Measures K and L Make Sense for San Diego

October 25, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Measures K and L Make Sense for San Diego

By Doug Porter

Measures K and L are changes to the City Charter submitted through the efforts of the Alliance San Diego Mobilization Fund and the Independent Voter Project. Both groups have local experience in encouraging voter turnout.

These measures were championed by City Council President Sherri Lightner and placed on the November 2016 ballot by a vote of the City Council.

What they do in a nutshell is to shift the final decision making in elections to November. Measure K says the top two candidates as determined by primary voters for Mayor, City Council seats, and City Attorney advance to the general election. Measure L says citizen-sponsored initiatives and referendums belong on the November ballot.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Measure J: The Mission Bay Park Money Shuffle

October 20, 2016 by Doug Porter

mission-bay-vue-fgBy Doug Porter

Measure J seemed like another non-controversial proposal at first.

It extended the lifetime of an earlier ballot measure dedicating a portion of revenues from leases on properties at Mission Bay Park and shuffled the formula for allocating funds to include other regional parks.

The idea was for these revenues to pay for bonds to be used in capital improvement projects for Mission Bay Park and regional parks, including Balboa Park.

Needless to say, Balboa Park groups existing amidst crumbling buildings and other infrastructure shortcomings were thrilled.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Measure “I” Pits Balboa Park Advocates Against San Diego High’s Future

October 18, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Measure “I” Pits Balboa Park Advocates Against San Diego High’s Future

By Doug Porter

Measure “I” started out as a seemingly non-controversial deal to maintain the status quo with two venerable San Diego institutions.

Now it has split the community between those who want to maintain the current location of the City’s oldest high school and those who say it should no longer occupy dedicated parkland.

The City Council placed Measure I on the ballot along with a package of reforms to the charter. It changes the language found in Section 55 of the foundational document governing the City’s use of dedicated parkland to allow a simple majority public vote to allow the existing use of that site to continue.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Cleaning Up the San Diego City Charter: Measures E through H

October 14, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Cleaning Up the San Diego City Charter: Measures E through H

By Doug Porter

In the June primary election voters in the City of San Diego were presented with seven ballot measures aimed at what Council President Sherri Lightner called ‘house cleaning’ for the City Charter. All passed.

The November general election has eight more charter amendments for voters. Some of them go beyond housecleaning into the realm of political agendas.

Right now, I’ll cover four housecleaning measures in one column. In coming days the more controversial ballot items will get some individual attention.

For those of you with short attention spans– Vote Yes on Measures E thru H. There is no known opposition for any of these items. They’re not necessarily perfect, but nothing there rolls back the clock.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Props 65 and 67 – Revenge of the Plastic Bag Industrial Complex

October 14, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Props 65 and 67 – Revenge of the Plastic Bag Industrial Complex

By Doug Porter

The bastard sons of the dirty energy industry are trying to pull a fast one on California voters with Props 65 and 67.

In a perfect world, the people who put together Proposition 65, along with forcing us to vote to uphold a legislatively passed ban (Prop 67) on the crappy plastic bags handed out by retail stores, would be tried for crimes against the planet.

If found guilty they would be sentenced to picking up cigarette butts on beaches in Libya for a term of no less than two years, wearing tee shirts emblazoned with We Love Imperialism on the back.

What Proposition 65 is all about is revenge. The plastic bag industry and the oil companies who sell them raw materials want to have it both ways. If they’re gonna lose the vote to ban plastic bags, then maybe they can fool voters with a measure falsely promising to do something good for the environment.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Prop 64 – Just Legalize Marijuana, Already

October 13, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Prop 64 – Just Legalize Marijuana, Already

By Doug Porter

California, Arizona, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts will be voting on legalizing the recreational use of marijuana this fall.

Some people, including many pro-legalization advocates, think this is about easing another legal intoxicant into society. It’s not. It’s about undoing a prohibition based on ‘scientific racism.’ It’s about a ‘war on drugs’ that served as a gateway towards militarization of law enforcement and eroded the constitutional rights of all Americans.

