Tuesday, December 23, 2008

A smart move by Jerry Brown.

California's Attorney General Jerry Brown did a politically smart thing opposing Proposition 8 last week.

Brown is making no secret of his desire to run again for Governor of California. And to some observers, it might seem a foolish, if brave thing to stake out a legal position to overrule the will of a majority of California's voters.

However, Brown isn't yet running in a general election. Instead, the first major hurdle for his return to the Governor's mansion will be the Democratic primary. By supporting marriage equally, Brown is able to publicly display his commitment to equality, garnering support of the progressive and LGBT communities who are important constituencies in the Democratic primaries.

With two terms as Governor under his belt, a mayorship of Oakland, and numerous runs for the United States presidency, Brown already has more name identification than any potential rival, save possibly Dianne Feinstein. But with a crowded and talented field, Brown won't be able to rest on that familiarity to win over a plurality of the party's regulars.

Among others, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is a strong likely rival to Brown for the Democratic nomination. Newsom has a statewide and national profile for ordering San Francisco to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Newsom's decision may not sit well with all Californians, but it's made him a hero to the LGBT community. Furthermore, support for same sex marriage is quickly becoming a prerequisite for California's Democratic primary voters, and Newsom has the most irrefutable bona fides for supporting marriage equality. He doesn't just support same-sex marriage, he married people.

Brown's decision to oppose Proposition 8 in the courts allows him to try to eat into Newsom's inroads with the LGBT community. It shows that he's not just someone who'll just talk about marriage equality. Like Newsom, Brown can now point to an official act that he's taken to advance the cause of civil rights.

Once more, the question of whether marriage equality should be the law of the land in California was not put to rest by Proposition 8. It is still tied up in the courts. And no matter what the California Supreme Court rules on the validity of Proposition 8, we can assume that its decision will be followed by initiatives either to support or restrict marriage equality. And with Newsom running in the primary, there can be no doubt that the issue of marriage will feature prominently in the political debate.

But Brown's decision isn't just a tactical, short-term move to diminish Newsom's singular status as a lion for LGBT equality. This isn't just a smart move for Brown in the context of the Democratic primary. Brown will soon find himself on the winning side of the marriage issue.

We are trending rapidly into a pro-marriage state. Proposition 8 passed by 52.30%, versus 47.70% who opposed the measure. That's a spread of only 4.6%. Only eight years earlier, Proposition 22, which banned marriage equality in California, passed by a margin of 22.8%. Assuming the historical trend remains constant, a majority of California voters will support marriage equality in two years.

Of course it's possible that the historical trend toward supporting marriage won't progress in a neat linear form. There will probably be some leveling off of support, and the numbers will stabilize. But the fact of the matter is that the bare majority who oppose marriage equality today will be fewer in a general election in 2010, and they may in fact be resigned to a minority. Brown's support for marriage equality today may win him support with the Democratic primary voters, and by 2010, the majority of general election voters may very well support marriage equality.

None of this is to say that Brown is a Machiavelli here. I suspect he really does believe in equality, and that he thinks in his heart of hearts that the initiative process shouldn't be used to strip rights, including marriage rights from minority groups. But he's also a shrewd political operator. And that's a good thing. Whoever wins the Democratic primary for governor of California should be an able and deft politician. They'll need to be fierce competitors against their Republican general election opponent. As someone who supports marriage equality, I want my party's nominees to be willing and eager to do the same.

In fact, I think Brown deserves some accolades for understanding the particular direction of this issue's political winds. He's not just sitting out on the sidelines, letting the cards fall where they may. Instead, he's taking some action to advance the cause of equality. But let's not presume that he's falling on his sword here. The old lion may be in winter, but he knows what he's doing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Election Reflection Panel Success

Around 70 people filled the Balboa Conference room at the law offices of Coughlin Stoia a couple weeks back. The crowd was eager and excited to talk about this years election. The panel consisted of Scott Peters, Richard Barrera, Leslie Wolf Branscomb and Howard Wayne, along with moderator Len Simon. The panel discussion which lasted for two hours cover topics including: the council president, Prop 8, the city attorney, Obama, city council elections and more.

You can view photos of the evening at Progressive San Diego's Flickr page.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Panelists Announced: Election Reflection

Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Reception at 5:00 p.m. | Program at 6:00 p.m.
Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP
655 West Broadway, Suite 1900 | San Diego, CA 92101

Scott Peters
President, San Diego City Council, District 1
Richard Barrera
San Diego School Board-elect, San Diego Regional Organizer for United Healthcare Workers
Howard Wayne
Deputy Attorney General, Office of the California Attorney General, former State Assemblymember
Leslie Wolf Branscomb
former Legal Affairs Editor and County Government Reporter, SD Union Tribune

Moderated by
Len Simon
Of Counsel, Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP

Cost: FREE
Parking in the building is available for $5
Street parking and other downtown parking is also available

RSVP: http://www.acslaw.org/chapters/lawyer/sandiego/rsvp

Refreshments will be provided

Topics will include the structure and composition of the City Council, the City Attorney election, the state propositions, and the effects of the presidential election.
The PSD Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization that works to empower all San Diego residents and communities to work together to create an equitable and sustainable society.
The ACS for Law and Policy is one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations. Founded in 2001, ACS is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Election Results Show Big Wins for Region’s Working Families

Working families came out ahead in Tuesday’s election as voters chose at least 68 candidates and propositions endorsed by the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council.

Highlighted wins include Marty Block and Manuel Perez for the State Assembly; Sherri Lightner, Todd Gloria and Marti Emerald for San Diego City Council; Steve Castaneda for Chula Vista City Council; and the failure of Proposition B.

The Labor Council is confident Pamela Bensoussan, who is trailing by approximately 100 votes as of Friday, will ultimately win the other Chula Vista City Council seat once all the ballots are counted.

“The real winners of Tuesday’s election are the working families of San Diego County,” Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez said. “Voters went to the polls not to point fingers or continue the rhetoric of blaming working families for San Diego’s woes, but to find real solutions to the challenges that face our neighborhoods and our economy.”

The wins were cemented with the help of nearly 1,500 individual union members who volunteered for 4,000 shifts during the course of the election season, a total representing 16,000 hours of volunteer time dedicated to informing voters of the candidates’ support for working families.

“I want to thank and recognize every union member who helped our endorsed candidates win,” Gonzalez said. “They are the ones who sacrificed countless weekends, holidays and evenings to make a difference in their communities.”

Trick or Vote San Diego Featured on Travis Smiley | PBS Web Exclusive

Progressive San Diego lead a team of organizations and individuals a week ago today (Halloween) to go door to door in the SDSU area and "trick or vote." The group knocked on doors in a number of precincts and were followed by Video Your Vote, a collaboration between PBS and Youtube. The co-sponsors of the event were: Common Cause, The N3twork, League of Women Voters, the Bus Project and the SDSU Debate Class.

TRAVIS SMILEY | Trick or Vote | PBS

Thursday, November 6, 2008

PRESS RELEASE: Progressives Leave Big Mark on Election Day

-- For Immediate Release --

San Diego, CA – On November 4, 2008, voters in the San Diego region made a loud statement to the region’s conservative establishment by electing numerous progressive candidates endorsed by Progressive San Diego. Progressive candidates won expected as well as surprising races on the San Diego City Council, on the San Diego Unified School District, and in the California Legislature.

San Diego City Council

PSD’s endorsed city council candidates Sherri Lightner, Todd Gloria and Marti Emerald all won their respective elections. In District 1, Sherri Lightner put on an impressive performance to beat Phil Thalheimer, who previously ran against Scott Peters. Todd Gloria won in District 3 against another PSD-endorsed progressive, Stephen Whitburn. In District 7, Marti Emerald holds a small advantage over her conservative opponent, April Boling.

