It’s a day for underdogs to celebrate. After three decades of Republican rule, Bob Filner’s ascension into San Diego’s top spot marks the start of a new era in San Diego politics. At long last our city’s neighborhoods, long considered a red headed step-child in terms of urban planning and economic development will be given the opportunity to have their needs and desires given a fair shake. We hope, anyway.
We’ll have additional coverage on this most important transition as San Diego Free Press reporters file stories from around the region.
Meanwhile, in the “missing half” of our metropolis, more than 100,000 residents of Tijuana took to the streets in neighborhoods throughout that city to celebrate victory for Club Tijuana Xoloitzcuintles de Caliente as that team emerged as champions in Mexico’s highest level of soccer.
San Diego Norte may have never had a championship team in any sport, but the Xolos did it yesterday five years out of the gate. Their win was the quickest (two years ago) any team has won the title after entering the premier division in Mexican fútbol. Those of you who want to jump on the team bandwagon should know that the team colors are red and black.
The nay-sayers are already jumping on both these stories. UT-SD sports columnist Nick Canepa, sniffed at local excitement over the Xolos win, Tweeting: “We are making far too big a deal out of this… Tijuana is not a part of San Diego or the United States, last time I checked”.
The San Diego Reader ran with a big “exposé” yesterday citing twenty or so names it obtained from the City of San Diego’s invitation list for today’s inauguration via a California public records act request. One intent of the story was to show that somehow Filner was mixing it up with the usual political suspects.
The problem with the story was that it failed to mention that the City invitation list was 145 pages long. And that the Filner campaign circulated additional invitations to its entire email list. And that the inaugural events were open to the public. Hell, even we got an invitation. So we’re guessing that the Reader’s invitation got lost in the internets.
Supremes Pass on Prop 8 Case, For Now
Widespread anticipation that the US Supreme Court would show some movement on Proposition 8 and other cases relating to gay marriage was dashed this morning as the court failed to make an announcement one way or the other on hearing arguments this morning. There are five cases currently before them dealing with issues related to marriage for gay and lesbian Americans.
The court’s next conference on distribution of cases to be heard will be this Friday, December 7th, although it is likely that any decision won’t be announced until next Monday. Should the Justices refuse to hear the pending case concerning Proposition 8, it will let stand an appellate court ruling overturning the initiative as unconstitutional.
More on Sex Crimes at the Boy Scouts of America
The LA Times came out with a report this weekend detailing just how poorly the Boy Scouts organization coped with screening out sexual predators over the past three decades. As other youth oriented organizations began imposing stringent requirements on volunteers in the 1980’s, the Boy Scouts resisted, claiming background checks cost too much and provided a false sense of security. They even lobbied to kill state legislation that would have mandated FBI fingerprint screening.
From the time national background checks became widely available in 1985 until 1991 — when the detailed files obtained by The Times end — the Boy Scouts admitted more than 230 men with previous arrests or convictions for sex crimes against children, the analysis found.
The men were accused of molesting nearly 400 boys while in Scouting. They accounted for one in six of those expelled for alleged abuse during those years.
The organization has fought in court to prevent the release of more recent files, making it impossible to determine how many men with criminal histories were caught in the organization after 1991.
The scouting organization finally caved in and mandated background checks for volunteers in 2008.
Rootin’ Tootin’ Republican Gunning for Top Job
Being a Republican in California is a tough job these days. Party registration is down. Voters smacked the GOP silly in last month’s elections, to the point where they’re just a dissenting caucus in the legislature.
Pretty much everybody in and out of the party agrees that it’s high time the Grand Old Party did something different. So when San Bernardino Assemblyman Tim Donnelly decided last week to file papers to explore a run for governor against the incumbent Jerry Brown, party regulars weren’t amused.
Donnelly’s antics have kept him in the spotlight in ways that many Republicans don’t think bodes well for the future. Last January he was detained at the Ontario airport for trying to bring a loaded gun onto a plane on his way to Sacramento in January. Prior to being elected, he led dozens of armed people to the border with Mexico to “patrol,” without the support of law enforcement. After he was elected to the Assembly, he led a rally on the Capitol steps to call for an Arizona-style immigration law.
GOP consultant mentor Rob Stutzman, whose clients included the Party’s last gubernatorial candidate, Meg Whitman, responded to the news of Donnelly’s announcement by Tweeting a link purporting to show Donnelly’s first campaign photo. It was a picture of Yosemite Sam, the Looney Tunes cartoon character, with his pistols blazing.
Others in the Party are troubled by his candidacy as well. From Politico.com:
The influential Lincoln Club of Orange County has released a statement opposing GOP Assemblyman Tim Donnelly, a former leader in the anti-illegal immigration group known as the Minutemen, who announced last week he would form an exploratory committee to run in 2014.
As Orange County Register columnist Martin Wisckol writes, “You know your Republican campaign for California governor is in trouble when the first attack on your candidacy comes from fellow Republicans.”
Making the Case for All-You-Can-Drink Coffee
I admit it. I’m a coffee snob. I like it strong. But, in a pinch, anything but decaf will do. And Atlantic Magazine is out with an article that brought a smile to my face. Entitled The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like, the article proceeds to warm us up with the health benefits of the dark brew (everything from preventing Alzheimer’s disease to protecting the liver), and then previews what it says will be a study coming out next month in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition claiming that coffee drinkers have lower incidences of type 2 diabetes. Here’s the closer:
… drinking coffee, and more of it, does appear to be beneficial. The evidence remains overwhelmingly in coffee’s favor. Yes, it was observational, but the study published in May in the New England Journal of Medicine looked at hundreds of thousands of men and women and found this bottom line result: people who drank coffee lived longer than those who didn’t.
