Friday, November 2, 2007

Friday - Quick Hits

Having a Rightwing Editorial page is bad for circulation. UT's daily readership numbers drop 8.5%. VOSD

Don't speak English, I guess you don't matter and you're on your own! Majority of emergency calls made were in English. UT

What a surprise, outsourcing of city services not living up to campaign hype. VOSD

Long overdue, City Council to take up Alcohol Beach Ban on Monday. VOSD UT

KPBS News Director Michael Marcotte leaving after 12-year on the job. SDRadio

Local economy's future not looking so good. USD index of leading economic indicators drop for the 17th month out of the last 18 months. VOSD

Effort to recall to MiraCosta College trustees over Palm tree flap is dead. NCTimes

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Kickoff to Victory

You're Invited to Our "Kickoff to Victory"

San Diego Democrats are gathering on November 4 to give thanks for everything we have, to support our neighbors in need, and to launch our campaign to win in 2008.

Meet fellow Democrats and some of our local candidates at this event -- one year to the day from the General Election. You'll hear from Chair Jess Durfee and special guests about the Party's efforts over the next year to turn San Diego County blue.

In addition, we'll be collecting nonperishable food items and toiletries for those affected by this week's wildfires and others in need during the holidays. Please join us:

Sunday, November 4 ~ 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
At Chuey's Restaurant & Cantina, 1901 Main St., San Diego (92113)
Requested Contribution: $15 ~ Mexican Buffet Provided

This moment, like the year ahead of us, holds challenges as well as opportunities. We hope to see you soon as we all look forward to 2008. You can RSVP to (858) 277-3367 or

Too Many Dots, Too Easy to Connect

Fox6 just did a story on the proposed budget cuts in Chula Vista. The tax "advocate" they chose to interview was none other than Carl DeMaio. Carl's contribution was limited, as he spoke mostly about Chula Vista's new city hall and the lack of budget cuts there.

I'd like to know how Carl is an expert in Chula Vista's budget, and why he was chosen to be interviewed. He is no longer the head of the Performance Institute. He's a City Council candidate in San Diego, not Chula Vista. If Fox was looking for someone who wants to "reform" government in San Diego County, I would think they could have found plenty of more qualified/appropriate people to interview.

I hate to be a conspiracy theorist, but this does seem kind of odd, especially coming from the local Fox affiliate.

First Sweat Shops, Now Plagarism?

Like it was an employee starting an organizing drive, neighborhood-ruining conglomerate Wal-Mart recently dropped its famous ad slogan "Always Low Prices, Always."

For the first time in 19 years Wal-Mart slaves...errr employees, will wear vests and be featured in commercials without the famous saying. The slogan has been replaced with the much more positive sounding "Save Money, Live Better."

While the saying does give the impression that Wal-Mart actually improves people's lives (::scoff, scoff::), it is strangely similar to the famous union slogan "Live Better, Work Union." Wal-Mart should probably start paying royalties to the AFL-CIO, or at least allow their employees to be treated with dignity.

Thursday - Quick Hits

The Perta/Nunez lets stay in Sacremento longer ballot measure now below 50%. UT

Republican family values: OC Sheriff, his wife, and his alleged mistress face federal judge on corruption charges. LATimes

City of Vista places a moratorium on bargain stores, but does nothing about impending Super Wal-Mart. UT

Condo-Nazis complain about unpaid dues as foreclosures continue to rise. UT

A pair of ex-Chula Vista officials will receive smaller pensions. UT

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Duncan Jr. gets some cash from Rummy

According to Matt Potter in the Reader, Duncan Hunter Jr., who is running to fill his father's congressional seat received the max contribution from former SECDEF Donald Rumsfeld. In addition to cash from Rummy, Jr. also picked up a contribution from H. Ross Perot.[Link] It just shows that having access to daddy's rolodex doesn't hurt.

Darrell Issa and the Dirty Tricks Big Tent Revival

As reported and later expounded on by the Calitics web of newshounds, Dirty Tricks is back.  Unfortunately it's not a Halloween gimmick, and thanks to Courage Campaign, you can now see this new video from Bradley Whitford on the shady power grab and help financially support the incredible work that the Courage folks are doing.  But as the Dirty Tricks continues its haphazard course between various life-support systems, it's found a big money home in the wallet of recall-champion Darrell Issa.

Issa, who represents the 49th Congressional District, is one of the richest people in Congress, making a fortune off the Viper car alarm (step back, you are too close to the vehicle).  Issa is a veteran of throwing gobs of personal money into campaigns.  He dropped $12 million of his own money to lose the Republican Senate primary in 1998.  He was a bit more successful in 2003 when he dug into his wallet for $1.6 million in personal cash to fund the signature gathering for the Gray Davis recall which, when asked if it was worth it earlier this month, he said "Yes, of course."  Well, Rep. Issa is ponying up the big bucks again, lining up behind Dirty Tricks in its hour of need.  If new polling from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner is any indication though, he may have picked himself a loser this time.  The poll finds just 22% in favor and 53% opposed (25% undecided) to the measure throughout the state with uniform opposition throughout every region of the state.  So the question is...why?

