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Jewish political roundup: Emerald votes for sales tax ballot measure; Block to open reelection headquarters

August 4, 2010 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO  (SDJW)– Marti Emerald has voted with the San Diego City Council’s majority to place a ½ cent sales tax increase on the city ballot—an increase, which boost the levy from 8.75 percent to 9.25 percent.

After doing so, the 7th District Councilwoman issued a statement, explaining her siding with the majority in the 6-2 Council vote:

““We’re asking the voters of San Diego to tell us if they are willing to pay a little extra to restore core services,” she said.  “That includes public safety, libraries and plugging pot holes.”

She noted that the “Reform Before Revenue measure” calls for a host of pension and financial reforms which must be met before the temporary 5-year half-cent sales tax would be levied.

“Not one penny would be collected until pensions are reduced and managed competition is enacted as part of a comprehensive package of reforms,” she said.  “I take very seriously my constituents’ message that we need reform before revenue.”
By working together, the City Council and Mayor have enacted budget cuts totaling $335 million annually, she added.

Meanwhile, another public officeholder from San Diego’s Jewish community – state Assemblyman Marty Block—announced his campaign headquarters for reelection will be opened at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at 3717 Camino Del Rio South.

Block said that among expected attendees at the ceremony are Emerald;  Sweetwater Union High School District Trustee Arlie Ricasa;  and Lorena Gonzalez, San Diego & Imperials Counties  Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer

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Preceding compiled from news releases from Councilmember Emerald and Assembly member Block

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

Block to show Michelle Obama food garden in City Heights

April 15, 2010 Leave a comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)- Assemblymember Marty Block will welcome First Lady Michelle Obama to a visit of the New Roots Community Farm, a sustainable food project located in the San Diego community of City Heights at 54th Street and Chollas Avenue at 1pm on Thursday, April 15.

“I’m very excited to welcome the First Lady to San Diego,” commented Assemblymember Block.  “The New Roots Community Farm is an excellent example of successful neighborhood involvement that not only enriches the communities to which they belong, but also improves the health and well-being of children and adults in those neighborhoods.”
           
A strong advocate of nutrition and sustainable farming, the First Lady will highlight the community location that promotes healthy living and nutrition and helps to combat childhood obesity.  She is expected to comment on the commitment from the California Endowment to invest in underserved communities within the state.  The California Endowment will announce a billion dollar commitment that will be divided among 14 communities over the next 10 years.
           
The New Roots Community Farm has 89 plots of various sizes which are available to residents.  For additional information on the First Lady’s visit or upcoming business for Assemblymember Block, please contact his district office at (619) 462-7878.

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Preceding provided by Assemblyman Marty Block

State Legislature to honor Holocaust survivors and liberators

April 13, 2010 Leave a comment

 SACRAMENTO, California (Press Release) – Assemblymember Marty Block (Democrat, San Diego) on Tuesday announced that, in partnership with Assemblymember Ira Ruskin (Democrat, Redwood City), he is leading an effort to honor Holocaust survivors and World War II veteran concentration camp liberators during a special ceremony in the Capitol on April 19,  at 12:00 p.m., as part of Holocaust Memorial Week. 

More than 40 survivors, veteran liberators and their guests from around the state are expected to attend – to share survival stories and memorialize those who lost their lives. 
           
It will be during this event that Assembly Concurrent Resolution 31, which formally proclaims April 12 to April 18 as California Holocaust Memorial Week, will be presented to the full Assembly.
           
“As the years bring us farther away from that horrific time in world history, it is our duty to preserve the memories of the millions who perished in the Holocaust,” commented Assemblymember Block. 

“By telling the stories of the survivors, indeed by creating a living memorial, we echo the message to the next generation that ‘never again’ is more than a simple phrase; it is a commitment to those who perished and those who survived.”
           
The event’s keynote speaker is Rabbi Denise Eger, founding rabbi of Congregation Kol-Ami in West Hollywood, and Vice President of the Southern California Board of Rabbis.  Eger was ordained as rabbi in 1988 and has served pulpits in Canada, New York and Los Angeles.  She will also serve as chaplain at the event.

This is the eighth year of the Assembly’s Holocaust Memorial Project.  In addition to the ceremony at the State Capitol, students interview survivors each year and write essays about their Holocaust experiences.  The essays are bound into books and distributed to ceremony participants, as well as to students and schools, survivors and veterans, legislators, libraries and community organizations.  This is the first year that the book of essays includes stories of World War II veterans who liberated concentration camps.
           
“It’s vital that we keep and share this knowledge – that we teach our children and future generations that acts of heroism during the Holocaust serve as a powerful example of how our nation and our citizens can and must respond to acts of hatred and inhumanity,” said Assemblymember Ruskin.
           