Legalizing pot won’t undo those things. In case you haven’t noticed, government and society rarely move backward. But legalization does provide a path moving forward that makes a lot more sense than the failed policies proceeding it.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Prop 63 – Ammopalousa, GunGhazi and Second Amendmenting

October 12, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Prop 63 – Ammopalousa, GunGhazi and Second Amendmenting

In some states, candidates fight to see who can pose with the largest gun. In California, they fight to see who can craft the toughest regulations on guns and ammo.

By Doug Porter

This measure is Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s baby. Prop 63 requires a background check to purchase ammo, bans possession of large capacity ammo clips, sets up a way to remove guns from felons, and requires reporting of stolen firearms/ammo.

This is all good stuff and there no denying it’s part of Newsom’s image building in the lead up to the 2018 gubernatorial contest.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Props 62 and 66 – Nay or Yea on the Death Penalty

October 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

Photo by kelseywynns

An eye-for-eye and tooth-for-tooth would lead to a world of the blind and toothless.–Book of Exodus [21:24]

By Doug Porter

Both points of view regarding the death penalty managed to get a measure on the November ballot.

Prop 62 will eliminate the death penalty. Prop 66 will streamline the process of executing people. If both pass, the measure with the most votes will supersede the other.

In a perfect world, there could be a discussion about the advisability of government sanctioned executions involving actual facts and figures. We won’t see much of that sort of thing this fall.

The death penalty is an emotional issue. Facts matter much less than fear.

Read the full article → 0 comments

The Second Presidential Debate: A Cornered Rat Turns Vicious

October 10, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

second debate

If you just watched the debate portion of yesterday’s political drama, you missed Donald Trump sitting at a press conference alongside four women with Clinton issues he’d flown to St. Louis.

Three of the women claimed somebody who wasn’t on the ticket sexually abused them in some manner. One of the women was raped by a man who a young lawyer named Hillary Clinton was assigned to defend in court.

The Trump campaign’s plan, according to today’s Washington Post, was to place the four women in the Clinton family seating area and have them confront the former president on live television at some point in the evening.

The plan was foiled just moments before the debate was supposed to start ….

Read the full article → 0 comments

Prop 61 – Big Pharma Promises Revenge If It Passes

October 10, 2016 by Doug Porter

Big Pharma

By Doug Porter

Proposition 61 seems pretty straightforward. The price paid for prescription drugs in California state health care programs must be equal to or lower than what is paid by the Veterans Administration.

Sadly, it isn’t that simple. There’s $101 million (and counting) being spent on this measure, which only directly affects 12% of Californians.

When I saw the words “badly flawed” in ads against Prop 61, I reflexively assumed the bad guys of Big Pharma were desperate to confuse the public… But…

Read the full article → 0 comments

Props 59 and 60 – Dirty Money and Filthy Sex

October 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

Props 59 & 60

Why are these measures even on the ballot?

By Doug Porter

The Constitution of the United States begins with “We the People.” It doesn’t say “We the Corporations” or “We the Fat Cats.”

I get it. Every person who believes in our representative democracy should be appalled by the Supreme Court (Citizen’s United) decision giving corporate entities the power to fund elections thru super-Pacs under the guise of “free speech.” This needs to change.

Proposition 59 asks California’s elected officials to work to overturn Citizens United, through supporting a constitutional amendment or other means. And if they don’t like what Prop 59 asks them to do, that’s okay, because it’s simply advisory in nature. Since it’s on the ballot and because I’m personally repulsed by the notion of living in an oligarchy, I’ll vote yes.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Prop 58 – Righting a Wrong with Local Control of Bilingual Education

October 6, 2016 by Doug Porter

bilingual education

When Prop 227 Passed in 1998, Only Homosexuality Was Less Tolerated Than Bilingualism by Middle-Class Americans

By Doug Porter

California’s Proposition 58, being marketed as the LEARN Initiative, represents yet another step towards righting the wrongs growing out of a wave of anti-multicultural sentiment during the 1990s.

The nativist wing on the Republican Party eventually led that organization into irrelevance in California, and a generation of Latino political activists is now an ascendant force in state politics.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Prop 57 – If Sentencing Reform Passes, Will Hospital Bombers Run Amok?

October 5, 2016 by Doug Porter

Prop 57 graph

By Doug Porter

Prop 57 is the final part of Gov. Jerry Brown’s mea culpa for the tough on crime laws passed during his first term. As a result, the state prisons were filled to overflowing. Lawsuits and investigative reporting exposed the cruel and inhumane process amounting to little more than warehousing.

