Oh crap. It’s starting to look like the San Diego’s second attempt to throw a party celebrating the centennial of the 1915 Panama-California Exposition in Balboa Park is in trouble.
The first round of planning came to an abrupt end back in February, when Balboa Park Celebrations, Inc crashed and burned, admitting that three CEOs, a board chock full of downtown groupies and $3 million in seed money hadn’t amounted to much of anything.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer handed off the event to another city-inspired non-profit entity, the Balboa Park Conservancy, on March 28th. A press conference on that date talked about a focus for the Centennial limited to four events: the ongoing December Nights celebrations in 2014 and 2015, along with spring and fall celebrations of things unique to San Diego.
Now citizen-activist David Lundin, the guy who stirred the pot with the original planners, is saying the new group is headed down the same dead-end path: no public input, closed door meetings and no tangible outreach.
In a letter to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Council President Todd Gloria, Lundin spells out some very real concerns:
Since March 28, Balboa Park Conservancy has made no effort to solicit public input on the scope or shape of these events. It has made no effort to invite and encourage volunteers for 2015 events. It has made no public efforts to either raise funds or solicit financial sponsors for 2015 events.
In 2012, your City Attorney issued a well-reasoned and researched Formal Opinion 2012-1 correctly concluding Balboa Park Conservancy, Inc. was at all times since its formation in 2011 subject to both the California Public Meetings and Public Records Acts. In addition to these California statutes, Section 4.11 of the By-Laws of Conservancy require not less than two public Board meetings annually.
Since its formation in 2012, Conservancy has never held a public Board meeting. Conservancy has never publicly posted an Agenda for a future meeting. Conservancy has never posted minutes of its Board meetings. Conservancy has never complied with Section 4.11 of its own by-laws.
I have personally served Conservancy with multiple California Public Records Act Requests. Conservancy’s Board has refused to produce a single document in response to these requests, claiming without benefit of citation to any legal authority that Conservancy is somehow “immune” from the Act.
Granted, it’s only been six weeks since the latest deal was finalized. However, given the embarrassing past history of this effort, you’d think any new organizers would be putting transparency at or near the top of the list of things to be accomplished.
Lundin also says the Termination Agreement between the City and Balboa Park Celebration, Inc will not be made public nor will there be any additional public hearings before being signed by both parties. He’s asked for a copy of the finalized agreement, but remains doubtful about actually seeing it without legal action.
In a May 17 letter to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, Lundlin expresses his skepticism:
The best way to do that is to have bright daylight shining on this entire termination process. An objective clearly not shared by former Mayor Sanders, the Board and executive employees of BPCI, all Members of the City Council who, by any objective standard, failed in their oversight of BPCI from 2011 through and including 2014, the City Attorney, and former Mayor Filner and I-Mayor Gloria.
I’d love to write a follow-up story about how this is all just a misunderstanding, I really would.
Another Blow for SeaWorld
The student travel agency STA Travel has announced it will no longer arrange trips that involve the unethical treatment of animals.
They have stopped tours that include elephant rides, visits to Tiger Temple in Thailand and visits to SeaWorld parks in Orlando and San Diego. This is another blow for SeaWorld, which saw a 13% drop in attendance in the first three months of 2014 compared to the same period last year….
…STA’s social responsibility program manager Kathryn Kirkpatrick said that the moves to end these tours was the beginning of an effort to understand issues around ethical travel. STA arranges travel for about 2.5 million young people annually.
Climate Change Denialism: The GOP’s 97% Sure
“It is true that there’s virtually no Republican who accepts the science that virtually is unanimous. I mean there is no scientific question. There’s just political denial for various reasons, best known to those people who are in denial.”
Politifact (via the Tampa Bay Times) decided to check out this claim.They rated Brown’s claim “Mostly True”, saying they verified only 3% of Republicans in Congress willing to publicly voice support for the scientific consensus on the issue:
Brown said that “virtually no Republican” in Washington accepts climate change science. When it comes to on-the-record comments of members of Congress, Brown’s characterization is about right.
We found at least eight Republicans in Congress who publicly voiced support for the scientific consensus and many more conservative legislators who deny either a human link to the changing climate, or the fact that the climate is changing altogether.
That’s eight out of 278, FYI.
Vote for Carl DeMaio (?!)
Here at the San Diego Free Press our opposition to Carl DeMaio’s candidacy for just about anything has been an editorial mainstay. A quick search shows over 100 articles mentioning his name since we started publishing in June 2012.
