June 25, 2012 – Seven thousand members of the San Diego Education Association, a group you’re probably familiar with as the “teacher’s union” started voting on a new contract yesterday and already questions are being raised about the fairness of the voting process. The vote is to decide whether to approve a tentative revision of their contract with the San Diego Unified School District that calls for teachers to defer scheduled pay raises in order to save the jobs of nearly 1,500 district employees facing layoffs due to the District’s ongoing budget crisis. Teachers will be given five unpaid days off, with 14 more furlough days to be added if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposal to raise taxes fails at the ballot box in November. The SDUSD Board of Trustees voted to approve the contract last Thursday.
The Breakfast Club Action Group, a dissident bloc of teachers which has actively campaigned against the agreement, complained on Sunday via a blog post and email that many SDEA members were being disenfranchised by the requirement that they vote in person within a three-day window ending Tuesday. They also pointed out that a basic security measure SDEA has taken with paper ballot elections in the past has been discontinued for this election. The two envelope system used in past balloting that served as insurance against ballot box stuffing has been replaced with a one envelope system, one that the union says will allow for more efficient tallying. The Breakfast Club points out in their blog that there are at least twenty people with overnight access to the SDEA office and that “any one of them “could go into the office at 2 a.m., pull out 500 ballot envelopes, and replacing them with 500 other pre-stuffed “yes” vote envelopes.
Tensions between the dissident group on the one hand and the SDEA leadership along with the SDUSD administration on the other hand have reached the point where the school system has installed filters on the email system that automatically screen out emails with the words “Breakfast Club “ in them. The union has taken steps to replace or discharge teachers and employees that it has identified as being associated with the opposition.
The LA Times featured a column in yesterday’s editions with the headline “California GOP sinking into third-party status”.
The story is about Bruce McPherson — former California secretary of state and centrist legislator and current candidate for the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors —who’s chosen to leave the Republican Party by re-registering as an independent, or “no party preference.” Other former Republicans who recently made the switch to become independents are mentioned, including Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher of San Diego and Ventura County Supervisor Linda Parks. Over the past four presidential voting cycles, the GOP’s slice of the electorate has declined from 37% to 30.2%.
One reason for this decline might be found in a poll conducted by Dartmouth university professor Benjamin Valentino showing that 63% of Republicans surveyed continue to believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction when the United States invaded in 2003, despite that fact that this assertion has been repeatedly disproved. Also, 64% of Republican respondents believed that President Obama was born in another country. These people also probably believe that “trickle down” economics works….
Rep. Bibray out to gut more environmental legislation. Last week former City Councilwoman Donna Frye told an assemblage convened by Voice of San Diego about her visceral reaction to Congressman’s Bilbray’s “gutting” of the Clean Water Act, describing how it galvanized her politically and personally. Now the Congressman’s at it again, with a bill that would ostensibly pave the way for construction of Jonas Salk Elementary School, according to this morning’s local paper.
Building the school has been talked about for over thirty years, but has failed to happen due to shortfalls in funding caused by the passage of Proposition 13 in California and inadequate protections in the construction plans that trigged environmental lawsuits aimed at protecting endangered vernal ecosystems. The suits have largely been settled, and now approval is waiting for action by the US Fish and Wildlife Service, which thanks to GOP budget cuts aimed at limiting its ability to enforce the law, is now understaffed and completely overwhelmed. Bilbray’s legislation would grant automatic approval for construction after 90 days if the permits aren’t granted, opening the door for a flood of other bills that would have the effect of undermining 1973 Endangered Species Act.
Other miscellany from the daily fishwrap…. The UT sent its Watchdog team down to Pacific Beach, where they reported that neighborhood has the highest incidence in San Diego of tickets issued for public urination. Wow. Such an important investigation. I guess they have to keep those reporters busy with something while publisher Manchester fiddles with the City. In other non-news, the paper wrapped yet another editorial around the front page on Sunday, this one letting the masses know about their preferences for Vice President on the GOP ticket. And, speaking of editorials, the local daily was bleating hard with its “Mission Critical; A Call to Action” editorial taking much of the local Congressional delegation to task for not supporting a bloated military budget. Sorry gang, with 53 cents of every dollar paid into taxes is going to the military, the Pentagon’s budget gonna have to bite that cost cutting bullet like everybody else.
Reggae radio loses a home… The “Brunch with Bob” program has left radio station 94.9 and is looking for a new home. San Diego has lost its finest outlet for regae music, even if it was confined to Sunday mornings. They are looking for a new home.
On This Day: In 1964 President Lyndon Johnson ordered 200 naval personnel to Mississippi to assist in finding three missing civil rights workers. In 1973 White House Counsel John Dean admitted that U.S. President Nixon took part in the Watergate cover-up. In 2003 the Recording Industry Association of America disclosed its plans to fight Internet piracy. The plan was to sue hundreds of individual computer users who illegally share music files online. It hasn’t worked.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Escondido (Welk Resort 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive) 3 – 7 pm
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.