By Doug Porter
If you’ve not been paying attention, there’s a war going on for the heart and soul of our city. The 2012 election portended a different path for how San Diego could work as a city, a vision that scared the hell out of the guardians of ‘business as usual’. Now they’re fighting back. Get ready for yet another referendum negating the actions of the City Council.
This would-be oligarchy is unwavering in their opposition for any kind of change. These are the same people who cheered as city pension funds were plundered to enable them to fund their pet projects (while lining their pockets, no doubt). These are the same people who looked the other way while the city’s infrastructure crumbled, especially in neighborhood outside of their downtown playground. These are the same people profiting from the gross inequalities that plague our city.
And now these are the same people who are bound and determined to seal the deal by proving they can manipulate the city electorate to impose their will as needed. Paid petitioners standing on street corners warning passers-by about whatever falsehood they think will foment the most fear are their foot soldiers, drawn from the ranks of the most desperately unemployed.
Last month they were peddling the completely fabricated claim that 46,000 jobs would be lost to make room for yuppie condos in Barrio Logan. Yesterday “business leaders” stood in front of the news media who dutifully reported on their re-mobilization for opposition to a “Zombie Tax” they say will push the economy back into recession.
Be Afraid! is the new mantra for these defenders of the status quo. The only innate fear they haven’t tried to stoke involves playing the Race Card; they’re saving that one for use against David Alvarez’s campaign for mayor come the first of the year.
So look for new petitioners, paid for by the Chamber of Commerce and their friends, telling new lies to scare people into putting yet another referendum on the ballot seeking to undo a vote of the City Council.
Members of the Jobs Coalition raised signs in protest downtown Wednesday in opposition to the San Diego City Council’s vote to increase the linkage fee, or “jobs tax” — a tax charged to developers of non-residential projects that raises money for subsidized affordable housing.
Here’s UT-San Diego, quoting former mayor Jerry Sanders:
“If the end goal is to create a sustainable solution to affordable housing, there are other solutions better than to creating a zombie tax that does not address the real issue,” Sanders said. “At a time when our economy is still fragile, we cannot afford to do something that might put jobs at risk. We cannot afford something like this jobs tax that could easily push us back into the economic recession.”
At the heart of this matter is the loss of funding for affordable housing that was supposed to be siphoned off from redevelopment funds. Gov. Jerry Brown effectively ended that welfare program for developers. Those affordable housing ‘set-asides’ were rarely used for actual programs involving putting roofs over heads in San Diego.
City leaders knew this financial well was going to run dry, former mayor Sanders had two years to come up with an alternative and did nothing. Now the “Jobs Coalition” folks crying about linkage fee impact will be putting more money into ballot measure than they’d pay in fees. That’s because this fight is not really about taxes or fees; it’s about power.
Here’s mayoral candidate David Alvarez speaking truth to power, quoted in UT-San Diego:
“Big downtown business, corporate interests again continue to try to buy the democratic process,” Alvarez said of the petition drive. “The council spent a significant amount of time on this. Seventeen years of doing nothing, finally we act and the reaction to that is ‘Let’s continue to do nothing by repealing this.’ It’s been a completely irresponsible underfunding of our affordable housing situation here in San Diego.”
This “Jobs Coalition” will create a few temp jobs for petition gatherers; beyond that we’re expected to re-visit the dream of “trickle down” economics to see the future.
A more apt name for this gang would be the “Greedy Bastards Coalition.”
Mayoral Race Gets Some National Attention
San Diego politico Lucas O’Connor penned an article for the well regarded DownWithTyranny blog this week, urging progressives from around the country to pay attention to our mayoral contest. Here’s a taste:
Last year, San Diego’s insider establishment was stuck in an impossible position: two strong ideological mayoral candidates, neither of whom were interested in business as usual. This year, they’ve handpicked Faulconer as their golden boy to return San Diego to its decades of backroom plutocracy and slam the brakes on San Diego’s growing progressive movement. Those interests have already spent millions on this race, and they certainly aren’t done.
That’s why it’s going to take a lot of help from progressive allies outside of San Diego itself. The voters are there, but decades of poor infrastructure that’s only started coming back in the last few cycles means it’s particularly hard to reach those progressive voters in a lowturnout special election. But this is about the only game in town nationally, and by supporting David Alvarez and helping raise this race’s profile among progressives who generally tune out local politics, we can not only take it for the rest of our lifetimes, we can do it while demonstrating what the political future of the country looks like. –
Busting City Attorney Jan Goldman’s Chopsvia lucas2012infos
Dave Rice over at the Reader points out that attorney/activist Bryan Pease has hit a trifecta of victories in recent weeks in court battles handled by City Attorney Jan Goldman. On December 10th, charges were dropped against Pease stemming from an incident at Children’s Pool/Seal Rookery in La Jolla where he removed illegally posted signs “encouraging unlawful marine mammal harassment.”
