By Doug Porter
While many of the issues at hand for San Diego voters in the upcoming mayoral runoff election may be local, there is a bigger picture being watched by political observers nationwide.
None of the top ten cities in the United States have Republican Mayors. Electing Kevin Faulconer in San Diego would be a double win for the GOP especially if the large Latino population is taken into consideration. It would also serve as a counterbalance to the perceived trend of big city electorates shifting more towards the left end of the political spectrum.
One only needs to look to incoming mayor Bill de Blasio’s solid electoral win in New York to understand just how seriously the right is taking this trend. An article in the New York Times last Friday catalogues right wing attempts to blame Mr. de Blasio for crimes currently being committed even though he’s three weeks away from being inaugurated.
Progressive governance, the thinking goes, will ensure end times, returning the city to vagrancy, bloodletting and that persistent offender of the suburban aesthetic, graffiti. In this view, it isn’t simply that the Bloomberg administration has kept the city as safe as Mayberry, but that it took a big bottle of Formula 409 to all urban defacements. Anyone who has ridden an elevated train through brownstone-free Brooklyn and noted the prevalence of tags and markings on signs, buildings and other structures can tell you that this isn’t so, but of course those marketing the notion that we’re tunneling back to the 1970s aren’t typically the kind to find themselves on the D train to Stillwell Avenue.
These fears of a city destined for renewed chaos received their most absurd enunciation in the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal last month. In an essay with a subheading that read, “As Bill de Blasio prepares to take office, eerie reminders of the city’s turbulent past,” Bob McManus, a former editorial page editor at The New York Post, wondered whether even the arrival of Banksy in New York wasn’t a suggestion of coming pathologies.
Over at Bloomberg News they’re ‘alerting’ the public about New York’s new mayor plans to spread this progressive agenda nationwide:
Even before he’s sworn in as New York’s 109th mayor on Jan. 1, Bill de Blasio is planning to take his campaign for income equality, urban-friendly transit and affordable housing to an audience across the U.S.
De Blasio, a 52-year-old Democrat, says he wants to be a “national convener” for a “progressive urban agenda” that got him elected last month by 49 percentage points, the largest margin for a non-incumbent in city history. Today, he joins other newly elected mayors in Washington for a meeting with President Barack Obama.
“I’m going to begin a mission that I look forward to working with my fellow mayors on, certainly work with the president on, to slowly but surely turn the congressional focus in particular back to investments in education, infrastructure, mass transit, housing, the kinds of things that would change New York City so fundamentally,” de Blasio said yesterday at a Manhattan news briefing.
Those of you with memories for detail might remember a series of editorials in our local Daily Fishwrap late in 2013 of a similar (“OMG It’s a Democrat”) theme. While candidate Alvarez is certainly not as confrontational in style as former mayor Bob Filner, he’s made it perfectly clear that his campaign is about moving San Diego forward, which means Lord Lynchester’s Mission Valley minions won’t be happy.
Labor Council Stands Up for Barrio Logan
Today Alvarez standing up with residents from Barrio Logan and the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council to ask the City Council to block a maritime industry sponsored referendum to overturn a community plan on the basis that signatures were collected under false pretenses. Council approval is normally automatically granted for referendums, so this kind of a move is unprecedented.
As Richard Barrera, the labor council’s secretary-treasurer, told UT-San Diego, “This referendum is an expensive and unnecessary attempt to dismantle the work that the Barrio Logan community and maritime industry have done together to build a community plan that protects the neighborhood.”
The face off over the future of Barrio Logan is one of the defining issues in San Diego for this election; one that clearly shows the differences between the candidates. The underlying threat to the concept to neighborhood empowerment (As in Hey! Let’s put a homeless shelter in La Jolla by referendum.) and ongoing attempts by San Diego’s would-be developer plutocracy to rule by fear-induced referendum cannot be emphasized too much.
Pio Pico Power Plant (And Protests) Back in the News
The natural gas power plant proposed for Otay Mesa, named for Pio Pico (the last governor of Alta California back in the days of Mexican rule), is back in the news again.
Although the California Public Utilities Commission rejected a San Diego Gas and Electric proposal last March, concluding that the region didn’t need the power, the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Power plant has led to a revival of the project.
Environmental Protection Agency will be holding a inquiry this week on the proposed plant’s air quality impacts. Set for Tuesday, December 17th at San Ysidro Middle School Multi-Cultural Center in San Ysidro, starting at 6:30pm, the hearing has drawn the attention of groups dead set against construction of a natural gas plant in Otay Mesa.
SanDiego350.org, the Environmental Health Coalition and Sierra Club San Diego have scheduled a rally outside the school starting at 5:30 pm. While the EPA meeting is simply to gather pubic comment on the plant, these groups want to increase public awareness of the underlying issues at hand.
The California Public Utilities Commission is reconsidering the future of the Pio Pico project and is expected to announce their intentions after the first of the year.
Kyla Race of the Environmental Health Coalition., told KPBS:
“Its unnecessary,” “It’s expensive. And its polluting technology that will lock the South Bay into 25 years of pollution and it locks the region into a dirty-energy future.”
The Coalition’s website offers further insight into their opposition:
If approved, the new plant, titled Pio Pico, will operate in Otay Mesa — a 2/3 Latino area already burdened with toxic waste and ranked in the top 20 percent of most polluted zip codes in the state.
