By Doug Porter
The race for mayor of San Diego is technically non-partisan, but don’t tell that to the various political action committees and “social welfare” groups around town.
While media speculation has focused on the foibles of newly minted Democrat Nathan Fletcher, and David Alvarez’s unabashed support from organized labor, Kevin Faulconer’s campaign has been conducting a master class in how avoid the “R” word.
I hadn’t given it much thought until yesterday, when the email from Faulconer spokesman Tony Manolatos to reporter Clare Trageser surfaced, complaining about her KPBS feature, saying that the account focused on “Kevin being a Republican and a tool for big business”.
That’s right. A Republican mayoral candidate’s spokesman is mad because a news story called him a Republican.
Later I saw the second email discounting that reporter’s requests for specifics, alleging the information would be spun because of her boyfriend’s politics. And I went “huh?” You can read Trageser’s work for yourself, but partisan is hardly the adjective I’d use to describe it.
So I went to Faulconer’s website. Not one word about his party affiliation, despite nearly $1 million in donations from mostly Republican individuals and (non)-affiliated committees. Not a peep about positions on social issues, despite his campaign’s assertion Faulconer is “pro-choice, supports the Dream Act, supports California’s gun control laws, which are the most liberal in the country, etc.” Google wasn’t any help, either.
He is endorsed by all the Republicans on the City Council and ex-Mayor Jerry Saunders gets prominent placement in much of his advertising.
When it comes to economic issues Kevin’s preaching the party line. From Monday’s UT-San Diego profile:
He has been endorsed by several business groups, most notably the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, based on a solid pro-business voting record at City Hall in which he supported cutting regulations and streamlining contracting procedures. Faulconer has promised to do more to reduce the costs of doing business in San Diego. He wants to work with federal officials to reduce border wait times and increase the export economy. He has also set a goal to create 2,500 summer jobs for at-risk youth by 2015.
“I am going to bring certainty, as your mayor, to businesses that are creating good jobs for our working families, that are trying to grow those jobs,” Faulconer said. “(I understand) the role City Hall should play, but probably more importantly the role City Hall should not play when we’re trying to encourage growth and economic development.”
Of course the “certainty” Faulconer’s talking about is the certainty that he’ll support business interests over the needs of the disenfranchised in San Diego. He’s standing shoulder to shoulder with the groups fighting the “Job Killer” community plan for Barrio Logan. His response to efforts update the city’s funding mechanism for affordable housing is to call it a “Jobs Tax.”
Consider Congressman John Boehner’s statement yesterday that passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) was a “Job Killer”. Consider that GOP opposition to the Affordable Care Act was based on the premise it was a “Jobs Tax.”
The rhetoric is no accident. It’s only a matter of time until he starts referring to organized labor as “bullies”. I’d also like to point out the frequent use of the word “certainty” by Congressional Republicans to cover up the fact that their disruptive tactics are a factor in slowing the economy recovery.
For someone who wants so badly for you to forget his party affiliation, Faulconer certainly is well-versed in GOP talking points.
Kevin Faulconer is avoiding the Republican “brand” (but not its substance) because he’s smart enough to know embracing it would associate him with the social wingnuttia driving the party off a cliff. He’s also smart enough to know that you don’t need to call people names when you can enact economic policies that are equally if not more devastating.
Kevin Faulconer. Republican. Tell your friends.
The Personal Side of Nathan Fletcher
The busybodies at UT-San Diego, also known as the “Watchdog Team”, have been all over candidate Nathan Fletcher’s background, apparently hoping to prove that his decision last year to leave the Republican party was related to a flaw in his character. Or his genetic makeup. Or something.
While nobody’s ever accused me of being a supporter of his candidacy in this special election, it’s my sense that the Running Chihuahuas in Manchesterland have crossed the line from investigating into harassing.
Editor Ricky Young is likely to break something soon if he keeps contorting so much while trying to argue the journalistic validity of their efforts. I get it that he’s playing off the media’s self-imposed guilt trips over not catching on to Filner’s games prior to the election, but they’ve gone too far.
It’s not that UT and other reporters are asking questions—they should—it’s that they’re oversharing BS that doesn’t matter. Unless you’re trying to trivialize an election. Or discourage political involvement.
Along came inewsource yesterday with Fletcher’s response to the inconsistencies and blank spots in his history that have been so widely trumpeted.
It was personal. Oh, so very, very, personal, as the candidate along with his mother talked about the abuse he suffered at the hands of his natural father. It was sad. You might even say it was oversharing.
His mother joined him, the campaign said, to stop the harassing phone calls at all hours of the day and night. Here’s a video snippet:
Fletcher campaign’s has seized upon the moment and is trying to move past the personal into the political. Which is what they should do.
This doesn’t earn him a pass from me on policy. I’d prefer a bit more proof of his ideological transformation.
Meanwhile, the UT’s still digging, hoping for a scandal in his college records.
Wage Robbery in Progress
Gordon Lafer and the Economic Policy Institute have published a major report on wages, unions and legislation based on recent data. It’s loooong. And the report makes the case for the widening gap in economic inequality being much more than something that’s just “happening”.
Here’s one little fact I learned, and I’ve barely scratched the surface:
- In 2008 employees “lost” $185 million in wages, stolen from them in various illegal ways by employers, including not paying overtime. In 2008 the total dollar value of all robberies in the United States was $57 million.
Looking into ALEC’s Future
One of the organizations behind sponsoring “legal” means for increasing economic inequality is the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which cranks out model bills written by lobbyists for the convenience of local legislatures.
There’s a lot of the same boilerplate info at the start of each of the task force notifications, but once you get through the particulars, you will find the agendas and proposals that the task force members are receiving.
So now you, too, can take a look at the “studies” and “ideas” that will be formulated into legislative proposals for next year. How about vouchers for indigent legal services? Think about it for a moment. What could possibly go wrong?
City Council Passes Another So-Called Jobs Killer
Yesterday the San Diego City Council split along party lines and voted for a proposal that would increase fees on certain developments to fund affordable housing efforts.
Andrew Keats at Voice of San Diego has a good explainer posted about what these fees actually are and how they work.
But the City Council’s action (they are required to take two additional future votes) may be irrelevant. As is happening with the Barrio Logan Community Plan, the losing side has the cash to get this measure overturned.
Even before the vote was officially taken the San Diego Chamber of Commerce directed its management committee to raise and spend what it needs to throw out a big increase to the subsidized housing fee.
From the UT-San Diego:
Jerry Sanders, San Diego’s mayor in 2011 and now the chief executive of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, derided the decision in a joint statement with San Diego Gas & Electric President Mike Niggli.
“The best way to deal with issues like housing affordability is to strengthen San Diego’s economy, yet this action does the opposite,” the statement said, noting the possibility of litigation or referendum.
So this begs the question: “Why have a City Council at all?” Maybe the downtown gang can skip the middleman and put that up on a referendum next year.
(NSFWWE) Not Suitable for Watching While Eating
A video education on how Walmart’s pork is raised.
On This Day: 1872 – Susan B. Anthony was fined $100 for attempting to vote in the presidential election. She never paid the fine. 1946 – John F. Kennedy was elected to the House of Representatives at the age of 29. 1995 – “The Wizard of Oz in Concert” took place for a Children’s Defense Fund. The show featured Jackson Browne as the Scarecrow, Roger Daltrey as the Tin Man, Nathan Lane as the Cowardly Lion and Jewel as Dorothy.
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