Saturday, December 1, 2007

Virginia GOP Abandons Loyalty Oath Plan

Via TPM Election Central:

Last week the Virgina GOP had applied to the state elections board and received permission to institute a "Loyalty Oath" for all who participate in the February Virginia GOP Presidential Primary. The plan would have require anyone who requested a GOP primary ballot to swear to support the GOP presidential nominee.[Link]

Well today the Virginia GOP has decided that requiring people to sign a loyalty oath, gives "[t]he perception was that it was more of a closed-door policy, and we want an open-door policy."[Link] So much for their best laid plans.

AG opposes SANDAG Transportation Plan

Late yesterday the office of Attorney General Jerry Brown submitted a last-minute objection to SANDAG's 2030 Regional Transportation Plan.[Link] The plan which outlines $57 billion worth of transportation projects was approved Thursday by the SANDAG's board of directors with a vote of 16-2.

The SANDAG's plan will seriously do nothing to improve the traffic situation here in San Diego county. The plan is way too heavy in favor of automobiles and not enough focus on adding more rail in the county.

Warning Shot Fired at Steve Francis

Over at the UT's "Finest Blog" resident Bob Kittle lapdog, Chris Reed fired off what clearly is a warning shot at Steve Francis regarding his potential challenge to Jerry Sanders for mayor. In a post on Friday afternoon Reed writes:

Just when it looks like San Diego is on track to rid itself next year of its out-of-control city attorney, Francis is apparently gearing up to run a heavily funded campaign that will depict Mayor Jerry Sanders as the city's biggest problem while ignoring Aguirre.

In so doing, Francis would directly challenge the emerging narrative that holds Aguirre accountable for all he has done to hurt the city. Such a campaign would also undermine the emerging awareness of reformers that while City Hall is still sleazy, Aguirre's antics (kind word) actually hurt the cause of reform.[Link]

This is Reed at his best, carrying the water for the UT (i.e. Republican Party establishment) in stating the standard talking point on Mike Aguirre. He also echos the recent concern I have heard from the anti-Aguirre camp when he further states:

If Francis pulls his punches on Aguirre and allows for the emergence of a de facto unified Francis-Aguirre front against the mayor, watch out. Mike can revive his old tropes by saying, "Look! Steve Francis agrees with me!"

If you asked me today whom I would vote for mayor next year, I would say I don't know. But if Francis runs a campaign that helps rehabilitate Aguirre, I wouldn't vote
for him in a million years.

Every single campaign forum, Francis should be pressed to offer a clear and coherent analysis of Aguirre's job performance. If he doesn't admit that Aguirre has been a big reason why Sanders has never really hit his stride, that should be held against him.[Link]

Without a prominent Democratic to run for mayor next year (and no, I don't consider Donna Fyre that person), the warning to Francis is quite clear. Steve, we don't mind if you want to spend several million dollars of your own money in another quixotic run for mayor, but don't you get in our way as we try to wrestle back the City Attorney from Mike Aguirre.

I always thought Chris Reed was supposed to be the big "independent" thinker on the UT editorial board. I guess not, since it appears that he needs to stay in favor with Bob Kittle.

Dots now connected to the People’s Ordinance

Back in August I posted how I thought it was interesting Craig Benedetto wrote in the Voice of San Diego Cafe about the People's Ordinance. I called it a test ballon.

Well, the balloon has flown and now it is time for the real deal. Mayor Jerry Sander's is now looking to move at outsourcing its waste collection. Down the road, when the cost goes up from increase charges of the outside company, like at the City of Imperial Beach, then the residents of San Diego should expect to start paying for their trash hauling.

Well, I guess if Steve Frances does challenge Mayor Sanders re-election, then the Mayor will need more money to compete and we are not talking managed competition here. So, he is moving to outsource and start the fundraising or I mean to say start the outsource bidding process.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Lee Burdick joins race for City Attorney

The field for City Attorney has gotten a bit more crowded today. VOSD is reporting this afternoon that Jimsair in-house attorney Lee Burdick has declared her intention to run for City Attorney in 2008.[Link]

Burdick who is a registered Democrat and has ties to the Regional Chamber of Commerce joins Democratic attorney Dan Coffey, Republican deputy D.A. William Gentry, and Republican former Assemblymember turned Judge Jan Goldsmith as challengers to Mike Aguirre.

