Wednesday, August 1, 2012

California Democratic Party and Federation of Labor Support “YES on 34” to Replace Death Penalty with Life in Prison With No Possibility of Parole

Drumbeat Builds for Ballot Initiative to Replace Broken Death Penalty with Justice That Works

SAN FRANCISCO – Two powerful California institutions have endorsed the “Yes on 34” SAFE California ballot initiative over the course of the last few days.

The California Democratic Party endorsed the measure to replace the death penalty with a sentence of life in prison without parole on Sunday. Prop 34 will also require convicted killers to work in prison and pay into the victims’ compensation fund and directs $100 million of the significant budget savings to investigate unsolved rape and murder cases. The endorsement comes days after the Legislative Analyst Office issued its official analysis finding that Prop 34 will save California taxpayers $130 million per year.

“We are enormously pleased that the California Democratic Party unanimously endorsed “Yes on 34.” The only way to be sure that we will never execute an innocent person in this state is to replace the death penalty with a punishment of life in prison with no chance of parole,” said Jeanne Woodford the official proponent of Proposition 34. As former warden of San Quentin State Prison, Ms. Woodford oversaw four executions.

The California Labor Federation endorsed the “Yes on 34” campaign on Thursday, July 26.
“Many people think that the death penalty is cheaper than life in prison without the possibility of parole. The California Labor Federation knows that is simply not true,” added Woodford. “People work hard and make tough economic choices across California every day. We must redirect the millions of tax dollars now wasted on the death penalty to solve more rapes and murders and to help our kids’ schools.”

A full list of campaign endorsements is here. The “Yes on 34” campaign has been endorsed by the League of Women Voters, the California Catholic Conference of Bishops, and the California State NAACP, as well as hundreds of law enforcement professionals and victims.

Ms. Woodford expressed confidence in the upcoming November vote, explaining that it would be the first of its kind in the state.

“This is the first time voters will be able to vote for swift and severe punishment in the form of life in prison with absolutely no chance of parole. Voters have never been presented with an alternative that will save our very limited state funds, improve public safety and completely eliminate the risk of executing an innocent man or woman.”


When news isn't


The DeMaio campaign thought it had a nice news piece to kick off the week with their announcement of former SDCDP Chair Art Castañares coming on board as a campaign consultant. This news was somewhat buried by the leaked poll results showing Filner over DeMaio and Filner's offer to Fletcher. Nevertheless, it should be addressed for what it is.

Castañares has been inactive in local Democratic circles for at least a decade. He has been fined by the San Diego City Ethics Commission and has been doing pick up work for Republicans in South Bay. To claim his going over to DeMaio is a quality catch is to miss the point.

If he didn't have the title of "Former San Diego County Democratic Party Chairman" this would not have been story. And this is only a story in the evolving DeMaio fantasy of being a non-partisan candidate.

Castañares can best be seen as a tarnished showpiece rather than anything of relevance to the unfolding campaign. Filner has a solid hold on voters south of Interstate 8 and to think that a single hire that Democrats won't touch can make a difference is lunacy.

Happily, it's DeMaio's money being wasted on this investment which appears to be one that a politician would make rather than a businessman.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

US Senator Barbara Boxer, California Labor Federation, State Senator Mark Leno Agree: Vote Yes on Prop 37!

Sacramento -  The California Right to Know Act – known as the Yes on 37 Right to Know Campaign – garnered three major endorsements yesterday, including the 2.1 million member strong California Labor Federation, as well as two high ranking leaders in their respective legislative bodies: Senator Barbara Boxer and State Senator Mark Leno.

If approved by voters in November, Proposition 37 would require labeling of genetically engineered foods, which are plant or animal products that have had their DNA artificially altered by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria in ways that cannot occur in nature.

“California consumers have the right to know if their food has been genetically engineered,” Senator Boxer said. “This basic information should be available for consumers on the label the way it is in nearly 50 other countries around the world.”

"Working people deserve the right to know what is in the food we are feeding our families," said Steve Smith, Communications Director for the California Labor Federation. "Prop 37 is a commonsense measure that ensures our families are able to make educated choices about the food we purchase. We’re proud to join with millions of Californians in supporting the right to know what’s in our food.”

”The people of California want to know what's in their food,” said State Senator Mark Leno. “More than half the people in the world live in countries that already require labeling of genetically engineered foods. Californians deserve to have this information too.”

