In the News
July 26, 2016
By Dave Schwab
It was meet your legislators night July 20 and Pacific Beach Town Council had two of them – Congressman Scott Peters and State Assembly Speaker Emeritus Toni Atkins – present to clue beach residents in on current events in Washington, D.C. and Sacramento.
Peters, of the 52nd Congressional District, and Atkins, of the 78th Assembly District, were colleagues previously on the San Diego City Council. Both spoke for several minutes before fielding audience questions.
A member of the House Armed Services and Judiciary committees, Peters updated residents on what's going on in the military, high- and clean-tech arenas, both of which continue to be critical to San Diego's economy and future development, along with tourism.
Peters said there was good news for San Diego on the military budget front, noting new federal money is being earmarked for projects in San Diego like building a new West Coast campus for Navy Seals, new fighter-jet hangars at Miramar and a new contract to build oiler refueling ships.
“You know me,” said Peters of his bipartisan bent adding, “I've been rated the fifth most independent Democrat in Congress.”
Having had two super-close Congressional races defeating Republicans Brian Bilbray and Carl DeMaio, respectively, Peters noted his 52nd Congressional seat has been one of the most targeted by the political opposition. Far less than one-quarter of the 435 seats in Congress are considered competitive, wherein incumbents don't enjoy comfortable margins of partisan support and little opposition in their districts.
Noting his office is “here to serve,” Peters exhorted his constituents to “take advantage of us. We can help out with any federal-government issues you have, like passports or visas.”
Atkins, immediate past California Assembly Speaker who is termed-out and running for California's 39th State Senate District, noted economic times are much better now, adding education is a big “winner” in this year's state budget.
“After the Great Recession, K-12 schools and community colleges did not get the funding they needed to do the job they do, so they had to cut programs and summer classes,” Atkins said. “Now we're able to re-invest in education, including higher education.”
Asked about gun control, Atkins replied, “California has the strongest gun laws in the nation, though we do still have some loopholes we've sought to fix.”
Atkins said she supported strict rules on assault rifles and similar firearms noting “these are things a militia would need, but not regular citizens or anyone hunting deer.”
Atkins also noted she's sponsoring legislation aimed at eliminating human trafficking.
One thing Atkins said surprised her about being a legislator is “how hard it actually is to get legislation passed.”
“There are 80 Assembly members and 40 in the state house, and a piece of legislation has to pass both houses and make it to the governor's desk to be signed or vetoed,” she said. “That's very hard.”
At the start of the meeting, PBTC saluted police officers and all they do for protecting communities and citizens. Northern Division Capt. Mark Hanten thanked Pacific Beach for its support, noting his office has been inundated with cakes, pies, cookies and other goodies recently. He added the police department appreciates the public's support for its efforts.
Read more: San Diego Community News Group - Peters Atkins brief Pacific Beach Town Council on issues