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.