By Doug Porter
Mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher’s campaign has had their fair share of issues over past six weeks or so. The former assemblyman is taking hits from both the right and the left; direct mail pieces have flooded city mailboxes seeking to exploit what polling says are the front runner’s vulnerabilities.
I’m not persuaded that these efforts are working, despite the fact that I share the sentiment behind them.
But I’ve found common ground with the Fletcher campaign’s refusal to participate in the latest exercise in “transparency journalism” at UT-San Diego. Snoop dog reporter Trent Seibert‘s latest exercise in lunacy includes a stab at rounding up of mayoral candidates’ college transcripts.
Fletcher’s campaign refused to play along.
In a brief interview last week, Fletcher spokeswoman Rachel Laing said the transcripts weren’t relevant to the mayor’s race. U-T Watchdog also approached Fletcher directly, and he responded simply, “No.”
Do voters really need to know about whether somebody participated in marching band or advanced surfing classes?
One candidate apparently thinks so.
Faulconer said his willingness to make public his transcript showed a bright-line contrast between him and Fletcher
“You can’t be trusted to lead San Diego as mayor if you’re not willing to be fully transparent during this campaign,” Faulconer said.
Another candidate said he had nothing to hide.
“I’m proud of my accomplishments — being the first in my family to attend college, my San Diego State degree, and my record of public service,” Alvarez said in a statement. “I have nothing to hide. My background speaks to who I am and I’m not afraid to be open about it.”
I‘m perfectly aware of the argument that such ‘transparency’ makes a statement about a candidate’s….something or another. Pish-posh.
I would hope we can elect humans who might have made a not-good decision or two while they were in college. Maybe they smoked a joint. Maybe they got drunk at a frat party. Maybe they got a D in ballroom dancing when they were 19 years old. I don’t care.
UT-San Diego is currently running a poll asking their readers if candidates should make school transcripts public. Two thirds of the people voting say “no”.
I’ll take that sentiment one step further and say even asking the question demonstrates just how bad UT-San Diego has become as a vehicle for journalism.
What’s next? Colonoscopy results?
While I’m Selling Out to the Fletcher Campaign…
I’m pleased to announce that the Fletcher campaign forwarded their candidate’s answers to our Virtual Mayoral Debate questions yesterday. I strongly recommend that you take the time to read our daily questions and their answers.
The virtual forum presents the candidates’ verbatim responses that we believe reveal crucial information about their approach to some of the issues facing San Diego.
Candidate Kevin Faulconer’s answers continue to be represented by an image of the empty chair used by Clint Eastwood in his performance at the 2012 GOP convention. (It’s never too late to play, Kevin!)
DiFi (Maybe) Sees the Light on NSA Snooping
The headline at the Foreign Policy blog tells the story all by itself:
‘We’re Really Screwed Now’: NSA’s Best Friend Just Shivved The Spies
The most stalwart defender of this country’s intelligence operations in Congress has long been California Senator Diane Feinstein.
As revelations and accusations have piled up against the scope and nature of the National Security Agency’s collection efforts, the Senator has been their best defense, assuring the press that their activities were all legal, misunderstood, or simply exaggerated.
She even stood by the agency when revelations about wiretaps involving Mexico’s and Brazil’s governments (legit) activities were revealed. Feinstein’s been at the forefront of the ‘shoot the messenger’ (Edward Snowden/Wikileaks) crowd.
From Foreign Policy’s The Cable blog:
One of the National Security Agency’s biggest defenders in Congress is suddenly at odds with the agency and calling for a top-to-bottom review of U.S. spy programs. And her long-time friends and allies are completely mystified by the switch.
“We’re really screwed now,” one NSA official told The Cable. “You know things are bad when the few friends you’ve got disappear without a trace in the dead of night and leave no forwarding address.”
In a pointed statement issued today, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Dianne Feinstein said she was “totally opposed” to gathering intelligence on foreign leaders and said it was “a big problem” if President Obama didn’t know the NSA was monitoring the phone calls of German Chancellor Angela Merkel. She said the United States should only be spying on foreign leaders with hostile countries, or in an emergency, and even then the president should personally approve the surveillance….
