By Doug Porter
Recent campaign finance reports reveal extensive financing from both Koch Brothers and Tea Party affiliates in support of Congressional candidate Carl DeMaio.
Incumbent (CA-52) Congressman Scott Peters campaign organization fired off a press release this morning calling attention to his opponents’ backers.
“Clearly the Tea Party recognizes a kindred spirit in Carl DeMaio, which is why they’re investing so heavily in his candidacy,” said Alex Roth, communications director for the Peters campaign in the press release. “The question is what these groups will expect in return if DeMaio is elected to Congress.”
“The Koch Brothers have taken an especially keen interest in this race. Their Americans for Prosperity PAC has run more than $145,000 in TV ads against Rep. Peters since October 2013. In no other California Congressional race has this right-wing PAC spent money on TV ads this election cycle.”
Here are some of DeMaio’s funders highlighted by the Peters campaign:
- — Koch Industries Inc. PAC, the political action committee of the Koch Brothers, who have spent decades advocating extremist positions such as abolishing Medicare and Social Security.
- — Eye of the Tiger PAC, run by Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Scalise also chairs the House Republican Study Committee, the group of right-wing firebrands infamous for “prizing ideological purity.”
- — Voice for Freedom PAC, run by Rep. Tom Price of Georgia, a member of the Tea Party Caucus. Price accused President Obama of a “Chicago-style shakedown” after the President pushed for BP to pay for the Gulf of Mexico clean-up stemming from its disastrous oil spill.
- — The Support to Ensure Victory Everywhere PAC, run by Rep. Steve Stivers of Ohio, who in a Tea Party questionnaire once proposed “eliminate(ing) the Departments of Agriculture, Education, Interior, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Energy and others to return to a constitutionally pure government.”
- — Road to Freedom PAC, run by Rep. Ed Royce of California, a member of the Tea Party Caucus and an opponent of marriage equality.
- — Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas, whose website boasts that he has been “TEA approved by the Texas Tea Party Alliance” and who has pushed for a Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
- — The Lynn Westmoreland for Congress PAC, run by Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, a member of the Tea Party Caucus and co-sponsor of a 2013 Constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
DeMaio Re-Writes History, Again
The National Journal busted Congressional candidate Carl Demaio for plagiarizing an investigative project on pensions as part of his campaign literature a while back.
Now he’s gracing their pages with a profile entitled “Yes, Carl DeMaio is a Gay Republican.Now will everyone please stop asking him about it?”
It’s the usual self-serving spiel, not very different from other profiles he’s been doing for national publication.
But there is the problem of a little revisionist history along the way. I’m not too surprised, given that his people were caught by City Beat a while back re-writing DeMaio’s Wikipedia entry.
Here are the offending paragraphs (There are others):
Within a year, Filner was forced to resign amid allegations of sexual harassment. DeMaio would have won the resulting special election easily, he says, but by then he had already begun a campaign for Congress, on a platform that includes taking his pension-reform efforts national; requiring legislators to cast a percentage of their votes remotely, via a yet-to-be-developed smartphone app, so they can spend more time in their districts; and tackling immigration reform by securing the borders and developing a plan to grant citizenship to some of the nation’s 11 million undocumented immigrants.
To make what would seem a tough choice, he began a pro/con list last fall, intending to lay out all the reasons for continuing the push to Washington, and those in favor of scrapping that effort and staying in San Diego. He never made it to the second list. By then, the political power on the City Council had shifted toward the Democrats, and the city had entered into a five-year binding contract with its labor unions. He didn’t see how he’d be able to get much done in that environment. Even with the gridlock in Washington, DeMaio decided to push ahead with his congressional bid.
Really now? Why do otherwise reputable news organizations keep falling for this blarney?
If you’re missing my point here, I suggest reading the Scott Lewis account in Voice of San Diego about one huge factor that just might have influenced Carl DeMaio not to run for mayor.
HINT: Carl did what his rich backers told him to do. And that is why his Koch and Tea Party backing is a Big Deal.
SDPD Follies Continue
Dancers employed by adult entertainment clubs have filed suit seeking damages from the City of San Diego and police chief Shelley Zimmerman, alleging violations of their rights during vice squad licensing inspections.
