Honesty Apparently Not the Best Policy for Kevin Faulconer

Alvarez 33

Source: Faulconer for Mayor Campaign Ad

The Republican candidate for Mayor of San Diego demonstrably and provably lies in his latest campaign ad.

By Andy Cohen

I will certainly be grateful when this mayoral campaign is over and we can begin to move on to the 2014 midterms.  That sounds weird coming from a reporter/columnist that thrives on these election cycles.  This mayoral special election has certainly been the gift that keeps on giving, providing endless material for all of us San Diego political observer types to offer up to hungry readers.  Otherwise at this time of year we’d be struggling to find subject matter to fill our website with.  For a weekly columnist that’s not always easy (but then again, as they say, if it were easy everyone would do it).  For a daily columnist like my colleague Doug Porter, this mayoral special election is a godsend.

But what I’m tired of are the TV ads and the mailers that deliberately mislead their audience; the voters of San Diego.  I’m absolutely disgusted by the TV commercials that attempt to rewrite history.

In other words, the candidate ads that LIE.

Yesterday, SDFP columnist Jim Miller addressed the latest Kevin Faulconer ad that attacks “33 year old David Alvarez” for his union support; for the “union cronies” that are donating heavily to his campaign.  See the ad for yourself:

Attacking Alvarez for his age is pretty low, but I suppose it’s fair game.  Yes, he’s young.  That does not mean he’s inexperienced or too young to measure up to the responsibilities required of the mayor of the eighth largest city in the United States.  There is absolutely no question in my mind that he will.  Todd Gloria is only two years older than Alvarez, and by all accounts he’s been a tremendous fill-in as interim mayor.

Despite what Kevin Faulconer would have you believe, age is not a disqualifying factor.  But what really struck me, and what Miller did not fully address in his column, was the base dishonesty of the content of the ad itself.  Yes, Miller is right:  Faulconer hates unions, and by extension lacks any respect whatsoever for the workers who are represented by those unions.  Depending on your political perspective that may or not be a bad thing.

It’s quite a thing to call a sitting politician or candidate for office a liar.  It’s a very serious charge and not to be done lightly if you are a responsible member of the media community.  There is the potential for serious consequences, and one risks considerable damage to his or her reputation and credibility by making such a bold charge and being wrong.  I consider myself a responsible member of the media community.  I do not make such bold and controversial charges unless I’m certain that I can back them up.  And if I’m wrong, I will humbly admit that I made a mistake, which is not always easy to do.

With that said, Kevin Faulconer is a liar.  Or at least whoever is writing his campaign ads and mailers is, which by default makes him a liar since he himself is supposed to approve of all material released on his behalf.  The words “I’m Kevin Faulconer and I approve this message,” or the “Paid for by Kevin Faulconer for Mayor” at the end of a spot are legally required for a reason.  And Kevin Faulconer is counting on your ignorance and indifference to the facts in order to win an election.

Here’s what I mean:  In this particular TV commercial, the dire female voice tells us “we can’t afford to go back” (the title of the ad, I might add).  “33 year old David Alvarez will turn back the clock to a time when union cronies ruled.”  The spot goes on to blame the YOONyuns for the pension crisis that San Diego found itself mired in from 1996 to 2008 when the City Council finally got serious about solving a real problem.  Alvarez is being funded, the ad continues, by “the same unions that nearly bankrupted us.”

This is a lie.  Demonstrably and provably so.  The unions did not nearly bankrupt the City of San Diego.  Our own local government is responsible for the deliberate underfunding of the city’s pension fund that led to the massive deficit we found ourselves with by 2005 (“Enron by the Sea” ring a bell?).

How do we know this?  Well, it’s all spelled out right there in a 2010 San Diego Grand Jury report that looked into the crisis:

In a sequence of events in 1996, 2000, and 2002, SDCERS (San Diego City Employees Retirement System) adopted proposals, advanced by City officials as a strategy to balance the City’s budget that enabled the City to contribute less money to the pension system than was required to keep it adequately funded.  The 1996 proposal was known as City Manager’s Proposal 1 (MP1) and the 2002 proposal was known as City Manager’s Proposal 2 (MP2) .…..

