The 2016 Mayoral Contest: Lori Saldaña Aims to Offer a Choice, Not an Echo

April 29, 2016 by Doug Porter

Lori Saldana official picBy Doug Porter

If you buy into the notion, currently in vogue with supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders, of Democratic party orthodoxy as being little more than Republican lite, then Lori Saldaña would the logical choice to vote for in the upcoming San Diego mayoral primary.

The former assemblywoman has an activist pedigree, a history of hard-fought grassroots campaigns, and the enmity of the local political establishment.

In January Saldaña launched an independent campaign to challenge Kevin Faulconer, undaunted by a million dollar war chest (including PACs) and the advantages accompanying incumbency in America’s Finest City. The current mayor’s single greatest accomplishment thus far, in my opinion, has been directing the public relations players at his disposal in a non-stop symphony of praise for their leader, so it ain’t gonna be easy.

Environmental Activism, Plus

Read the full article → 0 comments

The 2016 Mayoral Contest: Ed Harris Takes a Stand Against Business as Usual

April 28, 2016 by Doug Porter

“The City is a huge landlord. It has to quit giving away our own assets.”

By Doug Porter

Ed-Harris-camp-fotoEd Harris wasn’t supposed to ruffle any feathers during his appointed term on the San Diego City Council.

The former marine and lifeguard union leader was supposed to be a bookmark, holding down the Second District seat vacated by now-Mayor Kevin Faulconer until election day rolled around. The city charter terms for this temporary tenure included a proviso barring him from actually running for the seat in fall 2014 election.

Then it came time for the kind of wink, wink, nod, nod agreement involving trading off public assets for political gain considered normal in America’s Finest City. Harris surprised a lot of people by taking a principled and public stand against what he believed was a sweetheart deal involving proposed lease terms of Belmont Park to Pacifica Enterprises.

Read the full article → 2 comments

Gannett Makes Offer to Buy San Diego Union-Tribune and Its Parent

April 26, 2016 by Doug Porter

Via Twitter

By Doug Porter

If you don’t like what you’ve been seeing in the San Diego Union-Tribune lately, wait a couple of months. Seriously. The newspaper of record in America’s Finest City may soon have new owners.

Newspaper publisher Gannett has gone public with an offer to buy Tribune Publishing after getting a less-than-enthusiastic response to a private offer made on April 12th.

The proposed deal would fold the Tribune’s nine daily newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the San Diego Union-Tribune into a media monolith publishing USA Today and newspapers in 107 other cities.

Read the full article → 0 comments

The Other Big 2016 California Primary: U.S. Senate

April 22, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for The Other Big 2016 California Primary: U.S. Senate

By Doug Porter

California’s primary counts this year. While media coverage of presidential candidates wooing voters in the Golden State is steadily increasing, another primary contest with national implications is flying under the radar.

Sen. Barbara Boxer’s retirement creates the first open U.S. Senate seat in California in more than two decades. Based on the activity level of Sen. Dianne Feinstein recently, it could be a while until the next opportunity presents itself.

It turns out the Presidential contest is so unstable at this point it’s left to curious voters to go online for information. There are 39 candidates from 6 political parties running for President. I’ll write about some of them in future columns.

The Official Voter Information Guide for the California Presidential Primary landed in my mailbox yesterday, and it’s got nothing on the various partisan contests for the top job in the nation. The guide does contain information about Proposition 50 and, again, I’ll get around to this soon.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Mayor Faulconer’s Republican Unicorns: Jobs! And the Minimum Wage Veto

April 20, 2016 by Doug Porter

Kevin Faulconer headshot colorrevers Kevin Faulconer headshot

The Committee for Slave Wages and Free Puppies for Everybody Lives On

By Doug Porter

Have you seen the Falconer for Mayor ads in social media yet? San Diego’s incumbent mayor is claiming credit –sort of– for a 34% drop in local unemployment since he was elected. If you buy into this claim, you’ll love the expected follow-up ads claiming credit for the sun rising, the sun setting, and better-than-usual surf in Ocean Beach.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Replacing Rasputin: A Subtext of the Election Contest for San Diego City Attorney

April 19, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for Replacing Rasputin: A Subtext of the Election Contest for San Diego City Attorney

By Doug Porter

Termed-out City Attorney Jan Goldsmith felt free to drop the pretense of serving all the public last week during his introduction of Texas Senator Ted Cruz at a campaign rally in Mission Valley.

