Friday, May 30, 2014

Propositions B & C in San Diego - Slow Death for Shipbuilding

With the June 3, primary election approaches, I want to touch on Propositions B and C which are not getting enough attention.  These propositions deserve a No vote, because they would codify the City Council's approval of a plan that would limit commercial zoning in Barrio Logan; and in my opinion start the slow strangulation of the shipbuilding and ship repair industry in San Diego.  Naturally, I am opposed.  The key issue is that the plan calls for a buffer between the current industrial area and the housing surrounding it.  However, this buffer will effectively drive out some of the businesses that are currently part of the shipbuilding ecosystem of the area.  From the U-T:
Shipyard leaders have expressed concern that the new plan could drive up suppliers’ costs, make San Diego less competitive and possibly prompt the Navy to contract ship building elsewhere.
Even the left-leaning VOSD acknowledges how the plan impacts shipbuilding related industry:
The major disagreement is over that dark purple band north of Harbor Drive. The plan makes it a place for commercial properties only — not industrial businesses or homes — so there would be a “buffer” between heavy industrial activity and residences. 
Right now, that’s home to companies that support the shipyards. Those companies could stay, but they’d have limited expansion options, and new companies trying to open there would need a special permit, which the community would have a say on.
Since businesses always come and go, the plan amounts to a long term path to squeeze industrial businesses out of the area north of Harbor Drive.  The linked article has some decent maps showing the impact.

The other argument on the No side is that it would put new homes near the I-5 causing health concerns for those residents.  I am not as concerned about this issue, as people can choose to live near freeways if they want.  My real concern is for jobs in this city.

Is my headline a bit of hyperbole? Sure, but so is the argument that this won't impact a job producing industry in the long run.  I am voting no on Propositions B & C.  There are quite a few retired admiral's who care about the Navy's presence in San Diego who agree with me.

Photo courtesy of No on B & C website.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Reflection - Socialized Medicine for Veterans

As we reflect on the service of Americans who gave their lives in war this Memorial Day, I also reflect on the care given those who sacrificed a great deal and must now depend upon the Veterans Administration to treat their service related injuries.  You can read for yourself about the scandal of longer and longer wait times; and the lying about those facts.  Boiled down to its essentials, the scandal is about rationing care through wait times and lying about rationing care and those same wait times.  Bernie Sanders, self avowed socialist and chair of the Senate VA committee, essentially admitted to the first part by saying that there weren't enough resources to provide care.  News flash - When the Government provides goods and services we always seem to run out.

This goes to the heart of the larger issue.  Democrats have always claimed they were the party you should elect to run government competently.  But the government has grown so vast and complex, it is impossible to do so.  Obama's surprise at finding each new scandal in his administration is almost understandable, given the federal government's vast size. But the solution must come from getting government smaller, and definitely shedding its role as direct provider of services.

With regards to veterans, we clearly need to provide them with insurance alternatives to allow them to make use of private sector medicine.  They deserve to be freed of the incompetent monopoly provisioning of health care by the federal government. John McCain has said that he will make such a proposal.  Count on the left to oppose this move.  They have touted the VA as a model for single payer in the past.  To allow out-sourcing would undermine their arguments for socialized medicine, as Krugman calls the VA system in the linked article. gives a great synopsis what passes for "success" in the VA's socialized medical system.
How could a bloated government bureaucracy achieve such low-cost success? As we found out recently, it's by quietly sticking veterans on a waiting list and putting off their treatment for months—sometimes until the patients are far too dead to need much in the way of expensive care. Which is to say, calling it a "success" is stretching the meaning of the word beyond recognition.
On this Memorial Day, although a time for reflection about those who have died; we should support the living veterans as well, by prising their health care from the monopoly of the federal government.

What You Should Be Reading
  • KTCat equates moral relativism Houston Astro fandom.  Read it, it makes sense.
  • Left Coast Rebel has great hashtag for Obama on the VA scandal.
  • For Memorial Day, I am embedding one of the greatest speeches for the occasion ever given, by Ronald Reagan, of course. (The text of a different but great speech here.)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Weekend Music Chill

Since I haven't been blogging regularly, I have also not been posting weekend music.  This is a mistake.  One of my favorite bands from the 1970s was ELO; here is some of their lesser known work that I have always admired.  For some reason, I can't get an ELO channel to produce consistent results for a Pandora channel.


Here is the 10538 Overture, which seemed an appropriate ending tune for American Hustle, a film that I really liked.  Jennifer Lawrence pleasantly surprised in a supporting role.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Unions Fund Libertarian

. . . Campaign Flyer.  Who'd a thunk it?  This flyer showed up at my house.

Unions are getting involved in the San Diego City Council District 2 race and spending money to help the Libertarian candidate, Mark Schwartz. Let's be clear, Schwartz has no chance of being elected.

