Saturday, November 10, 2007

Chula Vista Budget Deficit Part II

Okay, the City Council had two "workshops" to talk about the $8.4 million budget shortfall. Oh, wait it went up another $800,000 last week, so make that a $9.2 million shortfall.

It seems there was a plan from the start to lay-off people and open union contracts, then really find possible waste, duplication of services, non-priority projects, obsolete programs or cuts to unneeded spending in addressing the budget shortfall.

If you disagree, then look at what recently happen:
The Council put on two "workshops" and I use the term workshop very lightly. The public had very little comment, was never provided much information (just look at the City's website), not all the department directors placed realistic cost savings on the chopping block and most of the deep cuts were coming from bodies. There was not one request to delay a single improvement project for 6 months to close the shortfall and no large budget item was proposed in cuts, except in laying off people. Interesting, the business community made no stink of any cuts, except for the City not cutting its party planner???

During the middle of the last "workshop" the Council had voted to eliminate almost enough spending to address the shortfall and could have gone a little further to not lay-off real people. However, the NEW city manager jumped from his chair, like someone lite a match under his foot, to ask the Council to stop anymore from talks of more budget cuts. Here comes the best part - Deputy Mayor Jerry Rindone asked to continue with cuts, but Mayor Cheryl Cox asked for a recess. During the recess the Mayor and Deputy Mayor huddles. Coming back from the recess, both Councilmembers Rudy Ramirez and Steve Castaneda voted to continue, but strangely Deputy Mayor Rindone voted with the Mayor not to continue on with the workshop. Remember, these workshops were only to help the Council learn more about the cuts and not to make the cuts. I guess Deputy Mayor Rindone wasn't given the whole playbook from the start.

Lastly, it seems to me the only councilmembers to get what is going on and asked questions of the city managers were Rudy Ramirez and Steve Castaneda.

I think the City and the City Council needs to step back, address this shortfall and include everyone in the process having an open mind and without a playbook.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Week Wrap-Up

Things have been especially quiet on the Democratic political front these past few weeks. But are looking to heat up soon.

** Next week the Democratic Central Committee is scheduled to vote on an early endorsement of Mike Aguirre. Quite a few Central Committee members are balking at the idea because of Mike's increasingly erratic behavior. A few people are even suggesting a possible Scott Peters run would be more acceptable to party insiders. The big unknown is if labor will take a position before Tuesday.

** Apparently Marti Emerald's name id may be helping Marty Block in his Assembly Race for the 78th AD. A poll that has been circulated shows Block with unusually high name id, especially in areas where the 78th and the 7th City Council District overlap, and some are speculating it has to do with voter confusion. I am sure Marty will take the a primary win anyway he can get it.

** San Diego's City Council Presidency looks like it will stay with a Democrat. According to the VOSD article today, Scott Peters will retain his position as Council President rather than letting a Republican take over the reigns. Kudos to the Dem Party for insisting the Dems on the Council act like Dems for once, maybe this will become a trend.

** Another Steve Francis sighting. This time, Francis was seen at the progressive environmental dinner for San Diego Coast Keepers. I guess he is really going for a full make-over. Maybe Jim Bell will drop out of the Mayoral race and endorse Francis.

** According to our conservative counterparts at Red County, San Diego City Councilman Brian Maienschein is considering a challenge to incumbent County Supervisor Pam Slater-Price. The best part of the post, which was up yesterday, were the now deleted comments. According to bloggers, Maienschein is getting a divorce and has been having an affair with a city hall staffer. I am all for free speech, so if anyone knows more FACTS, feel free to post here.

Friday - Quick Hits

From the arena of continued bad planning, city's homeless shelter set to open next week at Tailgate Park near Petco Park. Will close one month earlier than normal so as not to interfere with Padres. So much for compassion! UT

FEMA to deliver trailers to La Jolla and Rincon Indains who lost their homes during the fires. I hope they are not the left over trailers from Katrina that have been sitting in the mud in Arkansas for two year. UT

Councilman Peters seeking third term as council president. VOSD

Raising their children to be model citizens, Poway school trustees confronted over klan costume and noose. UT

Chula Vista postpones decision regarding budget cuts until December. UT

Thursday, November 8, 2007

District 3: Race Update

Last night the Chicano Democratic Association in a close vote endorsed Todd Gloria over Stephen Whitburn for next year's Council District 3 race. The endorsement is another sign that most of the momentum in the race seems to be going in Todd Gloria's direction. And it is hard not to think that Stephen Whitburn's campaign has stalled a bit, especially considering that a few weeks ago he replaced his campaign manager. It is going to be interesting to see how this race continues to unfold in the coming months.

Filner supports bill to end Blackwater contracting

The UT is reporting this afternoon:

WASHINGTON – Rep. Bob Filner, D-Calif. (San Diego), is backing legislation to replace private security contractors in Iraq, including Blackwater Worldwide, with military or State Department guards.

The proposal to replace hundreds of contractors within six months of passage of the bill ran into resistance from the State Department, which contends the federal governmentlacks enough trained specialists to take the place of private contractors who are protecting U.S. diplomats.

It is good to see Bob Filner being responsive to the Blackwater issue. I wish some of the other members of the San Diego delagation were as responsive when it comes to the Blackwater issue.

