By Doug Porter
It’s hard to miss the Faulconer campaign’s warm and fuzzy broadcast ads featuring former Mayor Jerry Sanders. We’re told several times about how the Republican Mayoral candidate “saved” San Diegans a billion dollars through pension reform. We’re told this money can be used for needed projects in our neighborhoods.
Those assertions are fine examples of the ‘lots of baloney, served often’ strategy being used on Faulconer’s behalf. Our ex-mayor is an excellent salesman, ready to sell you discount passes for the (toll-free) Coronado Bridge if you’re gullible enough.
Voice of San Diego revisited that oft-quoted one billion dollar figure yesterday in light of newly released information, deciding it merited no better than a ‘misleading’ rating.
Pension savings of $1 billion will come over decades and any contention that they can be put back into neighborhoods immediately, as Faulconer implied in November, is misleading.
In fact, the city’s pension bills are going UP next year. And the real savings for the government are actually coming from a five year freeze on pensionable pay levels negotiated by the City Council. (The ballot measure demanded that the council make such a move, but legally such negotiations in pay can not be dictated through the initiative process. The council could have, in theory, refused to play along.)
So you might even say that Kevin Faulconer’s deal (until 2018 at least) decreased the amount of money available for America’s Finest pothole collection.
The Lincoln Club’s Angst on Poverty Funding For Poor Neighborhoods
Then there’s the latest “Alvarez is Coming to Steal Your Money” photoshop job from the Lincoln Club arriving in mailboxes this week. The premise is a statement made by candidate Alvarez at September 26th forum (one that Faulconer skipped) in Southeast San Diego about Community Development Block Grant, which are supposed to be spent in the poorest urban areas. The Democrat–gasp–actually promised to do what is supposed to be done with the money.
Here’s City Beat’s Kelly Davis, writing about the initial round of mailers (with the same message), with an excellent explanation of what’s really going on:
Community Development Block Grants, or CDBG, are federal dollars that are targeted at low-income communities to alleviate poverty, prevent blight and address urgent health and safety needs. CDBG money is allocated to cities and counties based on the number of households with incomes considered low ($27,000 for a family of four) and moderate ($43,200 for a family of four). Currently, a citizens commission decides how San Diego’s CDBG money is spent. This has upset some community groups, who’ve argued that worthy projects aren’t being funded and the money’s not going to truly needy areas. (Here’s a breakdown of San Diego’s most recent CDBG allocations via location.)
Alvarez, whose District 8 includes Barrio Logan, Logan Heights, San Ysidro, Otay Mesa, Sherman Heights and Grant Hill, was the first candidate to respond to Lam’s question.
“I absolutely do not think that our communities are getting what we deserve,” he said. “We represent the highest level of low-income communities in the city of San Diego, yet we do not see that same level of money coming back into our communities.”
And then this: “I’ve proposed, and in my plan for economic development for our city, I’m going to ensure that three communities in particular receive the funding that comes from CDBG: Southeast community, City Heights community and San Ysidro.”
The Lincoln Club mailer omits the words “that comes from CDBG.”
Do yourself a favor. Follow this link and go read the entire article by Davis.
And if you really want to stand this whole photoshop campaign on its head, you could draw the conclusion that the Lincoln Club is advocating for Kevin Faulconer to steal this money from those neighborhoods. Not that Kevin would steal or anything.
Have You Voted Yet?
This mayoral runoff election is going to come down to turnout, which is expected to be low since this is a single issue/candidate election. That should favor the Republican Kevin Faulconer, as older/more conservative voters are more likely to vote. However, the Alvarez campaign has an impressive canvassing effort underway.
Negative ad campaigns are aimed at discouraging the idea of voting, ie, “they’re all crooks”, “both sides do it”, etc, etc. The clear winner at negative campaigning in this cycle are the forces supporting Faulconer’s effort. In addition to conflating an issue (which is what negative ads do), they’ve also decided to attack the candidate’s appearance and, many say, his ethnic background.
There are a couple of polls floating around town. Yesterday NBC7’s Wendy Fry Tweeted about a PPP poll of 526 likely voters paid for by the California Democratic Party showing Alvarez up 46-45% (which is really a statistical tie). While I do not have a link to share on this one, there is reportedly also a poll paid for by the building industry showing Faulconer up by 3 points. (Which is also a statistical tie.) And for those of you enamored by the UT/10News SurveyUSA poll giving the Republican candidate a 16 point lead, and virtually tied among Latino voters, there’s another poll (again, no link) that reported shows a 75-10 ratio in favor of Alvarez among Hispanics.
What Goes Around Comes Around
Since the Lincoln Club thinks they’re so clever with their photoshop mailers, it’s time for some payback. I was gonna start up a fake Facebook page for this effort, but decided not to be sneaky about it.
Here’s the first in what could be a series of Lincoln Club Trading Cards (collect’em, trade ‘em with your friends!) starting at the top of their Board of Directors.
New ideas from readers are always welcome…
Feel free to right click, save and share!
More Studies About Inequality and Poverty (Not Good)
The most recent Gallop “Mood of the Nation” survey reveals that two thirds of Americans are dissatisfied with modern day distribution of income and wealth in the nation. This unhappiness cuts across party lines. Three fourths of Democrats and more than half of Republicans were somewhat or very dissatisfied with income and wealth distribution.
A report issued this week from SANDAG, the San Diego region’s primary research and planning agency on life of the bottom of the economic ladder demonstrates just how widespread poverty had become locally. A majority (71%) of the nearly 1 in 10 San Diegans living below the federal poverty threshold are employed. And if you look at the number of people living at twice the federal standard, the number jumps to 1 in 4.
Then there’s the difference between the federal poverty threshold and actually being a self-sufficient resident. The Center for Policy Initiatives (CPI) estimates that wage level for the San Diego area to be roughly two and a half times the federal poverty threshold for an individual.
It used to be that the light at the end of political tunnel was that the rising economy of the country was the ultimate solution to poverty. Fifty years ago the Democrats’ War on Poverty was founded on the premise that people just needed a hand up to get on board The Great American Dreamliner. Thirty years ago the Republicans took us down a different path, promising greater wealth for the wealthy would trickle down for any citizen wiling to work hard.
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman points us to how just how bad the GOP’s scheme has worked out, and the greed underlying its premise:
The reality of rising American inequality is stark. Since the late 1970s real wages for the bottom half of the work force have stagnated or fallen, while the incomes of the top 1 percent have nearly quadrupled (and the incomes of the top 0.1 percent have risen even more). While we can and should have a serious debate about what to do about this situation, the simple fact — American capitalism as currently constituted is undermining the foundations of middle-class society — shouldn’t be up for argument.
But it is, of course. Partly this reflects Upton Sinclair’s famous dictum: It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. But it also, I think, reflects distaste for the implications of the numbers, which seem almost like an open invitation to class warfare — or, if you prefer, a demonstration that class warfare is already underway, with the plutocrats on offense.
On This Day: 1977 – President Carter pardoned almost all Vietnam War draft evaders. 1990 – MTV’s “Unplugged” made its debut with Squeeze as the first performers. 1997 – Newt Gingrich was fined as the U.S. House of Representatvies voted for first time in history to discipline its leader for ethical misconduct.
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