San Diego Unified School District

The biggest upset of the night came from another PSD-endorsed candidate, John Lee Evans, in the School Board District A race against incumbent Mitz Lee. Evans won the seat by an impressive nine percentage points. In San Diego no school board member has been unseated in almost 30 years, but Evans broke that record. Additionally, PSD board member Richard Barrera won the School Board District D race without opposition.

California Legislature

Another big win for progressives came in the open seat of the 78th Assembly District, where endorsed candidate Marty Block won by almost ten percentage points. A republican has held that seat for the past six years. In the 76th Assembly District, progressive Lori Saldana was easily re-elected to serve another term. Also, incumbent progressive Christine Kehoe retained her seat on the State Senate.

Progressive San Diego

Formed in 2003, Progressive San Diego is a non-partisan political action committee that works to create a more equitable and sustainable society in the SD region by promoting progressive candidates and policies. Active in the community, PSD has hosted candidate forums and trainings, public speakers and film events. PSD has been vocal on such issues as San Diego City Charter Reform, attacks on livable wages, the big-box ordinance, quality and affordable healthcare and same-sex marriage.


San Diego City Council: Sherri Lightner, Todd Gloria, Stephen Whitburn and Marti Emerald.
San Diego Unified School District: John Lee Evans and Richard Barrera.
San Diego City Attorney: Michael Aguirre.
California State Assembly: Marty Block and Lori Saldana.
California State Senate: Christine Kehoe.

Tommie Watson
Progressive San Diego

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Reception at 5:00 p.m.
Program at 6:00 p.m.
Coughlin Stoia Geller Rudman & Robbins LLP
655 West Broadway, Suite 1900
San Diego, CA 92101

Cost: FREE
Parking in the building is available for $5
Street parking and other downtown parking is also available

RSVP: progress@progressivesd.org

Refreshments will be provided

Join us as we discuss the rule of law in San Diego post election. Topics will include the structure and composition of the City Council, the City Attorney election, the state propositions, and the effects of the presidential election.
The PSD Foundation is a non-profit grassroots organization that works to empower all San Diego residents and communities to work together to create an equitable and sustainable society.
The ACS for Law and Policy is one of the nation's leading progressive legal organizations. Founded in 2001, ACS is a rapidly growing network of lawyers, law students, scholars, judges, policymakers and other concerned individuals.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Statement in Response to Anti-Whitburn Mailer

When Progressive San Diego’s board of directors considers whether to endorse a candidate, the candidate’s ability to wage a clean campaign and spread a positive message while civilly debating his or her opponent is the subject of much discussion. Because PSD believes that candidates must have a positive agenda and be willing to stand up for progressive principles rather than simply opposing an opponent’s nonprogressive positions, we also believe that campaign strategies must focus on spreading that positive message and be limited to responding to attacks on a candidate’s character and integrity. Attack ads, no matter how effective they may be, have absolutely no place–none whatsoever–in a progressive candidate’s campaign. There is nothing progressive about cutting down one candidate so that another will stand out. Progressives have a strong message to spread, but personal attacks and other mud-slinging seriously undermine that message and fuel speculation about the credibility of those who benefit from such tactics.

In the strongest possible terms, Progressive San Diego condemns the recent “hit piece” against City Council District 3 candidate Stephen Whitburn. We do so not because Stephen, along with Todd Gloria, has earned our endorsement. Our condemnation stems from our deep commitment to promoting clean, honest, positive debate among all candidates for public office and keeping gutter politics out of elections. People certainly have the right to express their views about political candidates. But PSD also has the right to call out anyone who tries to stain the respectable campaigns that its endorsees try to run.

This morning PSD spoke to both candidates about the attack on Stephen. Todd unequivocally denied having anything to do with the attack, and PSD takes him at his word. Both candidates rejected attack ads as illegitimate campaign tactics.

What makes the attack especially disturbing is the false light that it casts upon Stephen’s campaign contributors. While PSD is not familiar with every contributor listed in the ad, the overwhelming majority of them are people with impeccable progressive credentials, people who have dedicated themselves to putting public interest over self-interest and are anything but back-room dealers. For the attack’s sponsor to suggest otherwise not only tempts candidates to respond by stepping out onto the slippery slope of gutter politics, but it leaves an unfair and unacceptable trail of collateral damage. It should be obvious to every good progressive candidate that allowing committed members of the progressive community to be sacrificed for political gain is intolerable.

For these reasons, PSD calls on Todd to immediately and publicly denounce the recent attack ad against Stephen and other members of the progressive community; and further calls upon both Stephen and Todd, along with their surrogates and supporters, to refrain from similar attacks. In the final days of this election, each campaign should focus on affirmatively demonstrating that its candidate is the best man to represent the residents of District 3.

Approved by the Board of Directors, October 30, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

SIGN UP: Largest GOTV Canvass ... in Costume, Oct. 31st (Halloween)!

Join Progressive San Diego, Common Cause, League of Women Voters, The N3TWORK and others to GOTV around SDSU and enjoy some free food, prizes, goody bags, giveaways, fun and more.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Good money chasing bad?

Rumors about the shift in Republican spending from the 7th to the 1st may be due to the rumor that Mrs. Thalimier isn't too keen on dumping truckloads of her money toward her man this time.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

East County Chaldeans going Obama

I was in El Cajon yesterday and heard these hard core Chaldean Bush supporters going for Obama. As expected, it's about the economy and basic governance.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Goldsmith Poll Spread

Latest rumor is that Goldsmith ran a poll earlier this month showing him over Aguirre by 5%. The margin of error: 5%

Friday, October 24, 2008

From the 7th to the 1st

Just heard that the Republicans are shifting resources out of the 7th and into the 1st. No reason given as of yet.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Setting Sherri Lightner's Record Straight

There has been a lot of mail coming from Sherri Lightner’s opponent lately—firing plenty of attacks, but offering little, if any, substance. It seems that he is more interested in tearing down Lightner’s image than building up his own.

Since he does not seem to want to address any real issues, I thought I might take the time to compare Sherri Lightner with her opponent.


Lightner is actively involved with planning and community groups to understand the concerns of residents and stand up for important issues even while running her campaign [more]…
Where is Thalheimer?


Lightner provides detailed answers to questionnaires, shares her political values and positions on major issues on her website, attends many public forums and debates, and has a plan for active public outreach…
Thalheimer ignores or refuses opportunities to answer questions from the public and often replies (when he responds at all) to questionnaires with one-word answers and no explanation.


Lightner believes in a cautious approach to outsourcing to ensure proper oversight, no loss of service levels, and real savings to taxpayers [more]…
Thalheimer wants to outsource as many services as possible now.


Lightner realizes that there are no easy answers, that the grim reality may be that the City of San Diego is legally responsible for already-promised benefits, and that much of the funding for these benefits is dangerously invested in the stock market [more]…
Thalheimer thinks that halting the DROP program (which has already been eliminated for new city employees and may not be legally possible to end for older employees) is the silver bullet to solve the problem (GOP mailer, September, 2008).


Lightner believes that a line-by-line review of the budget will reveal costly and unnecessary expenses and programs that will not impact crucial city and neighborhood services [more]…
Thalheimer prefers to fund things he can “touch” (LJVCA Candidate Caucus, 4/23/08).

Economic Development

Lightner wants to partner with local universities and businesses to bring green industry and green collar jobs to San Diego in order to strengthen our economy by creating good paying jobs and create a new tax base [more]…
Thalheimer has not proposed any ideas.


Lightner believes we must ensure that roads, water, open space, parks and available transit be in place before runaway density overtakes us [more]…
Thalheimer says, “We must go up” (La Jolla District 1 Primary debate, 4/22/08).

Paid Parking

Lightner led the effort to prevent paid parking at the beach and on our streets [more]…
Thalheimer was first in favor of paid parking (11/23/07), then against it (4/22/08), and now…?

