By Doug Porter
Voters for the upcoming City Council runoff elections got a familiar sounding piece of mail this week. They’re getting campaign literature crafted by and credited to the Lincoln Club of San Diego, making many of the same claims made in the primary by the shadowy PAC calling itself San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform.
Never mind that these claims have been debunked. Never mind that the group behind the original mailer tried (and failed) to fool voters into thinking the propaganda was somehow from the City of San Diego by putting an official looking logo at the top.
San Diego’s City Council District 4 is overwhelmingly not white. And it’s overwhelmingly Democratic. The upcoming runoff to replace Tony Young on the Council is between two Democrats: Myrtle Cole and Dwayne Crenshaw.
Candidate Cole has been endorsed by the local labor council and the Democratic Party. A majority of the losing primary candidates, many with long and deep community ties have endorsed Crenshaw. This could be a contest over who has the best vision for the community. But it’s not.
San Diego’s Lincoln Club, which has long represented the interests of downtown-centric Republicans and developers, has injected itself into the battle and things are getting ugly.
They’re looking to buy influence with Dwayne Crenshaw. A 4-4 partisan split on the City Council means that whoever wins in District 4 could be the deciding vote in either supporting or opposing the policy offerings of Mayor Bob Filner. And the downtown developer set is more concerned than ever about maintaining the status quo that favors their interests over the interests of San Diego’s neighborhoods.
From the San Diego Reader:
According to two filings made yesterday and posted online by the San Diego city clerk’s office, on April 19 the Lincoln Club laid out about $12,000 for mail pieces and campaign signs on behalf of Crenshaw and against Cole, who is backed by the wealthy club’s perpetual nemesis, organized labor.
The Lincoln Clubs’ income during that same period came from a veritable who’s who of reaction, including numerous executives in the employ of SD-UT developer ‘Papa’ Doug Manchester and companies seeking lucrative contracts with local government in the near future. Topping the list was a $10,000 ante from behemoth retailer Walmart.
So the best the local Lincoln Club can come up with against Cole is a smear campaign. By reproducing a the content of a thoroughly debunked and discredited flyer they’ve shown beyond a doubt they think the voters in District 4 are too stupid to remember a campaign ‘dirty trick’ from just a few weeks back.
And why would the local GOP types think so little of those voters? Is it because they’re not white?
As one of their-now fallen heroes from the 2008 elections would say, “You betcha”.
D-80 Assembly Race Heats Up
Mayor Filner’s election to the top spot in San Diego last fall set off a chain reaction of other contests, with politicians jockeying to move “up” the electoral food chain. Juan Vargas went to the House of Representatives. Ben Hueso moved over to the State Senate.
And so now we’re looking at that last deal in this political card game, as labor leader Lorena Gonzalez faces off again former Chula Vista councilman Steve Castaneda to fill Hueso’s old seat in the 80th Assembly District.
As with San Diego’s D4 race, it’s Democrat vs. Democrat. And, like the City of San Diego’s contest, there’s a smear campaign going on.
Imagine a Democrat using terms like “Union Boss and Lobbyist” against another Democrat. Imagine allegations of $18,000 in fines, fines that simply never were levied against the smearee.
Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Yet that’s what this week’s mailing from Steve Castaneda includes. We’re not quite sure who paid for this yet, but…if it walks like a duck…
But Wait! There’s More!
Republican Lincoln Pickard has thrown his hat into the District 80 Assembly contest as a write-in candidate. He very much wants you to go visit his web site.
Pickard’s got lots of questions for you, the prospective voter, waiting in his little corner of the interwebs. Questions like:
Do you want human beings killed as they are coming down the birth canal?
Do you want marriage for homosexuals?
Do you want crosses and Christian words banned from public view?
Do you want homosexuality, condoms and Sharia law taught to young impressionable children?
I hope Pickard will be invited to as many debates as possible in District 80 over the next month. It will be refreshing to hear a Republican without a hidden agenda.
A Move to Fight Secret Campaign Donations
The New York Times is up with a story today about an effort underway with the Securities and Exchange Commission to require publicly traded corporations to disclose to shareholders all of their political donations. It seems sensible to require management to tell owners how corporate money is being spent, right? Maybe not:
S.E.C. officials have indicated that they could propose a new disclosure rule by the end of April, setting up a major battle with business groups that oppose the proposal and are preparing for a fierce counterattack if the agency’s staff moves ahead. Two S.E.C. commissioners have taken the unusual step of weighing in already, with Daniel Gallagher, a Republican, saying in a speech that the commission had been “led astray” by “politically charged issues.”
A petition to the S.E.C. asking it to issue the rule has already garnered close to half a million comments, far more than any petition or rule in the agency’s history, with the vast majority in favor of it. While relatively few petitions result in action by the S.E.C., the commission staff filed a notice late last year indicating that it was considering recommending a rule.
In response to the growing pressure, House Republicans introduced legislation last Thursday that would make it illegal for the commission to issue any political disclosure regulations applying to companies under its jurisdiction. Earlier this month, the leaders of three of Washington’s most powerful trade associations — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Business Roundtable — issued a rare joint letter to the chief executives of Fortune 200 companies, encouraging them to stand against proxy resolutions and other proposals from shareholder activists demanding more disclosure of political spending.
