Aztecs Fall to 13 in AP, Coaches Poll After UNM Loss. Time to Panic Yet?

Yearlong offensive struggles have finally caught up.

By Andy Cohen

The San Diego State Aztecs plummeted from 6th in the AP poll and 7th in the Coaches poll to 13th in both yesterday after losing to New Mexico 58-44 in Albuquerque on Saturday night.  Perhaps “plummeted” is a bit much.  This isn’t the Aztec basketball apocalypse…..yet.

Let’s not take anything away from the Lobos here.  They are a very good team who just happens to be playing its best basketball of the entire season right now.  The Aztecs hit a buzzsaw at the wrong time.

But to say that the Aztecs have been in an offensive funk since the first quarter of the conference season would be a bit of an understatement.  This team has prided itself on its effort and effectiveness on the defensive end of the floor all year, and through the non-conference season they were able to do just enough offensively to power them through some very big games, most notably against then #20 Creighton (now ranked #9 in the AP poll) and at then #16/17 Kansas (now #5/6), who just secured their 10th straight conference title to go against only their ninth home loss that the Aztecs dealt them on Jan 5 during that same period.   [Read more…]

The Carl DeMaio as Moderate Fallacy

According to the national media, being a gay Republican candidate for office automatically qualifies one as a moderate.

By Andy Cohen

Carl DeMaio has himself back in the news again.  And this time—for him, at least—its’ for the right reasons.  And no, it’s not the usual UT-San Diego drivel about how Carl is the “Savior of San Diego,” Doug Manchester’s Golden Boy (although given the most recent mayoral selection process, it seems that DeMaio may have fallen out of favor with his “Papa.”)

This time DeMaio has garnered the attention of the national media.  The Wall Street Journal first picked up the story about the first openly gay Republican candidate for Congress to feature his partner in a web ad, a serious departure from accepted GOP norms and surely a shock to the system of the Republican establishment.

The Washington Post then picked up and ran with the story, calling him “a moderate Republican who is running for Congress in Southern California who is openly gay.”   [Read more…]

Faulconer Victory Brings Back Business as Usual

San Diego’s shadow government poised to make its triumphant return.

By Andy Cohen

So that just happened. Not that it’s all that surprising that Kevin Faulconer beat David Alvarez in the mayoral special election last night. What is very surprising is the margin by which Faulconer beat Alvarez. It was expected to be squeaker of an election, with most polls showing a one to two point spread. Every poll considered to be credible had Faulconer with a one point lead and a margin of error of around four points.

Faulconer won by nine points, 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent.

First, let me just say that I must be a complete idiot. I stood up last November (figuratively speaking) in front of a packed house at a meeting of the Pt. Loma Democratic Club and definitively predicted that David Alvarez would win this election. The numbers were in his favor, and San Diego was in the midst of a political transformation.

This is why I got out of the prediction biz a long time ago. Not sure why I decided to wade back in, because I’m obviously not very good at it anymore.   [Read more…]

Court Rules City Within Its Rights To Reduce Retiree Health Benefits

Potentially precedent setting ruling opens the door for governments statewide to slash worker benefits.

By Andy Cohen

Last month, a state appeals court confirmed a lower court ruling that retiree health benefits are not vested benefits, as are employee pensions, and therefore are not subject to the same rules that apply to pension benefits.

The original lawsuit was filed on behalf of a retired police officer who sued the city because the it placed a cap on the premiums it would pay on her retiree health benefits. The cap, she said, fell $600 short per year of covering the full premium. Her attorneys argued that, according to the city’s agreement with the San Diego City Employees Retirement System (SDCERS), the city had to pay the full premium on medical benefits for all eligible retired city workers.

The courts disagreed, noting that, according to the city’s municipal code, “Health plan coverage for retirees and eligible dependents is subject to modification by the City and the provider of health care services, and may be modified periodically as deemed necessary and appropriate.”   [Read more…]

NFL On Cusp of Having First Openly Gay Player

Draft prospect from Missouri will test the sports world’s readiness to join the rest of us in the 21st Century.

By Andy Cohen

By now you’ve probably heard that former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out to the national press yesterday as gay.  Sam is an NFL prospect—projected by some to be picked as high as the third round—hoping to earn a paycheck as a professional football player next Fall, and should he make an NFL roster, he will become the first openly gay player in any of the major pro sports in the United States (sorry, the MLS doesn’t count quite yet).

