Basta! Barrio Logan Group Files Lawsuit Citing Illegal Signatures on Referendum Petition

by on November 14, 2013 · 4 comments

in Activism, Battle for Barrio Logan, Columns, Government, Politics, The Starting Line, Voter Guide Special Election

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

The stories have been circulating for weeks about simply outrageous falsehoods being told by signature gatherers employed by backers of a referendum to overturn the Barrio Logan Community plan. Now community members, led by the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), are fighting back.

The three biggest lies being told are:

  • 46,000 jobs were endangered
  • Businesses were going to be replaced by condominiums
  • The Navy would abandon San Diego

This morning they filed legal documents seeking to block any referendum on the basis that organizers deliberately made misrepresentations in order to gather signatures.

From the EHC:

Barrio Logan‘s community-developed plan, approved by City Council on September 17, breaks a 30-year history of toxic land-use planning that allowed houses, parks and schools to intermingle with polluting industrial properties. The newly approved plan–which the City developed through a five-year, facilitated community input process–will finally separate industrial establishments and residential neighborhoods in the interest of breathable air, affordable community housing and support for the maritime workforce. Represented by the Port of San Diego Ship Repair Association, the out-of-state corporations couldn’t get voters to sign its petition to repeal the plan by telling the truth, so they resorted to lies to illegally gather signatures.

Here are three videos showing signature gatherers in action. Video # 1  Video # 2 Video #3

Here are actual experiences reported on the EHC web site in response to a statement by Chris Wahl of the Protect our Jobs Coalition saying an early report of misrepresentations was an isolated incident:

“Same “isolated” incident at the Albertsons on University in North Park. The signature gatherer did not appreciate it when I loudly protested his claim of a 46,000 maritime job loss.”

“Same “isolated” incident at Home Depot on Balboa and Genesee. My wife got into an arguement with the women there, who was incredibily rude! She went inside and complained to the store manager. These people are getting paid for these signatures and the folks who are simply out shopping don’t have a clue. WHAT A SHAME!”

“Chris Wahl of the Protect our Jobs Coalition, which I interpret as a front for Port of SD Ship Repair and others in the industry has way more signatures than he needed–because the hired signature gatherers were simply asking people “sign here to save jobs.” The real issue, toxins and their effects on Barrio Logan kids, never surfaced.”

“Last Saturday I spoke with one of the petition folks. He said that the plan will result in building 500 homes in land currently used for industrial purposes. I asked to see a map of the area and he told me if the issue goes for a vote then I will see the map. When I pressed him to see the map he told me to leave.”

“I got the same story from a signature gatherer outside Trader Joe’s in Mission Valley a week ago Wednesday. It took a while for me to figure out that the petition was to rescind the City Council’s decision and was backed by business, not the community. I told him I would not sign.”

“I heard the same lies from signature gatherers at three different grocery stores. All three talked about the community plan causing the loss of thousands of jobs. This was two weeks ago at Sprouts on Third Street in Chula Vista, last week at Sprouts on Rosecrans, and yesterday at Whole Foods in Hillcrest.”

Barrio Logan TRUTHThe only actual dispute between the shipbuilding industry and community plan proponents boils down to what will happen within a nine block commercially zoned ‘buffer area’ proposed to separate residential properties from industrial properties.

The referendum’s backers have no studies, no experts and no governmental agency backing their claims that this buffer is just the first step in what they assert is a ‘slippery slope’ towards banishing the shipbuilding industry from the area.  Oh, and there are no actual shipbuilders within the contested zone.

Here’s Voice of San Diego with the facts:

As envisioned by the adopted plan, maritime suppliers would need to secure a conditional-use permit if they want to open up in the commercial buffer area. Obtaining that type of permit would allow community input, meaning the community could conceivably say no each time.

The flyer’s third bullet also says the new plan would rezone the suppliers currently operating there, limiting their ability to expand and “potentially forcing them to relocate.”