From the Los Angeles Times:
The strippers were employed at Cheetahs Gentlemen’s Club and Club Expose when members of the police department’s vice squad detained them and forced them to pose for pictures during “raids” in 2013 and 2014, according to the lawsuit filed in Superior Court.
The strippers were “nearly nude” when their pictures were taken while officers made “arrogant and demeaning remarks” and intimidated the strippers to keep them from leaving, the lawsuit alleges.
Attorney Dan Gilleon, whose firm filed the suit, said the strippers’ rights to avoid unreasonable search and seizure were violated by the vice squad officers.
The SDPD still has eight cases pending involving allegations of sexual assault and/or sexual harassment..
The most high profile case involves a Jane Doe lawsuit alleging the department systemically covers up officer misconduct. Her lawyers want a federal monitor to oversee the department.
Following the resignation of William Lansdowne as chief of police earlier this year, the city announced an agreement with a US Justice department contractor to conduct an audit of department practices and make recommendations for change and improvements.
This audit is a voluntary undertaking. Offices can not be required to give testimony and any findings by the group are not binding.
The contracted company, the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) has a history of relationships with SDPD brass. Both former San Diego Police Chiefs Jerry Sanders and William Lansdowne served on PERF’s board of directors.
Some people (including yours truly) have real doubts about the legitimacy of any results this company may come up with.
“These ties are entirely too close,” said attorney Linda Workman.
Workman represents “Jane Doe,” a victim of former San Diego police Officer Anthony Arevalos. He is serving more than eight years in prison for sexual battery. Doe is suing, asking for an independent monitor of the San Diego Police Department.
“If the organization that’s conducting the audit is biased, then it’s a waste of time and resources and the public does not get the reforms it needs,” said Workman.
As part of PERF’s assessment of the SDPD, they are holding two public meetings this month, asking the public to share their stories of their personal experiences with the SDPD and offer suggestions on ways to better the department.
Those meetings are slated for July 22 (6-8 pm) at the Tubman/Chavez Multicultural Center at 415 Euclid Avenue and on July 23 (6:30-9 pm at the Sherman Heights Community Center at 2258 Island Avenue. Call (619) 548-5464 for more information.
How Hare-Brained is the Concept of Six Californias?
There has been lots of reporting and commentary this week about billionaire Tim Draper’s proposed ballot measure splitting California into six states. The most obvious thing I’ve noticed either buried or omitted entirely in these accounts is the fact that this initiative will not be on the ballot until 2016.
From Josh Richmond’s Political Blotter comes a suggestion of impropriety in gathering the signatures turned in to the California Secretary of State on Tuesday. These allegations are about paid signature gatherers lying to the public about what’s on the petition they’re being asked to sign.
Richmond shares several first person accounts that were sent to him recently. And then there’s the company getting paid to collect the signatures;Arno Political Consultants – a Carlsbard firm, founded in 1979 by Michael Arno.
Arno said Tuesday that he hired more than 1,000 signature gatherers around the state to circulate Six California’s petitions. Told of the similar complaints from various locations, he replied, “That’s the first I’ve heard of it … I have no idea why that would happen. This has been one of the cleaner drives I can remember.”
While he said it’s possible that the allegations are true, “I can’t control all circulators, and I think it’s a very de minimis problem when you figure we collected 1.3 million signatures.”
Arno’s company has faced complaints like this before, many of which were documented in the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center’s 2007 report, “Abusing Direct Democracy: Bad Actors in the Signature Gathering Process.”
“Arno Consulting is known as one of the largest and most successful signature gathering firms in the country,” the report said. “Despite his impressive client list and years of experience, Arno is also known for something else: being accused of deception and illegalities in his signature gathering practices.”
In the past Arno has blamed his bad press on the Service Employees International Union and billionaire financier George Soros.
Over at Daily Kos, diarist Hunter pointed out in a particularly spectacular rant that these sorts of rich guy initiatives are at the root of the problems Draper claims will be solved by cutting up the state.
Draper is no stranger to the challenges of expensive state ballot measures. In 2000, he spent $20 million on a failed measure to support school vouchers.
