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Update: Assemblyman Jones Calls for Chamber Backing of CEO England

Fourth annual Casino Royale fund-raiser honors eight local heroes at Mission Valley hotel resort.

Updated at 10:15 a.m. Feb. 24, 2012

Assemblyman Brian Jones helped hand out awards Thursday night at a La Mesa Chamber of Commerce salute to local heroes.

But after delivering certificates on behalf of himself and two fellow Republicans—state Sen. Joel Anderson and Rep. Duncan D. Hunter—Jones took time to hand the chamber’s CEO a prize: a pitch for her Assembly run.

“You all are blessed that your own Mary England has stepped up to run for this office, the state Assembly,” Jones told an audience of 150 at the Town & Country Resort Hotel in Mission Valley.

Jones, who is losing La Mesa as part of a district he would like to represent, didn’t mention that England, who helped revive the La Mesa chamber four years ago, is running in a Democratic leaning district, the 79th. 

But he acknowledged her challenge.

 “She’s in for the fight of her life,” he said. “This is not going to be an easy race for her. … She can win it, but it’s going to take a lot of work. And it’s going to take all of us working together to get her over the finish line in June and November.”

According to the IRS Code, traditional nonprofit groups are prohibited from favoring political candidates, but the La Mesa chamber has a different nonprofit status and is allowed to host political events.

England, who said she is prepared to step down from her seat on the Lemon Grove City Council if she finishes in the top two in June, is one of two Republicans in the race.  She’ll also face at least four Democrats in the June open primary, where the top two vote-getters will vie in November.

Thursday night’s three-hour chamber event—with a James Bond “Casino Royale” theme for the fourth year—served as a fund-raiser for the business group as well as a chance to salute local police, community volunteers and firefighters.

Two-by-two, eight honorees received gifts from the chamber and documents from Jones.

They were:

  • Paramedics Adam Daniels and Kevin Davis of American Medical Response, an ambulance service. The pair saved the life of a man whose heart had stopped beating, England said.
  • La Mesa police dispatcher Jennifer Barraza and Detective Dale Perry—he for raising by 21 percent the rate of solved robberies and she for taking on extra shifts when needed.
  • La Mesa-based firefighters John Burningham and Todd Nelson of the Heartland Fire & Rescue Agency for their live-saving roles in the May 2011 Lake Park Condominiums blaze, where the floor gave way and they held onto each other’s hands.
  • And La Mesa police RSVP members and retirees Dave Ende and Chuck Jackson, who between them have more than 8,000 hours of volunteer service to the police department.

The chamber event cost participants $50 and included gaming chips for play at blackjack, craps and roulette. A silent auction for dozens of donated goods and services also was held.

As a 501(c)(6) nonprofit (see attached), the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce has more freedom to host political events than a traditional 501(c)(3) nonprofit.

According to the Internal Revenue Service, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt group is  “absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.”

But the IRS says a 501(c)(6) group “may engage in political campaigns, provided that such activities are not the organization's primary activity.”

