By Doug Porter
Last week I reported on misleading mailers being sent to residents in San Diego’s District 4. There’s a special election on March 26th for the City Council seat vacated late last year by Tony Young. I profiled District 4 and the nine candidates last week.
Chances are nobody will win this contest outright (50%+1 is required), so the real deal next Tuesday is about who will make it into the runoff. And it looks to me like our local Republicans, even though they don’t have anything more than a token candidate in the race, are trying their best to influence the outcome.
This contest is important to all San Diegans because the winner will likely be a key vote on a City Council hesitant to get with Mayor Filner’s program to shift the emphasis of development away from downtown and towards the many neighborhoods of our city. And it’s already very clear that our downtown interests aren’t going to give up their privileged position at the public trough without a fight.
That’s why a shadowy PAC calling itself San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform has sent mailers using the City of San Diego’s seal to voters throughout District 4. The flyer appears to be an official government communication warning about progressive candidate Myrtle Cole. It’s customized by neighborhood with the heading: ‘Urgent City Message to Residents of [ … ]’.
The Voice of San Diego examined the most egregious of the claims made in the mailer yesterday and proclaimed it to be “huckster propaganda” in their fact check column.
Copies of the fliers are out there on the internet for all to see. There is certainly a basis for questioning the legality of using the City Seal. And there certainly is no doubt that this mailing was an underhanded attempt to influence the election. I’d call it a dirty trick. Others might say it’s business as usual for the local GOP types. From Voice of San Diego:
San Diego County Voters for Progress and Reform says it promotes job growth, improved public education and reform-minded governance. In the last election cycle, the group raised close to $200,000 from the conservative Lincoln Club of San Diego County, the San Diego Restaurant and Beverage PAC and others. It paid for television ads to support failed Republican District 1 candidate Ray Ellis and mailers in Solana Beach council races.
The PAC’s public campaign filings to date make it impossible to know who paid for the Cole mailers. A call to the phone number listed on the organization’s campaign filings went straight to a voicemail and wasn’t returned. Ryan Purdy, a conservative activist listed on the filings as the organization’s chairman, did not return a call for comment.
April Boling, the PAC’s treasurer, said the organization has followed all applicable campaign finance rules. She declined to say who paid for the mailer.
What riles me up about all this is the clear double standard going on here. The PAC’s ads for Ray Ellis in last fall’s City Council race drew accusations of illegal collaboration between the candidate and the group. Those accusations merited media coverage. This incident barely warrants a peep.
If the shoe was on the other foot, say a Labor Council funded PAC produced an official looking mailer attacking a GOP candidate, you can bet there’d be near hysteria in the local news media. That’s the way things are in San Diego.
I can see it now: the UT-SD website would have a flashing red light (ala Drudge) and there’d be editorials demanding an investigation. District attorney Bonnie Dumanis would hold a press conference saying that she’s looking into it. KUSI would break into their morning mediocrity with a ‘special report’. And the rest of the media pack wouldn’t be far behind.
So this ‘dirty trick’ doesn’t count. It’s taking place in the city’s traditionally ‘Black’ district. If it happened in La Jolla somehow I feel things would be happening differently.
The Real Republican Agenda
As Federal employees are rallying today outside the main gate at the 32nd Street Naval base to protest the threats to their livelihood posed by sequestration, Congressional Republicans are hard at work protecting their real agenda.
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments challenging the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that defines marriage as the legal union of one man and one woman for federal and inter-state recognition purposes, next week.
Although President Obama instructed the Justice Department to stop defending DOMA in court in February 2011, House Republicans have taken up the fight, using taxpayer dollars to hire an outside law firm to keep up the fight.
From Roll Call:
Cutbacks to congressional operating budgets were already being felt on Capitol Hill, but this month’s widespread sequester cuts came with additional hits. Cuts to the Capitol Police budget forced the agency to close a number of entrance and exit points into the Capitol complex to save overtime pay, causing long lines and frustration for staff and visitors. At the same time, sequester-caused cuts to Members’ Representational Allowances have forced many members to freeze hiring and staff salaries, as well as cut back on constituent services.
What’s NOT facing any funding reduction? You guessed it. In fact the House Administration Committee has increased the budget for outside counsel to defend against legal challenges to DOMA from $2 to $3 million.
Today’s protest in San Diego is one of about 100 rallies taking place across the country as part of a mass demonstration organized by the American Federation of Government Employees. Events are taking place outside federal agencies and lawmakers’ offices to highlight the impact of sequestration on everyday Americans, our local and national economy, and on the valuable work performed by federal employees at military bases, Social Security offices, federal prisons and thousands of other locations.