The Supreme Court agreed, saying conditions were so bad they violated the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual treatment. In 2011, California was ordered to reduce its population by more than 30,000 inmates.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Angst Over Police Shootings Rocks California Cities

October 4, 2016 by Doug Porter

rip-olango-via-aaron-belfer-facebook police shootings Via Facebook

By Doug Porter

Community unrest over the deaths of black people at the hands of police in California continued unabated throughout the weekend. And it wasn’t just in El Cajon/San Diego.

Alfred Olango died in El Cajon on Tuesday. A composite video taken from a security camera and a bystander’s cellphone was released on Friday. Carnell Snell Jr. died in Los Angeles on Saturday, the second police-involved death in two days. And a particularly grotesque video of the July 11th death of Joseph Mann in Sacramento surfaced showing police officers trying to run him down before chasing him down and firing 14 shots into him.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Prop 56 – Tobacco Industry Lie Machine Runs at Top Speed Against It

October 4, 2016 by Doug Porter

cigarettes-in-bowlEXTRA EDITION: Saturday Laryngectomy Rant

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American Lung Association in California and American Heart Association have placed Prop 56 on the ballot increasing taxes on tobacco products and updating state law to include e-cigarettes as a taxable product.

The tobacco industry has amassed a $56 million dollar war chest to defeat Prop 56. They know arguing in favor of tobacco use won’t work, so they’ve unleashed a blizzard of bullcrap advertising seeking to confuse and obfuscate the matter.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Props 53 & 54: Say No to Rich Guys Gaming the System

October 3, 2016 by Doug Porter

gaming the system

By Doug Porter

Dean Cortopassi is a wealthy self-made agribusinessman from Stockton. Charles Munger is a Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and lives in Pasadena. Both have long histories in politics.

Each of them has bought a spot for a pet cause on the general election ballot. And they’d like you to believe their motives are altruistic.

They’re gaming the system, promising they have your interests in mind. Their measures are, in fact, simplistic solutions to complex problems with potential or real consequences not immediately apparent to the casual observer.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Proposition 52 – Keep MediCal Funding Where It Belongs

September 28, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

Back in the bad old days of the great recession, the California legislature diverted hundreds of millions in funding derived from a tax hospitals pay. The federal government kicks in matching funds for these taxes flowing back to the hospitals through MediCal, so it’s a sweet deal. Hospitals pay one dollar to get two back, more or less.

The recession is over, and the hospitals want their original deal back in place.

So they raised a boatload of money to put Proposition 52 before the voters. This is a “lockbox” measure, designed to give voters the opportunity to say that funds raised for or by a certain purpose must be spent in that general area as well.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Prop 51 – Will Schools Get Fixed and Repaired?

September 27, 2016 by Doug Porter

Proposition 51

By Doug Porter

The California Public School Facility Bonds Initiative, better known as Proposition 51, proposes to refill the State of California’s money pot used for school construction and repair.

It has been ten years since the last statewide school bond, and proponents say there is a massive backlog of local school projects.

Everybody loves building and fixing schools, right?

The list of supporters includes both major political parties, the Chamber of Commerce, the California Labor Federation, education groups of all sorts, the League of Women Voters and on and on. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has endorsed Prop. 51. So has Lt. Gov Gavin Newsom.

Supporters have raised over $8.4 million.

Where the bond money would go …

Read the full article → 2 comments

Measure D – Nice Try, But No Cigar for The Citizens’ Plan

September 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

Downtown-Hotel-San-Diego-California-United-States-300x420By Doug Porter

A good metaphor for Measure D would be the guy who tries to break up a fight and ends up getting pummelled by both combatants.

Also known as the Citizens’ Plan, Cory Briggs Evil Plot, and Chargers Stadium Lite, the proposal is all-but-dead in the water.

The money spigot ran dry in May. The thoughtful discussion Measure D should have stimulated never happened, lost in the dread of yet another rich guy scheme, and the unintended consequences of its (mostly) good intentions.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Chargers Stadium Ballot Measure C — as In Chutzpa

September 22, 2016 by Doug Porter

This is a rendering. They have no actual plans drawn up.

