Keeping the World Safe from Science: Issa Wins Climate Change Denier Award

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

San Diego’s own Congressman Darrel Issa (R) has once again been nationally recognized for his efforts in Congress.

The League of Conservation Voters and Organizing for America joined forces yesterday at Issa’s Vista, Ca offices to confer the “Climate Change Denier” award to the Congressman. Sources say he was not available to receive the award.

A statement released by the groups said Issa was being recognized for “his extreme anti-science views, which put him at odds with 97 percent of scientists and a majority of the American people.”

According to the League of Conservation Voters, the Congressman’s stance on climate change is best characterized by this statement:

“One of the difficulties in examining the issue of the climate change and greenhouse gases is that there is a wide range of scientific opinion on this issue and the science community does not agree to the extent of the problem or the critical threshold of when this problem is truly catastrophic.”

issa-denier328x328Livia Borak, president of the San Diego League of Conservation Voters, was quoted in the Encinitas Patch:

“As chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Congressman Issa is not only denying climate change, but also actively impeding federal action, pledging to hold hearings on the ‘Politicization of Science,’ and calling for greater oversight of the EPA’s regulations of greenhouse gases.”

 “Issa voted against cap and trade and for the Keystone XL Pipeline. Even in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, he continued to deny an increase greenhouse gas emissions and manmade climate change.”

recent report authored by 51 scientists from the University of California, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, U.S. Geological Survey and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued by the California Environmental Protection Agency says climate change is “an immediate and growing threat” affecting the state’s water supplies, farm industry, forests, wildlife and public health.

From the San Jose Mercury News:

Since 1895, annual average temperatures in California have increased about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit and continue to rise, the report found. The length and severity of summer heat waves are increasing.

The sea level at the Golden Gate, home to the oldest continually operating tidal gauge in North America, rose 8 inches over the past century as the world’s glaciers and ice sheets have begun melting. Higher seas increase the risk of floods during storms in low-lying communities around San Francisco Bay, from Treasure Island to Alviso.

At Lake Tahoe, there are now 30 fewer days a year compared with a century ago when air temperatures average below freezing, the report found. And while 52 percent of the precipitation at the lake fell as snow in 1910, today only 34 percent does.

A June poll by the Public Policy Institute of California found that 63% of the state’s residents said the effects of global warming are already being felt, while 22% said they will happen in the future. Eleven percent said they will never happen.

California leads the nation in measures to reduce emissions of heat-trapping gases according to the report.  However, if it were a country, it would still rank as the 13th largest source of greenhouse gases in the world, ahead of France, Brazil, Australia and Saudi Arabia.

Last year Congressman Issa garnered a ‘Dishonorable Mention” in the annual Most Corrupt Members of Congress report issued by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a non-profit legal watchdog group dedicated to holding public officials accountable for their actions.

The Congressman was ‘honored’ for illegally revealing confidential information from a sealed wiretap in the Congressional Record and then shielding himself from reproach and censure by claiming that he, as a member of Congress, had constitutional protections for his unethical actions.

Corporate Welfare Runs Rampant in California

westfield_utcSan Diego County is losing out on an estimated $8.1 million annually in property taxes from just one land owning company, according to a study released yesterday.

From business columnist Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times:

As a developer of shopping malls, including 22 in California, Westfield Group clearly takes its responsibilities to the consumer economy seriously.

The Australian company’s malls are typically well-designed and anchored by the finest department stores, such as Bloomingdale’s and Nordstrom. The firm spends gobs of money to refurbish its older malls.

As a California taxpayer, you should be proud of Westfield‘s efforts. That’s because you’re paying through the nose for them.

Over the years the company has reaped hundreds of millions of dollars in favorable tax assessments, as a recent study documents. That means millions in foregone revenue that could pay for schools and parks.

Westfield isn’t breaking the law. They’re simply exploiting a huge loophole in California’s property tax law created by Proposition 13.  And this story is but one example of how the good intentions in the initiative have been leveraged for corporate profits.

The company reports one set of (high) property values to its shareholders and another (lower) set of valuations to the government for purposes of assessing property taxes. The report estimates the difference is costing California $41 million annually statewide.  On average Westfield paid taxes on approximately two thirds of the property worth reported to shareholders.

Westfield is, according to the study, the largest retail landlord in California, with 21 properties statewide and 7 in San Diego County.  The firm manages assets worth nearly $60 billion and recorded a profit last year of more than $1.5 billion.

Their $1.5 billion in San Diego properties reported to tax officials generated $17.5 million in tax revenue last year.  In Westfield’s report to shareholders those same properties are worth $2.3 billion.  The company is the largest (non-utility) landholder in the county

Back to the Times story:

Westfield is a perfect example of what’s wrong with California‘s system of business incentives. Corporate welfare has been baked into the rules for so long that state and municipal leaders don’t think twice about it anymore. No one asks whether these breaks serve their purpose. No one asks for evidence of a compelling need.

Westfield is a high-profile example,” says Peter Kuhns, the Los Angeles director of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment, one of the community groups that sponsored the property tax study. “But there are thousands of commercial property owners in California” getting a similar break on assessments. “That’s why our schools are falling apart.”

Trouble in Recall Paradise?

recall filner pageLast week the big news was all about the high profile San Diego politicos joining forces with the campaign to Recall Mayor Bob Filner.