“We believe in jobs, freedom and security. You know something? The Democrats don’t believe in these values,” Goldsmith said. So much for my theory that he wasn’t an ideologue.

There are four Democrats and one Republican running for the City Attorney slot. I emailed them all late last week, asking their reaction to Goldsmith’s comments. The responses are listed in the order I received them.

Democrat Bryan Pease, activist attorney who Feels the Bern:

Funny–if you switch the word “Democrats” with “Republicans” in his quote, it would be objectively accurate based on measurable criteria and outcomes of their policies.

Democrat Gil Cabrera, attorney & former chairman of the San Diego Ethics Commission (Not reappointed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders):

Read the full article → 1 comment

San Diego’s Earth Fair 2016: All in for the Environment

April 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

Hey! That's SDFP Editor Doug Porter with a message

Sunday, April 17th. EarthFair Day.

Having heard all the warnings about trying to drive to Earth Fair–not to mention the irony–, I took the bus.

The Number 7 bus was a half hour late and it dropped me on the corner of Park & University. It wasn’t going anywhere near that mess in Balboa Park. Eventually, the Balboa Park “shuttle” appeared. After quibbling with the driver when he asked for another fare, we sped three blocks south only to get in line. Hurry up and wait.

Traffic was held up at Roosevelt Junior High by the police so the people who drove could turn left across traffic towards parking lots. Even on Earth Day, it’s cars first in San Diego. #CarsRule #Pedestrians&BusRidersDrool.

Read the full article → 0 comments

City Council Races Beg the Question: When is a Democrat Not a Democrat?

April 14, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for City Council Races Beg the Question: When is a Democrat Not a Democrat?

By Doug Porter

Are there candidates running for City Council in Districts 3 and 9 supported by interests with a history of backing Republicans really Democrats? Do campaign donations define a public official?

Is Bernie Sanders a Democrat? Is Hillary Clinton just a Republican in drag? How about Congressman Scott Peters after his votes on refugees and trade? Are people who used to be Republicans ever to be trusted? Where do you draw the line?

In this column I’ll explore these questions as they impact a couple of local contests…

Read the full article → 1 comment

Will the Trump Campaign Wipe Out in California?

April 12, 2016 by Doug Porter

trump TP rollBy Doug Porter

The candidates running for the Republican presidential nomination are looking to the June 7th California primary to be the final showdown. One hundred seventy-two delegates are up for grabs, and there is a big-money push underway in the nation’s most populous state.

Donald Trump is now mathematically unable to seal the deal until the last day of the primary calendar. Senator Ted Cruz, who is holding rallies in Orange County and San Diego today, is ahead of the other candidates in terms of grassroots organizing and campaign infrastructure.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Ballot Box Basics for San Diegans: What You Need to Know About the 2016 California Primary

April 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

vote smart buttonMassive Voter Turnout Expected

By Doug Porter

California’s June elections are looking to be like the OK Corral of presidential primary contests this year. With Senators Ted Cruz and Bernie Sanders both besting their party’s frontrunners by 13 points in Tuesday’s Wisconsin voting, the Golden State’s large lode of delegates is rapidly gaining in significance.

Better than 600,000 Californians have registered to vote online or updated their information in the last three months, says California Secretary of State Alex Padilla in a letter to Gov. Jerry Brown.

Read the full article → 1 comment

First Look at San Diego’s June 2016 Primary Ballot

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for First Look at San Diego’s June 2016 Primary Ballot

By Doug Porter

The 2016 primary season is officially upon us. Today I’m presenting a quick review of what San Diego City voters can expect to see on June 7 (Or earlier if voting by mail). This is just the first of what will be many columns and articles over the next two months. And, yes, we’ll be talking about other contests throughout the region.

After months of hand-wringing in the pundit class, we now have two viable challengers to incumbent Mayor Kevin Faulconer. Odd-numbered city council districts are up for grabs, and three of those will choosing somebody new to represent residents.

