Scott Peters and the New Democrat Coalition to the Rescue?

by on May 21, 2012 · 34 comments

in California, Economy, Election, Politics, Popular, San Diego, Under the Perfect Sun

If you really want to understand what’s at stake in the race for the 52nd Congressional District between Scott Peters and Lori Saldaña, the most important thing to consider is not personality conflicts or whether the candidates get along with the media but which wing of the Democratic Party they would represent. Both want to unseat incumbent Republican Brian Bilbray, but whose interests would each candidate serve? What kind of Democratic Party would they help shape?

As has been noted elsewhere in the OB Rag, Saldaña has the backing of many local and national progressives and would certainly head straight into the Progressive Caucus. This is the most liberal caucus in the House and describes itself thusly:

Our Caucus members promote a strong, progressive agenda, what we call “The Progressive Promise–Fairness for All”. The Progressive Promise is rooted in four core principles that embody national priorities and are consistent with the values, needs and aspirations of all the American people, not just the powerful and the privileged. They reflect a fundamental belief in government of the people, by the people, and for the people.

The four, core principles of the Progressive Promise:

1. Fighting for economic justice and security for all;

2. Protecting and preserving our civil rights and civil liberties;

3. Promoting global peace and security; and

4. Advancing environmental protection and energy independence.

Scott Peters, on the other hand, has been endorsed by the New Democrat Coalition (NDC). As the San Diego Union-Tribune reported after Saldaña received the Progressive Change Campaign endorsement:

Meanwhile, Peters recently secured the support of the New Democrat Coalition, a group of 42 House members that seeks to promote a “common-sense” Democratic agenda focusing on job creation, education reform and energizing the national economy.

But this bland-seeming description doesn’t give the reader any real context about the New Democrat Coalition and it is doubtful that many readers or even life-long Democrats or those in labor know much about this group. For a historical perspective, a recent ProPublica story sums them up nicely:

The New Democrat Coalition was formed as a House caucus in 1997, following in the footsteps of the Democratic Leadership Council [DLC] and President Bill Clinton’s “third way” policies designed to make Democrats and their platform more business friendly. When launched, the group lacked a fundraising PAC and had no legislative staffers. However, they did have allies at the highest levels of the Democratic Party and access to the party’s political and fundraising machine.

The New Democrats were as pro-business then as they are now. Many of the group’s members, including Kind and Crowley, supported the 1999 Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which repealed marquee financial legislation passed after the Great Depression and paved the way for financial institutions to become “too big to fail.” A year later, many also voted for the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, which curtailed regulation of financial derivatives, including the products that played a major role in the collapse of energy firm Enron in 2001 and helped to bring the world economy to the brink of disaster in 2008.

Though the driving force behind both bills was Sen. Phil Gramm, a Texas Republican who left Congress just after their passage to lobby for the Swiss bank UBS, they were pushed hard by Clinton administration officials like Robert Rubin and Larry Summers, signed into law by Clinton, and supported by congressional groups like the New Democrats.

So, as I noted a few weeks ago in my column about “The Problem with Liberals,” the DLC and its NDC offspring are part of a movement to push the Democratic Party away from economic liberalism to a business friendly cultural liberalism:

Eric Alterman clearly hits the nail on the head with his observations about the replacement of economic liberalism with cultural liberalism in the Democratic Party, but his insightful analysis doesn’t go far enough to note how thorough and deep the transformation has become since the nineties when the Clinton presidency moved the whole party away from the old Labor-Democratic coalition that had prevailed since the thirties.

Indeed the great success of the now defunct Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was to move the Democrats to the “center” in a myriad of ways—the complete embrace of NAFTA, welfare reform, and a nearly total adoption of neoliberal economic policies.

At the time, critics like Jesse Jackson called the DLC “the Democratic Leisure Class” but this largely fell on deaf ears. Even the landslide congressional election defeat that Clinton suffered in ‘94 did little to chasten him as he continued to out-maneuver the Republicans who fumed with evermore venom about the extreme liberals in the White House even as the Clinton team was doing all it could to transform the Democratic Party into a culturally liberal, economically neoliberal party that differed little from the Republicans on economic matters.