April Boling, (Carl DeMaio’s campaign treasurer , who also helped run signature gathering for Proposition B); consultant John Hoy, (City Councilwoman Lorie Zapf and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith); communications pro Rachel Laing, (formerly with Mayor Jerry Sanders and campaign consultant Tom Shepard); and Jean Freelove (longtime Republican fundraiser) all signed on with the recall effort.

Now it seems as though the group is going through a tough patch.

City News Service picked up on and News6 ran with a story linked to a Facebook posting by Elisa Brent, Co-Chairman of the Recall Bob Filner campaign announcing her resignation. Citing breakdown in communication with GOP activist and organizer Michael Pallamary, Brent did say that she’d continue on with the campaign as a volunteer coordinator.

Claiming she’d been working on the recall campaign 20 hours a day, Brent said “the breaking point” came when her reputation as the volunteer coordinator was questioned online.  “My reputation is now being discounted as merely a volunteer when I am not just a volunteer — I am also a business woman. It is time for me to part ways.”

A pro-Filner group, via a Facebook posting of its own, is suggesting that Pallamary has been “ditched” by the recall campaign.

Birds of a Feather: Glen Beck, Rush Limbaugh Slobber Together

If there was any doubt in your mind that the Filner falderal was a circus, the recent entrance of clowns Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh should seal the deal.

Following a tweet from a local GOP official yesterday, the local media obediently played up the story about local Hooters franchises displaying signs announcing they would refuse to serve Mayor Filner.

It was a PR goldmine for a restaurant chain that’s built its brand on tits and ass. The signs were the brainchild of talk show host Glenn Beck, via local shock jock Mike Slater.

And lawyer Gloria Allred, whose press conferences have certainly provided much of the drama in recent weeks, went head to head with The Rushbo, calling him out for claiming feminists were sitting by idly while the Filner scandal unfolds.

Here’s what Limbaugh said on air:

“The response by all the usual suspects to this Mayor, his name is Filner, is nothing. There is no response. Gloria Allred’s not doing anything. Nothing. And this is a war on women. This is how it happens. This is real discrimination against women. This is real abuse of women. This is objectifying them, treating them like second class citizens. This is it. This is what the feminazi’s having been teaching against forever, and they ignore it. Because the guy is a good democrat and above all else the party and the movement must be saved. In fact more than saved, not even harmed. You compare this, this is actual abuse, this is actual discrimination, text book discrimination, text book abuse and there is not one reaction of note anywhere.”

The conclusion of Allred’s response, via Radar, an on-line celebrity tabloid:

Rush, it is overdue for you to apologize to me and to many feminists like San Diego NOW who also called for the Mayor to resign well before your radio show. Will you apologize?

We can expect Rush to rush to judgment, but although I hope you will do the right thing, my guess is that your response will be to rush to silence rather than to “woman up” and issue an apology admitting that, once again, you have misrepresented the facts and misled your audience in order to advance your own reactionary political agenda.

Pass the popcorn, please. And a clothespin for my nose.

CODE PINK! Comes to Droneland USA

code pinkMedea Benjamin, renowned peace activist, author, and founder of CODEPINK will be visiting San Diego this week, looking to stir up a little trouble.

On Thursday August 15, from 4-6pm, she’ll be joining up with the San Diego Veterans for Peace for the one year anniversary of anti-drone protests at General Atomics in Poway. (Meet at Scripps Poway Parkway and Stowe Drive, Poway.)

On Friday, August 16, at 7pm, Medea will be at the Church of the Brethren, 3850 Westgate Place, San Diego, speaking on her recent Yemen trip, plans for the upcoming DC Drones Summit, along with describing recent developments at the UN regarding drones.  The program will also feature a reading of Anita Simons’ anti-drone drama “DRONE PLAY.”

In 2005 Benjamin was one of 1,000 exemplary women from 140 countries nominated to receive the Nobel Peace Prize on behalf of the millions of women who do the essential work of peace worldwide. In 2010 she received the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peace Prize from the Fellowship of Reconciliation.

She is the author of several books, most recently “Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control”. Her visit to San Diego is cosponsored by the San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, the San Diego Peace Resource Center, and the San Diego Veterans for Peace. For more information, gohere.

On This Day: 1935 – U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law. 1970 – Stephen Stills was arrested on cocaine possession charges at a motel in La Jolla. He was released on $2,500 bail.  1995 – Shannon Faulkner became the first female cadet in the history of The Citadel, South Carolina’s state military college. Following intense harassment, she quit the school less than a week later. 

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 to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org 

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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. avatarCynthia says

    Ms. Allred”s concluding paragraphs quoted above were, I have to say, quite satisfactory. I should think they would please both pro-and anti-Filner camps alike, because they speak a truth that is demonstrable by the most cursory examination of the local news.

  2. avatarmichael-leonard says

    Doug and Cynthia:
    Let’s be accurate now, Issa (thankfully!) is NOT a San Diego boy. He’s lived in Cleveland, Ohio and Vista, CA. ;-)

    • avatarCynthia says

      You are correct, I said honor to our city, but that would indirect honor, trickling down from the county as it were.

  3. avatarCynthia says

    Yes, I presumed in the story that he meant San Diego County, which seems to be as big as a small country. I think he would still be allowed to run for Mayor. He might want to inch a little closer in his residence.

    • avatarmichael-leonard says

      *continuing very tongue-in-cheek*
      Huh-uh! Convention is that whenever a county is meant, it is with the word ‘county’ in the title. EX: Miami versus Miami-Dade County. So, when people say ‘San Diego’ it’s understood we mean the city unless we specify San Diego County. ;-)