Our reasons for speaking out against DeMaio involve his economic and political points of view. (Okay.. he’s a jerk but, hey, I endorsed Bob Filner, so what do I know?)
To my way of thinking DeMaio embodies the “trickle down” premise that underlies GOP policy. I believe these sorts of economic policies favor the wealthy at the expense of everybody else. I don’t believe in “market solutions” for social problems. He does.
We’ve covered this a lot.
So when we got an email from a Ms.Karen Grube, I smelled a rat.
I know you guys are on top of stuff, but icymi, the UT just endorsed DeMaio for congress. I would dearly love you read any response you might have on that subject in the San Diego Free Press. I know you’ll have something interesting to say about it.
Ms. Grube apparently wasn’t aware about the article I wrote about her back in November 2012.
Karen Grube, who ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the party’s Central Committee from the 77th Assembly District back in June has created a Facebook page entitled Tony, You’re Fired hoping to rally other GOP members to her cause….
…She’s especially upset over Krvaric’s support of Carl DeMaio for San Diego mayor, accusing him of not vetting a gay candidate whose partner is accused of a criminal past and ties to the porn industry.
Grube created a Facebook page asking people to not attend or watch the parade. She also has called parade sponsors asking them to pull their support from the parade, which draws a global audience of about 68 million viewers annually.
“It’s an in-your-face political statement; it really is.” said Grube, who has contacted the AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), the nonprofit group that organizes the parade.
So, no thanks, Ms. Grube. You and all your homophobic friends can go play the traditional politics game called “ratf*cking” elsewhere.
Speaking of Trickle Down…
Here’s columnist Charles Blow, telling it like it is in “Poverty Is Not a State Mind”, via the New York Times:
Paul Ryan and Jeb Bush, the didactic-meets-dynastic duo, spoke last week at a Manhattan Institute gathering, providing a Mayberry-like prescription for combating poverty in this country: all it takes is more friendship and traditional marriage.
Ryan said: “The best way to turn from a vicious cycle of despair and learned helplessness to a virtuous cycle of hope and flourishing is by embracing the attributes of friendship, accountability and love.”
Lovely, Mr. Ryan. Really, I’m touched. But as every poor person in America will tell you, you can’t use friendship tokens to pay the electricity bill, and you can’t simply hug the cashier and walk away with groceries.
Furthermore, the statement makes a basic and demeaning assumption about the poor: that they suffer a deficiency of friendship, accountability and loving relationships. That, sir, has not been my experience. Poverty is demonstrative not of a lack of character, but a lack of cash.
March for Democracy
Over the weekend activists with 99Rise/California March for Democracy started out on a 37 day, 480 mile march from Los Angeles to Sacramento demanding public acknowledgement of the crisis of corruption fueled by dark money in politics and calling for immediate action to end it.
Last week Gov. Brown signed SB 27, requiring nonprofit groups disclose the names of donors who give them $1,000 or more to spend on political activity in California, if the group makes contributions of more than $50,000 in a year, or $100,000 over four years. The disclosure requirement kicks in with donations made after July 1 of this year.
The bill was sponsored by the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission and supported by many open-government groups, including the California Clean Money Campaign, California Common Cause, California Forward, California Voter Foundation, and the League of Women Voters of California.
The California March for Democracy wants more action. They’re calling for passage of the DISCLOSE Act (SB 52) which would require political ads in California to show who’s really paying for them. And they’re demanding that the legislature endorse and call for a Constitutional Amendment undoing the Supreme Court’s Citizens United and McCutcheon decisions.
The group is promising to occupy the Capitol building and engage in acts of civil disobedience to bring public attention to their demands. For more information: http://www.marchfordemocracy.
How To Stop Those Political Phone Calls & Mailers
Via San Diego Dems for Equality:
Complete your Vote By Mail ballot and send it in/drop it off AND within a week, most of the mailers/calls will stop. Really! The faster the Registrar gets your ballot, the faster they can let campaigns know you’ve voted and the faster you get off the contact lists.
For SDFP’s 2014 primary endorsements, go here.
You can see all our stories on this upcoming election here.
Check Out the SDFreePress 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
On This Day: 1911 – The first American criminal conviction that was based on fingerprint evidence occurred in New York City. 1962 – Marilyn Monroe performed a sultry rendition of “Happy Birthday” for President John F. Kennedy. The event was a fund-raiser at New York’s Madison Square Garden. 1965 – FBI agents visited Wand Records investigating the lyrics to the song “Louie Louie” by the Kingsmen.
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