Thus what the folks in the New Democrat Coalition are interested in doing is unmooring the Democratic Party from its economic populist roots so that the mainstream of the party will all be good “Republicrats” who won’t scare away the big money that is the mother’s milk of their “soulless” and “corporatist” agenda, as Ralph Nadar has characterized it. Sadly, it’s just as important to understand the conservative ideological and financial networks inside the contemporary Democratic Party as it is study the right-wing think tank network that has spawned folks like Carl DeMaio. Once you make those connections, you really see what plutocracy looks like.  As Dennis Keith Yergler explains, the New Democrats’ effort to move the party to the right has been well-funded by the Fortune 500 from the beginning:

Over the coming years the corporate contributors to the DLC read like a “Who’s Who” of Corporate America. As Nichols writes, “Those corporate contributors … include(d) Bank One, Citigroup, Dow Chemical, DuPont, General Electric, the Health Insurance Corporation of America, Merrill Lynch, Microsoft, Morgan Stanley, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, Occidental Petroleum, Raytheon, and much of the rest of the Fortune 500.” In the words of Ralph Nader, the DLC had become “rooted  in their philosophy of turn-your-back-on-organized labor and open-your-pockets-to-corporations.” More pointedly, the author Kenneth Baer, in his book Reinventing Democrats, concluded that the DLC had become nothing more than “an elite organization funded by elite-corporate and private-donors.”

So, if you like the sell-out Dems who helped kill the public option, embraced draconian corporate education reform, and promoted trade deals that have made multi-nationals rich while speeding the race to the bottom for American workers, then you’ll love the New Democrats.

If you like the National Democratic Party that is keeping the battle for the survival of labor in Wisconsin at arm’s length, the New Democrats are your people.

How about taking on Wall Street and the 1% in the service of Main Street America? Think again; the New Democrats are carrying water for the plutocrats at every opportunity. As Jane White put it in her Huffington Post blog “How Some Democrats Sold Their Soul to the 1%” :

The only thing worse than watching your country go down the toilet is discovering that a band of Democrats is doing most of the flushing. Wonder why we haven’t had genuine financial services reform? The blame falls on a group called the New Democrat Coalition, members of Congress who have sold their souls to the business lobby in exchange for generous campaign contributions and future jobs as lobbyists — call it “The K Street Project, Part Blue.”

According to the New York Times, ProPublica calls the NDC “a group of 69 lawmakers whose close relationship with several hundred Washington lobbyists makes them one of the most successful money machines since the K Street Project collapsed.”

Eight of the top 13 Democratic House recipients of Wall Street cash are NDC members. The NDC pressured former Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark) to scale back a proposal that would force big banks to spin off their derivatives businesses and battled against requiring that banks offer fixed-rate, not just adjustable-rate mortgages (ARMs), according to a 2009 article in CongressDaily. . . . Where are the Democratic White Knights — or the True Blues — who will come to the country’s rescue?

Here’s hoping that the Congressional Progressive Caucus, a 75-member group of liberal House Democrats, along with Sen. Bernie Sanders, will have a significant impact replacing sellout Dems with fellow progressives in the next election. Among their priorities, the Progressive Caucus seeks to “export more American products, not American jobs,” a practice that was exacerbated by China’s entry into the World Trade Organization, which the New Democrat Coalition favored. While nobody wants to deprive any nation of economic expansion it should not come at the cost of other countries.

Upon accepting the New Democrat Coalition’s endorsement Scott Peters said:

“Voters are tired of political extremists who make a lot of noise, but can’t build consensus and get things done. That’s what they’d get by electing Brian Bilbray or the other Democrat in this race. Particularly during times of economic uncertainty, the voters are eager for reasonable, common-sense leaders who put jobs and people first and partisan politics last.”

Of course the real question is what is it that voters want to “get done”? If the mythological post partisan world that Peters is referring  to is the same one occupied by the New Democrat Coalition, then it’s the utopia of the 1% where we have, as Noam Chomsky puts it, “two wings of the business party.” Hence Peters’ squishy positions on the living wage locally and Medicare and Social Security at the national level are predictable. For a Business Dem like Peters, everything is always “on the table.” Only “extremists” like Saldaña would seek to hold the line against any cuts to those programs.

