If there's one thing that's been particularly consistent to campaigns of the far right in San Diego this fall, it's the unusually desperate attempts to hide the real agenda from voters. It's one that should be cause for optimism as long as voters pay attention, and betrays an almost impressive self-awareness from the top of the GOP that the party's agenda has drifted well outside the mainstream.
From the special exemptions of Prop 32 to Brian Bilbray's teetering re-election bid to Carl DeMaio's bizarre mayoral campaign, extreme conservatives are doing everything they can to hide their record and who they are.
For the backers of Proposition 32, the deception was part of the design from the very beginning. They surveyed the political landscape and found that, unsurprisingly, nobody wants millionaires and corporations to be able to buy off our political process. Rather than abandon a wildly unpopular idea, they came up with a different plan: fake it.
Statewide, we're all gearing up to beat back Proposition 32, that tries to give full financial control of our elections to corporations and millionaires that have already been running amok since Citizens United came down.
But down in San Diego, we're already fighting what comes next. Carl DeMaio is running for mayor with big designs on becoming a national sensation for the far right, and if he gets momentum now he just might pull it off.
Prominent state and national GOP figures are already putting on Orange County fundraisers billing DeMaio as "The Next Scott Walker," and his calling card has become the string of roadmaps and pathways that mirror Paul Ryan's Roadmap for America's Future. DeMaio knows how to become a champion for the far right, and he's executing the playbook from DC step by step.
Breaking yesterday through Twitter and evolving since, Congressman Bob Filner has apparently made an official public announcement that he'll be running for mayor of San Diego.
As campaign roll-outs go, it wasn't the most elegant beginning, and the legitimate process story continues to bubble up. A full launch can still be done in the future without losing significant impact, but in the meantime, the story and its continued unfolding underscores that the horserace has begun no matter what, and the vacuum will be filled.
While some will continue to hash through the reliability of information and the 'is he REALLY?' sideshow, what is clear is that Filner is now considered a part of the mayoral race; which means there's a Democrat in the race, which means that two sides are presumed in discussion of mayoral issues.
It's a big deal in San Diego, because we haven't had two full-strength sides engaged in a city-wide debate in a number of years. It didn't happen during last year's Prop D campaign. It didn't happen in the 2008 mayoral race when Democrats failed to field a viable candidate. The 2004 mayoral race turned into the fluke three-way race between Republicans Dick Murphy and Ron Roberts and last-minute write-in Democrat Donna Frye. You would have to go back more than a decade for the last time we've had a legitimate campaign addressing the comprehensive future of the city in which both major parties were seriously engaged.
Filner's entry into the discussion addresses that, because he has the experience and personal campaign infrastructure to overcome existing deficiencies that have hamstrung previous efforts at a full-scale, two-sided debate about the issues that face this city.
And that means that this isn't just a referendum anymore on Republican candidates. Not on Councilmember Carl DeMaio's extreme views, or whether Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher has the clout to stand up to downtown developers. Nor is it just musing over whether District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis can indulge enough of her moderate tendencies to pick up establishment Democrats. It's a real debate.
Now we can have a stronger conversation about how pension reform doesn't have to be debilitating to be effective. About how we don't have to stop investing in the basic quality of life for our neighborhoods to put our fiscal house in order. That we can remain committed to smart development and addressing blight without handing over the keys of city hall to developers.
Looking forward a bit to the musical chairs, newly-elected State Senator Juan Vargas (40th) is expected to run for Filner's vacated seat (Vargas previously challenged Filner in the primary), and newly-elected Assemblymember Ben Hueso (79th) is expected to be among those aiming to succeed Vargas. So the fun will hardly be contained moving forward.
Rep. Barbara Lee [D-CA9], proved she has a backbone when in 2001 she stood up against war and became the only member of congress to vote "No" on the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF), and she was oh so right.
