By Doug Porter
Another day has gone by and another misrepresentation by opponents of the Barrio Logan Community Plan has been exposed. In a city with an honest daily paper these untruths unfolding would constitute a scandal; sadly we live in a city where the dominant storylines are manipulated or ignored.
Today’s UT-San Diego has not a word about yesterday’s dramatic press conference in Barrio Logan. KPBS, City Beat and NBC7News all did cover the story, which, in a nutshell, was that the union members used by the shipbuilding industry to pack City Council hearings last fall have switched sides.
Union leaders told the press they’d come to the realization they were simply pawns in a campaign of misinformation and misrepresentation, as the first stage in a hardball campaign to defeat five years worth of effort to create a community plan full of compromises that sought equitable treatment for all the stakeholders. The shipbuilders have decided they want a no compromise plan.
Mayoral candidate and City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer along with industry representatives and conservative politicians like Carl DeMaio, cheered on a campaign for signatures to put the plan to a city-wide vote. Proponents claimed the plan threatened 46,000 maritime jobs as the city’s shipyards were forced to relocate and that the Navy wouldn’t be far behind. All were lies, which seems to be the stock-in-trade for the downtown set as of late.
As we learned yesterday, those signing petitions weren’t the only ones being lied to. The workers used as window dressing for the city hall confrontations were in for a rude shock as implied promises of concessions in labor negotiations disappeared from the table in late September.
From City Beat’s coverage:
In the run-up to the council’s approval in September of the community-plan update,union workers aligned themselves with the shipping industry. Workers attended public meetings and vociferously opposed the proposed zoning plan, which was negotiated over five years.
Shipping-company officials misled the unions, Godinez [president of the local union chapter for the International Brotherhood of Boilermakers]said. “About three months ago, I was called into the [National Steel and Shipbuilding Company, NASSCO] main office, and I was told the new plan would be bad on jobs,” he said. “Since then, I’ve taken a look at the map, and that’s not true.”
However, Virginia Cobb, long-time union leader with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, which represents shipyard workers, said labor’s sudden change of heart had more to do with recent labor negotiations.
The San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, along with the Machinists and Boilermakers have joined forces with local environmental low income housing advocates and community groups in opposing industry attempts to overturn the Barrio Logan Community plan.
“It’s clear that the greedy executives running these out-of-state corporations don’t care about the folks living and working in Barrio Logan,” said Georgette Gomez, associate director of the Environmental Health Coalition. “We want (the) City Council to stay the course by sending the Barrio Logan Community Plan to a citywide vote and telling the industry they can’t buy democracy in San Diego.”
For those looking for more substantive information the only actual report on jobs impacted by the Barrio Logan plan was done by the City of San Diego. It estimates, based on the data collected, that 4600 new jobs would be added. Every other claim that you may have read about this plan is simply one person’s opinion; no studies, private or public exist suggesting that jobs would be lost.
One thing just about everybody now agrees on: this thing needs to be settled by the voters.
A People-Centric Story
Saturday’s UT-San Diego featured a ‘people centric’ story up about the struggles in Barrio Logan. To his credit, the reporter did include a paragraph about the larger implications of the referendum:
While the Barrio Logan plan concerns only a small corner of San Diego, the precedent of a ballot challenge could reverberate elsewhere as San Diego’s other 50-plus community plans undergo revision. Losers in these perennial land-use battles could take the same route by collecting some 33,000 registered voters’ signatures in a series of referendum battles
Just think how outraged the residents of any other San Diego neighborhood would be if their future was threatened by out of town companies paying for a referendum built on misrepresentation?
Here’s few hypothetical and hyperbolic “what ifs”: What if Waste Management Corporation decided the quarries in Mission Gorge were a prime location for a new dump? How about a new regulation requiring each neighborhood in San Diego to house and feed an equal share of the homeless? (Can you imagine the reaction in La Jolla?) What if UC San Diego (the largest employer in town, FYI) decided to build out a multipurpose inpatient sexual offender rehab center adjacent to its Hillcrest operations?
Back to the UT coverage, since they haven’t been able to find a credible source to back the industry’s doom and gloom claims, this was the best they could do:
Larry Blumberg, executive director of the San Diego Military Advisory Council, said the Navy does not want to speak publicly about the plan, but he thinks the pressures to replace industry with housing will make it ever harder to service the shipyards and Navy.
It’s important to remember that just a few short months ago our Daily Fishwrap was peddling a football stadium plan that would have actually wiped out one of the existing shipyards.
