Who Are the San Diego Democrats Who Aren’t Really Democrats?

by on May 18, 2016 · 0 comments

in Election, History, Labor, Media, Politics, San Diego

Feeling #theBern AND the Burn in San Diego Politics

carpet saleBy Doug Porter /  San Diego Free Press

This started out to be a column addressing the increasing awareness of the Bernie movement on finding like-minded progressive candidates on the ballot. It ended up be an exploration of the Dark Side of both local politics and the newly ascendant supporters of the Democratic Socialist from Vermont.

For those of interested in short lists for city offices, here it is: if you like Bernie, then Lori Saldaña for Mayor, Bryan Pease for City Attorney, Sara Saez for D9 City Council, and Jose Caballero for D7 City Council…

… Except that the Progressive Democratic Club says if you support Bernie you should vote for Ed Harris for Mayor.

Later this week, the San Diego Free Press will publish the Progressive Voter Guide, which will include endorsements. In the meantime, you can view all our articles on the upcoming primary by clicking here.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, things are getting ugly. Real ugly. There are RINOs, DINOs, and mud being slung everywhere.

RINO Supports DINO

Republican Mayor Kevin Faulconer is reportedly endorsing Democrat Anthony Bernal in the District 3 city council race. If you add in the campaign contributions from Papa Doug Manchester along with indirect support from reactionary business groups, it’s near impossible to deny Democratic leader Jess Durfee’s assertion that Bernal is a stalking horse for Republicans.

KPBS and others have run stories emphasizing how Bernal and opponent Chris Ward have few distinctions between where they stand on issues. Sometimes you have to look beyond what candidates say towards who’s picking up the tab.

In Bernal’s case, the distinctions are obvious, especially the $20,000 ‘Independent Expenditure’ bump via the Builders Assn PAC. (See Republicans Look to San Diego for the Best Government Money Can Buy for other fundraising totals.)

And that sucking noise you hear is Faulconer’s campaign hosing up all the money it can from local (and mostly conservative) sources.

faulconer funder

The incumbent mayor’s campaign is also drawing support from around the country, as Matt Potter at the Reader is reporting on donations to Communities United for Tomorrow’s Economy Supporting the Re-election of Mayor, an “independent expenditure PAC operated by the Chamber of Commerce and the Lincoln Club.

He says money’s flowing to the PAC via Community Leaders of America, a Virginia political nonprofit. Funders for that outfit include the American Petroleum Institute, WalMart, tobacco companies R.J. Reynolds and Altria, along with trash haulers Waste Management and Republic Services.

Mud Flies in D5 (And D1. And D9)

Over in District 5, Democrat Frank Tsimboukakis is tweeting up a storm about endorsements he says incumbent Mark Kersey doesn’t actually have. So far he’s called out non-endorsements from SD Fire Local 145 and the Police Officers Association.

Unfortunately, Tsimboukis needs some coaching on social norms and social media, as this post over at conservative site SDRostra indicates:


Four years ago, District 1 Republican candidate Ray Ellis got called out by then-incumbent Sheri Lightner for fabricated allegations she’s handed out $28 million in bonuses to city employees.

Now he’s at it again in the contest against Democrat Barbara Bry, via mailers from the Lincoln Club PAC decrying her as a toady for the San Diego Chargers in their quest for a publicly financed stadium.

Ellis should consider going in the carpet business after this campaign. He does a good impression of lying like a rug.

In District 9, Sarah Saez is doing her best to draw attention to all the conservative money flowing into the campaign of Ricardo Flores. From Facebook:

So strange what San Diego considers an acceptable Democrat. Proud to say that the Lincoln Club would never think to give me money and if they did I would never take it. My opponent Ricardo Flores, not so much. In fact David Malcolm, chair of the Lincoln Club’s political committee, maxed out on him. Good luck to anyone in the Democratic party or in Labor who’s supporting him. He’s got people with way more money that he’ll owe favors to if he gets elected who don’t care about our values, including workers. STOP ELECTING BAD POLITICIANS!

Pay attention to the part about that guy Malcolm; you’re about to meet him again…

Historic Factions Vie for Party Control

Competing groups are battling it out for seats representing the 80th Assembly District on the San Diego County Democratic Party Central Committee. The campaign for a slate headed by City Councilman David Alvarez is being financed — through Suncoast Financial Mortgage —by David Malcolm, chairman of the Lincoln Club’s Political Affairs Committee.

Lincoln Club anti-Democratic candidate mailer

Lincoln Club anti-Democratic candidate mailer

The Lincoln Club supported mailings in the 2014 mayoral contest making Alvarez appear as though he was a gang member. Malcolm told the Voice of San Diego he was now supporting the Alvarez slate because “it’s the business community’s responsibility to support people like Alvarez when they show independence from organized labor.”