Indeed, Peters’ use of the term “extremist” when describing Saldaña is all any progressive voter needs to hear to vote against him. This ongoing attempt by conservative Democrats to reject progressives inside the party as somehow outside of the acceptable range of opinion is a kind of soft McCarthyism that has long been part of the New Democrats’ stock-in-trade. It’s both offensive and politically corrosive. And the notion that all we need is for some slick talking character to show up and “build consensus” is beyond ridiculous. The problem the Democrats have is not being too “extreme;” it’s caving in to the right on what should be core principles, again and again.

Big money and glossy ads aside, Peters and his friends in the New Democrat Coalition represent what is wrong with the Democratic Party. When you can’t get decent healthcare reform passed, end the endless Bush wars, stop rotten trade deals, reverse crappy Bush Administration education policy, pass the Employee Free Choice Act, or even put real checks back into the financial system no less punish the people who pushed the economy off a cliff, you have not just the filibuster-happy Republicans, but also the New Democrats, like Joe Lieberman et al, to thank for it. They have thrown progressives under the bus and stymied real change time after time. If you want someone with this neoliberal country club’s stamp of approval, Scott Peters is your man.

Why are many of my progressive friends inside and outside of labor siding with Peters? Other than the usual personal conflicts that seem to pervade all things political, the answer is they thought they were betting on a winner. The logic was that in a suburban swing district, only a business Democrat could knock out Bilbray. Plus Peters is rich and can outspend Saldaña. But a funny thing happened on the way to the June primary, Saldaña seems to be kicking Peters’ butt with the latest poll showing her burying him and running neck and neck with Bilbray.

So, perhaps it’s time get behind the clear progressive choice rather than championing a new Democrat and strengthening a coalition that is an obstacle to real change inside the Democratic Party and in the country as a whole.

{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar doug porter May 21, 2012 at 9:29 am

terrific job of exposing all the plutocratic connections here. this kind of article is extra important in a place like San Diego where there the Daily Fishwrap has been allowed to stage the conversation in a manner that tells us that right wingers are centrist and anybody else is an extremist. next week let’s try and write on differing topics…. (lol!- great minds think alike).

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avatar Martha May 21, 2012 at 10:03 am

Hear, Hear! THANK YOU for this clear-eyed read of the choices in this race, Jim — and also where the Democratic Party stands right now.

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avatar Laurie May 21, 2012 at 10:43 am

What a thing of beauty… thank you so much for such a well-written expose on the true politics of Scott Peters. In the face of so many engineered “endorsements” by self-interested parties, it has been very difficult to demonstrate his lack of progressive bona fides. But I had faith all along that true progressives wouldn’t be fooled. Thank you again!!

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avatar Shelley Plumb May 21, 2012 at 10:44 am

Peters was a dismal city council representative. District one (and the city) suffered through him for eight years. There is no reason in the world to think he would be a better congressman. Go Lori!

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avatar Junka May 31, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Scott is carrying around more “dead wood” than the press is aware of. While trying to figure out why Lori is “kicking Scott’s butt” the point is being missed that Scott hasn’t exactly ingratiated himself to those he has “represented” during his political career. Scott’s philosophy is that he’s being elected to make decisions for, but not to consider what, his constituents actually want. Most of us think we’re electing a “representative.” Many of his past constituents who haven’t agreed with him have been dismissed as being ignorant. It’s this disrespect for the people who have put him in office that has turned so many of his early supporters away. Plain and simple…we don’t want him representing and making decisions for us. And, Lori’s an excellent candidate who has demonstrated the ability to stand up for the middle class and get things done.

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avatar MaryAnne Pintar May 21, 2012 at 11:33 am

To provide some balance and perspective to this conversation, readers might want to know who some other California members of the New Dem Coalition are: Karen Bass
(CA-33) Susan Davis (CA-53) Laura Richardson (CA-37) and Loretta Sanchez (CA-47).

Does the writer also believe that these Representatives are also “sell-out Dems” who have “sped the race to the bottom” ?

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avatar Andy Cohen May 21, 2012 at 11:45 am

Just curious, then: If Scott Peters is so terrible, why has Lorena Gonzalez, the CEO of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council come out so strongly in favor of him? She’s been a fierce Scott Peters advocate. Why has the Labor Council endorsed him over Lori Saldana if she’s the one that will more effectively represent their interests?

