By Doug Porter
The downside of business as usual in San Diego continues to make the news and not in a good way.
A local business leader tells a boldfaced lie in radio interview. Housing is too expensive for most people. The latest city hall scheme of dreams about a football stadium is already wrapped up in controversy.
Also, yet another GOP Presidential contender wades into the vaccinations controversy, the House will vote yet again today to repeal Obamacare and over-the-counter supplements sold in retailers nationwide are not even close to the real deal….
If Jerry Sanders Tells a Lie, Will Everyone Believe It?
KQED’s California Report went with a story earlier this week about San Diego’s spate of referendums in recent years. It seems as though we’ve earned the dubious distinction over he past couple of years of having as many instances (four) of local ballot referendum measures as the five other biggest cities in California.
The story starts out mentioning the Chamber of Commerce-led drive to stall an increase in the local minimum wage and ends with a promise that the business community will fight any efforts to reform the local referendum ordinances they’ve successfully gamed in recent years.
Here’s the part with Sanders talking about minimum wage effort:
Jerry Sanders, the CEO of the local Chamber of Commerce and San Diego’s former mayor, said the Democrat-majority City Council left the business community with few options.
“We were unsuccessful in getting anyone to sit down and talk with us about it on the Council majority, so we were literally left with no choice but to referendum,” he said.
City Councilman Todd Gloria, who spearheaded the effort to increase the local minimum wage, cried foul, releasing a list of meetings culled from his calendar starting off with a face to face with the Chamber CEO on February 10th.
Nobody should be surprised by this “fact check,” as Gloria so diplomatically called it. The Chamber and their cronies lied at every stage of the referendum process. And just as our “business community” got a pass from most of the local media on the earlier lies, it’s doubtful local reporters will show enough courage or integrity to even ask the ex-mayor about this latest falsehood.
Or maybe they’ll decide there are “sides” to this issue.
We’re Number One! (In a Sad Way)
A study by way of Realtor.com says America’s Finest City has the nation’s highest percentage of households unable to afford buying home in the area they live in.
And that’s the bad news just for people who might conceive of buying a home. As we know from data analysis done by the Center on Policy Initiatives, the number of people living in poverty has continued to rise (15.8%) in San Diego despite local economic growth.
From UT-San Diego:
The study, released last week, gives San Diego the honor of being least affordable because fewer of its residents can afford to buy homes in their neighborhoods. That’s because incomes haven’t kept up with home price appreciation.
To determine whether a city was affordable, the analysts measured how many people could afford to buy a home in their ZIP code. The study found that in 99 of San Diego’s 106 ZIP codes, or 93.3 percent, fewer than half of the households could afford the median priced home because they couldn’t qualify for a loan. That made for the highest ratio of any city in the study.
San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose and New York rounded out the five least affordable in the nation.
It’s worth noting that the comments following the UT article blame this reality on either “illegal aliens” or environmentalists.
Memos Fly As Stadium Group Heads Behind Closed Doors
A pair of City Councilmen issued a statement yesterday critical of the process being used by the Mayor’s stadium task force.
A joint memorandum to Mayor Faulconer from Councilmen Todd Gloria and David Alvarez cited the plans to hold meetings behind closed doors along with the lack of ethnic, political and socio-economic diversity in the make up of the group.
From UT-San Diego:
“We are concerned critical viewpoints of average San Diegans and Chargers fans will be missed,” their memo said of the task force, which includes primarily local business leaders and lacks a voice representing labor groups. There appears to be only one minority on the panel.
They also said those shortcomings could make it difficult to persuade voters to approve in 2016 whatever stadium proposal the task force — called the Citizens Stadium Advisory Group — submits to the mayor later this year.
A Faulconer spokesman said the mayor plans to solicit robust public participation after the task force has created a proposal for a new stadium either downtown or in Mission Valley, and recommends how to finance it. The spokesman, Matt Awbrey, said the deliberations of the task force are part one of a two-part process, with public participation being crucial to part two.
The councilmen also asked for monthly reports on the progress of the task force and estimates for the cost of its work. Although the task force is all volunteer, the UT story indicated they may pay for consultants or financial analysts.
City Attorney Jan Goldsmith weighed in with another memo yesterday, opining that the the task force had no legal obligation to meet in public, provide opportunities for citizen input or be required to submit financial disclosure forms because they are an informal advisory group to the mayor.
