Friday, January 11, 2008

End of The Week Notes...

With the buzz surrounding the presidential races this week following the New Hampshire primary, it is hard to forget that there are plenty of local races that will be decided in June.

In the San Diego City Council District 3 race, Steve Whitburn pickup the endorsement from Congressman Bob Filner. Both of San Diego's Democrats in Congress have now weighed in on the District 3 race. It is interesting that both Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña and State Senator Christine Kehoe have yet to endorse in this race.

Also this week, I heard that Auday Arabo easily won the endorsement of the Chicano Democratic Association. In the coming weeks both the San Diego County Young Democrats and the Eastlake-Bonita Democratic Club will be having endorsements in the 78th Assembly race. It will be interesting to see where their endorsements go.

Friday - Quick Hits

Mayor lays out an ambitious agenda for city in his state of the city address. UT

State Utilities Commission approves security plan for NCTD Sprinter rail service. UT

Valley Center-Pauma Unified School District to weigh closing the last one-room schoolhouse in the county. UT

Robert J. Watkins was re-elected as president of the San Diego County Board of Education. UT

Potero Planning Board delayed vote on Blackwater. UT

City Council in Encinitas approves a 10% raise for council to take effect in December. UT

Tri-city Hospital Board approves master board. NC Times

Typical conservatives condemning proposed firefighting fee as a new tax. NC Times

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Pick Your President: Online Progressive Poll

Full Disclosure: I work for the Courage Campaign

There have been five votes so far in the presidential nomination process. And five winners: Obama and Huckabee in Iowa, Romney in Wyoming, Clinton and McCain in New Hampshire. Projections and pollsters have been put to shame by people actually thinking independently. And Californians are starting to receive absentee ballots already for the February 5 primary. So in the midst of this mixed up jumble of a race where almost anything could still happen, Courage Campaign has partnered with organizations throughout the country in an informal poll of presidential preference.

Anyone can vote and there are state-specific breakouts for California, Colorado, Michigan, Ohio, Washington, Wisconsin. Both Democratic and Republican polls are being taken, though so far turnout has been heavier on the Democratic side just as in Iowa and New Hampshire.

Vote now for your candidate here.

Regardless of what candidate you might support, one thing is for sure. With the concentration of the primary schedule, no campaign will get as many voter contacts as it would like. Which means that when you vote in a poll like this, you push your candidate out there. When you tell your friends and family to take part, you get a convenient excuse to remind them how important this election is and how much you like your candidate. And if you help lead your preferred candidate to victory, you get one more thing to crow about. And just like that, that's two voter contacts for every person on your radar.

And while it helps your candidate, it goes even further to reallocate the power in politics squarely with the grassroots. In the shorter term though, the margin so far is short, so you can definitely make a difference. Click here or follow the graphic to speak it loud.

Here is the current California order:

1. Sen. John Edwards
2. Sen. Barack Obama
3. Rep. Dennis Kucinich
4. Sen. Hillary Clinton
5. Gov. Bill Richardson
6. Sen. Mike Gravel

And here is the national order:

1. Sen. Barack Obama
2. Sen. John Edwards
3. Rep. Dennis Kucinich
4. Sen. Hillary Clinton
5. Gov. Bill Richardson
6. Sen. Mike Gravel

Thursday - Quick Hits

The pro-toll road Foothill/Eastern Transportation Corridor Agency, fired back a response to the California Coastal Commission Report regarding the environmental impact of the proposed project. NC Times

Federal Prosecutors in City Pension case seek removal of presiding judge over violations of the Political Reform Act over 10 years ago. UT

California Regional Water Quality Board has requested NCTD to present plan to show how it will deal with pollution runoff pertaining to Sprinter rail line. UT

Chargers want Chula Vista consent before they move forward with a team-funded study on how the new stadium will be paid for. UT

Santee expected to see huge changes in Fanita Ranch development takes place. UT

Ordinance to restrict mini-dorms advances for City Council. UT

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

More Aguirre Follies

Last night before the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee meeting, city firefighters and other city employees held a thank you demonstration for the members of the central committee who back in November voted to deny City Attorney Mike Aguirre an early incumbent endorsement. The demonstrators held signs along city streets and in front of the State building where the committee meets.[Link]

According to my source who sent me the above photo, during the central committee meeting both Lee Burdick and Dan Coffey, who are declared candidates for city attorney, took strong anti-Aguirre positions when speaking to central committee members. I'm told the response from the members was respective, but not overwhelming.

In other news from last night's meeting, both Marti Emerald and Sherri Lightner received early party endorsements for district-7 and district-1 city council races.

