to recycle and re-purify it lag way behind.

Less than 30 million gallons a day are recycled locally for industrial and freeway landscaping irrigation purposes.

A potable water purification plant in Eastgate Mall has been yielding a million gallons of potable water a day, also for irrigation use during still-ongoing testing phases.

Once it’s state-certified to go on line for general use, the output could be cranked up to about 15 million gallons a day by a decade later.

By contrast, potable water production in Orange County, with the benefit of deep underground storage capacity, is trending toward 100 mgd.

Whatever approaches are cobbled together and brought to bear on the crisis, there are no guarantees that legislation and logistics won't lead to litigation involving government agencies, water districts and various private interests.

If so, courtroom battles seem infinitely preferable to the kind of water wars fought here in the "Wild West" days of yesteryear -- with bullets and bloodshed.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[SD Zoo Subsidies Face Legal Hurdles Under Prop. 13]]> Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:07:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/San-Diego-Zoo-0403.jpg


The San Diego Zoo may be well-financed and world-famous -- but apparently not so flush that repairs and maintenance aren't a financial issue.

And, as City Council members learned to their great frustration Thursday, even city tax subsidies have their legal limits.

Since the Great Depression days of 1935, San Diego property owners have been taxed 2 cents per $100 assessed valuations of their holdings to help maintain the zoo.

But the money, according to city legal experts, can only go toward upkeep of the animal exhibits -- not the entire infrastructure.

Responses to an unscientific NBC 7 survey of Zoo visitors late Thursday morning suggests there's willingness to lend greater support.

“Just keeping this place going as what it is, increasing any fees that need to happen, I feel like it's worth it,” said National City resident Amy Spackman. "I love this place. It's a gem."

But gems can lose some luster and need settings fixed.

While the Zoo is getting nearly $12 million in city tax subsidies to repair and upgrade animal exhibits, there's been interest in extending use of the funds to other infrastructure projects.

However, city lawyers say that’s unconstitutional under the state’s 1978 Prop. 13 – and that the so-called Jarvis Initiative also rules out a new “ad valorem” tax ballot measure

Right now San Diego property owners with median-priced homes are paying $94 a year in zoo taxes, a figure that many visitors said could stand a boost -- but only by a few bucks.

"I think if you go anything higher than $100, you're going to start fighting with the schools,” said Adrienne McCarthy, on a visit with her family from Massachusetts. “I'm sure there are a lot of other needs. Seniors. So whatever that pie looks like, if you're going to kick this up a little, you're going need to kick up everything else as well."

Other zoogoers think a case could be made for higher maintenance spending, but that it all in the price point -- and which public treasury has the resources.

"I wouldn't double it. Maybe I would say 50 percent, something like that,” suggested Peter O’Keefe of Somers, New York. “Because, you know, expenses go up. You have to keep up with your expenses, and if there's not enough, you have to put more into it. You have to replace things, like your house at home."

Vista resident Jean Ball agreed: “I would think that maybe half of the $94 scenario that you gave would be fair. As long as it's a nonprofit, no one's making money on the side. Because I think having to redo all the necessary infrastructure is important."

Added Damian Hetzel, of Lebanon, Pennsylvania: “I'd say about $100 (a year) would be good for each household to pay toward this place. Because this is great."

Zoo officials told NBC 7 they're thrilled with that kind of feedback from the public, but had no comment on their infrastructure issues or the numbers behind them.

Whatever they are, at a City Council Charter Review Committee meeting Thursday, activist attorney John Stump advocated repealing the tax, saying the zoo's well-enough off.

“Zoo Global”, he said referring to the nonprofit operating entity, “now has huge cash reserves and makes millions.”

City staff reports cite figures of $451 million in total assets as of 2013, and “unrestricted revenues” of $269 million comprising “admissions, memberships, auxiliary activities, contributions, grants, etc.”

Charter Review Committee members brainstormed ways to amend the language of the property tax, or clarify it by contractual means – only to be told by a legal adviser that such moves would raise litigation risks.

Ultimately, their questions were referred to the Council’s Environment Committee, where the prospects of finding a viable, legal work-around would seem to be modest for the time being.