Now, Barbara has again taken the lead in trying to stop the insane decision to expand and escalate the war in Afghanistan. Her bill, H.R. 3699 "To prohibit any increase in the number of members of the United States Armed Forces serving in Afghanistan," has been referred to the House Armed Services Committee. Link: http://www.govtrack.us/congres... Cosponsors:
Yvette Clarke [D-NY11] Emanuel Cleaver [D-MO5] Steve Cohen [D-TN9]
John Conyers [D-MI14] Donna Edwards [D-MD4] Keith Ellison [D-MN5]
Bob Filner [D-CA51] Alan Grayson [D-FL8] Raul Grijalva [D-AZ7]
Maurice Hinchey [D-NY22] Michael Honda [D-CA15] Sheila Jackson-Lee [D-TX18] Dennis Kucinich [D-OH10] John Lewis [D-GA5] James McDermott [D-WA7]
James McGovern [D-MA3] Jerrold Nadler [D-NY8] Fortney Stark [D-CA13] Edolphus Towns [D-NY10] Nydia Velázquez [D-NY12]Maxine Waters [D-CA35]
Diane Watson [D-CA33] Lynn Woolsey [D-CA6]
As you can see, MOST of our 53 California representatives have NOT signed onto the bill. No Waxman. No Berman. No Sherman. No Schiff. Just those heroes in bold above are on this short list. CONTACT your representative to ask that they co-sponsor and support this important legislation to take back the war powers as in our constitution. And thank those who have signed on.
Here's the link to the committee: http://www.govtrack.us/congres... The Democratic Chair is Rep. Ike Skelton [D-MO4] with the ranking Republican member Rep. Howard McKeon [R-CA25] (Santa Clarita and east), Rep. Duncan Hunter [R-CA52], and the TWO DEMOCRATS from CA:
Rep. Susan Davis [D-CA53] (San Diego) and Rep. Loretta Sanchez [D-CA47] (Garden Grove-Santa Ana).
Please CONTACT these people on the committee right away and ask that this bill be brought to a vote immediately. With the impending announcement coming from Obama, there is no time to lose.////
Here's an email I received recently from a person who refused to help American Combat Veterans of War because a few Democratic politicians were listed on our website as supporters, even though just as many Republicans support our mission as Democrats. For background, ACVOW is a San Diego based nonprofit that recruits combat veteran volunteers to mentor our young warriors, helping them cope with combat stress. ACVOW's response follows. It's a bit lengthy, but I hope you read it.
Yesterday, outside of a Stater Bros. store a gentleman from your organization was soliciting signatures for a ballot. This is not a problem, and your program is probably worthwhile. However, the persons endorsing your program, in my opinion, are a not good representatives to promote your cause. If Bob Filner & Susan Davis lent their support or name to any organization I would never contribute any amount of money. I would not ask any friends or relatives to contribute either because Filner and Davis, in my opinion, are disasterous for San Diego and CA. When I saw their names I knew immediately that I would not contribute. There are others that believe differently, but I do know that there are many who also believe as I do.
Yes, I remember speaking with you and frankly, I apologize for losing my demeanor. It was unprofessional for me to do so. Frustrated with the ease at which many people dismiss our young warriors with a wave of their hand, I had lost my patience when you suggested American Combat Veterans of War was not a legitimate organization simply from our support by certain public officials.
Under the surface of our great young warriors lurks an enemy for which many lack the training to fight. Having served our country on the battlefield, they are rewarded with an economy that has little room for them and trauma that continues to haunt. The combat veteran volunteers of ACVOW have been mentoring and healing our young warriors suffering from combat stress since 2001. Our presence at supermarkets is to remind our community of the sacrifices our troops continue to make for our country on and off the battlefield. If I have spoiled anyone's shopping experience by asking for a signature, be certain that I lose no sleep over it.