Nick Leibham and Wrong Way Bilbray

Photos by Chris Rothwell -

So last night I made my way up to Encinitas in the heart of CA-50 for the official launch of Nick Leibham's congressional campaign. The event managed to fill the Bullpen Bar and Grill, and my best guess after huddling with several guests was that the number was at least 300. One way or another, the group was bumping up against max capacity. Among the assembled throng was CA-52 candidate Mike Lumpkin, San Diego City Council candidate Stephen Whitburn, San Diego Drinking Liberally chief Jesse Rubin, and Calitics' CarlsbadDem. And of course, Francine Busby to introduce Nick Leibham.

Against the backdrop of New Hampshire primary results running across screens throughout the bar, Leibham talked about the failures both big and small of Brian Bilbray's political career. He pledged to actually live in the district, not in Imperial Beach, or in Virginia, or with his mother. More seriously and most importantly though, he pledged to really represent the district. Something that, as far as I and everyone else in the building are concerned, has been sorely lacking for a number of years.

He whipped up the crowd, hitting on many of the core issues that Democrats will rally around this year: He blasted Bilbray for supporting Bush's plan in Iraq, for supporting Bush's destruction of the Constitution, for refusing to fund children's health care through SCHIP. He talked about the fundamental failure of the Republican party and the myriad ways in which Brian Bilbray has been complicit in that failure. Most of all, he helped explain how those Republican failures hurt the 50th district. And he led the crowd in chants of "Wrong Way Bilbray!" as he listed off just some of the seemingly countless ways Rep. Bilbray has failed to serve this district.

For me, the most exciting part of the evening was the size, diversity, and depth of the crowd. I spoke with activists from all over the district and throughout San Diego. We talked about Blackwater's invasion of Potrero and other San Diego issues, but most of all, we talked about how desperate people are to get a government that better reflects their values. And for so many of them, it starts in the 50th. After watching the record Democratic turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire, the energy to seize on this election seems to be everywhere.

It is, of course, a tough district. Francine Busby ran a spirited campaign last year with support from the DCCC and still ultimately came up short. But as the Republican party has continued to fight against good policy at every turn and Brian Bilbray has revealed himself to be an extremist even within his own party, dynamics change. These crowds and this energy really paints an encouraging picture as one more front is opened in the battle to reclaim this country. Nick Leibham is the rallying point in the 50th, and it sure looks like he's positioned to be the beneficiary of an incredible amount of support. We're in for a real race.

Crossposted from Calitics

Wednesday - Quick Hits

Greg Cox voted chairman of the County Board of Supervisors. UT

Port Commission votes to approve Lane Field projects as waterfront continues to be overdeveloped. UT

Continuation of the nanny state, city of El Cajon to consider making it harder for minors to purchase tobacco paraphernalia. UT

Viejas tribe partners with major concert promoter to delevop amjor concert venue. UT

Business in Oceanside along Sprinter Rail line blame it for flooding. UT

City of San Marcos creates University Village task force. NC Times

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Tuesday - Quick Hits

Potero Planning Board to reconsider previous board's approval of Blackwater camp. UT

Developers of two hotels on Lane Field property seek coastal permit from Port Commission today. UT

Chula Vista city council to decide on rezoning church property so developer can build subdivisions. UT

Kiplinger's rated UCSD 11th on a national list of 100 best values in public education. UT

Start of North County Sprinter service to be delayed. UT

Attempt by San Diego tribe to build off reservation casino has major setback. UT

Monday, January 7, 2008

San Diego's Observance of Int'l Day of Action to Shut Down Guantánamo

Join San Diego's Observance of Int'l Day of Action to Shut Down Guantánamo

Friday, January 11th NOON - 1pm
In front of the San Diego Federal Bldg and Courthouse
880 Front Street (near Broadway)

This will be a simple vigil in solidarity with organizations and individuals across the world to observe the "International Day of Action to Shut Down Guantanamo" -- spearheaded by Witness Against Torture, Amnesty International and National Religious Campaign Against Torture with a permitted demonstration on the National Mall in Washington DC.

In San Diego, we will echo the plan in DC with a simple vigil around a core of "prisoners" dressed in orange jumpsuits and black hoods (and maybe blacked-out goggles and earphones, ala Jose Padilla). We will have signs emphasizing the Shut Down Guantanamo theme, including No on Torture and Yes to Habeas Corpus/Rule of Law. At a minimum , we will stretch along the Front Street public sidewalk in front of the Federal Building and Courthouse (near Broadway).

We're doing this during the Noon lunch hour for maximum visibility to pedestrians and passersby downtown.

The Chickens are Coming Home to Roost

Via Brave New Films:

For year conservatives have played up the "angry white man." Constantly drumming up meaningless issues into a mob frenzy. I find it funny that some of the mob has turned on their conservative brethren.

Here is the video of some angry Ron Paul supporters chasing down Sean Hannity chanting "Fox News Sucks"! See what happens when the mob turns on you.

Evan McLaughlin Named Political Director of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council

The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council has hired award-winning political reporter Evan McLaughlin as its new political director.