(emphasis mine)

The report also listed as “fact” that “in 1996, 2000, and 2002 SDCERS adopted City proposals to put less money into the pension fund than was required to keep it adequately funded.  This enabled the City to address budget shortfalls.” (emphasis mine)

The pension crisis that San Diego is still digging itself out of was caused by the deliberate underfunding of the pension system, a decision made by City officials—the City Manager and City Council—under the leadership of Republican Mayor Susan Golding in 1996 and Republican Mayor Dick Murphy in 2000 and 2002.  The City went to the employee representatives with a proposal to increase employee benefits if they would go along with the scheme.  The unions, because they represent the best interests of the workers, viewed this as a pretty good deal for their members and accepted the offer.  They would have been foolish not to.

This is the kind of fundamental dishonesty that Kevin Faulconer has become known for.  He has been dishonest about the effects of the Barrio Logan Community Plan Update.  He has been dishonest about the increase in the Workforce Housing Offset.  He has been dishonest about his “neighborhoods plan” (he doesn’t really have one)—in fact, he stole the meme from David Alvarez in the first place because he knew that it was resonating with voters.

Further, we can lay this dishonesty squarely at the feet of the Faulconer for Mayor 2013/14 campaign, and not the Lincoln Club—who has had its own issues regarding its relationship to the truth in this campaign in supporting Faulconer’s candidacy—since the ad clearly states that it was paid for and produced by Faulconer’s campaign and not an independent expenditure committee (PAC).  Candidates can often distance themselves from questionable statements or advertising made on their behalf because, well, it wasn’t their campaign that was responsible for it, they didn’t approve it, and thus they cannot be held accountable for what a third party says or does.  That’s the nature of modern campaign finance and PAC’s.  This is not the case here.

Which begs the question:  Is this the kind of honesty, integrity, and transparency we can expect if Kevin Faulconer is elected as San Diego’s next mayor?

The ad certainly gets one thing right:  We can’t afford to go back to the policies and governance that got us into the financial crisis in the first place.  A return to those “good ‘ol days” is what Kevin Faulconer represents.



Andy Cohen

Andy spent 15 years working in the highest levels of the San Diego professional sports world, including both the Padres and the Chargers. He began his foray into writing while a volunteer for Francine Busby's 2010 Congressional campaign, eventually becoming a contributor to the now defunct SDNN. He has reported on local and national politics for both the OB Rag and the San Diego Free Press. When not reporting news and events, he offers political and policy commentary from a liberal perspective, occasionally turning back to his sports roots. While he does not hide his more liberal political bent, Andy always strives for fairness in the telling of a story.


  1. avatar says

    So how old is Faulconer? Let’s make an issue of that. Let’s say he’s old enough to have acquired a distaste for unions, care less about workers, old enough to have established connections with downtown developers. I think we need a younger, untainted man as Mayor – David Alvarez.

    • avatarnancy says

      I like that, John, and THANK YOU, Andy, for the article. Hopefully it’ll get circulated as it should. I tweeted (first time) the link.
      I saw Faulconer’s arrogance at a recent City Council meeting. At least 20 people,
      mostly minorities, spoke to the CC to have the fair wage ordinance updated. CC member F didn’t even look at most of them, not even to acknowledge when they introduced themselves. It verified what I had already heard about him.
      I’m just hoping his political career will be ended with his losing the mayoral race.

  2. avatarLucas O'Connor says

    Doing this off the top of my head, so feel free to correct any of these but- In addition to Todd Gloria being 35, Pete Wilson was 38, Roger Hedgecock turned 37 like the day before he took office, Maureen O’Connor was 40, Carl DeMaio would have been 38. Just because Faulconer is older doesn’t mean San Diego (or even the SDGOP) cares.

