Pumping Up Filner’s Flaps for Fun and Profit

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

City Councilman Kevin Faulconer joined the flail on Filner fray today with a UT-San Diego op-ed chock full of the sort of doom and gloom spin that would do Karl Rove proud.

‘The sky is falling!’ He says, ‘The streets are full of potholes!’ And…(my favorite)… ‘Bankruptcy looms!’

Yes indeed, citizens, Faulconer tells us, the Mayor’s ‘Bullying’ is taking a harsh toll at City Hall.  You, the people, are ‘unheard victims’.

Gosh, it sure is coincidental about how the word ‘bullying’ (used in the print edition headline) has been showing up on the GOP’s playlist lately.

Is the Mayor feuding with smaller sized children? Has he actually threatened anybody with harm? Are the ‘victims’ of this maniacal madman weak and defenseless?

Mayor Filner (at times) may be an asshole, but he’s our asshole.  And anybody who thinks things would get ‘better’ in San Diego by replacing him mid-term is smoking a pipe filled with Lincoln Club flavored dope.

Faulconer, along with his cohorts, are using the same playbook Congressional Republican’s are using on President Obama.  It involves backstabbing, obstruction and pubic displays of outrage when called on their bullshit. And whenever possible blame situations created during a prior GOP administration on the Democrat now in power.

Go back to the second paragraph of this story and replace the words in quotations with ‘Benghazi’, ‘unemployment’ and ‘cuts in Medicare are needed’ and you’ll see the essential truth of what I’m saying.

The Sunroad Scandal and Other GOP Playbook Items

redactedOne pattern that should be obvious to the astute reader/viewer is that, when there’s ‘bad news’ to be had Channel10News and UT-San Diegowill be first out of the gate proclaiming it loudly from the rooftops—and then quietly scaling back the story once the local trolls are incited.

Remember a few weeks ago when we heard all about Mayor Filner having a City Attorney removed from a closed-to-the-public City Council hearing?

Despite the fact that they’ve been sued as recently as April of this year for dragging their feet and obstructionist behavior when it comes to releasing public records, the City Attorney’s office miraculously released redacted transcripts of that confrontation in a mere two days.  Who got those transcripts? Channel10News and UT-San Diego.

As we should have learned with Darrell Issa’s redacted IRS transcripts, what constitutes confidential information is often in the eye of the politics of the beholder. As we learned on Wednesday, City Council President Todd Gloria said the vote necessary to legally release that transcript never took place.

Now attorney Cory Briggs is suing the City, looking to get an unredacted copy of that transcript. Dorian Hargrove quotes the lawsuit:

“[San Diegans for Open Government] brings this lawsuit under the California Public Records Act (“CPRA”). San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith are locked in what appears to many onlookers like a no-holds-barred political death spiral, with each trying to undermine or humiliate the other on practically every aspect of the other’s essential job functions. What they cannot seem to appreciate–or perhaps they hate each other so much that they just don’t care–is that they are taking the City down with them,” reads the lawsuit.

“Anyone who regularly seeks information from the City under the CPRA knows that a two-day response to a request for public records is about as rare as Halley’s Comet–even when the records already exist at the time the request is made. Furthermore, the redacted transcript omits numerous statements by other participants in the closed-session meeting, leaving the public able to do nothing more than speculate about those participants’ role in the Filner-Jones encounter.”


ut sdAs we’ve come to expect, the latest wrinkle in this downtown drama came via Channel10News and UT-San Diego.  It seems as though somebody from the Feds talked with “key City officials” about $100,000 in checks Sunroad Centrum Partners.

This development became reported as a FEDERAL INVESTIGATION into BOB FILNER.

Or not. The UT scaled back its headline, dropping Filner’s name after a few hours.

For all we know, the investigation could be about Kevin Faulconer, who played a key role in getting a 8-0 City Council vote to override a Mayoral veto on Sunroad’s project. Or it could be about Lori Zapf, who turned in a Sunroad generated report on the project in question to the city sans any mention of who’d written it.

Or the investigation could be about Sunroad, a company with a less-than-sterling history when it comes to dealing with the City of San Diego. From a story in the June 7, 2007 Union-Tribune:

SAN DIEGO – Mayor Jerry Sanders condemned Sunroad Enterprises yesterday as an irresponsible company with a pattern of aggressive development that skirts the law and could endanger the public.

The mayor’s outrage was in response to a report in The San Diego Union-Tribune yesterday detailing Sunroad’s plan to build two hotel towers near Lindbergh Field that exceed Federal Aviation Administration height standards.

Sunroad is proposing 600 hotel rooms and related amenities on Harbor Island, public property run by the San Diego Unified Port District. Meanwhile, the company is embroiled in a dispute with the city of San Diego over the height of an office tower near Montgomery Field in Kearny Mesa.

“The fact that Sunroad continues to propose projects that the FAA believes will endanger public safety is irresponsible and an affront to our community,” said Sanders, who accepted $3,600 from Sunroad executives during his mayoral campaign.

“There is now a pattern that is developing that shows that Sunroad is willing to thumb their nose when it comes time to obeying the law,” Sanders said at a news conference he called on the matter.

Filner, by the way, filed the proper paperwork (form 803) with the State of California detailing two checks, one for $76,000 “support the acquisition and installation of a Veterans Memorial” and another for $24,000 to “support the CycloSDias bicycling event on August 11, 2013” that were returned to Sunroad Centrum Apartments 23,LP on June 28th.