McLaughlin, who covered San Diego City Hall and local politics for since 2005, fills the position vacated by Lorena Gonzalez. Gonzalez was unanimously named secretary-treasurer of the Labor Council last month.

“I’m excited for this opportunity,” said McLaughlin. “For the last three years I was fortunate enough to learn about the region’s government. This position is a natural extension of that work.”

Several media groups, including the San Diego Press Club and the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, have recognized McLaughlin for his political reporting.

McLaughlin’s hiring is the only notable change in the Labor Council under the leadership of Gonzalez.

“We had a lot of great candidates interested in the position,” said Gonzalez. “It was a tough decision for our executive board’s hiring committee, but Evan’s experience made him the clear choice.”

A graduate of UCSD, McLaughlin interned for Rep. Pete Stark (D – Calif.) and Stephens Media Group’s Washington bureau.

The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council is a coalition of 119 local unions that represent 120,000 working families in the region. The Labor Council strives to ensure that all workers in the region earn a fair wage and health care for their families.

Duncan Wanders onto MSNBC Show

Via TPM: This morning Duncan Hunter walked onto the MSNBC show Morning Joe to plug the fact that he had won one delegate Saturday in the Wyoming Caucus. Classy move Duncan!

Monday - Quick Hits

When a fishwrap actually turns into a fishwrap, UT newsroom down 10%. VOSD

New City Hall project down to two out-of-town developers. UT

Students want to ride their bikes on SDSU campus again. UT

Budget shortfall in Chula Vista forces city to delay construction of two parks. UT

Board of Education to consider placing on the ballot two measures that would require both Sweetwater Unified and Chula Vista Elementary schools districts to have geographic boundaries for trustees. UT

Suspects in Tijuana kidnapping of businessman, turns out to be agents for Mexico's Federal Investigation Agency. UT

State High Court reaffirms, lower court decision regarding free speech at malls. UT

Sunday, January 6, 2008

An Open Letter to the Community of Chula Vista

Via La Prensa San Diego:

An Open Letter to the Community of Chula Vista

An elected City Attorney for Chula Vista . . .

“To be, or not to be: that is the question.” This often cited quotation from William Shakespeare’s Hamlet is fitting here. Soon the Chula Vista City Council will have another opportunity to grant the residents of Chula Vista the right to vote on a ballot initiative that seeks to change the city attorney to an elected post.

In less than one year, concerned citizens have twice collected over 20,000 signatures to place this initiative on the ballot. The initial signatures were disqualified when a San Francisco attorney threatened litigation due to a technicality involving the
publication of the notice of intent to circulate the petition. The City’s actions only furthered the resolve of community residents to have an elected City Attorney in office and we quickly went back to the streets and collected 20,000 more signatures to place the initiative on the 2008 ballot.

We strongly believe that Chula Vista has outgrown its current form of government. Our city is no longer a small suburb of San Diego as it was 30 years ago when I moved there with my husband and young family. It is now one of the fastest growing cities in the country that deserves an evolved form of city government. Chula Vista needs an attorney who will represent and be responsible to the people and act in the best interests of the public, not solely in the interest of the Mayor and City Council.

Although it is important to ensure that someone in City Hall is looking over our City Council and City staff, we also want to make certain that the checks and balances are in place to oversee an elected City Attorney as well. The initiative rightfully specifies that the City Council has to approve all lawsuits filed on behalf of the city by the City Attorney.

Chula Vistans deserve the opportunity to decide whether or not we want a City Attorney that is responsible and accountable to city residents, not merely to the Mayor, City Council and other City officials. The Mayor and Council will soon decide whether or not to put this important issue on the ballot. We urge you to contact them and tell them to Let Chula Vista Vote . . . “Ay, there’s the rub.”

Norma A. Cazares Chula Vistans for an Elected City Attorney

Political Journalist Richard Reeves to Speak at City Club

The City Club & The San Diego Public Library Proudly Present:

A Great American Writers Series Program Featuring:

Richard Reeves – One of America’s Greatest Journalists

Speaking on: A Force of Nature: The Frontier Genius of Ernest Rutherford

Thursday, January 17, 2008, 7:30 PM

Point Loma Library

3701 Voltaire Street [Map]

Phone Reservations: 619-687-3580

This is a Free Public Event – But Reservations Required

California's Turn

Tomorrow, Registrar of Voters throughout the state will be mailing out over 4 million absentee ballots for the upcoming February 5th election. "The use of mail-in ballots has grown rapidly in California in recent years, and analysts predict it could hit a record in 2008."[Link]

For the presidential primary in 2004, votes from absentee ballot made of 34.31% of the total votes cast. In 2006 primary that number increased to 46.90% of the total numbers of votes. With campaigns focusing more on absentee voters than ever before, I wouldn't be surprise if absentee votes make up over 50% of the total in February election.