There are ballot measures A thru I, most of which are updates to the City Charter. Just about the time your eyes will want to glaze over from all the legalese coming from Measure G, there will be two significant choices to follow. Stay Awake. These are important decisions.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Assault on Public Employee Unions Fizzles at the Supreme Court

April 1, 2016 by Doug Porter

Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association Gets Split Decision

By Doug Porter

Friedrichs-v.-California-Teachers-AssociationRebecca Friedrichs, the elementary school teacher honored with a ‘Torch of Freedom Award’ at the San Diego County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln-Reagan dinner last weekend, won’t be celebrating this weekend.

[On Tuesday, March 29th], in a single-sentence order, the Supreme Court announced that the judgment of a lower court rejecting an effort to defund public sector unions “is affirmed by an equally divided court.”. A four-decade-old opinion protecting public sector unions will live to see another day.

Read the full article → 2 comments

13,000 San Diegans Show Up for Bernie Sanders

March 23, 2016 by Doug Porter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Si Se Puede! Sanders Wows Young and Diverse Crowd

By Doug Porter

The big news yesterday wasn’t that Senator Bernie Sanders spoke in San Diego. It was the diverse crowd of 13,000 plus people who put their lives on hold for a day to stand up for a better world.

The line to get into the San Diego Convention Center started in the wee hours of the morning. By the time the doors opened at 4pm the line stretched forever. Halls D&E were filled with the first ten thousand or so people in line, and an overflow room was opened. And then a second overflow room was opened.

It is an article of faith among some Sanders supporters that their candidate gets short changed by the media. Today we’ll examine a sampling of local mainstream coverage of yesterday’s events.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Plastic Bag Industry Seeks the ‘Freedom’ to Pollute by Confusing California Voters

March 21, 2016 by Doug Porter

plastic bag ban logoBy Doug Porter

The California legislature passed a ban on many uses of plastic bags back in 2014. Gov. Brown signed it and the American Progressive Bag Alliance, representing bag manufacturers, dumped $3.2 million to get signatures for a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. So now the law is on hold.

Not content with a simple up or down vote on the matter, the industry is now in the process of gathering signatures for a second measure mandating fees from grocery bag sales be used for environmental projects. If you think this sounds too good to be true for an idea ultimately emanating from the dirty energy industry, you’re right.

Read the full article → 1 comment

SeaWorld Calls It Quits on Orca Breeding, Promises to End Killer Whale Shows

March 18, 2016 by Doug Porter

SeaWorldBy Doug Porter

Starting off with the admission that Americans’ attitudes about orcas have changed dramatically, SeaWorld CEO Joel Manby has announced –via an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times the end of the company’s controversial breeding programs and the phasing out theatrical killer whale shows at all its locations.

SeaWorld has been the target of nationwide protests over its treatment of captive orcas in recent years. Revenues and attendance began a steady decline following the release of the documentary “Blackfish,” which spotlighted the animals’ living conditions and the dangers posed to their handlers.

Read the full article → 2 comments

It’s Time for Some Changes at the San Diego Police Department

March 16, 2016 by Doug Porter
Thumbnail image for It’s Time for Some Changes at the San Diego Police Department

By Doug Porter

Will the City Council expand oversight of the San Diego Police Department? That’s the question being considered on Wednesday, March 23rd as a city council committee considers an amendment to the charter making the Community Review Board on Police Practices more transparent and accountable.

Evidence that there may be a problem with oversight keeps piling up. The ACLU and 26 other groups have called upon the Department of Justice for an investigation into the SDPD’s use of force when encountering people living with mental illness.

A preliminary report from an independent study following up on concerns of racial profiling by the SDPD was delayed for eight months so the information wouldn’t come out “piecemeal.”

Read the full article → 0 comments

San Diego Raise the Wage Campaign Begins Door to Door Campaign

March 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

raise the wageAdvocates for an increase in the local minimum wage are wisely ignoring mutterings from the Chamber of Commerce ilk about a muted opposition response to an upcoming referendum.