    • avatarbob dorn says

      On age and inexperience, the Republicans are blowing fumes.
      Their own Roger Hedgecock was elected Del Mar city attorney at age 28, and was a County Supervisor at age 30. Pete Wilson was elected to the Assembly when he was 33. Jerry Brown was elected Secretary of State of California at the age of 33.
      And, oh yes, Jesus was 33 when crucified.
      I’m not making any claims for Alvarez as a saviour, nor can I say he’ll be as successful as other young people who were elected to positions of extraordinary significance, and should be remembered by all good Americans.
      Here goes:
      Thomas Jefferson was a member of the Continental Congress at 31;
      Teddy Roosevelt gained the New York State Assembly at 23;
      Martin Luther King was 34 when he delivered his “I have a Dream” speech;
      Robert F. Kennedy was legal counsel to the Senate Rackets Committee when he was 32, and was named U.S. Attorney General at 36;
      Bill Clinton became Governor of Arkansas at 33;
      Henry Clay won his Kentucky Assembly seat at age 26, and went on to sit in the U.S. Senate from that state at age 29;
      Early feminist Anna Dickenson lectured on women’s rights and for abolition at age 20, years before the Civil War, and published a well-reviewed novel about an interracial marriage at age 26.
      Of course, no one in the Western World quite tops Alexander of Macedon, who simply exploded through most of the known world, conquering people on his way to the Indus River and what we call India when his troops decided they’d had enough and marched back to Greece. He died in Babylon at age 33.
      Maybe the Lincoln Club can tell us how old Abe was when he got into the business.

  3. avatarPaul OSullivan says

    Mr. Cohen – while I don’t know you personally, from reading this article I can see you have some honesty issues of your own. To cut to the chase, I’ve culled just one quote from the same Grand Jury report you site as vindicating the unions for their role (or, lack of involvement) in Enron by the Sea – “Fact: Some former SDCERS Board members were union leaders who also worked for the City. They voted for enhanced pension benefits for themselves and their constituencies without requiring increased contributions by the City to the pension fund. These actions put the retirement system in jeopardy by not ensuring its financial support and placing unsustainable burdens on the pension system. To date, no one has been held accountable in that regard.” To assert the unions had no or little role in the financial meltdown of our beloved city is misleading as best, a bald-faced lie if you have, in fact, read the Grand Jury report. Yes – the mayors were Republican. But if you’ll recall, unlike Sanders, the city’s first “strong mayor” to govern as the top administrator and have significantly greater authority over the city’s finances, both Golding and Murphy were “weak mayors” statutorily subject to a pro-union majority on the council and SDCERS. No – I’m not anti-union, I’m pro-honesty. If we accept a whitewashing of the truth about how we got into Enron by the Sea, we set the city up for a repeat whomever is mayor. Mr. Cohen – your version here of what happened is blatantly pro-union revisionism. I’m just too polite to call it a “lie.”

    • avatarAndy Cohen says


      Sure, some of the SDCERS board members voted on a resolution that increased their own benefits. But it wasn’t their idea to do so. And it’s dishonest for you to imply that they did so strictly out of their own greed.

      Fact: It was the City Manager, Jack McGrory who cooked up the scheme to underfund the pension system and brought it to the City Council, the mayor, and then the City’s employee unions.

      Fact: It was City Manager Michael Uberuaga who repeated the scheme in 2000 and 2002, again with the consent of the mayor and the City Council.

      The mayor of San Diego, although a “weak” mayor at the time, certainly had enough clout in the city speak up. Had Golding and then Murphy opposed the scheme, it’s likely it never would have happened. But they were all too happy to go along with it because it made their pet projects possible (for Golding, the 1996 Republican National Convention, among other things). Golding and Murphy’s hands are certainly not clean in this by any stretch of the imagination. Do you really think this did not have their approval? If so, I’ve got a bridge in Coronado for sale real cheap!

      As for the SDCERS board members–in particular the members who were part of a union themselves: When the City of San Diego approaches them and says “have we got a deal for you!” and it’s a pretty good deal that is favorable to their membership, what would you expect them to say? Me, I would have expected that the City Manager and the budget committee/staff would have done their homework, and if they were confident it would work (and I’m sure the SDCERS reps asked questions and were reassured by city staff of the plan’s viability) then sure, I would take that deal if offered.

      As I said above, they would have been foolish NOT to have taken the deal. Their responsibility is FIRST to their membership. The primary duty of protecting the interests of the City’s general fund falls on the elected and appointed city officials who approached the union reps with the plan. That’s why there are TWO SIDES represented at the negotiating table. If one side is really, REALLY bad at negotiating, well, whose fault is that?

      Bottom line: The union leadership could not have taken the deal if it had not first been offered to them. And it is crystal clear that it was the City’s plan, and not the union leadership’s. It was even called “City Manager Proposal 1″ and City Manager Proposal 2,” not “City Employee Union Proposals 1 & 2.”