<![CDATA[Images: Councilwoman Marti Emerald's Cancer Fight]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 10:36:39 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marti-Emerald-January-2015-.jpg Councilwoman Marti Emerald has shared her battle against cancer on her Facebook page designed for constituents and friends.

Photo Credit: Marti Emerald's Facebook page]]>
<![CDATA[City Councilwoman Plans to Retire]]> Tue, 14 Apr 2015 15:10:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Marti-Emerald-April-2015.jpg

San Diego Councilwoman Marti Emerald said she plans to retire after her term ends next year and will not run for re-election.

“I’m hanging it up at the end of this term, December 2016,” Emerald told NBC7 on Tuesday.

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.”

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.

She has remained active in her leadership role since her cancer diagnosis.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[SD Budget Plan Targets Needy Neighborhoods, Services]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 21:10:43 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/kevin+faulconer+budget+proposal.png

San Diegans are long overdue for better streets, parks and neighborhoods.

Now, thanks to an economic upswing that's boosted city finances, all that may starting happening in a hurry, especially in long-neglected neighborhoods where playing fields have been most tilted against folks of limited means.

"It's not going to happen overnight,” said Encanto resident Ken Malbrough, a retired city employee of 31 years. “It takes a lot of money to catch up with how these communities have been under-served."

Malbrough was among onlookers at a noon-hour news conference Monday in Skyline Hills, during which Mayor Kevin Faulconer unveiled his proposed $3.2 billion budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1.

"I'm actually pretty uplifted about how the economy -- nationwide and locally -- is starting to pick up,” Malbrough told NBC 7. “I'm going to stay positive about it. Because that's how we get things done."

The city now has $73 million in fresh money to spend as a result of higher property, sales and hotel tax revenues now flowing into the treasury – money the mayor and city councilmembers hope to pour into streets, parks and public services that'll make more of a difference in people's daily lives.

Longstanding cuts in library and rec center hours will be restored -- with more of the budget money going to underwrite police salary increases, quick-response fire teams, and the hiring of more "code compliance" officers to crack down on slumlords and dozens of illegal pot dispensaries.

After a decade of tight budgets and stagnation of municipal services, constituents in the less-affluent 3rd, 4th and 8th council districts are hoping for a major redress of inequitable allocations or funding that merely chased more infrastructures needs than existed in other districts.

"It appears to me that all the money has been north of (Interstate) 8, and it's about time the money comes south of 8,” said Rev. Walter Wells, pastor of Mount Erie Baptist Church. "It’s made us feel actually like second and third class citizens because of the fact that people in this area pay just as much in taxes as people in the other areas."

Said Faulconer, apparently addressing that perspective: “This budget is an opportunity to ensure that all communities are sharing in a turnaround. We want to close the gap.”

His spending plan -- $1.3 billion earmarked for operational functions and the rest for capital improvement projects -- calls for 300 miles of fixes to city streets, more than double the annual average of past years.

"It downgrades San Diego as a whole by having the streets looking so bad,” said Darrell Jennings, another retired city employee who grew up – and still lives in – Skyline Hills.

“And it's just pathetic that it's taken so long,” Jennings added. “But he's (Faulconer) here today, we'll see what his plans are and how long it's going to take. And is anything really going to get done?"

The city council will get its first crack at the mayor's proposal on Tuesday.

Starting early next month, there'll be a series of hearings focusing on specific operations.

Among purposes getting new or higher funding that might not have been predictable in past budget cycles are $2.4 million to help expedite processing and archiving of police body-camera video, and $2.4 million for expanded tree-trimming operations.

In late 2012, a jury awarded $7.6 million in damages to a Mission Hills man who wound up paralyzed by a falling tree that was found to be the city’s legal liability.

<![CDATA[State Bill to Address School Threats]]> Wed, 15 Apr 2015 10:15:20 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/214*120/school+generic2.jpg

San Diego's top cop is putting her support behind a bill introduced by a San Diego-area state legislator that could make those who threaten San Diego schools more accountable, both legally and financially.

SB 456, authored by State Senator Marty Block of San Diego, would distinctly make it a crime for someone to threaten to fire a firearm on private and public school campuses. It was first introduced Feb. 25 in the State Legislature.