If you read the fine print at the bottom, you will see that the San Diego - Imperial Counties Labor Council sponsored this flyer, along with the city Municipal Employees Association.  When I saw this show up, I was immediately suspicious.  I was a libertarian for a long time, and slick campaign flyers were almost always outside of the budget wherewithal of our candidates.

Why would the unions fund Schwartz?  It is pretty obvious, in my opinion.  They are hoping to drain enough votes from Zapf to prevent her from winning the primary outright against Progressive darling Sarah Boot.  The unions want minimum wage increases, banning of managed competition and an end to pension reform, which puts them in opposition to Zapf.  Do they really want Schwartz elected?  Here is a little of what he says on his campaign website: "I will"
- Support free market economy and free enterprise locally by working to reduce tax burden and permitting costs to San Diego businesses.
- Champion cutting tax waste with privatization of city services (managed competition,) opening small businesses bid opportunities to fill city needs.
- Vote NO on any proposed ordinance that increases tax burden on citizens. I will speak out against any new propositions or bonds to be levied on the citizens that infringe on property rights and freedom.
No way do unions support these positions.  In fact, they are exactly the positions already taken by Zapf, only she has actually taken action.  For example, she personally collected signatures to rescind the linkage fee.  I just wanted to point out to readers that voting for Schwartz is essentially a vote for Sarah Boot and an endorsement of the union platform for city government.

What You Should Be Reading

  • The WSJ has been documenting vast prosecutorial over reach in the suppression of the first amendment rights of groups to advocate for issues.  Their editorial pages documents the latest smack down of Democratic prosecutors in the Badger state. 
  • Dalrock has an expert takedown of Ms. Obama's pouty faced hashtag photo.  You know the one.
  • The mindless leftist idiocy, but I repeat myself, of commencement speaker protests is reviewed by Daniel Henninger in Bonfire of the Humanities.  Liberal Arts as a major is imploding, because no one wants to hire people whose sole education has been to repeat stupid (and untrue) slogans.  Even the mere presence of camels is considered racist on today's college campus.
  • KTCat goes to New Jersey and discovers heteronorming patriarchal oppression among the Osprey population. (The birds, not the aircraft.)

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Update From Bob Brewer Campaign on Handgun Issue

I asked the Bob Brewer for DA campaign what the candidate's position was with regards to Drake v Jerejian, which revolves around requirement by the state of New Jersey that permitted handgun owner show "justifiable need" to be issued a permit to carry in public.  I did so because one of my beefs with Bonnie Dumanis during her tenure as DA was signing an amicus brief asking the courts to deny an individual right to bear arms in Heller v District of Columbia.  Drake v Jerejian was being considered by the Supreme Court at the time I asked the question, but has the petition to hear the case was subsequently denied.  Regardless, here is Bob Brewer's campaign manager's (Alex Roth) response to my query:
After Heller and McDonald, we were not surprised to see the Supreme Court taking up Drake v. Jerejian.  We don’t believe that the District Attorney should be filing amicus briefs on the issue – like Bonnie Dumanis did in Heller when she filed an amicus brief supporting DC’s (thereafter overturned) ban on keeping firearms in the home for self-defense.  We can’t be certain of the ruling or scope of the Court’s review in Drake, and Peruta allowed individuals to have a CCW without “good cause.” Therefore, this is the current state of the law.  As District Attorney, Bob Brewer is committed to enforcing the law.
That is probably as good as I was going to get from an attorney running for public office.  I appreciate that he wouldn't file amicus briefs against 2nd amendment challenges.  Certainly the reference to Peruta v County of San Diego is good; still, I was hoping for a more robust defense of the 2nd amendment in the response; but certainly better than Dumanis.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Sarah Boot - Progressive?

Oh yeah, and by progressive, that means a person of the left as opposed to a mere SWPL-y person of pallor.

Sarah Boot is running against quasi-incumbent Lorie Zapf for San Diego City Council in District 2.  For full disclosure, recent redistricting moved my home from District 6 to District 2, like Zapf. I am very interested in this race. San Diego City Beat has this to say about Boot:
In 2010, she was selected as a fellow for the San Diego chapter of the New Leaders Council, which aims to train “progressive political entrepreneurs” for leadership roles, elected office among them. She’s also a founding member of Run Women Run, a local organization focused on getting politically progressive women in office. [emphasis mine.]
On her campaign web site, Boot promises to work for neighborhoods and public safety.  Both Mayor Faulconer, the former Council-member from the district, and Council-member Zapf made this a priority in their campaigns as well.  You have to go to her issues page to find the evidence of left-leaning tendencies.  Even what you find there is pretty mild.
I will work to provide all San Diegans with good paying jobs in industries of the future not dead end jobs of the past.  These are jobs in “green” industries such as alternative energy like solar and wind and retrofitting our public buildings and “blue” industries that take advantage of our port and ocean front maritime trades.  Whether its promoting “green” or “blue” technologies or championing our local biotech businesses, San Diego needs a city government that is forward thinking and uses our economic development dollars wisely.
But there is not a word about the key issues which have divided the city council of late, the minimum wage debate, the zoning in Bario Logan, pension reform, the hotel tax, linkage fees nor managed competition.  So a little research is in order.  By the way, green jobs are a myth.  I notice that the left has always had a tendency to hide their positions, but I digress.