This June San Diegans will be voting to increase San Diego’s minimum wage to $11.50 per hour and allow workers to earn up to five sick days per year. The increase of the minimum wage to $11.50 would be phased in through 2017 with indexing to inflation starting on January 1, 2019:

  • $10.50 – June, 8, 2016
  • $11.50 – January 1, 2017
Read the full article → 1 comment

Gonzalez Bill Opens the Door for Rights of Gig Economy Workers

March 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

uber graphicBy Doug Porter

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez has (re-)introduced legislation (AB 1727) ensuring that independent contractors working in the gig economy are allowed workplace rights currently enjoyed by conventional employees.

Thus begins what will likely be a multi-year struggle to redefine the role of labor in the 21st century.

The rights under consideration include negotiating as a group, communicating with customers and the public, boycotting or critiquing a hosting platform’s business practices, and reporting publicly or to law enforcement any practices in violation of local, state, or federal laws.

Read the full article → 1 comment

International Women’s Day: A Google Doodle, 79 Cents on the Dollar and a Dollop of Socialist History

March 8, 2016 by Doug Porter

women's day protest By Doug Porter

We should all be thankful that retailing moguls haven’t been able to figure out a way to make International Women’s Day a sales event.

In San Diego, a mid-day downtown (7th & B) demonstration heralded the struggles of Immigrant Women around the world, calling out poverty, abuse and exploitation in the janitorial workforce.

Today we’ll take a look around the media world to see what is happening with regard to women on March 8, 2016.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Homeless Evicted By San Diego Police Just as Major El Niño Storm Approaches

March 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

clean up 1

You have to wonder what they were thinking in city hall. On Monday morning the police department conducted a sweep of sidewalk homeless encampments as a major winter storm bore down on San Diego.

A severe thunderstorm warning for the entire San Diego County coastline was issued as the second in a series of El Niño storms swept through the region. The promise of below-normal temperatures combined with driving rain and gusty winds meant being outside was going to be a miserable experience.

Read the full article → 5 comments

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot? San Diego Democrats Set to Shoot Themselves in the Foot Again

March 3, 2016 by Doug Porter

Ed Harris via Point Loma Democratic Club

By Doug Porter

News of a credible Democrat entering the race for mayor of San Diego barely made it onto social media yesterday before intra-party sniping began. The political party with majority registration in America’s Finest City couldn’t even field a candidate, and now its past bad behavior is threatening to sabotage a chance at salvation.

This should have been a serious bump in the road to Kevin Faulconer’s primary coronation, namely that a third well-known candidate made the 50%+1 threshold more difficult, with former City Council member Ed Harris jumping into the mayoral race, according to papers filed with the city clerk.

Read the full article → 0 comments

Chargers Say They’ll Fund Their Own Stadium Downtown (Sort of)

February 25, 2016 by Doug Porter

SD Convention CenterOh, to have been a fly on the wall at city hall as the local football franchise went public with a ‘no thanks’ to the officially blessed plan of building a stadium in Mission Valley.

Once again the mayor and his minions have been left out in the cold.Last time they were spurned for an alliance with the Raiders to build a facility in Carson. This time it’s even worse, as the Chargers have thrown their support to a political coalition including the ne’er-do-well Cory Briggs.

In making this move the Chargers have rejected $350 million in city and county support –and the strings that came with it– saying they would get their own financing.

How’d they do that? Well, it’s complicated.

Read the full article → 2 comments

The FBI’s iPhone Emergency: Crying Wolf to Beat the Fourth Amendment

February 22, 2016 by Doug Porter

iphone-5c-review-32By Doug Porter

The Federal Bureau of Investigation persuaded a judge to order Apple to create a workaround for iPhone security restrictions preventing them from trying unlimited PIN codes to crack into the phone used by one of San Bernadino terrorists.

Apple has said ‘no way’ and likely intends to appeal the order. The FBI and Department of Justice, with the Obama administration’s “full” support, say they are “not asking Apple to redesign its product or to create a new backdoor to their products,” but rather are seeking entry “to this one device.”

