Keeping the Stupid in Politics, San Diego Style

by on February 27, 2018 · 0 comments

in San Diego

Ernest Dronenburg, Sheriff Bill Gore and Bonnie Dumanis Are Still Running

The ‘stupid’ in San Diego politics is mighty intense for this time of year. It’s February, right? People can still file to run in the primaries for another week or so.

Three of San Diego County’s keepers of the ‘same old, same old, flame’ are apparently running for ‘who can be the most outrageous and still get votes.’

These are people who expect to get elected or re-elected on June 5 because they think their name recognition is enough to win. Or because they ‘deserve’ the position.

Incumbent Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk Ernest Dronenburg has been hitting the road and living the high life on the taxpayer dime. He’s spent $90,000 on 161 mostly in-state trips since 2012, according to documents obtained by the Union-Tribune’s Jeff McDonald.

Dronenburg, the county’s two-term elected assessor-recorder-clerk, racked up more than 100 trips between 2012 and early 2017, most of which were flights to Sacramento and elsewhere that could have been purchased for less in advance.

“Wow … he paid a lot,” a travel agent emailed Dronenburg’s assistant in 2013, when taxpayers were billed $512 for his round-trip to Lake Tahoe. “It (was) approx 20 days before the flight and airfare should have been $291.80 with service fee of $24.”

Dronenburg, who is 74 and seeking a third four-year term on the June ballot, said he works to keep expenses down when traveling at public expense but he needs the ability to change flight plans due to his ever-shifting schedule and workload.

The incumbent Dronenberg favors high-end hotels and often switches lodging locations during a trip, apparently as part of a strategy to run-up rewards points with hotel chains and airlines.

His trips include trade group meetings, industry conferences, and similar optional functions, none being required for the job of Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk. In at least one instance cited by the UT he even brought his wife along on a particularly posh trip that included a golf tournament, a wine industry update, a hospitality reception, and “face-reading.”

Dronenberg told the UT his travel, averaging two times a month, actually saves the taxpayers money.


Needless to say, Dronenberg’s opponent in the winner-take-all June primary, Matt Strabone, released a statement on the exposé, saying in part:

“Ernie Dronenburg is a career politician who’s long since lost touch with voters, and this is just another example. San Diego deserves a County Assessor who puts the people of San Diego County first and focuses on the duties of the office, not one who spends his workdays schmoozing in wine country and 4-star ski resorts on the taxpayers’ dime. If elected, I’ll spend that time here in San Diego County showing homeowners how to save their tax money instead of using it to pad a Hyatt rewards points account.”


San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore is apparently running from office, having canceled a scheduled media open house earlier in February, and telling a GOP Women’s Club he wouldn’t/couldn’t debate opponent Dave Myers.

From the Times of San Diego:

“It would be problematic” to debate his Democratic Party-endorsed employee, he said. “It’s like [fighting] with one armed tied behind my back because of all the laws … [limiting expression of] my opinion of why he shouldn’t be sheriff.”

Screenshot of Gore at 2010 debate. He ran unopposed in 2014.

Myers is reportedly willing to waive his rights if that’s really the problem.

Maybe Gore’s shyness comes from wanting to avoid discussing the department’s recent troubles.

Earlier this week we learned about Assistant Sheriff Rich Miller, who’s now using up his accumulated leave until retiring in March, following reports of inappropriate conduct.

Or perhaps it’s the now-completed investigation into misconduct allegations by 14 women against Deputy Richard Fischer which is apparently not going to lead to charges from the District Attorney’s office. They’ve had a month; the DA’s investigators worked alongside the sheriff department’s internal affairs folks. And… [crickets]

UPDATE: Gore will have a press conference to announce charges, says NBC7.

Or perhaps he’s worried about the department’s decision to relocate Sheriff’s Commander Myers into a broom closet, in apparent retaliation for exercising his right to run for office.

Whatever, folks. This is just another example of the self-entitled behavior by elected County officials in San Diego.


Finally, we come to Double Dippin’ Bonnie Dumanis, who resigned as DA so she could ascend to the County Board of Supervisors.

Dumanis hired lawyers to look into whether she could keep collecting a pension and a salary upon winning elected office as a county supervisor. She says she didn’t intend to actually collect her supes pay.

Voice of San Diego:

But it turns out Dumanis did take a pension and a salary at the same time for two-and-a-half years before she stepped down as district attorney.

Before becoming DA, Dumanis was a judge — from 1995 to 2003.

Dumanis has been collecting her judge’s pension — $29,318 a year — since January 2015, two-and-a-half years before she stepped down as district attorney last July, according to state pension officials.


Things are heating up in Duncan Hunter country.

Supporters of D50 House Candidate Ammar Campa-Nijjar are saying a story in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz about his grandfather (who he never met) being one the Munich bombers was planted by a Democratic opponent.

I have been unable to confirm allegations the story has appeared in fundraising appeals and an allegation by Campa-Nijjar that his opponent been using the word ‘terrorist’ to describe him. If true, this is really a cheap shot. (I’ve been promised proof)

Here’s an excerpt from a Facebook post from James Elia, a Democrat running for California’s 71st Assembly seat currently held by Republican incumbent Randy Voepel:

Ammar has been everywhere. He’s worked very hard and has met thousands of people finding out about the issues. I know cause I have been right there with him. Meanwhile his DEMOCRAT opponent Josh Butner for Congress has not been anywhere in public. Ammar easily won the region 18 pre endorsement by 97% of the vote. This week is the Democratic state convention, and miraculously a liberal media outlet dropped a hit piece on Ammar. Now I am not a political genius but I have common sense and I have to look at it from a common sense standpoint and call it how I see it, this attack had to have come from the Butner campaign. Which I find depressingly myopic.

This first appeared at San Diego Free Press.

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