The Starting Line –A Very Good Night for Progressives in San Diego and California (With Election Results!)

Although there remain over 400,000 provisional ballots to be counted in San Diego County, it would appear that most politically progressive candidates and causes were triumphant on Election Day. A huge Get Out the Vote effort on the Democratic side of the equation appears to have yielded victories in just about every race where the changing demographics of the region made a win possible.

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The Most Important Election Day in Our Lifetime

Nov. 6, 2012: A defining moment in San Diego’s—and the country’s—history. Some final election day thoughts on the Presidential, 52nd Congressional District, and San Diego Mayoral races.

It’s been a long and sometimes grueling process, one that has caused even the most enthusiastic of politifiles (yes, I just made that up) to want to tear their hair out. But today it all comes to an end (we hope). The 2012 election, which really started more than a year-and-a-half ago, culminates tonight with the official vote tallies to determine who our national and local leaders will be; who will be our next president, our next members of Congress, and who will be San Diego’s next mayor.

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End Shadow Government in San Diego and California: Elect Bob Filner and Frustrate Charles Munger and Company

If you can get past the multi-million dollar glut of garbage that Carl DeMaio and his sleazy allies are throwing at Bob Filner in the closing days of the election, the choice San Diegans face is a simple one: do you want the same old moneyed interests running San Diego or do you want to take a step toward a more democratic city government that listens to the voices of ordinary citizens more than to the pleas of the plutocrats?

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Do I need a California ID to vote? Where is my Polling Place? The SDFP Quick and Easy Guide to Election Day

Here are some frequently asked questions about election day voting in San Diego County. The source for all of the information below is provided by the League of Women Voters at unless otherwise specified. Information in Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese and Filipino here.

When are the polls open?

Polls are open on election day Tuesday, November 6, 2012 from 7am to 8pm. If you are in the line at the polling place prior to 8pm, you have the right to vote. …   [Read more…]

Debunking the Opposition to Proposition Z, San Diego Schools’ Opportunity to Keep Moving into the 21st Century

San Diego voters are being asked to authorize $2.8 million in bonds for school repair and construction in this fall’s election via Proposition Z.  This initiative should be a straight up or down deal; whether or not to raise property taxes to support this vital part of our infrastructure.

Instead, a coterie of right wing groups with a barely disguised extremist agenda have turned the discussion on Proposition Z into a battlefield, mined with half-truths, pock marked by a barrage of lies and overrun by waves of tea party types convinced that they are stopping an assault on common sense itself.

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The Educated Voter – San Diego School Board Races

This is Part One of series on ballot choices in San Diego that relate to our schools.

There’s been a war going on over San Diego Unified’s Board of trustees for a long time now, and this year’s races for school board are just the latest skirmish.

There are two contests for seats on the San Diego Unified School Board and they’re both important.  Politicians (of all stripes) are prone to saying “it’s about the children” whenever they talk about education, but the fact is there are many other issues at play. Candidates for our local top spot all have preened before the cameras touting their education platforms, when the reality is that the School District is financially and politically independent of the City Government.

The Mayor and the City Council can’t actually do squat about what’s going on with schools.  Change, when and if it comes to local schools, is through the Board of Trustees, popularly known as the school board.   [Read more…]

Hey Obama Democrats, Don’t Get Fooled Again: DeMaio and His Big Money Friends Are Out to Screw San Diego and Ruin California


 “We have a conservative movement that has learned, over the decades, to mimic many of the characteristics of its enemies.”  ~ Thomas Frank

During the run-up to the June primary Carl DeMaio used a quote from one of my OB Rag columns in a mailer attacking Nathan Fletcher that implied the Rag’s support for his candidacy.  My response was a column, “Carl DeMaio is a Dangerous, Mean-Spirited Liar and Other Tales of Fear and Loathing in San Diego” where I observed:

As Frank Gormlie noted in an OB Rag piece last Saturday, Carl DeMaio used a pull quote from one of my OB Rag columns describing Nathan Fletcher as a “Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing” . . . What is not at all surprising here is that DeMaio uses my piece and the OB Rag logo out of context, without permission, implying our endorsement of him.  That kind of sleazy, unethical behavior is his raison d’etre.  .