Issa has been around this game long enough to know that any initiative starting that low is an exceptional longshot, and even said of initiatives last month "We barely mention them until they qualify...Usually they're just talked about to get us to spend money."  Well, it sure looks like it worked, as Issa has described his financial commitment to the initiative as "fluid."  This money obviously is a drop in the bucket to Issa, whose net worth is estimated by OpenSecrets as $135,862,098 to $677,230,000.  So why even bother with a stinker like this?  The Union-Tribune editorialized a theory on Saturday suggesting that it's all just a "slick" and "ingenius" plan by an otherwise bankrupt and backsliding CA-GOP to drain the coffers of Democrats throughout the state.

Obviously it discounts the notion that unifying, organizing, and energizing Democrats throughout the state might actually be problematic for Republicans.  While the initiative would likely appear on an otherwise overlooked ballot, that sort of organizing is pretty easy to roll over into, say, competitive assembly, state senate and congressional elections several months afterwards.  Given the complimentary fundraising debacles being turned in by the NRCC and California GOP, how wise is it to get Democrats revved up in every corner of the state?

Rep. Issa is taking on a curious cause here.  It's chump change for him, but as he explained when discussing the recall, "Would I have liked to have spent less? Absolutely. I'm a fiscal conservative."  He's also been fretting of late over the prospect of too many children receiving health insurance.  Yet he's more than happy to toss some coin around to make Republicans look bad and help galvanize Democrats.  I haven't seen Republicans around the state coming up with any other ideas to improve their electoral chances next year, so maybe this is just the desperation starting to set in.  Time will tell, but in the meantime it's time to gear up again.

Cross posted at Calitics

ICE Out of Emeryville! Rally Opposing Woodfin and Bilbray's Dirty Tactics

From noon to 1pm tomorrow, immigrant rights activists will be rallying in Oakland (1500 Broadway) in protest of ICE performing employee harassment and intimidation on behalf of a well-connected hotel CEO who doesn't feel like adhering to a living wage law. If you're in the area, go out and tell ICE to stop attacking workers rights. And if you can't be there in person, you can call Special Agent Charles DeMore at (510) 267-3800 and tell him that ICE shouldn't be involving itself in the enforcement (or lack thereof) of local labor laws.

A month ago, Brian wrote on Calitics about Rep. Brian Bilbray's meddling in Bay Area living wage issues. He chronicled how workers at the Woodfin hotels in Emeryville were fighting to receive the living wage assured them by Measure C, a local living wage law. The city is insisting that Woodfin pay the living wage, but unfortunately for the workers, the CEO of Woodfin hotels lives in Brian Bilbray's district and has contributed enough money to get his phone calls answered.

So back in February he had Bilbray call Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents in to investigate his own staff. ICE seized employee files from two local hotels (Woodfin and Hilton Garden Inn), and last month it returned to the Hilton to arrest a dishwasher who had worked there 18 years and with a list of 12 employees that must be fired immediately. ICE agents have also reportedly visited the home of a Woodfin employee leader explicitly because she'd spoken publicly about the issue. So not only did Woodfin CEO Sam Hardage call down ICE on his own staff rather than pay them decently and legally, and not only does he have federal immigration officers doing his employee intimidation for him, he also managed to call the feds on his local competition and only get members of their staff fired. Paying to be connected sure pays off.

If Brian Bilbray were really concerned about any sort of immigration enforcement, he'd be holding employers accountable instead of calling in favors for campaign contributors. He wouldn't be wasting the ICE's time meddling in local labor issues or muddying the waters between immigration law and fair wage practices. If he had any respect for the rule of law or the rights of localities to legislate local issues, he wouldn't be using federal agents to intimidate workers who only want the law to be enforced and he wouldn't be helping a campaign contributor refuse to acknowledge the law in the first place. But as usual, it's politics of the expedient power grab, with Bilbray rewarding the big bucks and betraying any semblance of principle. It's about creating victims and criminals but never calling into question the campaign contributors that criminalize and victimize so many people. It's about ignoring the law if your monetary backers tell you to.

Cross posted at Calitics

Wednesday - Quick Hits

Out of sight, out of mind for the homeless, Council decides to moves Homeless Shelter. VOSD

Misguided priorities, City of Chula Vista to decide to cut Firefighting budget in order to balance city budget. UT

State Lands Commission starts review of Carlsbad Desalination project. NCTimes

From the arena of ridiculous comparisons, some compare Sanders performance during last week's fires to that of Giuliani after 911. LATimes

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

78th Assembly District Candidates Forum

South Bay Forum in co-Sponsorship with: The Chicano Democratic Association and The Mexican American Business & Political Association

78th Assembly District Candidates Forum

Date: Monday, November 5, 2007, 6:00 to 8:00 P.M.

Location: Bell Junior High School
620 Briarwood Rd. San Diego, CA 92139 [Map]

(Rep) John McCann, Chula Vista City Councilman, has been invited and we are hopeful that he will confirm his participation shortly. Confirmed participants are (Dem) Auday Arabo, president of the Neighborhood Market Association, (Dem) Marty Block, president of the San Diego Community College Board of Trustees, and (Dem) Arlie Ricasa, president of the Sweetwater Union High School District School Board.

