By Doug Porter
I’ve listened to and watched a bunch of mayoral debates this year. Usually I come away from those things feeling like I’d wasted my time.
No other face-off featuring the major players even came close to what occurred last night at the North Park Theater.
I came away with a much better understanding of who the candidates are and what they stand for. Which is what’s supposed to happen.
A broad range of issues were covered. There were no opening statements, no mandated time for each candidate to rebut. Questions were submitted from the general public via electronic media and thoughtfully shaped by Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis. There were no mouth-breather questions about traffic tickets, favorite colors or unicorns. No candidate promised free ponies for everybody if they were elected.
Moderator Lewis kept it focused, with the help of the audience who were encouraged to stomp their feet when they felt candidates were droning on.
The wonk-centric format favored Mike Aguirre’s generally more meaty answers, except that he can’t really answer questions about what exactly he’d do to get the city out of the money pit that is pension funding. (Sorry, Rhode Island’s solution isn’t our answer.)
Nathan Fletcher overused the “we need to have a conversation about…” phrase and dominated the field when it came to time spent talking. My take is those are code words for “let’s see what’s politically expedient.”
Kevin Faulconer sounded like the “moderate” Republican much of the time, until it came time to talk about the priorities of the moneyed downtown developer set. That’s when the GOP talking points like “job tax” passed his lips.
David Alvararez’s answers were short, sweet and to the (progressive) point. I thought he hit it out of the park when it came to talking about homeless solutions, pointing out the County’s lack of interest in the subject, given that most of the monies for social programs flow through their coffers.
My main criticism is of the event is that it should have been televised. You can hear the KPBS audio here, although it may take a few moments to sort out who’s talking. UPDATE: VOSD has a best and worst article about the debate posted that makes for interesting reading.
You Lie! (Needs to Go Viral)
One point raised by Alvarez last night was about the outright lies being told by signature gatherers for the industry sponsored initiative to overturn the Barrio Logan Community Plan. And it just so happens that VOSD’s Scott Lewis (who’s now used up his quota on favorable mentions for the year) caught a little bit of that action on video outside a Trader Joe’s recently as a shill blocked his way in, demanding that he sign because the “Navy will leave town”. Here’s the video:
‘Back Country Voices’ Talks About Drone Testing in San Diego
Back in September the County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved an effort to make the airspace over a large portion of California (including the county) one of six proposed national Drone Test Sites.
In October all six members of the local Congressional delegation sent a letter to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in support of the effort. Here’s their reasoning as expressed in that letter:
The San Diego region is home to one of the most active UAS/UAV industries in the United States two of the largest manufacturers of DAS in the world are headquartered in the region, supported by many other companies in the supply chain. Small businesses related to UAS are flourishing. San Diego has not only the necessary ground infrastructure but also the human capital and research resources. Partnerships with academia are important to FAA’s ability to gather all the technical data needed. Our six major universities in the San Diego region are already taking steps to ensure they are providing the necessary research and education for the industry to thrive. A recent study by the San DiegoNorth Chamber of Commerce found that the VAS/VAV industries accounted for $1.3 billion of activity and 7,200 jobs in the region in 2011. By 2019, the activity will exceed $12 billion.
Meanwhile, nobody’s actually asked the people who might live under these test flight areas what they think.
The newly formed Back Country Voices is sponsoring two public meeting venues, to raise awareness, gather information, and express concerns about these plans and what they could mean regarding safety, privacy and environment considerations.
They’ve invited knowledgeable drone experts, politicians on both sides of the aisle, members of the FAA, ACLU, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, S.D. Veterans for Peace Foundation, Next Generation Air Transportation System (NextGen), San Diego Coalition for Peace and Justice, Sen. Boxer, firefighters, environmentalists and others to present the community with information on what’s at stake for San Diego being a national testing site for drones.’
National Elections: Mostly Good News
There were off year elections around the country yesterday.
New York City overwhelmingly (74%) voted for an unabashedly progressive Democratic mayor. Virginia selected a creepy Democrat over a Tea Party Republican by 2%. New Jersey solidly (60%) re-elected Republican Gov. Chris Christie while also approving a minimum wage hike that he’d vetoed.
The city of Portland Maine legalized possession and recreational use of marijuana by a landslide (70%). A cluster of counties symbolically voting to form a new state in northern Colorado as a protest over gun laws mostly (10 out of 11) failed to make their point. And the Seattle suburb of SeaTac voted to enforce a $15 per hour minimum wage.
Nobody’s saying this year’s election really means much in a national sense. But the National Republican Senatorial Committee told Politico today that they’re now willing to invest heavily in the 2014 primary elections to make sure their candidates do well. That’s bad news for the Tea Party types.
Columnist Rand Paul Calls Out Meddling Journos
You might know him as a US Senator with presidential ambitions. But to conservative-leaning newspapers around the country, Rand Paul is also a prolific writer of opinion.
The rightward leaning Washington Times announced yesterday that it would no longer be availing it self of Sen. Paul’s services in light of a mushrooming plagiarism scandal. He’s issued a statement regretting the lack of attribution to his pilfered materials, and blaming unnamed aides for sloppy research…. And (wait for it…) also it’s the liberal media’s fault making a big deal out of nothing.
This leaves me no choice but to call upon the wiseacres at Wonkette for their incisive analysis:
In other words — which seem to be the only kind he has available to him — Paul is less the “author” of his “writing” than the general contractor, and he’s gotten stuck with some cheap knock-offs that he had no idea were shoddily manufactured. Poor thing. Maybe he should challenge them to a duel, too?
Still, Rand Paul is looking forward to putting all this past him so he can get back to sharing his important message that with hard work and individual initiative, anyone can be a success. Especially if they’re freed of the burdens of government regulation and intrusive journalists looking at them too closely.
Paranoia Strikes Deep
OB Rag/ SD Free Press editor Frank Gormlie’s been taking a sabbatical over the last couple of weeks, hoping to complete one of his bucket list of projects (it’s impressive): a review of what we know and don’t know about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
A random factoid about myself that most people don’t know was that in my younger days I toured the country on a speaking tour armed with a pirated copy of the infamous Zapruder film, which has long been used by critics of the Warren Commission Report to question their findings. This thrust me into the world of conspiracy theorists, where paranoia reigns supreme.
The more you look into the Kennedy assassination, the creepier it gets. And it’s catching.
So it’s no wonder that Gormlie was more than a little freaked yesterday driving down Highway 94 when he saw US Attorney Laura Duffy cruising behind him obviously checking out the assorted subversive bumper stickers on his car.
We look forward to Frank’s overview and analysis, provided “they” don’t take him out first.
Quote of the Day (via Ezra Klein):
If education is a poor child’s best shot at rising up the ladder of prosperity, why do public resources devoted to education lean so decisively in favor of the better off?…The United States is one of few advanced nations where schools serving better-off children usually have more educational resources than those serving poor students, according to research by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. Among the 34 O.E.C.D. nations, only in the United States, Israel and Turkey do disadvantaged schools have lower teacher/student ratios than in those serving more privileged students.”
Eduardo Porter (No relation) in The New York Times.
On This Day: 1860 – Abraham Lincoln was elected to be the sixteenth president of the United States. 1966 – Bill Graham’s Fillmore Auditorium opened in San Francisco. 1986 – U.S. intelligence sources confirmed a story run by the Lebanese magazine Ash Shiraa that reported the U.S. had been secretly selling arms to Iran in an effort to secure the release of seven American hostages.
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