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We’ve Changed Our Minds about Prop 35, but NOT about Sex Trafficking

Editor’s Note: During a meeting of the SDFP Editorial Board this afternoon, some of us expressed reservations regarding our stand, as a group, on a YES endorsement of Proposition 35. We agreed that we would do more research and report back. Below are the opinions of two of our members, whose views mirror my own and are expressed much more eloquently. ~ Editor du Jour, Patty Jones

SDFP Editorial Board Member Anna Daniels

Wading through the propositions on the ballot this year required both time and effort.  I have felt largely confident about the positions I had taken on issues and candidates, except for Prop 35, the anti-sex trafficking initiative.  Along with the other SDFP editors, I had cast my vote in favor of the initiative, although it was apparent that there could potentially be fall-out for individual lives and broader civil liberties that I definitely would not support.

Come inside for the details…   [Read more…]

The 2012 Elections: Vital Issues That Affect Latinos

By Jimmy Franco Sr./

The growing Latino population within the country has now reached 50 million people of which 24 million are registered to vote. This population is predominantly located within the large urban areas and in the key political states of New York, California, Texas and Florida. This is a generally young population which works and pays taxes that benefit all of our society and will do so for many years to come.

It is this youthful sector within our society that will play a particularly important role in the country’s future by working and supporting the growing number of retired and elderly persons by paying taxes into Social Security, Medicare and other government programs which will bolster the country’s social safety net.   [Read more…]

Debunked: 6 Lies That Biotech and Big Food Are Telling Voters About Prop 37

By Katherine PaulRonnie Cummins / AlterNet

Since Oct. 1, Monsanto and the rest of the Biotech and Big Food gang have been pounding the California airwaves with nearly $36 million worth of boldface lies and twisted truths.

Their goal? Misinform and confuse California voters into believing they’d be better off not knowing what pesticide-makers are hiding in their foods, than they would be if food manufacturers had to label genetically modified foods.

The ads are having an impact. After enjoying a 26-point lead for the past six months, the YES on 37 campaign has dropped 19 points in the polls.

But the YES team is fighting back, calling out the lies. And the liars.   [Read more…]

Elect Bob Filner Mayor of San Diego

The 2012 San Diego mayoral race is quite possibly the most important in this city’s history. It is a choice between two very different candidates with two nearly completely divergent visions of what this city’s future looks like.

It is a choice between one candidate who believes government should function merely to facilitate business and corporate interests, and another who believes that government’s job is to represent the best interests of the people.   [Read more…]

Scott Peters for Congress

On Nov. 6, San Diego voters will have the opportunity to choose between Republican incumbent Congressman Brian Bilbray, or his Democratic challenger, Port Commissioner and former City Council President Scott Peters. The differences between the candidates are stark, and their leadership will no doubt have a profound effect on San Diego’s future.

To us at the OB Rag and San Diego Free Press the choice is an obvious one: Scott Peters.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line –How the Taxpayers Association Enabled the ‘$2500’ iPads Being Used in San Diego Schools

The email has been everywhere. It’s at the center of the campaign against San Diego Unified’s School District’s Proposition Z, a measure asking the voters for additional financing for capital improvements and repairs to school properties.

The headline screams “School Board is Buying iPads for $2,500, New San Diego County Taxpayers Association Analysis Shows”. We’re quickly told that SDUSD “is using 40-year Capital Appreciation Bonds, the same risky, long-term financing notoriously used by the Poway Unified School District.” Without skipping a beat we’re breathlessly told that every dollar spent by the Board will cost taxpayers seven dollars.

But what the “No on Z” people (who are basically the same as the Taxpayers Association) aren’t telling us about is the role that they played in approving this “risky financing”. Or that the financing deal really isn’t the same as Poway’s. And that there’s a really big “IF” underlying their financial assumptions.   [Read more…]

Connecting More Dots Between Propositions 30, 32, and 38

The Munger Muddle, Democrats for Education Reform, Obama, and the Koch Brothers et al Weave a Tangled Web that Might Just Kill Our Children’s Future (if we let it)

In a recent column, I outlined the connections between the advocates and funders of Proposition 32 and opponents of Proposition 30, noting the central role of Proposition 38 backer Molly Munger’s brother, Charles Munger, who has donated over $20 million of his own money to a campaign fund to gut unions and defund education.  Charles’s main allies in this effort, as I pointed out in that column, are also big supporters of the privatization of education and other forms of profiteering at the expense of public schools.