Regents Road Bridge

Lightner knows that we need results for fire and traffic safety now—many of which can be gained through building a fire station in south University City and improving traffic flow along the Genesee corridor [more]…
Thalheimer was first against it (2004), and then in favor of it (4/22/08), and then against it (La Jolla Village Community Association Forum, 4/23/08), then in favor of it again (5/7/08), and wants to spend millions of dollars and waste several years on designs and planning while ignoring residents’ current needs.

I-5/S-56 Connector

Lightner has signed on to Stop5Noise movement and opposes the removal or destruction of any residential property [more]…
Thalheimer refuses to rule out the destruction of private homes; has not signed onto Stop5Noise.

Code of Fair Campaign Practices

signed the pledge in March 2008 and has focused her campaign “on issues rather then untruths or distortions," as promised [more]…
Thalheimer signed in March 2008 as well, but has he really kept his word?

It is clear that we have a stark choice in this election. Sherri Lightner is the obvious choice if you would like a say in government, want to know where your councilmember stands (and why), believe that infrastructure should lead development rather than follow it, and is willing to roll up her sleeves and get her hands dirty with the details instead of glossing over big problems.

Come November 4th; let’s make the choice for Sherri Lightner!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Four of five S.D. Congress members vote against bailout

By George E. Condon Jr. and Finlay Lewis
September 29, 2008

WASHINGTON – Undeterred by heavy lobbying and threats of reprisals, four out of five members of San Diego County's congressional delegation voted against the Wall Street bailout hammered out by the Bush administration and the bipartisan leadership of the Congress.

Only Rep. Susan Davis, D-San Diego, voted for the $700 billion plan. Voting against was Democrat Bob Filner of San Diego and Republicans Duncan Hunter of Alpine, Darrell Issa of Vista and Brian Bilbray of Carlsbad.

For Hunter, who is retiring, the measure presented perhaps the last big vote of his 28 years in Congress. And the administration trained one of its big guns on him to pressure him for his vote.

Vice President Dick Cheney personally appealed for Hunter's support. But Hunter said he told Cheney he could not because the measure amounted to a “massive exposure for the American taxpayer for what's at best a very limited return.”

“He said he appreciated my rationale and that he disagreed with it,” Hunter said. “Over the years we've had a lot of conversations on important issues. A lot of the time we agree; a lot of the time we don't.”

For Issa, the stakes were particularly high, as he angered the Republican leadership and threatened his hopes to become chairman or ranking minority on a key House committee.

Issa was particularly outspoken in denunciation of his own party's leadership at the White House, the Treasury Department and the House. “Our president and our Treasury secretary are wrong on this issue,” he said.

On the other side of the aisle, Filner showed no reluctance to attack his own party leadership. “There was arrogant leadership on both sides,” he said.

“The leaderships want something that the rank and file doesn't. They did it all amongst themselves. The four principals went in a room and then reported back to the caucuses but they didn't take any input from the caucuses. ... This is a push back from the people who want some input.”

Davis couched her support of the bill with an acknowledgment that its provisions represented a wrenching adjustment to the rapidly weakening economy but she argued that the measure's approval was nonetheless a necessary step.

“No bill is a magic bullet but the cost of doing nothing may be far greater than the painful steps we take today,” she said in a statement prior to the roll call.

Bilbray explained his vote in a statement, contending that the measure would not do anything “to address the systemic problems that created the current financial crisis.” Bilbray, who did not return a call for comment, also complained in the statement that the bill offered “nothing but a promise to ensure that this is just a one-time deal.”

“It is not the responsibility of the American taxpayers to foot a $700 billion bill for the irresponsible actions of Wall Street and borrowers,” Bilbray said.

Bilbray's opponent in the Nov. 4 election, Democrat Nick Leibham, claimed the incumbent's vote helps prolong “the current financial crisis and sent Wall Street into free fall.”

“This man is a disaster. Literally,” Leibham said in a statement. “He has turned his back on the economic well-being of San Diego families and businesses.”

Friday, September 26, 2008

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

John Burton set to announce candidacy for Democratic Party chairmanship

By Anthony York (published Tuesday, September 23, 2008)

Burton has told those close to him that he is running to succeed outgoing chairman Art Torres, who will leave the post after the party elects a new chairman in April. Burton was not immediately available to comment.

The job of party chairman is particularly important in this era of legislative term limits, and since voters approved Proposition 34, which set campaign contribution limits to candidates, and greatly enhanced the state parties’ rolls as arbiter of millions in political donations during campaign cycles. Burton largely wrote the initiative.

Other candidates in the race include current party vice-chairman Alex Rooker. Los Angeles County Party Chairman Eric Bauman has also been mentioned as a candidate.

Rooker has developed a long endorsement list, which includes incoming Senate Leader Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and a number of legislators and members of Congress. It was unclear how Burton’s entry into the race would effect those endorsements.

Rooker did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on Burton’s candidacy.

State Democratic Party delegates will vote to replace Torres on April 25, during their spring convention. The new chairman will take office one day after the vote.

For Burton, taking over as party chairman would be coming full circle, in a way. He was the legislative author of Proposition 34 in 2000. That measure was designed to shift political money, and fundraising power, away from individual candidates and increase the stature of political parties.

Under the rules of Proposition 34, parties can receive unlimited donations, but the measure introduced new contribution limits for legislative and statewide candidates.

Since leaving office in 2006, Burton has headed the John Burton Foundation for Children Without Homes, a non-profit “dedicated to improving the quality of life for California’s homeless children and developing policy solutions to prevent homelessness,” according to the foundation’s Web site.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

The slow death of the San Diego Union-Tribune now has progressed into a collapse. Kind of like Lehman Brothers or AIG as the paper has bought out it's most respected columnists and writers in order to reduce overhead and expenses. It has also closed its D.C. bureau after almost 65 years in operation.

So what's next? If the paper is bought out then what will happen to reporting in San Diego? Love it or hate it (I mostly hated it, I mean the front page was just wire service stories and maybe one good story a month) it was a major news organization and all of the electronic media took its lead from the paper. (Which speaks volumes on the quality of local news in San Diego.)

Should this be seen as a good sign that possibly a balanced media could come to San Diego?

Or just more of the same, only this time with more Fry's ads.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


Last night at a City Attorney debate, the question of the Chargers staying in San Diego came up. Which prompted a curious response from Jan Goldsmith which Scott Lewis from the Voice of San Diego caught on his blog.

Goldsmith, a Superior Court judge challenging Aguirre in the Nov. 4 election, said he would approach it differently. If the team's pursuit of a stadium in Chula Vista doesn't work, he would seek to form a joint powers authority with all cities in the county, and hold talks with the team.

“They don't want to talk now because maybe they think he'll run out and hold a press conference to attack people, or every time something goes wrong there's a lawsuit,” Goldsmith said of Aguirre. “Sometimes businesses don't react well to that type of approach.”

So as Scott Lewis asks in his commentary. Does this mean that Goldsmith's promise to keep the office of City Attorney apolitical has now been rescinded? Goldsmith says he can't recall he talked about joint powers authority as he stated to Mr. Lewis.
Goldsmith said he doesn't remember what he said at the forum. He said he always says that he would only "seek" the formation of a joint powers authority with other cities if the City Council approved of it.

"I did check with some folks who were taking notes and the notes were unclear about what I said. If I didn't say that last night, I need to clarify it," Goldsmith said.


Trying to tackle(pun intended) the Charger issue on your own does seem to be a political ploy to me. Maybe snatch some bolt fan votes by saying I'll make sure this team doesn't leave San Diego County for Stockton or wherever.