A new initiative organized by Howie Klein, Jane Hamsher, fellow Calitician Dante Atkins and myself to verbally and financially reward Congressmembers who pledge to vote down any healthcare bill that does not include the public option is catching fire today. The objective is to use carrots as well as sticks to achieve progressive goals. As I said in the diary kicking off this intiative at DailyKos:
Human beings are psychologically predictable creatures, much like Pavlov's famous canine. We do respond well to punishment, but we respond just as well if not better to positive reinforcement. Do nothing but beat a dog with a stick, and the dog is likelier to be aggressive than lovingly loyal. Do nothing but scream at a child, and the child will eventually fail to respond to her abusive parent. Senators and Representatives, no matter how elevated, are still just people: the rules of psychological conditioning still apply. If all we can do is scream at people who don't do what we want, eventually no one will listen to us at all.
The City of San Diego has decided against issuing a certificate of occupancy to Blackwater (pdf):
Dear Mr. Bonfiglio,
The City will not issue a certificate of occupancy for the above referenced project pursuant to Section 129.0114 of the San Diego Municipal Code (SDMC). The portions of the building identified for use as a shooting range and vocational/trade school shall not be occupied until a certificate of occupancy has been issued for this change of use or occupancy pursuant to SDMC Section 129.0113.
Which basically means that Blackwater can't open up shop until going through a full public review process as ordered by the Mayor (replacing the previously planned stop-work order). In the meantime though, San Diego's development services director Kelly Broughton continues to play dumb, telling KPBS "I don't see that I would have had any other choice but to approve it because it complied with our municipal code and the California Building Code." Of course, it doesn't comply at all, which is why Rep. Bob Filner, several members of the City Council, the City Attorney and Mayor have all now stepped in to correct the flawed process.
For his part, Blackwater spokesman Mike Neil is grasping almost laughably at straws in response:
Neil said Blackwater's own analysis shows that the company is entitled to occupy the Otay Mesa facility and a delay could jeopardize Blackwater's long-standing contract with the Navy to train sailors in anti-terrorism tactics. A delay could damage the company's business reputation and "cause harm to national security."
I'm really not impressed that Blackwater has decided that Blackwater is right. And if Blackwater is so concerned about hanging onto this contract, they might have wanted to engage in this process honestly. But at least they continue to blow off even the pretense that this would be a vocational school. Not even lip service to the notion. Finally, for all the lame bluster about the threat to national security if Blackwater loses this contract, let's not lose sight of the fact that, even if this were true (obviously it's not true and is in fact absurd), it's not a good thing. Blackwater's contention is that San Diego should break its local government because the military can't handle its own training.
Well that's exactly what Donald Rumsfeld had in mind back in 2001 when he decided it was time to save the Pentagon from itself by privatizing everything in sight. As I remember it, the ensuing years have demonstrated that Donald Rumsfeld is not right about very much, and this is one example. So even if Blackwater were right that its vital to military readiness- that would just be all the more reason to put the training back in the hands of the military. Blackwater has been nothing but trouble, and cementing any "necessity" for them would be wrong on so many levels. Good for their bottom line- which is what they care about- but not good for San Diego, the U.S. military, the country overall or the world at large. Less Blackwater is the goal.
Local leaders gathered today outside the office of Mayor Jerry Sanders to present him with more than 2,500 signatures to the letter from San Diego Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee calling for an investigation into Blackwater's permit process. There was a somewhat unexpected air of celebration to the event as it was announced yesterday that Mayor Sanders is calling for the city's Chief Executive Officer to conduct a full review of the Blackwater permit process (of course now we'll see what comes of it).
The stage was shared by Jess Durfee (who noted he knows a few things about vocational schools courtesy of a Master's degree in vocational education), Courage Campaign's Rick Jacobs, Humberto Peraza- district Chief of Staff for Rep. Filner, Francine Busby and Ray Lutz from Citizens' Oversight Projects.
All the parties involved have been instrumental in the rapid and effective response to this new Blackwater situation. Remember it's been barely two weeks since the news originally broke of this new facility, yet here everyone was gathered to mark and celebrate a significant people-powered success story.