Lori has gotten most of the endorsements from the far left: Move On, PCCC, etc. Peters has gotten the endorsement of just about everyone else, and that includes a hefty sum of Dems who served with Saldana in the Assembly, the people who would presumably know her best. At some point one has to wonder why that is?

Ultimately the decision is about governing and governance, and who would be the more effective candidate once in office. That’s the decision before the voters.

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman May 22, 2012 at 12:15 am

There’s nothing especially “progressive” about Lorena Gonzalez or the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council. What’s to wonder about?

Lorena may support Scott Peters because she is hoping for his kind of one percent establishment friends’ backing as she prepares to run for Ben Hueso’s seat in the Assembly — she may already have moved into that district — and for when Ben takes Juan Vargas’ seat in the CA Senate for after Vargas loses to Denise Ducheny in his bid for Bob Filner’s old Congressional post.

Lori Saldana will be a breath of fresh air representing us in Congress after Randy “Duke” Cunningham and his successor Brian Bilbray.

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avatar A Close Observer May 22, 2012 at 12:58 am

Andy,
Scott is not so terrible. He’s a nice enough guy. He’s just pro-establishment. He has never “been there” when it counted. Lori has always “been there” and always will.

You say it’s about who will be the most “effective”. Well, Lori was pretty damn effective when she co-authored the state’s Global Warming legislation, helped win the votes of several Republcians, and the signature of a Republican Governor to get it passed. Not bad. Especially since the Koch Brothers subsequently came to California and spent more than $30 million on a unsuccessful campaign to overturn that law.

Then there’s her bills that took on the banks to crack down on Payday Lenders. And you don’t see a lot of “far left” (to use your term) legislators being named Veterans Legislator of the Year for the legislation she passed with bi-partisan support to help returning vets.

Now, let’s turn to the Elephant in the Room. Scott Peters is worth approximately $250 million! That’s right, a quarter of a bil. You can look it up. And when you have that kind of dough, you can buy yourself a lot of support.

Maybe that’s why the Executive Director of one environmental group overlooked Scott’s miserable 40% Sierra Club rating on the Coastal Commission and his background as a corporate lawyer whose clients included polluters to endorse his candidacy. After all, their Award Dinner thanked Scott for his generous contribution.

The entire “buzz” around Scott’s candidacy has been about his ability to bring the “resources” (i.e. money) to the table to beat Bilbray. Take the Labor Council’s deliberations. Lori has a much better Labor Record than Scott; and practically every labor leader acknowledged that. But, one after another, the argument was that Scott had the “resources” to beat Bilbray.

The problem, of course, is that Scott Peters, should he get to Congress, will likely not stand up for the kind of real change we need. Look at his history.

He voted AGAINST the Living Wage. This was not a minor mistep. It was THE major economic justice issue at the time. Thousands were mobilize to demonstrate, rally, write letters, and pack the City Council chambers. Lori included, by the way. But Scott found some namby pamby reason to oppose. And it barely passed: 5-4.

Then, a few years later, when it was renewed with a unanimous vote, 8-0, Scott joined in. He says now he supports the Living Wage. Isn’t that a lot like being against women’s suffrage until women won the vote and then coming out in favor? Whatever it is, it certainly isn’t leadership.

So, what do you think Scott Peters is going to do in Congress when faced with the BIG ISSUES of the day. Take health care. Will he support the Public Option? I doubt it. He wouldn’t take a position on Single Payer when asked in a recent forum. Lori voted for Single Payer 3 times in the legislature.

Or, how about Social Security. When he started running, Scott when on KUSI and sai he favored cuts in Social Security and Medicare. Once Lori pointed that out to the voters, the back tracking began. Scott’s sent out half a dozen mailers promising to protect Social Security. He tried to chide Lori on TV for “lying” about his position that he says he has “clarified.”

But she wasn’t lyiing; not by a long shot.

Pay close attention here. The operative word is “clarified”. Read his mailers carefully. For all his pretty pictures and pretense that he cares about seniors, he never, ever, ever says he will NOT cut social security.

Why is that?