      This whole ad campaign is all about demonizing the unions, as if they were the only party sitting at the table scheming on how to spend City money. But where’s the City’s culpability in it? Really, responsibility for the pension crisis falls almost entirely on the shoulders of irresponsible city officials.

      • avatarCurley says

        Oh, and Mr I’m Not Anti-Union is a donor to the Lincoln Club, the ‘open minded’ downtown club paying for the bigotry behind the anti-Alvarez ads.

      • avatar says

        “As I said above, they would have been foolish NOT to have taken the deal. Their responsibility is FIRST to their membership. The primary duty of protecting the interests of the City’s general fund falls on the elected and appointed city officials who approached the union reps with the plan.”

        You’re describing a kleptocracy rather than a government oversight board. Board members, whether they represent unions or not, have a fiduciary duty to the taxpayers and citizens first.

        If you’re excusing their votes to defraud the taxpayers because they are union reps, you proved Faulconer’s ad to be true.

    • avatarLarry Remer says

      Paul, you are just plain wrong. 100% wrong.
      Union leaders did not cause the pension crisis. Union leaders did not deliberately underfund the pension system.
      One, when Republican Mayors, backed by Republican majorities on the City Council, negotiated with the city’s unions and agreed upon a level of pension benefits, they went to the pension board. The pension board, with a majority of non-union people, approved those negotiated benefits.
      Two, you need to remember that under Republican Mayor Pete Wilson (a bit of a history lesson here), San Diego public employees LOST social security benefits with the promise from the Republican (and not a very pro-union administration) that their pensions would be adequate to make up for this.
      The upshot of the current situation is that the amount of money our city employees (lifeguards, librarians, sanitation workers, etc. . .) and paid and have to retire on is a civic embarrassment.
      Three, in any event, no member of the City’s staff or the Pension Board’s staff, or the Attorneys advising the Board, or the Board’s Financial Advisors warned that this was an underfunding that could do any financial harm to the city.
      Four, with all due diligence, after listening to testimony, reading reports and being advised by counsel that their decision was proper, the Board (during Golding and later Murphy’s Mayoralty) voted approval.
      Five, the REAL WAY for our City Fathers and Mothers to make good on the deal they negotiated — presumably in good faith — with our employees would have been to insure there was enough money in the city’s coffers to pay the wages they promised.
      BUT that would have run afoul of coming up with the money these Republican Mayors wanted to siphon off for their pet projects: notably the BALLPARK and the REPUBLICAN CONVENTION, which costs the city millions and millions that should have gone to pay our employees.
      The second way to come up with the money — either to pay the employees or to pay for these pet projects — would have been to RAISE TAXES and/or FEES. But, with one eye on the Tea Party, there’s no way these Republicans would go along with that.
      Just by way of contrast, when the SD Unified School District found itself with a severe facilities crisis (cracked foundations, roofs leaking, pipes bursting in the schools) and the need to modernize (to add computers and bring 21st Century learning to our kids) they went o the voters not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES to RASE TAXES.
      Back to the so-called pension underfunding. Starting in 2000, instead of doing the “right thing” an living up to the city’s commitment to its workers, the “establishment” decided instead to wage war on the workers. The Bush-appointed US Attorney and the Republican DA (who had her own eyes on the Mayor’s office) went after the union members of the pension board. None of the charges held water.
      The Daily Fishwrap led the political charge against the city, beating the drums against public employees, unions and their supporters. Over the decade, under the guise of Pension reform”, workers lost pensions, wages were kept down and that anathema to the local 1% was kept at bay — city taxes and fees did not increase.
      So, Paul, let’s put the “blame” where it belongs. San Diego suffered under decades of Republican Misrule (Misrule that Kevin Faulconer would revive). One of the key to the Republican ascendancy was the scapegoating and demonizing of public employees and their representatives.
      And to point out that, at the beginning, union officials went along with a bargain, negotiated in good faith, to enhance the economic security of their members is to, inadvertently I am sure, fall prey to the false mythology of the Republican Narrative about SD politics.

  4. avatarErnie Anderson says

    I enjoyed reading your article, Andy. The mayor and council were busy spending money they didn’t have on a lot more stuff than employee benefits. The manager was under constant pressure to find the money to support their spending habits.