Tech man’s burden, bringin’ disruptive innovation to the dullard masses. Sorry—the story of wealthy businessmen funding ballot measures to pass transparently self-serving but state-damaging things is a bit of a sore spot in this state, it being something that happens Every Single Damn Election. The measures are then advertised by groups like “Citizens for Happier Puppies,” which turns out to be a front for the American Puppy Crushers Association, and we get lovely ads about how taxes will go down if we stop oppressing industries that just want to give all our puppies sharp metal hugs.
All right, let’s make this quick. California has some problems, but “partisanship” is a rather facile explanation—and by “facile,” I mean toddler-ish. Requiring supermajorities of the legislature to accomplish Basic Things would be a big problem, thank you very much past anti-government crackpots with petition drives. Continued efforts to further disembowel an educational system that was once among the top in the nation would be a big problem, thank you very much anti-tax and pro-voucher zealots. Yada yada yada Prop. 13, yada yada yada Silicon Valley doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, yada yada whatever.
Thanks to Rich Guy petition drives, we impeached a governor because the massively crooked Enron (successfully!) blackmailed the entire effing state and California Rich Guys saw an opportunity to replace him with someone friendlier to the damn grifters. We then elected a Republican actor instead because, Christ, the guy from the action movies was literally the most serious Republican left in the entire state. Rich Guy petition drives have done a number on our fair state, a number and then some, but this particular one stretches too far. Even if you could get the votes for it (not likely), do we really think Congress would take such a thing up? The California legislature?
Amen, bro! Can I get a witness?
Minimum Wage Hike Gets Some National Attention
The Nation.com ran a rather celebratory article yesterday about the significance of the city council vote to raise the minimum wage in San Diego. And they gave some well-deserved love to the hard-working people at Raise Up San Diego who marshaled public support for the measure.
Clare Crawford, executive director of the Center for Policy Initiatives and Alor Calderon, program director for the Employee Rights Center are quoted extensively regarding the work of the coalition.
The conclusion of the Nation story is the sort of thing that ought to be giving Chamber of Commerce CEO Jerry Sanders heartburn:
While the minimum-wage boost is seen as a victory, Crawford and Calderon note that it’s only the beginning. A more aggressive campaign to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour may be the next step for San Diego’s growing progressive movement. “That, we believe, would be supported by voters in November of 2016,” said Crawford.
“We’re going to see more initiatives like this coming out of San Diego,” she continued. “I think we are moving onto the list of more progressive cities.”
Sanders, by the way, is hard at work trying to put together a campaign to overturn the ordinance.
From the Department of ‘I Told You So’
Ya gotta love Mayor Faulconer’s lovely compromise on funding affordable housing. As I warned last week, it’s as worthless as tits on a slab of bacon.
UT-San Diego has a posted a story online quoting the city’s independent budget analyst using a little more polite language, saying the proposed affordable housing linkage fee plan is “deficient” and prone to “greater uncertainty.”
Andrea Tevlin, the budget analyst, and her research analyst, Nicole Dangermond, said in their four-page report that the plan, worked out by the San Diego Housing Commission and Jobs Coalition of business groups, falls short because:
- The fee has no built-in escalation clause to reflect rising costs of construction and other factors.
- It is proposed to double to its 1990 level but could drop to its current rate in 2018 if certain milestones — deemed “unclear” — are not met. The fees were cut in half in 1996 during a recession in which development sagged and never increased once the economy recovered.
- The council and commission’s freedom to make changes would be restricted.…
…It is some of those changes that the budget analysts said were undefined — as exemplified by such words as “meaningful,” “significant impact,” “demonstrable impact” and “offsetting the cost of commercial development.”
“How can the city deliver when the milestones have not been specifically defined?” the analysts asked.
I’m Outta Here!
I’m taking a long weekend. Last year when I tried to do this long weekend thing Bob Filner blew up.
This year I feel lucky. See you Monday, unless I’m really having fun, in which case it could be Tuesday.
On This Day: 1944– Two ammunition ships exploded at Port Chicago, Calif., killing 322, including 202 African-Americans assigned by the Navy to handle explosives. It was the worst home-front disaster of World War II. The resulting refusal of 258 African-Americans to return to the dangerous work underpinned the trial and conviction of 50 of the men in what is called the Port Chicago Mutiny 1954 – The Brooklyn Dodgers made history as the first team with a majority of black players. 1955 – Disneyland opened in Anaheim, CA.
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