On the issue of the linkage fee, dumbest tax ever, Boot made her support known in the OB town council debate.  Her stance on the linkage fee is disqualifying, in my opinion.  I can't find reference to Boot's stance on managed competition, although Zapf vigorously supported the concept in the PB and Clairemont forums.  On the issue of the minimum wage, Boot makes her progressive bona fides clear by supporting some sort of increase in an interview with Frank Gormlie in the OBRag. She also discusses the importance of climate disruption change (maybe she hadn't gotten the memo) and other progressive shibboleths.  In the same interview she exhibits hostility towards outsourcing, although not the same as managed competition, might certainly be an indicator.

If Sarah Boot is elected to the city council, we can expect major intrusions by city government and a very union friendly 6-3 Democrat majority on the council.  It means no to any more pension reform, managed competition or any other efforts to keep city costs under control.  Further, plastic bag bans, changes to how we get our electricity, raising minimum wages so my son can lose his job and general interference in our lives will be on its way.  I think Lorie Zapf has been great on the City Council, but even if she had been mediocre, I would still be endorsing her over Sarah Boot.

What You Should Be Reading

  • Giving us hope for this generations of collegiate students, UNC Sophomore Timothy Bame writes about the myth of clean energy.  45% of the electricity generated in the United States is through the use of coal. It is also by far the cheapest form of electricity and the easiest to obtain, yet it remains in plentiful supply. (H/T College Insurrection).  I would add that the shift to natural gas has reduced carbon emissions by more than any "green" technology ever will.
  • Meanwhile, despite repeated claims that we need all that solar and wind because of peak oil, America is on a path to achieve its highest rates of petroleum production, evah!  
  • State Rep Joseph Gibbons of FL points out that California's net-metering policies are subsidizing solar power providers because they avoid paying for the electrical that they depend upon.  As someone who has recently received some quotes for solar, I worry that a change to a rationale policy for connecting to the grid will change my savings calculations.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

San Diego District Attorney's Race - Can Brewer Close the Deal?

Bonnie Dumanis ran unopposed in her last run for District Attorney; this year she faces opponents Bob Brewer and Terri Wyatt. I am unhappy with Dumanis, but not ready to endorse an opponent.  First my airing of grievances against Dumanis.
  • Prior to running for mayor, Dumanis had the opportunity to make her voice heard on Proposition D, the half-cent sales tax increase; she demurred.  Carl DeMaio's strong support stood in stark contrast and was a key element in my support for his mayoral bid.
  • She joined an amicus brief against arguing against gun rights in DC v Heller. The argument presented was that we need to violate the 2nd amendment because it would harm our ability to prosecute gun related crime.  I have zero sympathy for that position.  Law enforcement that does not take seriously upholding citizen's rights while enforcing the law sets precedents for tyranny.
  • Her prosecutions in the area of medical marijuana have not helped San Diego normalize this situation.  Further, her office claimed that a number of arrests were to protect military families when in fact they were medical marijuana patients.  Further, she appears vindictive in her attitude towards the "crime" of medical marijuana use.  I have been made aware by family members and by a doctor of how medical marijuana can be helpful to people suffering.
In short, Dumanis appears to act with disdain towards the subjects citizens who elected her.  In fact, she has held office for too long; it's not healthy.  In general, I believe in term limits.

Of Dumanis' challengers, I am less sympathetic to the candidacy of Terri Wyatt.  Her case is that she is a career prosecutor and not a politician.  So what?  The office is political.  It should respond to the people.  Part of the problem with Dumanis is her lengthy stay in office.  Why would I expect a career prosecutor to be any more sympathetic to my concerns over individual rights than Dumanis?

But I am also not overwhelmed by what I see with Bob Brewer. His first TV ad touts law enforcement endorsements; I find the endorsements of public employee unions to be a negative.  Bob Brewer is claiming that Dumanis' run for mayor in 2012 showed that she can no longer run the DA's office. I don't think that matters, unless he can show that this led to unethical behavior as DA.  His pledge not to make endorsements as DA is more salient.  The DA can easily be required to investigate the city attorney or mayor, and not having to recuse herself, as Dumanis had to with the Filner issues, would be a big plus.  Brewer accuses Dumanis of cronyism in her operation of the District Attorney's office.  This is hard to prove, although the U-T wasn't sympathetic early in her tenure. This issue with a researcher who endorsed a Dumanis opponent also looks fishy.

I am actually more sympathetic to Brewer's life experience as a Vietnam War veteran, prosecutor and then defense attorney.  His varied career, and the personal hardship he has overcome make me more confident in his judgement.

I am still doing more research before I endorse.