What the government’s not saying is that the process of gaining entry to this device once possessed by a TERRORIST (are you afraid yet?) provides a precedent amounting to unlocking all secure phones. They’re banking on judges and the public not grasping the scope of what is going on here. And it turns out they’ve been looking for a way to make this happen for quite some time.

Read the full article → 0 comments

June Vote Set for San Diego Minimum Wage Increase

February 11, 2016 by Doug Porter

Todd Gloria

By Doug Porter

Voters in the city of San Diego will get a chance to weigh in on an ordinance providing stepped increases in the minimum wage and up to five earned sick days annually in the June 2016 primary election.

A historic wrong will be righted with public approval of the measure, implementation of which was delayed by a deceptive petition campaign financed by out of town interests whose business model depends on government assistance to their employees.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Rebuild San Diego: Snake Oil or Cure for Local Infrastructure?

January 27, 2016 by Doug Porter

post-office-potholeBy Doug Porter

This week local politicos will be making the rounds, led by Mayor Kevin Faulconer and City Councilman Mark Kersey, promising to repair San Diego’s infrastructure. Potholes big enough to be named, geysers from broken water mains regular enough to be a tourist attractions and crumbling sidewalks unsafe at any walking speed are facts of life in America’s Finest City.

Smiling faces from city hall will be front and center in the media, pitching Councilmember Kersey’s “Rebuild San Diego” ballot measure promising three decades worth of improvement with no tax increases. If it sounds too good to be true, that’s because it probably is.

Read the full article → 1 comment

Bringing the ‘White Line’ Gondolas to San Diego

January 21, 2016 by Doug Porter

tram1By Doug Porter

An editorial in the Union-Tribune waxes poetic about the virtues of building a mass transit system for the white people in San Diego– a network of “skyway” gondolas.

Saying it’s “one idea that does not get the attention it deserves,” the UT goes on to predict Ron Roberts, now chairing both the Board of Supervisors and SANDAG (and vice chair of the Metropolitan Transit System board), will use his perch to seek funding for the concept.

Read the full article → 0 comments

What Mayor Kevin Faulconer Bought Into When He Endorsed Marco Rubio

January 12, 2016 by Doug Porter

San Diego Mayor Enlists as One of 7 Rubio’s California Co-Chairs

Kevin FaulconerBy Doug Porter

You know things are getting bad when Howard Kurtz at Fox News says Republicans are freaking out over The Donald.

The billionaire reality show host has disrupted the hopes of the conservative elite of a youngish version of Saint Reagan to preside over the final dismemberment of the New Deal.

Read the full article → 5 comments

Sea World & Mission Bay: No Place to Play?

January 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

seaworld2A group called Save Everyone’s Access has filed suit, seeking to halt construction of SeaWorld’s Blue World Project. The proposed addition to the waterpark would incorporate a 50-foot-deep, 1.5-acre-wide, ten-million-gallon tank to house killer whales and a 40-foot below-grade viewing area for visitors.

According to a story by Dorian Hargrove in the Reader, the group is asking a judge to order the park to study the potential environmental impacts related to toxic waste buried in the area back when it was used as a city landfill.

Read the full article → 6 comments

‘We Told You So’ in Ocean Beach

January 7, 2016 by Doug Porter

One condominium complex in Ocean Beach was featured on newscasts throughout the region. Resident Johnny Caito made a YouTube video featuring the area around Saratoga and Abbott Streets.

The OB Rag ended up calling the units The Million Dollar Condos. Years of community opposition to building what some considered to be a fortress-type structure on the beach front ended with the OB Planning Board approving the plans in November 2011.

Read the full article → 3 comments

Why the 2016 Race for City Attorney Matters

December 31, 2015 by Doug Porter

By Doug Porter

jan goldsmithThere is no more important local electoral contest than the race for City Attorney. This relatively obscure office has been the part of government where dreams come to die, the priorities of the modern-day landed gentry are enforced, and the political will of the city’s business interests is turned into policy.

Incumbent City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, elected in 2008, deserves credit for molding his agency into a politically powerful entity. While his record is far from spotless, the more general thrust of developing a well-coordinated keeper of the flame for business interests has proven to be a valuable asset for the local moneyed classes.

Read the full article → 2 comments