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, along with the Labor Council’s Mickey Kasparian, is supporting another slate. Kasparian is steamed over what he sees as a Republican-funded effort at gaining influence within the party. (Malcolm says he’s left the GOP)

The Alvarez slate is campaigning as “We Say No to Trump.” Their opponents have packaged themselves as the “Working Families” slate.

But if you were to look at this strictly as a business vs. labor matter, you’d be ignoring some important local history.

From Voice of San Diego:



There has long been a striking political chasm between Democrats in the South Bay. Two networks of elected officials and party activists have constantly vied for power. Alvarez won the district and the Council seat when he beat Felipe Hueso, the brother of state Sen. Ben Hueso in 2010.

Lorena Gonzalez, who was at that time the head of the San Diego Imperial Counties Labor Council, supported Hueso. And now, the slate of candidates running for the Democratic Central Committee that Kasparian supports include people who have worked for Gonzalez…

…Alvarez’s slate includes several people who have worked for him, including his preferred successor for the City Council seat, Vivian Moreno. For Alvarez, it appears to be a strategic long-term move to perhaps help Moreno or his own chances should he seek elected office again after he is termed out in 2018.

So who are the progressives here? I’ll venture to say both sides would say they are. Democrats without Labor are like bread without yeast. Labor without Alvarez is an embarrassment, especially after they helped raise $4 million for his mayoral campaign.

The Democratic Central Committee is made up of six elected representatives from every Assembly district in San Diego, plus state –but not city– lawmakers.

kasparian80thslate-570x312The committee controls the money on behalf of endorsed candidates. No endorsement equals no money spent on the all-important ‘member communications’ being mailed just prior to elections.

In the case of this particular battle for representatives from the 80th, it’s my observation that the Central Committee’s failure to pick a candidate in the city attorney race is an underlying issue.

(Images for mailers were originally published at Voice of San Diego)

OMG OMG OMG #FeeltheStupid

Finally, after noticing various Bernie fans wondering about down ballot races, I had the unfortunate experience of spending some time on the San Diego for Bernie Sanders 2016 Working Group Facebook page.

With nearly 3500 followers, this Facebook page is one of the places to go to learn about the many events put on by the local Sanders campaign.

The last time I was visited (in March) involved following up on allegations on the Clinton campaign sending infiltrators into San Diego. Allegations against a local activist were easily disproven and eventually removed from the page.

Unfortunately, it’s also prone to lots of shared posts from (I assume) political newbies with (or without) tin foil hats.

BernieFB CaptureClickbait websites like SourcePlanet.Net, Aldipest.com, USAPoliticsNow.com are apparently trusted sources of information, even though none of them existed just six months ago. All have hidden ownership, less than 200 Facebook followers, and a buttload of headlines/stories often lifted from each other.

Breaking news topics include the absolute Facebook blackout of Bernie Sanders (debunked at Snopes) and near panicked (and bullshit) stories about a massive voter suppression campaign in California, going on RIGHT NOW.

Then there are the right-wing news sites reposted regularly there that somehow become credible when they recycle Hillary Clinton scandal stories. Today’s garbage haul includes a tirade about the H woman enabling child molesters and killers. (Sorry kids, no links for this crap)

Following a disastrous Democratic meeting in Nevada over the past weekend, there is a graphic being shared calling for people not to vote for Senator Barbara Boxer, who–get a clue–happens to be retiring and not on the ballot.

I know that running an insurgent campaign for office is really tough. Old ideas die hard, and nobody in their right mind surrenders power willingly. But folks, wake up! Leave the National Enquirer stuff to the Trump campaign.

Outside of B movies, no campaign has ever been won by “exposing plots.” Now get to work and win this one for Bernie Sanders!

PS–Yes, I know about all the bad things the Clinton campaign does or is alleged to do. I feel obligated to speak to people I generally agree with who should know better.

On This Day: 1938 – U.S. Supreme Court issues Mackay decision, which permits the permanent replacement of striking workers. The decision had little impact until Ronald Reagan’s replacement of striking air traffic controllers (PATCO) in 1981, a move that signaled anti-union private sector employers that it was OK to do likewise. 1980 – Dr. George C. Nichopoulos was indicted in Memphis on 14 counts of overprescribing drugs to Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and nine other patients. 1988 – A report released by Surgeon General C. Everett Koop declared that nicotine was addictive in similar was as heroin and cocaine.

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I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org Check us out on Facebook and Twitter.

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