Pt Loma Dems Get an Earful From Ed Harris, Linda Perrine and Cory Briggs

by on October 2, 2014 · 6 comments

in Ocean Beach, Organizing, Politics

Linda Perrine ed jc

Linda Perrine (all photos by Judi Curry)

Summary of Pt. Loma Democratic Club Meeting – Sunday, September 28, 2014

While the Chargers were beating the Jaguars, I was sitting in a meeting listening to three very interesting speakers talk about the election to come in November. They discussed their reasoning for taking the stand that they were taking, and how important it is for Democrats to vote in this election.  I have heard it said many times since the Primary election in June that “Republican candidates didn’t win because they got the most votes; rather they won because Democrats stayed home and did not cast their ballot.”

The first speaker of the day was Ed Harris, our City Council Member.  He talked about several things, but particularly Belmont Park. He mentioned so many points that I was not aware of.  He actually repeated what he told my editor-dude Frank Gormlie right after he voted no on the proposed lease for Belmont Park.  He feels that the cut the City is getting is not a fair share of the revenue.

Ed harris jc

Councilman Ed Harris

The city has received, over a 26 year period of time 1.6 million dollars.  Do you have any idea how much that means, per year for San Diego?  Sit down for this one.  We received $5000 a MONTH for the lease of Belmont Park. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out just how much the company running the Park is making.  If you want to further break down the statistics, we are “leasing out” Belmont Park at 60 cents a square foot.  We should be getting at least $2-3 a square foot, and even that is low.  We are actually giving away “a gift of public funds,” according to Harris.

He stated that some on the council like the lease because it pays for services the City offers – such as police and fire.  How does that work, he asked?  If you look around you will see that even the Ocean Beach Merchants Association is paying for private security guards to keep OB safe. He feels that if more monies were generated from the Belmont Park leases, more money would be available to the services that are critical to having a safe city and environment.

A question was asked about the Sports Arena area, and Ed stated that what is trying to be done is to have all of the buildings become vacant at the same time. Leases are not being renewed.  Then, when there are nothing but empty buildings around there will be a push for the new Charger stadium.  (I heard this rumor for the first time about two years ago from one of the businesses in the area.  Interesting that it is still being talked about.)

Linda Perrine was the second speaker of the day and I would love to see her run for office.  What a brilliant woman; a fantastic speaker; and very knowledgeable about our city and its flaws, she has recently worked to revitalize the San Diego Democratic Women’s Club to focus on women’s issues.  She has been writing a column in the OB Rag and San Diego Free Press about “Who Runs San Diego.”  If you haven’t read it I suggest that you do so before the election.  A lot of great insight in those articles.

She addressed some of the same sorts of issues we had just heard about – this time SeaWorld and the City of San Diego. For years no one gave any thought about SeaWorld and its environs – except those of us that hear the nightly fireworks that frighten our animals to death. At least no one thought about it until a trainer in Florida was killed by a “trained” Orca; or until “Blackfish” was produced. Now people are looking at SeaWorld and what it means to San Diego, because, after all, we are SeaWorld’s “landlord.”

The money the city gets from SeaWorld is directly related to how much money SeaWorld generates each year. We are, in fact, “business partners” with them.  It is interesting to note that Anheuser Busch severed ties with SeaWorld as did SouthWest Airlines;  Why?  As Perrine stated:

SeaWorld is being battered from many angles.  It is simply on the wrong side of the powerful and growing realization that humans have a moral obligation to treat fairly and kindly with other living beings and this ethical failure has created a financial firestorm.”

The question always comes up about the Convention expansion. Why do we need an expansion?  It is large enough as it is; the hoteliers wanted to charge a “service charge” to their guests, which is, in actuality, a tax.  They want to call it “assessments” – not taxes, and try to fool us.

There has been talk that “ComicCon” said that if we do not expand the center, they will take their business elsewhere. Linda said that is not true; that has never been said.  Jerry Sanders stated that “if you build a bigger convention center they will come.”  Also not true.  Those conferences that did not have their meetings here this year were not because of the size of the convention center; rather it was because the dates they wanted were already booked.

Cory Briggs jc

Cory Briggs

And our final speaker was Cory Briggs – replete with power point presentations; facts and figures on his victory in a recent lawsuit to overturn the illegal taxes associated with paying for the convention center expansion.  He, too, talked about TOT – transient occupancy tax – and the proposed expansion of the convention center as an initiative that benefits business interests.

