Doug Porter

Thumbnail image for Massive Technical Difficulties

Massive Technical Difficulties

by Doug Porter 11.21.2014 Columns

A server migration, an automated backup and a platform update walk into a bar….

We don’t know exactly what happened, but San Diego Free Press is having some big-time technical issues. As I’m writing this we’ve done a “restore” of everything from 11/19 backwards. The site is slow. Very slow.

That’s about as technical as I can get. I am assured that all the right people are working hard to fix this.

We’ll be back in business as soon as the techies let us.

PS–Yes, we know all the comments have disappeared. Chances are good that if you try to leave a comment today it will go down a rabbit hole. If you need to get in touch, our email is contact@sandiegofreepress.org or you can visit our Facebook page.

PPS–I’m headed out of town for a week. (Great timing, huh?) The Starting Line column will return December 1st.

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Thumbnail image for Mounting Protests Over 43 Kidnapped Mexican Students Resonate in San Diego

Mounting Protests Over 43 Kidnapped Mexican Students Resonate in San Diego

by Doug Porter 11.18.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Tijuana Mayor Jorge Astiazarán appeared at inside the glass-walled Shiley Special Events Suite at the Central Library for ceremony this morning to announce plans for greater collaboration between their cities.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is the first agreement of its sort since 1994, when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was implemented. Local governments are pledging collaboration in the areas of economic development, border infrastructure, environmental stewardship and public safety.

Their commitment to collaboration on public safety may be tested sooner than they think. Unrest in Mexico, triggered by the disappearance of 43 students in the state of Guerrero is reaching a fevered pitch. Nationwide demonstrations in Mexico on November 20th are prompting activists north of the border to hold protests that day. Here in San Diego, a protest is scheduled for Thursday at the Mexican Consulate (1549 India St) in Little Italy.

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Thumbnail image for Shut-Peachment: The Coming GOP Drama Over Immigration. Get Your Popcorn Ready.

Shut-Peachment: The Coming GOP Drama Over Immigration. Get Your Popcorn Ready.

by Doug Porter 11.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Congressional Republicans are bracing for executive actions on immigration by President Obama in the very near future.

The GOP apparently feels some sort of sense of entitlement coming off the mid-term elections when voters repeated their usual pattern of increased support for the party not in the White House. (The last time that didn’t happen was 1998, when Republicans were busy trying to impeach President Bill Clinton.)

The President, who has lived through six years of GOP obstructionism, isn’t waiting any longer on this issue. Today we’ll take a look at what’s likely to happen politically in the coming weeks. Trust me, it’s going to be a very entertaining holiday season if you’re into politics.

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Thumbnail image for ‘Tis the Season for Labor Unrest: Walmart Activists Sit-In, Port Truckers Walk Off, Contract Workers March in DC

‘Tis the Season for Labor Unrest: Walmart Activists Sit-In, Port Truckers Walk Off, Contract Workers March in DC

by Doug Porter 11.14.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

Coast to coast labor actions on Thursday, November 13th, provided a preview of what’s to come in the not-so-distant future as workers who’ve been marginalized and abused in the so-called post recession economy begin voicing their frustrations. The tactic of short, sudden strikes starting with restaurant workers in New York City several years ago is going nationwide.

America’s biggest retailer saw an daytime sit-in by about 20 employees at its Crenshaw store. Off duty Walmart employees sat along aisles at that location holding signs resembling those used in the first retail sit-down strike at Woolworth in 1937.

Store Managers came by and checked IDs and discount cards to verify that those involved really were WalMart employees. Protesters were out of their uniform and off the clock, their mouths covered with green tape and the word strike written across it symbolizing their claims about the company’s illegal efforts to silence workers who are calling for better jobs.

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Thumbnail image for Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

Are You Ready for the 2016 Political Shuffle in San Diego?

by Doug Porter 11.13.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

The results have yet to be certified for this year’s election results, but that hasn’t prevented various political players around town from lining up support for the next step in their careers. There’s already some action and plenty of rumors to share today.

City Councilman Ed Harris was first out of the gate yesterday, by way of a story in the OB Rag announcing his intention to seek termed-out Assemblywoman Toni Atkins position representing the 78th District in 2016.

Anthony Bernal, currently employed as Director of Business and Community Projects for Council President Todd Gloria, has thrown his hat in the ring to replace his termed-out boss in the Third District.

