Thursday, April 3, 2008

Journey for Better Jobs

Darrell Issa has a Better Idea

Hammering on this a lot, but it just keeps getting more ridiculous

So Darrell Issa finds it inappropriate for the federal government to be funding medical care for sick 9/11 rescue workers. Says Rep. Issa, "I have to ask ... why the firefighters who went there and everybody in the city of New York needs to come to the federal government for the dollars versus this being primarily a state consideration."

So as to prove that he's not just running off incoherently about hating rescue workers, Issa wants you to know he's proud of his alternative plans for spending federal funds. To that end, he's triumphantly sent around a press release listing all of his new earmarks (word doc, h/t Chris Reed). So what, you're probably wondering, has Representative Issa chosen to crow about that exemplifies the "local money for local issues, federal money for screw you" spending mantra? Here's the quick list:

San Diego Regional Interoperable Computer Aided Dispatch Project -$6 million
San Diego Regional Communications System (RCS) Upgrade -$3.5 million
Gang Prevention Program (City of Oceanside) -$500K
Lake Elsinore Emergency Operations Center -$250K
Murrieta Creek Flood Control Project -$13 million
San Luis Rey Flood Control Project -$7.2 million
Perris II Desalter (Perris, CA) -$2 million
Non-Potable Distribution Facilities and Demineralization/Desalination Recycled Water Treatment and Reclamation Facility Project (Riverside County) -$2 million
Santa Margarita Conjunctive Use Project (Camp Pendleton) -$1 million
San Jacinto & Upper Santa Margarita Watersheds Project -$355K
San Diego County Fire Safety and Fuels Reduction Program -$45 million
Corpsmen/Medics Civilian Nursing Training Program (Oceanside) -$1.6 million
Vista Community Clinic -$1 million
North County Health Project Oceanside Clinic Expansion (Oceanside) -$1 million
Railroad Canyon I-15 interchange project -$8 million
State Route 76 (widen and realign) -$5 million
San Luis Rey Transit Center (Oceanside) -$3.1 million
West Vista Way (City of Vista, widen) -$2 million
French Valley Airport (Temecula) -$1 million
Renovation and expansion of Fallbrook Boys and Girls Club -$500K

Some pretty nice projects in there. But it begs the question: Ahem, why do all these people need "to come to the federal government for the dollars versus this being primarily a state [or local] consideration?" Rep. Issa? Bueller? Bueller?

Lemme just venture one guess. Rescue workers in New York don't vote in Temecula or Oceanside do they? Oh yeah. So only when Issa is trying to hook it up for his own self should federal money be spent on state and local projects. Not only cruel and hateful, but selfish and duplicitous too. He's building himself quite a nice collection of adjectives. Full of crap isn't technically an adjective, but it also applies.

Robert Hamilton is challenging Darrell Issa this year.

Cross posted at Calitics

Darrell Issa Keeps Digging, Still Hates 9/11 Rescue Workers

Yesterday I noted with considerable disdain that Darrell Issa doesn't give a crap about 9/11 victims and is, not surprisingly, an ass. Turns out that Issa's heartless BS isn't finding much of an audience elsewhere either, as people from coast to coast line up to tear him a new one:

"That is a pretty distorted view of things," said Frank Fraone, a Menlo Park, Calif., fire chief who led a 67-man crew at Ground Zero. "Whether they're a couple of planes or a couple of missiles, they still did the same damage."

"New York was attacked by Al Qaeda. It doesn't have to be attacked by Congress," added Long Island Rep. Pete King, a Republican.

"I'm really surprised by Darrell Issa," King added. "It showed such a cavalier dismissal of what happened to New York. It's wrong and inexcusable."

Lorie Van Aucken, who lost her husband, Kenneth, in the attacks, slammed Issa's "cruel and heartless" comments.

"It's really discouraging. People stepped up and did the right thing. They sacrificed themselves and now a lot of people are getting really horrible illnesses," she added.

New York Democratic Reps. Jerry Nadler and Anthony Weiner and GOP Rep. Vito Fossella also added some heated criticisms of Issa. Issa, however, remains mostly unrepentant:

"I continue to support federal assistance for the victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks," he said.

But he didn't retract his wacked-out rhetoric claiming the feds "just threw" buckets of cash at New York for an attack "that had no dirty bomb in it, it had no chemical munitions in it."