One more point. The people who know Lori best have endorsed her. That includes many of her former legislative colleagues (Karen Bass, Fran Pavely, Sheila Kuhel, etc . .). So has City Council President Tony Young and former School Board President Richard Barrera as well as every single Democratic Club in the District where an endorsement has been made.

Politics has real consequences, Andy. Electing somebody who will vote FOR Single Payer, FOR Living Wage, FOR holding the banks accountable; this is what’s important. Lori, quite simply, is a proven commodity. Scott is an empty suit with a big checkbook. And, interestingly enough, Lori, the working class kid from Clairemont, has done more to advance a Progressive Agenda and move California forward without a big checkbook than Scott has done with one.

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avatar Andy Cohen May 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm

I’m not going to address the whole comment here, ’cause much of it is recycled surrogate speak. But as to the vote on the living wage ordinance, I addressed that pretty thoroughly in the piece I wrote after interviewing him.

Prior to talking with him, I spent about three hours watching he video of that City Council meeting, including the entirety of Peters’ comments just prior to the vote. He was crystal clear in his support for the ordinance itself, but decided to vote against it at that time because the city was deep in the “Enron by the Sea” financial crisis, and the City Manager’s report said that the ordinance was going to cause the city’s budget to take another major hit. Given those circumstances, he decided to vote now until such time as the city’s finances were more stable. The key element in his decision, though (and he was quite clear about it in his comments) was the City Manager’s analysis. Otherwise he would have voted in favor of it.

In hindsight, and given what we know now, he readily and openly admits that that vote was a mistake. He said so. Right to my face. I still think he was wrong to vote the way he did (and there are some technical reasons behind my thinking), but I understand why he did it. He felt it was the responsible, if not principled thing to do.

I made the same points about Saldana’s decision not to vote for Chelsea’s Law. That’s right: She didn’t vote to pass a law named after a local teen that was raped and murdered in San Diego by a sexual predator. If you want to go after Peters’ vote on the City Council, then that vote is fair game too (and I defended her for that decision as well).

Don’t go there, Mr. Surrogate.

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avatar Zoey May 21, 2012 at 11:46 am

Lori Saldana has made false claims for her achievements:
Claim: AB1103 created thousands of jobs
Truth: This is way way overstated!!
Fact: When legislation was signed California unemployment rate was 5.4%
Current unemployment rate is 11.3%- more than doubled
Fact: Manufacturing and non-residential construction have lost combined total of 60,000 jobs since 2009
This is confirmed by California Labor Department numbers
Fact: Just look at your energy bill compared to last year. How are those rates?
Most energy companies have an average increased rate of 8% each year
If we are saving all this energy and jobs are created where are the results? I’m just an average voter that has seen these numbers and learned the truth- that some people will say anything to get elected. As a consequence I will call for Lori to answer this and will debate her publicly on this claim she made. This is just one example of a failed state assembly record.

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avatar sir charles of old town May 21, 2012 at 12:41 pm

so are you saying that Lori Saldana caused the great recession we’re in? wow. she must have some kinda powerful mojo. silly me for thinking that it was the reckless practices of financial institutions encouraged by the lack of regulations during the Bush era.

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avatar Zoey May 22, 2012 at 11:17 am

Did not say or even infer Lori is responsible for the economic conditions we are currently in. Just stated the facts and this does reflect on her assembly record.

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avatar Frank Gormlie May 21, 2012 at 12:33 pm

We just received this from Anita Simons: SAN DIEGO – A cease and desist order has been sent to Scott Peters’ congressional campaign after a local woman found her image was illegally used in the candidate’s negative campaign materials.

A photo of La Jolla resident Anita Simons was widely disseminated without her
permission on a Peters campaign door hanger accompanied by accusations against
another Congressional candidate, Lori Saldaña.

“It was bad enough to see my photo on a hit piece of Peters’, but even worse were the
unsavory claims Peters was making about Ms. Saldaña,” Simons said. “This implied to
my friends and neighbors that I somehow supported Peters’claims.”

The photo was taken on private property and was distributed without permission.
Simons’ attorney, Ajay Kwatra, sent a demand Friday for the Peters campaign to cease
and desist from the use of Simons’ likeness on any campaign materials.