He stated that with the exception of David Alvarez all of the Council Members voted for this tax. Why? According to Briggs, San Diego’s hotels were hoping to use the City’s credit to pay for improvements that they were unwilling to finance themselves, despite being the primary beneficiaries of the improvements. Now the public is subsidizing one of the largest expenses that any business faces: advertising.  The hoteliers, sports franchises, entertainment conglomerates, developers, and construction-related businesses all have very talented, very adept, and handsomely paid professionals to represent their interests at the negotiating table. The taxpayers? Not so much.

And here is something that will blow you away – according to Briggs:  The scientists at UCSD have stated that in the next twenty five years the very area that would house the expanded center will be under water!  This prediction is heard more and more as California faces the severest drought we have ever faced.  As icecaps are melted around the world, the water level of the oceans will increase, and unless we have scuba conferences in the expanded areas there would not be a feasible way of holding a conference there.

Briggs talked about a proposed Charger stadium associated with the Convention Center.  He said that “we need to get control of the politicians” before we are financing all private entities.  He said that the reason the U-T supports a new stadium is because if we don’t have a football team there won’t be a need for a sports section in the paper -and if there is not a sports section, why buy the paper?

The meeting was one of the best ones I have been to in a long time. It was succinct, to the point, and covered many of the election portions of the ballot next month.  I would like to call your attention to the articles “Who Runs San Diego” in the OB Rag, as well as the Point Loma Democratic Clubs recommendations on ballot initiatives. Additionally, this Monday, October 8th, at 10:00am at the Pt. Loma Library the League of Women Voters will be going over ballot measures – pro and con – for the election.  See you there!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

John Loughlin October 2, 2014 at 10:12 am

Thanks Judi for a great write up of a fact-filled meeting. Whether it’s the hoteliers, developers, entertainment corporations, or favored tech businesses who’s looking out for the taxpayers?

It certainly hasn’t been Chris Cate, the VP of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association who’s running for election to the City Council this November. If you have friends living in District 6 please encourage them to consider Carol Kim for City Council

You can find a list of our endorsements to print out and share on our website at

and as Judi mentioned we have a discussion of the ballot propositions at


Michael Russell October 2, 2014 at 11:58 am

Thanks for the update.
How come no one acknowledges that without Sea World and Hubbs, we wouldn’t know anything about the extinct species of Orca?


nostalgic October 2, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Ed Harris makes it clear that the city Republican Regime which favors “business”, means “businesses that we choose.” The details under the spotlight from all speakers didn’t generate those warm, fuzzy feelings for our new Council Representative, Lori Zapf.


Susan October 3, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Thanks Judi for the excellent writeup of our club’s meeting on Sunday. We strive to educate and engage our members. Many issues that we discuss are nonpartisan – veterans issues, climate change, homelessness, healthcare, etc.

Everyone is welcome to come to our meetings. And you don’t have to be a Democrat. You just have to be civil.

Many people focus on national politics, knowing every little detail, just like sports teams, but ask who their City Councilperson is and they have no idea. Ask them who their State Senator or Assembly Rep is and they really blank out.

Well, I want us all to consider that it is city politics that really affects your life, your family and children’s lives. And locally, your one vote can really make a difference. The votes of 700 people elected Lori Zapf in District 2. 700 people made a difference and that difference will effect you right where you live, in lifeguard services, schools, library hours, park upkeep and safety, zoning, street lights, on and on.

So start paying attention to local politics. Get educated. Cast an informed vote in local elections. This series “Who Runs San Diego” and the links in John’s post above are good places to start your education. It’s your responsibility.

Susan Peinado, President
Pt Loma Democratic Club
San Diego County Democratic Party Club of the Year 2014


Nancy October 3, 2014 at 8:39 pm

Correction: The League of Women Voters meeting will not be on Oct. 8 but on Oct. 13th at 10:00 at the Point Loma Library. Propositions pros and cons will be gone over and an overview of the Port of San Diego.


Susan October 3, 2014 at 9:16 pm

The League of Women Voters has excellent non partisan recommendations on their website to help you make informed voting decisions. So many people don’t know what they do. They do not endorse candidates but propositions are covered thoroughly.


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