Prop D Stands For “Dumb”- Opponents Hold Press Conference

by on June 4, 2010 · 9 comments

in Civil Rights, Economy, Election, Organizing, San Diego

Prop D Marti Emerald

Councilwoman Marti Emerald makes the case against Prop D. (All photos by Doug Porter.)

The TV cameras were all lined up on the Concourse Plaza, and a dozen or so reporters stood idly by while retiring City Councilwoman Donna Frye gathered up her troops to mount a last ditch effort to inform the public about the downsides of Proposition D, the ballot measure that Mayor Sanders and his developer buddies have up for a vote in next week’s primary election.

While there wasn’t a whole lotta “news” coming out of this press conference, it certainly put the David vs. Goliath aspect of the battle over Proposition D into sharp focus. This press conference represented the sum total of public effort in opposition to the proposed permanent switchover to a strong Mayor form of governance. Speaking against Prop D were Frye, Councilwoman Marti Emerald, and a handful of representatives from neighborhood organizations around San Diego.

Not content to let the opponents of Prop D have a few moments in the sun, Prop D supporters, placed “Yes on D” signs around the Concourse Plaza, and shadowed the event. City Councilman Kevin Faulconer was on hand to provide “rebuttal interviews” with the press.

Prop D Kevin Faulconer

Councilman Kevin Faulconer made sure he was on hand to give a "rebuttal" argument in favor of Prop D (as if the trillions of 'Yes on Prop D' signs weren't enough).

His hair was perfect, and his campaign war chest is overflowing with donations from many of the same developers and special interests that are funding this initiative. (For a list of the big bucks backers and more details about Prop D, see Anna Daniels’ excellent article here.) Another major lobbyist for the developers just happened to standing around as the show got underway.

Our city is plastered over with “Yes on D” signs, Cox Cable has donated tens of thousands of dollars in free airtime for the Prop D advocates and Mayor Saunders has lent his voice to a major robo-call campaign. They have offices, yard signs and bumper stickers. So you have to figure that they sent the troops out for this event just to rub it in. They sure were smug about it.

I spoke with one Tom Geldner who stood just a few feet away from the press conference holding a “Yes on D” sign. Geldner said that he was just there to advocate for Proposition D as a concerned citizen. He denied being paid to attend the event. He & his wife operate a public relations consulting outfit that just happens to represent various contractors.

Prop D Donna Frye

Out-going Councilwoman Donna Frye.

Donna Frye’s speech lasted all of about five minutes. She got off a couple of zingers, like, “It’s easier to buy one elected official than it is to buy nine” and “D is for Dumb”. I’ll wager that the pro D gang gets more airtime this evening than Donna Frye does, proof once again that San Diego has the best government money can buy.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dan Soderberg June 4, 2010 at 9:51 am

I have two links to share. First the “No on D” You Tube video I put together. Second is a clip of Donna Frye and Marti Emerald’s comments at yesterday’s press conference.


avatar doug porter June 4, 2010 at 11:16 am



avatar annagrace June 4, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Dan- thanks for putting together the No on D video and providing video links to yesterday’s rally. And Doug thanks for being there to provide coverage. Are any other council members against D besides Frye & Emerald?


avatar doug porter June 4, 2010 at 2:08 pm

it would appear that the big “payoff” is on for this one. Donna & Marti are lone voices trying to warn the community about this developer scam. labor sez they held off on opposing this because they think they can eventually elect a mayor & would like that “extra” power.


avatar nunya June 4, 2010 at 11:56 am

You know, the ballot initiative has become a way for big bidness get stuff done that even politicians know stinks to high heaven.



avatar annagrace June 4, 2010 at 3:55 pm

I researched some articles from 5 years ago, when the strong-mayor form was taking effect. Roger Showley wrote an article about “What a strong mayor means for development.”

Here’s a few nuggets from the article. “But the mayor will have control over the information flow from the bureaucrats to the policy-makers. He can marshal facts and figures to support his thinking and suppress or discredit contrary views bubbling up from the civil servants.” And “Strong mayors use information ‘strategically and selectively…to make the strongest case for their land-use proposals. City managers theoretically present a range of options to show advantages and disadvantages’ in each course of action.”

“The mayor wants to present the case that will increase the likelihood that the things he and his staff allies have been working on will be accepted by the council.”

Both Council members Frye and Emerald maintain that there is a lack of transparency in the budget process. What information is being suppressed or used selectively, and why? Burying a dump deal in the consent agenda is a recent example.

D is not only dumb- it is dangerous.


avatar Kristin Harms June 5, 2010 at 11:26 am

Thanks, Doug, for covering the press conference on Thursday. And you were right on, out of all those TV cameras that were there, only one station actually aired a very brief spot.

San Diego Neighborhoods United is one of the neighborhood organizations opposing Proposition D. We have also endorsed Steve Hadley for City Council District 6. We would really like to be strong going into the Mayors race in 2012 so if any of you would like to join us (its free!), please visit our website at and go the “Join Us” page.


avatar Ken June 6, 2010 at 3:52 pm

BTW, the League of Women Voters are against it


avatar Milly Stodtman June 7, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Please Vote NO on propositon D. Remember the D stands for Developers. If the developers can sucker the taxpayers on this one they will own City Hall.


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