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Thumbnail image for SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

SeaWorld Stock Tanks As Financials Disappoint and Protests Continue

by Doug Porter 11.12.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Attendance and revenues continue to fall at SeaWorld, according to financial reports released today. The stock market reacted to the news, sending shares in the company down 10.3% by mid-day. 

Third-quarter net income fell 28%, revenues fell 8% and  attendance at SeaWorld’s parks also declined year-over-year, with attendance in the third quarter totaling 8.4 million visitors, down from 8.9 million a year ago.  According the Bloomberg’s Business Insider, the price for stock in SeaWorld has fallen 51% since the movie Blackfish premiered on July 19, 2013. 

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Thumbnail image for A Hard-won and Bittersweet Victory for San Diego Taxi Drivers

A Hard-won and Bittersweet Victory for San Diego Taxi Drivers

by Doug Porter 11.11.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Years of grass roots organizing paid off yesterday as the City Council voted 8-1 to eliminate a cap on the number of taxi permits issued in San Diego.

The United Taxi Workers of San Diego (UTWSD) grew out of an unsuccessful driver strike in December, 2009. Roughly 300 drivers took part, asking for a reduced weekly lease rate, a guaranteed day off per week, sick days, better job security and better-maintained vehicles.

The taxi industry in San Diego has been functioning as a government licensed fiefdom, with a several hundred permit holders leasing their vehicles to immigrants (mostly) from East Africa who introduce others to the job after arriving in the region.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio Concedes, Police Documents Raise Questions About Who Knew What, When

DeMaio Concedes, Police Documents Raise Questions About Who Knew What, When

by Doug Porter 11.10.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Democratic incumbent Congressman Scott Peters has emerged victorious in the contentious electoral contest to represent the 52nd district in the House of Representatives. But that victory may yet come with an asterisk.

GOP candidate Carl DeMaio conceded defeat in an interview with the Associated Press on Sunday. He reportedly will make the formal concession to Peters, who is vacationing in Europe, following the final vote count late on Monday. As this is being written the incumbent has a 4700 vote lead over the challenger.

The fallout from the race in the 52nd may be far from over. The San Diego Police Department  released 211 pages of documents this weekend associated with eight search warrant affidavits issued over a two month period last summer. New bits and pieces of the story surrounding the break-in of DeMaio’s office and allegations of sexual harassment have emerged. It’s a conspiracy theorists’ field day.

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Thumbnail image for A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

A Suggestion for the San Diego Chamber of Commerce: Change Your Name to the Corporate Welfare Defense League

by Doug Porter 11.07.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The effort to sabotage a proposed minimum wage increase in San Diego was funded almost entirely by corporations dependent on government anti-poverty programs to support their workers.

This information came out via a November 4 campaign financial disclosure statement filed with the San Diego city clerk’s office reported on by Matt Potter at  the Reader. The campaign was sponsored by a group calling itself the San Diego Small Business Coalition.,  While the Greater San Diego Chamber of Commerce, headed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders, made no secret of its involvement, they consistently claimed they were acting on behalf of and funded by small businesses.

Now we know that more than 95% of the group’s funding came from big business Political Action Committees. Out of town monies included: $100,000 from the American Hotel and Lodging Association, $40,000 from The California Restaurant Association Issues PAC, and $25,000 from the International Franchise Association of Washington DC.

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Thumbnail image for California’s Proposition 47 Passed. Now What?

California’s Proposition 47 Passed. Now What?

by Doug Porter 11.06.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

One of the big electoral victories for what I’d call sane people this week was the passage of Proposition 47. Simple drug possession and property crimes valued under $950 are now misdemeanors, effective immediately, punishable by up to a year in a county jail.

Law and order–or should I call them “lock ‘em and leave ‘em”– types are taking to the airwaves to fan the kind of (mostly irrational) fears responsible for California’s decades long dance with draconian detention policies.

Local media throughout the state are publishing stories about issues being raised with prosecutors offices. The Los Angeles Times account includes a plea from the City Attorney for funding to hire more staff to deal with misdemeanor prosecutions.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Election Analysis and Results

November 2014 Election Analysis and Results

by Doug Porter 11.05.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

History repeated itself last night. Going back to Franklin D Roosevelt, where the party of Herbert Hoover picked up seven US Senate seats and eighty-one US House seats, the political party of a second term president usually gets its ass kicked in the final mid-term election of that administration. It happened to Presidents Eisenhower, Reagan, and Bush.