Under current law, those types of crimes are charged under Penal Code 422, a generic charge for someone making a criminal threat. The newly-proposed legislation would make the threat specific to schools. The addition would also remove the requirement that the threat results in sustained fear. 

“Gun threats to schools force educators and law enforcement to put learning and public safety aside,” Sen. Block said in a statement. “False threats result in lost learning time for students, they create anxiety for school communities and they consume scarce education and law enforcement resources for an emergency response, hampering our educators and law enforcement from what they should be doing – teaching and protecting the public. It’s time to hold these individuals accountable.”

The people making types of threats, in verbal or written form, or through the Internet, would also be financially responsible for any reasonable costs of any emergency response undertaken by that public agency.

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced Monday she would be supporting the bill after a string of recent threats to schools in San Diego County.

These crimes, categorized as misdemeanors, would be punishable by up to a year in county jail or a file or up to $1,000, or both.

More than 130 threats to schools in the San Diego Unified School District were made over the past three years, the DA’s office said. Those types of threats range from hundreds to hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on the response, the DA’s office said.

“In addition to diverting law enforcement staff and resources to attend to the threats, additional resources, time and costs are often required to ensure the community is safe by shutting down the targeted schools and sometimes the surrounding neighborhoods in order to avoid a catastrophe in the event the threat is legitimate,” the statement said.

<![CDATA[San Diegans React to Clinton's Presidential Bid]]> Mon, 13 Apr 2015 07:04:38 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP917765527435.jpg In San Diego, people have their own opinions about Hillary Clinton's second presidential campaign. NBC 7's Liberty Zabala has reaction from San Diego voters on both sides.]]> <![CDATA[2016 NH Primary Candidate Tracker]]> Fri, 10 Apr 2015 06:28:47 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/candidate-tracker-NH.jpg

The candidates included in the tracker are individuals identified by necn as potential 2016 presidential contenders. The list will change as the race develops. Information about candidate stops was collected from media reports, candidate schedules and plans confirmed by necn.

For more coverage of the 2016 New Hampshire Primary and politics throughout New England, check out necn.com's "Politics First" section.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Former RI Gov. Lincoln Chafee Exploring Presidential Bid]]> Thu, 09 Apr 2015 07:59:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/183*120/72123949.jpg

Lincoln Chafee, the former governor and U.S. senator from Rhode Island, announced Thursday that he has formed an exploratory committee to consider a run as the Democratic nominee for president in 2016.

His launch was made on his website, Chafee2016.com.

Chafee will spend the next few months in New Hampshire, Iowa and other key battleground states, according to a statement issued Thursday morning. 

"Throughout my career, I exercised good judgment on a wide range of high-pressure decisions, decisions that require level-headedness and careful foresight," Chafee said. "Often these decisions came in the face of political adversity. During the next weeks and months I look forward to sharing with you my thoughts about the future of our great country."

Chafee served in the U.S. Senate as a Republican from 1999 until 2007. That same year, he left the Republican Party and became an independent. He switched his affiliation to Democratic in 2013.

He served as governor until 2014. He did not seek re-election.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Analysis: Rahm Emanuel Wins Again]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:31:55 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/rahm-463880456.jpg

It always seemed inevitable that he’d win. That was the point.

Rahm Emanuel won his re-election contest Tuesday night and bested challenger Jesus “Chuy” Garcia to remain in charge of Chicago for another four years, the Associated Press projects.

“I have had the good fortune to serve two presidents, being elected to congress, but being mayor of the city of Chicago is the greatest job I’ve ever had," Emanuel told supporters. "I’m humbled at the opportunity to serve you, the greatest city, for the next 4 years."

The acerbic mayor overcame questions about his personal style and fended off opposition from the Chicago Teachers Union and the Service Employees International Union who backed his opponent, to win back the job of running city hall.

It wasn’t easy for a mayor who’s used to getting his way. Emanuel expected to cruise to victory in a February primary where he took on a weak field of challengers. But the self-confident political operative, who’s served in Congress and in two White House administrations, ran into trouble.

Garcia, the handpicked candidate of the Chicago Teachers Union, shocked the political system and thrilled progressives when he forced Emanuel into the city’s first ever runoff election for mayor.