By Doug Porter

There are two items on the ballot for City of San Diego voters related in some fashion to the construction of a place for the local NFL franchise to play.

Measure C, backed by the San Diego Chargers ownership, is an effort to get a stadium/convention center built. The group’s committee is a cash machine, taking in tens of thousands of dollars (nearly) daily, all from the same source.

Measure D is primarily backed by interests with investments in nearby properties, namely the Moores family. For monetary reasons, it’s just about dead in the water. D is on the ballot, but the money spigot was turned off May 3.

Read the full article → 4 comments

Measure B – Ballot Box Planning at its Worst

September 21, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Measure B – Ballot Box Planning at its Worst

Lilac Hills Ranch Developer Goes for an End Run Around Community Groups

By Doug Porter

Union-Tribune headline Tuesday morning: ‘San Diego median home price hits highest point in a decade.’

Q’s: Are you a NIMBY? Don’t you care about San Diego’s housing crisis? The signature gatherers for the measure in support of building Lilac Hills said it would provide affordable housing for low-income families and veterans, along with being eco-friendly. How can you be against that?

A. Easy. If you’re buying the arguments proponents of Measure B are peddling, I have a bridge to sell you.

Measure B is a clear cut case of a developer doing an end-run around years of community input into planning. Voters in El Cajon and Chula Vista are being asked to decide on a North County project they only know of through ads with fallacious arguments. (Ask the people in Barrio Logan how they feel about that concept.)

Read the full article → 0 comments

Does SANDAG’s ‘Measure A’ amount to Bold Action on Climate Change?

September 20, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Does SANDAG’s ‘Measure A’ amount to Bold Action on Climate Change?

By Doug Porter

Of all the local measures on the ballot, none has split local Democrats, labor, and environmental groups more than Measure A.

It proposes to fund transportation and open space projects throughout San Diego County over the next 40 years via a half-cent sales tax increase. Questions about its environmental and social consequences have been raised.

The plan, crafted by the staff of the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), will raise $18 billion over its lifetime, with $4.3 billion doled out to local communities for upgrades and repairs.

Just about everybody agrees that work on local and regional infrastructure needs to continue. It’s how we get there that’s causing disagreement.

Read the full article → 0 comments

San Diego County Supervisors District 3 Contest: A Whole Lotta Meh

September 16, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

County Supervisor Dave Roberts is in the fight of his political life. He’s the lone Democrat (first in two decades, actually) in a powerful political entity with few of the checks and balances Americans expect to find in government.

He’s tried to go along to get along, continually stressing the virtues of the entire board in public statements. But a series of poor management (and maybe personal) decisions, costing the county $310,000 in legal settlements, within Robert’s office created an opening for local Republicans.

They’re pressing their advantage, hoping for a return to the one-party system that’s served them well in the past. The race for District 3 supervisor is one of the few bright spots on the local GOP’s horizon.

Read the full article → 0 comments

San Diego City Attorney Campaign: Community Involvement vs Law and Order

September 15, 2016 by Doug Porter

mara-elliott robert-hickeyBy Doug Porter

San Diegans don’t have a general election contest for mayor in 2016, and four of the five seats up for grabs on the City Council are already taken. But we do get to vote on City Attorney, and this happens to be an important contest.

The June primary winnowed down the field to Mara Elliott, currently serving as Chief Deputy City Attorney under CA Jan Goldsmith and Robert Hickey, a Deputy District Attorney under County DA Bonnie Dumanis.

Elliott has been endorsed by her Democratic primary opponents and has the support of the party apparatus. Hickey has the active support of Republicans in town save one: his boss.

Read the full article → 3 comments

With No Contest in 4 San Diego Council Races, District 9 Matters

September 14, 2016 by Doug Porter


By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

What was supposed to be an epic, high-dollar struggle for the partisan upper hand on the San Diego City Council never came to pass. Odd-numbered districts elect representatives in 2016, and Republicans were hoping to gain a majority on the theoretically non-partisan body.