“Like many of my fellow citizens, I’m sick of all the campaign hit pieces,” Simons
said. “It’s obvious to me that the more money a candidate has, the more slick hit pieces they will mail out.” “That’s one of the reasons I support Ms. Saldaña who wants to reverse Citizens United
and get money out of politics.”

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avatar Martha May 21, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Andy, simply put, the Labor Council follows the money. They have always put fundraising prowess number # above progressive principles in candidate endorsements. Here’s Lori’s list of endorsements to balance your very skewed parroting of the Peters talking point:

Former SD City Councilmember Donna Frye
SD City Council President Tony Young
SD City Councilmember Marti Emerald
SD Unified School Board President John Lee Evans
SD Unified School Board Member (and former President) Richard Barrera
Congresswoman and former CA Speaker of the Legislature Karen Bass
Former CA Senate President Pro Tem Jim Mills
Former State Senator Sheila Kuehl
State Controller John Chiang
State Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones
Assemblymember Tom Ammiano
State Senator Mark Leno
Congresswoman and former Assemblywoman Judy Chu
State Senator Noreen Evans … And the list goes on …

State C

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avatar Judy May 21, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Mr. Peters is an example of what is wrong with the Democratic Party! These pro-corporate Dems are not representing us (the PEOPLE), they are representing their rich cronies. Seriously, do we need another multimillionaire in Congress? If we, in the 52nd CD, are left with Rich or Richer to vote for in November, We the People lose!

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avatar Martha May 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

And as for Peters Communcations Director Pintar’s challenge to the writer of this very helpful sunshine in politics piece — the mission and pattern of the New Democrats Coalition is very clear. Susan Davis and Loretta Sanchez, frankly, fit right in with them in my observation of where they have come down on defense-national security spending (pro-) and meaningful reform in the financial services industry (MIA). Karen Bass and Laura Richardson are also members of the Congressional Progressive Caucus — maybe they hope to influence the NDC in that direction.

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avatar MaryAnne Pintar May 21, 2012 at 6:15 pm

And in a dual endorsement, Scott has also been endorsed by Progressive San Diego, for his commitment to progressive values such as Marriage Equality — he has served for years on the LGBT Center Board and has been pro marriage equality since he ran for City Council in 2000; He is staunchly pro-Choice — he has %100 rating from Planned Parenthood; he is firmly against subsidies to big oil companies and for closing corporate loopholes; he supports the Buffet Rule and has pledged to work toward a more progressive tax structure when elected; supports the Affordable Health Care Act; and more. He has also been endorsed by the Chicano Democratic Association (not necessarily known for “following the money”); the California Teachers Association; and many many other advocates for working families. As a member of the DNC, he too, would seek to influence it toward a socially progressive direction, while at the same time working to create the good middle-class jobs families need.

I in no way believe I will influence Ms. Saldana’s supporters with my posts here, I just wish to provide some balance on Scott’s record here. Thanks for allowing me to do so.

MAP

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avatar MaryAnne Pintar May 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm

Correction: not “DNC” — “NDC”

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avatar Martha May 21, 2012 at 6:51 pm

I am grateful for this clip of the latest televised debate among candidates for the 52nd Congressional District — if we apply the same criteria to voting for candidates as we apply to hiring people, there would be NO question that Lori Saldaña ACED this interview. Watch and decide for yourself. http://www.nbcsandiego.com/video/#!/news/local/52nd-Congressional-District-Explained/152173315.

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avatar Martha May 21, 2012 at 7:26 pm

Ms. Pintar’s, and WHAT a ringing endorsement by the 5-member Board of PSD it was: Congressional District 52: Scott Peters and Lori Saldaña. 
“Lori Saldaña is a “progressive’s progressive,” with an outstanding record of standing up for progressive values. PSD encourages her to continue  her efforts to improve consensus-building among progressives. Scott  Peters, whose voting record on local issues has not always earned him  the praise of progressives, is guided by deeply held progressive values  that will serve his constituency well on the issues he will have to confront  at the federal level. PSD urges him to remember that even the toughest  decisions he will have to make must be guided by what is in the best  interests of individuals and local communities.”. The PSD Board also failed to choose in AD78, instead endorsing all 3 Democrats running.