Coming Soon to Stores That Don’t Care: FrankenSalmon
The San Francisco Chronicle has a story today about some stores that do care, and are refusing to sell genetically engineered salmon being marketed as AquAdvantage® Salmon.
A coalition of environmental and consumer groups announced Wednesday that they have secured promises from several U.S. grocery chains that they will not carry the fish. These include Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Aldi, and PCC Natural Markets in Washington state. Most of the biggest supermarket chains are not participating.
Having lost the battle last November over California’s Prop. 37 initiative to require labeling of genetically engineered foods, activists are applying pressure now via retailers. It’s not such a tough sell, as genetically engineered food polls very poorly with the public and Prop. 37 was defeated only after food companies spent millions to bury it.
The salmon would be the first transgenic animal to enter the food supply. Obama administration has given preliminary approval and extended the public comment period until April 26.
Truth be told, there might not be anything wrong with this fish. But the food processing industry’s horrible record when it comes to putting profits before food safety and nutrition combined with their constant lobbying efforts to curtail oversight on their activities makes me not want to take a chance.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep Can Keep the Pounds Off
The New York Times has a post up today about a University of Colorado study suggesting that losing just a few hours of sleep a few nights in a row can lead to almost immediate weight gain.
Kenneth Wright, director of the university’s sleep and chronobiology laboratory, said part of the change was behavioral. Staying up late and skimping on sleep led to not only more eating, but a shift in the type of foods a person consumed.
“We found that when people weren’t getting enough sleep they overate carbohydrates,” he said. “They ate more food, and when they ate food also changed. They ate a smaller breakfast and they ate a lot more after dinner.”
In fact, sleep-deprived eaters ended up eating more calories during after-dinner snacking than in any other meal during the day. Over all, people consumed 6 percent more calories when they got too little sleep. Once they started sleeping more, they began eating more healthfully, consuming fewer carbohydrates and fats.
So that’s my excuse for sleeping in until 5:15am today. I was busy losing weight.
Another Step Toward the Final Frontier
Last year Qualcomm offered a $10 million prize intended to spur global competition to create a device that could capture basic health data and provide diagnosis for a set of 15 diseases. The competition was appropriately called the Qualcomm Tricorder X Prize. As in Tricorder, the handheld scanner popularized in the Star Trek TV series.
Today’s LA Times says Qualcomm isn’t the only one with skin in this game:
BlackBerry inventor Mike Lazaridis is the latest techie trying to build a real-life medical tricorder, a fictional handheld device on “Star Trek” that enables users to quickly diagnose ailments and take health measurements.
“What we’re excited about is these little gems coming out,” Lazaridis told Bloomberg. “The medical tricorder would be astounding, the whole idea of blood tests, MRIs — imagine if you could do that with a single device. That may be possible and possible only because of the sensitivity, selectivity and resolution we can get from quantum sensors made with these quantum breakthroughs.”
Now if they could just get the transporter idea to work…
Lest We Forget….
From Jed Lewison over at Daily Kos comes this powerful reminder of a decade ago…
NBC’s Today Show from the first morning of the Iraq War exactly ten years ago today:
Of all the people in that video, the only ones to get it right were the ones protesting outside the White House protesting—and they didn’t even get a full sentence of coverage. It’s yet another example of how Iraq represented a complete failure of our political system, not just that the Bush administration waged a fraudulent campaign to lead us into war, but that the vast majority of the American establishment was perfectly content to go along with the lies.
Protest at the Public Utilities Commission Mtg Thursday
From our friend at LaPlaya Heritage comes this reminder about why tomorrow is an important day.
Join Mayor Bob Filner and 70 other San Diegans at the 9 am Thursday California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) meeting to protest 2 new SDG&E dirty power plants, and ask the CPUC for help with Padres to the People and Time-Warner’s cable franchise agreement. https://www.facebook.com/
On March 21, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) will be voting on whether San Diego needs two new dirty power plants in San Diego: Quail Brush and Pio Pico. We know these Dirty Power Plants aren’t necessary, but SDGE and others will be there to say they are needed.
The meeting is in Kearny Mesa at the County of San Diego Operations Center at 5520 Overland Ave, San Diego, CA 92123. Attend and help EHC and our partners, Sierra Club, San Diego 350.org, Save Mission Trails and Run with the Sun. Tell the truth. San Diegodoesn’t need more dirty energy!”
On This Day: 1865 – A plan by John Wilkes Booth to abduct President Abraham Lincoln was ruined when Lincoln changed his plans and did not appear at the Soldier’s Home near Washington, DC. 1965 – President Lyndon B. Johnson ordered 4,000 troops to protect the Selma-Montgomery civil rights marchers. 1969 – John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married in Gibraltar.
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