The chemicals produced from Pio Pico, known as “particulate matter” are directly linked to respiratory illnesses, such as asthma. Over time, residents may experience school absences, lost work days, hospital admissions, asthma diagnoses and in some severe cases, even death.
The monetary harm will also be substantial, as Pio Pico will cost SDG&E customers $1.6 billion. And that is a fact.
Irreversable damage will be done to our communities. The amount of poisonous air from Pio Pico is equal to the annual emissions of 129,584 gasoline-powered cars or nearly70 million gallons of gasoline.
For more information on Tuesday’s protests, visit this Facebook event page.
Water War in Southern California to Get a Hearing
A San Francisco courtroom will be the venue starting tomorrow for a lawsuit filed by the San Diego County Water Authority against the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California to settle the question of whether or not our city’s getting gouged on the price paid for water brought in via Imperial County.
The San Diego County Water Authority, which supplies the city of San Diego and 23 suburban cities and agencies, claims that Los Angeles-based Metropolitan overcharges for bringing Colorado River water to the Pacific Coast on its 242-mile aqueduct. Metropolitan, a wholesaler that counts San Diego as the largest of its 26 customers, is accused of using the alleged windfall to give lower rates to cities and agencies in Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties.
The San Diego agency says it is being overcharged $57 million this year — which translates to $73.60 for an average household of four — and between $1.3 billion and $2.1 billion over its 45-year agreement with the Imperial Valley.
PRO-Sports Act Aims to End NFL Tax Exempt Status
Public Law 89-800, negotiated by lobbyists for professional foot ball back in 1966, allowed the NFL and the AFL to merge without fear of the nation’s anti-trust laws. While they were being granted a legalized cartel, lobbyists managed to throw in language adding the term “professional football leagues” to Section 501(c)6 of 26 U.S.C., the Internal Revenue Code. Thus football was granted both monopoly and tax exempt status.
Now Oklahoma’s Sen. Tom Coburn is pushing back. (Not that he has a snowball’s change in hell). From Mother Jones:
Times are good for the National Football League. Viewership is up. For the 47th year in a row, Harris Interactive named pro football the most popular sport in America. And with overall revenues north of $9 billion, the NFL is the most lucrative sports league on the planet.
That’s not enough for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He wants to nearly triple the league’s revenues to $25 billion by 2027—a mind-bogglingly large number. But here’s an even more shocking fact: The NFL pays nothing in taxes on all those revenues. Not a nickel. And now the anti-corruption organization Rootstrikers wants to put an end to the NFL’s free ride.
Over the weekend, Rootstrikers blasted out an email urging people to sign a petition in support of Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla.) PRO Sports Act, which would ban big sports leagues from receiving tax-exempt status. “You know the NFL as the National Football League,” says the Rootstrikers email. “But the IRS knows them better as the Nonprofit Football League—that’s because the NFL has not paid any taxes since 1966 and average Americans are left paying higher taxes to make up for that lost revenue. Senator [Tom] Coburn is trying to change that, and we support his endeavor.” Coburn’s bill would ban pro sports leagues with more than $10 million in revenue from receiving tax-exempt status.
Center for Policy Initiatives Organizer Gets MVP Award
CPI organizer Trinh Le has been recognized at the New Organizing Institute’s national conference of progressive organizers (RootsCamp) for the accomplishments she’s made in recent years in bringing ordinary San Diegans into the budget planning process.
CPI’s leadership in the Community Budget Alliance (CBA) has brought together more than 40 organizations– including civic, environmental, faith, labor and other community organizations. Starting in 2012, these groups joined forces, seeking an understandable, open and fair budget for the City of San Diego.
They’ve successfully made an impact on the once obscure process, submitting a list of priorities and recommendations for the Mayor’s 2013 budget proposal drawn up from neighborhood workshops. They’ve sought to allocate city resources equitably to neglected neighborhoods, and encouraged city residents to have early, meaningful opportunities to participate in designing the budget.
Trinh Le was recognized as Most Valuable Organizer at the RootsCamp, chosen from dozens of organizers who were nominated from around the country. It’s this kind of often unheralded work by CPI staffers that has contributed to the recognition nationally that San Diego is a place with real progressive movement.
DeMaio: Save the Soledad Crosses!
Or the Navy will Leave. Or something.
Never one to shy away from an opportunity to gin up the fear, congressional candidate Carl DeMiao has a Facebook page up to get anxious voters into his fold.
Just so you know, there are OccupyWall Street posters available for sale ($42.75) on the Walmart Web Site.
UT-San Diego Runs Gun Ad Adjacency Apology
From page A-3 of the Sunday paper:
On Saturday, the U-T published a story about the high school shooting in Centennial, Colo., on a page that also contained an advertisement for a local gun show. The adjacency was unintentional, and the U-T San Diego apologizes for the oversight.
Quote of the Day
“The first truth is that the liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself. That, in its essence, is fascism – ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. ”
-Franklin D. Roosevelt, “Message from the President of the United States Transmitting Recommendations Relative to the Strengthening and Enforcement of Anti-trust Laws”
Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar
Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltran, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org
On This Day 1770 – Composer Ludwig Van Beethoven was born. 1950 – President Truman proclaimed a national state of emergency in order to fight “Communist imperialism.” 1995 – Many U.S. government functions were again closed as a temporary finance provision expired and the budget dispute between President Clinton and Republicans in Congress continued.
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