The most notable exception would be the 1998 midterms elections, where damage to the GOP brand brought about by their failed impeachment attempt, marked first time since 1822 that the party not in control of the White House failed to gain seats in the mid-term election of a President’s second term.

There will be lots of finger-pointing going on today and in the weeks to come. My takeaways are that micro-targeting and millions invested in Get Out The Vote campaigns can’t overcome a weak message. On a national level the Republicans knew what they were against specifically and for in a very general sense; the Democrats failed to tell anybody what they were for, in large part because many of them tried to run against a sitting President from their own party.

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Thumbnail image for Don’t Read This Column If You Haven’t Voted

Don’t Read This Column If You Haven’t Voted

by Doug Porter 11.04.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Today’s supposed to be the day I hit you with the “Get Out and Vote or I’ll Shoot This Puppy” column. It ain’t happening. I’ve already voted.

I’ve written 22 stories and columns about the November 2014 general election, and I’ll probably write a few wrap ups after the dust settles.  If you’re going to vote later, fine, read this column later. If you’re not going to vote at all, look for me to come to your house in search of a puppy.

So today, for those of you who have already voted, I’m going to cover other news, and some good news at that.  I’m perfectly aware that I will be punished by the search engine gods for not going apocalyptic about the election.

(Seriously, if you need election info…)

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Thumbnail image for While DeMaio ‘Burns Inside With a Desire’, Another Sexual Misconduct Claim Materializes

While DeMaio ‘Burns Inside With a Desire’, Another Sexual Misconduct Claim Materializes

by Doug Porter 11.03.2014 Columns

Carl DeMaio burns inside with a desire to change things for the better. We could use far more elected officials with such passion and drive.- UT San Diego, October 4th

By Doug Porter

On the eve of the election a Navy veteran has come forward to add a second voice to accusations regarding sexual harassment by congressional candidate Carl DeMaio.

Coincidence? I think not. Those looking at this campaign as simply a battle of incumbent vs. challenger should pause for a second before saying this latest revelation was the work of the Peters campaign. Those hoping to see DeMaio fail (and I am one of them) also need to step back.

As was true with the downfall of former Mayor Bob Filner, it is possible for two competing narratives to both have an element of truth in them. In the case of Carl DeMaio the primary narratives are: a) the candidate has serious issues with the truth and how he treats people b) the timing of these disclosures is deliberate.

People buying into one narrative or the other seem oblivious to the possibility that it’s not an either or situation. I say that’s exactly what’s going on. Today I’ll examine these views of the candidate and the campaign.

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Thumbnail image for November 2014 Progressive Procrastinator’s Voting Guide: San Diego Edition

November 2014 Progressive Procrastinator’s Voting Guide: San Diego Edition

by Doug Porter 10.31.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

A big deal is being made over the large percentage of California voters who’ve opted to use the vote-by-mail ballots. While right-wing efforts in other states are focused on Voter ID laws and other variants of Jim Crow, the don’t vote effort here on the left coast is focused on spreading doubt about the reliability of the mail in system.

A mistake in mailing out ballots in Sacramento becomes evidence of a state-wide “glitch ridden ballot system”, according to Breitbart.com. Their “concern” is sooo touching. They’d like you to be afraid of mail-in voting, mostly because they’re afraid that other-than-Republican voters are discovering how easy it can be to use.

Sadly, a disturbing large percentage of those ballots will be left out of the count because people never got around to filling them out. If you’re one of those people who’ve put off filling out your ballot, here’s a handy-dandy cheat sheet designed to help you vote in ways that really will scare the hell of the Breitbart types.

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Thumbnail image for Lincoln Club Plays the Sexism Card in District 6 City Council Race

Lincoln Club Plays the Sexism Card in District 6 City Council Race

by Doug Porter 10.30.2014 Business

By Doug Porter

San Diego’s Lincoln Club does a great job of proving just how racism and sexism are tools used by the wealthy to attack candidates and divide voters in elections.

The right leaning group used photographs doctored to imply mayoral candidate David Alavarez was a Mexican gang member earlier this year.

Now they’re going after District 6 City Council candidate Carol Kim, crudely photo-shopping her face into the image of woman with multiple shopping bags on her arms in New York City. Voters are encouraged to be afraid of her (non-existent) “New York City” tax plan.