What say you, good citizen?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Progressive San Diego: Official Reasons for Dual Endorsement in D3

The post below requires a response from Progressive San Diego. Progressive San Diego aims to put into practice the openness and transparency we advocate. ALL OF OUR REASONS for the dual endorsement were stated in our letter AND there were no other reasons. The blog commentary below is absolutely false speculation. I encourage all readers to take a look at PSD's endorsement letter.

Tommie Watson
operations director, PSD

Monday, September 8, 2008

Uptown Throwdown Continued

So now an update on the D3 race pitting Todd Gloria vs Steve Whitburn race.

On the 28th of last month the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council decided to scrap the triple endorsement since John Hartley came in third and throw their full weight behind Gloria.

Rumors are flying that Steve did very badly during the COPE interview and didn't do so well answering some questions and did not do a great job explaining his answers. His responses softened his support within some of the membership. Unfortunately, I couldn't get clarification from my source what were those questions and how did he answer them. All my source said was that it was wasn't good.

On top of this Progressive San Diego, an organization that has been strong supporters of Donna Frye. Has decided to dual endorse both candidates this past week as opposed to fully Support Donna's protege Steven Whitburn. This is surprising since many members of the board are strong Donna supporters who were very active in her runs for Mayor and the organization strongly supports many of her issues.

Could this be fallout from Donna's new found friendship with Carl DeMaio? If so, Is Steve's close association with Donna becoming a liability? After all it's been said that recent actions by Donna in terms of her support of the Mayor's veto on Big Box and her position against the amicus brief on marriage equality have been causing rifts within groups that you could rely on supporting her. Are these rifts the cause of this seeming shift toward Todd's favor?

What do you think?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Devil You Know and The Devil You Don't

Here in San Diego we have a choice this November. It's not an easy choice like for President. (I mean c'mon the DNC was awesome and Obama's speech was even better.) It is the choice for San Diego City Attorney. Now, normally this would be a no brainer. However being we've got some what many would see as questionable candidates on both sides would make some see a difficult choice.

On one side we have the incumbent Mike Aguirre. Mike styles himself as a selfless crusader that is willing to expose corruption and hypocrisy regardless of who it is. I think he sees himself as RFK and is bringing back the mandate of a City Attorney that works for all San Diegans.

Yet, he has alienated key members of the traditional Democratic constituencies with his rhetoric on public sector unions, his perceived boorish behavior toward staff and people he believes as his opponents in his quest. Not to mention his questionable statements to the press like suggesting a citywide evacuation during the `07 firestorm. These issues have led some high profile Democrats to support his opponent, Jan Goldsmith.

However Jan Goldsmith isn't a great alternative. A former leader of Assembly Republicans in Sacramento. He has spent his entire political career fighting against progressive causes. I mean other then the bill to legalize ferrets. (I mean of all the issues to champion in this state, you choose ferrets? Really?) What did he do in Sacramento that would be seen as a major accomplishment?

Yet because he promises to return stability and normalcy to the City Attorney's office he has been able to peel off support that would have traditionally gone to Mike.

Now I'm not saying that Mike is down for the count, but you have to wonder what the game plan is to win in November. And ultimately the question for San Diego voters is do we vote for the devil we know or the devil we don't?

Your thoughts?

Update: Here's Aguirre's thoughts on those high profile Dems supporting Jan.

Friday, August 15, 2008

DeMaio Fined by Ethics Commission

The UT has reported that City Councilman-elect Carl DeMaio has been fined $1,500 by the Ethics Commission for deliberately soliciting campaign contributions from city employees.

The fine comes exactly one month after the FPPC declared that DeMaio violated the Political Reform Act in his bid to win the District 5 council seat.

My favorite part of the story comes when DeMaio tries to blame his violation on the Ethics Commission, the same defense he used with the FPPC violation. While he says that the commission provided him with a letter supporting his decision to intentionally add city employees to his e-mail solicitation lists, Stacey Fulhorst, the commission's executive director, disagrees (emphasis added):

'Our investigation showed that Mr. DeMaio knew some city employees would be among those invited to the fundraiser at his home,' Fulhorst said. 'If you as a candidate put city employees on a solicitation list, you are considered targeting them.'

She said the letter covers candidates who send out mass solicitations as long as city employees are not specifically targeted. She added that DeMaio did not know about the advice letter until after the investigation was under way.

I'm sure DeMaio will try and brush this off as not being a big deal. Some may think it was just an e-mail list, and deserves little attention. I disagree.

Even if this were nothing more than an e-mail list containing 90 people who shouldn't be on the list, it underscores a major flaw in the right-wing's "Superman."

At worst, DeMaio seems to feel he can bend rules to conform to his benefit and lie and deflect his way out of responsibility. At best, he has twice been extremely sloppy in following basic campaign rules.

Either way, these two violations highlight the reason so many distrust his motives. It also showcases himself as being exactly what he claims to be fighting against.

How can you be a "reformer" when you behave the same as those you claim to be acting against?

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

District 7 Grantville

From today’s Voice of San Diego:

Marti Emerald said she supports the Grantville Action Group, the group of some of Grantville's business and property owners who oppose the designation of the community as a redevelopment area. She said she sides with the small business owners there who fear being pushed out in favor of the new vision for the community under redevelopment.

A legitimate position especially in a City of Villages.

April Boling said she believes Grantville will redevelop whether it's a redevelopment project area --"Redevelopment, capital R," she calls it -- or not. She supports the creation of a master plan for Grantville and the creation of the redevelopment area. Her chief reason: reinvesting the tax increment generated there to take care of the big infrastructure needs in Grantville, like aligning Mission Gorge Road with Interstate 8.

The problem with redevelopment zones is that they encourage the creation of development corporations (CCDC, SEDC) that run over established businesses and create the Mission Valleys that April wants to avoid.

Redevelopment zones were created in he early 1970’s to help the most blighted areas get on their feet. What has happened is that local governments have used them, especially in California since Prop 13, to recapture taxes lost from property by creating a larger sales tax base in areas that questionably qualify as a redevelopment zones.

There is a Grantville Action Group that wants to have a say in their future. Let them. Small businesses are the backbone of a thriving society and they know their customer base best. Grantville isn’t where it could be but it’s not on life support. Making the area a redevelopment zone would deny the locals a fair say in their future and strip them of the responsibility of maintaining their own back yard.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Managed Competition & You

So once in a great while something that U-T prints catches my attention other than the Fry's ad.

Yesterday, it was Gerry Braun's article on managed competition. In it, Braun explains the complexity of the seemly simple task of dead animal removal. While on the surface, the job seems simple enough. You pick up the dead animal and take it to the dump to be disposed of. But there are so many variables that muddy up that simplistic notion that you begin to ask.

Does any private contractor really want this hassle? If some heartbroken person, frantically looking for their beloved pet calls to see whether their pet was picked up. Will the contractor find out? If there is a licensed pet that is picked up, will contractor try to contact the owner? I mean the list can go and on.

Now imagine if this was wastewater? Or water purification? Will the contractor put the public interest over profit? Will the contractor adhere to the guidelines in place to ensure the city isn't getting skimmed? Will the contractor bid honestly? I don't know about you but sometimes the private sector isn't the best place to run public works because public works inherently are types of projects that must be done in a manner that is done safely and securely for all. After all it's our money and our services and I don't want to worry the some contractor wanted to save some money by hiring people that weren't properly trained in order to pocket a few bucks at the expense of the city because it wanted to squeeze out a little bit more profit.

If Managed Competition is the future; by what mechanism can we be assured that our tax dollars aren't used in a manner that benefits contractors who are looking to maximize profit by endangering the public and shortchanging it too.

What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

"The Change You Deserve."

Warning: slightly salty language at the end so it might be NSFW
but still funny...

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Say No to the Governor's Attacks on State Workers

If a state budget is not passed and the Governor's illegal Executive Order remains in place, we need you to support state workers by protesting with us:

WHAT: Informational Pickets

WHERE: State Building
1350 Front St.
Wednesday, August 6
12 p.m. to 12:30 p.m.