Emanuel was left vulnerable after a tenure that saw him clash with teachers over a contract dispute that led to a strike, close 50 schools in mostly black neighborhoods, preside over a wave of violent crime on the south and west sides, and install a series of questionable red light cameras around the city, among other autocratic decisions.

But his opponent, who turned in an impressive result on primary night, was not able to turn Emanuel’s weaknesses into an electoral victory. Garcia often punted on opportunities to outline a specific plan for helping the city through its myriad fiscal woes and ran a campaign whose central theme was “I’m not Rahm.”

Emanuel, who relied on a nearly $30 million war chest to run advertisements during the campaign, may not have offered many more fiscal specifics than Garcia. But his attack ads painted the challenger as completely unprepared for the job of managing a multi-billion dollar budget. The image stuck and Chuy’s reliance wait-and-see-ideas (he said he’d form a commission to look at the city’s finances after the election) didn’t help define him as a candidate that could cross the hurdle of preparedness.

It turns out voters favored the bully who talked the talk instead of the good guy who didn’t say much.

"We are the city that works, and that means it has to work for everyone in every neighborhood. The decisions we make in four years will determine what Chicago will look like in the next 40 years," Emanuel said in his victory speech.

But Emanuel’s victory brings with it some questions and some challenges because the man who earned the nickname Rahmbo continues to have an image problem.

And while a majority of voters cast their ballot for Emanuel, the may have held their nose voting. Emanuel remains a deeply disliked individual. He even acknowledged his testy personality in an on-air advertisement that saw him own up to his reputation as a hard-charging jerk.

Will he try to hang on to the softer side of Rahm? Can the mayor swallow his pride when dealing with a cadre of individuals and organizations that endorsed his challenger or will he stick it to them, dead fish style? Put another way: Will Rahm play nice in his second go around?

That’s not so inevitable.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Gloria to Run for State Assembly]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:34:57 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/PS1_todd_gloria.jpg

San Diego City Councilman Todd Gloria announced Tuesday that he plans to run for the State Assembly, in the 78th District now held by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins.

Atkins will term out in 2016.

Gloria posted the news on his Twitter account early in the morning.

Gloria has served as a councilman, Council President and Interim Mayor of San Diego over the last eight years.

He says among the many lessons he learned, is when we all work together, we can make tremendous progress.

Gloria expressed his thanks to the people of San Diego, saying he'll be sending more information about his campaign in the coming days.

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<![CDATA[$18M in Upgrades Coming to Belmont Park]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 10:16:22 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Giant-Dipper-3.jpg

Mission Beach’s Belmont Park will soon see $18 million in improvements, according to the new lease approved by the San Diego City Council Monday.

The council voted 7-2 to allow Symphony Asset Pool XVI, LLC to amend its lease, which expires on June 30, 2038.

Among the upgrades is a $5.9 million plan to fix the Plunge pool. The indoor, city-owned pool at the Wavehouse Athletic Club has been closed for years — part of San Diego’s multibillion dollar deferred maintenance backlog, according to City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf.

Symphony will be in charge of all pool repairs and maintenance moving forward.

Under the amended lease, the company has an option to extend its lease to 40 years if it completes the $18 million in capital improvements within three years.

If that extension happens, Symphony’s lease on the 7.2-acre prime piece of beachfront property will jump to at least $1.1 million a year.

However, it will get rent credit from the city for the repairs made to the Plunge pool.

In a news release, Zapf said Symphony took over Belmont Park a few years ago after the previous company went bankrupt.

"Their investment has had a positive ripple effect on the entire Mission Beach neighborhood," the city councilwoman said. "There are more customers visiting nearby businesses, crime is down significantly, and with this new agreement, the historic Plunge pool will open far sooner than had been possible if the City was funding repairs." 

But attorney Cory Briggs claims the council's approval Monday violates the city's charter because residents were not notified about a public hearing on the matter. The charter states no contract or agreement for more than five years can be valid unless two-thirds of the council approves it after a public hearing.