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avatar Martha May 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm

And I wonder what the Progressive San Diego Board thinks of Scott’s refusing to endorse in the SD Mayor’s race because he doesn’t want to slight any of the 3 candidates (2 Republicans and Filner) he’s friends with. If he can’t face up to THIS decision, what can we expect from him on the really tough calls?

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avatar mEden May 21, 2012 at 9:28 pm

“I am 49% Republican and 51% Democrat.” – Scott Peters
He probably got that wrong , too. Shameless.

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avatar John J. Flynn May 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm

A few contextual notes:

Lori supports and is supported buy with Juan Vargas. they have a long relationship. Juan is truly a Democrat in name only and is “friend’ of the insurance companies, the sworn enemies of the Lori crowd. Since 1994, he has wasted the party’s money with a personal vendatta against Bob Filner, our candidate for mayor.

Worse, Larry Remer , the worst political consultant in town (except for Tom Sheppard) is working for both Juan and Lori. Larry always has creppy candidates.

Is Remer trying to establish his own political machine, and get two votes in Congress?

Lori’s personal judment once again comes into doubt. Scott Peters is not perfect, but he’ll do. And he has the $, and professional staff, unlike Lori.

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avatar Larry Remer May 22, 2012 at 9:22 am

I don’t think I know you, John. But did I do something to you like run over your dog?

Just to set some things straight: Vargas is not supporting Lori. Nor vice versa. In fact, Peters contributed thousands to the Vargas campaign.

Second, about “creppy” campaigns and candidates. Was it “creppy” when I helped win District Elections and won $3.6 billion in bonds for public schools? Was it “creppy” when I helped elect the first Democratic majority on the City Council in 40-plus years? Was it “creppy” when I helped elect a progressive SD School Board majority that implemented a PLA for bond construction and that has done its best (in a very tough financial climate) to prevent teacher layoffs.

Actually, what’s “creppy” is gratuitious slaps like yours that come without any facts to back them up. Not that I can’t take the hits. I can be tough and hard charging; it’s a tough, hard charging world.

But I’m proud of my work for progressive campaigns. And I’m sorry about your dog.

You clearly dislike

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman May 22, 2012 at 12:32 pm

Remer, I am personally fond of you because you are funny and tough and a little anarchic, but if you were honest, you would admit to a little “creppiness.”

That you win elections for people is fine: that’s what you get paid (handsomely) to do. But your “progressive” School Board majority has greased the skids into near-bankruptcy for our abysmally-run public school system and that Democratic majority City Council has been supine in the face of Strong Mayor Jerry Sanders and his well-heeled pals Irwin Jacobs and Malin Burnham.

With Council assent, these captains of industry think it’s their right to destroy Balboa Park, to build a football-only stadium with public money, to jam an underfunded Central Library into John Moores’ redevelopment area and to expand (again) the behemoth convention center along the harbor’s edge. Plus other crimes against the people, like “Unconditional Surrender.”

Why don’t we all just vote our consciences in the Primary and then support the Democrat who survives this internecine conflict? Anyone, even Scott Peters, is better than Brian Bilbray.

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avatar doug porter May 22, 2012 at 2:15 pm

who let the dogs out? maybe we’ll start having a kick larry remer (or other political consultant) day on Tuesday to help drive our page views….

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avatar George Dunne May 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Mr. Remer, I’ve not met you but heard of you by reputation.

I see your words above but thats not what your candidate says. She says she and Juan have always been together. Why is there hiding of the Vargas/ Lori relationship?

Mostly I worry about Lori’s though pattern when she would carrouse with both Juan Vargas and you. Is she a progressive in name only? We all know Juan is just a liar.

You are in this for paid work….but two congressmembers in one pocket is enough to alter the balance of power in DC. And this is my country, too. Thats why I’m concerned.

George W. Dunne

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avatar Larry Remer May 23, 2012 at 9:17 am

Mr Dunne, Thank You for your honesty.

About Lori and Juan. When Lori ran for Assembly in 2004, Juan endorsed her and walked precincts for her. I don’t think anyone can rationally argue that Juan’s support for Lori made her anything less than a solid Progressive.