    One correction I’d make to Larry’s comments: getting out of Social Security had no relationship with the pension program. As a substitute new program called the Supplemental Pension Program (really a 401k type format) was created and the city matched pre-tax employee contributions into an account up to 7% of salary. Probably more controversial (and expensive) was the city’s promise to provide health care for life.

    • avatarLarry Remer says

      Ernie is right about SPP, to a point. It’s a form of ‘privatizing’ social security, diluting spousal, disability and other benefits, and tuning worker retirement funds over to Wall Street con men to manage.
      The point, in part, is that corporate Republicans have ridden roughshod over worker pay/pension decisions at the city for decades; and their greed and bankrupt ideology is what created the pension debacle.

  5. avatarPaul OSullivan says

    Andy – Union members did vote for underfunding the pension system but “it wasn’t their idea” – Political comedy – I love it!

    • avatarAndy Cohen says

      So you’re saying that it was the UNIONS that went to the City and said “hey, we think it would be a great idea if you underfunded the pension system and expanded benefits” and not the other way around? This despite crystal clear, black and white evidence to the contrary?

      Revisionist history!–I love it!

  6. avatarPaul OSullivan says

    Mr. Cohen – I didn’t absolve anyone of guilt/responsibility. If you’re solely focused on partisan politics, it’s natural to conclude that my comments must be an effort to spin the issue for “the other side.” Not at all. There is plenty to blame including Golding, Murphy and John Kern (then Murphy’s Chief-of-Staff) all of whom had a hand in driving the truck off the cliff. No – I’m not implying unions are the only guilty party (I didn’t used the term “greed” – why are you now editing words into my comments?). But to absolve the unions for their participation and then call Faulconer a liar is beyond the pale. The irony of course is that it was Sanders – with Faulconer’s strong support – who cleaned up of the mess, and now he’s the one being accused of dishonesty. Typical politics – no good deed goes unpunished.

    • avatarAndy Cohen says

      And what, exactly, did Sanders do to “clean up the mess?” Are you referring to Prop B? The initiative that COST the city $56 million? That didn’t save a single penny and still hasn’t?

      For the record, it was the 5 yr pensionable salary freeze that is projected to save the city money, which is in actuality completely separate from Prop B. Prop B suggested it, but could not require it, and it would never have happened without David Alvarez’ involvement.

      Further, nowhere in the above Faulconer ad does it mention the City’s culpability in the pension crisis. According to the ad (which again, was released by the Faulconer campaign), it was “the unions that nearly bankrupted our city.” Which is a lie.

      • avatarPaul OSullivan says

        I’m not defending anyone (although Sanders did an excellent job as mayor and Alvarez and Faulconer as councilmembers). What’s good for the goose is good for the gander. You are calling out Kevin Faulconer personally as a liar by referencing the grand jury report. Okay – I simply referenced the same GJ report and inserted a quote that supports the ads’ claim to illustrate that calling him a liar is without merit. Just as the Lincoln Club DM piece depicting David with a handful of cash – that was dishonest politics, too.

  7. avatarPaul OSullivan says

    Larry – “Union leaders did not cause the pension crisis. Union leaders did not deliberately underfund the pension system.” I simply quoted from the same Grand Jury report that states they voted for it! There is no mystery here. Who should we believe – you or our own damn eyes?

  8. avatarLarry Remer says

    One. Who is foolish enough to believe grand jury reports?
    Two. The problem with the so-called pension crisis is that the Republican power structure (Mayors etc . .) essentially bargained in bad faith. They told the unions they were negotiating wages, benefits and working conditions. Then, when it came time to fund these negotiated benefits, they were MIA.
    Again, the pension crisis is NOT a deliberate underfunding. To buy into that idea is to accept the GOP/Establishment frame.
    The pension crisis is a lack of funding fueled by a deliberate, political inspired attack to weaken Democratic electeds, unions and others who stood up for working people.

    • avatarPaul OSullivan says

      If you don’t believe grand jury reports, than you agree with me that Cohen’s assertion that Faulconer is a liar in this article has no merit because his accusation is based on the GJR. “How do we know this (that the ad is a lie)? Well, it’s all spelled out right there in a 2010 San Diego Grand Jury report that looked into the crisis:” You can’t have it both ways – using “evidence” to convict him of being a liar but then to dismiss the same “evidence” as poppycock. Well, you can have it both ways – I just call it “dirty politics.”

  9. avatarLarry Remer says

    Using the grand jury report is Andy’s thing, not mine.
    Kevin is lying — yes, he’s a LIAR — because he’s blaming the pension crisis on the unions. That’s a LIE.
    The pension crisis was fabricated by Republican Mayors with the support of Republicans on the Council and the Republican business establishment.
    Unions negotiated in good faith and then had the rug pulled out from under them when it came time to get paid.
    How would you like it if you agreed to work for someone for $X in salary and $Y in retirement benefits and, when it came time for the employer to pay you, he turned around and accused you of agreeing to a deal that he didn’t want to pay for.
    That’s what happened.
    For Faulconer to try to blame the unions is a LIE!!

  10. avatarPaul OSullivan says

    Okay Larry – are you a neutral authority who knows even more than the grand jury does? Or is that just your opinion, man (to quote The Dude)? I’m sticking with the fact that those in leadership – including the union muckety mucks drawing two salaries, one from taxpayers and one from union dues – all had a role in the meltdown which is why the municipal union members eventually had to return so much of their hard-won bargaining gains. Perhaps that’s why the ad stings so much. It’s not the whole truth (of course), but it certainly doesn’t make KF a lair. And the more you shout that he is, the more incredible you are (as in, lacking credibility). Both Kevin and David are honorable men who want the best for our city. Either will be much, much better as mayor than either DeMaio or Filner because they offer much more moderate leadership despite people like you working so diligently to drive wedges between Republicans and Democrats in a non-partisan race. But we all do what we can, eh?

    • avatarLarry Remer says

      I don’t pretend to be neutral. But I definitely know more than the grand jury, in this instance.
      The grand jury is just a bunch of citizens with time on their hands who are friends of the judge and get nominated. They are good people but have no real expertise in politics, accounting etc . .
      The reason why the cynics say that the grand jury would indict a ham sandwich is precisely because they can be easily led by so-called experts (in criminal case, the prosecutor’s office).
      You’ve talked yourself into a corner, Paul. You’ve grabbed onto a “validator” (i.e. the grand jury) that you know NOTHING about (except that it has an impressive name).
      The TRUTH is actually very simple:
      -Mayor Golding negotiated these deals; but she also wanted to have her Ballpark and her Republican Convention.
      -The deal (if you actually READ IT, which I doubt you did) called for the city to put up sufficient money.
      -NOBODY from the City staff or the financial experts issued any warnings to the Retirement Board of the Council that the deal would undermine the city financially.
      -Then, when it came time to pay for the deal, the Republican power structure reneged and went after the Dems and the unions both politically and legally with lies, slander and false charges.
      -And YOU, among others, were gullible enough to buy their LIES and not just think but waste a gazillion electrons defending their LIE that the unions were somehow responsible.
      By the way, I do not know of any “union mockery” at he city who draw “two salaries, one of the taxpayers and the other from union dues.” I think you’re making that one up also.

  11. avatarAndy Cohen says

    Let’s put it another way, Paul:

    If your employer came to you and said “we’re going to give you a 50% raise with really no strings attached on your end,” unexpectedly and out of the blue without you having even asked for it. Would you take it, or would you turn it down out of concern for the accounting techniques used by the company in forming their budget?

    I’m pretty sure you’d say “thank you very much” and take the money straight to the bank.

  12. avatarKurt Hahn says

    All things aside the best candidate for Mayor of San Diego is Keven Faulconer. Progressives and Conservatives should welcome his stand on pension reform. Good sustainable public services are dependent on pension reform.

    Kurt Hahn

    • avatarAndy Cohen says

      If you say so……except “his stand on pension reform” actually didn’t reform anything at all. It COST the city $56 million it wouldn’t have had to shell out otherwise. And it wasn’t Prop B that “saved the city $1 billion,” it was the pensionable salary freeze negotiated by David Alvarez that should eventually reduce that bill over the next 10 years.

      But let’s not let a little thing like the facts ruin a good narrative.

  13. avatarDorothy says

    When did it become a crime to be 33 years old? How is it that a young man is going to lead us back to “the some old thing” in city hall? Sounds more like the old way of doing things. Read Jerry Saunders, a Faulkner supporter. Do these people even read the senseless drivel that they write?
    The unions created the middle class. A man who is supported by unions is of course a champion of the working class and middle class. Not a man who is supported by corporate interests.