By Doug Porter
The dust hasn’t settled from the February special election, but the jockeying for a soon-to-be-open position on the San Diego City Council in District 2 is getting into high gear.
Run Women Run, the non-partisan group advocating for increased female participation in electoral politics, announced their support for Gretchen Newsom as the interim appointee this morning. Let the politicking begin!
Kevin Faulconer’s ascendancy to the city’s top job in March will leave his seat on the city council open. Within 30 days after he takes the oath of office the remaining council members are tasked with appointing a replacement who by law cannot then run for re-election for that seat.
four five candidates (that I am aware) of vying for the job: Ed Harris (Life Guard) , Don Mullin (Former Chief of staff for Marti Emerald), Gretchen Newsom (OB Town Council President), and Howard Wayne (Former Assemblyman). Since the campaigning in this situation is largely out of public view, today I’ll take a quick look look at those seeking the position. UPDATE: I’ve been informed that Bruce Coons (President of Save Our Heritage Organisation) is also under consideration.
The political consensus around San Diego is that this appointment will go to a Democrat, given their majority status on the city council. As should be obvious from the most recent campaigns, there are lots of competing interests within that party.
An article in this week’s City Beat about the challenges facing the Mayor-elect points out that “registered Democrats outnumber registered Republicans in eight of the nine City Council districts” and “there are four City Council districts where Democrats outnumber Republicans by more than 30 percent (Districts 3, 4, 8 and 9, all south of Interstate 8)”.
Ed Harris was instrumental in a decision by area lifeguards back in 2009 to split from the Municipal Employees Association and establish the San Diego Lifeguard Association, which is affiliated with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Last year he gave active consideration to running in District 2 to replace the termed out Faulconer, but folded his campaign on the day it was supposed to launch, announcing his support for Sarah Boot, now considered the Democratic front-runner in the race.
Activist Bryan Peace opposed the candidacy, claiming Harris’ past statements and actions about the La Jolla seals, along with other stances they consider anti-environmental, made him a poor choice.
Management consultant Don Mullen is former chief of staff to Councilwoman Marti Emerald. He also worked for her predecessor, Jim Madaffer, and District 2 Councilman Michael Zucchet. He has been involved with the LGBT Victory Campaign, a group that works to support the campaigns of out candidates.
Word on the street is that, while Mullen could be a popular choice, he’ll have a hard time getting the vote of District 4’s Myrtle Cole. Mullen was instrumental in supporting Dwayne Crenshaw’s campaign against the councilwoman. Crenshaw is suing Cole for defamation stemming from charges made in a campaign mailer.
Gretchen Kinney Newsom’s interest in the job was piqued after Frank Gormlie at the OB Rag ran a speculative article about potential candidates for the job. In addition to her position as OB Town Council President, she works as Principal and Director of Communications and Legislative Affairs at LeSar Development Consultants (LDC).
The LaSar in the company name just happens to be Toni Atkins’ significant other, which might (or might not) indicate lots of good local connections. For an OB Rag profile of Newsom, go here. Newsom has also been active in campaigning D2 candidate Sarah Boot. And the support of Run Women Run gives her candidacy a strong boost.
Howard Wayne served three term in the California Assembly (1996-2002), and in 2010 actively campaigned for the District 6 council vacated by termed out Donna Frye. He lost to Lori Zapf. Sources in the local organized labor movement tell me that Wayne has been working hard to cultivate their support.
Here’s where this gets tricky. Lori Zapf is now running in District 2 in the November election because redistricting moved her residence outside the boundaries of D6. Whoever is appointed to replace Faulconer must live within the boundaries of the district as it was constituted prior to redistricting.
Wayne may have a residency problem. A couple of months back he hosted the Uptown Democratic Club Holiday Party at his Linda Vista home (not in D2). There is, I’m told, a flyer out there inviting people to attend the function at “Howard Wayne’s home.” For purposes of this appointment he’s trying to claim D2 residency based upon a rental property he owns at the beach. Like I said, this may be a problem. And then again it might not be. Politics, y’ know.
Bruce Coons, a former high-tech manufacturing executive and current executive director of the Save Our Heritage Organisation (SOHO). He’s probably best known for leading SOHO in taking the city to Superior Court over the controversial and destructive plan to “makeover” the park’s Plaza de Panama. But his track record runs much deeper than that.
Coons served as an elected member of the Old Town Community Planning Group for ten years and is a currently elected member of the Peninsula Community Planning Board. Dozens of projects around San Diego, from PETCO Park to the Hotel del Coronado have benefited from his expertise and ability. Oh, and he lives within the boundaries of both the old and redistricted D2.
So many scandals, so little time.
Channel10News has three, count’em, three stories of interest posted on the San Diego Police Department.
SDPD officer Chris Hayes’ pled not guilty to five criminal counts, including felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery yesterday, and defense attorney Kerry Armstrong was in a fighting mood.
