By Doug Porter
“Bring it on!”
That was the reaction of supporters of the Barrio Logan Community plan yesterday after the City Council voted to place a referendum sponsored by maritime industry interests on the June 3rd primary ballot. Industry backers were hoping that a successful petition drive for the initiative would force the council to rescind the plan rather than face the costs and conflicts inherent in a contentious campaign.
The UT-San Diego wasted no time showing where its sympathies lie, running with a front page story using the industry’s un-provable contention that jobs would be lost in the lede of a supposed news article. While a City of San Diego study projects more than 4,000 jobs would be created under the plan, opponents can do no better than quoting individuals who “think” jobs might be lost.
Framing the conflict as one of “jobs” versus “neighborhood planning” is exactly the strategy pursued thus far by maritime industry advocates, who’ve managed to twist both ends of that equation (46,000 jobs will be lost! Yuppie condos are coming!) into an narrative so unpalatable that gathering signatures for an initiative was a cakewalk.
Putting the issue on the June ballot also guarantees this conflict will plan a huge role in the 56 day run up to the mayoral election, set for February 11that the urging of City Clerk Elizabeth Maland, who told the council she had to take into account numerous factors, including giving the county Registrar of Voters up to 28 days to certify results of the Nov. 19 special election, allowing the state-mandated 29 days of early voting, and avoiding holidays. This means mail-in voting will start as soon as January 13th.
Both candidates for mayor sit on the city council and hold opposing views on the Barrio Logan issue and had plenty to say yesterday. Observers at City Hall were very pleased with iMayor Todd Gloria’s spirited defense of the community planning process.
“The plan update was an open, transparent model for community-involved planning,” said Councilmember David Alvarez in a press release. “I’m proud of the majority of the City Council who stood up to threats and bullying tactics by private industry. I put my trust in voters to see the referendum process for what it is: a greedy attempt to keep the status quo at the expense of hardworking residents and workers and an effort to hijack our community planning process.”
UT-San Diego quotes Faulconer saying:
…the referendum implies that thousands of voters want the council “to keep working on creating a better plan.”
“We must preserve the majority of the plan to improve the Barrio Logan community and the lives of people and families who live there,” Faulconer said. “There’s a lot at stake here… One thing we have in common is we are all San Diegans trying to improve our community.”
Georgette Gomez, associate director at the Environmental Health Coalition, praised the council decision:
“The people of San Diego elected our City Council members to lead our city, yet these greedy corporations think they can use their money to overturn City Council votes. We thank the City Council for protecting democracy and the financial investment they made in the five-year community planning process that led to today’s Barrio Logan Plan.”
DC Dems Target DeMaio
The Other Big Contest on the horizon will be former city councilman and “New Republican” Carl DeMaio’s challenge to Democratic Congressman Scott Peters in the 52nd District.
Last week the National Republican Congressional Committee launched a radio advertising campaign in San Diego, tying Scott Peters’ support of ObamaCare to a local battling cancer and “losing” her insurance. (A story that’s been debunked, FYI.)
This week the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is launching its own campaign, with web ads highlighting the cost of candidate Carl DeMaio’s plan, which is (ta-da!) “repeal of Obamacare while we figure something else out.” The campaign includes an interactive web sire, FacesOfRepeal.com where Californians are asked to share stories of how they would suffer under repeal of the Affordable Care Act.
One Very Questionable Endorsement by Run Women Run
Run Women Run is a Political Action Committee with the stated purpose of helping more women get into elected positions, a goal I wholeheartedly support.
They’ve jumped in the 2014 election picture plenty early, announcing endorsements this week for:
- Sarah Boot, San Diego City Council District 2
- Myrtle Cole, San Diego City Council District 4
- Carol Kim, San Diego City Council District 6
- Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego County District Attorney
- Mary Salas, Mayor of Chula Vista
- Olga Diaz, Mayor of Escondido
- Nora Vargas, Southwestern College Board of Trustees
I get it that they are striving to support women on both sides of the political divide…but Bonnie Dumanis? Really?
I recall Dumanis’ questionable judgement in the case of Diana Gonzalez, a City College student brutally murdered in a campus bathroom by an abusive husband, who’d escaped prosecution in prior incidents of kidnapping, rape, false imprisonment, spousal abuse and criminal threats thanks to a decision made in the County DA’s office.
And I’ve heard the chorus of complaints by former prosecutors about Dumanis’ politicizing and cronyism of the duties of her office.
Here’s David Stutz’ testimonial for her opponent Robert Brewer:
“I served with the 2 previous DAs and, after she was elected, Dumanis appointed me to be in charge of all political violations. In a short period of time it became apparent she was using the office for her own political gain and not the public good. I retired rather than watch her destroy a great office and she has continued to abuse the office for her own personal benefit.”
