Yesterday was the day that the seeds planted by a majority of voters just a month ago began to show signs of bearing fruit. Here in San Diego we saw a changing of the guard at City Hall. In Washington DC, although newly elected representatives have yet to be sworn in, there were significant moves in terms of influential committee assignments that could well portend a less fractious 114th Congress.
Speaking at yesterday’s inauguration, incoming Mayor Bob Filner gave the overflow crowd at the Balboa Club a couple of clear signals that perhaps things will be different in City Hall.
“The day of vilification of city workers is over.”
“Neighborhoods are the heart and soul of the city,” he said. “They define its character.”
It was a day of triumph for local Democrats and it was obvious by the mood of the crowd at the Balboa Park Club inaugural ceremonies. Up and comers like Todd Gloria, Scott Peters and Richard Barrera got extra love from the audience as their names were called from the stage.
The entrance to the building was flanked by cutouts of the President and First Lady festooned with balloons. A jazz band from the School for Creative and Performing Arts laid down a cheerful soundtrack as the overflow crowd filled the building and spilled into outlying rooms equipped with large video screens and booming speakers.
As fire marshals tried to clear the aisles of the main room prior to the onset of ceremonies, the sharply dressed crowd pushed back. Everybody wanted to be close at hand to witness this transition of power.
The sad note for the day was a forlorn looking GOP bossman Tony Krvaric, standing alone outside the building as we arrived. All the kings horses and all the Lincoln Club’s monies could not give the local Republicans the power that they’d sought.
Krvaric had to be content with sending out a tweet noting that Labor Council CEO Lorena Gonzalez was signing the VIP guest book, as if this was some sort of favoritism. There were, after all, 145 pages of VIP guests invited by the Mayors office. The big deal here was that Labor was actually included.
I remember GOP mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio’s campaign literature where he boasted of banning contributions from City employees, as if they were some sort of lepers. I also remember the day when the Republicans acknowledged organized labor’s role in society rather than demonized it, which is why I’ve included the accompanying graphic, hoping that it will jog a memory cell or two.
Todd Gloria, much to nobody’s surprise, was elected as City Council president yesterday. As a resident of his District, I have to say that his “get-er done’ attitude towards public works should be a great portender of what’s to come with the Council. Say what you will about his politics, Gloria’s willingness to cut through the bullshit to get things done is an admirable trait. Tons of recently paved “sexy streets” in my neighborhood are a testament to his single-mindedness.
So it comes as no surprise that Gloria would dare to cross the line on this happy day by daring to talk about asking for tax increases to pay for infrastructure improvements. Although nothing more specific than talk of getting voter approval has surfaced I’m sure that the usual casts of characters with the “Taxpayer” groups are already circling their wagons.
Certainly the GOP-types sitting behind me during the inauguration who talked about Gloria as a “socialist” and the need to split San Diego into two cities, using Interstate 8 as a dividing line will want to get their typewriters and AOL accounts ready for the upcoming fight.
Blue Smoke and Fiscal Cliffs in Washington
Meanwhile on Capitol Hill yesterday, the “standoff” over the “fiscal cliff’ being touted by the news media (they’ve gotta have something to do now that the elections are over) continued. Republicans submitted what the NY Times called a “copy and paste” proposal in response to President Obama’s budget plan:
The proposal… purports to raise $800 billion in revenue over a decade by ending deductions and loopholes, while allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the rich to continue. It would cut $1.2 trillion in spending, half of which would come from Medicare, Medicaid, and other health programs, including an increase in the Medicare eligibility age to 67. Another $600 billion would be cut from other unspecified spending.
Which programs would be cut? The letter doesn’t say, and Republicans don’t seem to care, as long as they blindly achieve their goal of cutting a big chunk out of government. The offer was a transparent attempt to appear responsive to Mr. Obama’s detailed proposal from last week, without doing any actual math or hard work.
If Mr. Boehner had used a calculator, for example, he would have discovered it is impossible to produce $800 billion in revenue from eliminating deductions without severely curtailing the deduction for charitable donations, which is vital to the nonprofit sector. Doing so without limiting the charitable deduction would inevitably raise taxes on the middle class, as nonpartisan analysts have concluded, and would have a much greater effect on the upper middle class than on the very rich.
In the smoke filled back rooms of Washington, away from the crisis mavens of cable TV news, a different narrative was emerging. Cong. John Boehner was purging some of his most vocal Tea Party members from choice committee assignments, sending a clear message that any eventual negotiated settlement with the administration would not be derailed by the tin foil hat set, as has happened in the recent past.
From the Capitol Hill’s Roll Call:
Reps. David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina were booted from the Financial Services Committee. Reps. Justin Amash of Michigan and Tim Huelskamp of Kansas were removed from the Budget Committee.