Edward Snowden Told You So…
Federal Judge Richard Leon, yesterday:
“I have little doubt that the author of our Constitution, James Madison, who cautioned us to beware ‘the abridgment of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power,’ would be aghast.”
The former intelligence contractor has been a real thorn in the side for Intelligence Industrial Complex as revelations about NSA collection activities have dribbled out, each garnering their own headline. Snowden said back at the start of this process that he was motivated by a belief that these activities were illegal. We can argue till the end of time about his methods, but his presumptions got validated in a major way yesterday.
From the New York Times:
A federal district judge ruled on Monday that the National Security Agency program that is systematically keeping records of all Americans’ phone calls most likely violates the Constitution, describing its technology as “almost Orwellian” and suggesting that James Madison would be “aghast” to learn that the government was encroaching on liberty in such a way.
The judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court for the District of Columbia, ordered the government to stop collecting data on the personal calls of the two plaintiffs in the case and to destroy the records of their calling history. But Judge Leon, appointed to the bench in 2002 by President George W. Bush, stayed his injunction “in light of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues,” allowing the government time to appeal it, which he said could take at least six months.
“I cannot imagine a more ‘indiscriminate’ and ‘arbitrary’ invasion than this systematic and high-tech collection and retention of personal data on virtually every single citizen for purposes of querying and analyzing it without prior judicial approval,” Judge Leon wrote in a 68-page ruling. “Surely, such a program infringes on ‘that degree of privacy’ that the founders enshrined in the Fourth Amendment,” which prohibits unreasonable searches and seizures.
The Associated Press ran with a story cautioning against assuming the court ruling will stand:
“This is the opening salvo in a very long story, but it’s important symbolically in dispelling the invincibility of the metadata program,” said Stephen Vladeck, a national security law expert at the American University law school.
Vladeck said 15 judges on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court have examined Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the provision of law under which the data collection takes place, without finding constitutional problems. “There’s a disconnect between the 15 judges on the FISA court who seem to think it’s a no-brainer that Section 215 is constitutional, and Judge Leon, who seems to think otherwise.”
Vladeck said there is a long road of court tests ahead for both sides in this dispute and said a higher court ultimately could avoid ruling on the big constitutional issue identified by Leon. “There are five or six different issues in these cases,” Vladeck said.
Rep. Paul Ryan Plays the Government Shutdown Card. Again
The Los Angeles Times Michael Hiltzik warns that, when it comes to government shutdown and Republican, it ain’t over ‘till it’s over:
Mark Twain wrote of the cat that sat down on the hot stove lid that she would never again sit down on a hot stove lid, but she would never again sit down on a cold one either.
The Republican Party seems to have the opposite tendency: having been burned once by toying with the federal debt limit, it sounds determined to get burned again. Rather than taking more of a lesson from experience than is warranted, like Twain’s cat, it’s poised to take no lesson at all.
That’s the takeaway from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s appearance Sunday on Fox News. Fresh from his supposed victory in crafting a budget compromise with Sen. Patty Murray(D-Wash.) the Wisconsin Republican said his caucus is out to get a pound of fiscal flesh in return for raising the federal debt limit. The current deadline for raising the limit so the U.S. does not risk default on Treasury debt is around Feb. 7, though if experience is a guide it’s likely to slip some.
Those Pesky European Scientists…
From Agence France-Presse,via Raw Story:
The EU warned Tuesday that two widely used insecticides, one of which has already been implicated in bee population decline, may pose a risk to human health.
The neonicotinoid insecticides acetamiprid and imidacloprid “may affect the developing human nervous system,” the European Food Safety Authority said, the first time such a link has been made.
As a result, experts wanted “some guidance levels for acceptable exposure … to be lowered while further research is carried out to provide more reliable data on developmental neurotoxicity (DNT).”
The EFSA said its opinion was based on recent research and existing data on “the potential of acetamiprid and imidacloprid to damage the developing human nervous system — in particular the brain.”
What Nathan Fletcher’s Up To These Days
He looks pretty chill(y). On the top of a mountain. In Argentina. With a beard. Via Facebook:
On This Day: 1903 – The first successful gasoline-powered airplane flight took place near Kitty Hawk, NC. Orville and Wilbur Wright made the flight. 1969 – The U.S. Air Force closed its Project “Blue Book” by concluding that there was no evidence of extraterrestrial spaceships behind thousands of UFO sightings. 1977 – Elvis Costello and the Attractions appear on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” in place of the Sex Pistols. The Sex Pistols could not get visas to enter the U.S.
Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to “The Starting Line” and get an email every time a new article in this series is posted!
I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@