To date, over 1,000 community leaders have endorsed the Yes on 37 Right to Know initiative including a broad range of consumer, farm, environmental, and health advocates, including: the Consumer Federation of America, the United Farm Workers, California Certified Organic Farmers, Public Citizen, Organic
Consumers Association, the California League of Conservation Voters, the Union of Concerned Scientists, the Center for Food Safety, and the Sierra Club.

Polls show overwhelming bipartisan support for labeling genetically engineered foods: 89% of Republicans and 90% of Democrats want genetically altered foods to be labeled, according to recent polls.

The Right to Know campaign tapped into a deep grassroots passion for knowing what’s in their food when they relied on a statewide network of thousands of volunteers to help generate over a million signatures in just 10 weeks, easily qualifying for the November ballot.


Monday, July 30, 2012

Ethics Troubles Plague New DeMaio Campaign Advisor

Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio today announced that he was “thrilled” to welcome Art Castañares -- a former San Diego County Democratic Party chair -- to his campaign team. The current Democratic chair, Jess Durfee, issued the following statement in response:  

“Art Castañares hasn’t been involved with the County Democratic Party for more than a decade, and the last high-profile candidate he worked for as a consultant is a Republican, so I’m not surprised that he signed on to work for a well-financed Republican campaign.

“However, I am surprised that Carl DeMaio is promoting his connection to a downtown lobbyist with an ethically dubious track record. From Art’s ethics breaches to his legal entanglements, he doesn’t exactly embody the ‘reform’ that the DeMaio campaign has been promising. If this is the kind of advisor Carl wants in the mayoral race or potentially in City Hall, I think voters have cause for concern.”

The lobbyist’s name has been in the headlines several times in recent years -- for reasons that might make another candidate pause before retaining him:

• Castañares was fined by the San Diego Ethics Commission in 2007 for failing to file complete and timely disclosures of his lobbying activities as required by law. The Ethics Commission fined him again in 2009 for similar violations.

• Castañares use of his political networks to land consulting contracts with public agencies was highlighted after he signed a $60,000 contract with the San Diego Airport Authority in 2004 to help develop “message points.” He was previously an aide to former state Senator Steve Peace, who wrote the legislation creating the authority.

• A business owned by Castañares is currently suing the cash-strapped San Ysidro School District for alleged "damages" of $17 million.

The Hill: DCCC reserves $1.65M against Bilbray, attacks 23 House Republicans on tax cuts

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has reserved $1.65 million in airtime against Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-Calif.). 

It's a sign the DCCC thinks Bilbray is vulnerable this fall. The Republican has been a top Democratic target this year. His San Diego district went from one that leaned Republican before redistricting to one that leans Democratic now, and he's facing a tough challenger in San Diego Ports Commissioner Scott Peters (D), a self-funding moderate.

Read the story here.


Solana Beach, CA – Solana Beach Deputy Mayor Dave Roberts worked with his colleagues on the Solana Beach City Council in a special session to unanimously pass a resolution to reaffirm the city’s commitment to the Brown Act.

 “I was disappointed when I learned that the state budget would no longer contain funding to implement certain components of the Brown Act,” Roberts said. “Our resolution not only reaffirms our commitment to following the Brown Act, but firmly states that the public has remedies to ensure the actions of our city government are open and transparent.”

The Brown Act was enacted by the state legislature back in the 1950′s to allow the public right of knowledge and participation in municipal government meetings. When the city of Solana Beach incorporated in 1986, following the Brown Act was incorporated into the local general code.

Roberts went on to say that “open and transparent government is a hallmark that all agencies should follow. I am pleased that my council colleagues worked together with me to reaffirm that our community would continue following the Brown Act as is prescribed in the general code.”

 “As a local elected official for the past eight years, I have seen firsthand why it is critical that all government business is done in an open and transparent manner. It will always be a core value of mine that all government agencies here in San Diego County operate according to the goals and ideals of the Brown Act. An open and transparent government is good for everyone.”

There is currently legislation pending that recommends placing a simple constitutional requirement on the next statewide ballot that would mandate that “Each public body shall provide public notice of its meetings and shall publicly disclose any action take.” If approved by the voters, it becomes the law and cannot be suspended again without a vote of the public.

“I support this constitutional amendment to solve this problem once and for all,” concluded Roberts.