He went on: "I have to ask ... why the firefighters who went there and everybody in the city of New York needs to come to the federal government for the dollars versus this being primarily a state consideration."

In his statement yesterday, Issa insisted he only "asked tough questions about the expenditures" during a hearing Tuesday on an aid bill for sick New Yorkers.

And if that wasn't enough, contrast this with another recent dumbass maneuver by Issa in which he DID scurry to apologize for his missteps. Back in February during hearings into a million missing White House emails, Darrell Issa enthusiastically did his water carrying for the Bush administration, declaring it entirely reasonable that converting from Lotus Notes to Outlook would cause such a loss of information. He went so far as to compare Lotus Notes to wooden wagon wheels and Betamax. But once big business got agitated about it, Issa fell all over himself and even officially correcting the Congressional record. But 9/11 rescue workers? Apparently not on the same level as keeping Lotus happy. I mean after all, according to Issa, 9/11 "simply was an aircraft" hitting the World Trade Center and causing "a fire."

I don't know what world Darrell Issa is living in, but he certainly doesn't have much company.

Robert Hamilton is challenging Darrell Issa this year.

Cross posted at Calitics

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Labor Council Membership Endorses City of San Diego Propositions A, B and C

The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council announced its endorsement of Propositions A, B and C, which would amend the San Diego City Charter to ensure greater independence of the City’s auditing process, forbid the City from outsourcing the jobs of Firefighters, Lifeguards and Police Officers, and provide voters with the opportunity to vote in 2010 on whether to continue the Strong Mayor Form of Government in a responsible and balanced manner.

Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez noted that a coalition has formed to support the checks and balances the Labor Council championed very early in the charter review process, such as (1) increased independence for the City Auditor, (2) a fair mayoral veto, and (3) patience to see the trial Strong Mayor government play out before judging it.

“Although we disagreed during last year’s Charter Review, I am excited that San Diegans from all sides of the discussion can come together to rally around a package of reforms that we have said all along will keep City Hall accountable to working families and their neighborhoods,” Gonzalez said.

Propositions A, B and C were placed onto the ballot by the San Diego City Council after a contentious charter review process. Despite heavy pressure by a few in the community who wanted to concentrate more power in the hands of the Mayor, the City Council proposed a very balanced set of charter amendments that will improve the charter changes voters made in 2004 and 2006.

The Labor Council also endorsed George George (San Diego City Council, District 5), John Lee Evans (San Diego Unified School Board, Seat A) and Steve Castaneda (Chula Vista City Council, Seat 4). Additionally, the Labor Council recommended to the California Labor Federation the endorsements of Robert Hamilton (49th Congressional District) and Mike Lumpkin (52nd Congressional District).

George won the Labor Council’s endorsement after impressing union members with his on-the-job experience protecting San Diego’s homes. George served in the San Diego Fire Department for 31 years and later became the Fire Chief of Solana Beach.

“In a region that is woefully underfunded when it comes to fire protection and public safety, San Diego’s neighborhoods will really benefit by having an experienced first responder like George fighting to do what’s right on the City Council,” Gonzalez said. “Voters know the difference between real-life experience in the field and empty buzzwords when it comes to keeping neighborhoods safe.”

Bilbray Prefers Fence over Environment, District, Effective Reform

Does anybody remember when Brian Bilbray sold himself as a moderate? I know it seems like a lifetime ago (or maybe some sort of absurd dream), but it was just 1995 that he first went to Congress. And I've heard the stories from reasonable people with clear eyes about how once he was (relatively) a champion of the environment, particularly clean beaches and water. He was (and perhaps still is) a surfer and lifeguard after all. And yet, it's not at all surprising that he was doing rhetorical backflips in celebration yesterday when Homeland Security decided to waive 30 federal and state environmental laws in order to more quickly build 670 miles of border fence:

"It's great. This is the priority area where most of the illegal activity is going on and where most of the deaths are occurring," said Rep. Brian P. Bilbray (R-Solana Beach), chairman of the Immigration Reform Caucus. "The quicker we can get the physical fence up, the sooner we'll avoid situations like the deaths of agents. And it's still a national security issue. You just have to stop this kind of open traffic along the border."
DHS head Michael Chertoff opted to blatantly lie about the situation, claiming:

DHS is neither compromising its commitment to responsible environmental stewardship nor its commitment to solicit and respond to the needs of state, local and tribal governments
Right. Because not adhering to existing environmental law is the same as being commited to it. Much closer to the truth is:

Critics, however, said the waivers were intended to sidestep growing and unexpectedly fierce opposition -- especially in Arizona and in Texas, where concerns have been raised about endangered species and fragile ecosystems along the Rio Grande.
While the section of this project in East San Diego County hasn't met with much opposition (yet?), Brian Bilbray should know- if he's been paying any attention at all- that local opposition to the destruction of communities and habitats can be a real pain in the ass for right-wing ideologues. And as proponents of comprehensive (read: effective) immigration reform note, just building a fence really is a simple-minded approach to securing the border. Nevermind that impeding the cross-border flow hurts the local economy and the people that Bilbray purports to represent. This "wall or bust" outlook from Bilbray fits nicely with his America should create more uneducated poor people economic plan and his Protect the employer (as long as they contribute to the campaign) enforcement policy.

Yesterday the Defenders of Wildlife sent around an email asking people to call their representatives in Congress. If you're in the 50th, where Brian Bilbray thinks it's politically astute in 2008 to run to the right of President Bush, you may want to just skip straight to your Senators.

Cheryl Ede and Nick Leibham are Democrats running against Brian Bilbray this year.

Cross posted at Calitics

Darrell Issa: 9/11 Fallout is New York's Problem

I'm not sure if he's just a soulless ass or if he's also actively trying to undermine the entire foundation of post-9/11 conservativism, but Darrell Issa is doing his level best to spit on the rescue workers who got sick at Ground Zero in the aftermath of the twin towers attacks. He's flatly refused to vote for federal funding that would provide medical care to these victims of the attack because, in Issa's mind, it apparently was just a local thing, and not a major one at all:

"It simply was an aircraft, residue of two aircraft, and residue from the materials used to build this building," Issa said during a hearing into whether a new 9/11 victims' compensation fund should be launched.
Which is odd since, as Rep. Anthony Weiner notes, "The gentleman voted for [original 9/11 funding] because we had the national sense that this was not an attack on New York City, this was an attack on our country."

But hey, keep up the dispicably cruel hypocrisy Rep. Issa. Feel free to even bring some friends along. Because all it proves is that 9/11 to you is nothing more than a tool to intimidate people into sacrificing Constitutional rights and attempt to justify the $3 trillion Iraq boondoggle. That's when it's a national issue. That's when America is at stake. Only when it serves the political interests of Darrell Issa.

But when the heroes who sacrificed at Ground Zero need help? For Darrell Issa, that's not America's problem and it apparently sure isn't his problem. It's...well...somebody else's problem.

Robert Hamilton is challenging Darrell Issa this year.

Cross posted at Calitics

Wednesday - Quick Hits

SDG&E launches PR campaign on the benefits of the Sunrise Powerlink. UT NCTimes

Council votes comes up short on the private bond sale deal. UT

Two candidates for judicial seat spar in court over ballot language. UT

Chula Vista adopts green building rules. UT

Chula Vista city manager will present over $10 million in budget cuts to the city council on Thursday. VOSD

Riverside county supervisors agrees to labor deal with Sheriff's Association. UT

Oceanside begins construction on plant to treat creek water before it reaches beach. NCTimes

City of Vista considers sign ordinance. NCTimes

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tuesday - Quick Hits

Union members and their supporters march through downtown San Diego for higher wages and in honor of Ceasar Chavez. UT

Secretary of State Debra Bowen investigating allegations tha DMV changed voters registration. UT

City council to foolishly consider interest only/adjustable rate private bond sale. UT

Investment firm buys California Theater. UT

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell to give keynote address at June Biotech Convention. NCTimes

Monday, March 31, 2008

Followup on the 78th Race

I have received several e-mails today regarding the race in the 78th. Regarding endorsements, I'm told that the San Diego County Central Committee does not endorse in partisan races. Hence there will not be another opportunity for Marty Block to come up short on the required votes for a Democratic Party endorsement.

Speaking of endorsements, I have been told be several people that Speaker Karen Bass didn't endorse Auday Arabo. He does have the endorsement from former Speaker Fabian Nunez just not Bass' endorsement. There is a rumor going around that if Speaker Bass does choose to endorse in the race, she will endorse Arlie Ricasa. Stay tune for more....