Friday - Quick Hits

Sad news. Megan Emily Rountree, the daughter of Lucy Krohn, chief of staff to Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña, died from a fall last Saturday night. CapitolWeekly

After 16 months of negotiations between City of Chula Vista and Gaylord Entertainment, deal is still elusive on $1 billion bayfront project. UT

State Supreme Court say screw the seals in upholding lower court ruling that Children's Pool in La Jolla has to be dredged. UT

Thanks to DiFi's criticisms, city to study cost of adding additional fire stations and firefighters. UT

California Coastal Commission to examine Oceanside plans for beachfront hotel next month. UT

Tri-city hospital board has choosen design for $778 million expansion and upgrade of medical center. UT NCTimes

Thursday, November 29, 2007

San Diego plans economic prosperity for hotel developers, not workers

Courtesy of Center on Policy Initiatives:

Mayor Jerry Sanders has stripped the "Economic Prosperity" section of the city's proposed general plan of its power to raise the standard of living for low-wage tourism workers.

Sanders' new version of the plan rolls back the clock by ignoring the crisis of growing inequality in San Diego's economy. It deletes all references to solving the explosion of low-wage jobs in service industries, specifically tourism, and lays the groundwork to subsidize tourism development that creates more low-wage jobs with no benefits.

The plan, which guides all city decisions on land use, is scheduled for a vote by the city's Land Use and Housing Committee, next Wednesday, Dec. 5, 10:30am at City Hall, 202 C St downtown San Diego. Please attend the meeting if you can and stand up for workers in the tourism industry!

Marty Block Fundraising Reception

Marty Block for Assembly 78th Fundraising Reception
Wednesday, December 5th

Honorary Hosts

State Senator Christine Kehoe, City Councilmembers Donna Frye,
Toni Atkins, former State Senator Lucy Killea,
former Assemblymember Howard Wayne, and Francine Busby.

Patron $500
Sponsor $250
General Reception $78

Patron/Sponsor Reception 5:30 – 6:30 pm
General Reception 6:30 – 8:00 pm

At the home of Kevin Tilden and Phil Diamond
4215 Arden Way in Mission Hills 92103
RSVP by Dec. 1 to
For more info: 619 284-7800

Good business is only good, if we don't include the GOP

The other night I thought more about my post on the GOP fundraising and did some more reading.

The GOP will have a tough time in 2008. On a national level, they have vulnerable House members, more open House and Senate seats then the Democrats, and more total Senate seats up for election too. As my previous post pointed out they don't have the money for this fight. The only way to win is in 2008 is if the Democrats shot themselves in the foot. That is not impossible.
On a state level, the GOP will have to defend two open Republican Assembly seats, which where drawn for Democrats, but which the GOP picked up six years ago and as incumbents were easily able to defend them. However, six years later, a very difference political environment and candidate pool, plus party registration does not make it look so promising for the GOP. George "Cheetahs" Stevens the GOP still need you! You have to give it the GOP for saying they will keep the seats, because what do you expect them to tell the poor fools running and the money people they have dumping cash into the races it will be an up hill battle ahead.

On the local level, it looks brighter for the GOP, but not so bright as it should for them. Right now, Mayor Jerry Sanders has no challengers, but GOP Steve Francis might take him on. Francis is the state's GOP Finance Chairman. You might remember in 2005, then local GOP Chair and now State Chair Ron Nehring was speculated to have fixed the endorsement for Steve Francis. What will the local GOP party or state GOP party do, if Francis does runs?

If you re-read the San Diego Reader article that covered the previous endorsement fight it makes you think who will give the biggest bang for the buck to the San Diego County Republican Party. You see this county's GOP charges a HUGE TAX (18.5%) on contributions they wash through their books for member communications. Means for every $100,000 they get from a donor for doing paperwork, then they pocket $18,500 of it, not bad. Other GOP county parties don't charge such a high tax and even the supposedly tax crazy Democrats don't charge so much for their wash through service. As a board member of a multi-million non-profit we would never take more then 15% from our donations for administration costs, because we make sure the money really goes to the service the people donated it too.

How can the San Diego County Republican Party justify this extreme tax?

Thursday - Quick Hits

Airport baggage employee doesn't like Congressman Filner's apology. UT

Environmentalists not to happy with Chargers billion dollar bayfront stadium proposal. UT

Documents reveal that half of Cal Fire's spotters were unavailable when fires began. UT

Seaworld applies to becomes first business in San Diego to discharge fireworks over water. UT

More corporate welfare, Escondido to give $1.45 million over ten years to Marriot corporation to build hotel near North County Fair. NCTimes

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Be Careful for What You Wish for....

I think Kevin Drum over at Washington Monthly nicely sums up the predicament regarding the state budget shortfall for next year. How a manageable $3 billion dollar shortfall has now turned into a $10 billion shortfall.

Democrats deserve blame for mismanaging California's budget in the early 00s, but it's hard to overstate just how irresponsible and infantile Schwarzenegger and California Republicans have been since then. In 2003, in the middle of an existing budget crisis, Schwarzenegger ran a demagogic and pandering campaign based on cutting California taxes by $4 billion. Then, to fix the shortfall this caused, he supported the 2004 bond measure. The net cost to the state of this GOP flight to fantasy now adds up to $7 billion per year.

