July 2012

Polls Show Local Races up for Grabs; National Parties Ante Up

by Andy Cohen 07.31.2012 Politics

DCCC reserves $1.65 million from national funds, NRCC pledges $1.6 million to Bilbray–Updated

It’s the end of July, and some important political races in San Diego are beginning to heat up. Two polls released yesterday started to bring both the San Diego mayoral race and the 52nd District Congressional race into focus for the general election campaign.

According to a report by Roll Call, a Washington, DC based publication, the race between Democratic Challenger Scott Peters and Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray is a dead heat with each candidate receiving 40% of the projected vote. The poll showed a significant 19% of those questioned as undecided.

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Phoney Emails Catch LA Times and San Diego Reader in Hoax About San Diego US Attorney Targeting Pharmacies

by Frank Gormlie 07.31.2012 Government

A hoax has caught both the LA Times and the San Diego Reader in a bind. Both newspapers carried stories today – July 31st – that US Attorney General Laura Duffy was now targeting pharmacies in San Diego for illegal drug sales.

But it was all a hoax perpetrated via two phoney emails sent out to media outlets under Duffy’s name, title and office.

The false email opened with this:

United States Attorney Laura E. Duffy today announced enforcement actions against local pharmacies for distribution of drugs for illegal purposes. Immediate enforcement will target pharmacies in the Coastal areas of La Jolla, Carmel Valley, and Pacific Beach; chosen for both the high rates of pharmaceutical drug abuse and high property values of targeted pharmacies. Affected pharmacies will have 45 days to shutdown in order to avoid harsher penalties.

The LA Times ran this headline: 20 San Diego pharmacies targeted by feds in drug sales crackdown. The San Diego Reader also ran an article about it.

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Thumbnail image for In Wake of Prop B, Filner Sidelines Pension Refinance Plan

In Wake of Prop B, Filner Sidelines Pension Refinance Plan

by Andy Cohen 07.31.2012 Government

Candidate accepts the will of the voters; critics accuse him of abandoning his principles

Mayoral candidate Bob Filner is taking heat again this week for saying that he would go along with the law. Last week he was challenged for saying that as mayor he would enforce Prop B—the so called pension reform initiative that he so vehemently opposed during the primary—and essentially flip-flopping and supporting the controversial plan. This time he’s being accused of abandoning his own principles.

During the primary Filner touted a plan to refinance the pension debt, issuing 30 year bonds to do so. It was a plan he claimed would save the city $500,000 over the next 10 years, citing all-time low interest rates and comparing it to a homeowner who refinances his or her mortgage and in the process cuts the interest rate they pay nearly in half. That’s a lot of money the homeowner gets to keep.

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line – ‘Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire’; Seniors Push Back Against GOP Plans to Slash Medicare and Social Security

The Starting Line – ‘Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire’; Seniors Push Back Against GOP Plans to Slash Medicare and Social Security

by Doug Porter 07.31.2012 Columns

As the LA Times fronts today with an article detailing GOP lawmakers’ plans for dismantling Medicare, a senior citizens group supported by organized labor has began a national campaign to educate seniors on Medicare and Social Security issues. The Times article details how conservative critics of Medicare are readying a new push to dramatically scale it back should the GOP win control of the White House and Congress in November. GOP governors are leading the fight by blocking expansion of Medicaid to meet the goals of the Affordable Care Act.

Yesterday senior citizens groups around the country participated in events marking the 47th anniversary of the Medicare act. Billed as the ‘Let’s Not Be the Last Generation to Retire’ Campaign, the DC-based Alliance for Retired Americans will be sponsoring additional educational events at senior centers in coming months and organizing protests outside offices of lawmakers who have voted against the needs of local retirees.

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line – The San Diego Mayoral Contest Heats Up; Poll Shows Filner with 8 Point Lead

The Starting Line – The San Diego Mayoral Contest Heats Up; Poll Shows Filner with 8 Point Lead

by Doug Porter 07.30.2012 Columns

The 2012 mayoral contest here in San Diego is front and center in the news today. Polling results released yesterday show Rep. Bob Filner with an 8 point lead over City Councilman Carl DeMaio. According to San Diego Politico, the race currently stands at 40% – Filner, 32% – DeMaio and 29% – Undecided. These polling results (which are likely drawn from internal Democratic surveys) closely mirror party registration in San Diego. Other polls reportedly show Filner in the high 30s and DeMaio peaking in the low 30s.