When nobody was paying attention, Blackwater found another way into San Diego. After watching every friendly politician in Potrero get recalled handily in February, Blackwater West quietly started pursuing permits to open a facility in the City of San Diego just three blocks from the U.S/Mexico border. 61,600 square feet, zoned for a vocational school but which Blackwater plans to use for training Navy personnel in terrorism response. To echo recent comments by Councilmember Ben Hueso to local news, Blackwater has no business in the City of San Diego unless and until someone can say definitively what laws they are bound by. And certainly, setting up shop on the border raises all sorts of extra red flags.
The local response has been fast and furious this week. And thanks to leadership from Congressman Bob Filner, there will be a rally at the proposed site of the new Blackwater facility tomorrow (Friday) morning. Rep. Filner will be joined by Councilmember Ben Hueso, San Diego City Council President Scott Peters, Carol Jahnkow of the Peace Resource Center, Raymond Lutz of Citizens' Oversight Projects, and Sierra Club's Jeanette Hartman at 10:45am at 7685 Siempre Viva Road in Otay Mesa in opposition to Blackwater's latest shady dealings. Blackwater discovered once that San Diego isn't friendly territory. They're sticking around for a reason, and best guess is, it's not just for a Navy subcontract.
Among other organizations, the Courage Campaign is encouraging all local San Diegans to attend if they're able. If you want to read the email from Rick Jacobs, you can check it out here.
(video is great earlier coverage of Blackwater West from KNBC)
Despite the well deserved outrage over Blackwater's repeated atrocities in Iraq, the company is moving forwards with their plans to open up a new base in San Diego. LAT:
Anne Tyrrell, spokeswoman for the Moyock, N.C.-based company, said Blackwater was not altering its Potrero proposal in light of the controversy. Last week the company announced it had dropped negotiations to buy land in North Carolina for a training site. That decision, Tyrrell said, was not a result of the controversy.
Rep. Bob Filner (D-Chula Vista) has introduced legislation to block "mercenaries" from training on non-federally owned property. This would essentially can Blackwater West before they get a chance to break ground. Where are Senators Diane Feinstein and Barbara Boxer on Blackwater West? Silent, despite Courage Campaign delivering over 8,500 petitions to them. That is unacceptable.
Woohoo! Jerry did it! Jerry McNerney has managed to become the most un-progressive Democrat of the entire California congressional delegation. For those keeping score at home, Jerry's 82.45 was about a half point lower than the next CA Dem, Jim Costa, that progressive stalwart, at 82.97. And for all the talk of Harman changing her ways, she's still worse than even Joe Baca, almost 7 points worse from a very safe Dem seat.
For all of you CA-45 fans, "moderate" Mary Bono came in with a stellar 4.42 Chips are Down score. So, for all the bluster of the SCHIP vote, she's still dancing the same jig as the rest of her party.
On thing must be said, the Speaker has done an excellent job at preserving unity amongst the caucus. Whether that means she's being too incremental and/or ineffective, or just laying down the law is the big question. The reason her approval rating, and the Congress in general, is down has a whole lot to do with the fact that little has changed on the Iraq front. So, would it be better to have a speaker who is more willing to take risks? Perhaps, but the impediment of the president always lingers over her head, veto pen in hand. So, whether the unity is really there, is an open question. Full data over the flip.
(I was working on a similar post, but I'll still post my own, with all CA data and some other miscellany. - promoted by Brian Leubitz)
The problem with most scorecards is that they are written by lobbyists concerned with always getting the votes of potential supporters. Thus, there is an equal weighting while in the real world not all votes are equal. In fact, regardless of everything else, some votes are dealbreakers and when they show up on scorecards as one of 12 votes or something, it looks silly. However, Progressive Punch has a new "when the chips are down" scorecard. After the flip is the ratings of CA's congressional delegation, in descending order.
I'm guessing that at tonight's Calitics' Actblue Celebrations there will be a lot of discussion about the votes to condemn MoveOn. The CA delegation split 50-50 in the senate and 16 yea and 17 nay in the house -- wedged successfully by the GOP in half. After the flip is the scorecard.