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Thumbnail image for The Continuing Decline of UT-San Diego

The Continuing Decline of UT-San Diego

by Doug Porter 10.29.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

 Another six month reporting period has passed and the UT-San Diego continues to lose readers, according to an analysis of data from the Alliance for Audited Media by the Reader’s Don Bauder.

How bad was it? On Sundays, the circulation declined by more than 13%,  Weekdays declined by 8.5%.  The numbers released yesterday include “digital” and “branded” editions. Branded editions for the UT include Enlace, the Spanish language weekly distributed free on weekends, Vida Latina, a Spanish-language entertainment magazine, TV and shopping guide and Enlace Extra, distributed in Tijuana and Mexicali.

As newspaper circulations have plummeted in recent years, the auditing-type people have changed the rules to sweeten the pot for publishers. Paid circulation now includes copies “sold” to non-profits for as little as 1 cent; these groups resell the papers at full price to users of their services (churches are a good example) and pocket the difference.

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Thumbnail image for DeMaio’s Mexican Ebola Terrorist Border Plan

DeMaio’s Mexican Ebola Terrorist Border Plan

by Doug Porter 10.28.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

We’re “back to the issues” in the race for the 52nd Congressional District in California.  Taking a page from the playbook once used by Gov. Pete Wilson, GOP candidate Carl DeMaio announced his five weird tricks for better border security yesterday.

“From illegal immigration to terrorism and Ebola, the reasons for securing our nation’s border have never been more clear,” he told a small group of reporters at a campaign headquarters press conference.

Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) whipped up the party base on the immigration issue via conference call hosted by TheTeaParty.net on Monday evening. DeMaio beat him to the punch by a few hours,  accusing incumbent Scott Peters of being a “rubber stamp” for the failed policies policy of the Obama administration.

There was nothing new in the GOP challenger’s plan, but at least it didn’t show up as plagiarized on any internet searches.

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Thumbnail image for Darrell Issa’s App for Ebola

Darrell Issa’s App for Ebola

by Doug Porter 10.27.2014 Culture

By Doug Porter

It’s week five of a major health crisis in the United States and there are signs the epidemic is waning. The number cases of actual Ebola now equals the number of times Rush Limbaugh has been married– four. The number of hysterical media reports and opportunist politicians playing on people’s fear of the unknown has yet to be determined.

The CDC and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) is now screening at five U.S. airports that receive over 94 percent of travelers from the Ebola-affected nations of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says they began actively preparing for an outbreak in March of this year, the correct protocols for treating patients were not in place at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas when Thomas Duncan, the initial Ebola patient showed up in the emergency room. It didn’t help matters that Duncan was less than forthcoming in telling medical personnel about his potential exposure to the disease.

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Thumbnail image for Your Daily DeMaio: Insults, Excuses and Deception

Your Daily DeMaio: Insults, Excuses and Deception

by Doug Porter 10.24.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

The more we learn about the inner workings of the Carl DeMaio campaign, the more bizarre it gets. If you believe defenders of the Republican Candidate for the 52nd Congressional District, former campaign staffer Todd Bosnich has perhaps gone back in time to fabricate emails (much of which are mundane) and/or hacked Carl DeMaio’s Sony VIAO laptop.

Yesterday we learned about a fake twitter account allegedly used by DeMaio to transmit trashy blurbs about various local politicos. Then there’s the hilarious (in a sad way) and ongoing attempt by a UT-San Diego editor to justify their coverage (or lack thereof) of the steadily leaking emails purportedly from the DeMaio campaign.

City Beat columnist Dave Maass spotted an item in a emailed worklist regarding an assignment to “finish Wikipedia”, apparently directing a staffer to make favorable edits on entries related to the campaign. This sort of thing would be a big no-no, and it’s something DeMaio and/or his staff were busted (by Maass) for in 2011.

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Thumbnail image for Does It Matter Who Writes UT-San Diego’s Boorish Editorials?

Does It Matter Who Writes UT-San Diego’s Boorish Editorials?

by Doug Porter 10.23.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Denial is a long river. And yesterday it wound its way through Mission Valley after NBC7 News released a story about emails from the DeMaio campaign boasting about having composed an editorial that appeared in UT-San Diego back in December, 2013

The emails came from former staffer Todd Bosnich, who has been at the center of other recent controversies regarding the GOP candidate for the 52nd Congressional District. Bosnich says candidate DeMaio sexually harassed him. DeMaio says Bosnich is responsible for a break-in and vandalism at his headquarters.

