Friday, September 14, 2007

Leave General Petraeus Alone

For those of you who missed the president's address to the nation last night. Here is the condensed version.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hard Truths about Donna Frye

I want to strongly recommend Carl Luna's column in this week's issue of City Beat regarding Councilwoman Donna Frye. Luna puts down on paper what I know a lot of people have been thinking about her for quite sometime now. He argues: "In trying to best serve her constituents in District 6 as well as the city at large, Frye has often--this observer would argue too often--forfeited her own judgment in favor of some ill-defined vox populi." [Link]

Many of us admire and respect Donna Frye for the leadership she has demonstrated in trying to change the way politics is conducted here in the city of San Diego. Donna's problem as so pointedly described by Carl Luna is "[her] often admirable but also sometimes extreme commitment to doing what the people want runs the risk of demagoguery." [Link]

This I think gets to the core of the problem with Donna Frye. She has not been a truly effective politician, because she has not been able to or is unwilling to find that area between maintaining your core principles and compromising on some of them to achieve some accomplishments. Go read the whole column and come back and comment. [Link]

Half of San Diego County households live in unaffordable housing

That's the headline from a new issue brief from the Center on Policy Initiatives here in San Diego. A study of 2006 Census data released this week discovered that "about 53% of both renters and homebuyers in this county can't afford their housing, according to federal standards." Those numbers according to CPI add up to more than 500,000 households countywide.

Perhaps coincidentally, FoxNews last night ran a story aimed at revealing the "human side" of the foreclosure crisis throughout the county. The story ultimately focused on analysing all the mistakes people make on the way to foreclosure, conveniently blaming those who end up losing in all of this rather than getting particularly ruffled about predatory lending practices or subprime mortgages that have disproportionately hit Latinos and African-Americans with foreclosure (also touched on in the CPI report among other places).

More than half. That's not an ingredient for economic growth, improved test scores, higher health standards, public safety, or anything else generally considered desirable for a community. The San Diego housing market is already in decline, with dozens if not hundreds of condos sitting vacant and unsold. Where exactly is this county going and why are we in this handbasket?

Cross posted at Calitics

Lack of Leadership from The Mayor Again!

San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders held a press conference today to again voice his opposition to water reuse. Now, I am the first to admit that the cleverly coined "toilet to tap" sounds disgusting, but science consistently shows that highly treated waste water pumped into reservoirs is completely safe. In fact, we are already drinking it from the Colorado River! Apparently, the Mayor doesn't argue with the science, but doesn't like the "yuck" factor. Now that is leadership when we need it. As we face severe water cutbacks, we will stop the smartest, most environmentally sound water source available, because it sounds gross. I might suggest a play date for Mayor Sanders with my two-year old niece. She doesn't care about science either, and she would agree that it just sounds "yucky" .

Sen. Ducheny Votes Down Protection for Children and Firefighters

AB 706 was introduced and championed by Assemblyman Mark Leno and named one of the six must pass bills of this legislative session by the LA Times, yet it failed to escape the State Senate yesterday. It was supported by children's advocates and firefighters as a vital step towards eliminating dangerous fire retardants which release toxic, cancer-causing smoke during fires. The manufacturers of these fire retardants spent millions of dollars on a group they called "Californians for Fire Safety" and promptly sent out glossy mailers with pictures of firefighters but not their actual support, whipping up a veneer of false public pressure over the bill.

In the end, it was enough. Republicans in the Senate didn't even matter because so many Democrats broke ranks when push came to shove over protecting corporations that poison our children and public servants. Democratic Senators Correa (Orange County), Ducheny (San Diego), Florez (Bakersfield & Fresno), Machado (Stockton), and Vincent (LA) all voted nay, providing the razor thin 20-19 defeat (1 abstained).

This one really wasn't ever controversial. It's very basic protection for firefighters, for children, for pregnant mothers. It might not have been sexy, but it was very necessary. Senator Ducheny appears to have found the concerns and the money of the chemical manufacturing industry more compelling than public health and safety. I haven't seen or heard any statement from her or her office on this vote and can't call this morning. I welcome the Senator's explanation in any forum and would be happy to update this post, but it would have to be quite compelling to explain this away.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

When Will The Mission End?

I haven't been doing much blogging lately because for the past two days I've been watching the Petraeus and Crocker "song and dance" routine before Congress on CSPAN. What really frustrates me is the disingenuousness that has been exhibited by the both of them in their appearances before the respective committees. Behind all of the charts and statistics discussed as to whether or not progress is being made by the surge, what is lost is that we are after all talking about people who have been injured or killed in Iraq.

I was thinking about that this evening after reading Greg Mitchell's column in Editor and Publisher. Back on August 19th, seven active-duty soldiers serving a 15-month tour with the 82nd Airborne Division in Iraq wrote an Op-Ed for the New York Times titled "The War As We Saw It." The Op-Ed was very skeptical of the U.S. mission in Iraq and whether our aims could be achieved. It ended with with a rather ominous stated "We need not talk about our morale. As committed soldiers, we will see this mission through."[Link]

As the E & P column discussed, two of the seven soldiers who had authored the Op-Ed last month--a Sgt. Omar Mora of Texas and a Sgt. Yance T. Gray of Montana, died on Monday in a vehicle accident in Western Bagdad. This was about the same time that General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker began their "song and dance" to Congress in order to maintain the surge through next summer.

Tilting at Windmills Alert!

