Mayor Bob Filner is making two high profile appearances as the week winds down to highlight pro-active aspects of his agenda for San Diego. Meanwhile, the proxy war aimed at thwarting his programs continues, as opponents wage their own media onslaughts.
This morning Filner’s holding a press conference with ex-councilwoman Donna Frye to announce details of an open government initiative designed to make the inner workings of the City more accessible to citizens. The Mayor’s decision to bring the popular ex-councilwoman into his administration has been widely lauded.
The Mayor’s defeated opponent, Carl DeMaio, is also taking the stage today, with an op-ed piece in UT-San Diego this morning and a morning speech at an event hosted by the San Diego County Taxpayers Association. DeMaio’s message would seem to be a clarion call to warn San Diegans about Filner-approved ‘double-dipping’ for city pensioners.
From DeMaio’s op-ed:
Mayor Filner is asking the City Council to pass an extraordinary law this month to allow former city politicians to “double dip” by collecting full city pensions while being eligible to be rehired by the city with full salaries simultaneously.
In a Feb. 21 interview with U-T San Diego, Filner noted the exclusive nature of his proposal by saying “What we essentially want to do is confine it to a very small class of people: ex-City Council people.”
A very small class of people indeed.
What’s behind this clarion call? Is it an evil Democratic Mayor seeking to undermine all the hard work that’s been done on pension reform inSan Diego? Is Filner seeking to bankrupt the City?
Nope. The Mayor is trying to make it possible for Donna Frye to work in his administration and get paid for her time. Period. End of story.
Taking a cue from his Congressional brethren, DeMaio’s mission is to simply obstruct where ever possible, using alarmist rhetoric to cover his real intentions. You can bet that nobody in the mainstream San Diego media will see through this ruse; the ex-Councilman will be all over the evening news.
Taking to the Streets Saturday in North Park
Mayor Bob Filner, community leaders, transportation advocates, climate activists, health organizations, and environmental justice advocates will join together in a march and rally in North Park on Saturday (March 16th) at 10 am to promote alternatives to the automobile. Several hundred people are expected to gather in front of the North Park Walgreens and walk or bike to the Albertsons store at Mississippi and University.
The idea is to build community support for what advocates call a ‘vibrant’ San Diego by including plans for increasing mobility and decreasing our City’s reliance upon cars for transportation. Most importantly, this kind of event is intended to increase citizen involvement in planning and development. For more information, go here.
City Attorney Goldsmith Strikes Back?
An earlier hearing regarding a motion by the TMD to grant an emergency injunction was postponed because of concerns that the City Attorney could or would not adequately represent the Mayor’s decision to withhold releasing funds until a new deal was negotiated.
All this came about after a February 20th press conference called by City Attorney Jan Goldsmith to question the legality of the Mayor’s position. Filner crashed the gathering, criticizing Goldsmith for failing to represent the City’s best interests.
So I’m not surprised to see evidence of a Goldsmith public relations offensive. This morning’s KPBS news includes a report about the conflict that’s less than complimentary about the Mayor:
In private, city officials said the clashes have been even more fierce and prompted the city attorney to change policy.
Goldsmith alerted his staff in late February that his lawyers, especially women, were not to visit the mayor’s office without a “witness.” City officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that directive came after incidents involving Filner and lawyers from the city attorney’s office.
In one, officials said Filner crumpled up a legal opinion and threw it at Chief Deputy City Attorney Leslie Fitzgerald.
Although the report claims that Goldsmith and Filner both refused comment for the story, somebody had to have told reporter Amita Sharma something. And is this a story about the Mayor’s inability to suffer fools or is it a proxy move in the battle over the hoteliers ‘tax-that’s-not-a-tax’ saga?
The Gun Control Fight Comes to San Diego
Given the gun lobby’s unyielding positions on attempts to re-institute a federal ban on assault weapons, gun control advocates have sought to introduce resolutions supporting their position to civic groups and local governments around the country. The reality is that legislation about assault weapons won’t even get a hearing, much less a vote, in the House of Representatives without a wave of public support.
An attempt by Councilman David Alvarez to introduce a resolution on this subject for consideration via the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee, squeaked through yesterday without a recommendation on whether it should be approved. From Fox5 San Diego:
The resolution offered by Alvarez calls for the city to support Feinstein’s bill, along with legislation to prevent the sale, transfer, importation and manufacturing of assault weapons and magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. The draft resolution also asks that California’s congressional delegation back the measure and that the state direct more money into mental health services.
City councils in Chula Vista, Del Mar, Encinitas, Lemon Grove and National City, along with the San Diego Unified School District have recently passed resolutions supporting the proposed assault weapon ban. San Diego police Chief William Lansdowne told the committee that he fully supported the resolution, citing recent incidents where his officers have been threaten.
