Saturday, September 29, 2007

Its Just a Fish Wrap....

One commentor yesterday suggested this article regarding the District 7 race between Marti Emerld and April Boling. The suggested article, happens to be written by Johnnie Perkins, a well known lobbyist, Republican operative, and often discussed candidate for the District 7 seat. The article is also published in the Mission Times Courier, whose Editor and Publisher is Sally Ortega Madaffer the wife of District 7 councilman Jim Madaffer.

As reported in VOSD back in July of 2006, councilman Madaffer and his wife have:

[f]or nearly a decade, ... owned the Mission Times Courier, which offers blurbs about the happenings of nearby schools, planning groups, youth sports leagues and new construction projects. Rarely does a story about City Hall pass without at least a passing reference to Madaffer's efforts, if not a friendly pat on the back. The councilman can be seen smiling with police officers and girl scouts or handing checks to community leaders in the periodical's photographs.

It is also reported that the freely distributed Mission Times Courier reaches an estimated 25,000 homes and businesses throughout most of the communities that are north of I-8 within Madaffer's district. [Link]

As the campaign season moves forward, it will be interesting to see how far this community paper the Madaffer's own is prepared to slant its coverage on behalf of April Boling. In the meantime, I suggest that the paper makes for a good fish wrap for your catch after a day fishing at Lake Murray.

Mayor Aguirre?

It must have been a slow afternoon over that the VOSD yesterday. They posted a piece on the idea of Mike Aguirre running for mayor. The basis of which came from a question that a reporter had asked Aguirre on "Why doesn't he just run against Sanders in next year's mayor's race?" Aguirre said he didn't want to be mayor and responded that "I love being city attorney." [Link]

Now, I know there are many people in the press that enjoyed covering the ongoing "slap fight" between the two citywide elected officials. But I really do hope this stays as dueling press conferences between Jerry Sanders and Mike Aguirre and doesn't become dueling political campaigns.

Friday, September 28, 2007

About Time!

Anyone who knows me knows that I'm not one to praise Fortune 500 companies that often. I think they are some of the biggest impediments from having more progressive legislation passed at both the Federal and State level.

This afternoon, however, I saw this story in the UT regarding AT&T's decision to ask the North Carolina Utilities Commission to "allow the company to test the Web-based phone listings in Raleigh and Charlotte." According to the proposal AT&T will still distribute the Yellow Pages, but will only distribute the White Pages on either CD-Rom or hard copy on a per request basis. [Link] Finally! In my opinion this should have been done 10-years ago!

To me the phone book seems so archaic in the age of Google. Not to mention it is quite a waste of paper. Every year, I have delivered to large phone books, that sit around and collect dust until the next year, when I throw them in a recycle dumpster because I have just received two new phone books. Now I know there are people like my mother, who will not use a computer and phone books will continue to be necessary for them. But for the vast majority of us, Web-based White Pages are the way to go. How soon until AT&T brings this program to California?

Cap on Condo Conversions

San Diego City Council rejected a cap on condo conversions this past Tuesday. The cap would have limited the per-year conversions to 1,000. The only city council members that stepped up to the plate to actually put an end to this matter and place a limit on the number of condo conversions done in a given year were Donna Frye and Toni Atkins. The council with a 6-2 margin decided to work on the issue further in a closed session. San Diego's condo conversion market has been out of control over the last couple years. San Diego is also way behind the times as San Francisco has a cap of only 200 per year and Berkeley limits condo conversions based on vacancy percentages (none of which exceed 500 units per year even at the highest rate).

According to the UT, even though the number of conversions have dropped so far this year to 400 (with over 1,400 applications in as of July), it does not mean that we should not be mindful of years like 2005 where owners tried to convert over 10,000 rental units. As a renter, I find the matter extremely disconcerting; we are allowing the market to completely dictate the system instead of the government doing it's role to serve the people, so that these extremes do not continue to persist. Hopefully the council will come to its senses and help the poor renters. To the shock of many, most of us [renters] cannot afford to purchase a condo in San Diego.

D3 a Two Man Race?

Interesting happenings in the San Diego District 3 Council race. It seems John Hartley has decided to take on Todd Gloria as if this is a two man race. Hartley fired off a letter to Gloria, as reported in VOSD, condemning The Center for holding their dinner at a non-union hotel. The stunt served two purposes. First, a clear message to the unions that Hartley will be more of an advocate for their issues than Gloria. Second, that Hartley sees this as a contest between the two. Insiders have been saying Hartley's only shot to win this is in the primary, with low GLBT turnout. Those chances get better if he can snag a labor endorsement. But what does this mean for the flailing campaign of Stephen Whitburn? Did he peek too soon and rely too heavily on the (now controversial) Donna Frye endorsement? Is this really down to battle between Gloria and Hartley?