The decisions were made by the GOP Steering Committee at a Monday meeting, which reviewed a spreadsheet listing each GOP lawmaker and how often he or she had voted with leadership, three sources said.
While the mighty righty RedState.org called the new panel members “A Bunch of Squishes”, it more likely that Boehner and his fellow Republicans are looking at polling numbers like those indicated in the hot-off-the-press Washingtopn Post / Pew poll reflected in the accompanying chart.
There’s a New Sheriff in Town
The best news of today comes from the U.S. Senate, where sources are telling the news media this morning that incoming Senator Elizabeth Warren will be named to serve on the Banking Committee.
Her campaign to establish the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to oversee Wall Street ended in bittersweet victory several years back as the agency was established, but Warren was denied the top job after an intense lobbying campaign. The US Chamber of Commerce called her “the greatest threat to free enterprise” among 2012 candidates prior to her defeat of Scott Brown in the Massachusetts Senate race.
Her post on the Banking Committee is a victory for progressives who battled to win her a seat on the panel that oversees the implementation of Dodd-Frank and other banking regulations.
Bob Costas Meets the Gun Lobby
NBC Sportscaster Bob Costas used up 90 seconds of air time Sunday evening to talk about his reaction to this weekend’s tragedy in Kansas City, where 25-year-old Chiefs’ linebacker Jovan Belcher shot his girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, the mother of their infant child, and then drove to Arrowhead Stadium and shot and killed himself in front of his coach and his general manager.
You’d think that Costas had called for actual gun control legislation or repeal of the Second Amendment based on the spittle being directed his way by the NRA types in the news media/op-ed/reader comments columns. Much of that commentary suggests that the NBC broadcaster just wanted to spotlight himself; obviously those are folks who’ve missed his past willingness to cut against the popular grain on sports related social issues. Phrases like “pompous little jerk” and “a disgusting leftist midget” are being bandied about in the right wing media bubble.
For the record, here is what Costas actually said:
Those who need tragedies to continually recalibrate their sense of proportion about sports, would seem to have little hope of ever truly achieving perspective. You want some actual perspective on this? Well a bit of it comes from the Kansas City-based writer Jason Whitlock, with whom I do not always agree, but, who today, said it so well that we may as well just quote or paraphrase from the end of his article.
“Our current gun culture,” Whitlock wrote, “ensures that more and more domestic disputes will end in the ultimate tragedy, and that more convenience store confrontations over loud music coming from a car will leave more teenage boys bloodied and dead. Handguns do not enhance our safety. They exacerbate our flaws, tempt us to escalate arguments, and bait us into embracing confrontation rather than avoiding it.
In the coming days, Jovan Belcher’s actions, (and its possible connection to football), will be analyzed. Who knows? But here, (wrote Jason Whitlock) is what I believe, If Jovan Belcher didn’t possess a gun, he and Kasandra Perkins would both be alive today
Time Magazine’s Person of the Voting Hijacked
‘Dear Leader’ Kim, 29, has overtaken President of Egypt Mohamed Morsi for the No. 1 spot, with 2.9 million votes. after users of 4chan’s /b/ imageboard — a random forum where people regularly post violent and sexual content — encouraged the community to vote for the Korean leader.
While Kim does have a dominant lead, he will likely not win TIME’s coveted cover.
“As always, TIME’s editors will choose the Person of the Year (issue date Dec. 31, 2012, on sale Dec. 21),” the magazine says on its public poll. “The winner of the people’s choice for the person who most influenced the news this year for better or worse will be announced on Dec. 14. Voting closes at 11:59 PM on Dec. 12.” (h/t Mashable)
On This Day: In 1943 Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis announced that any club was free to employ black players. In 1961Gene Chandler’s “Duke of Earl” was released. In 1978 Dianne Feinstein became San Francisco’s first woman mayor when she was named to replace George Moscone, who had been murdered.
Eat Fresh! Today’s Farmers’ Markets: Coronado (1st St. & B Ave., Ferry Landing) 2:30 – 6 pm, Escondido (Grand Ave. btw Juniper & Kalmia St.) 2:30 – 6:00 pm , Mira Mesa (Mira Mesa High School 10510 Reagan Rd.) 3–7 pm, Morena District (1240 West Morena Blvd.) 3 – 7 pm, Otay Ranch – Chula Vista (2015 Birch Rd. and Eastlake Blvd.) 4 –8 pm, Pacific Beach (Bayard & Garnet) 2 – 6:30pm, UCSD/La Jolla (UCSD Campus, Town Square at Gilman/Meyers) 10 am – 2 pm (Sept. 25 through mid-June; closed for winter, spring and summer breaks)
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