Story # 1 Via 10News:
Armstrong said he thinks the allegations are either a “`fabrication” or a “mistake” on the part of the alleged victims…
“It’s my understanding that once the first female made this allegation, that the police department either called or sent letters out to these other women he had contacted,” Armstrong said. “To me that’s a big red flag.”
“With all due respect, Chief Lansdowne has been on TV the last several days calling these women victims,” Armstrong told reporters. “And to me, they’re only victims if a jury of 12 people says they’re victims. At this point, the police department is supposed to be fair, they’re supposed to be unbiased when they do their investigation, and yet the head of the police department is saying that these women are victims, and that upsets my client.”
Reporter Mitch Blacher interviewed an active duty SDPD officer yesterday who told him the department is “filled with a culture of favoritism and nepotism.”
Via 10News Story # 2:
The source was asked if an independent body would help keep more officers in line. “We cannot police ourselves. It’s impossible,” the officer said. “It has to be an independent body. Otherwise the nepotism comes in and your investigation is totally tainted, contaminated and there’s favoritism to it.”
Police Chief William Lansdowne along with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith have actively opposed bringing in an outside monitor. “Jane Doe,” one woman who has refused to settle in lawsuits against the city stemming from allegations of sexual assault by convicted former SDPD officer Anthony Arevalos has made the demand for a monitor a key demand in court.
Meanwhile, Hays defense attorney was interviewed later in the day by 10News and was in full discredit the victim mode.
Via 10News Story #3
An attorney representing the San Diego police officer accused of sexually assaulting women said Wednesday that money could be a factor in the accusations.
Kerry Armstrong, who is representing Christopher Hays, said “money is a reason to lie” about the claims of sexual assault. Hays, who was charged Tuesday with five criminal counts, including felony false imprisonment and misdemeanor sexual battery, is facing accusations involving four women.
“There are a lot of reasons to lie—money is one of the first things that crosses my mind,” Armstrong said in a Wednesday morning interview with 10News. “People know there’s money to be made by making accusations of sexual misconduct.”
Armstrong also said the victims may have made a “mistake.”
But Wait! There’s More!
UT-San Diego and 10News commissioned a poll asking County residents whether Chief Lansdowne should resign. Never mind that he’s the police chief for the City of San Diego.
The latest sex crimes investigation involving a San Diego police officer doesn’t appear to have damaged police Chief Bill Lansdowne’s standing in the community.
A U-T San Diego/10News poll found that 69 percent of San Diego County residents rate Lansdowne’s handling of the case as fair to excellent while 19 percent gave him a “poor” rating.
In addition, 48 percent of respondents said Lansdowne should remain police chief while 24 percent said he should step down. Twenty-seven percent said they weren’t sure.
Next we hear they’re going to be commissioning a poll of Arizona residents over whether California Gov. Jerry Brown is doing a good job compared to Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Apaio.
Don’t Let the Door…
Head Chihuahua Reporter Trent Seibert is reportedly leaving UT-San Diego to return to his Texas roots as producer for the Houston ABC13News investigative team. His last incarnation in Houston was so spectacular that a special website entitled Watch the Watchdog welcomed him to town, saying:
Seibert had a reputation as one of the worst journalists in Colorado as a writer for the Denver Post.
The Colorado Freedom Report wrote “Trent Seibert has taken yellow journalism to a new level in Colorado…” According to the Freedom Report, Seibert made “multiple, unsubstantiated allegations” against the subject of one of his articles for the Post which was picked up by the Associated Press.
But that’s not all. Less than one year after his yellow journalism incident, Seibert was again a hot-topic in Colorado.
“Most staffers at major metropolitan dailies go their entire careers without writing a front-page article that turns out to be completely bogus. So kudos to the Denver Post’s Trent Seibert, who’s managed to pull of this rate achievement twice in the span of a month.”
We’ll miss his endearing tales fueled by visions of a Koch-funded libertarian paradise. I mean, who could forget his scary tales of woe about how the San Diego Public Library had actually hired a specialist rather than a simple moving van to move their collections? Or his thrilling accounts about Nathan Fletcher’s college transcript?
Take Duncan Hunter, Jr. Please.
HBO’s Bill Maher asked viewers to submit videos detailing why their Representatives deserve to be featured on ‘Flip a District.’ He’s promising to actively assist in unseating one not so swift congressional mouth breather. Via Politicusa.com we’ve learned about a resourceful and concerned voter in the 50th District who’s put together a video showing why she thought Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) needs to go.
On This Day: 1807 – Former U.S. Vice President Aaron Burr was arrested in Alabama. He was later tried and acquitted on charges of treason. 1942 – U.S. President Roosevelt signed an executive order giving the military the authority to relocate and intern Japanese-Americans. 2003 – In West Warwick, RI, 99 people were killed when fire destroyed the nightclub The Station. The fire started with sparks from a pyrotechnic display being used by Great White. Ty Longley, guitarist for Great White, was one of the victims in the fire.
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