That’s accurate too, although the “potentially” is doing a lot of work. Existing businesses would be able to remain as long as they don’t vacate their property for two consecutive years. They could expand up to 20 percent – and even more than 20 percent, if they get a conditional-use permit.

Mayoral candidate Kevin Faulconer and Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio have both staged media events where they were supposed to be portrayed as leading the fight to ‘save jobs’ by collecting signatures in front of shopping locations, all of which conveniently happened be to north of Interstate 8 in predominately white neighborhoods.

Mayoral Contest News Flashes 

New-PollForty one percent.

That’s the magic voter turnout number sources close to the Alvarez campaign tell me is needed to put their candidate over the top in next Tuesday’s special mayoral election.

According to inewsource.org, 32% of the 350,000 ballots mailed to voters October 21st have been returned as of yesterday. They’ve put up another handy dandy gizmo allowing readers to check voter turnout in their precinct.

The bad news for the Alvarez campaign is that most of the neighborhoods showing high turnouts are north of Interstate 8 (plus Point Loma) , which would tend to favor both Nathan Fletcher and Kevin Faulconer.  Neighborhoods south of that freeway were crucial in electing the city’s last attempt at having a progressive Mayor.

Yesterday, however, an electronic poll generated by Datamar showed the race as follows:

Faulconer (41%), Alvarez (25%), Fletcher (15.9%).  One political observer told me that, while Datamar’s polls have been less than accurate as to actual percentages, their track record at predicting outcomes was solid.

Tracking polls released by supporters of Alvarez have shown their candidate in the lead over Fletcher for a runoff spot, but statistically tied when the margin of error was factored in.  Scheduled TV ads and a tidal wave of mailers attacking Alvarez funded by Fletcher supporters via the ‘independent’ Neighborhood Markets Association could have an impact.

It should be remembered this group’s mailers have traditionally been in support of right wing positions. So now we have two right wing leaning (ok, falling over) organizations—the other is the Lincoln Club—intervening with attack ads on behalf of their favored Democratic candidates. Ugh.

aguirreAttorney Mike Aguirre might still be a factor in this race as a spoiler. At a free-for-all debate last night on KUSI (described by more than one observer as like watching a train wreck) he unloaded on his opponents with an attack regarding city finances sounding like it was crafted by former city councilman Carl Demaio.

As one Alvarez supporter emailed me:

 On thing is certain: if Fletcher wins by a point or two, it will be because Aguirre stayed in the race.  Other than ego or pension megalomania it’s hard to see the motivation as he doesn’t have a shot in hell with no campaign structure or ground game.  Some folks are even speculating that some of the Aguirre signs are going up via Fletcher forces.

Kevin Faulconer’s Boy Scout Boo-Boo

via twitter

via twitter

The Faulconer campaign’s social media proudly touted nine members of Boy Scout Troop 246 working phones on behalf of the candidate yesterday, saying they were earning credit towards a Merit Badges.

Benjamin Katz (who supports Fletcher) jumped in with this tweet:

 .@kevin_faulconer I’m glad to see young people involved, however, this is a violation of Boy Scout policies & threatens their 501(c)3 status

Oops. And he’s right.  From a BSA policy statement

Boy Scouts of America policy prohibits Scouts from participating in political activities. BSA membership applications, under Program Policies, state: Citizenship activities are encouraged, but partisan political activities are prohibited.

Uniformed unit members and leaders may participate in flag ceremonies at political events and may lead the Pledge of Allegiance; however, they should retire after the ceremony and not remain on the speakers’ platform or in a conspicuous location where television viewers could construe their presence as an endorsement or symbol of support. In addition, photos of candidates or Scouts in uniform or BSA marks and logos are not allowed in political campaign materials of any kind. Leaders must be alert to situations that would imply that the BSA favors one candidate over another. Strict observance of our long-standing policy against the active participation of uniformed Scouts and leaders in political events is mandatory.

When your political party can only sign up 3% of all newly registering voters, I guess it’s necessary to hijack a Boy Scout Troop or two. A UT-San Diego poll on the appropriateness of using Boy Scouts in a political campaign shows (as of this writing) 80% of respondents do not approve of the idea.

