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A good day for Jewish incumbents, but not for other Jewish candidates

June 9, 2010 Leave a comment

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO – Jewish incumbents on San Diego County ballots won election or renomination to their seats in California’s primaries on Tuesday, but most Jewish candidates running for open seats fell short of the mark, or placed second for runoff spots. San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis won outright reelection in a nonpartisan race. U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, Congress Members Susan Davis and Bob Filner, and State Assembly member Marty Block all won renominations in their respective Democratic party primaries. Howard Katz, in an unopposed Democratic primary, won the right to oppose Republican Congressman Darrell Issa, setting up a contest between members of the Jewish and Lebanese-American communities.

Among Jewish hopefuls falling by the wayside were State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner who lost in an expensive Republican primary contest for governor to Meg Whitman; Orly Taitz, who sought the Republican nomination for Secretary of State; Mike Schmier who placed way back in the GOP race for attorney general; and David Nussbaum who was well behind the pack in the nonpartisan contest for State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

That trend held up in local contests as well: In the 36th State Senate District, Riverside County Supervisor Jeff Stone came in second to Assemblyman Joel Anderson for the Republican nomination; in the 76th Assembly District, Naomi Bar Lev placed third for the Republican nomination, and in the 6th San Diego City Council District race, Howard Wayne placed behind Lorie Zapf. Because neither Wayne nor Zapf had a majority, they will have a runoff election in November to replace termed-out City Council Member Donna Frye.

In contests in which major Jewish figures played behind-the-scenes roles, there were mixed results. Former County Sheriff Bill Kolender saw his hand-picked successor, Bill Gore, win easy election as sheriff. On the other hand, San Diego City Council member Marti Emerald was unsuccessful in persuading the voters to block the proposal to make the “strong mayor” system of government permanent and to return instead to having a city manager serve as the chief executive of the municipality.

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Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World

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Campbell describes himself as a supporter of Israel

February 10, 2010 3 comments

By Bruce Kesler

ENCINITAS, California – In the Republican primary for U.S. Senate, former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell is being accused of being anti-Israel by his Republican opponents, who cite his votes in the House of Representatives to reduce aid to Israel and his early advocacy of a Palestinian state. 

In a direct email exchange with this writer, Campbell answered a series of questions intended to probe his overall views on the Middle East.

1. Would Campbell have voted for, against, or abstained in the Senate vote on the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (S. 2799)?

Yes, I would have voted in favor. Note that I’m already on record to support Israeli military action, if it comes to that, directed at destroying Iran’s nuclear capability. This Act is an attempt to increase the pressure so that Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. It’s worth trying, but my patience has already run out with all forms of sanctions.

2. Would Campbell vote in favor, against, or abstain in the vote on the full $3-billion security assistance aid to Israel in President Obama’s proposed budget?

I have always voted for the military aid portion of assistance to Israel. Like the Netanyahu government, in the past and now, I favor lowering the amount of American economic assistance to countries more able to take care of themselves, so that US foreign economic assistance can go to the neediest countries.

3. Would Campbell vote in favor, against, or abstain in the repeated votes in favor of the US recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and moving the US Embassy there?

I always favored the United States paying Israel the respect we pay other nations, of recognizing the capital city of their own choosing, and placing our embassy there.

4.A. Would Campbell require an act of Congress under the War Powers Act in order to send emergency arms and supplies to Israel if attacked?

The War Powers Act is triggered only by the presence of US troops in “hostilities.” Nothing in sending arms and supplies to Israel would trigger the Act. So, no, I would not require an act of congress to send emergency arms and supplies to Israel if attacked.

4.B. Would Campbell vote in favor, against, or abstain in his vote for such an act of Congress?

I would vote in favor. My vote in favor of going to war when Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait was as much a vote to defend Israel as to defend Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. All three nations were attacked.

5. Does Campbell support, criticize, or have no public position about the Goldstone Report?

I have not read the Goldstone Report, and would need to do so before offering an informed opinion.

6. Does Campbell believe, not believe, or stand undecided on whether the “Israel lobby” has excess influence on US foreign policy?

 All Americans have the right to petition Congress and the President, and those Americans who wish to do so on behalf of a stronger American-Israeli relationship should  not be criticized for doing so. The influence of those Americans is not “excess influence.”

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Okay, politicians are politicians, and often say what they think the electorate wants to hear.  Campbell’s record of speaking his mind, however, has not followed that tacky pattern.  One may agree with him, or not.  It is most important  to remove Senator Barbara Boxer. 

Carly Fiorina, Campbell’s well-self-funded primary opponent, can directly speak to current issues and differences without selectively tossing mud-covered rocks.  That is jackelish. That only aids Boxer, and does not further Republicans or Fiorina, or Israel.