It is clear that the incestuous political relationship between the Mungers is mutually beneficial in the short term and that Molly had hoped to kill Prop 30 with negative ads while passing her own initiative, and perhaps she just doesn’t mind if the political voice of teachers’ unions is silenced as collateral damage.

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U-T San Diego publishes questionable mayoral poll

From LGBT Weekly / October 21, 2012

The San Diego U-T published a poll suggesting that Carl DeMaio is ahead in the mayoral race by ten points. Shocking. You mean Doug Manchester and the U-T have conducted a poll that supports his candidate, DeMaio? No other poll has shown DeMaio in the lead. So I guess the cheese stands alone, as the old nursery rhyme goes. We in the LGBT community know that the U-T coverage of the mayor’s race has been cheesy at best.

Let’s analyze the actual U-T poll. First the margin of error is +/- 4%. That means that you can subtract 4% from DeMaio and add 4% to Filner. That would mean DeMaio could be as low as 42% and Filner as high as 40%. Hmm, that would make it a 2% lead for DeMaio. Of course, there are more issues with the headline and the poll.
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On Probation or Off Parole? You can Vote in California – Register Now!

While having a conversation about the upcoming Presidential debate I asked a coworker if he was going to be voting. He replied, “I wish I could, but I’m on probation.” Whoa… This was a moment in a busy shop, that is normally filled with Mitt Romney and Ron Paul supporters, where two like minded people had a few minutes to chat. The young man I was talking with is quiet about his political affiliations and before I could respond to his statement we were  surrounded by republicans, once again.

Once I was back at my desk I did a quick internet search and printed a page from the Northern California ACLU website that I handed to him later in the day. He thanked me with a big smile on his face.   [Read more…]

Peters vs. Bilbray: The Vacuum Debates

San Diego’s 52nd Congressional District candidates square off, but few seem to have noticed.

Did you happen to catch the debates between Republican incumbent Brian Bilbray and Democratic challenger Scott Peters this past week? No? You’re not alone. My guess is that not too many people knew they were happening. I certainly didn’t, and I’m paying attention; a lot more than the average voter, I would suppose.

The last I had heard was that Peters was doing everything possible to try and goad his opponent into a get-together. Back in August, Bilbray issued a challenge to Peters to a series of four debates. The Peters campaign replied that “Mr. Bilbray has issued a challenge to debates we agreed to weeks ago.” The Peters camp took a very Pat Hill “anytime, anywhere” stance, but still could not get anything on the schedule. According a Peters spokesperson, every time a date was proposed, Bilbray claimed a conflict. (For those who don’t know, Pat Hill is the former Fresno St. University football coach who constantly whined about his program’s inability to get a game against the big boys. “We’ll play anyone, anywhere” became Fresno State’s unofficial motto.)   [Read more…]

Sherri Lightner Seeks to Retain Her City Council Seat

The lone remaining City Council race stands to determine the balance of power in San Diego’s City Hall.

The lone remaining undecided city council race is in District 1, where incumbent Democrat Sherri Lightner finished a close second to Republican challenger Ray Ellis. Which is surprising, and then again not surprising, since of the four contestants in the race, three of them were Democrats.

It’s an important race, however, one that could very well determine the future direction of the City of San Diego. It will determine the balance of power between Democrats and Republicans on the City Council, which is currently split evenly between the two parties, giving one party a distinct edge in which policies get adopted. And although the city council and mayoral race is officially non-partisan, in this election year they have been anything but. It’s a distinction that takes on even more significance should Carl DeMaio defeat Bob Filner in the mayor’s race.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line –It’s Official in California; Let the Voting Begin

Today marks the official start of ‘election month’ here in California. Mail in ballots are being mailed to people who have opted into voting by mail, something that 65% of voters did in this year’s primary elections.  I don’t care how or when you do it, but you need to vote.

I do care who or what you vote for.  Here’s a shameless plug for our Guide to the Ballot Propositions that explains why you should agree with me. And we have a easy-to-use link that will take you to all of San Diego Free Press’s election news & opinions.