Darrell Issa Gossip (He Likes to Toot His Own Horn)

The NYTimes’s Mark Leibovich is coming out with an inside Washington book this week called This Town and there’s an excerpt in the Sunday Magazine talking mostly about aide Kurt Bardella, who started out working for Congressman Brian Bilbray:

Issa happened to be one of the wealthiest men in Congress, thanks to his magnificently successful car-alarm company. Bardella appreciated that, and he admired — perhaps because he identified with it — Issa’s willingness, even compulsion, to toot his own car horn. While Congress had no shortage of members who thought of themselves as the smartest guy in the room, Issa might have had a legitimate claim. He holds 35 patents, 16 of which hang on his office wall.

Issa’s office was down the hall from Bilbray’s, and Bardella began to camp out there, befriending Issa’s staff and pestering them until they hired him as press secretary.

Issa made clear that he very much wanted to become better known among the political-media cabal, and Bardella took on the obsession as his own. “I am completely focused on making Darrell a household name,” he told me. Before long, Issa was living in greenrooms, a heightened profile he owed largely to Bardella, who was simultaneously at work — a little too intensely — on getting himself noticed. He had what for a staff member was a dangerous knack for getting his name into print, and an even more dangerous craving for more. There’s a fundamental rule on Capitol Hill that aides should stay in the background, but Bardella was too eager to show off how plugged in he was at all times not to violate it..

We also learn that somebody from the White House shopped opposition research around to the press prior to Issa’s ascension to the Chairmanship of the House Government Operations Committee.

The Real Cost of Low Wages

The Coalition for Fair Employment (‘fair’ meaning non-union) lawsuit against the City of San Diego hoping to undermine a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) connected with the expansion of the Convention Center is scheduled to have its day in court next week (July 12), and things are heating up.

The right wingers behind this suit are claiming that ‘secret email accounts’ were used by former Mayor Jerry Sanders and then-Labor Council CEO Lorena Gonzalez in violating a city ordinance prohibiting such agreements.  (The PLA is between the contractor and the unions, not the City). Both Sanders and Gonzalez deny the existence of such accounts.

Now, if you want to see why somebody might actually want to pay better wages on a big public project, look north to Palo Alto, whose sparkling new public library has turned into a national lesson in you-get-what-you-pay-for.

The city dumped its prevailing wage mandate in 2010 and shortly thereafter accepted a suspiciously low bid for construction of their largest public works project ever.

Oops. It’s now looking doubtful that the new library will open by the end of the year. What’s been constructed is a shell of building that routinely fails even the basic inspections. And nobody’s even willing to venture a guess when the project will actually be completed or what it will ultimately cost.

One thing’s for sure: lawsuits aplenty.

Something Was Happening Here

RT4 RallyPredictably, there was no coverage of the San Diego version of the Restore the Fourth rally in today’s printed edition of the Daily Fishwrap.

There were demonstrations against abuses of power by government spy agencies in over 100 cities. Social media ‘blasts’ via an outfit called ThunderClap reached 9.3 million people, several dozen major websites trumpeted a singular message and thirty second TV ad ran in several major markets.

About 200 people in San Diego took time out on the 4th of July to rally in Balboa Park, followed by a march to the offices of Senator Diane Feinstein.  OBRag/SDFree Press editor Frank Gormlie was among those who addressed the rally.

On This Day1916 – Adelina and August Van Buren started on the first successful transcontinental motorcycle tour to be attempted by two women. They started in New York City and arrived in San Diego, CA, on September 12.  1935 -President Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act into law. The act authorized labor to organize for the purpose of collective bargaining.  1946 – The bikini, created by Louis Reard, made its debut during a fashion show at the Molitor Pool in Paris.

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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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  1. avatarDebbie Terry says

    Who is the Democrat running for Faulconers District 2 Council seat. I would like to start campaigning for her or him.

    • avatarDoug Porter says

      Faulconer is termed out. Lori Zapf has been restricted into D2, so we know she’s the GOP standard bearer. The picture on the Dems side isn’t so clear, but I know of one Clairement activist (good candidate) who’s seriously thinking about putting his hat in the ring…

  2. avatarRamon Espinal says

    An informative piece Doug. The fact of the matters is that power does not concede anything. Suddenly when a mayor with balls come to City Hall, the power that be feels threatened. Remember that the last Democratic mayor we had in the City of San Diego was Maureen O’connor. Of course, these forces which are also helped by a weak City Council leadership, believe that they can get away with easy. Recently, I heard Ms. Bosby, the Chair of the Democratic Central Committee say that Democrats has an advantage of about 125,000 registered Democrats in San Diego. The Republicans has not gotten used to yet to the news that they are a the minority of the minority in California, and they better get used to.

  3. avatarJEC says

    The best defense is a good offense, Kevin Faulconer knows, he’s well practiced. Potholes – Filner’s been in office 7 months – Faulconer has been there 7 years – today’s potholes belong to Faulconer, not Filner. And how about the airport – a Billion dollar expansion to add 50 flights a day – 50 more flights over the 2nd district and where’s Faulconer? What consideration if any was given the 2nd district folks who must live under those planes and you still can’t take the trolley to the airport. He has supported recreational bike paths – but can you take the trolley to the beach to reduce the horrible traffic. Public transit in the 2nd district today is no better from 7 years ago when Faulconer took office. But I predict – Faulconer is being groomed to run against Scott Peters – that’s why the local GOP is so quiet on DeMaio.