Friday, March 14, 2008

School District Budget Slashing A Harbinger For Future Of Public Services

Since the Office of the Governor began spouting off bleak projections of California's state budget shortfall, currently estimated at $16 billion, trustees who preside over regional school boards in San Diego County have scrambled to deal with their consequential district deficits.

The analysis and subsequent action that each school board has chosen to take have been unique and telling of their commitment to the lives of workers and the students they serve. Members and staff of SEIU Local 221 have aggressively lobbied the trustees of each school board within our jurisdiction, including Fallbrook Union High School District (FUHSD), Grossmont Union High School District (GUHSD), Poway Unified School District (PUSD), and the San Diego Community College District (SDCCD).

While the school boards governing FUHSD, SDCCD, and PUSD have employed a collaborative and transparent process in approaching their budget shortfalls, others have been less demonstrative of their commitment to equalize these imminent budget cuts. For example, the FUHSD voted unanimously to forego their stipend and health benefit expenses during the next few lean years in an effort to soften the brunt of cuts to classified and certificated employees. The SDCCD and PUSD have consistently engaged in good-faith discourse with our members, choosing to address their financial woes humanely and responsibly.

As examples of rational, non-political, and compassionate school boards continue to make headlines with their creative proposals about how to humanely address the largest cut to public education in California's history, it is our hope that our Board of Supervisors will emulate the exemplary governing bodies above when dealing with the County's budget shortfall.

Gore Vidal to Attend Peace Rally and March

Legendary essayist and author Gore Vidal will be in San Diego tomorrow to attend Peace rally marking the 5th anniversary of the disaster was in Iraq. Theme of the rally "Costs of The War" which has now surpassed a half a trillion dollars and nearly 4000 American servicemembers deaths.

The event is being sponsored by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice. The first rally is scheduled for noon at Fairmount and University avenues in City Heights. [Map] At 1 p.m., protesters will march to Teralta Park, 40th Street at Orange Avenue [Map], where the second rally will go from 2 to 3:30 p.m.

Friday - Quick Hits

Crime and wildfires top concerns for city voters. UT

Registrar of Voters overcharged some cities and districts by almost $500,000 during the 2006 election cycle. UT

Housing crisis continues, San Diego County home prices are off by 20% from peak in 2005. UT

Oceanside still desperately trying to shake its image as a military town, is planning $1 billion worth of downtown projects. UT NCTimes

Tribal leaders discuss impact of planned casino hotel in Valley Center. UT

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thursday - Quick Hits

State Senator Ducheny has gone off the rials by proposing a bill that would strip the Coastal Commission of its ability to self-initiate appeals. NCTimes

City finances are getting a hard look by candidate. But is it a serious look. UT

Community of Potero trying to move past the Blackwater saga. UT

Another candidate jumps into the Acle held school board seat race. UT

D.A. will not investigate Art Madrid incident. UT

Residents taking the initiative to have their older neighborhoods designated historical districts to prevent misguided infill development. UT

Increase in home foreclosures are having a serious impact on housing market. UT

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Healthcare Workers Respond

In a previous post regarding Sal Roselli as a hypocrite here is a response from healthcare workers to that post :

The response from SEIU-UHW, posted on their website [Link] shows there is a real debate.[Link]

In particular, long term care members of UHW's Executive Board responded that Tyrone Freeman of 6434 has "repeatedly refused to participate in developing a coordinated bargaining plan for the dozens of facilities operated by national and regional chains where both UHW and your local represent nursing home workers." [Link]

UHW's Convalescent Division Director John Vellardita's response to Freeman claims ongoing efforts and calls to coordinate bargaining with 6434. [Link]

These are real healthcare workers in a real debate.

There will be future posts regrading this debate as it continues.

Democrats Have Their Say Last Night

Last night's Democratic Party Central Committee turned out to be the contentious meeting that many were expecting. The big item on the agenda of course was the endorsement for city attorney. As reported elsewhere, incumbent City Attorney Mike Aguirre failed to receive the endorsement from the party last night. Besides Mike Aguirre, both Scott Peters and Amy Lepine were in attendance to seek the party's endorsement too. The process quickly boiled down to the Aguirre v. Peters match that everyone had expected it to be.

During the candidate discussion period Aguirre continued to play the role of martyr. That he was the victim of backroom deals being orchestrated between corrupt politicians, labor bosses and the downtown establishment. For many of the central committee members, Aguirre's manichean view of city politics played to their sympathies. Agurrie also took several jabs at Peters, arguing that he was responsible for the financial mess in the city.

Scott Peters, on the other hand touted his Democratic bona fides that fell on a deaf ear for many of members in the audience. Peters additionally argued that unlike Aguirre, he has demonstrated an ability to work with others council in his role as president of the city council. It was painfully obvious that the central committee was divided Aguirre and Peters with Aguirre having more supporters there that Peters. After two votes Aguirre fell 1% short of the 60% required for the party endorsement.

Aguirre has now twice failed in the last 6 months to capture the party endorsement. It appears that he wasn't able to enlarge his majority on the central committee enough for him to break the 60% threshold. If he ends up making the runoff for the November election, he can once again go before the central committee in July to try to get the "hat trick" in no endorsement from the party.

Correction: In a post the other day I made mention that the Democratic Party in 2004 had endorsed Kathryn Burton over Scott Peters in 2004. The information I received was wrong from a central committee member was incorrect. Scott Peters and Kathryn Burton were co-endorsed by the party.