Briggs also says Symphony should have gotten a California Coastal Act development permit before it planned beach concessions on the property. The lease also violates the California Environmental Quality Act, the attorney asserts.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Belmont Park]]>
<![CDATA[Jeb Bush ID'd Himself as "Hispanic" on Voter Form]]> Tue, 07 Apr 2015 07:15:58 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP632245416248.jpg

Likely Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush said Monday that a 2009 voter registration form that identified him as Hispanic was a "mistake."

"My mistake! Don’t think I’ve fooled anyone!" the former Florida governor tweeted in response to a post by one of his sons.

The existence of the form was first reported Monday by the New York Times, which obtained information from the Miami-Dade County Elections Department.

Bush, who was born in Texas and is the brother of the former President George W. Bush. He speaks fluent Spanish, according to the Times, and lived in Venezuela for two years in his 20s.

His wife Columba is from Mexico and is also fluent in Spanish. Bush has drawn on his background and experience to build support among Latino voters.

A spokeswoman for Bush could not explain the characterization to the Times.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Lease Signed for Hillary Clinton Campaign HQ]]> Sat, 04 Apr 2015 08:44:17 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/clinton-emails-USE-THIS-ONE-465797002.jpg

A lease has been signed for an office in Brooklyn that is expected to be the headquarters for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, sources familiar with the deal told MSNBC on Friday.

The space takes up two floors of a building on Pierrepont street in Brooklyn Heights that also houses offices for Morgan Stanley and the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. 

MSNBC reports that it's not clear when Clinton or her team signed the lease. Under federal election rules, candidates have 15 days from the day they engage in campaign activities, like renting office space, to officially declare a run.

During the 2008 campaign, Clinton made her headquarters outside Washington.

Photo Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Study Examines Effects of Prop 47]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:34:46 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/jail_generic_bars.jpg

SANDAG released key findings Thursday of a study related to the effects of Proposition 47 since California voters passed the prop last November.

Prop 47 is a law that reduces some low-level felonies to misdemeanors and could free up thousands of prison inmates.

SANDAG’s Criminal Justice Research Division examined the effects of the prop over the past five months. Among key findings, SANDAG said the Public Defender’s Office has filed approximately 18,000 petitions requesting cases be reclassified.

The District Attorney’s Office has reviewed an average of 200 cases per week, the study says.

Nearly 4,000 cases have been reviewed as of March 26, 2015. Of those cases, the SANDAG study says 1,906 – or 48 percent – were eligible for reclassification.

In terms of misdemeanor prosecutions, the study says the San Diego City Attorney’s Office has seen an increase of approximately 24 percent in the number of drug and theft-related cases it received since the passing of Prop 47.

On Nov. 3, 2014 – the day before voters passed the prop – the total jail population in San Diego was 5,782. As of March 23, 2015, it had dropped to 4,900, according to SANDAG.

The study is part of SANDAG’s ongoing quest to monitor crime and arrest trends across the region. The full findings can be read here.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[DeMaio Lands Talk Show Co-Host Gig]]> Thu, 02 Apr 2015 13:21:15 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Carl-DeMaio-1017_2.jpg

San Diego politician Carl DeMaio has landed a new gig: he’s now the co-host of a new afternoon talk show on News Radio 600 KOGO.

The radio station announced Wednesday that DeMaio would join Bob “Sully” Sullivan as co-host of the “DeMaio-Sullivan Report” every weekday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The show, which aims to “combine investigative journalism with inside knowledge of politics and an eye on advancing solutions” debuts Thursday. Though the pair will focus primarily on local issues, they will also weigh in on national stories that could impact San Diegans.

“I want to use this show to give San Diegans a vehicle to not just learn about important issues but to get involved in making a difference and advancing solutions,” DeMaio noted in a KOGO media release.

DeMaio – an openly gay Republican – served four years on the San Diego City Council from 2008 to 2012 and is known for his work with pension reform. He ran for mayor of San Diego in 2012, but lost to Bob Filner.

In 2014, DeMaio was a candidate for California’s 52nd Congressional District, but lost the election to incumbent Democrat Scott Peters after a hotly contested race that saw DeMaio on the defensive against accusations of sexual harassment by a former campaign staffer who claimed the politician touched him and exposed himself to him.

DeMaio vehemently denied allegations. DeMaio’s accuser, Todd Bosnich, was later arrested for an alleged physical confrontation with his mother.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Indiana Gov: We Intend to Fix "Perception" Problem of Law]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 11:55:30 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/pence-presser-468206814.jpg

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence on Tuesday said a bill he signed into law last week has been "grossly mischaracterized" and subjected to "shoddy reporting," but said he and legislators have been working around the clock to draft new legislation to clarify its intent.

"We've got a perception problem here ... and we intend to correct that," Pence told reporters during a morning press conference from Indianapolis.

The Republican reiterated earlier comments that the intent of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was not to discriminate but to protect religious freedom. The measure prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Gays and lesbians are not a protected class under Indiana’s civil rights laws, and critics of the law alleged it could provide some businesses the opportunity to refuse providing services or selling goods to some people based on religious grounds.

Pence said he found that claim "offensive," and called upon the state's General Assembly to address the issue.

"This law does not give businesses a right to deny services to anyone," he said. "The intent of the law was to give the courts in our state the highest level of scrutiny in cases where people feel that their religious liberty is being infringed upon by government action."

His comments Tuesday were a follow-up to an op-ed piece he penned for the Wall Street Journal that the law was not a "license to discriminate."

"I abhor discrimination," he wrote. "I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

The law sparked outrage from many in Indiana's business community and others with ties -- established and planned -- to the Hoosier state. The public-employee union known as AFSCME announced Monday it was canceling a planned women's conference in Indianapolis this year because of the law. The band Wilco said it was canceling a May performance. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an open letter to Indiana corporations saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does "not discriminate against our friends and neighbors," while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to more than a dozen Indiana businesses, urging them to relocate to a "welcoming place to people of all races, faiths and countries of origin."

In a separate editorial with a clear message, Indiana's largest newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, stressed urgency: "Fix this now."

Photo Credit: Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Indiana Gov. Addresses Law Controversy]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 07:56:48 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Mike-Pence-Indiana-Gov.jpg

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence said in a Tuesday op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that a controversial bill he signed into law last week is not a "license to discriminate."

"I abhor discrimination," he wrote. "I believe in the Golden Rule that you should ‘do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ If I saw a restaurant owner refuse to serve a gay couple, I wouldn’t eat there anymore."

"As governor of Indiana, if I were presented a bill that legalized discrimination against any person or group, I would veto it," he continued.

His published remarks are an attempt to quell the firestorm that's brewed since he affixed his signature to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act last Thursday. The measure prohibits state laws that "substantially burden" a person's ability to follow his or her religious beliefs. The definition of "person" includes religious institutions, businesses and associations.

Gays and lesbians are not a protected class under Indiana’s civil rights laws, and critics of the law maintain it could allow some businesses to refuse providing service or selling goods to some people based on religious grounds.

That's sparked outrage from many in Indiana's business community and others with ties -- established and planned -- to the Hoosier state. The public-employee union known as AFSCME announced Monday it was canceling a planned women's conference in Indianapolis this year because of the law. The band Wilco said it was canceling a May performance. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe issued an open letter to Indiana corporations saying Virginia is a business-friendly state that does "not discriminate against our friends and neighbors," while Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to more than a dozen Indiana businesses, urging them to relocate to a "welcoming place to people of all races, faiths and countries of origin."

Republican legislative leaders said they are working on adding language to the law to make it clear it does not allow discrimination against gays and lesbians.

In a separate editorial with a clear message, Indiana's largest newspaper, the Indianapolis Star, stressed urgency: "Fix this now."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA["I'm Not Running": Warren Shuts Down 2016 Buzz Again]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2015 06:36:50 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/AP868875334282.jpg

Sorry, "Elizabeth Warren for President" holdouts.

The U.S. senator from Massachusetts on Tuesday dealt another blow to supporters — and rivals on the right — hoping she'll enter the 2016 race, repeating her intention to stay on the sidelines. 

"No, I am not running and I’m not going to run," she told NBC's Savannah Guthrie in an interview.

"I'm not running. I'm not running," she repeated when asked again whether there was any room to hedge.