No Bad Government February 24, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Hey Ken: The article should have been focused on the salute to the heroes, not a speech by a Brian Jones. Nice to see you place more importance on a political speech than the celebration of our local heroes. Journalism at its best!!
No Bad Government February 24, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Also Ken, Brian Jones did not call for the Chamber backing of Mary England. He called for the audience to support her run for assembly. The Chamber does not endorse political candidates. Get your facts straight!
Jimmy Sanders February 25, 2012 at 05:29 PM
The LA MESA Chamber of Commerce event held in San Diego and not in LA MESA?
Bill Jaynes February 25, 2012 at 11:52 PM
As a proud, "Dr. No" level sponsor of the Chamber's Casino Royale night, I want to make clear that this was in no way a political event, nor did I get the impression that Assmblyman Jones was seeking an official Chamber endorsement of Ms. England; his remarks strike me as totally impromptu. Many of us in the Chamber do support Mary, but this is due to our familiarity with her work ethic, history of support for the business community, and her willingness to focus on solutions rather than partisan politics--Republican or Democrat has nothing to do with it.
No Bad Government February 26, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Jimmy,unfortuantely , La Mesa and the whole of East County has no nice place to hold an event like this other than the Casinos which are fairly far out of the way compared to Mission Valley. The Town and Country Resort is a Chamber Member, close to La Mesa and offers the Chamber great pricing and service. This is why we need the Park Station project with a nice hotel that could draw events from all over East County adding to the City revenues through increased property taxes and sales tax revenues. The Community Center is all we have and that just isn't good enough or classy enough for many events not to mention hotels usually provide all the set up, tear down, decorating etc. Time to get on the Park Station Band Wagon.
Teresa C. February 26, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Mary England remained in her foreclosed upon home until forcing the lender to file an eviction action to vacate the property in 2010. (Case # 37-2010-00034405-CL-UD-EC). In my opinion, she is not a suitable candidate for any office. Apparently, behind the façade is a person who lacks prudent financial management.
No Bad Government February 26, 2012 at 06:49 PM
You have no clue about Mary England and her personal life. If getting foreclosed out of a home is what you are basing your decision to elect a representative on people in office and not their record of representing their constituents, keeping taxes low and fighting against government waste, then you are obviously the type of person who voted in all the clowns we currently have in Sacramento who take bribes, support illegal aliens, waste your tax dollars and you deserve the mess we are in now. How is that working out for you? There are plenty of people who lost their homes for one reason or another are it doesn't make them bad managers of money. You are very short sided and obviously have a personal bias against Mary England that has nothing to do with her personal business. Maybe she didn't raise your taxes enough.
No Bad Government February 26, 2012 at 09:35 PM
Actually Teresa, Mary should thank you for pointing out having gone through the pain and anguish of a foreclosure in a home she grew up in for over 40 years, she can relate to the regular Joe and not be out of touch as many of our millionaire federal and state congress people are. I guess since Donald Trump previously filed Bankruptcy he is not qualified to manage finances either. See how silly your remark is and just points out a personal attack that is baseless. So Teresa, I guess you are one of the fortunate Americans who either have a job and no debt or maybe you have a generous public employee pension to live off of to keep you financially solvent and you haven't had to feel the pain of living off your personal and retirement savings to make ends meet or work 80 hours a week because you have had to lay off employees to keep your business alive. Fact: She voted against a sales tax increase in LG. She voted against the $13,000 employee stipend in LG. One thing I can tell you Teresa is that there isn't a candidate out there that puts in as many hours a week working not only her job as CEO of the La Mesa Chamber of Commerce, City Councilwoman of Lemon Grove, Board Member of the MTS, Board member of the Heartland Fire District on top of her own Public Relations firm and still find time to run for Public office to help people just like you get our State back in fiscal order. Don't you want someone who has that kind of work ethic representing you in Sacramento?
Ken Stone February 26, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Nobody is immune from financial misery in this housing market. A year ago, Chancellor Cindy Miles of the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District told me about her home near Miami being under water, and selling for a loss: http://patch.com/A-gnp4
Monty March 01, 2012 at 03:40 PM
@ No Bad Government, It is not the foreclosure that is bad. It is, I suspect, that Ms. England having lived in that home for so many years (40?) had it wind up in foreclosure. Was the house being used as an ATM machine like so many other irresponsible Americans who lost their homes? In addition, when the bank became the owner of the home, why did Ms. England remain in possession? Is that how she works? Stubborn, “stick it to the man,” I am staying put mentality? Nobody, not even a person who has experienced a home foreclosure is justified to force an eviction. That is financial mismanagement and taking property that they are no longer legally permitted to occupy. Don’t compare Donald Trump to Mary England. England is no Donald Trump.
No Bad Government March 01, 2012 at 08:39 PM
Monty: You missed the point about Donald Trump. Just because someone falls on hard times doesn't mean they are poor managers of money. Not every person who got foreclosed out of a home was a person scamming the system. Since you and me don't know all the things that happen in Ms. England's life that brought her to the point of a foreclosure and whether she tried to work something out with the bank to avoid foreclosure, it is best not to make assumptions about those things but just feel bad for those people who have lost their homes for whatever reason because in addition to losing their homes, they also lost a lot of money most likely in the process. You stated it very clearly, "you suspect" but you have no first hand knowledge. I assume you have never made a bad investment or lost money so good for you. You are a top flight financial manager. I also assume you have never accepted government assistance so you have never stuck it to the man either. All I know is what I see as her votes at the City Council meetings and she consistently has been voting to try and save the Lemon Grove from financial ruin, get spending under control, and balance the budget without raising taxes contrary to her democrat cohorts on the council. You have had a democrat Mayor for 18 years in Lemon Grove (assuming you live there). How is that working out for Lemon Grove? No reserves, no rec department, bad streets. You can always vote for the tax and spend democrat alternative.
James Davis March 01, 2012 at 11:00 PM