Is Mike Aguirre looking for a new job in broadcast media? Or is he just tilting at windmills again? From the UT this morning, "Aguirre to review KPBS documents." Apparently the city attorney has moved from rooting out corruption at city hall to investigating the decision-making processes at KPBS radio and television. According to the article:

City Attorney Michael Aguirre wants to know the story behind KPBS' decision to cancel its public affairs TV show “Full Focus.” He also wants to know how the public broadcast station selects participants for its “Editors Roundtable” talk show, which is carried on radio and TV. [Link]

I have a hard time trying to understand how KPBS falls under the purview of the city attorney's office. But what really bothers me about this story is this part:

"In addition to seeking documents related to “Full Focus,” Aguirre also requested documentation of the station's 20 largest donors for the past two years." [Link]

To me this doesn't strike me a being a watchdog, instead it strikes me as being very Nixonian.

Join Progressive San Diego for 'Control Room'

There is a great event going on this weekend that progressives will surely enjoy.

Progressive San Diego is showing the documentary "Control Room" Saturday night.

When: Saturday, September 15th @7pm
Where: Joyce Beers Center, Hillcrest 1220 Cleveland Ave. across from Trader Joe's
RSVP to: or 617-365-6788
Snacks and Drinks Provided

About: The documentary film dives deep into the relationship between Al Jazeera television and the US Central Command (CENTCOM), along with other news organizations. The film takes place during the start-up of the Iraq War and have been nominated for numerous awards.

Local Documentary Producer Andy Trimlett will be leading a discussion on Middle Eastern Broadcasting and American Media. Mr. Trimlett is currently producing a documentary about the recent war in Lebanon titled "One July in Lebanon."

Andy Trimlett received his M.A. in Middle East Studies from the University of Washington and his B.A. in International Security and Conflict Resolution from San Diego State University. He has worked with Alternate Focus since 2004 producing a weekly television program about Middle East issues that airs on the satellite and cable television. Andy spent a year and a half as the General Manager (USA) of the Middle East Broadcasters Association, an organization for broadcast professionals in the Middle East. Andy worked in Beirut for over a month for the MEB Association and has also visited Turkey and Yemen, where he studied Arabic. Andy has produced and co-produced several programs for Alternate Focus, including Divesting from Violence: Presbyterian Policy in the Middle East. He also interviewed two former Israeli Soldiers for Burning Conscience: Israeli Soldiers Speak Out, and is currently producing a documentary about the recent war in Lebanon, "One July in Lebanon." He is currently employed by KPBS TV/FM.

For More Information Please Visit: Progressive San Diego

Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 Quarterly Fundraiser - San Diego Edition

Please join us on September 19th for the first-of-its-kind Quarterly Fundraiser as Democrats from across the San Diego area come together to celebrate Democratic victories throughout the state of California and build momentum towards future success.

Just steps from the ocean at the Firehouse American Eatery and Lounge in Pacific Beach, we look forward to an informal evening of committed Democrats of all sorts laying the groundwork for greater innovation and cooperation as we look forward to the elections of 2008.

We'll have office holders and candidates for Congress, Assembly, Mayor and City Council, humble local bloggers like Terry Williams (and me), Jesse Rubin and the Drinking Liberally crew bringing the party, and perpetually underappreciated activists from all over the region. Bill Clinton is charging hundreds of dollars for entry on Monday, and while we don't get secret service protection, we're cheaper and way more fun. is dedicated to building a progressive online community that provides all Californians an opportunity to discuss the issues facing the state and a platform for state and local candidates to interact with activists from their district and throughout the state.

Founded in 2005, it is now run by a five-person editorial board representing San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Diego and sees more than 25,000 total page hits each week. Calitics has been an innovator in online fundraising at the state level and is excited to be expanding its projects for the 2008 election cycle.

Money raised for the Calitics state and federal PACs will be used to support strong Democratic candidates throughout the state and the work of the Calitics editors. Examples in the past have included coverage of the YearlyKos Convention and nationally recognized reporting from the California Democratic Convention.

Suggested donation is $10-$20 and may be made to either Calitics PAC in advance or at the event via the Calitics ActBlue page.

Date: Wednesday, September 19, 2007
Time: 7:00pm
Location: Firehouse American Eatery and Lounge, 722 Grand Avenue

Please e-mail to RSVP or with any questions about the event.

Monday, September 10, 2007

It's true

Based on a comment to the last post about the rumor of State Senator Denise Ducheny possibly running for Mayor, I started making some phone calls.... and YES! I have confirmed with a source in the know, that there are Dem interests pushing Ducheny to enter the race, and that she is considering it. I have to admit, she would be a great candidate. She is a business Democrat, with great appeal for small government Independents. She has a solid record on environmental issues, LGBT and civil rights issues and she is the guru of budget and finance at the State. Plus, it would be a free ride for her, as her seat is not up this year.

Only problem I see may be with labor. She voted against the hotel workers union earlier this year, but I am sure that the Tribes will remember: she definitely carried their water.

All I can say: Ducheny in '08! (Denise, of course, not Al)

What a choice...

So, I got an e-mail from a friend who got polled this weekend on the Mayor's Race. She said it definitely sounded like a push towards Steve Francis, but still unbiased enough to be called a poll. The sad thing - according to my friend - was they ask, if the election were held today, who would you vote for Donna Frye, Jerry Sanders or Steve Francis? That's it. They didn't even allow her to choose Jim Bell. Let's be honest - if that is the threesome you have to choose from, and you are looking to escape by voting for Jim Bell -things have gotten pretty bad for Dems in San Diego. Where's our leadership when we need it?

Some other interesting points about this poll:

They tested if the voter would be swayed to vote for Francis if Frye endorsed him. (Is there something our fair lady hasn't told us? Maybe she is a Republican at heart). Also suggested he may pull from bipartisan support.

They got personal on questions about Sander's reasons for leaving the United Way, citing stress and health problems.

They tested a bunch of questions about illegal immigration and / sanctuary city as a hit on Sanders. Sounds like a typical race-baiting Republican election.

All I can say is... can't we do better?