3960 Normal St.
Thursday, August 7
7:30 a.m. to 8 a.m.

Also, call the Governor at (916) 445-2841, and tell him to exercise leadership and get a responsible budget passed!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Schwarzenegger proposes tax increase

From Today's Capitol Alert:

Last Updated 3:38 pm PDT Monday, August 4, 2008
By Jim Sanders and Kevin Yamamura - jsanders@sacbee.com


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has proposed a temporary one-cent increase in the state sales tax for the next three years in exchange for long-term fixes he believes would solve the state's perennial budget woes, several sources familiar with the negotiations said Monday.

The governor's proposal comes as he and lawmakers are 35 days into the fiscal year with no approved spending plan.

Schwarzenegger has said he opposes tax increases, but was willing to consider all options to close an estimated $15.2 billion shortfall in the $101 billion general fund.

The state sales tax is 6.25 percent, but most counties have local tax additions, such as those for transportation projects, that drive the actual rate higher. A one-cent increase statewide would raise $4 billion to $5 billion a year, based on $29 billion in sales tax revenue expected in the current year.

Aaron McLear, a Schwarzenegger spokesman, had no immediate comment Monday when asked about the one-cent sales tax proposal.

The governor's sales-tax proposal appears to put him squarely at odds with his own Republican Party, which consistently has argued that the state has a spending problem - not a revenue problem.

Democrats are not certain to embrace the sales tax hike, either. Critics argue that sales taxes are regressive, meaning that the greatest impact falls on low-income Californians.

The long-term budget fixes that Schwarzenegger wanted in return for a sales-tax hike would include a system to save revenue in a rainy day fund during good years to bridge budget gaps in down years.

If we lose the 78th in November, this may be a reason why.

From today’s Wall Street Journal:

The Democratic State Central Committee of California has paid $450,000 in legal fees for state Senator Don Perata, while a separate group, taxpayers for Perata, has paid $550,000, according to filings with California’s secretary of state.

People give to the CDP to elect Democrats, not cover the asses of elected who spend money and then abandon the cause for which they were spending other people’s money.

More reason to give locally.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Wal-Mart's Anti-Worker Tactics Continue

The Wall Street Journal today reported that anti-worker mega-company Wal-Mart is holding mandatory meetings where they strongly encourage their employees to vote against Democrats in November.

According to the WSJ:

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is mobilizing its store managers and department supervisors around the country to warn that if Democrats win power in November, they'll likely change federal law to make it easier for workers to unionize companies -- including Wal-Mart.

The article claims that Wal-Mart's reasoning behind the move is to stop passage of the Employee Free Choice Act. Wal-Mart has stooped to a new low in trying to force their employees to vote Republican.

I wonder if these mandatory meetings where they "informed" their employees of how they would like them to vote were any different than the intimidation and other practices that are used to prevent employees from forming a union.

I shouldn't be surprised since it is just another example of Wal-Mart doing everything it can to prevent the fair treatment of their employees.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

From the CDP

John Chiang, our Democratic State Controller, is standing up to Arnold Schwarzenegger, and I'm writing to ask you to stand up with him.

Unfortunately, in the midst of a looming multi-billion dollar budget crisis and a protracted budget battle, Gov. Schwarzenegger has decided that the best thing he could do was put the screws on our state workers by attempting to withhold all but $6.55 an hour of their pay until a budget is signed.

Despite withering criticism from almost every corner of California since he announced this scheme last week, Gov. Schwarzenegger just signed an Executive Order mandating it.

Not only is it extremely unfair and mean-spirited to force state workers to involuntarily loan the state money during a time when everyone is feeling the pain of our struggling economy, it's also not even Arnold's call to make.

According the non-partisan Legislative Counsel, it's our Controller not our Governor who has the authority to decide these types of things.

Fortunately we have a fighter in our Controller John Chiang, who has declared that he will stand up to Arnold's unfair and unproductive gimmicks and pay our state workers what we owe them.

Please stand up to Arnold and stand with Controller Chiang by writing a letter to the editor of your local newspaper today.


Over the last few days, over seven thousand of you have signed our petition supporting John Chiang in his courageous stand against Arnold Schwarzenegger's irresponsible and unwarranted plan to slash the pay of state workers.

Now we need to step it up.

Today we're asking you to take your support for Controller Chiang to the next level. Please send a letter to the editor of your local paper explaining why you support John Chiang and oppose Arnold Schwarzenegger's harebrained scheme to use state employees as pawns in the budget impasse.

There will almost certainly be lawsuits filed about this, but right now the fight is in the court of public opinion. The Letters to the Editor section is one of the most widely-read sections of any newspaper, and politicians take what appears in that section very seriously.

The California Democratic Party has set up a web page that makes it easy to write a letter to the editor on this topic. Just go to www.cadem.org/standuptoArnold. We have sample letters, talking points, and some pointers to help you get started.

This fight is not only about the wages of our state workers. It's about the differences between Democrats and Republicans. It's about leaders like John Chiang who are trying to be productive and politicos like Arnold who only engage in stunts. It's about who we are as Californians and whether we are going to allow our state to act as though a civil servant who puts in an honest day's work doesn't deserve an honest wage.

Please take a moment and send a letter to your newspaper today.


Sen. Art Torres (Ret.)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tony Young Recall effort

According to today’s UT,

San Diego City Councilman Tony Young has become the target of a recall effort in part because he supported the ouster of Carolyn Smith, president of the Southeastern Economic Development Corp.

The Fourth City Council District has always been a fractious place. You’re either loved or not. Mediocre popularity is not tolerated. Tony Young has been in this zone of “not exactly loved but above tolerable” for a while. I was only a matter of time before someone tried this. All that was lacking was a pretext.

I personally don’t think this recall has the legs to work but the Fourth is anything but predictable and I wouldn’t be very surprised if it did pick up steam from the dissatisfied.

The question isn’t if there are enough names out there; it’s about getting them. Besides, I think the scare of a recall will help keep the office focused on their task at hand.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

First Teachers, Now State Employees...Governor Likes Playing Budget Games with Other People's Pay Checks

While we have always known that Governor Schwarzenegger does not think too highly of worker's rights, he recently announced a plan that would make the state's 200,000 employees the lowest paid workers in all of California.

Under the Governor's proposed executive order, which could be signed at any minute, state workers' pay would be slashed to the federal minimum wage of $6.55 an hour until a state budget is passed.

Luckily, State Controller John Chiang has stood up for all of the state's workers by openly defying the Governor's plan. While the Governor states he must do this to bridge the gap until a budget is approved, the Controller contends that the state has enough money on hand to cover bills through September.

In the meantime, state workers are asking for help from all Californians. Members of SEIU Local 1000 will be holding informational picket lines at DMV offices tomorrow starting at 7:30 a.m. If you have time, stop by to support all state workers. The offices are located at:

Chula Vista
30 N. Glover St., Chula Vista
(near N. 4th Ave. & Hwy. 54)

El Cajon
1450 Graves Ave., El Cajon
(near Hwy 67 & Bradley Ave.)

San Diego -- Clairemont
4375 Derrick Dr.
(off Genesee Ave. N. of Balboa Ave.)

San Diego -- Otay Mesa
6111 Business Center Ct.,
(off Hwy. 905 & Corporate Center Dr., 2 ½ miles E. of I-805)

Monday, July 28, 2008

U-T R.I.P.?

Because the Union-Tribune isn’t exactly coving it’s own sale, the Voice of San Diego had this bit from Randy Dotinga’s article:

"Given the devastation and uncertainty in the industry, it is unlikely that a public company would make a large purchase right now, as they would have their head handed to them," said Lauren Rich Fine, a retired Merrill Lynch newspaper analyst who teaches at Kent State University.