No Bad Government, So basically you say that a Rec Dept gets cut, City employees are forced to go on furlough and then you say that its because Democrats spend in Lemon Grove or that there is a Democrat Mayor or cohorts that make it a point to spend? Completely contradictory. I like Mary England and she has had some really great things to say at some of the council meetings I have been to. Its a little curious how strong party backing makes any difference at the local level. Not for one minute do I think any of the council members care any less about the city than one another. Do the math. Lemon Grove does not have the tax base to even make an argument that the reason its not doing x or y is because of egregious spending. I have not lived here for a very long time, so I cant say from experience, but Lemon Grove certainly has a lot more going for it in the future than it maybe may have had in the past decade.
No Bad Government March 01, 2012 at 11:35 PM
James: You have to look at the leadership. The City has been digging into reserves for several years. They went from a high of $5 million to about $2 M now and I think that is high. During this time, the Mayor and council did nothing to cut spending and reform pensions until just recently. Until Nov 2010, Mary was the only Repub and always voted against digging into the reserves to balance the budget but would lose out on a 4-1 vote. By Mary voting against the sales tax increase (and it would have passed 4-1 if a missing councilman was present), it forced the City to make tough choices, hence the rec department to balance the budget rather than taxing the people more to do it. Meanwhile, employees got raises to help compensate them paying their own share of their pensions which should have happened years ago and even last month, the council voted 3 (dem)-2 (rep) to give employees another stipend when the money could have been better spent elsewhere. Now credit is given to the Council for having reformed pensions, cutting the rec dept and going to furloughs (38 vs 40 hrs) but they have yet to initiate a second tier pension plan and all the reforms only happened because the City was running out of money but some of these reforms should have taken place during the good times. In the meantime, employees still only pay a minimal amount towards their health benefits and we all know health care premium have gone up over 50% in the last few years. You should run for Council!
Monty March 02, 2012 at 02:07 AM
@ No Bad Government. Nice, throw some more red herrings into the discussion. I am not here to highjack the thread, and neither should you. The subject of this story is Mary England seeking higher office. I am merely pointing out the fact that I feel she is not fit for office. Sure people run into financial trouble and I feel sorry for them. However, those people rarely run for public office in an attempt to “save the State” when at the same time they cannot save themselves! Smart, responsible people have reserves for bad times. They don’t own a home 40 years to turn around and loose it. Then stay in it during the unlawful detainer process. I don’t know the facts and perhaps Mary England should address them because I can assure you this matter will be brought up loud and clear during her campaign. I would not vote for a governor that was the subject of such a recent event, nor would I vote for a mayor or assemblyperson that did so. Not without a full disclosure of why it happened. Mary England is now a public figure and public records will be used to study her capability and fitness for public office. I cannot send someone to Sacramento that can’t keep his or her own fiscal house fit at home. I want to be represented by someone whom is at least modesty successful and that means having their financial problems well (years, decades) behind them.
Monty March 02, 2012 at 02:38 AM
@ Ken Stone, Agreed, there are cases where successful people find themselves underwater on their mortgage. However, you have presented an “Apple v. Oranges” argument. Cindy Miles experience was a result the unfortunate real estate bubble. She, like millions, purchased in 2005 at the top of the market and in 2009 was “underwater.” Mary England says she lived in her home for 40 years. 40 years? That is usually 10 years after the mortgage burning party. Nevertheless, she lost her home and had to be evicted under an unlawful detainer lawsuit. Why? The first example is unfortunate timing, while the second reeks of financial recklessness.
No Bad Government March 02, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Then I guess you better go back and look at everyone you ever voted for to see what skeletons they had in their closet. How many people that you put into office wrote bad checks, had DUIs, took bribes, etc. Pretty broad brush. Only "responsible people" have reserves. I know plenty of "responsible people" who have exhausted their savings to try and stay afloat because one or both earners lost their job. I know plenty of responsible people who support themselves and their families barely getting by and don't have the ability to save reserves. So what you are saying is you only want rich people to represent you in the State and US governments. I guess you would never have anyone in office that really understands the common man. Sounds more like you have a bias against Ms. England because she voted against your position on something and that's fine. Just say that. Don't bring up this garbage about someone having gone through foreclosure as your reason. You don't like her politics, you don't like her voting record, you don't like her political bent. I get that. All you are doing is trying to dig up dirt to try and smear someone rather than focus on what they will or won't do for you in Sacramento. You should probably research every person in Sacramento to see in any of them filed BK or had a foreclosure. I bet you voted for some of them. Be truthful Monty and tell us why you really don't want to vote for her. Foreclosure isn't it because you don't know the whole story.
No Bad Government March 02, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Get off you high horse Monty. No one died and left you king of financial assessments.
Monty March 02, 2012 at 04:18 AM
“No Bad Government” Please use paragraphs in future posts. It was painful to read your recent reply. You certainly are passionate about your defense of Mary England. I have no hidden agenda; I simply think she is a glad-hander and not a productive politician. Now, on the “digging up of dirt” accusation, I will remind you that it is a matter of public record. It is legal to examine it and post in in the news or online. Now, I am suspecting you might be one Mary England. Just a hunch. In addition, I will warn you that you had better measure your words. Because I have the wherewithal to hire an attorney and subpoena your IP address from America On-Line. In fact, I may do so as a matter of my own privacy since your comments are verging on the definition of stalking. Please do not post any more comments directed at me without acknowledging your identity. Is that crystal, No Bad Government?
Jenna Zeledon March 02, 2012 at 05:31 AM
Well what's your real name, NBG? Scott? David? Why chastise someone for having a username which may or may not represent the true identity of said poster when you're essentially rocking your own boat? Just my two cents.
Jenna Zeledon March 02, 2012 at 06:04 AM
Personally, I think it matters... when one calls another out on not being transparent; wouldn't be transparent yourself be paramount in the situation?
Things I Learned March 02, 2012 at 06:38 AM
http://lamesa.patch.com/blog_posts/where-oh-where-have-the-little-pbid-petitions-gone-oh-where-oh-where-can-they-be#comment_2142192

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