GOP Dirty Rotten Scoundrel - Dead On Arrival!

The GOP's attempt to steal 20 - 22 of California's 55 electoral votes is going down in flames. Their attempt to "reform" only our great state is a blatant attempt to steal the 2008 presidential election. California, like 47 other states, awards all of its electoral votes to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes. In the last four elections, all of California's electoral votes have gone to the Democratic nominee.

According to the LA Times, the reasons for the early demise of this ballot initiative are the lack of funds, and the resignation of two of its original backers.

If any similar measure should ever be considered in the future, it must be done across all 47 states. I suggest that we start with Texas and Florida!

Call me cynical, but I don't trust the GOP. If they can't win hearts and minds, they'll cheat! So watch out for their next dirty trick!

Another Wingnut Alert!

Friends be aware, because the week of October 22-26 has been dubbed Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.

I know this sounds crazy, but according to this website it is “a wake-up call for Americans on 200 university and college campuses.” Here in San Diego County, both CSU San Marcos and Palomar College will be participating in the festivities. Whose started goal is to confront “the two Big Lies of the political left,” one being that George Bush created the war on terror and the other being that Global Warming is a greater danger than terrorists to the United States.

Interestingly, the organization that is sponsoring these ridiculous events across the country is call the Terrorism Awareness Project which happens to be fronting for the David Horowitz Freedom Center. My concern is that this so called Terrorism Awareness Project will attract some people who are genuinely looking for an honest discussion on terrorism related issues but instead will be exposed to hatred and bigotry.

For those who don’t know David Horowitz, he was once a militant leftist and former editor for the leftist Ramparts magazine during the 1970s. Then sometime in the 1980s he figured out that is more profitable to whore himself out to crazy rightwing millionaires like Richard Melon Scaife and their foundations. He then started publishing FrontPage magazine and thus became the rightwing whack job he is today.

Horowitz, who once associated with members of the Black Panther party, now chooses to associate himself and praise people like white supremacist Jared Taylor of American Renaissance magazine, an individual who has been identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as “the cultivated, cosmopolitan face of white supremacy.“ [Link]

In recent years, Horowitz has become one of the biggest merchants of hate in the country. Regularly appearing on Fox News to trumpet his crazy ideas. So be aware of anything or group that is associated with him.

California Assembly 78th - Are you in or out?

Rumor has it to the disappointment of the Republican establishment, former City of San Diego Police Chief David Bejarano (R) might be jumping out of the Assembly 78th as quickly as they talked him into the Assembly 78th race. With the possible departure from the crime scene of Bejarano, Chula Vista Councimember John McCann (R) is rethinking his earlier departure from the race. Yet, another disappointment to the Republican establishment, because they worked so hard to find another candidate and forcing McCann out.

Not completely surprised with Bejarano's potential action, because everyone knows he is really interested in the County of San Diego Sheriff 's office. Though, it will be an uphill battle for him, because he will need to take on Under Sheriff Bill Gore. It is speculated that Sheriff Bill Kolendar takes an early leave from office over the much talked about health problems, which allows the County Board of Supervisors to appointment Gore.

The only major issue Gore might face in an election will be explaining while as head of the San Diego FBI office he was active or inactive on tracking potential terrorists over the 9-11 hijacking.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Better Luck Next Time...

The LA Times is reporting tonight that the supporters of the scheme to change the way California awards its electoral votes are pulling the plug on their effort to qualify an initiative for the June 2008 election. [Link] So much for the GOPs attempt to game the system here in California.


Here's the [Link] to the LA Times article this morning detailing the departure of two key consultants from the initiative effort.

Wither San Diego? Part I

Democrats have held the majority in Sacramento for over a decade and in that time; San Diego has not been well served.

With the introduction of term limits, the Speaker’s Office has become a revolving door. The exodus of qualified policy staff, and the state of the Speaker’s Office of Majority Services (SOMS), went from being the “Praetorian Guard” to the Keystone Cops in a rather short period of time.

As such, the thinking among Sacramento Democrats became very short term and cyclical focused on the following question: What do we need to do to maintain the majority and the Speaker for the next cycle?

In this environment, the survival of the status quo became paramount. Thus deal-making takes on an increasing prominent role. Therefore, anyone or any region which could disrupt the current balance of powers needs to be placed in check or gotten out of the way, at least until the next election cycle in over.

As the second largest city in the state, I have wondered why, San Diego is not treated as such in Sacramento. IMHO, here’s one reason: It makes sense for the leadership in Sacramento to marginalize areas like San Diego, San Jose, and the Inland Empire at the expense of promoting Los Angeles and the Bay Area.