Instead, analysts think the most likely buyer would be a private company or a group of investors. But even that's a long shot considering that the few newspapers on the block aren't attracting offers.

At this point, everything is speculation, of course. Details about the U-T's financial condition are hard to come by since it is privately owned and not required to release data publicly.

One thing is clear, however: Battered by sharp falls in subscribers and advertising, the nation's 21st-largest newspaper is not in a position of strength. Its bid for buyers seems to be a sign of desperation.

"It defies all reason to want to sell the newspaper now, unless they believe that things are only going to get worse from here," said Alan Mutter, a media analyst and former newspaper executive.

What I find interesting is that even though San Diego is the 6th or 7th largest city in America, the U-T has the 22nd largest circulation of the country’s major dailies.


Maybe the free-marketers on the editorial board should do a piece on how their own newspaper’s inability to compete, especially in a monopolistic situation, is a sure sign that they shouldn’t be in this business in the first place.

The Voice the San Diego is regularly scooping them with one-tenth of the resources and nowhere near the same size of staff, although with layoffs at the U-T there may now be parity.

Diversification of portfolios, especially when it comes to revenue streams, is a basic lesson in business. I guess the management at the U-T thought it better not to try to improve their product beyond the superficial.

Well, the market has spoken.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Rep. Davis left off labor list

From Capitol Alert
Posted by Shane Goldmacher on July 24, 2008 10:08 AM

On Wednesday, Captiol Alert published the list of endorsements for the California Labor Federation, which backed Democrats -- and only Democrats -- across the state.

But one incumbent congresswoman was left off the list.

The San Diego Union Tribune noticed that area congresswoman Susan Davis was missing. The paper reports:

Bryan Blum, political director of the statewide labor group, said it followed the recommendation of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council that it withhold an endorsement from the four-term San Diego Democrat because of an inconsistent voting record on trade issues.

"It does go back to her voting the wrong way on some trade issues," Blum said. "The folks in San Diego had some issues because they felt she made a commitment to vote one way and she voted the other."

Friday, July 25, 2008

And if you act now, we'll give you an another Shamwow set for free!

Nope, not talking about Shamwow. I'm talking about today's headline in the U-T about putting the paper up for sale. I'm not a big fan of the U-T. I mean on any given day the front page of the U-T is essentially stories pulled by either the New York Times News Service or AP. If I wanted a cut and paste newspaper I can make myself one without the U-T's help. I can't remember the last time I actually bought a U-T and when I do get a copy from somewhere I mostly check what are today's deals at Fry's. (Oooh! a 4GB USB flashdrive for $12! The Deer Hunter DVD is only $5.99!) Another thing I hate about the U-T is how it avoids any bad news about San Diego that make news on major nationwide newspapers.

A great example was an expose by the New York Times and Frontline about corrupt ICE agents getting rich helping smugglers transport drugs and other contraband into the US. The biggest case was here in San Diego. It was a front page story on the New York Times and that night was the focus of a Frontline documentary. All this attention but not a peep from the U-T. And don't get me started on the Editorial page.

Should this paper be sold, would it really be a "...sad day for San Diego." like Mayor Sanders states? I don't think so. If anything it might help San Diego to have a premier newspaper befitting it's status as second largest city in the most populous state in the union. After all, let's be honest it seems that all the biggest stories in the last few years have been broken by Voice of San Diego or someone else other than the U-T. Hopefully new owners can build a newspaper that will serve all San Diegans; not just a select few. But then again, the sale may just speed up the decline.


Your thoughts?

P.S. Is it me or does Mayor Sanders look like Shemp?

"Energy Crossroads" Screening with Debbie Cook

Peak Oil Film & Discussion
Think Gas at $4.50 is Expensive?
Tuesday, July 29th

FEATURING: Award-winning film Energy Crossroads (2007)

Huntington Beach Mayor and Candidate for Congress

Film begins at 7:00pm
Discussion follows at 8:00pm
Joyce Beers Community Center
3900 Vermont St. (in Hillcrest Trader Joe's shopping center)

RSVP to: Progress@ProgressiveSD.org
Suggested Donation: $10-20 (but no one will be turned away for lack of funds)

Think gas at $4.50 is expensive? Most oil industry geologists and analysts predict that within a few years, world oil production will reach a peak and then begin an irreversible decline, as huge decades-old oil fields are depleted. This is likely to significantly increase the price of everything produced from or transported using oil, including gasoline, plastic, chemicals, and food. Join Progressive San Diego and Huntington Beach Mayor Debbie Cook for a movie and discussion about peak oil, its impacts on our sprawling region, and what San Diego can do to mitigate its effects.

Debbie Cook, Mayor of Huntington Beach, California is an attorney and environmental activist and is currently running for U.S. Congress in California's 46th district. She serves on the boards of directors of the Association for the Study of Peak Oil and Gas (ASPO-USA) and the Post Carbon Institute, and has spoken internationally about what local governments can do in response to the imminent peak in world oil production.

For more information visit:
Progressive San Diego
Debbie Cook for Congress

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Labor Votes to Oppose Developer’s Initiative of 10th Avenue

The membership of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, AFL-CIO, last night unanimously voted to oppose a ballot initiative that would destroy maritime industry at the 10th Avenue Marine Terminal.

The campaign to defeat the measure will be one of the Labor Council’s top priorities in this fall’s elections, according to Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez.

“These are some of the last good, blue-collar, middle-class jobs left in our region,” said Gonzalez. “The 120,000 working families of the Labor Council are outraged that a private developer is pushing a misleading plan that is destructive to the region’s working waterfront.”

San Diego Bay’s working waterfront provides the region with 42,000 jobs and adds an economic impact of $7.6 billion annually to the region.

The initiative, which will be placed on the Nov. 4 ballots of residents in San Diego, Chula Vista, National City, Imperial Beach and Coronado, would change the Port’s master plan to allow for the redevelopment of the 10th Avenue Terminal for private use.

The plan would allow for private building on a deck constructed on top of the terminal, and would reduce the region’s ability ensure both business growth and port security.

“This isn’t under-utilized land in desperate need of redevelopment,” said Gonzalez. “It is a valuable part of our economy. From the banana you eat for breakfast to the cement used to make the sidewalk below you, there is a good chance that every day you use a product that came through the 10th Avenue Terminal.”

Anti-Union Measure’s Defeat in Chula Vista is Final

The Chula Vista city clerk has officially notified supporters of an anti-union ballot measure that they have failed to submit enough signatures to qualify their initiative for the November ballot. The action makes the failure of the measure final.

The measure was aimed at stopping Project Labor Agreements on publicly funded projects. Interim City Clerk Donna Norris reported that 7,092 signatures were submitted in the permitted time window, well short of the 9,062 needed to qualify. Had election officials performed signature verification, the actual number of valid signatures submitted would have been far lower.

Earlier, proponents had lost a legal appeal to allow additional signatures to be submitted, because they had violated a state Elections Code provision requiring notice of a petition drive to be published in a local paper, and an affidavit of publication filed with elections officials within 10 days. The proponents of this measure filed their affidavit more than two months late, in violation of the law. The city clerk then properly rejected the petitions.

San Diego City Elections Ballot Order

The results from the random drawing held today:

City Attorney
Mike Aguirre
Jan Goldsmith

District 1

Sherri Lightner
Phil Thalheimer

District 3
Stephen Witburn
Todd Gloria

District 7

April Boling
Marti Emerald

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Free ‘Duke’ Cunningham? Will President Bush Overlook the Minor Transgressions of an Otherwise Loyal Conservative-- Again

From today’s California Progress Report

By Bill Cavala
A veteran of over 30 years in Sacramento

It seems that former San Diego Republican Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, now serving his sentence for corruption in a minimum security federal facility, has petitioned President Bush for clemency.

And what Republican is more deserving?

