By Doug Porter
Leaders of the local LGBT community will call for the resignation of County Clerk Earnest Dronenburg on Tuesday, presenting documentation they say proves he overstepped his legal authority, violated his oath of office and imposed his religious views on marriage into his non-partisan office.
Following the US Supreme Court decision that effectively overturned California Proposition 8 (banning same sex marriages) last summer, Dronenburg petitioned the state supreme court to issue a a writ of mandate requesting that the state hold off on issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Dronenburg said he wanted remove “uncertainty,” telling a reporter from UT-San Diego “I still have a reservation about what happens if in the final decision, the court decides that gay marriages aren’t legal,” he said. “Then we’ve set up all these people to having to tell them that their marriages aren’t legal. I just wanted a time-out.”
Except that wasn’t what was really happening.
After the County of San Diego declined his request for legal backing, Dronenburg reached out to attorney Charles LiMandri, who offered to file the writ at no cost, instead donating $11,240 in legal work in exchange for an agreement awarding him legal fees should their case prevail. Two weeks after filing, the case was withdrawn, supposed because other challenges had been filed.
LiMandri’s name has been synonymous with efforts to oppose same sex marriage over the years. From City Beat:
LiMandri considers himself an expert on “countering the gay agenda,” having served as an attorney for the National Organization of Marriage in the Prop. 8 battles and for the San Diego firefighters who sued the city after being required to march in a Pride parade. More recently, LiMandri launched an attack on University of San Diego for hosting a drag show; he’s currently demanding that the Catholic university forbid its students from doing internships at organizations that support same-sex marriage.
Tomorrow’s mid-day press conference, to be held on the steps of the County Administration Building, comes in the wake of activist Sean Salas public records requests for Dronenburg’s schedule and other communications related to the case.
“This press conference is not being held to make the case that Dronenburg abused his office, we already know he did,” said Salas, “This conference is being held to reveal new revelations of abuse and to call for him to either resign or not seek reelection at all. New content on his involvement has been uncovered.”
Another Koch Brothers Getaway in Palm Springs
On Sunday at a resort near Palm Springs, the ultra-conservative Koch brothers held yet another one of their gatherings for like minded donors, hoping to raise millions of dollars in support of their future agenda.
The Koch political operation has become among the most dominant forces in American politics, rivaling even the official Republican Party in its ability to shape policy debates and elections. But it’s mostly taken a piecemeal approach, sticking to its sweet spots, while leaving other tasks to outsiders, or ad hoc coalitions of allies.
That’s changing. This year, the Kochs’ close allies are rolling out a new, more integrated approach to politics. That includes wading into Republican primaries for the first time to ensure their ideal candidates end up on the ticket, and also centralizing control of their network to limit headache-inducing freelancing by affiliated operatives.
The Politico article goes on to describe three entities being touted for this years gathering:
The Center for Shared Services, providing a recruitment administrative services, capable of assisting with everything from scouting office space to accounting to furniture and security.
Freedom Partners: a nonprofit “business league” that doled out $236 million in 2012, is now expanding its role in distribution of funding. The hope is this arrangement will prevent future embarrassments like the one the Center to Protect Patient Rights and one of its beneficiary nonprofits found themselves in California, where they paid $1 million last year to settle an investigation into alleged campaign finance violations.
Aegis Strategic: a political consulting firm to recruit, train and support candidates who espouse free-market philosophies and provide policy analysis. The outfit is supposed to be the hub for all data driven analysis used by Koch affiliated groups.
Meanwhile, the editorial board of the New York Times unleashed a Sunday blast aimed at the brothers Koch and their allies:
Only a few weeks into this midterm election year, the right-wing political zeppelin is fully inflated with secret cash and is firing malicious falsehoods at supporters of health care reform.
As Carl Hulse of The Times reported recently, Democrats have been staggered by a $20 million advertising blitz produced by Americans for Prosperity, the conservative advocacy group organized and financed by the Koch brothers, billionaire industrialists. The ads take aim at House and Senate candidates for re-election who have supported the health law, and blame them for the hyped-up problems with the law’s rollout that now seem to be the sole plank in this year’s Republican platform…
…The clandestine influence of the Kochs and their Palm Springs friends would be much reduced if they were forced to play in the sunshine.
Oh, The Agony of the One Percent
It’s long been a strategy of the rich and reactionary to play the pity card when confronted with their excesses, but the letter published in Friday’s Wall Street Journal from Silicon Valley venture capitalist Thomas Perkins takes the cake:
“I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its ‘one percent,’ namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the ‘rich.'”
