By Doug Porter
It was a bad day for Supervisor Dave Roberts yesterday as UT-San Diego took a couple of pot shots at the sole Democrat on the County Board.
Roberts is under fire following staff resignations and allegations of mismanagement. His fellow supervisors refused to accept a severance package for his former chief of staff and admonished him for what they said were violations of the Brown Act.
The paper’s editorial board suspended its earlier endorsement of Roberts, saying:
It seemed an easy decision. And that’s what we said in a Feb. 1 editorial making an unusually early endorsement of veteran county Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Greg Cox and first-termer Dave Roberts for re-election next year. But that was before the troubling stories over the past month involving Supervisor Roberts.
UT Columnist Logan Jenkins was brutal in his take-down, saying “[it’s] painfully clear is that the four-person jury of his only political peers is fed up with the Solana Beach rookie.”
He went on to extrapolate language likely to have been uttered behind close doors as opposed to the bland public utterances coming out of the county building. And then Jenkins described GOP glee over the present turmoil:
“Dave Roberts is on the ropes and there will be a challenger,” predicts local Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric.
As it happens, the GOP has a deep bench in District 3. Bullpen names bandied about: Escondido Mayor Sam Abed, former Assemblyman Martin Garrick, former state Sen. Mark Wyland, Encinitas Mayor Kristin Gaspar, Assemblyman Brian Maienschein.
But insiders believe that San Diego Councilman Mark Kersey, a first-termer who won Carl DeMaio’s North County seat without opposition, may get the ball.
In a phone interview, Kersey confirmed he’s considering a run, an ambition prompted in part by Roberts’ gaping wounds. Kersey added that he does not anticipate two high-profile Republicans in the race. The party will unify behind one chosen candidate.
Unfortunately, as I said yesterday, Dave Roberts troubles may not be over. While there are already people out there saying this may be a GOP plot, I suggest to them they consider the possibility that Roberts is actually self-destructing.
Ch-ch-changes at the UT, Already
Anybody who doubts the intention of the soon-to-be owners of San Diego’s daily newspaper to re-brand should take notice of new
old twitter handle.
New storm heading for San Diego http://t.co/JUIJpOcZwc [from U-T San Diego]
— Union-Tribune (@UnionTrib) May 13, 2015
And, yes, we are looking at some wet weather.
Boycott… Driscoll… Whole Foods, Maybe.
The farm workers’ struggle going on in Baja California is a big deal. It speaks to the essence of what we’ve come to understand as the global economy.
Unfortunately, getting accurate information about what’s going on down there is challenging.
I’m told the stateside reaction to the strikes in San Quintin is manifesting itself in a boycott of Driscoll’s berries. Informational pickets, I’m told, will be appearing at Whole Foods stores. I heard a rumor last night of an action at the Hillcrest Whole Foods today. A rumor.
But a Google search doesn’t confirm anything. (If you’re an organizer in this movement, send us an email!)
Here’s what I do know, based on a story on KPBS:
Baja California farmworkers plan to meet with the state’s lieutenant governor and other officials Wednesday to continue demanding higher wages after a violent clash with police this weekend.
…Protesters said they are considering organizing another protest if negotiations don’t go as planned. Growers have said they can’t afford to collectively increase wages any further.
The value of agricultural production in San Quintin is around $450 million a year, roughly half of the total in Baja California, according to the state government. The majority of the region’s crops are shipped to the United States. The berry supplier and well-known brand Driscoll’s owns BerryMex, one of the biggest growers in San Quintin.
Here’s a video via KPBS, depicting injuries sustained by farm workers in police actions this past weekend.
Bad Stuff Republicans Do
Here’s a round up of things making my blood pressure go up this morning.
Let’s discuss the GOP’s annual quest to cut funding for passenger trains and associated infrastructure.
Passengers are still unaccounted for after an Amtrak train from Washington, D.C., to New York City derailed Tuesday night in Philadelphia, a fatal tragedy that occurred just hours before the House was due to consider a bill that would slash the passenger rail service’s budget.
The accident killed at least six people and injured at least 200. The National Transportation Safety Board’s investigative team arrived on the scene Wednesday morning.
As I’m writing this various news agencies are saying a seventh person has died.