Warren, who has gained a national profile as a vocal critic of Wall Street, has insisted for months that she does not plan to run against likely candidate and frontrunner Hillary Clinton in the 2016 Democratic primary. On Tuesday, as she appeared on the "Today" show to promote her new memoir, she said serving in the U.S. Senate is the best platform for fighting for changes on financial regulation, student loans and more.

“I’m in Washington and I’ve got this really great job and a chance to try to make a difference on things that really matter," she said.

The senator's own words haven't stopped supporters on the left from continuing a draft-Warren effort to lay groundwork and generate support for a run. Republicans have also used the buzz surrounding a possible Warren bid to rally their base — citing the progressive Democrat in fundraising emails and other appeals for support.

Even as she rejected the speculation surrounding her own plans, Warren sidestepped a question about whether Clinton is the best messenger on issues embraced by the party's liberal wing.

“I think we need to give her a chance to decide if she’s going to run and declare and to lay out what she wants to run on," she said. "I think that's her opportunity to do that.”

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Apple's Tim Cook: "Religious Objection" Laws Are "Very Dangerous"]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 10:22:16 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/tim-cook-apple-fortuna.jpg

Apple CEO Tim Cook slammed Indiana's new "religious objection" legislation over the weekend, penning a Washington Post piece warning that “there’s something very dangerous happening in America.”

The piece, which was posted late Sunday night, said the openly gay executive, who was raised in a Baptist home in the South, was "deeply disappointed" in the recently passed "Religious Freedom Restoration" law in Indiana that shields business owners who turn away customers for religious reasons.

"This isn’t a political issue," he wrote. "It isn’t a religious issue. This is about how we treat each other as human beings. Opposing discrimination takes courage. With the lives and dignity of so many people at stake, it’s time for all of us to be courageous."

Cook called this new wave of legislation "very dangerous," noting there are about 100 similar bills under consideration in two dozen states. And he added that they "go against the very principles our nation was founded on" and "have the potential to undo decades of progress toward greater equality."

“America's business community recognized a long time ago that discrimination, in all its forms, is bad for business,” he wrote. “At Apple, we are in business to empower and enrich our customers' lives. We strive to do business in a way that is just and fair. That's why, on behalf of Apple, I'm standing up to oppose this new wave of legislation — wherever it emerges. I'm writing in the hopes that many more will join this movement.”

Cook, who was baptized in a Baptist church and grew up in the South in the 1960s and 1970s.  He publicly disclosed that he is gay in October. Last week, Cook announced that he will give his fortune away.

Photo Credit: NBC NEWS]]>
<![CDATA[Iraq War Vet Tammy Duckworth Launches Senate Bid in Illinois]]> Mon, 30 Mar 2015 16:24:28 -0700 http://media.nbcsandiego.com/images/213*120/Tammy-Duckworth3.jpg

In a video to supporters, Rep. Tammy Duckworth on Monday made official a 2016 challenge to Sen. Mark Kirk. 

"I’m running for the United States Senate in 2016 because it’s time for Washington to be held accountable and to put Illinois’ families and communities first," the Hoffman Estates Democrat said her video message.

Duckworth, an Iraqi war vet who lost her legs in a helicopter crash, recently had her first baby at the age of 46. 

Well known in her district, her message was a sort of introduction to a statewide audience. She said she was a Marine, a wife, a new mom and a combat veteran. She recalled the financial struggles she faced with her family while growing up and as she put herself through college.

"If you elect me as Illinois’s Senator, I will fight my heart out to represent you with honor and integrity," she said. 

Kirk, who suffered a stroke in 2012, plans to run for re-election.

Illinois Republicans quickly tied Duckworth to former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who is currently serving time in a Denver-area prison on a corruption conviction.

"Rod Blagojevich protégé Tammy Duckworth is not the kind of partisan politician Illinois families want to represent them in the United States Senate," said Illinois Republican Party Chairman Tim Schneider. "Duckworth represents the extreme wing of the Democrat party — voting with Nancy Pelosi 92 percent of the time. I have no doubt that next November, Illinois voters will re-elect Mark Kirk who has been a strong & independent voice for our state in Washington."

Photo Credit: YouTube / Tammy Duckworth
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