Here’s Stephen R. Anear:
“I was a Deputy District Attorney for the County of San Diego for 30 years. As such, I worked under three District Attorney administrations. During the administration of Bonnie Dumanis, I saw a once fine organization fall to mediocrity. This was principally due to the internal office politics and cronyism fostered by Dumanis and those she appointed to positions of authority. As can be seen by the law enforcement organizations’ endorsements, she is not trusted by them to honestly and effectively lead the office and partner with them in the fight against crime.”
I am all for elected officials that truly reflect the make up of the populace. That belief means we need a lot more women in office, along with a lot more minority representation. But, Bonnie Dumanis? Really?
Californians Strongly Oppose Pension Ballot Measure
A proposed ballot measure, backed by San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed, allowing cities to slash the retirement benefits of existing public employees has the support of only 36 percent of California voters, according to a new statewide poll released today conducted by the Washington, D.C.-based GarinHartYoung Research Group.
Pollsters found that even when presented with messages explaining the measure, key voters, including those who’d be considered critical for ballot box success, were not persuaded.
Only Republican men (51%) supported the initiative out of all the groups surveyed.
Pollster Fred Yang’s memo accompanying release of the poll noted:
“California voters see the negative consequences of reducing retirement benefits for public employees, and the negative consequences of this ballot proposal specifically. Three in four (75%) voters believe that, should this initiative pass, public employees “could lose the benefits they were depending on,” and 65% believe that “workers could end up with insufficient retirement benefits. The vast majority of the electorate also believes that the state of California could become entangled in expensive, taxpayer funded lawsuits should this ballot proposal become law.”
On the Other Hand, an Oil Tax Proposition…
Los Angeles Times columnist Michael Hiltzik was waxing poetic yesterday about the possibilities of getting an oil severance tax on the ballot:
For decades, the big mystery of the California tax system has been the state’s failure to exploit fully its greatest natural resource, oil. Of the 22 major oil-producing states, California is the only one that doesn’t charge a “severance” tax — that is, a levy on every barrel drillers take out of the ground.
Measures to impose a severance tax have gone to the ballot twice since 1981, defeated both times due to an onslaught of spending by the oil industry. A third effort has just been launched, this one directed at the Legislature. It’s time California fell in step with the rest of the oil-producing states.
The new effort is the brainchild of Tom Steyer, the San Francisco hedge-fund billionaire and progressive philanthropist who last year backed Proposition 39. That measure closed a corporate tax loophole that he estimated cost the state $1 billion a year.
The severance tax is a bigger target. Steyer estimates it’s worth as much as $2 billion in annual state revenues at current prices.
He goes on to attack the oil industry’s likely response to such a measure—that such a tax would drive up prices–, pointing to a Rand Corporation study conclusion that, for oil grades going into gasoline “producers cannot shift any of their (tax) burden.”
And here’s the killer argument as far as I’m concerned:
Moreover, Rand observed, because oil companies can deduct their state taxes on their federal tax returns, federal taxpayers in effect would be subsidizing California’s oil tax. For citizens grousing that we give too much to the federal government and get too little in return, that’s one way to redress the imbalance. Without a state severance tax, Californians are effectively subsidizing other states.
Could we advertise this measure as a tax on Sarah Palin and Rick Perry’s states?
Santa Claus Watch
The Atlantic is up with a fascinating story about how a typo in a 1955 ad by retailer Sears led to NORAD’s popular Santa tracking.
“HEY, KIDDIES!” the ad read, in a greeting that would seem creepy only in retrospect. “Call me on my private phone and I will talk to you personally any time day or night.”
The ads then listed local numbers for area children to call to get some one-on-one Kringle time. Which must have seemed, if you were a kid back then, pretty amazing. A direct line to St. Nick! Kids could, finally, bypass the middlemen that stood between them and their gifts—the Post Office, their parents—and go directly to the source. And, even more directly, to that source’s enormous bag of loot. You can almost hear the Ralphie Parker voice-over.
Like many innovations, though, Sears’s frictionless Santa scheme found itself with an unforeseen problem. In the ad the company had placed in the local paper in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Sears had listed Santa’s number as ME 2-6681. Which,according to Snopes, contained a typo: It was one digit off of the intended one. The number Sears had ended up printing and distributing to the city’s citizens? The one for, as it happened, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD)—the predecessor of NORAD—which, like Santa, specialized in aeronautics. And which, unlike Santa, was based in Colorado Springs.
The article notes that today thousands of volunteers from various branches of the armed forces pitch in to make sure children get in contact with Santa. In 2009, more than 12,000 e-mails and 70,000 telephone calls came in from more than 200 countries and territories.
On This Day: 1865 – Slavery was abolished in the United States with the 13th Amendment to the Constitution being ratified. 1892 – Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker Suite” publicly premiered in St. Petersburg, Russia. 1999 – After living atop an ancient redwood in Humboldt County, CA, for two years, environmental activist Julia “Butterfly” Hill came down, ending her anti-logging protest.
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