If it weren't for Schwarzenegger and his fellow GOP tax fanatics, next year's projected shortfall would be $3 billion — or possibly even less. That would have been manageable. Instead we careen from crisis to crisis thanks to the government-by-temper-tantrum practiced by modern California Republicans. Thanks a lot, guys. [Link]

Wednesday - Quick Hits

Labor Council secretary/treasurer Jerry Butkiewicz, who is leaving his post in December has accepted a position with Sempra Engery. VOSD

Department of Water Resorces expects to export on 25% of water requested by water suppliers. VOSD

Pointing out the obvious, Senator Feinstein says San Diego needs more firefighters and tougher building codes. NCTimes UT

The legendary Daily Double Saloon in Encinitas is scheduled to change ownership afte being owed by the same famly for 50 years. UT

Fight over transportation bonds, San Diego wins round one, Nunez complains that San Diego received more than it should have. UT

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Playing Cards with Suspects and Victims on them?

In an attempt to solve some murder case that have gone cold. Some 10,000 decks of cards will be distributed to the commissaries at the seven county jails.

[L]ocal law enforcement and San Diego County Crime Stoppers this week launched a new set of playing cards featuring homicide victims and suspects that will be made available to inmates in the county's seven jails.

* * *

Auday Arabo, president of the Neighborhood Market Association that sponsored the project, said it makes sense to reach out to inmates for tips."We know that there are those in jail right now who have information to bring justice to victims and their families," Arabo said.

The cards in the deck feature either a cold case homicide victim, a wanted fugitive or a long-missing person now presumed dead. The cards carry photos of the victim or suspect, as well as the age, the date of the crime and a brief synopsis of the case.[Link]

This project is similar to an initiative that was tried in Florida were it yielded three arrests and multiple leads for law enforcement. There are over 2000 unsolved murders here in San Diego County, some more than 50 years old.[Link]

Obama Campaign First in Town

With the presidential primary here in California 10 weeks away from today. It appears that the Barack Obama campaign is the first presidential campaign to set up operations here in San Diego. The office is located at 1502 6th Ave. (NW corner of 6th & Beech), San Diego, 92101. [Map]

The office hours are from 9am to 9pm Monday through Thursday, 9am to 5pm Friday and Saturday, and 1pm to 9pm on Sunday. There will be a San Diego Believes in Obama!, Grand Opening on Sunday, December 2, from 11am-4pm. To RSVP contact regional field director LM Clinton at

And the Windbag Award goes to...

I attended a meeting hosted by the Progressive Grandmothers for Political Action at the Remington in RB this afternoon. I met many of these women at the weekly ENOUGH! protest in Poway. The speaker today was Lobbyist turned congressman Bilbray. He spent his entire time shamelessly bragging about his 'accomplishments' as the 'environmentalist mayor' of Imperial Beach. At the end, it was time for questions and answer. His strategy was, pretend to answer a question by distracting people with non-stop babbling, mostly nonsense. He was all over the place! In teaching, we call it bird walking (when one constantly wanders away from the objective of the lesson). When asked about the Iraq debacle, he talks about the Civil War in this country, and what the Germans did in WWII. Then he went on and on about how once a war is started, there is no good way to end it! I cornered him with a question regarding what he plans to do with the 12 million undocumented immigrants. As soon as he strays off topic, I interrupted him and brought him back on track, and I asked him for clarification. I also asked him for specific examples. When cornered, he said that he would have the IRS (not the INS) audit employers who choose to hire undocumented workers. A few others tried to pin him down on his horrible voting record, citing specific issues. All in all, what we got was a filibuster from the guy. Everyone came away disgusted, he said a lot without saying anything. It was a waste of a nice afternoon! Oh well, what do you expect from the GOP, the truth?

OC Lincoln Club joins fight to steal electoral votes

Capitol Alert from the Sacramento Bee is reporting that OC Lincoln Club is donating $100,000 to help qualify the Electoral College reform initiative for the ballot. [Link] The measure, if it qualifies for the June ballot and passes, would award California's electoral votes by Congressional district instead of the present winner-take-all system.

The initiative qualifying effort was dropped by its original sponsors, but in recent weeks was pickup "by a group led by Republican strategist David Gilliard." Their goal is to turn in 700,000 signatures by the end of the week.[Link]

The OC Lincoln Club joins 49th Congressional Representative Darrell Issa as the single largest contributors to the effort by the California GOP to malapportion the electoral system here in California. Here is a list of some of the donors who have contributed to this effort.