From Laura Clawson at Daily Kos:
…An investigation into what caused the train to derail is just beginning, with its speed heading into a curve drawing attention. But one of Amtrak’s major operational liabilities is no mystery: like so much other critical American infrastructure, it’s underfunded.
In fact, just this week, the House Appropriations Committee is marking up a bill that would cut Amtrak funding from its already low levels. The rail service already survived one House vote this year that would have eliminated funding altogether. Republicans insist that Amtrak should be run as a profit-making business rather than seeing it as transportation infrastructure necessary to the nation’s economy.
Highways don’t make a profit—they get government funding (though even they don’t get enough of that these days). Amtrak should be considered in the same category as highways. It’s a public good that reduces highway congestion, gets people in and out of crowded cities efficiently, and has major environmental benefits over most alternatives. And there is demand—in recent years, ridership has been growing.
But Amtrak’s crumbling infrastructure means that tunnels in need of repair or replacement become choke points and train speeds are limited by track quality. Rail travel is one more area where the United States is falling behind. Tuesday’s derailed train:
… came on the eve of the railway budget bill that could see the funding for Amtrak slashed by 20 percent, from $1.4 to 1.13 billion.
In comparison, China’s railway budget for the next fiscal year is an estimated $128 billion, the Atlantic news portal reported.
A Poll Tax? What Could Happen?
From Think Progress:
Twenty-four members of the Ohio House of Representatives — all Republicans — cosponsored a bill introduced last week that would require many Ohio residents to pay an actual poll tax in order to vote. Poll taxes are forbidden by the Constitution.
Under this legislation, many voters would have to pay a fee in order to obtain an ID card that they need to vote, thus effectively imposing a tax on the right to vote.
The poll tax is tucked into a voter ID bill, another common form of legislation that prevents many Americans from casting a ballot. Though voter ID’s proponents claim they are necessary to combat voter fraud at the polls, such fraud is virtually nonexistent. A report released by Ohio’s Republican Secretary of State John Husted’s office found that 0.002397 percent of votes cast in the 2012 election were the product of fraud. A similar report by Iowa’s Republican former Secretary of State Matt Schultz uncovered exactly zero cases of fraud that would have been prevented by a voter ID law.
The Scarlet “O”
From Talking Points Memo:
The Texas state House on Monday passed a bill that would add a label to the insurance cards of individuals who purchased health insurance plans via an exchange established through Obamacare.
After the bill cleared an initial vote in the House last week, legislators voted 129-8 to approve the bill in a final vote on Monday, according to the Texas House clerk’s office.
House Bill 1514, sponsored by Republican state Rep. J.D. Sheffield, would add the label “QHP” to the cards of individuals who purchased plans through the exchange, and “QHP-S” for those who receive subsidies.
No Beans in Wisconsin
From former San Diegan Jill Richardson, writing at Other Words:
…Wisconsin Republicans want to bar people from using their food stamps to buy shrimp, lobster, and other shellfish, and require them to use at least two-thirds of their SNAP benefits on items found on a specific and arbitrary list of products.
If the bill were to pass, bulk dry beans — a very affordable and nutritious choice — would be out, but canned beans would be in. That is, unless they’re green beans, in which case they’re off limits. Fruit juice is allowed, as long as it’s not organic. Canned tomatoes are in, but spaghetti sauce is out.
John Oliver Nails It
HBO’s John Oliver has been delivering some biting social criticism in his weekly roundup. But he has no illusions about his role, as he explained to Fusion’s Jorge Ragos during a recent interview.
“I’m doing the job of a comedian,” Oliver said. “So, I make jokes about the news. I’m pretty clear about the lane that I’m in.”
Ramos pressed again, telling Oliver, “You have more credibility than most journalists here in the United States and, I would say, in many other countries.”
“But that is more an insult to the current state of journalism than it is a compliment for the state of comedy,” Oliver responded.
On This Day: 1955 – Elvis Presley’s performance in Jacksonville became the first Presley show at which a riot ensued. 1985 – A confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped an explosive onto the group’s headquarters. Eleven people died in the fire that resulted. 1998 – Thousands of yellow cab drivers in New York City went on a 1-day strike in protest of proposed new regulations. “City officials were stunned by the (strike’s) success,” The New York Times reported.
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