Here’s LA Times business columnist Michael Hiltzek on Perkin’s choice of words:
Finally, Perkins evokes the most notorious pogrom of the Nazi era, the Kristallnacht of Nov. 9, 1938: “Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent [sic] ‘progressive’ radicalism unthinkable now?”
Some background about Kristallnacht: It was an organized attack on Jews and Jewish-owned businesses; the name refers to the broken glass from their storefronts that littered the streets of Germany and Austria in the aftermath. Ninety-one Jews were murdered. Thirty thousand Jewish males were arrested by the SS and Gestapo, most of them deported to Dachau, Buchenwald, and other concentration camps. The rioters destroyed 267 synagogues; many were allowed to burn to the ground in full view of idle firefighters.
Afterward, Nazi officials expressed sympathy — for the German insurance companies that might have to pay for the damage.
Mayoral Campaign Mood Swings
My fellow columnist Jim Miller wrote about the latest polling today, which now indicates even UT-San Diego’s pollsters think the mayoral race is close.
I could say something like “the final result will be determined by the candidate with the best turnout” (i.e., whoever gets the most votes will win, duh), but I’ll spare you.
However, I would like to share this little posting from Alvarez partisan David Lundin via Facebook this weekend:
You can learn so much so easily.
Search on Facebook for “Alvarez Mayor” and you will see 15-25 future events for volunteers, and as many recently past events—walks, phone banks, etc. Events where 200-300 volunteers have walked neighborhoods and done phone banks–and these numbers are from single events. You will NOT see paid ads, or proposals to bus you to San Diego, pay for your hotels and meals and $100.00 a day to be a “volunteer”.
Then search “Kevin Faulconer Mayor”. You will see 20 + postings for phone banks, where 2-5 people have responded. Guess Republicans don’t like walking in neighborhoods. You will see postings where several County GOP groups [NOT San Diego County] are trying to recruit young people to travel to San Diego, stay in paid hotels, have their food and expenses paid, end of work day parties provided [ ].
Seems poor Kevin is having a very hard time finding real volunteers.
Event: Behind The Kitchen Door
The Center for Policy Initiatives is hosting Saru Jayaraman, author of “Behind the Kitchen Door” and co-founder of Restaurant Opportunities Centers United at Queen Bee’s Art and Cultural Center on Tuesday, January* 28th starting at 6pm.
From Cornell Press:
How do restaurant workers live on some of the lowest wages in America? And how do poor working conditions—discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens—affect the meals that arrive at our restaurant tables? Saru Jayaraman, who launched the national restaurant workers’ organization Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, sets out to answer these questions by following the lives of restaurant workers in New York City, Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Miami, Detroit, and New Orleans.
Blending personal narrative and investigative journalism, Jayaraman shows us that the quality of the food that arrives at our restaurant tables depends not only on the sourcing of the ingredients. Our meals benefit from the attention and skill of the people who chop, grill, sauté, and serve. Behind the Kitchen Door is a groundbreaking exploration of the political, economic, and moral implications of dining out. Jayaraman focuses on the stories of individuals, like Daniel, who grew up on a farm in Ecuador and sought to improve the conditions for employees at Del Posto; the treatment of workers behind the scenes belied the high-toned Slow Food ethic on display in the front of the house.
Increasingly, Americans are choosing to dine at restaurants that offer organic, fair-trade, and free-range ingredients for reasons of both health and ethics. Yet few of these diners are aware of the working conditions at the restaurants themselves. But whether you eat haute cuisine or fast food, the well-being of restaurant workers is a pressing concern, affecting our health and safety, local economies, and the life of our communities. Highlighting the roles of the 10 million people, many immigrants, many people of color, who bring their passion, tenacity, and vision to the American dining experience, Jayaraman sets out a bold agenda to raise the living standards of the nation’s second-largest private sector workforce—and ensure that dining out is a positive experience on both sides of the kitchen door.
On This Day: 1606 – The trial of Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators began. They were executed on January 31. 1756 – Composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was born 1967 – At Cape Kennedy astronauts Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom, Edward H. White and Roger B. Chaffee died in a flash fire during a test aboard their Apollo I spacecraft.
*Correction: The date for Behind the Kitchen Door was incorrectly stated as September 28 in the original post.
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
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@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.