Of the five City Council districts having primary contests in June, only one will have a meaningful contest for the general election. In three (3,5,& 7) of those districts, there won’t even be a choice on the November ballot.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Applegate Versus Issa Is the Congressional Race to Watch

September 13, 2016 by Doug Porter

An Overview of House of Representatives Contests in San Diego

SDFP 2016 Nov LogoBy Doug Porter

Of the five electoral contests for the House of Representatives including San Diego voters only the 49th, encompassing the cities of Oceanside, Vista, Carlsbad and Encinitas, looks to be competitive on November 8th. A small part of Orange County and the Marine Corps base at Camp Pendleton are also in the district.

Republican Darrell Issa is facing retired USMC Col. Douglas Applegate.

Issa, the wealthiest member of Congress (2015 estimate: up to $768 million), has all the advantages of incumbency, having served since 2001. Applegate has time and (dislike of) Trump on his side.

Read the full article → 0 comments

A Look at San Diego’s Ballot Choices for State Legislature

September 12, 2016 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

SDFP 2016 Nov LogoThere’s bad news and good news about the partisan makeup of San Diego’s representation in Sacramento in 2017.

The bad news is that there is no real competition among the eight local contests for the State Legislature. A few seats are changing hands, but the resulting differences among the newbies will be of style rather than substance.

The good news is that the Democrats likely to be representing the area are all of above average or better quality. What happens in contests elsewhere in California will have a significant influence on just how effective San Diego’s delegation can be.

Democrats, who need two more seats in the State Assembly to recapture supermajority status, started out by targeting contests in Manhattan Beach, Fullerton, Rancho Cucamonga, Dublin and Corona. Christopher Cadelago at the Sacramento Bee reports they’ve recently added support for races in San Luis Obispo and Santa Clarita.

Here’s the rundown on the races for local legislative positions.

Read the full article → 0 comments

California’s US Senate Race: Kamala Harris v. Loretta Sanchez

September 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

SDFP 2016 Nov Logo

Sanchez Has Only Long Shot Chance for Victory Over Harris

By Doug Porter / San Diego Free Press

The optics of Democratic Senatorial candidate Loretta Sanchez touring with Republican Congressman Darrell Issa recently can be difficult to understand until you realize they actually need each other at this point.

The well is dry for Sanchez when it comes to pumping up support from her party. And Issa needs to convince voters in his district that he’s less of an ogre than his choice for president, Donald Trump.

Such is the state of politics on the Left Coast these days. The woman who unseated Rep. Bob Dornan–who spent 18 years being the enfant terible of the Congress–is now tying her fate to the man who many accuse of leading witchhunts for the past eight years.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Will Governor Brown Do the Right Thing for Farmworkers?

September 2, 2016 by Doug Porter


By Doug Porter

After two years and more than five thousand proposed laws, resolutions, and constitutional amendments, the current version of the California Legislature wrapped up its session in frenzied fashion.

Wednesday, August 31st saw more than one hundred bills up for consideration. Now it’s up to the Governor to say yea or nay on legislation affecting all aspects of life in California.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), who successfully shepherded 19 of 20 bills through the legislature this year, is leaving nothing up to chance with her hard-fought victory on AB 1066, gradually phasing in standards for farmerworker overtime.

Read the full article → 1 comment

SB 32: California’s Big Bet on the Environment

August 31, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for SB 32: California’s Big Bet on the Environment

By Doug Porter

Senate Bill 32 was approved by the California legislature last week along with a companion bill (AB 197), putting the Golden State on a path to further reducing greenhouse gas emissions past the end of the decade.

Gov. Jerry Brown fought long and hard for the legislation mandating an additional 40 percent cut in emissions by 2030. The state is already on track to meeting the goal, set by AB 32 in 2006, to reduce its greenhouse-gas emissions back down to 1990 levels by the year 2020.

Not included in the new legislation was extending the state’s cap-and-trade program, arguably a more flexible, lower-cost policy tool to cut emissions. As things stand now, the future of the program is uncertain, as the California’s Chamber of Commerce is in court seeking to overturn the program on the basis that it needed two-thirds approval.

The Governor maintains that SB 32 and AB 197 will provide the leverage he needs to reach a deal with businesses that would prefer a market-based program like cap-and-trade over tougher mandates to cut pollution. Brown says he will put the matter of the program’s future on the 2017 ballot if he has to.

Read the full article → 0 comments