Sam’s draft stock will be the topic of conversation from now until the NFL season begins next September.  Attitudes are changing about the LGBT community; acceptance of LGBT people is now almost a given, something unthinkable 10 years ago.  Poll after poll show that by a large majority Americans now accept the rights of gays to marry, with 17 states having legalized gay marriage, the federal government having disavowed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Attorney General Eric Holder having recently announced that the DOJ will fully recognize same sex couples, ensuring them the same rights as heterosexual couples.   [Read more…]

“Special Interests” Define the Agenda in San Diego Mayoral Special Election

David Alvarez touts his status as champion of the little guy in the race for the top spot in San Diego City Hall.

By Andy Cohen

“Special interests” is a term that has been thrown around a lot during this mayoral special election, especially during the runoff between Democrat David Alvarez and Republican Kevin Faulconer. But it is a term that has not been easy to define; one that depends almost entirely on your political point of view.

In TV and radio ads and mailers, the Faulconer camp decries Alvarez’ support from the “special interests,” the unions that are funding “eighty percent of Alvarez’ campaign” for mayor. Alvarez is critical of Faulconer’s support from the “business community,” the “downtown special interests” that many on the political left in San Diego feel have held the real governing power at City Hall.

As far as Faulconer is concerned, he doesn’t have any “special interest” support. His is a campaign fueled by individual San Diegans who believe that he is the right choice for the top spot at City Hall. He is supported by business groups (including the Lincoln Club), industry groups that may have a particular interest in city government and that Faulconer believes will play key roles in growing the San Diego economy. For example, the Building Industry Association, or the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Not special interest groups according to Faulconer.   [Read more…]

Honesty Apparently Not the Best Policy for Kevin Faulconer

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 viewers; 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.   [Read more…]

Alvarez Brings Neighborhoods Agenda to Carmel Valley

Mayoral candidate criticizes his opponent for prioritizing industry, big developers over community groups.

By Andy Cohen

In an effort to reach out to a wider array of voters, and answering criticism that he is unfamiliar with the neighborhoods in the northern parts of San Diego, City Councilman and mayoral candidate David Alvarez ventured into Del Mar to discuss his plan for neighborhood and community development with representatives from various community groups throughout the northern reaches of the city.

There are more than 40 identified, unique communities in San Diego, each with different characteristics and different needs. To better address those needs, Alvarez called for a series neighborhood summits within his first 100 days in office, allowing each community group the opportunity to communicate directly to city staff and identify their priorities.   [Read more…]

The Liberal/Progressive Agenda Becomes Cool Again

Todd Gloria’s State of the City Address paved a path for Dems, Alvarez to re-embrace a progressive agenda for San Diego.

By Andy Cohen

This has been a rather strange special election cycle. On the one hand we have a conservative, Republican candidate that can’t run away fast enough from the San Diego Republican Party—indeed, the Republican brand in general—who tries to sweep that identification under the rug at all costs. On the other hand, we have a progressive Democratic candidate who has seemed a little bit shy about brandishing his more liberal credentials.

That latter situation may have changed with iMayor Todd Gloria’s State of the City Address (no one, except for maybe GOP head henchman Tony Krvaric, expects Kevin Faulconer to claim the Republican mantle—at least not openly until after the election). For the first time since the 2012 mayoral election, a San Diego pol made the case for a complete departure from the Business as Usual crowd that is clamoring to return to power—and undermine San Diego’s elected government.   [Read more…]

Peters, Family Health Centers Combine Efforts to Bring Health Care to Local Residents

Logan Heights branch of Family Health Centers of San Diego adds twist to Congressman’s ACA outreach efforts.

By Andy Cohen

Congressman Scott Peters may have his issues with the Affordable Care Act—and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?—but you’d be hard pressed to find another elected member of Congress who has done more, conducted more outreach efforts to inform his or her constituents about what the law really is, how it works, and how they can best take advantage of what it has to offer.  It’s an imperfect solution to an even more imperfect healthcare system, but it’s a start, and a reasonably good one particularly given the current political environment and adamant GOP opposition to a law they have exactly zero chance at undoing.

The ACA, or “Obamacare” as it’s come to be known, is a work in progress, says Peters.  It can be a success, and it will be, but we have to work to make it better.