During the ceremony, survivors and veterans will join Assemblymembers at their desks.  Students and other participants will be invited to sit in the gallery.  A luncheon will follow the ceremony.  For more information about the event, please call the Capitol Office of Assemblymember Block at (916) 319-2078.

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Preceding provided by Assemblymember Marty Block

Workshop held for those in danger of losing homes

April 1, 2010 Leave a comment

BONITA, California (Press Release) – In an effort to help San Diegans hardest hit by the home foreclosure crisis, Assemblymember Marty Block (Democrat, San Diego) convened a workshop March 31 at the Bonita-Sunnyside Library to advocate for the region’s fair share of $700 million in newly available federal funding to assist those directly at risk in the current foreclosure crises. 

Block partnered with the California Housing Finance Agency (CalHFA), community groups and stakeholders to highlight how the money could be used to assist those in San Diego who are struggling with their mortgages, in this difficult economy. 
         
“Too many of our friends and neighbors face losing their homes, and this funding would greatly assist San Diegans to provide them with the resources they need to stay in their homes and maintain their lives,” said Assemblymember Block.  “I brought together individuals and organizations which are at the front line of the foreclosure crisis to inform CalHFA officials how Californians in the region are struggling in the aftermath of the foreclosure crisis and urged them to direct as much of the funding to San Diego County as possible.”
           
Those gathered included representatives of nonprofit agencies and local government, realtors, home mortgage counselors, and other industry representatives.  The group provided important information to CalHFA about their working relationships with borrowers struggling to make their mortgage payments, what kinds of programs actually work to keep people in their homes, how program dollars could be used most effectively for San Diego. 

The funding announced on February 19, 2010 by President Obama will help families in states where house prices have fallen more than 20% from their peak, like California.  Some potential programs for the funds might include, but are not limited to, subsidizing unemployed borrowers, providing assistance with past due payments, assisting with long-term loan modifications, or extinguishing junior liens. 

             
“We owe it to our communities to fight for our fair share, and to help those who need it most,” continued Block.  “CalHFA received a wealth of information about our region, and I know they left the meeting with a clearer understanding of how hard hit our neighborhoods have been during this crisis, the level of assistance desperately needed here to help homeowners stay in their homes, and the kinds of assistance that will work for San Diegans in the long-run.”

           
For additional information on the workshop or other information from Assemblymember Block, please call his office at (619) 462-7878.

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Preceding provided by Assemblyman Marty Block

Marty Block named Assembly Higher Education chairman

March 19, 2010 1 comment

SACRAMENTO (Press Release) – Assemblymember Marty Block (Democrat, San Diego) has been appointed as Chair of the Assembly Committee on Higher Education by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez.

“I am honored by the opportunity to serve at such a critical time for California’s public education system,” said Assemblymember Block.  “Higher education is the foundation of a strong economy and a key to creating jobs, which is why we must do everything possible to meet the challenge of providing quality and affordable education for every student seeking to better themselves and contribute to their communities. We must look at ways to improve access for all Californians, and as Chair, I will stand committed to working with my colleagues to protect funding, preserve programs, embrace positive innovation, and advocate for the important resources that help students succeed and build brighter futures.”

A lifelong educator, Assemblymember Block served as a professor, dean and director at San Diego State University for 26 years, president of the San Diego Community College District Board of Trustees for eight years and a member of the San Diego County Board of Education before being elected to the Assembly in 2008.

In announcing the appointment, Speaker Perez stated, “I am confident, given his extensive background in higher education and his passion for students receiving a quality and affordable education, that Assemblymember Block is the absolute right choice at the right time.”  “Given the fragile state of our current system, Assemblymember Block will provide the vision and leadership necessary to navigate these tumultuous times.”

For additional information on this appointment, the Assembly Higher Education Committee or Assemblymember Block, please contact his Sacramento office at (916) 319-2078.

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Preceding provided by Assemblymember Block

Tax break planned in California for Haiti donors

January 28, 2010 1 comment

SAN DIEGO (Press Release)­­ To recognize and encourage residents who provided much needed cash to help aid Haiti in the recovery process, the Legislature is moving a bill (AB 347) to   allow a tax deduction for cash contributions made between January 11, 2010 and March 1, 2010 for the rescue and recovery efforts to be applied toward the contributors 2009 tax returns.

“Many in our state are suffering the dire effects of our troubled economy,” said Assemblymember Marty Block (Democrat-San Diego) who is a principal co-author of the bill, “and yet residents have responded in full measure to the calamitous situation in Haiti. It is my hope that AB 347 will give at least a small amount of relief to those who have helped others.”

AB 347 now moves to the state Senate for consideration.  For additional information on AB 347 contact Assemblymember Marty Block’s Sacramento office at (916) 319-2078.

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Preceding provided by Assemblyman Marty Block