If The Pouch Fits, Issa, Wear It

d_issaWashington Post columnist Dana Milbank just unloaded on Congressman Darrell Issa today:

“The American people do not want to see a kangaroo court here,” Rep. Jim Cooper, a Tennessee Democrat, said midway through Wednesday’s four-hour prosecution of Obama administration technology experts by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) hopped to attention. “ ‘Kangaroo court’ is quite an accusation,” he said, “and I hope the gentleman from Tennessee, when he uses the term kangaroo court in the future, will think better of making an accusation.”

Sorry, Mr. Chairman, but the pouch fits. It was indeed a kangaroo court, and Issa was the main marsupial.

Milbank goes on to cite example after example of Issa’s ham-handed, pompous conduct. It’s a great read.

Watch Out for Those Welfare Queens!

Barry Ritholtz over at Bloomberg News, weighing in on the real costs of cheap goods:

It seems that welfare queens are back in the news these days. The old stereotype was an inner-city unwed mother — that’s dog-whistle-speak for black — having multiple babies to get ever bigger welfare checks (throw in a new Cadillac and the myth is complete). Regardless, welfare reform of the 1990s ended that narrative.

No, the new welfare queens are even bigger, richer and less deserving of taxpayer support. The two biggest welfare queens in America today are Wal-Mart and McDonald’s.

This issue has become more known as we learn just how far some companies have gone in putting their employees on public assistance. According to one study, American fast food workers receive more than $7 billion dollars in public assistance. As it turns out, McDonald’s has a “McResource” line that helps employees and their families enroll in various state and local assistance programs. It exploded into the public when a recording of the McResource line advocated that full-time employees sign up for food stamps and welfare.

Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest private sector employer, is also the biggest consumer of taxpayer supported aid. According to Florida Congressman Alan Grayson, in many states, Wal-Mart employees are the largest group of Medicaid recipients. They are also the single biggest group of food stamp recipients. Wal-mart’s “associates” are paid so little, according to Grayson, that they receive $1,000 on average in public assistance. These amount to massive taxpayer subsidies for private companies.

Why are profitable, dividend-paying firms receiving taxpayer subsidies? The short answer is, because they can. The longer answer is more complex and nuanced.

On This Day1900 – Composer Aaron Copland was born  1968 – Yale University announced it was going co-educational  1995 – The U.S. government instituted a partial shutdown, closing national parks and museums while most government offices operated with skeleton crews.

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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 won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013 and 2014. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park. NEW: Ello contact @dougbob
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avatar Judy Swink November 14, 2013 at 4:35 pm

Diane T. – I’ll testify that a signature collector told me that the City Council had passed a law to force the Navy out of San Diego, as well as making the claim of loss of 46,000 jobs. This was at Baron’s Market, W. Pt. Loma Blvd. I’ll have to do some research to pin down the date, though.

avatar Bonnie November 15, 2013 at 2:18 pm

Many. Many. Many thanks, Mr. Doug Porter, for getting this story–this SIDE of the story–out and in print. One of those quotes was mine and I was among those who signed declarations after being astounded at the outrageous lying behaviors of these criminals to run this town and the money in their own selfish interest.

avatar Michael November 17, 2013 at 5:51 pm

Today, Sunday, November 17, yet another SAVE BARRIO LOGAN supporter set up outside the Target on Sports Arena in Point Loma. Lots of garish signs and several large-ish American flags continuing to spread the untruths and hyperbole that only robot-ish petition signature gathers can spew. He was very defensive when I challenged him, and grew quite boisterous as I believe those robots are all programmed to do. I just kept chanting to any and all who would listen to me, look it up on line in the San Diego Free Press. In the clear vestige of others who have come before this man, if one tells the same lie over and over again people begin to believe the lie as the truth. So Karl Rove. BASTA INDEED!

avatar Michael November 18, 2013 at 1:50 pm

Is it legal to photograph or video these people who are handling the petitions?
Thank you.

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