The best reason to vote by mail… If you think you see soon-to-be Judge/Birther Gary Kreep lurking near your polling place, you’re not hallucinating.  Kreep is donating his legal skills to the Election Integrity Project, the local tea party front group seeking to ‘prevent fraud at the polling place’.

Now if we could only come up with an ‘app’ that turns off all those paid political ads once you’ve voted…   [Read more…]

Connecting the Dots Between Props 30 and 32: What’s the Union Busters’ Real Agenda for Education?

Last week in the New York Times Adam Nagourney noted in his article on Proposition 32, “California Is Latest Stage in the Battle Over Unions,” that:

By design or not — and some union officials said they believed it was by design — the fight has forced unions to divert money from what had been their top priority: winning approval of an initiative by Gov. Jerry Brown to pass temporary tax increases to head off nearly $6 billion in new cuts in state spending.

“Labor has to stop everything it is doing to defend against this,” said Peter Dreier, the director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College. “It’s pretty effective in forcing the unions to spend a lot of their resources to stop this from passing.”   [Read more…]

Proposition 31: Reform the Rube Goldberg Way

Should We Support This Manifestation of Stalinist Treason?

It’s a good thing the weather’s so damn nice in much of California, because if you had to spend anytime actually experiencing what passes for governance up in Sacramento, North Dakota or even Somalia might start looking mighty good. Let’s face it folks, things are mighty screwed up. And we all know it’s somebody else’s fault, right?

So when anybody talks “reform” these days, it strikes a chord with voters. I hear there are politicians in Los Angles (boo, hiss) that can take their dog for a walk, call it animal digestive reform and even raise funds off it.

Proposition 31 is the handiwork of a ‘long view’ reform group calling itself California Forward. It’s a package of measures, many of which sound perfectly reasonable. It is, so its supporters say, intended to bring more transparency to the budgeting process while giving Californians value for their tax dollars. Sounds okay, huh? Except that it isn’t. Step inside while I give you a tour of this mirage that calls itself a reform.   [Read more…]

The Starting Line – ‘Pray the Gay Away’ Seeks to Live Another Day

The ultra conservative Pacific Legal Institute has joined forces with an ordained minister/counselor of Rancho San Diego’s Skyline Church in filing a lawsuit seeking to overturn a newly signed California law that bars licensed mental health professionals from utilizing “reparative therapies”, on teenagers. Also known as conversion therapy, reparative therapies claim to change sexual orientation, and, although they have been widely condemned by medical authorities, are popular with fundamentalist Christian groups and other right-wing religious organizations.

The suit, filed on behalf of Dr. Donald Welch, who is also affiliated with a chain of Christian Counseling Centers throughout the San Diego region, who claims the law, which is scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, violates First Amendment and equal protection rights. A Culver City man who claims to have benefited from the therapies is named as the official plaintiff.

Much of the core of so-called “pray the gay away” therapies is based on scientific work done by Robert Spitzer, who has recanted his conclusions and apologized to the gay community for making unproven claims of the efficacy of reparative therapy. California will become the first to outlaw the practice for people under the age of 18 in America.   [Read more…]

Prop 37: 8 Reasons for Voting Yes for Labeling GMO Foods

The French prime minister announced on September 15, 2012 that France would maintain a ban on Monsanto’s MON810 maize, the only genetically modified organisim (GMO) currently allowed in Europe. Thanks to activism by French citizens and serious political outcry, Monsanto is now effectively blocked from Europe’s gigantic marketplace. This is even more true when you consider that France is the largest agricultural producer in Europe.

But that’s not all. Following the ground-breaking French study that graphically linked the lifetime consumption of Monsanto’s GMO corn in rats to massive tumors and direct organ failure, Russia’s premiere consumers rights organization has suspended both the importation and use of Monsanto’s GMO corn within the nation’s borders.
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Prop 37: Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods. Will We Be Better Off If We Don’t Eat Them?

Proposition 37 requires labeling foods you buy in the supermarket as GMO foods if they contain genetically modified ingredients. It also prevents labeling GMO foods as “natural.” Some foods can be exempted from the GMO label such as otherwise organic foods that have been unintentionally cross-pollinated from GMO crops. And Prop 37 does not require labeling at restaurants and in particular fast food restaurants – just the places that you can probably expect to be served GMO foods.

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