The obvious answer is that there are more Democrats in these two areas so they deserve the lion’s share of the spoils. I won’t argue that, but I would challenge the assumption that the other areas should fall by the wayside.

San Jose is bluer than San Diego and the I.E. is wall-to-wall red, which is why I think San Diego deserves attention as the next battleground.

What makes San Diego so special? We are the largest city in California with a Republican mayor. There is a very good chance of a gay Republican being elected to city council and the Republican candidate for State Assembly in the 78th district is a Latino former police chief. In a nutshell, San Diego is in danger of becoming the launching pad for the next generation of Republican statewide candidates.

We need all the help we can get, and this requires Sacramento Democrats to get out of the box they’ve placed themselves into and actually start doing things differently, to challenge Republicans in this area. The standard response is that’s what the party is for.

As a San Diegan who has watched Sacramento air-drop staffers and pour money into the 78th AD over the last three election cycles all to be destroyed by an above average Republican operation, all I can think is that if Sacramento wants to win here, they’re not lacking in resources or money. What they seem to lack is the temerity to try something different.

From a negotiating perspective, I can’t help but think it makes perfect sense to keep San Diego on the outs. So long as San Diegans are fighting for control of their own city and county, they won’t look to the Assembly or State Senate for much. It’s almost as if Sacramento is willing to surrender San Diego and other places like the I.E. as wastes of money in poor campaign operations, while they shore up Democrats in safe seats elsewhere in the state.

So where does this leave those who life in the fastest growing areas of the state? I guess in the hands of the mega-churches, which seem to be the only body doing any outreach of significance.

Showdown for the 78th starts tonight

So tonight is one of the key endorsements for the Democratic primary in the 78th AD. The San Diego Democratic Club - the largest and most powerful of clubs in the county - are hosting their candidate forum and endorsement. Rumor has it, all three of the Democratic candidates (Auday Arabo, Marty Block and Arlie Ricasa) are going to vie for it. Block is the obvious front runner, having spent a ton of time working the vote. But, don't discount the female / ethnic factor that Ricasa brings. Plus, in a club that values warmth - Ricasa definitely has the right personality. I have to admit, I almost feel sorry for Auday Arabo. Tonight he will get a taste for how Dem activists take to his former life as a Republican staffer and Lincoln Club donor. Does anyone remember the outrage pointed toward Rich Grosch when he tried to run for District 2 as a Democrat after previously endorsing Kevin Faulconer? Or the questions Todd Gloria faced as a result of giving $50 to Mayor Sanders? That is nothing compared to the anger from Dems to have a candidate that gave thousands to Congressman Bilbray (in his race against Francine Busby) and the local right-wing Lincoln Club. Stay tuned...

Hey, O'Reilly ... its call the Gaslamp District!

Via Altercation: Victor S. Navasky the publisher of The Nation has embark on a project to collect quotations from experts regarding the invasion of Iraq who turned out to be wrong which will later be published. This quotation from Bill O'Reilly caught my attention:
"I will bet you the best dinner in the gaslight district of San Diego that military action will not last more than a week. Are you willing to take that wager?"
-- Bill O'Reilly, Fox News Channel, January 29, 2003. [Link]
Memo to Bill O'Reily, you were wrong on two counts!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Susan Davis Condemns MoveOn, Protest, Free Speech

In a direct slap in the face to anyone who's ever felt that free speech or the right to protest the government are, you know, Constitutional imperatives, Susan Davis voted today to condemn the Petraeus/Betray us MoveOn ad. That's what your congress is doing. Not ending a war. Not passing a law that will make people healthier, wealthier, wiser, or safer. Spitting on free speech. Thank you to Bob Filner and the 79 Democrats who stood with him for getting this vote right, and no thanks to the 195 Republicans and the 145 other Democrats in the House who joined Susan Davis in telling the nation to sit down, shut up, and leave governance to the grownups without passionate public input. If you think MoveOn was disrespectful to the troops by running an ad in the New York Times Ms. Davis, where exactly does paying for the troops to get shot at rank?

It's time to get angry. Congress is telling people what they're supposed to say and not say. I don't remember learning about that congressional duty in government class.

Cross posted to Calitics

Update: Prompted by a Calitics comment, I want to lay out what just happened here more directly. Susan Davis, with this vote, did not disagree with what MoveOn said. She disagreed with there being anything said at all. It's not a difference of opinion or even an objection to a certain opinion, but rather a condemnation of people expressing opinions at all. -Lucas

San Diego Wants to Bill Bush for Undocumented Immigrants

The San Diego Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to attempt to bill the federal government for the supposed cost of undocumented immigrants.  In an exceptionally pathetic (even by normal standards) attempt to steal money and headlines without any underlying logic, the Board commissioned a report to examine only the negative economic impact of undocumented workers and ignore the economic benefits of taxes paid and goods and services purchased.  The kicker?  They want the bill to be paid with money that the undocumented immigrants paid into the Social Security system via taxes. Taxes of course were not included in the study.

