The Starting Line – Controversies Plague Local, National GOP Campaigns

It may be August, but the back and forth between political campaigns continues at a pace that leads us to wonder just how crazy things will get come post-Labor Day, which is when these sorts of contests usually heat up. Here in San Diego, today’s coverage highlights differences of opinion within the GOP regarding the ‘non-partisan’ race for Mayor of San Diego, which is actually hyper-partisan this year. And on the national scene, Democrats continue to dog presumptive GOP candidate Mitt Romney with allegations designed to raise questions about his character. So join me today as we take a peek into the sausage making process that passes for selecting our leaders in this day and age.

“I hope Tom enjoys his 30 pieces of silver…” Political consultant Tom Shepard’s decision to sign on with Mayoral candidate Bob Filner continues to have repercussions on the local political scene. Republican Party leader Tony Krvaric’s comment over at conserv blog SDRostra comparing Shepard to Judas unleashed a lively exchange (this is excerpted, there’s plenty more over at their site) :

From Tony Krvaric…Long-time Republican consultant Tom Shepard today signed on as a consultant for Bob Filner. Yes, you read that right and no, this is not a joke. This is a betrayal of our entire reform effort that so many have been working on for so long.

That said, I have no doubt that we will prevail in November because Carl DeMaio is a superior candidate and the voters are with us on the issues. Plus, Tom’s two latest campaigns in the City of San Diego were abysmal failures; Proposition D (sales tax increase) and a certain failed mayoral campaign.

I hope Tom enjoys his 30 pieces of silver.

Best, Tony

P.S. The Republican Party of San Diego County will not do business with him ever again as long as I remain chairman. Elephants don’t forget – and principles matter.

 D. Morton says…That was childish…

 RED says… Mr. Krvaric apparently does not believe in a citizens right to choose. Follow party lines or be punished. This is just one of the concepts that make our government so disfunctional. This is an example of the “tea party” mentality. Their my way only, always is creating havoc in our nation. The nasty hate message is very disturbing.

 Steve Rider says… RED: your comments are out of touch on the Tea Party. Tea Party as a whole is simply for less spending and less taxes, regardless of political affiliation. Just this week in Texas, the Tea Party tossed out an establishment Republican Senator who wasn’t committed to fiscal restraint. It’s not following “Party lines” as you say, but rather following principles.

Shepard has no clear principles as best I can tell. Sure he’s registered Republican but in 2010 he backed the Prop D sales tax increase. Now he’s backing a pure Democrat that has self-proclaimed socialist views. I’m not sure what issue Shepard could point to that the Republican Party supports that he’s aligned with.

 Steven Gregory says…“The Republican Party of San Diego County will not do business with him ever again as long as I remain chairman.” Well that shouldn’t be too long, after Krvaric is removed from his position for destroying the republican party in San Diego, and losing the mayoral election with his childish, boorish behavior. San

 Michael A. Schwartz says… This is my favorite part of SD Rostra….the part were the left comes out and fakes indignation while the right further frustrates them with using logic and reason.

After years of supporting lower taxes, less spending, and less control over your life by unelected union stooges, the left is honestly surprised when Mr. Krvaric rejects Shepard who now supports Filner known for his support of higher taxes, increased deficit spending, and more control over your life by unelected union stooges?

And now we are hearing from Tony Manolatos that this happened all because Mr. Shepard’s ego was bruised after Nathan Fletcher couldn’t mislead voters well enough to win in the primary?

Kudos to Tony Krvaric for brave, consistent leadership in the face of complete silliness.


Tom Shepard

Over at Voice of San Diego Liam Dillon provided some more insight on the situation by interviewing the man at the center of all this brouhaha, Tom Shepard:

 Asked if Krvaric comparing him to the biblical betrayer of Christ bothered him, Shepard replied: “I learned in elementary school that getting in fights with children was generally not a productive way to spend one’s time. So I, ever since then, have tried to avoid that.”

Dillon goes on to interview Democratic political consultant Larry Remer*, who downplayed the significance of Shepard’s involvement with the Filner campaign:

 “He could hire James Carville and Karl Rove and he’s still going to do what he’s going to do,” Remer said.

For that reason, Remer didn’t expect Shepard’s hiring to affect the race.

“It has no impact,” Remer said. “Zero. None.”

Larry Remer

Remer started out in the political consulting business in a partnership with Shepard three decades ago, and the partnership reportedly ended with bad feelings on both sides.

From a marketing perspective, the winner in all this back and forth is candidate Filner. It’s his candidacy that is being discussed, his name that is being spelled correctly, and his “move to the center” (as reporters are choosing to call his relationship with Shepard) that is resonating with the electorate. Perhaps that’s why the UT-San Diego opted to run a banner headline on the front page of their local section trumpeting the two day old news that Carl DeMaio outspent Filner in the period ending June 30th.   (*Full disclosure: Larry Remer & I have worked together on projects in the past.)

Meanwhile, on the national scene, GOP Presidential candidate Mitt (Willard) Romney really stepped in it yesterday by responding to allegations made by Nevada Senator Harry Reid that the former Bain executive had not paid taxes during a ten year period.  When the Huffington Post (aka The Sideboob Pic Gazette) ran with the story that Reid had been told by a reliable source about Romney’s tax avoidance, I just assumed it was hardball politics, even though the Nevada Senator isn’t usually associated with these kind of wild-haired accusations. When CNN’s Dana Bash was on “360” saying that she had a second source that backed up Reid’s original source for the claim that Mitt Romney “didn’t pay any taxes for 10 years” exists, is a “Bain investor” and a “credible person, I shook my head. An unnamed source backing up the claim of yet another unnamed source just doesn’t work too well for me.

But when Candidate Romney actually responded to these allegations, by challenging Reid on the air with Fox News’ Sean Hannity, I began to pay attention. Romney:

“Well, it’s time for Harry to put up or shut up. Harry’s going to have to describe who it is he spoke with because of course, that’s totally and completely wrong. “It’s untrue, dishonest, and inaccurate. It’s wrong. So I’m looking forward to have Harry reveal his sources and we’ll probably find out it’s the White House.”

The GOP candidates’ put-up-or-shut-up challenge cuts both ways. He now faces the choice of making the whole issue go away (and making Reid look foolish in the process) by releasing more tax returns or letting questions about his taxes continue to make headlines. Romney’s shown no sign of any willingness to do that, inviting more speculation. Tsk, Tsk.

MSNBC’s Rachael Maddow, whose partisan passions are certainly no mystery, is promising to add fuel to fire surrounding the tax controversy on this evening’s (Friday) show.

We have found some tape in the archives that may take this fight in a whole new direction, as of tomorrow. We have got that tape that I think nobody has seen in at least a decade, and we’ve got that story as our lead tomorrow night. We’ve got incredible tape tomorrow night

Spoiler Alert! (UT-San Diego will probably run this story over the weekend)…  Meanwhile, in another reality, columnist/curmudgeon Charles Krauthammer, has an op-ed up in today’s Washington Post entitled “Romney’s excellent trip”. Money quote:

 Scorecard? Romney’s trip was a major substantive success: one gaffe (Britain), two triumphs (Israel and Poland) and a fine demonstration of foreign-policy fluency and command — wrapped, however, in a media narrative of surpassing triviality.

Greater part of City Council members’ rate environmental ‘probation’ status…  A majority of San Diego elected officials earned a failing or near failing grade last year on environmental issues, according to a report issued yesterday. The League of Conservation voters Environmental Quality Report Card (EQRC) based their ratings on 21 environmentally significant pieces of legislation considered by the San Diego City Council. Councilmembers were scored based on their votes on those issues; and Mayor Sanders was scored based on positions taken by his staff that was communicated to the City Council.

The report, covering the period from January 2011 to December 2011, seeks to hold City elected officials accountable for both their votes and public stances on environmental quality issues related to water quality, habitat, green energy, climate change and land use qualities.  The ratings for officials were: Sherri Lightner – D (65.0), Kevin Faulconer – F  (55.6), Todd Gloria –  B (85.0), Tony Young – D (63.2), Carl DeMaio – F (58.8) Lorie Zapf – D (60.0), Marti Emerald – B (83.3), David Alvarez – C+ (78.9), Mayor Sanders – D- (61.9).

This one should send chills down your spine… The company responsible for protecting the only facility in the United States that processes and stores weapons grade uranium is owned by the international security firm G4S, which recently made headlines with its failure to live up to contractual obligations to provide security for the London Olympic Games. And they’re at the center of a scandal in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, where anti-nuclear activists, including an 82-year-old nun, breached security fences, according to what government officials told the Reuters news agency on Thursday. WSI Oak Ridge, a subsidiary of British based G4S firm, allowed the activists to pass through four fences and walk for “over two hours” before reaching the uranium storage building, on which they hung banners and strung crime-scene tape.

The activists, who were reportedly associated with a group calling itself “Transform Now Plowshares,” were arrested and charged with vandalism and criminal trespass. The facility is shuttered, for the moment, at least until next week, as officials try to figure out what happened. Ralph Hutchinson, coordinator for the Oak Ridge Environmental Peace Alliance, said the group’s intention was not to demonstrate the lack of security at the plant, but to take a stance against the making of nuclear weapons.

Quote du Jour: Sinclair Lewis: “Between the Pulitzer Prize, the American Academy of Arts & Letters, and the inquisition of earnest literary ladies, every compulsion is put upon writers to become safe, polite, obedient and sterile.” (Letter refusing the Pulitzer, 1926)

On this Day: In 1936 Jesse Owens won the first of his four Olympic gold medals.  In 1968 the first Newport Pop Festival opened in Costa Mesa. In 1981 U.S. traffic controllers with the Professional Air Traffic Controllers Organization went on strike. They were fired by President Reagan.

 Eat Fresh! Aug 5- 11 is National Farmers Market Week! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Borrego Springs  (Christmas Circle Community Park Christmas Circle & Palm Canyon Dr.) 7 am – noon, Fallbrook (102 S. Main, at Alvarado) 10 am – 2 pm, Imperial Beach  (Seacoast Dr. at Pier Plaza) 2 – 7:30 pm, Kearny Mesa (No. Island Credit Union pkg lot  5898 Copley) 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, La Mesa Village  (Corner of Spring St. and University) 2 – 6 pm, Rancho Bernardo (Bernardo Winery parking lot 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte) 9 am – noon, Southeast San Diego (4981 Market St. West of Euclid Ave. Trolley Station)2 – 6 pm

I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas toDougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org    Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.


Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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