Friday, May 22, 2009

Port Commission: The Vote

Here’s my prediction on how the vote for San Diego Port Commissioner will go down.

Round 1: Everyone sticks to their nominees

Hueso – Burdick
Young – Burdick
DeMaio – Burdick
Gloria – Takvorian
Frye – Takvorian
Emerald – Evans
Faulconer - Evans
Lightner – Merrifield

Round 2: Decisions

I predict that Lightner lets Marshall go and sides with Burdick. Burdick has ties to Peters and Lightner fancies herself a moderate.

I also predict that Gloria and Frye stick to their guns. They have little to lose by doing so.

So who throws Evans under the bus? My gut says Faulconer. This is a guy who, like Mayor Sanders, would rather kick hard choices down the road until someone else can deal with them or has no choice but to act at which point he will then dive headlong with the prevailing winds. I say he’s the 5th vote.

Leaving Emerald. Does she stay or go with Evans? This will be telling. I give her a 60% chance that she’ll screw Labor out of pride and go for Burdick. She put the progressive community on notice with her choice and won’t back off from the ledge she has placed herself on. The justification will be that Burdick is a Democrat.

Hueso – Burdick
Young – Burdick
DeMaio – Burdick
Gloria – Takvorian
Frye – Takvorian
Emerald – Burdick (?)
Faulconer - Burdick
Lightner – Burdick

Either way, Burdick gets a jump start on her political career in the pockets of others.

The Spin
That the Takvorian nomination was ideologically extreme so it forced a moderate to be drafted to balance the competing interests on the Port Commission.

The thing is, if Hueso and his staff weren’t so blinded by their hatred of the Environmental Health Coalition, a true progressive could have been selected.

There is still time, but as it stands right now, this is how I see the vote.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Port Commission: It’s on!

The Voice of San Diego is reporting that Lee Burdick has been nominated by Councilmembers Hueso, Young and DeMaio.

What does this mean?

First of all, Burdick is an attorney looking for a public office. Her run for City Attorney never made sense in that she couldn’t come up with a solid reason as to why she was running other than she wasn’t Aguirre. Her performance was awkward and it felt like she had been talked into being a stalking horse. She has business ties and is in need of a leg up politically. This nomination could be payback because she’s been “a good sport” in the past.

It’s convenient for everyone involved: Hueso because Burdick doesn't hurt him in the South Bay, Young can show he’s nobody’s puppet, and DeMaio can act bi-partisan in supporting a pro business Democrat. In this sense, she is a consensus builder. At least she admits she’s not anybody’s best candidate.

Emerald’s play at being the bridge between the Republicans and Democrats on the City Council gets blown up. Her slap at Labor in nominating Bill Evans was noticed and we’ll see if this nutty play earns her any chits on the other side.

But would Emerald come home and support Diane Takvorian? Should she break free of the leash her COS has her on, I think she just might. Gloria and Frye have done this region a service in nominating an outstanding candidate for the position. It’s unfortunate that her qualities are trashed for the personal ambitions of others but this was not going to be easy.

Leaving Lightner and Faulconer. I will pray that both of them can put aside the false “business vs environment” argument that is so 20th century and join the 21st in supporting Diane.

We’ll see. Given the circus in Chula Vista after Najera's resignation, we need some adults on the Port Commission who are more concerned with the port and less with their political futures.

California Community College Leaders React to Election

From a press release sent over last night:

May 19, 2009

California Community College Leaders React to Election
Cuts to community college budget will limit access for neediest Californians

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Now that it seems certain the ballot propositions have gone down in defeat, California Community College leaders are predicting students and the state’s economic recovery efforts will face dire consequences. Jointly, they have released the following statements -

California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott – “Our community colleges are on the front lines providing real time solutions for millions of Californians. Many of our students are reeling from the shockwaves resulting from the global financial meltdown, high unemployment rates and a difficult job market. We’ve added more than 150,000 additional students this year alone and are serving 140,000 of them without any additional funding. As the chancellor leading our 110 colleges, it is my job to inform state leaders we simply cannot continue to be an effective safety net for displaced workers, train our nation’s nurses and firefighters and retool workers to serve in green jobs if the proposed cuts are enacted. As it stands now, our classrooms are full, waiting lists to get into classes are long and many students cannot access the courses they need to progress.