The Board specifically voted to enlist the aid of immigration zealot and all around xenophobic crazy person Brian Bilbray (who is "eager" to work on this with the Supervisors) in getting legislation passed which would:

make it easier for local law enforcement officials to track illegal immigrants wanted for crimes;

change the Medicare Modernization Act to pay local hospitals $155 million for unpaid bills from illegal immigrants;

make the federal government pay local governments from the Social Security fund into which people pay but do not collect, often because they have worked using phony Social Security documents. Reports have estimated that illegal immigrants pay $7 billion in taxes into that fund each year.

Supervisor Bill Horn commented on the maneuver which echoes previous attempts to squeeze funding from the feds in 1994 and 2001, saying "I don't want to just grandstand, I really want the money this time," apparently confirming that the last two times they didn't really want the money and were, in fact, just grandstanding.

There is a legitimate point to be made that the tax dollars generated by undocumented immigrants generally go to state or federal coffers and not to localities via property taxes while the outgoing money often flows from the local level.  But this is a completely backwards and shameful way to go about, let's face it, really lame and overdone grandstanding.

The North County Times notes pokes further holes in the study by pointing out that "the study did not account for the costs of education or unpaid medical bills for illegal immigrants, although it used estimates from the Hospital Association of San Diego and Imperial Counties to come up with its figure of $155 million in unpaid medical care costs."

Nor, from what I can gather, did the study delve into the degree to which local taxes mitigated the poorly-determined "cost" for citizens.  Hell, I don't pay property taxes cause I can't afford property.  But I pay many of the same state and federal taxes that undocumented workers would.  What's the economic difference?

This was a pathetic attempt by the Board of Supervisors to validate their greed and anti-immigration hysteria, and they got a study that, by completely ignoring reality, gave them the answers they wanted.  Freed from the chains of a responsibility to logic or competent governance,  the Board is now going full bore after money and social divisiveness.  I'm looking forward to a governing body who spends less time casting blame and more time actually improving the community.

Cross posted from Calitics

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

No to the Toll Road

The San Diego City Council voted 6-2 to oppose the toll road proposed through San Onofre State Park. Councilmembers Scott Peters, Kevin Faulconer, Toni Atkins, Tony Young, Brian Maienschein and Donna Frye voted for the resolution. Ben Hueso said he only voted against endorsing the council's resolution so that he didn't taint his position prior to voting at the Coastal Commission. Pretty good actions by our Councilmembers lately - and signs that San Diego is moving to the left-center where it belongs.

GOP expects to lose more House seats

I thought the below article without any additional comments from The POLITICO was worth reading:

GOP expects to lose more House seats
By: Josh Kraushaar
September 25, 2007 09:55 AM EST

Top Republicans are privately bracing for the possibility that they could lose additional House seats in next year’s elections as a result of untimely retirements, ongoing scandals and unexpectedly gloomy fundraising forecasts, according to several members and aides.

(Click here to read more...)

Chat with Rep Bob Filner

Marc Ash from has a interesting interview with Rep. Bob Filner on how a progressive Democrat succeeds in representing a conservative leaning district. [Link]

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Only Half the Story....

On Saturday the UT had a front page story about attorney Bill Lerach and the influence he wielded within the Democratic Party. Lerach "who plead guilty to conspiracy in a scheme to pay kickback to recruit plaintiffs for 150 class-action lawsuits against U.S. Companies." Has agreed to forfeit over $7 million in unlawful gains, pay a $250,000 fine and will accept a prison sentence of up to two years.[Link]

The obvious focus of the story was on how Lerach, who was a large contributor to the Democratic Party had tremendous influence among elected Democratic officials like Bill Clinton and Gray Davis. Such much influence in fact,that it force the high-technology industry of Silicon Valley to become political players themselves.[Link]

In typical UT fashion, they only tell half the story regarding Lerach. During his career as a lawyer, Lerach was the consummate champion on behalf of the shareholder against corporate malfeasance. He represented both public and private pension funds in numerous cases surrounding corporate securities fraud. For this he won for his clients billions of dollars in awards and settlements, from such model corporate citizens as; Enron, WorldCom and AOL/Time Warner.

In the end, Bill Lerach will pay his penalties and end up doing time in prison for his wrongdoing he committed. Something that Ken Lay never did.