In 6 years in the Legislature, Lori amassed a near perfect Progressive voting record. 100% Sierra Club. 100% Planned Parenthood. 100% Equality California. Co-author of California’s landmark Global Warming legialation. Voted 3 times for Single Payer. The only non-LGBT vote south of LA for Gay Marriage in 2005. Co-author of Clean Elections. Author of the Solar Rooftops Initiative (which created 300,000 New Technology jobs). Voted for both Living Wage and to raise the Minimum Wage. I could go on.

In the intervening years, Lori and Juan have remained friends and supported one another. They were seatmates in the Assembly and worked together on more things than they disagreed on. In this election, I know that they neither one has made an endorsement in the others’ race, despite warm personal feelings for each other.

Now, it’s clear that you don’t like Juan and I doubt there’s anything I could say to change your mind. But I would like to urge you to look at the totality of his record. He’s earned the endorsement of the Labor Council and the Democratic Party because he is a Solid Democrat with an very good record. And he’s running against a Tea Party Republican, a Right-t0-Lifer financed by the Reader’s publisher and a National Rifle Association advocate.

One of my favorite expressions is: Don’t let the Perfect be the enemy of the Good. I am sure you can find examples of where both Lori and Juan do not meet your criteria of “Perfect.” But I am equally sure that each of them are a much, much better choice than their respective opponents.

As for me, I’m proud to help elect good Democrats. True, it’s my profession; but it’s also my passion. If I could help elect 29 Democrats in Red seats and take back the House, I would do it in a heartbeat.

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avatar John P. Falchi May 22, 2012 at 8:49 am

We should have expected it–the last minute hit piece from the Peters campaign to attempt to make Lori Saldanaa seem like a witch. If it really dealt with her complete record in Sacramento, it would have shown how she has consistently stood up for the middle class, workers, and the environment, rather than the distortions of her record to attempt to show that she is against these things and for big corporations. Scott’s been in bed with the big developers, locally, since he joined the city council and he would continue to be as a part of the New Democrat Coalition. To attempt to paint him as a progressive and Lori as a supporter of the big corporations is an Orwellian effort to confuse the voters, plain and simple.

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avatar Kevin Wirsing May 22, 2012 at 8:53 pm

If you had any doubt about what Scott Peters is all about, go to Rose Canyon. Go up Regents Road from the 52 to where Regents deadends at Lahitte Court, just look out over the rim of the canyon and the trail that meanders down to the canyon floor. Its an amazing urban park. Scott tried to kill that park. Why? Because his pals on the La Jolla cocktail circuit, Bill Evans, Grace Evans Cherashore and Anne Evans (Evans Hotels) wanted a bridge to connect to the shopping center they used to own at Regents and Governor. The Evans lost the shopping center in a nasty family fight, so they don’t care about the bridge anymore and neither does Scott. But for those of us who adore Rose Canyon and still care about it, we remember Scott: he is a cold, heartless,ambitious and ineffective tool, not even so much a tool of rich people, but of people he thinks are cool. A regular Eddie Haskell.

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman May 23, 2012 at 8:20 am

It is good to see the detailed truth told about the Regents Road bridge over Highway 52.
But the warriors here need to make a practical decision here and then ACTon it. If you are supporting Lori Saldana for Congress, as I am, then you need to devote time and/or money to her race in these last days before the Primary. Forget about the political theory
and the incredible divisions within the once-honorable Democratic Party and get out there
to help Lori win this race.

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avatar Martha May 24, 2012 at 10:52 am

Excellent suggestion, Frances! http://www.Lori4Congress.org.

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avatar Zoey May 23, 2012 at 7:39 pm

Lori Saldana also supported corporate tax loopholes while in state assembly. The following were present in budgets Lori supported:
a. The state provides multistate and multinational companies with a choice yearly of which formula they want to use when they file their taxes. So, depending on whether companies have losses or gains in a given year, they can choose to either attribute more losses or fewer profits to California, to minimize their taxes. None of this manipulation helps smaller businesses and start-ups that operate only in California, and therefore pay tax on all of their income. But wait! If they invest outside the state, they too get to play the same games with their income reporting — hardly an incentive to do business in California.
b. Another one allows corporations to get refunds for taxes already paid for losses in previous years — so-called carry-backs. So they can now manipulate the formula to take larger losses in California and can get refunds based on that manipulation — at a cost to every struggling program and taxpayer in California.

When Lori claims she helped close tax loopholes this isn’t exactly true.

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