Republicans Mark Kersey and Lorie Zapf tried to waylay the resolution, first complaining that it should go through a different committee and then questioning whether the Feinstein bill was the best approach. More ‘study’, less action seems to be a favored technique for stalling gun control measures these days.
Or perhaps they were responding to a posting over at conserve blog SDRostra, warning of grave consequences should the Council endorse any gun control resolution:
The unintended consequences of illegitimate actions can have deleterious effects. When the San Diego City Council passed a resolution to encourage a neighboring state to repeal an immigration law, tourism (a major industry in San Diego) suffered. That seemingly innocent resolution, encouraged by a small group of San Diegans, inflicted economic pain on hundreds of thousands of working San Diegans. Those hundreds of thousands of working San Diegans lost confidence in the City Council because it exercised power not specifically delegated to it.
Wow. I’d forgotten all about the local economic recession caused by the City Council’s stand on Arizona’s racist immigration law.
Power to the Padres Fans (Or Not)
I didn’t see any articles in SDRostra complaining about a San Diego City Council committee hearing is scheduled for today on the impasse between Time Warner Cable and Fox Sports San Diego over carrying Padres baseball games.
Rules and Economic Development Committee Chair Sherri Lightner said she arranged the hearing because of an outcry from fans who want to watch the hometown team’s games. Opening day is in about three weeks.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has already told the council that he believes the city has no authority to mandate the cable company to carry the station broadcasting Padres games.
He did suggest that council members could explore whether Time Warner has been acting in good faith under its franchise agreement, given its costly pursuit of sports programming in Los Angeles.
Standing Up for Immigration Reform
A broad coalition of groups, often known to have disparate interests, came together yesterday for a press conference in support of immigration reform. The group, to be known as San Diegans United for Common Sense Immigration Reform, included representatives of organized labor, local high-tech businesses, law enforcement, civil-liberties and immigration activists and clergy. From the UT-San Diego account:
The overarching goal is to push for an overhaul of the U.S. immigration system this year. Central to the group’s campaign is a call to create a “roadmap to citizenship” for the estimated 11 million unauthorized immigrants living the United States. Another main priority is streamlining the immigration process in a “market-driven” way that “responds to the needs of business.”
“Our economy and our public safety depend upon getting it right,” said Nathan Fletcher, chairman of the coalition and a senior director of corporate development at Qualcomm, which said it has struggled to fill jobs because many highly skilled foreign workers cannot get work visas. “If we can do it here, then any city can get it done. If we can get a group of people who can step outside of their comfort zones a little … we expect Congress to be getting it done.”
Other prime objectives for the coalition include protecting civil liberties as the federal government devises better ways to thwart illegal immigration and boosting border security through smart use of technology, not by hiring more enforcement agents or erecting more fencing along the U.S.-Mexico boundary.
I wonder if they can get a resolution through the City Council?
A Breakfast Conversation on Immigration
The monthly meeting of A Better San Diego, scheduled for Friday (March 15th) will feature speakers talking about the new immigration coalition announced yesterday. Addressing the group will be Pedro Rios, Chairperson of the San Diego Immigrant Rights Consortium, Norma Chavez-Peterson, Associate Director of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, and Yohanna White, a DREAM student and activist.
This month’s breakfast ($5 donation) will be held at the Laborers Local 89 hall, 4161 Home Avenue, San Diego. The forum will run 8am – 9:30am. For more information, go here.
Seniors Speaking Out on Sequestration
The Obama Administration estimates that as many as 4 million meals to older adults could be eliminated in coming months as a result of the sequester. In San Diego County, over 100,000 meals will be cut and Senior Community Centers will loose funding for 32,000 meals.
A group San Diego senior citizens is gathering this morning to speak out against the impacts of the budget cuts on their lives at the Gary & Mary West Senior Wellness Center (1525 4th Avenue, San Diego).
At this event seniors will be served meals, except for three tables of seniors who will have empty trays, which will represent the effects of sequestration on senior nutrition programs.
Paul Downey, president and CEO, Senior Community Centers, is speaking to the need and what the fiscal cliff means for seniors locally and nationwide. Downey is the national board president of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services and is also a commissioner on the California Commission on Aging. For more information, go here.
Biggest ‘Oops’ of the Week:
Tuesday, during Rep. Paul Ryan’s speech unveiling his plan to repeal Obamacare and turn Medicare into a voucher system, he actually said:
“This to us is something that we’re not going to give up on, because we’re not going to give up on destroying the health care system for the American people.”
Of course he mis-spoke. Right?
On This Day: 1879 – Albert Einstein was born in Germany. 1956 – The movie “Rock Around the Clock” (with Bill Haley) made its premier inWashington, DC. 1988 – The first official celebration of National Pi Day was held at the San Francisco Exploratorium.
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