Elected on his war hero record, “Duke” became an icon of the Republican right.
Following the entrepreneurial spirit that guided his party, Duke parlayed his position in the government and his GOP credentials to a point where he could influence the award of tax-paid contracts. A friend got the contracts. “Duke” got, among other things, a mansion.

Isn’t that Republican teamwork? The American way?

Of course, it was against the law. But “Duke” was bigger than a few silly rules. Besides, the good he did in conservative causes deserved a more fitting reward than a simple Congressional salary. He made money for others, it was only right they give some to him.

Now, stripped of office and of his ill-gotten gains, he only asks that he no longer be treated like a common criminal.

After all, is he worse than Karl Rove?

Maybe the President should consider blanket pardons for all Republicans in public office during his two terms as President? After all, to err is human…


Booze Ban Ballot?

According to today’s Voice of San Diego, Peters and Faulconer are proposing to put the beach alcohol ban on the November ballot.

The amusing part of this is Faulconer:

"People have had a chance to come down to the beach and see the results," Faulconer said of the one-year trial ban that is set to expire in November. "Now it is time to allow the voters to have the final word on this."

This from a guy who was booed at Pacific Beach Town Council meetings for not taking a stand the issue in the first place.

Besides, I thought the voters already had a say in 2002.

Responsible drinking is about as elusive as responsible adulthood so I can see the point. I just wish Kevin had grown a pair earlier in the debate when it would have mattered instead of punting to the taxpayers.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Other Propositions as of Today

Field Poll results, prepared exclusively for Capitol Alert, on California voters' views of several ballot measures on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Voters favor expanding high speed rail, improving the treatment of farm animals, notifying parents of teens seeking an abortion, expanding California's use of renewable energy and changing the state's redistricting process.

That's according to a new Field Poll that surveyed voters on five measures on the November ballot.

All five were ahead, though two (the abortion and redistricting measures) fell short of the 50 percent mark - which political strategists usually consider a poor omen for a measure's chances.

Proposition 1 (High speed rail)
Yes: 56 percent
No: 30
Undecided: 14

Proposition 2 (Treatment of farm animals)
Yes: 63 percent
No: 24
Undecided: 13

Proposition 4 (Abortion notification for minors)

Yes: 48 percent
No: 39
Undecided: 13

Proposition 7 (Renewable energy)
Yes: 63 percent
No: 24
Undecided: 13

Proposition 11 (Redistricting)
Yes: 42 percent
No: 30
Undecided: 28

Of note:
On four of the five initiatives measured – Props. 1, 2, 7 and 11 – less than one voter in four claims to have any prior awareness of the measure. The one exception is Prop. 4, having to do with parental notification of teen abortion, although even here less than half (45%) report any awareness.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Field Poll: California voters' disapproval rating on Bush highest since 1961

This isn't exactly news but it does show how much of a drag He has become to the Republican brand.

From the Sacramento Bee
By Kevin Yamamura - kyamamura@sacbee.com
Published 12:00 am PDT Saturday, July 19, 2008
Story appeared in MAIN NEWS section, Page A3

President Bush's disapproval rating in California has reached the highest mark for a president since the Field Poll began tracking White House numbers in 1961, according to its latest survey released Friday.

Less than a quarter of California voters – 24 percent – said they approve of Bush's job performance, compared with 71 percent who said they disapprove.

The latter mark is higher than Nixon's 70 percent disapproval rating in August 1974, the same month he resigned from office after his role in the Watergate scandal was revealed.

Only 18 percent of voters said they approve of Bush's handling of the economy, a drop from 24 percent who said the same in May. Voter appraisal of Bush's handling of the Iraq war has remained steady at 28 percent approval, compared with 27 percent in May.

"What's driving this particular poll down are the significantly lower ratings he's getting on the economy," said Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo. "His Iraq ratings seem to have stabilized. I would consider those to have bottomed out."

More Republicans approve of Bush than disapprove, by a 54 percent to 38 percent margin. But the poll found that 90 percent of Democrats and 83 percent of independent voters disapprove of Bush.

Three-quarters of voters also believe the nation is headed on the wrong track, while 15 percent said it is going in the right direction, and 10 percent had no opinion. That is the gloomiest voter outlook since July 1992, when the state was mired in recession.

The Field Poll did not ask voters their feelings about Congress during its July survey.

In May, 30 percent approved of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a San Francisco Democrat, compared with 39 percent who disapproved. In December, 30 percent approved of Congress, while 56 percent disapproved.

"Institutional measures, whether it's Congress or the state Legislature, are often lower when things aren't going well because there isn't any one personality underpinning the institution," DiCamillo said. "The institution itself is often seen as not doing its job if the economy falls on hard times."

Friday, July 18, 2008

PRIDE and Republicans

With Sanders in support of gay marriage, where does that place Goldsmith, Boling, and Thalimier?

Anyone know?

And will it affect their races?

Your thoughts...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

FPPC: DeMaio Violated Political Reform Act

This just came across my inbox from the Party:

San Diego City Councilmember-elect Carl DeMaio ran on a pledge to bring transparency to City Hall, but even before he finished filing as a candidate he was trying to hide information from the public, according to California’s political reform agency.

DeMaio was warned by the Fair Political Practices Commission last week that his Statement of Economic Interests fails to disclose required information about the clients of the consulting companies he owned until 2007.

He has until July 28 to come clean with the public about his clients at the Performance Institute and American Strategic Management Institute or face fines amounting to $5,000 for each violation of the Political Reform Act.

Officeholders and candidates for public office in the State of California are required to complete a Statement of Economic Interests, known as Form 700, so that the public is made fully aware of its representatives’ business interests before they’re elected to office. DeMaio’s statement currently does not include such information.

DeMaio’s Performance Institute made millions of dollars as a federal contractor, according to www.fedspending.org, a website that tracks U.S. government contract spending. His American Strategic Management Institute is a for-profit business that provides consulting to private companies. He reported selling both companies to Thompson Publishing Group, Inc. just before he began his bid for the City Council seat.

“Carl DeMaio’s failure to comply with this rule while he ran for City Council District 5 conflicts with his stated commitment to open government,” said Jess Durfee, Chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party.

“It is ironic that Mr. DeMaio ran for office on a platform of making government more transparent when in fact he was violating open government laws by failing to disclose his own financial interests,” Durfee said. “If Mr. DeMaio were truly interested in open government, he would have told the public who his clients were.”

But DeMaio, a Republican, never claimed ownership in either business in his Form 700. Instead, he reported that he was the sole proprietor of an entity named “Carl DeMaio” and that both companies merely did business with “Carl DeMaio.”

“It is clear that Carl DeMaio is not being forthright with the public,” the Democratic Chair said. “He needs to come clean with the people of San Diego before we can trust he will have the public interest in mind when he becomes a councilmember.”

In light of DeMaio’s web of financial interests, Durfee further called on him to pledge that he will not conduct any private business with government contractors while holding public office.

Free Speech and the Blogosphere

So on the front page of the Business Day section of today's New York Times, a great story about balancing the law and blog posting. What is really interesting is that there seems to be a political bent to the specific blog that was targeted by the New York City's DA in attempting to find the IP addresses of anon posters criticizing Republican lawmakers and posting news reports about investigations that supported their criticism.

Luckily, the subpoena was withdrawn after “The district attorney was not aware that a subpoena was sent nor was he aware of the content of the comments, until after the subpoena was sent. The district attorney reviewed the matter, determined that a subpoena was not necessary at this time, and directed that it be withdrawn.”