Poll: Bob Filner Leads San Diego’s Mayor’s Race

Independent survey of likely November voters shows Filner leads by 8 points

SAN DIEGO – (Monday, July 30, 2012) – A poll of San Diego voters shows Bob Filner with a significant 8-point lead in the race for San Diego Mayor.

In a survey of 400 likely November voters in the City of San Diego, 40 percent of respondents support or lean toward Filner in the Mayor’s race. Thirty-two percent of respondents said they support San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and 29 percent were undecided.

“Despite being outspent and out-advertised by his general election opponent in the run-up to the June 5 primary, Filner’s longstanding record of service in San Diego and his closer alignment to the values held by voters who will cast ballots in the November 6 presidential election provide him a significant advantage in the runoff,” said Evan McLaughlin, a spokesman for the San Diegans for Bob Filner for Mayor 2012 committee.

The poll was conducted by Fairbanks, Maslin, Maullin Metz & Associates of Santa Monica, Calif. between June 28 and July 2. Respondents were registered to vote in the San Diego Unified School District, which is wholly encompassed in the City of San Diego, and were registered with political parties at a rate that mirrors the expected party registration for November: 42 percent Democratic, 29 percent Republican, and 29 percent declining to state or preferring another party.

From the FM3 poll:

As you may know, San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders is term-limited and therefore cannot run for reelection.

If the general election for Mayor of San Diego were held today, for whom would you vote if the candidates were: (RANDOMIZE) (IF UNDECIDED, ASK:) "Toward whom do you lean?"

[ ] Bob Filner, United States Congressman;
[ ] Carl DeMaio, San Diego City Council member?

                            Bob Filner------------------------------------------- 37%       --->  40%
                            (LEAN FILNER)----------------------------------- 3%

                            Carl DeMaio----------------------------------------- 29%       --->  32%
                            (LEAN DEMAIO) --------------------------------- 3%

                            (DON’T READ) Other----------------------------- 0
                            (DON’T READ) DK/NA-------------------------- 29%

San Diegans for Bob Filner for Mayor 2012 is a committee primarily formed to support Congressman Filner in the City of San Diego’s mayor race and does not coordinate with any candidate or candidate-controlled committee. ID # 1348840

California Democratic Party 2012 ballot endorsements

Yes on Proposition 30
Protects funding for schools and local public safety

No on Proposition 31
Locks California into permanent underfunding of education, health, and other vital services 

No on Proposition 32
Creates special exemptions for billionaires and Super PACs allowing them to buy elections 

No on Proposition 33
Auto insurance rate hike 

Yes on Proposition 34
Repeals death penalty and replaces with life without parole

Yes on Proposition 35
Increases penalties for human trafficking

Yes on Proposition 36
Reforms “Three Strikes” law

Yes on Proposition 37
Labeling of genetically engineered foods

No on Proposition 38
Munger initiative

Neutral on Proposition 39
Adjusts taxes for multi-state corporations to fund clean energy programs

Yes on Proposition 40
Referendum on State Senate district boundaries

Sunday, July 29, 2012

DeMaio’s Ceiling


Polling has been happening in San Diego about propositions and other general election issues. The mayoral race is the elephant in the room and a number of these polls have inserted a question about the Filner-DeMaio match-up.

What is interesting is the consistency of the results.

Filner, without raising a finger, is running in the low 40s to high 30s as a percentage of the vote. This currently puts him over DeMaio who is registering high 20s and low 30s. From the polling this blogger has seen, Carl hasn’t broken 32%.

The latest poll has the race at:
40% - Filner
32% - DeMaio
29% - Undecided

As an average, these polling results closely mirror party registration in San Diego:
42% - Democrats
29% - Republicans
25% - DTS
4% - Other


This early, voters are sticking to their party lines and they know what these party lines are.

This is the best DeMaio can do despite running for mayor for the last four years. His campaign has not let up since the primary in working downtown for support and trying to raise his profile among professional organizations but his numbers aren’t moving.

With all the effort, money, and time DeMaio has spent laying the ground for his mayoral campaign, he can’t get beyond the party base. This is extremely telling. He may be entering Meg Whitman territory; no matter how much money you spend, voters just aren’t that into you.

All the noise around DeMaio has succeeded in educating base voters about him and the results are not positive.

Filner is not out of the woods but he has a stronger natural base to run from. He has risen beyond his margin in the primary and looks like he can capture a majority of the vote. The same can’t be said for DeMaio.