Rumbles From the Underclass: Walmart Protest
It’s another bad day for the minimum wage moguls around the country. The Nation magazine reports that employees at over 100 Walmart stores around the country have various actions planned for today. At issue are demands for change in the company’s scheduling system, which in recent months has been used as political tool, leaving customers to encounter empty shelves and long check-out lines.
Scheduling issues have been a recurring focus for the union-backed retail workers group OUR Walmart since its founding. Workers have charged that insufficient and erratic work schedules consign them to poverty, wreak havoc on their personal lives and shortchange customer service. At an October forum, backroom receiving associate Lori Amos said that because of understaffing at her Washington State store, 2,000 pounds of Halloween candy didn’t make it onto the shelves until it had expired and changed color.
At a January address to the National Retail Federation, Walmart US President Bill Simon announced that the company was “working on clarifying the opportunities that we offer,” and would act to “bring more transparency into our scheduling system,” and “make sure that part-time associates have full visibility” for full-time openings. Three months later, OUR Walmart charges that the situation hasn’t improved. “I haven’t seen any associates that were part-time, that were requesting more hours, getting more hours,” Lancaster, Texas, worker activist Colby Harris told The Nation. Rather, he said, his store has been increasing its use of temps, and “I’ve actually seen associates get less hours.” Walmart did not respond to a Monday morning request for comment.
Chicago’s Fast Food/Retail Workers Walkout
Five hundred workers from a dozen retail and fast food chains walked off the job this morning in Chicago demanding higher wages and a fair change to join a union, according to Salon.com.
Katelyn Johnson, the executive director of the community organizing group Action Now, said she expects a strike that “really shakes up business as usual for downtown.” Organizers expect the strikers to include employees of McDonald’s, Dunkin Donuts, Subway, Sears, Macy’s and Victoria’s Secret. The Chicago strike is spearheaded by Fight for 15, a campaign backed by organizations including Action Now and the Service Employees International Union. SEIU also provides funding for the New York City group Fast Food Forward, which brought 400 fast food workers out on strike three weeks ago. Both Fast Food Forward and Fight for 15 are collaborations between unions and community organizing groups.
…the campaign faces what may be impossibly long odds. But the stakes are high, because the future of fast food and retail jobs has far-reaching implications for the U.S. economy. Both industries are among the highest-grossing, fastest-growing and lowest-paying inChicago, and in the United States. Retail is largely non-union; fast food is almost entirely so. Whether or not these long-squeezed workers can force their bosses to concede some money, and some measure of democracy, will help shape the future of work in theUnited States.
That’s especially true now. Drawing on federal statistics, the National Employment Law Project last year found that lower-wage occupations made up just 21 percent of the jobs lost in the Great Recession, but 58 percent of the job growth in the recovery; the same study found that food service, retail and employment services together represented 43 percent of employment growth in the previous two years. U.S. employment increasingly looks more like fast food and retail: service sector work heavy on emotional labor – the constant requirement to perform a certain personality for customers – and light on job security, benefits or predictable scheduling.
Bangladesh Building Collapse Kills Garment Workers
The New York Times reports today on the collapse of an eight story building housing garment factories in Savar, a suburb of the capital of Bengladesh. At least 70 people were killed, more than 600 were injured and an unknown number are thought to be still trapped in the rubble.
Bangladesh has become the country of choice in recent years for global clothing brands with the minimum wage in the garment industry set at roughly $37 a month. Companies including Walmart, H&M, Sears, Gap, Tommy Hilfiger and many others have outsourced to the area as labor costs in China have begun to climb. From the Times:
This latest fatal accident, coming five months after a fire at the Tazreen Fashions factory killed at least 112 garment workers, is likely to again raise questions about work conditions in Bangladesh: workers told Bangladeshi news outlets that supervisors had ordered them to attend work on Wednesday, even though cracks were discovered in the building on Tuesday.
Photographs showed rescue workers in hard hats climbing ladders into the destroyed structure, even as hundreds of people crowded outside, waiting to see if survivors could be pulled from the wreckage.
Women Occupy San Diego invite you to Movie Night
Every evening a group of ordinary men and women say goodbye to their families, and go to war. They bomb, and they kill. Sometimes their vehicles crash, but the pilots always go home to their families. They are remote control warriors. The current campaigns in Iraqand Afghanistan comprise the world’s first robotic war. The U.S. fleet has grown to 7,000 robots in the air and 12,000 on the ground.
Robots only have the ethics that they are programmed with, and human/robot wars raise many ethical questions. Does the ability to kill anyone, anywhere with a robot amount to lawlessness? Very soon all sides will have access to remote control weapons. Robotic war is here. From today’s CIA drone strikes to the next generation of armed autonomous robot swarms, killer robots are about to change our world.
The showing is tonight, Wednesday, April 24th, at the Women’s Museum, 2730 Historic Decatur Road, #104, Barracks 16, Liberty Station. Doors open 6:30 pm; Movie at 7:00. Admission is free.
On This Day: 1961 - President Kennedy accepted “sole responsibility” following the disastrous Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. 1977 - Talking Heads began its first European tour, supporting the Ramones. 1981 - The IBM Personal Computer was introduced.
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