By Doug Porter
Three Republican members of the San Diego City Council joined two of their Democratic colleagues to appoint Point Loma resident Ed Harris yesterday to serve out the remaining eight months of newly elected Mayor Kevin Faulconer’s term.
Harris, who heads the city’s lifeguard union, received support from council members Lorie Zapf, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman, Sherri Lightner and David Alvarez. Democrats will now have a 6-3 majority, theoretically giving them enough votes to override any vetoes from San Diego’s Republican mayor.
The appointed councilman was sworn in immediately following the vote. Harris is prohibited by the city charter from running for election to the seat, so he must step down when his term ends in early December.
Via UT-San Diego:
During his three-minute presentation to the council, Harris touted a city naming rights deal he helped land with Toyota, which has paid $1.1 million to have the automaker’s name on lifeguard trucks.
“It’s that out-of-the box thinking I’ll bring to the council,” he said.
Harris is also a member of the Livable Streets Coalition, a group trying to make San Diego a more walkable and bicycle-friendly city, and the Marine Protection Area Committee in La Jolla.
Voice of San Diego rolled out the most complete story I’ve seen on Ed Harris’ background, which includes an aborted attempt last year to declare himself a candidate for the District 2 race to replace an expected term-out for Faulconer. On the day his campaign was supposed to launch, the event was cancelled and Harris instead announced his endorsement of Democratic candidate Sarah Boot.
Activist Bryan Pease organized a Facebook event calling for volunteers to picket the expected announcement, saying that a compromise proposal made by Harris’ regarding the seals at the La Jolla Children’s Pool made him a poor choice.
Amid the unfolding Filner sexual harassment saga, Francine Busby, chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, sent out an email saying, according to a VOSD story, “supporting Harris could be problematic because ‘as a leader of the lifeguards, he will be associated with a culture that has a long history of discrimination against women.’”
This claim was complete bullshit, especially given the Democratic chair’s role in maintaining party support for Filner. Via VOSD:
Busby included a link to a story about a woman lifeguard who sued the city over gender discrimination. Harris was not named in the suit, or deposed as part of it. His only connection to the suit seems to be working for the department where the discrimination took place. The lawsuit had nothing to do with sexual harassment.
The other winner in the city council’s appointment process was OB Town Council Chair Gretchen Newsom. Although she only got two votes yesterday, the process of declaring her interest in the position along with her activism of behalf of Democrats in recent electoral contests has raised her profile. And that may well have triggered the unified front shown by council Republicans.
Sources tell me that Lori Zapf’s adamant opposition to Newsom was a contributing factor in her support of Harris. It’s also true that Zapf had developed a good working relationship with the head of the lifeguard’s union while working on issues relating to Mission Bay.
Councilwoman Zapf is running to be the permanent replacement for Kevin Faulconer’s D2 seat, having been re-districted out of her Bay Ho D6 residence. Her highest profile opponent is Sarah Boot, a former US Attorney, who’s been endorsed by a couple of organizations that just happen to include Gretchen Newsom.
Frank Gormlie, SDFP/OBRag editor, was on the scene yesterday. Here’s an excerpt from his excellent first person report:
Gretchen Newsom presented a challenge to the Republicans. She had touted her work with well-known Democratic state politician Phil Angelides as well as being president of the OB Town Council. She definitely came off as a liberal Democrat.
Perhaps it came down to the fact that Lorie Zapf didn’t want to potentially face off with such a fresh face as Newsom’s in 4 or 8 years . Currently in a tight race against Democrat Sarah Boot, Zapf didn’t want to promote or endorse another somebody that is very similar to her main competitor – a feminist and liberal Dem.
When the first balloting was held, Zapf showed her cards: she was going for Harris. This was the signal to her two GOP colleagues to change their vote and join her for Harris. Often Council members look to that member whose District is involved in whatever issue is before them. District 2 is seen as “Lorie’s seat” by the Republican establishment and that view is shared by Kersey and Sherman, no doubt. They did change their vote. That maeant no more beer jokes today.
The Dems would win the day, but damn it, they wouldn’t get their main man or woman. It was tit-for-tat. Boom we got you now, say the D’s to the R’s, we now have 6 to your 3. But yeah, say the R’s back, you only got the person we wanted. So boom back!
Yes, revenge can be sweet, but it can be complicated.
Three of the 20 candidates who applied for the appointed position before the March 17 deadline — Wayne Raffesberger, Ricardo Flores and Don Mullen — withdrew their names before yesterday’s session..
The other 16 candidates for the seat were Stephanie Antin, Robert Coates, Mary Elaine Cooluris, Bruce Coons, Christopher Cramer, Jane Gawronski, Daniel Holstein, Cary Lowe, James Mark McBride, James Musgrove, Gretchen Kinney Newsom, Bryan Pease, Richard Jarvis Ross, Michael Howard Wayne, John Wertz and Matt Winter. Cramer and Wayne also received votes in the first round of the process.
Newspapers for Sale (Or Not)
UT-San Diego honcho John Lynch gave the newly-launched Times of San Diego (ex-UT/ex-Patch staffers) a non-denial denial yesterday about a report at Neiman Journalism Lab saying that Papa Doug Manchester was looking for a buyer.
