June 15, 2012—November political campaigns shifted into a higher gear yesterday in the local and national arenas. Here in San Diego, the first debate of the fall mayoral contest between Congressman Bob Filner and City Councilman Carl DeMaio took place yesterday before the San Diego Rotary Club. DeMaio promised the crowd that he would act quickly as Mayor, citing his comprehensive plans to repair roads, make the city more business-friendly and fix city finances. Filner opted to describe the differences between himself and his contender, characterizing the City Councilman’s plans as a ‘spreadsheet’ and his own proposals as a ‘vision’ for San Diego.
Meanwhile in Ohio, President Barack Obama and GOP contender Mitt Romney gave dueling economic policy speeches in different corners of the state. In Cincinnati Romney called out the President for being “long on words and short on action” when it comes to fixing the economy. In Cleveland, the President told his audience that he and Republican Mitt Romney offer “two fundamentally different views” about the economy, saying “If you want to give the policies of the last decade another try, then you should vote for Mr. Romney”. The Romney campaign sent their tour bus to where the President was scheduled to speak; emblazoned with the Romney campaign logo in giant letters, it honked at Obama supporters as it continually circled the area.
Conflicts within the Republican Party are simmering just below the surface in this election year, threatening to disrupt the discipline and party unity necessary to mount an effective fall campaign. GOP stalwarts have hopes of gaining a majority in the US Senate, while holding on to their supremacy in the House of Representatives. Tensions between hard-core conservatives and party regulars are rising over emerging policy differences on what course of action the Party needs to pursue should the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.
Republicans are slowly realizing that they’ll be held responsible for a highly dysfunctional health care system if large portions of the law are overturned. And in recent weeks they’ve been working on creating wiggle room to carry on popular portions of ‘Obamacare’ — including the coverage guarantee for pre-existing conditions, letting young adults remain on a parent’s policy until 26 and closing the Medicare prescription drug coverage gap — in a potential replacement plan. Election-year concerns add to the pressure they feel. Conserv blogger Michelle Malkinwent on the offensive yesterday attacking Senate Republican Conference Vice Chair Roy Blunt, saying “Who needs enemies when you’ve got Republican Surrenderists for Obamacare waiting in the wings?”
The other major conflict that could prove to be disruptive to the GOP concern’s the Party’s relationship (or lack thereof) with gay voters and their supporters. Gay bashing has worked for the Party in the past, particularly in the 2004 election, driving voters to the polls who are afraid of homosexuals. Groups like the National Organization for Marriage, who yesterday accused the General Mills Company of ‘declaring war on marriage’ because General Mills CEO Ken Powell spoke at an LGBT pride event saying the company opposes an amendment to ban same sex marriage in Minnesota, where it is headquartered, are an important part of the party’s base. What makes this course of action less desirable in 2012 are polls showing a steadily increasing acceptance of gays and, more importantly, the growing number of wealthy donorswithin the party who also support gay issues.
Here’s a story that isn’t likely to appear in the UT-SD… The Defense Department will soon hold its first event to recognize the service and professionalism of gay and lesbian troops. This move comes nine months after repeal of the policy that had banned gay troops from serving openly and forced more than 13,500 service members out of the armed forces. Details are still being worked out, but the word is that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is pushing to honor the contributions of gay service members. The Pentagon regularly sponsors month long events recognizing the diversity in the armed forces; displays and activities, for example, have publicized Black History Month and Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.
Environmental groups may prevail in fireworks ruling… A ruling by Superior Court Judge William Dato went against the City of San Diego for not complying with the California Environmental Quality Act with regard to fireworks displays around the city. His decision said the city must rescind changes made last year to the approval process for park-use and special event permits, which could hamper the city’s ability to issue those permits for thousands of events citywide. However, it is quite possible that this year’s 4th of July celebrations will not be affected, as the judge may choose to delay enforcement of the ruling until the appeals process has been exhausted.
Drones in the hood… Public Intelligence, a non-profit that advocates for free access to information, released a map showing drone bases throughout the United States earlier this week. California has the most bases of any state, with 10 of the 64 facilities. While there is no evidence to suggest that UAV’s, as the military likes to call drones, are being used for domestic intelligence gathering, it does reveal just how pervasive drones are in military operations. This map doesn’t include bases used by public agencies – including police departments and universities – that have a permit issued by the Federal Aviation Agency to use UAVs in American airspace. An ACLU report last fall drew attention to the increasing utilization of drones, saying that this “threatens to eradicate existing practical limits on aerial monitoring and allow for pervasive surveillance, police fishing expeditions, and abusive use of these tools in a way that could eventually eliminate the privacy Americans have traditionally enjoyed in their movements and activities.”
On the day… In 1752 Benjamin Franklin experimented by flying a kite during a thunderstorm, demonstrating the relationship between lightning and electricity. In 1923 Lou Gehrig made his New York Yankee debut as a pinch runner. And in 1963 Jan & Dean’s “Surf City” was released.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Borrego Springs (Christmas Circle Community Park Christmas Circle & Palm Canyon Dr.) 7 am – noon, Fallbrook (102 S. Main, at Alvarado) 10 am – 2 pm, Imperial Beach (Seacoast Dr. at Pier Plaza) 2 – 7:30 pm, Kearny Mesa (No. Island Credit Union pkg lot 5898 Copley) 10:30 am – 1:30 pm, La Mesa Village (Corner of Spring St. and University) 2 – 6 pm, Rancho Bernardo (Bernardo Winery parking lot 13330 Paseo del Verano Norte) 9 am – noon, Southeast San Diego (4981 Market St. West of Euclid Ave. Trolley Station) 2 – 6 pm
Get a life! Jazz great Ramsey Lewis and his Electric Band are appearing at Anthology Night Club Friday & Saturday, with shows at 7:30 & 9:30 Friday and Saturday. For ticket information go here.
Get a Life! Part Two: South Park’s 14th Annual Old House Fair features walking and bus tours, exhibitors and vendors, along with live music on Saturday 10am – 4pm. For more info go here.
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.