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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 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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