Cross posted at Calitics

Tuesday - Quick Hits

Supreme Court refuses to hear challenge to San Diego County program that sends peace officers to homes of poor who apply for public assistance. I guess the poor don't have Fourth Admendment rights. UT

Another one to leave, Kyo Yamashiro who overseas charter schools for San Diego Unified will be stepping down. VOSD

Senator Dianne Feinstein will be bring her subcommittee roadshow here to town this morning, to hear about last month's wildfires. It will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the council chambers, located on the 12th floor of 202 C St. in downtown San Diego. VOSD UT

SANDAG updates its regional traffic plan. Their solution more toll roads!! UT

Once again proving the anti-immigrant nativists wrong, UCLA study finds that immigrants are 50% less likely compared to native born Latinos to use hospital emergency rooms. LATimes

Monday, November 26, 2007

Over at Cafe San Diego

San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee, is hosting Cafe San Diego over at VOSD. His first post titled Turning Blue discusses how the county in slowly but surely trending blue. A couple of points he hits on are:

The city of San Diego has had a Democratic plurality of registered voters for many years. Countywide, the registration difference between the major parties is down to about 5 percent. That's vanishingly small when you consider the 22 percent of voters who don't affiliate with any party.

Last year, four of eight victorious Democratic candidates for statewide office carried San Diego County. That had never happened before. As those candidates were well aware, there are more Democratic votes here than in any other California county save Los Angeles.[Link]

In addition, he discusses some of the recent improvements the local party has undertaken:
Since the last presidential election, the county party has hired three full-time staff members (it previously had none), launched a year-round Precinct Leader program, successfully raised funds from high-dollar and grassroots donors alike, and adopted a strategic plan that emphasizes long-term candidate development.[Link]
As next year's presidential election grows closer, it will be interesting to see how these improvements to the local party combined with the changing demographics of the county translate into electoral outcomes.

Marti Emerald Interview

Over at the VOSD, occassional contributor Seth Hettena has a must read interview with former Channel 10 reporter turned District 7 candidate Marti Emerald.[Link] The interview does a very good job capturing those special qualities that make Marti Emerald a formiable candidate.

How does your experience as a TV reporter qualify you for public office?

First of all, being a good listener. I think that’s underrated these days. Knowing how to take a lot of information and figure out the so what about it. That’s really important. Secondly, I’m very good with helping to bring people together. For the last 22 years, I’ve been doing conciliation work, mediation. I’ve had mediation training. Maybe it’s underrated but when you look at what’s going on downtown with people who are not listening to each other, who are not on the same page, who don’t seem to want to arrive at a solution -- that’s the public perception anyway -- I think that’s real important. I cut through stuff. I mean business. Anybody, who’s had to meet as many deadlines as I do, and solve problems like I have, I think I’ll be a good representative for the 7th District.[Link]

Read the whole thing, it is quite worth it.

Picture worth 1000 words....

I have to say, I cannot remember the last time I saw President Bush this uncomfortable for a photo op. I would loved to have been a fly on the wall for their 40-minute private conversation today.

Filner pleads to trespassing

The AP is reporting this afternoon:

WASHINGTON – California Congressman Bob Filner has entered a plea days before he was set for trial on assault and battery charges over an incident at Dulles Airport in which he allegedly pushed a United Airlines baggage employee.

At a hearing in Loudon County General District Court on Monday Filner entered a so-called Alford plea to trespassing, according to a statement issued through his attorney. That means he did not admit guilt, but acknowledged sufficient evidence exists for a conviction.

Filner was accused in the August 19th incident of trying to barge past a female baggage worker into an employee-only area after his bags were delayed.[Link]

I'm sure the crazy wingnuts will go off on how he is receiving preferential treatment.

Monday - Quick Hits

In a really bad idea, UC seeks to eliminate guaranteed admissions for high school seniors. UT

Increased assaults directed at Americans in Baja, renews warning for travelers. NCTimes

Clock is ticking on Chargers decision to relocate to Chula Vista. UT

Lame article on how some people may try to avoid the alcohol beach ban. What is next an article on how to cheat on one's taxes? UT

After creating the department 30 years ago, SDSU now to offer a bachelor's degree in American Indian studies. UT

The gang lifestyle and crimes they commit no longer limited to minorities. VOSD

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Blackwater in Potrero Documentary

A very talented local documentary producer, Andy Trimlett just emailed me with a new documentary on Blackwater that Alternate Focus put together. Click on the link below to view.

In late 2006, Blackwater USA, now known as Blackwater Worldwide, submitted a proposal to build a training facility called Blackwater West in the rural San Diego County town of Potrero. This documentary tells the story of what followed. Features interviews with Jeremy Scahill, the author of Blackwater: the Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army as well as Brian Bonfiglio, the vice president of Blackwater West; Gordon Hammers, Jan Hedlun, Mary Johnson, Jerry Johnson, Thell Fowler of the Potrero Planning Board; Raymond Lutz of Citizens Oversight Committee; Rep. Bob Filner, and many others. Producer: Andy Trimlett, Associate Producers: John Odam and Aaron Seeley. (Alternate Focus)