Thursday - Quick Hits

Another causalty of the Harris fire, Chula Vista Fire Chief to retire after recieving "no confidence" vote from firefighters. UT

Council ignores most of the charter commission recommendations. UT

College faculty votes overwhelmingly to keep CTA representation. UT

Since his presidential campaign is going nowhere, Hunter tries to keeps his name in the news. UT

Fruit flies discovered in Escondido, could lead to a quarantine of area agriculture. NCtimes

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Pannel Discussion on Media Consolidation

The Effects of Media
Consolidation on Our

Common Cause Community Meeting
Mission Valley Library
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Noon to 2:00

Panel: J.W. August, Managing Editor of Channel 10 News I-team and Special Projects
Andrew Donohue, Co-executive Director at Voice of San
John Eger, Executive Director Center for Communications at SDSU
Doug Myrland, General Manager of KPBS radio and TV

Fun and games in the 78th AD

An evite invitation from a host named NoFoolforAssembly is making the rounds among Democratic activists in the South Bay. The bogus evite invites the person to attend a one-year celebration for Assembly candidate Auday Arabo's re-registration as a Democratic at Chevy's Fresh Mex in Mission Valley on Friday November 16th.
It appears the evite has been sent to over 650 people. No word on who the actual sender was. You can see the entire evite here.

CDA Endorsement Meeting Tonight

Chicano Democratic Association General Meeting and Endorsement Meeting for San Diego Council District 3.

November 7, 2007 6:30pm

Location: Interamerican College
140 W 16th St.
National City, CA 91950-4413 [Map]

Wednesday - Quick Hits

Another Sanders adviser heading for the door. How many are left? UT

City approves density ordinance. But where are those extra units going to be built? And what about the extra infrastructure? UT

With destruction of vegetation in wildfires, concern now focused on soil erosion. UT

Classic NIMBYism, Del Mar doesn't want train tunnel. UT

Sanders presents his Charter changes to council. Can you say power grab? VOSD

More on "America's Sheriff," now to take 60-day paid leave of absence as he fight corruption charges. LATimes

Former Irvine CEO of Great Park project had history of embezzling and cocaine use known as far back as 1989. LATimes

Mayor's Charter Review Committee to Present at Rules Committee

The Mayor's Charter Review Committee will be presenting their recommendations at the City Council Rules Committee meeting today, November 7th in about an hour. This issue will certainly be a major position of debate for the 2008 season.

You can see the committees proposed changes and what the changed proposals would mean to San Diego at:

The Mayor's committee plan is to put these initiatives on the June 2008 ballot. The proposed changes to the charter include: the creation of three additional city council seats, making the strong-mayor form of government permanent, increasing the mayor's veto power with a two-thirds super-majority of 8 council members in order to override a veto, making the mayor executive director of the Redevelopment Agency and the ability to make nominations to the Port District.

A couple of recent articles give an overview of the committee's decisions and go into detail about the backroom style of the committee:

San Diego's backroom 'reform' L.A. Times Op-ed by Steve Erie and Norma Damashek
What a Super-Size City Council Would Look Like VOSD's Evan McLaughlin

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Seeing Through the Smoke: The San Diego Fires

I just received an email from a fellow activist to be forward on to those that care about this issues and so I decided to make it my post for today. Below you will find an interesting video of a talk given by historian Mike Davis last week on the San Diego Fires.

Watch Mike Davis speak on how the right is spinning the tragedy as a triumph of Republican values. You can view the talk here.

Celebrated historian Mike Davis is the author of In Praise of Barbarians, Planet of Slums, Ecology of Fear, and many other influential books. In this provocative talk, he shows that as soon as the San Diego fires started, right-wing politicians began to apply spin.

The real tragedy of the fires occurred on Otay Mountain, east of San Diego where six immigrants were found dead and eleven more were horribly burned. When San Diego's mainstream media finally got to this story, they argued that it shows how American taxpayers are being forced to provide free health care to "illegal aliens."

Black Face is perfectly acceptable at DHS

In another stunning example of President Bush’s qualified appointees in government at work. The Assistant Secretary for Homeland Security, Julie Myers has apologized for condoning and lauding an offensive Halloween costume during a contest held last week at the DHS. Secretary Myers was part of a three-judge panel that awarded ‘"most original costume" to a Homeland Security Department employee who dressed in prison stripes, dreadlocks and dark makeup for a Halloween gathering at the agency.’[Link]

Myers who oversees Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division, only real qualification for the job was that she is the niece to former JCS Chairman General Richard Myers and is married to a top aide to DHS Secretary Chertoff.

Tuesday - Quick Hits

Continued fallout from Labor Day beach riot, City Council passes 1-year Alcohol Ban on all city beaches. UT VOSD

Trying to profit from the wildfires disaster, the D.A. nabs 8 unlicensed contractors in fraud investigation. UT

General Jack Ripper be on alert, the county moves closer to fluoridating water. UT

As Bush's failed war in Iraq continues, Veterans group seeks holiday donations. UT

Local Paper comes out against crazy Darrel Issa scheme to steal votes. NCTimes

11 city schools honored for improved test scores. VOSD

Monday, November 5, 2007

Wilkes Found Guilty

Brent Wilkes was found guilty today on 13 counts of bribing former Congressman and current Federal corrections inmate Randy "Duke" Cunningham.[Link] The three week trail brought to light $4000 Las Vegas dinners, $6000 per night Hawaiian vacations and two prostitutes who testified that they were paid to have sex with Cunningham.[Link] Wilkes is the first contractor to be prosecuted in the Cunningham affair.

Monday - Quick Hits

Chargers gunning for two sites in CV for future stadium. UT

Thomas Jefferson law school plans move to East Village by 2010. UT

Evacuation numbers overhype by media. What a suprise! VOSD

Wal-Mart pulls the plug on Supercenter in Garden Grove. LATimes

My favorite! "America's Sheriff" to be arrained on corruption charges today. NCTimes

Tonight - Candidate Forum 78th Assembly District

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

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 :