And the more they drank, the longer they lived. If you’re into that sort of thing.
Local Restaurateur Rips Red Cross Sandy Relief
James Brennan, CEO of San Diego’s Enlightened Hospitality Group (Gingham, Burlap, Stingaree, etc.), took to the op ed pages of the SD-UT on Saturday to rake the American Red Cross over the coals for their efforts (or lack thereof) in his hometown of Rockaway Beach, N.Y following devastating damage from superstorm Sandy.
Over 130 homes burned to the ground by fire the day Sandy struck, leaving hundreds of families displaced with nowhere to go and still there was no sign of the Red Cross. People were sleeping in their cold, dark, damp homes, exposing themselves to disease, infection, mold and extremely cold temperatures. Wreckage lurked in every direction.
Eleven days later, the Red Cross finally came to Rockaway … to hand out hot dogs.
Over the course of the 11 days that followed Sandy’s arrival, the Red Cross said it raised $117 million and made a public announcement that its relief efforts were “near flawless.” Hundreds of thousands of Americans saw the images of Rockaway, watched Matt Lauer’s coverage on the “Today Show” and believed that the Red Cross would be the best way to get the residents of Rockaway and Breezy Point money to help rebuild.
He’s not the only one complaining. MoveOn activist Michelle Manning penned a blistering tome last week at The Daily Beast. She was a volunteer working in the same region. She spent fourteen days rescuing stranded people, driving them to shelters, delivering food and critical supplies:
I only saw Red Cross vehicles twice in two weeks.
The first time there were two white vans. Dazzlingly white. (Most of the relief vehicles, including my own, were filthy and battered. This has been dirty work.) They weren’t at work. They weren’t handing out supplies. They were waiting for Governor Cuomo. For a photo-op.
The only other time, coincidentally, or not coincidentally, was the day before President Obama was in the New York area. This vehicle was a white Prius, clean and sparkling as a new engagement ring. It wasn’t distributing supplies either.
That night, I was told, the Red Cross was handing out hot dogs somewhere. I never saw them. I do know that Red Cross workers asked volunteers for water to hand out, because they didn’t have any themselves—$150 million should buy a few bottles of water.
Former AP Reporter Johnathan Katz, who was in Haiti when the massive earthquake struck and reported extensively on disaster relief efforts, had a more nuanced view over at Gawker.com:
Finding clarity on the post-Sandy financial picture isn’t an option right now, and having covered many disasters past, especially the 2010 Haiti earthquake, I doubt much more will come. Instead of hard data, the Red Cross typically provides a potpourri of anecdotes and rounded figures—”Yesterday, we served nearly 130,000 meals across the region,” “60 trailers of relief supplies … are arriving this weekend”—that, without context, prove meaningless to anyone trying to crunch the numbers. How much does each meal cost to prepare and deliver? How many trailers are there in all? How many are ultimately needed? Rarely, if ever, do they say.
For all the criticism the American Red Cross has faced over the years, its extraordinarily high profile and the inherent difficulty in evaluating work in disaster zones mean that it has a mountain range of goodwill to spare. In short, the American Red Cross remains the Coca-Cola of disaster relief, a brand so well known and liked that it stands in for all others of its category.
Republicans love that it is a tax-exempt charity. Democrats can bask in the glow of its federal charter and occasional federal funding. And Americans of all stripes know that not matter where an earthquake, volcano, or literal shit-storm strikes—regardless of whether the American Red Cross even has an office within a thousand miles—the organization will take their $20 and promise to do, well, something.
The Red Cross has responded to the criticism by pointing out that they were indeed making a massive effort in region. From Reuters:
“No one organization, no government agency, could permanently be ready to respond to a disaster of this magnitude,” Josh Lockwood, the chief executive of the Red Cross’s Greater New York Region, said during an interview at a food distribution site in Staten Island’s New Dorp neighborhood.
Red Cross spokesman Roger Lowe added: “Are we everywhere we want to be at the same time? No, but we’re everywhere we can be given the people and vehicles we have and the fact that we are facing a large geography and an enormous population that needs service.”
Gail McGovern, the head of the American Red Cross, even told NBC News last week that her staff has been “near flawless” since Sandy struck.
Keep Up the Good Work Department…
Congressional Republicans have finally dug into their binder full of women and come up with a candidate of the female persuasion to join their 19 member all male committee chairs group. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) announced Friday that Rep. Candice Miller (R-Mich.) will chair the House Administration Committee — a committee that Miller wasn’t serving on until the message was delivered to the media. So once again, the Republican leadership has demonstrated that women are merely an afterthought for them.
On This Day: In 1964 police arrested about 800 students at the University of California at Berkeley. The arrest took place one day after the students staged a massive sit-in inside an administration building. In 1967 in Cape Town, South Africa, a team of surgeons headed by Dr. Christian Barnard, performed the first human heart transplant on Louis Washkansky. Washkansky only lived 18 days. In 1976 the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy in the U.K.” was released.
On This Day: Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Escondido (Welk Resort 8860 Lawrence Welk Drive) 1pm –Sunset
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
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.