But this story should give every blogger and those who publish blogs pause. We are a progressive blog but we don't try to stifle people in the expression their positions as long as it is done in a manner that is more or less in line with common decorum. I think we have only banned one comment in the time this blog has been up, which is a testament to our readers and our posters. However, if government entities begin issuing subpoenas to investigate posters just because they express their opinions anonymously how can real discussion take place? I would like to think that bloggers on both sides of the spectrum share this common thread of being able to express one's political views without fear of retribution from that politician or political entity. That is entirely anathema to what this country stands for. I mean wouldn't you be less inclined to share your opinions on say Jerry Sanders, Donna Frye or any other elected if they could find out who you are? Don't we have rights?

What do you think?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Some Republicans are Freer than Others

It appears that the freedom-loving Republican Central Committee has an issue with members who attempt to express their freedoms.

According to the San Diego Reader’s City Lights section this week, there were a series of slate mailers put out to advertise candidates running for positions on the Republican Central Committee. Thing was, the people selected for ballot placement were those most likely not to challenge Chairman Tony Krvaric.

According to Joe Deegan of the San Diego Reader:

Krvaric did not reply to my phone message asking if he were behind the Central Committee lists on the slate mailers. Members of the committee’s executive board haven’t confessed to anything either, according to Laura Sumrall, who thinks her close association with Steve Francis made them “a little cautious” of targeting her completely. (She opposed the committee on its endorsement of Jerry Sanders over Francis for mayor of San Diego.) “But the discussion of the Central Committee lists happened in a silent meeting the executive board members will all deny,” Sumrall tells me. “We have a mole who was sitting in the meeting outraged but kept his mouth shut and told us about it later. And a couple of them have slipped and said, ‘But, you know, you can’t have people on the committee who cause trouble and aren’t willing to work together.’ ”

And this:

“There are a few people,” according to Cowlishaw, “who would like to control everything, including Tony Krvaric. They want to have no dissent, no confusion about what they want done. They want everybody to get along and have the same idea and be on the same page. I can understand that to a certain degree, but there has to be some discussion. I am vocal in my opinions, though mostly outside of meetings. But I don’t think my views were anti anything.”

And this:

But things happened a bit differently with the recent mailers. Printed at their bottom, a note stated that an asterisk next to the names of the candidates meant the candidate had paid to be on the slate. All the candidates for the Republican Central Committee had the asterisks. But Sumrall says she didn’t pay a dime to appear on any slate. “So I called the number on the mailer that had my name, and I got a recording,” she says. “It did not identify a business. It just said to leave my name and number, which I did. I also asked why I was on the slate and who paid for it. Nobody ever returned my call, though I called twice.”

Records at the office of the San Diego County Registrar of Voters suggest what happened. Between January 1 and May 17, an organization called Citizens for a Better San Diego County took $18,300 in contributions, including $8300 from Atlas Hotels and $5000 from Thomas Sudberry. (Sudberry is currently petitioning the City of San Diego to build Quarry Falls, a massive condominium development in Mission Valley.) Citizens for a Better San Diego County, whose treasurer is Seventh District candidate for San Diego City Council April Boling, then made payments to five groups for “slate mailers to support SD Co Republican Central Committee candidates.” Family, Faith and Freedom Association and California Taxpayer Protection Voter Guide each received $2500. Citizens for Good Government received $2100, California Voter Guide, $2875, and Official Non-Partisan Voter Guide, $3000.

I’ll give the Democratic Central Committee this; It may be a chaotic and entertaining free for all but at least contrary opinions are expressed.

I guess freedom of dissent is not the Republican way, but buying a Central Committee is.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Democrats endorse Aguirre

My understanding was that the vote for the endorsement had one nay and all the rest aye.

From today's UT:

SAN DIEGO – Incumbent City Attorney Michael Aguirre won the overwhelming endorsement of the county Democratic Party last night and said afterward that he was eager to ramp up his re-election campaign.

“We'll soon be announcing our campaign consultants and our campaign manager and I'll be going door-to-door,” Aguirre said. “We're also setting up 50 coffees throughout the city, and we'll be carrying out a very vigorous campaign.”

Aguirre, a Democrat, faces San Diego Superior Court Judge Jan Goldsmith, a Republican, in the Nov. 4 election. While the race is ostensibly nonpartisan, party support can be helpful to candidates through mailers to party members and other assistance.

Aguirre finished second to Goldsmith on June 3 in a five-person race that included two other Democrats, including City Council President Scott Peters. The county Democratic Party did not endorse anyone in that race because it did not reach a consensus about which of the candidates was most electable, said party chairman Jess Durfee.

In November, however, “we're supporting Aguirre 100 percent,” he said.

Aguirre has been a polarizing figure at City Hall as he has frequently clashed with Mayor Jerry Sanders and the City Council on issues of the deficit-plagued employee pension fund and the role of the city attorney.

All the while, Aguirre has declared himself the city attorney for the people of San Diego – a posture that resonated with some in attendance at last night's meeting at the State of California Building downtown.

“I don't know of anybody who has stuck his neck out as much as Michael Aguirre,” said Mary Christian-Heising, a longtime Democrat. “Let's get behind the Democrat who has stood for us.”

How much the party will spend on campaign materials has not been decided.

“We haven't developed our plans for candidate support at this point for the fall campaign,” Durfee said. “We'll assess that as we look at our resources.”

Aguirre may need all the help he can get. He was elected in 2004 by a slim margin – 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent – over Leslie Devaney.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Help Strengthen Living Wage Enforcement in San Diego

The Center on Policy Initiatives has been on the forefront of pushing legislation that benefit all San Diegans. They were the principle movers on the Living Wage Ordinance that passed in 2005 and now are pushing for a strengthening of the Ordinance to include strict penalties for non-compliance and an enforcement provision that will safeguard compliance would prevent stuff like this and would ensure that the contractors aren't skimming off the fat of taxpayer dollars and stealing from the City. Please help CPI by contacting the City Council in urging them to support this effort. Click here to find out more! It's time to put some real teeth on this policy that is helping San Diegans out of poverty.

Bonnie D wants 3rd Term

So Bonnie Dumanis has decided not to run for Attorney General and instead focus on reelection in 2010. I guess partisan witch hunts don't play well outside of San Diego County. Also I guess vowing not to turn the D.A.'s office into a political office and then backtracking and endorsing in almost every race, thereby turning it into more of a political operation then one of the public trust doesn't play either. So know the question becomes will she waltz in the office like she did in 2006 or will someone challenge her in 2010?
Any ideas on who?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

San Diegans Asked to Boycott Coca-Cola Products Starting this Fourth of July Weekend

As Fourth of July fireworks, barbeques and pool parties heat up, employees of San Diego County’s two Coca-Cola bottling facilities have asked San Diegans to forego Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Sprite and other Coca-Cola beverages because of the company’s anti-union conduct.

Earlier this week, more than 600 drivers and warehouse employees at Coca-Cola Enterprises’ San Diego and Oceanside bottling plants went on strike to protest the company’s unfair practices. Last year, employees at the Oceanside facility voted to become members of Teamsters Local 683, yet the company has been unwilling to negotiate a contract that is comparable to those in other parts of Southern California.

“Coca Cola Enterprises wants to treat its Oceanside workers as second-class citizens,” Teamsters Local 683 Secretary-Treasurer Shannon R. Silva said. “They want to drag down the standard of living for Oceanside workers. These workers deserve parity with other Coke employees in Orange, San Diego and Los Angeles County.”

The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council is asking that its 120,000 members and all other San Diegans observe this boycott until Coca-Cola agrees to settle a contract that will provide equality for their employees in Oceanside.

“Unfortunately Coca-Cola has gone from asking San Diegans to ‘Have a Coke and a smile,’ to ‘Have a Coke, less rights, lower pay and fewer benefits,’” Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez said. “We will not stand by and watch as Coke tries to destroy quality middle-class jobs in our community.”

Coca-Cola products include: Coca-Cola, Diet Coke, Fanta, Dr. Pepper, Fresca, Sprite, Minute Maid, Dasani Water, Squirt, Rockstar and Canada Dry, among others.