…Perhaps most significant is her announcement that the intelligence committee “will initiate a review into all intelligence collection programs.” Feinstein did not say the review would be limited only to the NSA. If the review also touched on other intelligence agencies under the committee’s jurisdiction, it could be one of the most far-reaching reviews in recent memory, encompassing secret programs of the CIA, the Defense Intelligence Agency, agencies that run imagery and spy satellites, as well as components of the FBI.
Truth Dig editor Robert Scheer’s response to the California Senator’s change of heart is to wonder whether or not she and President Obama, who now admit how little they knew about certain NSA conduct, will change their accusatory approach towards Edward Snowden.
… the fact of the matter is that [Feinstein] was clued in only thanks to the public service performed by Snowden in exposing the NSA’s despicable behavior. In June, Feinstein rushed to condemn Snowden as a traitor, saying, “I don’t look at this as being a whistle-blower. I think it’s an act of treason. … He violated the oath. He violated the law. It’s treason.” She should now apologize to Snowden for honoring his oath to protect the Constitution.
But what of Feinstein’s dishonoring the Constitution? If Feinstein is “totally opposed” to the surveillance of foreign leaders, why has she given a blank check for such surveillance of most Americans, violating their rights under the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution that she has taken an oath to defend? That’s a question that also ought to be answered by the president, who should welcome Snowden back to his country and give him the Medal of Freedom for his public service.
It don’t think that’s gonna happen. But maybe it’s time to clean house. Let’s go back and look at the successes and failures of the Church Committee investigation of the spy world back in the 1970’s. It’d be a start.
Ch-Ch-Changes at City Hall
Interim Mayor Todd Gloria’s reorganization plan for San Diego’s executive branch was unanimously approved by the City Council yesterday.
On paper, the changes look good. The real test will come with the implementation of the changes.
From City News Service via KPBS:
Three new departments will be created: Planning, Communications, and Analytics and Performance Management; while management training will be implemented and a consultant hired to search for efficiencies within city operations.
The changes will make city departments and employees more efficient and accountable, Gloria said.
“I believe that it will help us save time and money and help us serve our constituents more effectively,” Gloria said. “I want to make clear that this is not a radical overhaul, but rather a series of strategic, common-sense tweaks that will help us run better.”
Food Stamp Cuts to Hit Over a Quarter Million San Diegans
Consider this: Nearly 450,000 people in San Diego County live under the poverty line, meaning they have a household income of less than $11,000 for an individual and $22,550 for a family of four.
As of November 1st, thanks to Congressional inaction and gridlock, nearly 270,000 of those people who managed to qualify for food stamp assistance (called CalFresh in California) will be seeing a 5% cut in their benefits.
Considering that CalFresh assistance is typically exhausted in the third week of the month, this means even more people will be turning to San Diego’s food banks, which already stressed.
It’s a major hit to families who are already struggling, said Jennifer Tracy, executive director of the San Diego Hunger Coalition.
“These benefits are calculated in a very old formula that doesn’t actually give people enough dollars to spend on food for the month,” saidTracy.
Any hopes for Congressional action on this matter needs to be tempered by two things:
- Legislation currently (sort of) moving through the House proposes to cut another $4 billion annually from the food stamp program, along with changes restricting eligibility and work requirements.
- The Senate’s version of this act also cuts, but only to the tune of $4 million.
They’re Baaack. Ugh.
From Mother Jones:
Reports that the Mormon Church had given up the fight over gay marriage were premature. Earlier this year, Mother Jones and other news outlets noted the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints was making a concerted effort to mend its tortured relationship with gay members and their families and to stay out of divisive political fights over gay marriage. The church sat out virtually every state ballot measure on the issue in 2012, helping assure that marriage equality bills passed in Maryland, Maine, Minnesota and elsewhere. It launched a website,mormonsandgays.org, to urge better treatment of LGBT members. Mormons even marched in pride parades in Salt Lake City.
Now that the 2012 election is over, and Mitt Romney, the nation’s most famous Mormon, is no longer running for president, it seems the church is back in the ring. This week, the Hawaii state legislature began a special session to consider a bill that would legalize gay marriage in the state. The church is actively working to kill that measure.
On This Day: 1956 – “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” premiered on NBC as the evening news show. The show replaced “The Camel News Caravan.” 1966 – The National Organization for Women was founded. 1971 – Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident in Macon, GA
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