Wednesday - Quick Hits

Just as long as it is not a Wal-Mart. Developer proposes a 5-story vertical big box development on the edge of downtown. UT

Metropolitan Water District voted to raise water rates by 14.3 percent. UT

County had no voice in the regional meeting during the wildfires to allocation of resources. UT

City attorney candidates lock horns at debate. UT VOSD

Valley Center planning group has say on proposed casino hotel, now public will have their say. UT

City of Vista rolls over and approves expansion of Wal-Mart into a Supercenter. UT NCTimes

Union workers rally in Riverside County administration complex for temp workers to be allowed to organize. UT

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tuesday - Quick Hits

City Council approves updated blueprint for future growth, but tells poor people there is no place for you here in San Diego. UT

City to appoint "relocation experts" in order to properly compensate De Anza Cove residents. UT

Poll says that Aguirre would lead all candidates in June primary, but would lose in general elections. UT

Cal State San Marcos students and staff unite to fight budget cuts. UT

Growth management initiative petition turned in San Marcos for June ballot. UT NCTimes

Monday, March 10, 2008

Preview: Aguirre vs. Peters

Tuesday evening the Democratic Central Committee will be meeting to discuss endorsements for the upcoming races in June. The big item on the agenda will be the endorsement in the San Diego City Attorney's race. Last November incumbent City Attorney Mike Aguirre came up two votes short of the 60% threshold in order to receive the early incumbent endorsement. Since then council president Scott Peters has joined the race for city attorney and will also be seeking the party endorsement. It should also be noted that when Scott Peters ran for re-election back in 2004, he didn't win the early incumbent then, instead is went to Kathryn Burton. If the November central committee meeting was any indication, Tuesday night's meeting stands to be quite contentious.

DeMaio Musings

I spend a lot of time in District 5, and recently discussed the topic of Carl DeMaio with friends and family in the Carmel Mountain Ranch/Rancho Bernardo area.

The discussion is often pretty short, with friends being able to tell me he’s going to fix San Diego’s finances followed by silence. No one can answer how DeMaio, as just one of eight votes on the City Council, is going to be able to do this. No one can tell me his plan for solving all our problems. Just that DeMaio can fix everything, as if he were magic.

The fact is that to this point DeMaio has been somewhat of a one-trick pony insisting that the solution to solving all of San Diego’s fiscal problems is by selling-off city services one-by-one. Good luck telling parents in D5 that their children can’t visit their branch library because it closed early or their child’s Little League games at Community Park or Highland Ranch Park are canceled due to poor conditions, all because the contractor has profits as higher priority than service.

Having grown up in the heart of District 5, living there until I was 25, I know there will be questions about what are DeMaio’s plans after he “fixes” city finances. This is where I think he will struggle due to the area’s ultra-conservative values.

I remember debates in my high school civics class where the majority of the class would argue, passionately, that the widow of a fallen soldier should not receive any government assistance since she was “foolish” to marry and have children if she couldn’t have been able to afford life without her husband. My senior year a fellow progressive-minded student and I searched for a teacher who would brave the stigma from ultra-conservative parents and sponsor a campus Future Democrats Club (we found a closeted gay teacher, but with just two members in a school with 2,800 students we couldn’t sustain a full club).

So I can’t help but think that, as sad as it may be in this day and age, DeMaio’s sexual orientation will be a factor in this election.

This is still an area of the city where there was more outrage that a student was asked to remove a t-shirt referring to a Bible verse than that said t-shirt was hateful towards fellow classmates.

This is the same area where a local country club recently settled an anti-discrimination lawsuit with a lesbian couple.

This is the same area where the fear of high school girls wearing the wrong type of underwear resulted in a disgraceful school dance.

It’s unfortunate, but I have to think at some point DeMaio is going to run into problems from those spouting traditional family values.

Monday - Quick Hits

Maybe his heart just isn't in it. School Board trustee Luis Acle fails to qualify for the ballot. UT

For the next four weeks San Diego and Tijuana will be an hour apart. UT

Future of Balboa Park was the subject of forum held on Saturday. UT

After years of planning, and a half a billion dollars, North County finally has its rail service. UT NCTimes

They should try recycling the water. Escondido has a disposal program for its much waste water. UT

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Thoughts on the 3rd SD City Council Race

It’s a solid Dem district with three good Democrats running. Here’s where I see things:

Todd Gloria
This guy may only be 29 but he’s running a campaign like a pro. From the signs blanketing University just after the Pride parade last year to racking up endorsements from the P.O.A., the League of Conservation Voters, and Francine Busby, this guy’s got it going on. From the beginning, I was impressed with his campaign and the tightness of his team. This shows an executive ability to put together a staff and manage operations.

But I don’t think he can clear this in June because of…

John Hartley
Say what you will about him, his shoe-leather campaign will pay dividends. San Diegans dig a bit of old school in their politics and John has the time and energy to walk the district. This bodes well for him making the run-off. Hell, he can win without Remer even though, like a lamprey, Larry is present.

Gloria has a more professional operation but Hartley has name recognition and recognizes that, for all its bluster, this is not a “gay” seat. Just look at the numbers. Any strategy based only on the community may get you in the run-off but won’t deliver the election, at least the first time.

Which brings me to….

Stephen Whitburn
An upstanding young man with the San Diego Democratic Club and some of their more active members behind him. Were the community unified, either he or Gloria could have a shot at taking this in the first round. As is, he’s got a lot of ground to cover having been out-hustled by Gloria early on. With Hartley pounding the pavement, Whitburn is caught between toe skilled operators plying their skill which leaves him, IMHO, the third man in this race.

I know labor is split, as is the gay community, on this race. I don’t know who will win, but, so far, things haven’t gotten bloody and this bodes well. Any of these three would be necessary for progress on the City Council. I just hope things don’t get too ugly before it is all over.