The district attorney says there’s not enough evidence in either case to move forward with prosecution. Bosnich’s attorneys say a lawsuit is in the works. DeMaio’s campaign is vacillating between refusing to comment and denying the validity of the emails. Bosnich has granted access to his laptop computer to cyber experts who have informed reporters that the emails appear to be genuine.

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Thumbnail image for UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

UCSD’s CHE Cafe Facing Eviction Next Week

by Doug Porter 10.22.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

A ruling by Superior Court Judge Katherine Bacal yesterday may well mean the end of the road for the C.H.E. Cafe, a student run cooperative at UCSD.

The co-op will have five calendar days to vacate once a written order is signed by the judge and the university files a writ of possession, meaning the group could be evicted by the middle of next week.

Supporters of the C.H.E.were vague about their future plans when speaking with the news media following the court decision, saying they were considering further legal actions and promising to continue protest activity and lobbying.

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Thumbnail image for Emails Plague Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio

Emails Plague Congressional Candidate Carl DeMaio

by Doug Porter 10.21.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Monday should have been a good day for 52nd District congressional candidate Carl DeMaio. But it wasn’t.

County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis announced that an inquiry into sexual harassment allegations from an ex-aide was being closed due to lack of evidence.

She also announced the investigation into a campaign office break-in that DeMaio campaign had sought to link to the ex-aide was also being closed for the same reason. The GOP candidate’s campaign was the only source for that claim, which had already served its purpose, to deflect attention away from DeMaio’s behavior.

UT-San Diego whipped out its congratulatory editorial, patting the DA on the head for getting this lurid matter settled before election day, pronouncing “throughout this flap, DeMaio has seemed far more credible than former aide Todd Bosnich.”  Voters were urged to get back to the “issues” in the campaign, namely that incumbent Scott Peters was under the influence of the evil Barack Obama.

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Thumbnail image for Looking at November 2014 California Legislative Contests in San Diego County

Looking at November 2014 California Legislative Contests in San Diego County

by Doug Porter 10.20.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

Political consultants and pollsters around the country are predicting that election eve 2014 will be a long and mostly unhappy experience for Democrats.

Not so here on the left coast, where the burning issue is whether the Dems can maintain the super-majority in both houses of the state legislature. Republican predictions that the state would end up as an economic disaster under such circumstance haven’t proven to be true,  so they’ve conjured up a few new prognostications and claims… in-between fighting with each other.

2014 will be the last time the GOP will be able to leverage low turnout to win many legislative districts in the state where party registration is competitive. Declining enthusiasm for the Republican brand and increasing numbers of non-white voters for future elections don’t bode well for a party unable to muster enough unity to support candidates that could win in this election.

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Thumbnail image for Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

Memo to Jerry Sanders & Doug Manchester: The City Council Minimum Wage Ordinance WAS the Compromise

by Doug Porter 10.17.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It ain’t over ‘till it’s over.

The City Clerk certified the results of a referendum drive backed by the Chamber of Commerce and other dark money interests yesterday. They sought to delay an ordinance passed by the City Council increasing the local minimum wage and allowing for earned sick days by placing it on the June 2016 ballot.

They achieved their goal by perverting a system originally designed to protect the public from the undo influence of the Southern Pacific Railroad and other would-be oligarchs.  Hired guns from around the country were flown in and paid up to $12 per signature after other canvassers quit in droves, unable to face the public with the lies required of them to earn a living.

This was a matter of economic justice for nearly 200,000 San Diegans who would be impacted by this ordinance; for the working women who would see the wage gap shrink by 22%; for the 10,000 veterans working at or near minimum wage; and for the restaurant employees who are forced to choose between working while sick or paying the rent.

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Thumbnail image for Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

Emails Cast Doubt on DeMaio Harassment Defense; Survey Says Voters Undecided

by Doug Porter 10.16.2014 Columns

By Doug Porter

There are new developments in the storyline about a ex-policy aide who claims congressional candidate Carl DeMaio sexually harassed him.

The ultra-conservative Washington Examiner has posted a story referring to internal DeMaio campaign emails show accuser Todd Bosnich remaining in a high level position following disclosure of the plagiarism scandal for which he was supposedly fired.

UT-San Diego and 10News released the results yesterday of a SurveyUSA poll in the wake of disclosure of the sexual harassment allegations that seems to indicate voters haven’t decided what to think about the scandal. Digging down into the polling data, there are indications suggesting independent voters are reacting negatively.

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