Your Child’s Measles Are Another Child’s Freedom
Following New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s walk back of his Sunday statement giving comfort to anti-vaxxers, yet another GOP presidential wannabe chimed in yesterday with more stupidity wrapped in mealy-mouthed rhetoric.
From the Huffington Post:
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) argued Monday that debate over whether to allow parents more choice in the vaccination of their children was a matter of “freedom,” citing personal knowledge of kids “who wound up with profound mental disorders” after receiving immunizations for diseases like Hepatitis B and measles.
“I don’t think there’s anything extraordinary about resorting to freedom,” the potential 2016 presidential candidate, who is a ophthalmologist, said in an interview with CNBC.
The Definition of Insanity, Congressional Version
Freshmen Republicans, eager to prove a willingness to participate in acts that should lead ordinary people to question their judgement, will participate in the 55th (or is it 56th?) vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act today.
The vote, like all the others before it, is a meaningless exercise. But there is something new in the package this time around.
From Mother Jones:
…with each repeal vote, the politics of rolling back the Affordable Care Act become more fraught. After all, the law is now enmeshed with the US health care system. “Talk of repealing the Affordable Care Act is like talk of repealing the interstate highway system,” says Timothy Jost, a health care law expert at the Washington and Lee University School of Law. “I mean in theory you could do it. Nobody would want to live with it…”
….And for the first time, the bill the House plans to vote on this week requires that the relevant House committees draft replacement legislation for the law. And, though not currently in the text of the bill, its sponsor, Rep. Bradley Byrne (R-Ala.), plans to introduce an amendment to the bill that would delay repeal for 180 days to give Republicans time to craft a replacement, according to a Byrne aide.
Fake Dietary Supplements Are Everywhere
In another defeat for the “we hate regulations because industry will regulate itself” set, the New York State Attorney General’s office has issued cease-and-decist letters calling on GNC stores, Target, Walgreens and WalMart to stop selling various store brand dietary supplements.
It seems as though they might have been misrepresenting the contents of those products.
From the Washington Post:
The tests were conducted using a process called DNA barcoding, which identifies individual ingredients through a kind of “genetic fingerprinting.” The investigators tested 24 products claiming to be seven different types of herb — echinacea, garlic, gingko biloba, ginseng, saw palmetto, St. John’s wort and valerian root. All but five of the products contained DNA that was either unrecognizable or from a plant other than what the product claimed to be.
Additionally, five of the 24 contained wheat and two contained beans without identifying them on the labels — both substances are known to cause allergic reactions.
Of the four retailers, Wal-Mart was the worst offender: None of its six supplements that were tested was found to contain purely the ingredient they advertised. Target’s supplements were the least misleading of the lot — though that isn’t saying much, since tests on six of the brand’s products resulted in only one unqualified positive.
How is it that these companies got away with such deception? They have a friend in Congress.
From the New York Times:
The F.D.A. requires that companies verify that every supplement they manufacture is safe and accurately labeled. But the system essentially operates on the honor code.
Under a 1994 federal law, supplements are exempt from the F.D.A.’s strict approval process for prescription drugs, which requires reviews of a product’s safety and effectiveness before it goes to market.
The law’s sponsor and chief architect, Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, is a steadfast supporter of supplements. He has accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the industry and repeatedly intervened in Washington to quash proposed legislation that would toughen the rules.
Mr. Hatch led a successful fight against a proposed amendment in 2012 that would have required supplement makers to register their products with the F.D.A. and provide details about their ingredients. Speaking on the floor of the Senate at the time, Mr. Hatch said the amendment was based on “a misguided presumption that the current regulatory framework for dietary supplements is flawed.”
Did I mention that many of companies in the dietary supplement business are based in Utah?
On This Day: 1941 – The Supreme Court upheld the Wages and Hours (later Fair Labor Standards) Act banning child labor and establishing the 40-hour work week. 1947 – Percival Prattis became the first black news correspondent admitted to the House and Senate press gallery in Washington, DC. He worked for “Our World” in New York City. 1959 – Buddy Holly (22), Ritchie Valens (17), the Big Bopper (28) and pilot RogerPeterson died in a plane crash in Iowa.
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