Voice of San Diego has an article up this morning that leads by quoting former Filner opponent and modern day China-phobic economist Peter Navaro calling the Congressman “the Grand Canyon of assholes.” The VOSD piece focuses on the narrative that candidate Filner’s abrasive personality is a political liability; it does explore the roots of his willingness to be combative–his roots in the civil rights movement–but the overall thrust is not particularly complimentary.

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Thumbnail image for How Mitt Romney Drove Companies Bankrupt, Raided Pension Funds and Paid Himself Handsomely

How Mitt Romney Drove Companies Bankrupt, Raided Pension Funds and Paid Himself Handsomely

by John Lawrence 07.30.2012 Business

Mitt Romney’s Bain Capital was very good at making money for Mitt Romney. At the same time it loaded companies Bain bought with debt, borrowed even more money to pay dividends to Mitt Romney and destroyed or outsourced lots of jobs. It even raided pension funds. Then Romney turns around and holds himself up as a “successful businessman.” Sure he was successful in terms of making money for himself. But this was at the expense of those workers at previously successful companies who lost their jobs when those companies went bankrupt thanks to the debt loaded on them due to money borrowed from banks that went directly into Romney’s pocket.

Here’s how a private equity fund such as Bain Capital works. It picks a successful company and then takes it over with a leveraged buyout (LBO). The money borrowed from a bank to pay off the owner or stockholders does not become the debt of Bain Capital. It becomes the debt of the company that was taken over. You might ask, “Why would a bank even loan money to place a company in debt for the purposes of being taken over by Bain Capital which does not even assume the debt?” Well, it’s for the same reason that so many subprime loans were available. The bank does not continue to hold the debt. It offloads it to investors such as pension funds so the bank doesn’t really care. They have no skin in the game. Why not loan Mitt Romney money to take over companies? There’s good money in those commissions.

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Thumbnail image for Conservatives Undermining Our Economic Recovery

Conservatives Undermining Our Economic Recovery

by Source 07.29.2012 Politics

by Adam Hersh / Center for American Progress

Today’s weak economic growth numbers were as predictable as they are disheartening, and the blame lies squarely with those who opposed the president’s American Jobs Act nearly a year ago—and have in fact opposed an array of sensible economic policies to expand public investments that create jobs and economic growth ever since President Barack Obama took office.

But first the “news.” The $15.6 trillion U.S. economy slowed in the three months through June 2012. U.S. gross domestic product, or GDP—the sum total of all goods and services produced by workers and equipment in the United States—grew at 1.5 percent in the second quarter of 2012. We are growing, but slowing. And this must renew policymakers’ urgency for action to prevent our economy from dipping further.

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Thumbnail image for Poor Blundering Mitt: The Pirates of Bainzance Redux

Poor Blundering Mitt: The Pirates of Bainzance Redux

by Source 07.29.2012 Culture

by revbludge / Daily Kos

(To the tune of Gilbert & Sullivan’s “Oh, is there not one maiden breast?” from The Pirates of Penzance)

Mitt Romney:
Oh, is there not one British breast,
That does not sense my superiority,
And show uncommon interest
In treating me like visiting royalty?

What Briton on this islet small would not grant my vocation
To shine upon this dinky stage as a world-class elder statesman?
Yes, an elder statesman!

Oh is there not one Briton, please
In this whole “Anglo-Saxon land,”
Who’ll not regard my expertise
Olympic-wise, as something grand?

As unprepared as you must be
To run the Games without disaster
I’ll tutor M-I-Six for free;
They’ll quickly learn from ME, the master,
Learn from Mitt the master!
more inside…

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Thumbnail image for “Tobacco Can Cure Smoking” And Other Highlights Of ALEC’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake

“Tobacco Can Cure Smoking” And Other Highlights Of ALEC’s Annual Meeting in Salt Lake

by Source 07.28.2012 Business

by Brendan Fischer and Mary Bottari / PR Watch

“Can Tobacco Cure Smoking?” is the title of a workshop this morning led by the tobacco industry-backed Dr. Brad Rodu, who is trained as a dentist but has the title “Chair of Tobacco Harm Reduction Research” at the University of Louisville, a program primarily funded by U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., an ALEC member and manufacturer of smokeless tobacco brands like Copenhagen and Skoal. He is also a Senior Fellow at the Heartland Institute, the Illinois-based think tank thatattracted attention earlier this year for making billboards that likened those who believe in man-made climate change to mass murderers and terrorists.

Rodu’s research supports the idea that smokers should replace cigarettes with smokeless chewing tobacco or “snus” moist tobacco packets — a “free market” solution to reducing smoking that would allow tobacco companies to continue profiting off of addiction.

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Thumbnail image for In a Morro Bay State of Mind

In a Morro Bay State of Mind

by Ernie McCray 07.28.2012 Culture

Home from a roadtrip. One which was just that, a journey, a moving on, to another phase in my life.

We got going at a nice pace as I’m not fascinated with speed. It got a little slow through L.A. but, indeed, it wasn’t too bad. I approached it with a “low rider” attitude, set my own mood. Hey, my novia’s at my side so I couldn’t help but low ride as she rubbed her sexy little hands on my knee. Made me go “Good googily wooglily” like back in my teens wearing white t-shirts and levi blue jeans.

Next think I know we’re in Carpinteria and when I looked around I couldn’t help but swoon and sway as I stood there in view of an almost criminally beautiful day. It was like the sun was showing off.

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Thumbnail image for Dark Money Political Groups Target Voters Based on Their Internet Habits

Dark Money Political Groups Target Voters Based on Their Internet Habits

by Source 07.28.2012 Business

by Lois Beckett / ProPublica

Lauren Berns was browsing Talking Points Memo when he saw an ad with President Obama’s face. “Stop the Reckless Spending,” the ad read, and in smaller print, Paid for by Crossroads GPS.    Berns was surprised. Why was Crossroads GPS, a group that powerful Republican strategist Karl Rove helped found,advertising on a liberal-leaning political website? Looking closely at the ad, Berns saw a small blue triangle in the upper-left hand corner. He knew what that meant: this ad wasn’t being shown to every person who read that page. It was being targeted to him in particular. Tax-exempt groups like Crossroads GPS have become among the biggest players in this year’s election.  They’re often called “dark money” groups, because they can raise accept unlimited amounts of money and never have to disclose their donors.

These groups are spending massively on television spots attacking different candidates. These ads are often highly publicized and get plenty of media attention.

But these same dark money groups are also quietly expanding their online advertising efforts, using sophisticated targeting tactics to send their ads to specific kinds of people.

Who they’re targeting, and what data they’re using, is secret.

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Thumbnail image for Homelessness Myth#24:  They All Frequent Bars

Homelessness Myth#24: They All Frequent Bars

by Christine Schanes 07.27.2012 Culture

We’re all aware that the United States economy is going through some hard times. A number of businesses are experiencing financial down turns. Some housed people believe that all homeless people spend a great deal of time hanging out in bars and, by their very presence in those bars, negatively impact those businesses.

But do all homeless people really hang out in bars? To answer this question, I asked a number of people who have experienced homelessness whether they frequent bars and, if so, what have their experiences have been.

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line – Is Carl DeMaio Really Comparable To Harvey Milk?

The Starting Line – Is Carl DeMaio Really Comparable To Harvey Milk?

by Doug Porter 07.27.2012 Activism

Last weekends’ protest aimed at Mayoral candidate and City Councilman Carl DeMaio during the 38th annual Pride parade continues to reverberate throughout the community. Johnathan Hale, publisher of SDGLN.com – who also happens to be DeMaio’s significant other – posted an article entitled Letter to the Community: Real LGBT leaders don’t put politics above Pride that has provoked fierce debates across social media platforms. The commentary compared DeMaio to LGBT political icon Harvey Milk and accused labor unions of organizing and funding the “Turn Your Back on Carl DeMaio” campaign.

Activist Wendy Sue Biegeleisen took to Facebook to respond, saying, “Harvey Milk was Jewish, from NY and fought for the underdog. He was pro-union, labor, supported diversity, feminism and Equal Rights for all LGBTQQIA people. What about this description sounds like Carl Demaio?” Labor Council leader Lorena Gonzalez, joined the debate via Twitter from the east coast, denying that Labor had a role in the protest and challenging Hale to prove his charges. Kelly Davis over at City Beat chimed in by pointing out that DeMaio “gave LGBT community plenty to be pissed off about by courting support of Charles LiMandri” and posting a link to an article about that controversy the paper had run. SDGLN tweeted back, saying “when @SDCityBeat covers Pride a stellar as the UT did this year, THEN we’ll take your opinions on LGBT issues seriously.”

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Thumbnail image for Pacific Beach Planning Board Resists City Builders’ Plans for Beach Development

Pacific Beach Planning Board Resists City Builders’ Plans for Beach Development

by Source 07.27.2012 Activism

For the moment, city plans to develop the coastal cliff beach at Law St. in North Pacific Beach, with another new live-in lifeguard tower and garages, have met with an equally divided planning board, 7-7, with the tie vote cast by the board president, in a heated debate at the last PB Planning Board meeting, July 25, 2012, at the PB library community room.

Planning Board members, trying to balance the needs of the lifeguards and public safety, and city contractor jobs, with the obvious coastal erosion and rising ocean level concerns evident at this beach, decided to delay consideration of this project until more information can be provided. Questions as to the true nature and need of the project before a site could be chosen were at the forefront of the dilemma.

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Thumbnail image for Field of View: Torrey Pines State National Reserve

Field of View: Torrey Pines State National Reserve

by Annie Lane 07.27.2012 Culture

If you’re looking for an easy hike with a mixture of vistas, Torrey Pines State National Reserve is a cheap and spectacular option. Arrive early (about 6:30 a.m., no later than 7 a.m.) and there is free public parking available outside of the official Reserve parking lot; otherwise it’s $15. I recommend a jacket because it starts off chilly.

One of the most beautiful parts about this early morning adventure is watching the sun wash over the land. It’s inspiring.

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Brief History of OB Grassroots Activism – Part 2

by Frank Gormlie 07.27.2012 Activism

This first appeared at the OB Rag.

This is Part 2 of my “brief” history of modern OB activism. Here’s Part 1. It is taken from a talk I gave at the Open House of the Green Store on July 14th.

The Eighties

The 1980s were a period of accommodation. Hippie businessmen and women emerged on the scene in OB and were accepted. The projects of the hippie radicals of the late Sixties and Seventies had all but faded away – many of the hippies remained however, buying homes in OB or Point Loma, getting married, and having careers and children. But the radical pioneers had paved the way for a new wave of hippies – it was the coming of age of the “hip-oisie”, a type of hip petite-bourgeoisie.

Young, hip businesspeople not only emerged and opened up shops within OB’s business centers, but they became the leaders on Newport Avenue, breathing new life into a older, moribund business elite that had grown out of touch with the residents of the community.

The new hip-oisie ushered in a new type of activism, an activism that resulted in such mainstays that they are taken for granted today : the OB Christmas-then-Holiday Parade, the Christmas Tree, the OB Geriatric Surf Team, the annual OB Street Fair. In essence, then, over the decade, there had been a re-making of the main commercial street in the village. Newport Ave had experienced an overhaul.

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Thumbnail image for Filner Under Fire for Saying He Would Follow the Law

Filner Under Fire for Saying He Would Follow the Law

by Andy Cohen 07.26.2012 Editor's Picks

Mayoral candidate says he would negotiate with unions on pay freeze.

San Diego mayoral candidate Bob Filner came under fire last night for comments he made in an interview with the UT San Diego, saying that “he would push for the freeze even if the courts ruled Prop B illegal because two-thirds of city voters favored the plan.” The UT San Diego headline reads “New backer of SD pension overhaul: Bob Filner.” The Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis took to Twitter, more or less accusing Filner of flip-flopping on Prop B.

Filner was among the plan’s most vehement opponents during the primary election, and he still is. However, Filner also said during the final mayoral debate before the primary election that should Prop B be passed by the voters, it would become the law of the city, and therefore he would be obligated to implement it as mayor. He said he would follow the law and the will of the voters. And the voters have spoken.

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Thumbnail image for Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial to Get Wired

Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial to Get Wired

by Source 07.26.2012 Activism

by Frances Zimmerman

Influential and privately-funded Mount Soledad Veterans Memorial Association (VMA) got backing Monday afternoon from the volunteer citizens advisory group at La Jolla Parks and Beaches (LJP&B) to install an electrical easement at the City of San Diego’s 118-acre Mount Soledad Natural Park.

The motion, made by LJP&B members Dan Allen and seconded by John Beaver, passed 9 to 3. An earlier motion to deny the VMA’s request to install lighting failed 10 to 3. A representative of the Sierra Club was among those who spoke against electrification, citing light pollution and negative effects on celestial observation.

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line — Drinking the Right Wing Kool-Aid in Mission Valley; UT-SD’s Quest to Demonize President Obama

The Starting Line — Drinking the Right Wing Kool-Aid in Mission Valley; UT-SD’s Quest to Demonize President Obama

by Doug Porter 07.26.2012 Columns

How low will the UT-San Diego’s editorial board go in its quest to demonize President Obama?  Will they manufacture or twist history to portray him as the worst chief executive in history? You betcha!, as they did in an editorial profile (Presidential busts: The worst of all: Barack Obama...) this weekend. Will they cry “wolf” when one of contender Mitt Romney’s financial backers’ activities gets scrutinized by the federal government after years of investigations by state governments? Oh, yes!, they will.

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Thumbnail image for Sex In San Diego: Teaching Sex In the Classroom

Sex In San Diego: Teaching Sex In the Classroom

by Source 07.26.2012 Culture

RH Reality Check / Martha Kempner

Middle school and high school sexuality courses frequently become the subject of controversy most often because parents become upset after they learn of something said or done in class that they deem too explicit. By the time young people get to college, however, much of this potential for controversy fades for a number of reasons; parents are less involved, it is more acceptable for college students to be sexually active, and there is an understanding that human sexuality courses are voluntary — students know what they are getting into. Still, every once and awhile, the national media or perhaps worse a state politician gets wind of something that has happened in a college classroom and we start to debate again how far is too far in college sex education.

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Thumbnail image for Brits mock the hell out of Mittens over “Anglo-Saxon” remarks. Do shut the hell up like a good chap

Brits mock the hell out of Mittens over “Anglo-Saxon” remarks. Do shut the hell up like a good chap

by Source 07.26.2012 Government

by MinistryOfTruth / Daily Kos

A few notes from our friends across the pond on what Mitt Romney should support if he was really hell bent on rebuilding bonds with our Anglo-Saxon roots.

In short order, thanks to the The Guardian for this. . .

Want to be more like the Anglo-Saxons?

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Thumbnail image for A (Brief) History of Ocean Beach Grassroots Activism

A (Brief) History of Ocean Beach Grassroots Activism

by Frank Gormlie 07.25.2012 Activism

The following is based on a talk I gave at the Green Store’s Open House on Saturday, July 14th.

This is an outline of the history – the modern history – of OB grassroots activism – which began in the late Sixties with the development and growth of the hippie sub-culture, the counter-culture.

By 1967, Ocean Beach had become the Haight-Ashbury of San Diego. OB was the San Diego equivalent of that fabled and iconic San Francisco neighborhood that had become synonymous with “hippie-ism”. If you were a hippie or a hippie-wannabe during this time somewhere in San Diego, you ended up in OB.

Of course, other factors contributed to the incubation in Ocean Beach of a community sympathetic and supportive of the new emerging counter-counter: before there were long-haired hippies in OB, there were long-haired surfers – as this community had been a center of surf-culture for years by time OB had morphed into a hippie haven. And, more in general, OB had been a classic southern California beach-college town, where students and young people made up a huge proportion of the residents. There were no colleges right in OB, but there were plenty close by. Cal-Western (now Nazarene) was just up the hill in Point Loma. Plus OB was a bedroom community for USD – also not too far away, but especially for San Diego State, and Mesa, City, UCSD.

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Thumbnail image for 4th Night of Unrest in Anaheim As Protesters Confront Police – Support Caravan Planned From San Diego

4th Night of Unrest in Anaheim As Protesters Confront Police – Support Caravan Planned From San Diego

by Frank Gormlie 07.25.2012 Activism

Hundreds of Protesters – 24 Arrests and 7 Hours of Confrontations

Unrest continued last night – Tuesday, July 24th – in Anaheim, the fourth night in a row – between community residents protesting recent police lethal shootings and law enforcement. 24 arrests were made yesterday and overnight, near a half dozen injuries occurred during the seven hours of conflict Tuesday that ended around 2 a.m.

Anaheim police remained on alert Wednesday. The family of the man fatally shot on Saturday is suing the City and police and a support caravan from San Diego is going up to Anaheim on Sunday, July 29th.

Between 500 and 600 demonstrators were reported to have carried out protests throughout Tuesday, as hundreds of extra police were brought in to supplement Anaheim’s city police. Many of the protests were peaceful, yet police again fired pepper balls and beanbags at unarmed protesters. Some business windows were smashed, rocks were thrown at police, and dumpsters lit on fire.

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Thumbnail image for Will Carlbad’s Controversial Desalination Plant Get Off the Ground?

Will Carlbad’s Controversial Desalination Plant Get Off the Ground?

by Source 07.25.2012 Activism

Southern’s California Recent Desal Plant Faces its Last Hurdle

By David Rosenfeld / AlterNet / Originally published July 17, 2012

The private equity firm proposing to finance the project has one last hurdle to overcome: It needs someone to agree to buy the water. And that is proving tricky.

After more than a decade spent talking about building a large-scale ocean desalination plant in Carlsbad, California, the private equity firm proposing to finance the project has one last hurdle to overcome: It needs someone to agree to buy the water.

Poseidon Resources has put forth several iterations over the years of its proposed plant in San Diego County, expected to produce up to 50 million gallons of freshwater daily. In one attempt, Poseidon inked agreements with local water agencies claiming it could sell water at no greater cost than imported water supplies.

But investors and members of the San Diego County Water Authority, both of whom Poseidon needs for support, balked at the claim and those agreements were scrapped.

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Thumbnail image for The Starting Line — A DeMaio Tripleheader: Mayoral Candidate Snubs Cops, Flip Flops on Issues and Abets Suppression of Critical City Auditor Report

The Starting Line — A DeMaio Tripleheader: Mayoral Candidate Snubs Cops, Flip Flops on Issues and Abets Suppression of Critical City Auditor Report

by Doug Porter 07.25.2012 Columns

San Diego’s mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio makes no bones about his antagonism towards city workers. Promotional materials for campaign fundraisers boast that he will refuse any and all campaign donations from any city employee. When the candidate was booed during the recent LGBT pride day parade – activists take issue with his political and financial relationships with wealthy social conservatives –, DeMaio told the UT-San Diego that unions were behind the critical crowds. But his deliberate snub of a City Council proclamation acknowledging the centennial anniversary of the San Diego Police Officers Association (SDPOA) yesterday left local observers agape. The mayoral hopeful used an interview with KUSI-TV as the excuse to duck out of the ceremony. His appearances on the local broadcast outlet are so frequent that wags say he may as well have his own dressing room at the station. DeMaio tweeted that the KUSI interview allowed him to “discuss my commitment to open government and full transparency”.

DeMaio takes a page from the Romney campaign… The Voice of San Diego published a report yesterday detailing five issues that candidate DeMaio has flip-flopped positions on, now that the primary season is over. Those subjects include: the Jacobs/Sanders Balboa Park remake (for it, against it, then for it again), funding for the arts (cut $6 million, now doubling support), Social Security benefits for city workers (no, now yes), road repairs (ballot initiative, now a budget matter), and downtown “insiders” (demonized during primary season, aggressive courtship now).

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