Replying to a Times of San Diego inquiry, Lynch said his company doesn’t comment on specific targets, but that “the UT continues to be in an acquisitive mode.”
The site also named Reader columnist Don Bauder as one of the sources of the story.
“There IS a rumor that Lynch’s assignment is to sell the paper” based in Mission Valley, Bauder said via email. “Recently, the company has finally admitted its results are disappointing. That’s one thing that makes the rumor credible. But also credible is the rumor that Manchester still wants to expand in the newspaper business. I told that to Doctor, and have suggested both scenarios could be true on my blog.”
Meanwhile, Los Angeles Magazine has published an interview with gazillionaire Eli Broad that includes a quote saying he’s looking to buy the Los Angeles Times.
Broad: Right now Los Angeles needs a lot of things. It needs better political leadership and better citizen and corporate leadership than it’s had.
LA Mag: What else?
Broad: Local ownership of the Los Angeles Times.
LA Mag: You and former deputy mayor Austin Beutner have been kicking the tires over there. Are you trying to buy it?
The answer is yes. Beutner and I are working together to find a way to buy it. But what the [parent company] Tribune Co. is doing is making that difficult. They are creating a new structure that will make it more difficult for the newspapers to break even financially. That’s a concern for us and for a lot of people.
About Those SDPD Cameras…
Here’s a cautionary tale from today’s Los Angeles Times that ought to be read by those in the community that think slapping a lapel camera on the gendarmes will go a long way towards solving the SDPD’s recent history of problems between officers and civilians.
Los Angeles police officers tampered with voice recording equipment in dozens of patrol cars in an effort to avoid being monitored while on duty, according to records and interviews.
An inspection by Los Angeles Police Department investigators found about half of the estimated 80 cars in one South L.A. patrol division were missing antennas, which help capture what officers say in the field. The antennas in at least 10 more cars in nearby divisions had also been removed….
…Most of the antennas were removed from cars in the Southeast Division, which covers Watts, Jordan Downs and Nickerson Gardens, where relations between police and minority communities have historically been marred by mistrust and claims of officer abuse. The in-car video cameras have been touted as a powerful deterrent to police misconduct and a tool for defending officers against false accusations.
San Diego is Still a Navy Town
The Associated Press has distributed a story about 79 US sailors who have filed suit in federal court in San Diego contending that Tokyo Electric Power Co lied about radiation levels associated with the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant meltdown in 2011.
The 79 sailors served on the San Diego-based aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, which was tasked with humanitarian operations following a tsunami triggered by a massive earthquake.
Via Stars & Stripes:
A lawsuit filed in federal court in San Diego contends that Tokyo Electric Power Co. repeatedly said there was no danger to the crew when they were actually being blanketed with radiation that has since led to dozens of cancer cases and a child being born with birth defects, the Orange County Register reported Monday. The Japanese company says its “wholly implausible” military commanders would rely on safety information from the utility.
This lawsuit follows dismissal of an earlier claim naming the Japanese government. While the revised suit has been expected for months now, I find it interesting that just one San Diego news outlet (10News) carried this story as of this morning.
The Sacramento Sea World Sideshow
I expect the Assembly Committee on Water, Parks and Wildlife will approve Assembly Bill 2140, the legislation prohibiting holding orcas in captivity solely for entertainment purposes in California. UPDATE: I was wrong. They tabled it.
I doubt that it will go much further this year, given the tales of economic gloom and doom being told by opponents of the legislation.
Via the Sacramento Bee:
One of the ripple effects of the provocative documentary Blackfish, which explores the deaths of SeaWorld trainers and concludes they stemmed in part from the park’s orca management practices, was Assemblyman Richard Bloom, D-Santa Monica, introducing Assembly Bill 2140.
Noting the massive interest his bill has attracted and conceding that committee members seemed “unprepared” to cast a fully informed vote, Bloom agreed on Tuesday to hold the bill for an interim study. That process could take more than a year.
“We’ve invested $70 million in killer-whale facilities in last three years,” John Reilly, president of SeaWorld Parks, told The Bee’s editorial board Monday. He’s in town to testify along with zoo professionals and trainers against the bill.
If the ban passes – and it shouldn’t – the San Diego park’s 10 killer whales would pay the price. They wouldn’t be set free in the Pacific. Seven of them have never lived in the wild and all are essentially tame animals who would suffer if dumped into the ocean.
Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, who’s been drawing a lot of flack for her support of AB2140, continues to stand strong on this issue. Here’s the conclusion of her statement to committee today:
“To those who oppose this legislation, I take no satisfaction in making two predictions: First—your on the wrong side of history, and that within my lifetime this indefensible practice will be outlawed. Second – tragically, another employee will be hurt or killed by a distressed orca, and predictably, management will blame the victim and call it ‘trainer error.’ Neither of those facts can be justified by profits.”
Back to the Sacramento Bee:
The sole San Diego lawmaker who sits on the committee, Democratic Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, expressed support for the bill and sharply questioned SeaWorld, noting the park’s resistance in labor fights to proposals like a living wage initiative.
“Being the only person who actually resides in San Diego on this committee, I’m a little disturbed about spending another year and a half talking about this issue,” Gonzalez said, adding that “not all San Diego has benefited from the work of SeaWorld.”
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