(worth being frontpaged. Also, Jerry McNerney, Jane Harman, Adam Schiff, Lucille Roybal-Allard, Jim Costa, Laura Richardson, Joe Baca, Loretta Sanchez, Mike Thompson, Tom Lantos, Dennis Cardoza, Anna Eshoo, Sam Farr, Ellen Tauscher, and Grace Napolitano voted to tell the progressive movement to STFU. So replace Davis' name with any of them. - promoted by David Dayen)
In a direct slap in the face to anyone who's ever felt that free speech or the right to protest the government are, you know, Constitutional imperatives, Susan Davis voted today to condemn the Petraeus/Betray us MoveOn ad. That's what your congress is doing. Not ending a war. Not passing a law that will make people healthier, wealthier, wiser, or safer. Spitting on free speech. Thank you to Bob Filner and the 79 Democrats who stood with him for getting this vote right, and no thanks to the 195 Republicans and the 145 other Democrats in the House who joined Susan Davis in telling the nation to sit down, shut up, and leave governance to the grownups without passionate public input. If you think MoveOn was disrespectful to the troops by running an ad in the New York Times Ms. Davis, where exactly does paying for the troops to get shot at rank?
It's time to get angry. Congress is telling people what they're supposed to say and not say. I don't remember learning about that congressional duty in government class.
Rep. Bob Filner (D-CA) was involved in an altercation last night at Dulles Airport. He was allegedly angered by the amount of time it was taking to get his luggage and tried to push his way through the United Airlines baggage claim office.
The individual allegedly attempted to enter an area authorized for airline employees only, pushed aside the employee's outstretched arm and refused to leave the area when asked by an airline employee. When MWAA officers arrived a few minutes later, the man had left the office and was waiting in the area of a bag carousel. ... The airline employee appeared before a Loudoun County Magistrate later that evening and a summons was obtained charging Robert Filner (DOB 09/04/1942) with assault and battery, a class 1 misdemeanor.
One of the things that Republicans learned to do really well in the early 90s was branding. In the modern era of marketing, the impact is really hard to overemphasize. People are increasingly relying on branding information where they were once using real data. That stinks, but it's the way the marketing game is played these days. So, we either play it or get steamrolled by it. I bring this up to point out our own failings within the state to build the "Democratic" Brand. So, I poked around a few Congressional (electoral websites) for some good practices and some bad practices.
In another primary battle involving a seven-term incumbent, Bob Filner is facing a challenge from two Latino Congressional hopefuls. Juan Vargas currently represents the 79th AD and is termed out this year. Thus, this is another term limits inspired fight. Danny Ramirez is a perennial candidate in this race, and shouldn't be much of a factor this year with a serious Latino candidate in the race.
Filner has been one of the more liberal voices in Congress. On immigration he received an "F-" from the Americans for Better Immigration (that's a good thing). He received an "A" From the NAACP, 95% by the League of Conservation Voters, 100% by NARAL, and a 100 from the HRC.
Hispanics, many of them recent arrivals to California, make up just more than half of the 51st District’s population. So while many Americans favor building a tall wall to slow the influx of illegal immigrants, not many of them live in the California district that would be most affected.
The demographics of the 51st District are, however, at the very heart of the primary challenge to Filner. Primary voters are being asked — and not for the first time — whether Filner’s good relations with his Hispanic constituency and strongly liberal voting record justifies his re-election, or if the fact that Filner is a non-Hispanic white makes him an impediment to Latino empowerment. (CQ Politics 6/1/06)
Vargas has run against Filner for this seat before. In 1992, when Filner first won, Vargas was a San Diego City Councilman, but lost his Congressional bid. So now Vargas is attempting to see if the gains in Hispanic voters in the district will be sufficient to win the seat. Filner is managing to get most of the endorsements from Latino organizations, and the split in any identity voters caused by Ramirez’s presence on the ballot should propel Filner to a comfortable victory. However, Vargas has run a decent campaign and he has a history in the district.