Bryan Pease — whose clients included activist Ray Lutz (arrested for setting up a voter-registration table during 2011’s Occupy movement) and members of the Animal Protection and Defense League (who claimed police harassment while protesting the Ringling Brothers’ circus) — also faced charges brought by Goldsmith’s office.
In addition to the city picking up the tab on a $60,000 settlement for Lutz (a private party responsible for initiating the arrest will pay another $45,000), Pease and co-counsel Todd Cardiff will collect $83,718 in legal fees from city coffers for services related to the trio of cases.
DeMaio Wants the Nicer Immigrants
Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio made a splash yesterday with an interview in The Hill, responding to reports of Rep. Randy Forbes (Va.) urging the National Republican Congressional Committee not to use members’ dues to support gay candidates.
Of course DeMaio thought that was a bad idea, saying “Unlike Mr. Forbes, San Diegans aren’t focused on sexual orientation.”
He went on to beef up his cred as a “New Republican”, telling reporter Cameron Joseph, “If you want to clean up the mess in Washington, you have to start first by cleaning up the mess in the Republican Party.”
DeMaio showed his loyalty to the “Old Republican” credo of comforting the comfortable when it came to the topic of immigration:
DeMaio said some illegal immigrants should be given a path to citizenship, singling out well-educated immigrants and those who came here as children. But he was hesitant to say whether the majority of low-skilled workers should be offered the same deal.
“It depends on how many and how fast,” he said. “The idea that we would simply grandfather everyone in is something I don’t think the American people support, but I think we can come up with programs targeted toward people with certain criteria.”
Aftershocks of Occupy Appear in New Financial Regulations
Activist Cathy O’Neil has remained true to the causes raised by the Occupy Wallstreet movement. She took a moment out yesterday to celebrate their protests of Wall Street greed as the final version of the Volker Rule, limiting the investment activities of big banks, went into effect.
From her Mathbabe blog:
Today is a remarkably cold day in New York but that’s done nothing to dampen the spirits of the members and supporters of Occupy the SEC, which had a real influence on the final Volcker Rule, as reported by the Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post, among others.
I’m not saying the Volcker Rule is perfect – in fact Occupy the SEC gave it a C- grade overall. And it was maddeningly delayed. As I’ve mentioned before, Occupy the SEC sued the regulators for the delay, or tried to, but the judge found that they had no standing.
Even so, there’s a clear victory here for Occupy the SEC. The final rule, or at least its preamble, references Occupy the SEC’s public commenting letter 284 times. The rule could have been way worse, and probably would have been without OSEC’s contribution.
The War on Christmas Watch: It’s White Jesus vs Festivus
These words were actually uttered on the air yesterday by a news anchor for Fox News:
“Jesus was a white man too. He’s a historical figure. That’s verifiable fact.” Megyn Kelly
Elsewhere on Fox this week they were taking the infidels head on. From Raw Story:
Fox News host Gretchen Carlson on Tuesday lashed out at atheists in Florida for putting up a Festivus display next to a Christian display at the state Capitol building.
Last week, Gov. Rick Scott’s (R) office approved a request to install a Festivus pole made of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans next to a nativity manger and a Three Wise Men display. Festivus is a holiday created by the television show Seinfield, but it often celebrated by atheists as an alternative to Christmas.
“I am so outraged by this,” Carlson told Catholic League President Bill Donohue on Tuesday. “Why do I have to drive around with my kids to look for a nativity scenes and be, like, ‘Oh, yeah, kids, look, there’s baby Jesus behind the Festivus pole made out of beer cans! It’s nuts!”
Just So You Know:
On This Day: 1800 – Washington, DC, was established as the capital of the United States. The mosquitoes in the region have been eating well ever since. 1957 – Disc Jockey Al Priddy of KEX, Portland, Oregon, was fired for playing Elvis Presley’s rendition of “White Christmas.” He had violated the radio station’s ban against the song. 2000 – The Supreme Court found that the recount ordered by the Florida Supreme Court in the 2000 Presidential election was unconstitutional. Vice President Al Gore conceded the election to Texas Gov. George W. Bush the next day.
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