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Kesler is a freelance writer based in Encinitas, California

U.S. Senators urge Uganda not to criminalize homosexuality

January 20, 2010 Leave a comment
WA SHINGTON, D.C. (Press Release)—U.S. Senators Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland and Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, both Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and 10 other Senators today urged Ugandan President Yoweri Musseveni to block enactment of a law that would criminalize homosexuality and codify prejudice against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgendered and HIV-positive Ugandans.

The bill, which if passed would impose sentences as severe as life in prison or death, runs counter to global declarations of universal human rights and efforts to expand tolerance and health assistance in Africa and worldwide. In addition to Senators Cardin and Durbin, the letter was also signed by Democratic  Senators Patty Murray of Washington,  Christopher Dodd of Connecticut, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Mark Udall of Colorado, Barbara Boxer of California, Daniel Akaka of Hawaii,  Diane Feinstein of California, and Independent Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut. 

 
“Legislating prejudice is wrong for any government in any country. President Musseveni must take any and all steps available to end this serious breach of human rights and basic tolerance,” said Senator Cardin, who also serves as chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. “Ugandans who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered or HIV-positive, should not live in fear or be punished for simply living their lives.”
 
“If this proposal carries the day, their government will undermine years of positive Ugandan leadership combating HIV infections, and instead, will begin pursuing a policy of intolerance,” Durbin, Chairman of the Human Rights and the Law Subcommittee, said. “I urge President Musseveni and the Ugandan Parliament, to reject this legislation outright and hope that they, along with the world at large, will rethink policies that institutionalize fear and bigotry.”
 
 
The full text of the letter is below.  


The Honorable Yoweri Museveni
President, Republic of Uganda
c/o of the Embassy of Uganda
5911 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20011
 
Dear Mr. President:
 
We write to express our deep concern regarding the anti-homosexuality bill currently before the Ugandan Parliament. 
 
This troubling legislation would sanction prejudice toward people in Uganda based solely on sexual orientation, or even HIV status. This is in great contrast to trends toward greater tolerance in the global community.  By creating harsh penalties for homosexuality, this bill not only codifies prejudice, but could also foster an increase in violence towards people simply based on sexual orientation.
 
The legislation also requires persons “in authority,” which could include government officials, employers, clergy, or others, to provide information about suspected violations of the Act. It further criminalizes the work done by human rights and health organizations that benefit lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender citizens, claiming those actions to be “homosexual promotion.” Certainly these are not the types of actions to be encouraged as the world strives to reverse violence, poverty, and human suffering caused by divisiveness and repression. 
 
While your nation has been a leader in Africa on many fronts, including the reduction of HIV infections, this proposed legislation will be a glaring setback in Uganda’s human rights standing. Unfortunately, even the mere threat of the new and severe penalties for homosexual behavior suggested in this bill, including life imprisonment and the death penalty, could easily add to an already intolerant atmosphere in Uganda based on sexual orientation. 
 
We understand you have recently raised concerns over the legislation and urge you to do to everything within your power to block its advancement. We look forward to continue the process of building a strong and long-lasting relationship between the United States of America and the Republic of Uganda.
 
Sincerely,
 
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
Senator Richard J. Durbin
Senator Daniel Akaka
Senator Christopher Dodd
Senator Joseph Lieberman
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Jeff Merkley
Senator Patty Murray
Senator Mark Udall
Senator Diane Feinstein
Senator Barbara Boxer

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Preceding provided by Senator Cardin

 

Boxer bill for S.D. gang and drug crime unit advances

November 23, 2009 4 comments

WASHINGTON, D.C (Press Release)—Senator Barbara Boxer (Democrat-San Diego) is alerting California constituents that the U.S. Senate recently passed the Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, “which includes several of my priority projects for California.”

Boxer, a member of the Jewish community, stated that “as part of the bill, I requested funding for the San Diego DA Gang and Drug Crime Investigation and Prosecution.  I am pleased to let you know that funding in the amount of $200,000 was included in the Senate version of this bill.  Funds will be used to support San Diego County’s District Attorney  to investigate and prosecute gang-related and drug crimes.”

This bill still has several steps before becoming law, but inclusion of the San Diego DA Gang and Drug Crime Investigation and Prosecution is a crucial step for funding.

“I am pleased that this project was included and that the Senate passed this bill which will help make Californians safer,” Boxer said. ” It includes crucial investments to fight drugs, combat gang violence and support our first responders.  You can count on me to work for its final passage.”

Boxer and Dumanis, coincidentally, are both members of our Jewish community.

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Preceding provided by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer