Does anybody remember the Fox News generated story about voter fraud allegedly perpetrated by ACORN during the 2008 election cycle? The sum total of their evidence was that individuals were attempting to scam the voter registration system by turning in falsified forms. No monies from the Democratic Party were ever tied to ACORN, nor was there proof that any of the fake voters actually attempted to vote.
It should be noted that actual voter fraud (where somebody casts an illegal vote), despite regular histrionics by right wing zealots, is exceedingly rare. A study released in August of this year funded by the Carnegie and Knight Foundations went through “5,000 court documents, official reports, and media reports” involving VOTER FRAUD since 2000. Three substantive findings of the study are:
1) Any kind of election fraud is exceptionally rare. Among 600 MILLION votes cast, 2,068 cases of “election fraud” were alleged: this is a .000003 incidence of alleged election fraud.
2) Voter fraud is even rarer. Only 30.6% of the “election fraud” cases involved “voter fraud”. That’s 633 cases in 600,000,000. Translation: that’s a .000001 incidence of all voter fraud.
3) IN-PERSON voter fraud is, according to the report, “virtually non-existent”. With 600 MILLION votes cast, there were 10, yes 10, cases of alleged in-person voter fraud: this is a.000000001 incidence of alleged in-person voter fraud, the purported reason that Voter ID laws have been implemented in so many states. (h/t Daily Kos)
Now there is a nation-wide voter registration scandal unfolding involving companies directly funded by both State and National Republican Party groups, and over at Fox News there’s not a peep to be heard. From The Nation:
…Nathan Sproul, the infamous voter suppression operative from 2004, accused of running an operation in several states that destroyed voter registration forms signed by Democrats, had been secretly paid by Republicans this year on another multimillion-dollar contract for voter registration in swing states.
He’s now in hot water because his firm was caught turning in faked voter registration forms in Palm Beach County and nine other counties in Florida. Within a day of The Nation’s reporting the story, officials with the national Republican Party cut ties with Sproul, whose firm has already received $3.1 million for work in Virginia, Florida, Nevada, North Carolina and Colorado. Although the payments were made by state party committees, its now clear that the Romney campaign and the national GOP coordinated the effort.
But here’s confirmation of another wrinkle in the story—the Los Angeles Times reports that Republicans were so concerned with the many scandals surrounding Sproul and his previous work, they indeed asked him to set up a shell corporation to hide the payments. Here’s what Matea Gold and her colleagues reported today: “But his reputation is such that when Sproul was tapped by the RNC to do field work this year, officials requested that he set up a new firm to avoid being publicly linked to the past allegations.” The shell is called “Strategic Allied Consulting,” but Sproul’s real firm carries the name “Sproul and Associates” and “Lincoln Strategy Group.”
The Nation has also uncovered evidence that Sproul, operating under the name “Grass Roots Outreach, LLC” is under contract to the Republican Party of California. The State GOP has made $430,840 in payments to that group (which shares the same office address with a known Sproul affiliate and is running the same verbatim ads on Craigslist for workers) during the current election cycle for voter registration efforts. From California Watch:
In a complaint filed last week with the county registrar of voters, the [Riverside County] Democrats presented affidavits from 133 Democratic voters who said they had been re-registered as Republicans without their consent after they encountered petition circulators outside welfare offices and stores
One voter complained that his registration was changed to Republican after he signed what he thought was a petition to legalize marijuana. Another said he was told he was signing a petition to lower the price of gasoline, according to the affidavits. Others said they were offered free cigarettes or a “job at the polls” if they signed some paperwork.
Also among the Democrats who said they were involuntarily re-registered as Republicans: two aides to retired U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Richard Roth, a Democrat locked in a tight race with Republican Assemblyman Jeff Miller for a state Senate seat. Many of the complainants were Latino or African American.
While Republican registrations in California are on the decline, they hold the upper hand in total voters in 31 of the 58 counties in the State. Republicans in those mostly inland counties are seeking to increase their advantage, hoping for a bump in fundraising because prospective donors will view local races as more winnable.
Re-registering Democrats as Republicans also interferes with Democratic get-out-the-vote efforts because the party won’t contact a voter who is listed as a Republican. The Riverside County GOP reports a nearly 35,000-voter surge in registrations this year, and records show that the voter participation project has paid more than $200,000 to the firms that have been conducting GOP voter registration locally.
There’s bound to be a San Diego angle to this California Watch story, as the county, once a stronghold for Republicans, is now the most evenly divided county in the state.
The people associated with “True the Vote” (led by a known Tea Party advocate) are holding training sessions throughout San Diego, as part of a nation-wide effort to place one million “watchers” in polling places come November. Critics have charged that the group is a part of an effort to intimidate minority voters on Election Day.
We at the San Diego Free Press do know (we have inside info, story coming soon) that the local effort is motivated by fears of the kinds of stories about ACORN spread by Fox News. Meanwhile, news reports this morning say that the GOP has cancelled all swing state voter registration efforts. Hmmmm….
Desalination Plant is Not a Done Deal
If you didn’t pay close attention to the details of the story, it is quite possible that you assumed that the deal to open up a privately held desalination plant in Carlsbad was made last week. But that’s not true. What was done was that the terms of an agreement were released by the SD County Water Authority. Nothing has been signed yet.
There are upcoming public workshops this week:
**6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 2 at the Water Authority’s headquarters, 4677 Overland Ave., Kearny Mesa.
**6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10 at the city of Carlsbad’s Faraday Center, 1635 Faraday Ave., Carlsbad.
A copy of the tentative agreement can be accessed via the County Water Authority’s news release here.
While desalination has certainly been used effectively in the Middle East, there are a host of legitimate questions that have been raised regarding the impact that such projects have on the environment. One study that examines desalination projects vis a vis global warming ishere. Here’s another article that explores what other locales in California have discovered about desalination from the Fresno Bee.
Down in the Old West Texas Town of El Paso They’re Tearing Down City Hall to Make Way for the Padres
El Paso, Texas is on the verge of approving a deal that will raze its City Hall building to made way for a publicly funded downtown stadium housing a privately owned minor league farm team associated with the San Diego Padres. The proposal will demolish City Hall early in 2013 and erect a 7,000 to 9,000-seat stadium in time for the spring 2014 season, with city services split over three buildings around El Paso. See if any of this sounds vaguely familiar: (from NMSU’s Frontera NorteSur):
The local press has published photos of concocted public comment cards turned in by pro-downtown development campaigners, run stories on inflated estimates of property values for a new, three-legged city hall and reported on unsuccessful citizen attempts to get the matter on November’s ballot.
While proponents maintain that a new stadium will spring a sleepy downtown to life and usher in a brighter economic future, opponents charge that the project is a hasty, costly venture hatched in typical backroom fashion without adequate study and public input.
The deal is linked to a proposed sale of the Tucson Padres, a Triple-A farm team associated with our own Padres to the MountainStar Sports Group. The fact that El Paso already hosts an independent league team, the Diablos, which averaged a daily seasonal attendance of 3,696 fans at their already existing ballpark is not apparently relevant.
The DougChester Rules the Roost
Today’s the day that local media mogul/developer Doug Manchester will officially gain control of the North County Times. Long time Editor Kent Davy has already been shunted aside, and CEO John Lynch granted an interview that appeared in yesterday’s UT-San Diego saying that they hoped “to keep the total amount layoffs to under 100 employees.”
Operations for the NC Times will consolidated into their Escondido building, which will be refurbished “as only Papa Doug can”, which means a small TV studio and signage for the UT/UT-TV entities out front. Although Lynch indicated that both newspapers would continue to operate “as is” for the time being, he also mentioned the combined circulation of the two papers as being an important factor. Asked about news coverage, he cited NC Times reportage on prep footfall as a key element worth keeping.
It’s obvious that the grand plan is to submerge the NC Times identity, perhaps as a regional section inside the UT-San Diego. Their marketing plan, as defined by Lynch, will be “you go out and touch people, allow them to know that it’s very likely that the North County Times would have gone out of business and we’re saving it.” Goodbye, NC Times. It was nice while it lasted.
Welcome to Banned Books Week
Well here we are: It’s Banned Books Week thru Sunday. It’s hard to believe that this sort of thing is even necessary, but the facts say otherwise. Whether it’s Dante’s The Divine Comedy (burned in 1497 on religious grounds), Martin Luther’s translation of The Bible (burned in 1624 by Papal authority), Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men , or J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series it would seem as though there’s always some dolt somewhere who’s looking to justify their theological or political stance by denying people access to literature.
So we have Banned Books Week. Librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types come together (led by the American Library Association) in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship. Check out the frequently challenged books section of the official website to explore the issues and controversies around book challenges and book banning.
This year the local response to 30th Annual Banned Books Week will focus on those books banished from the schools in Arizona. On Wednesday, October 3, at the Malcolm X Library (5148 Market Street, San Diego), local students will read passages from books banned by the Tucson School District. There will be music by Mariachi Garibaldi, refreshments, and a discussion of Latino literature. More info: 619-527-3405.
San Diego’s Central Library (820 E Street, downtown San Diego) will feature a program called ‘Librarians Read Banned Books’ on Thursday,October 4, from 10AM-5PM. It’s an All-Day Read-Aloud Reading Marathon to help raise awareness regarding the censorship of books, featuring librarian readers and special guests: Poet and Broadway lyricist Reg E. Gaines and poet, blogger and San Diego State University lecturer Delores Fisher.
The San Diego City College International Book Fair will be presenting “Banned Book Saturday” on October 6, with a screening and discussion of the documentary Precious Knowledge. Also planned are talks on history of banned books in the U.S.; readings and discussion of excerpts from banned books by City College faculty and staff members. For more information: 619-388-3596.
Authors banned in Arizona include: Rudy Acuña (Occupied America, Anything But Mexican, Corridors of Migration); Matt de la Peña (Mexican White Boy, Ball Don’t Lie, We Were Here); Herbert Sigüenza (Culture Clash: Life, Death and Revolutionary Comedy).
It’s Law-O-Rama Time in Sacramento
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a boatload of new laws over the weekend, most of which we as citizens will never hear about. Hell, there’s a good chance that the legislators that voted on these laws don’t know what they voted for. As far as I can tell, no laws were passed about keeping labor leaders from beating baby pandas, but I’m not 100% sure.
Here’s few high/low lights of what did or didn’t get signed:
**Brown signed a bill barring a controversial therapy that claims to reverse homosexuality in minors. This law is considered a victory for gay rights advocates; they say so-called conversion therapy, also called reparative therapy, has no medical basis because homosexuality is not a disorder. It was supported by the California Psychological Association and the California Board of Behavioral Sciences, among others. The psychiatrist who pioneered the therapy, Dr. Robert Spitzer, has since renounced it and has apologized to the gay and lesbian community.
**He okay’d legislation that will allow hundreds of thousands of young people covered under the Obama administration’s plan to allow children of undocumented immigrants to stay in the country to obtain driver’s licenses.
**He signed off on a law that restricted the right of gun owners to carry rifles and shotguns in public places. (I have no doubt the NRA is out there as you read this raising funds off this decision.)
**He vetoed another law that would have restricted sheriffs from helping federal authorities detain undocumented Californians for potential deportation.
** He also vetoed legislation that would have provided overtime pay, meal breaks and other labor protections to an estimated 200,000 caregivers, nannies and house cleaners in California. Household workers and agricultural laborers were left out of the 1935 National Labor Relations Act that established basic labor protections so the legislation would win support from Southern lawmakers.
On This Day: In 1908 the Model T automobile was introduced by Henry Ford. The purchase price of the car was $850. In 1933 Babe Ruth made his final pitching appearance. He pitched all nine innings and hit a home run in the 5th inning. In 1964 the Free Speech Movement was started at the University of California at Berkeley.
On This Day: Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Escondido (Welk Resort 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive) 1pm –Sunset
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