Sunday, September 18, 2011

Local Roundup

I thought the grocery unions might be on strike at the time of this writing, and they still might by the time you read this. However, a 7:10 p.m. deadline came and went today without a strike. This is great news, and perhaps a strike can be averted. Despite my antipathy for the union position and belief that they will do immense harm to themselves by striking, a strike will be bad for the region given all of our other economic stress. From today's U-T:
"Our workers will stay on the job until at least midnight, and possibly longer if negotiations are moving ahead," Mike Shimpock, spokesman for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 770, told The Associated Press.
This sounds like we might catch a break with some good news.

Carl DeMaio has come up with the single most brilliant fund raising idea I have ever seen for San Diego. He is hosting a fundraiser at Phil's BBQ, with the tagline (from his Facebook page):
Skip the line at Phil's BBQ -- and support our campaign for Mayor! Hope to see you Tuesday!
I have to give DeMaio kudos for making good use of Facebook and Twitter in his campaign. I follow him on both forms of social media. He has been effective. Also, skipping the line at Phil's is pretty close to going to heaven. I love Phil's but seldom like to brave the line, often opting for take out instead.

Carl DeMaio's other big effort, besides running for mayor, is getting the pension reform measure on the ballot. The unions have tried to undermine the effort with radio ads falsely implying that a petition signer might be the victim of identity theft. The U-T Watchdog (one of my favorite local sources) checked out the ad campaigns.
The Watchdog set out to determine who was behind the ad.

The domain for the group’s website is registered to the same address and phone number as the State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, a labor union coalition. The council’s president, Bob Balgenorth, said the identity theft group is separate but he financially supports the effort, helped to organize it, and believes the concern is real.

. . .

Beth Givens, director of San Diego-based consumer advocacy organization Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, said, “The ad is a clear case of dirty tricks. Signing your name and address to a ballot petition does not put you at risk for identity theft. They are using fear mongering to attempt to suppress people who do sign ballot petitions.”.

Meanwhile, the fact that DeMaio continually pitches the effort leads me to believe that the effort may be in trouble. Right on cue, I found the following U-T article headline:

Pension petition drive faces challenges

The article discusses the difficulties facing the drive.
It’s widely viewed as a slam dunk for passage should it appear on the June 2012 ballot, but that may not happen because of the high degree of difficulty in collecting the required 94,000-plus signatures from registered city voters in the six-month window provided under election law. Adding to that burden is the strong opposition from local labor unions that are admittedly putting up as many roadblocks as possible to thwart the effort.

I agree with the assessment that the proposition will pass if it gets on the ballot. If you want to contribute money, you can visit the pension reform web site.

Meanwhile, DeMaio and Dumanis, the two leading Republican candidates, skipped the mayoral debate Saturday at Liberty Station. As expected, Filner came out against pension reform, with Fletcher supporting. I hope DeMaio doesn't skip such events indefinitely, because the public needs to see the candidates airing out the issues. I found it interesting that medical marijuana has surfaced as somewhat of a hot topic, because it is not high on my list of priorities, although I support decriminalization in general. Good to hear that there was no appetite for taxpayer funding of a new stadium.

That's all for the weekend political news. One last recommendation, if you go to Phil's for take out, get their early and have a beer at their bar, they have a pretty decent lineup, including some good local selections.

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