The forum format will begin with a 2-minute introductory statement from each candidate. Candidates will be asked questions from a panel of invited journalists and editors representing regional and local media. Invited news outlets include: the Star News, La Prensa, The San Diego Union Tribune, The San Diego Voice and View Point, and The Filipino Press. In addition, members of the audience will be invited to submit questions to the South Bay Forum moderator.

Forum Issues: K-12 Student Achievement, College Access and Success, Jobs and Economic Growth, Access to quality Healthcare, Public Safety including Disaster Management, Housing and Mortgage Industry, Fair Taxes, Environmental Protection, Transportation and Highway Infrastructure and enhancing the quality of life for our region’s residents.

For information contact SBF President Jose Preciado at or at (619) 922-2209 or visit our website at :

Tuesday - Quick Hits

Something useful for the City Attorney to investigate: Rentals in fire areas skyrocketing. UT, VOSD

Trying to improve its awful imagine, Blackwater lends support to Potero residents in a cynical attempt to influence the upcoming Recall vote in December. UT

Thousands march south of the border to protest surge in crime. UT

Despite the mayor's efforts to oppose the plan, city council approves plan to move forward with water recycling. VOSD

Hand caught in the cookie jar, OC Sheriff indicted on federal corruption charges. LATimes

Monday, October 29, 2007

Crazy Wingnut Alert!!

Via Think Progress: On Meet The Press yesterday, William Safire who is close to being insane these days, particularly when he's peddling his pet theory that Mohamed Atta had secretly met with Iraqi Intelligence in Prague during the Spring of 2001, now thinks that Mitt Romney should make General Patraeus his VP selection.[Link] Safire is not the first wingnut to state that Patraeus should be the GOP's VP selection next year, he does carry a little more credibility with the MSM than most crazy wingnuts.
UPDATE: Someone e-mailed me, to tell me that on Meet The Press, Safire also said that he believes Obama will select DiFi as his VP if he wins the nomination. I have to wonder what Safire is putting into his Ensure these days because he really isn't making any sense at all.

Monday - Quick Hits

The UT's Gerry Braun raises some questions for local pols to address now that the wildfires have passed. UT

James Goldsborough at VOSD asks the obvious question, that after having a two major wildfires in fours years in the county, maybe we should reconsider further sprawl development in the back county? VOSD

Fifth column conspiracy time: Metropolitan Water District to start fluoridation. UT

DiFi and Hunter grandstanding for more media time, call for changes in state's fire policy. UT

Better late than never, County of San Diego has setup an online form to register for cell phone for Reverse 911 call system. SDCNTY

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Chula Vista Budget Deficit

As we continue to reflect on the fires, we still must stay focused on the other issues at hand.

Many of you already know, the City of Chula Vista is in its second round of budget cuts due to non-producing revenue streams. There is the Otay Ranch Town Center Shopping Mall not producing its tax stream and there has been a drop in building fees and property taxes, besides other additional revenue issues.

The City of Chula Vista must eliminate approximately $7.3 million from its budget, but in reality it means almost $15 million for the remaining 6 months of their fiscal year (July '07 - June '08). To meet the gap, the NEW city manager is looking at laying off staff, eliminating some phantom staff positions and cutting community services.

The first logical saving action should be to elimination staff positions, which you have budgeted, but don't plan on filling, which I call phantom staff positions. I have learned it would save enough money to leave the City of Chula Vista with only around $400,000 in additional budget cuts. However, I was astounded to learn the NEW city manager plans to lay-off staff and cut community services, instead of eliminating all these phantom positions. The first question should be why would the NEW city manager cut city services, before eliminating these phantom positions? The second question would be what does this NEW city manager plan to do with the phantom staff money?

The next budget question is the Chula Vista Nature Center. I have actually been there and love it. However, in 2002 the Center was the former Bayfront Conservancy Trust and could not pay its bills, including a $8 million loan by the City of Chula Vista. So, the City of Chula Vista took it over and forgave their $8 million loan. It seems the Center was projected to cover their operating costs, but has never lived up to that promise. The Center's staff proposed this year to save the City of Chula Vista money by not purchasing new animals and thus save money on the animals and the additional food for those animals. The NEW city manager, against the suggestion of the Center staff, plans to go ahead and purchase more animals for them, and then would be obligated to buy more food, thus increasing the Center's operating costs. Why would this NEW city manager cut city services over the suggestions of the Center's staff? Also, this might not be the last year in low revenue, but his action to purchase new animals will have future year operating costs. Plus there are other costs associated with the new animals. Not a good business move and something he should have learned from his time in Yuma.

So, by my calculations with only $400,000 left in cuts after eliminating phantom positions and then on top of that holding off on the Center increases, which is almost another $100,000 the NEW city manager could save most all the city services. He is not taking these steps and instead is choosing to cut city services. We deserve to know why?

FYI - The Union Tribune editorial first offered cutting employee salaries to save money over cutting phantom positions. Maybe the NEW city manager should stop taking the advice of the U-T editorial page and instead the advise of the U-T reporters. The reporter called the Bayfront Conservancy Trust deficit-plagued.