“Having worked in and around community colleges most of my life, I fear students will find themselves without options and ill prepared to meet our state’s current and emerging workforce needs.”

Los Angeles Community College District Chancellor Marshall Drummond -- “The recent preview of proposed budget cuts landed a devastating blow to the community colleges. The idea that the community colleges can cut $85 million from our current budget, weeks prior to the fiscal year ending, is not realistic. Extrapolating from the governor's numbers, the Los Angeles community colleges could lose up to $80 million, the equivalent of the entire operating budgets of two of our smaller colleges. It is simply not possible to dismantle our many contractual and institutional obligations in such a short period of time, while staying in line with state law and mandates.

“The amount of proposed cuts to programs such as student counseling, assessment and placement and career technical education would almost certainly eliminate opportunities for disadvantaged students and place them at an even greater risk. The ultimate result of these actions will be a lower quality of life in our most challenged neighborhoods and a severe decline in a well trained workforce.”

Los Rios Community College District Chancellor Brice Harris -- “We are very concerned for our students and our community. The proposed budget cuts for community colleges are the worst we have ever seen and would severely limit our ability to meet the educational and workforce needs of our region.”

San Diego Community College District Chancellor Constance Carroll -- “San Diego is bracing to make additional cuts of enormous magnitude. Due to poor policy decisions made at the state level, we will be forced to consider reducing student access and the number of classes we offer our students, continuing our current hiring freeze, and making a wide range of reductions. I personally view this as tragic. This is a time when we should be expanding opportunities to assist putting people back to work and training students for a new economy and emerging vocations.”

City College of San Francisco Chancellor Don Griffin – “Today’s election results will make it impossible for City College of San Francisco to maintain its current levels of services and student access. Our district serves 105,000 students and if the budget scenarios recently unveiled are enacted our summer school enrollment will be reduced by up to 85 percent and our student services programs will be dramatically cut by as much as 50 percent. These services include admissions and enrollment, and disabled student programs. Major reductions in course offerings will also result in a loss of access for 10,000 students in our district. We will be forced to reduce our hours of operation and there will also be a 15 percent loss of part-time faculty and administrative positions.”

The California Community Colleges is the largest higher educational system in the nation comprised of 72 districts and 110 colleges with more than 2.7 million students per year. Community colleges are the largest workforce provider in the state and offer more than 175 degree and certificate programs in hundreds of fields such as, advance manufacturing, biotechnology, business and computer science. The system trains more than 70 percent of nurses and 80 percent of the fire, law enforcement and emergency medical technicians in California. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Thoughts about Yesterday’s Wipeout

"Obviously, it's disappointing, but I think the voters are sending a message that they believe the budget is the job of the governor and Legislature. We probably need to go back and do our job." - Noreen Evans, Chairwoman of the Assembly Budget Committee

If there was more evidence necessary to prove the disconnect between Sacramento and the state, yesterday provided it. All of the propositions went down except for the punitive 1F.

• An upshot of this taxpayer-funded debacle has been the focus on the Governor and his lack of leadership. Coming from a party that preaches responsibility, his flight to Washington was cowardly at best. Rather than working to cobble together a middle way, he too often has relied on his star status and its inability to motivate voters this time has been telegraphed throughout the world with the failure of these propositions.

• Predictably, the anti-tax factions and the State Republicans will claim victory for having pushed the state over the cliff. Predictably as well, they will overplay their hand (as they always do) when their ideology again crashes into reality. They don’t have real solutions and don’t know what to do if their base isn’t motivated by anger directed at their opposition.

• This time, I think being part of the problem will break the back of the California Republicans. Unless a gubernatorial candidate can shift this, the Republicans in office are part of the same legislature that facilitated this mess and will be recognized for their efforts in the “throw the bums out” sentiment I predict shall occur in 2010.

• And the Democrats won’t be immune. The inability of the majority party to create the conditions necessary to change the 2/3rd majority required for budget passage is an expected result of term limits and a weak speaker. The fact that they were held hostage and then went forth to sell this mess to the public is FUBAR. A mediocre governor has played the opposition party and this has awakened a public that would rather watch American Idol than do the job the legislature was elected to do.

• Public anger is seething and this will only get worse with the cuts that the governor will make.

Take a day off, California, because there is going to be a long tough slog in the months ahead.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Another election is upon us and it is time for you to exercise your right to vote. Let’s see if we can make it over 20% of the electorate today.