Progressive Picks

Progressive San Diego tipped its hat to two Democratic candidates for San Diego Unified's school board, handing endorsements to Richard Barrera and John Lee Evans.

Barrera's endorsement isn't a big surprise: The labor organizer sits on Progressive San Diego's board, and is currently the sole qualifying candidate in the race to replace trustee Luis Acle.

Evans, a Democrat and a psychologist who works in Poway, is competing with incumbent Mitz Lee, a Republican.

According to PSD, Barrera and Evans were the only candidates in their respective races to answer the group's request to enter the endorsement process, which includes a questionnaire and an interview.

Progressive San Diego hasn't endorsed in the third school board race, for Sheila Jackson's seat, because the group has yet to meet with Jackson and her competitors, said Tommie Watson, the group's operations director. Watson explained that the group had prioritized more heavily contested races. (Prior to Acle's failure to qualify, the race for his seat look competitive, Watson said.)

~Emily Alpert
Voice of San Diego

Monday - Quick Hits

Students round SDSU are learning to tone down the noise the hard way. UT

Tribe want to increase their land, so they can build a casino near Mexicali. UT

Caveat emptor? North County couple is suing a realtor for purchasing a home just before the house bubble burst. UT

After years of delays, phone cable has started to burying phone line in Carmel Valley. UT

Climate change effecting the gray whales migration to Baja. VOSD

Several Hundred Union Members Honor Cesar Chavez Day by Marching for Better Working Conditions Across the Region

In honor of Cesar Chavez Day, several hundred union members will march through the streets of downtown San Diego to highlight the need to increase the number of quality jobs in the region.

The “Journey for Better Jobs” will stretch from the San Diego Convention Center to the County Administration Center, making six stops throughout downtown to demand that all workers receive fair wages, benefits and working conditions.

“Forty-two years ago Cesar Chavez marched from Delano to Sacramento to bring attention to the plight of farm workers,” said Labor Council Secretary-Treasurer Lorena Gonzalez. “Today the 120,000 working families of the region stand together and say, ‘We will not stand idly as we see injustice on the job.’”

Several faith leaders, community groups and elected officials will join the workers on along the route.

Elected officials speaking at the various rally points include San Diego City Councilmembers Scott Peters, Toni Atkins, Tony Young and Ben Hueso and State Assembly Members Lori Saldaña and Mary Salas.

The event will highlight the need for San Diego workers to receive livable wages, health care and respect at the workplace. As the housing market collapses, the economy struggles and the prices of basic goods continue to rise, the region’s middle class is finding it more difficult to survive making justice on the job an important issue 15 years after Chavez’s death.

The principles that caused San Diego’s labor community to organize the event are the same as those that guided Chavez, one of the most prominent labor leaders of the 20th Century.

“Cesar Chavez said, ‘We cannot seek achievement for ourselves and forget about progress and prosperity for our community,’” said Gonzalez. “We in the labor movement take that to heart, and will always stand beside our brothers and sisters who are in need of help. Some of us work for employers that realize the value of their workforce. We must stand up for those who aren’t as fortunate.”

Labor Council Unanimously Re-Elects Lorena Gonzalez as Secretary-Treasurer

The San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council’s delegates voted unanimously to re-elect Lorena Gonzalez to a four-year term as Secretary-Treasurer and CEO on last week.

The delegates, a representative body of members from all 119 local unions affiliated with the Labor Council, declared Gonzalez the winner of the regularly-scheduled election after no other candidates were nominated.

Gonzalez served as the Labor Council’s political director from September 2006 to the end of last year, when Jerry Butkiewicz stepped down from the position.

“It is an honor to represent the working families that make up the Labor Council,” Gonzalez said. “I look forward to growing San Diego’s labor movement during the next four years and beyond.”

Labor Council President Mickey Kasparian nominated Gonzalez.

In addition to winning another term themselves, Kasparian and Gonzalez were re-elected alongside First Vice President Sandra Oleson, Second Vice President Virginia Cobb and Sergeant-at-Arms Ricardo Guzman.

The Labor Council conducts elections for all five officers and 25 executive board members every four years. Delegates are allowed to nominate another delegate for any of the 30 spots.

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.