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What's Wrong with San Diego's City Finances? (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality heard a presentation July 26 from "Paradise Plundered" author Vladimir Kogan. The book, co-written with professors Steven P. Erie and Scott A. MacKenzie, argues that San Diegans have long wanted their city government to do far more in services than they're willing to pay for in taxes -- and recently they and the politicians seeking to lead the city, most notably Right-wing Queer Mayoral front-runner Carl DeMaio, have been scapegoating city workers and their unions for the city's pension crisis and other financial shortfalls.

San Diego Queer Groups Fight Proposition B (tags)

Queer organizations in San Diego, including Canvass for a Cause (CFAC) and the San Diego Alliance for Marriage Equality (S.A.M.E.), are uniting against Proposition B, a "reform" initiative sponsored by openly Gay Right-wing Republican City Councilmember and Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio that would destroy any hope of retirement security for city workers.

Zenger's Newsmagazine Election Endorsements (tags)

Full endorsements for San Diego voters in the June 5 primary election. As in 2010, in virtually every race Zenger's is recommending every Democrat over every Republican, not because the Democrats (with a few exceptions) are that progressive but because the Republicans are so reactionary they want to abolish the social safety net, virtually eliminate civil rights, workers', consumers' and environmental protections, and transform the U.S.as radically as the Nazis transformed Germany in 1933.

Queer Democrats Unanimously Oppose Pension "Reform" (tags)

The hottest issue on the June 5 ballot in San Diego is Proposition B, the public pension "reform" initiative sponsored by openly Queer Right-wing City Councilmember and Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio. It would freeze all city workers' pay for five years and abolish the city's pension system for new hires, replacing it with a 401(k)-style plan. The product of a decade-long propaganda campaign by the radical Right politicians and media, it's expected to pass easily — but the predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality, after hearing a debate on it, unanimously voted to oppose it at their April 26 meeting.

San Diego Mayoral Candidates Address Queer Community (tags)

When this year's major candidates for Mayor of San Diego — City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher and Congressmember Bob Filner — addressed the Queer community March 28, the irony that gripped the room was that the two openly Queer candidates, DeMaio and Dumanis, were running to the right of the non-Queer Fletcher and Filner. DeMaio, who in other contexts has said he wants to be "the Scott Walker of San Diego," dominated the event with his anti-labor pension "reform" proposal and his refusal to acknowledge the leadership of San Diego's Queer community even though he is Queer himself.

Will Rodriguez-Kennedy: Queer Republican Leader Becomes Democrat (tags)

In a dramatic scene at the February 23 meeting of San Diego Democrats for Equality, former San Diego County Log Cabin Republican Club president Will Rodriguez-Kennedy re-enacted his decision to switch parties and become a Democrat. His reason: he's not only tired of Republican Queer-bashing, he's put off by the hypocrisy of openly Queer San Diego Mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, who has pandered to anti-Queer prejudices to get endorsements from the San Diego County Republican Central Committee and has taken money from donors to the anti-Queer Proposition 8.

Queer Democrats Endorse Occupy San Diego (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democrats for Equality (formerly the San Diego Democratic Club) held their first regular meeting since the name change October 27 and overwhelmingly endorsed Occupy San Diego. The strongly worded resolution, based on one passed by the San Diego County Democratic Party, not only supported Occupy's right to protest and camp out in the Civic Center Plaza downtown but also ringingly endorsed the group's challenge to corporate power. The club also endorsed progressive Congressmember Bob Filner for Mayor of San Diego in the 2012 election.

“Paradise Plundered” Takes Aim at San Diego’s Political Culture (tags)

Once upon a time, San Diego had a reputation for being an efficiently governed city whose taxes were low -- and so was its level of services, especially to working-class and lower-income people. Today the level of services is even lower and the city is so wretchedly governed the New York Times called it "Enron by the Sea." What happened is explained in the new book "Paradise Plundered," whose co-author, Vladimir Kogan, came to the Hillcrest Town Council October 11 and talked about the city's infamous pension crisis.

Labor Representatives Under Attack, Seek Queer Democrats’ Help (tags)

Three San Diego union leaders — Central Labor Council CEO/secretary-treasurer Lorena Gonzalez, Municipal Employees’ Association general manager Michael Zucchet, and SEIU Local 221 head Eric Banks — spoke to the predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club April 28 on the state of the local labor movement. They focused on the attacks on public workers by the Republican party and the radical Right, which is aimed not only at driving public-sector wages and benefits below those offered by the private sector but also denying the one source of substantial campaign funding available to Democrats and thereby winning elections by eliminating effective competition. They also talked about the Right-wing bias of San Diego’s media and their success in demonizing public workers’ pensions as the source of San Diego’s financial ills.

San Diego Hammers Down on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, Despite Public Support (tags)

Despite overwhelming public input asking for a looser ordinance that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to locate in commercial areas throughout San Diego and remain open while they pursued permits, the San Diego City Council voted 5-2 on Monday, March 26 for an ordinance that will close down all dispensaries for at least a year and force them to locate only in industrial zones — inconveniently far from the patients they serve. Even most of the Councilmembers who voted for the ordinance, which was tweaked at the last minute to make it slightly less restrictive, made it clear that they regard medical marijuana patients and the institutions that serve them as a detriment, not an asset, to the city.

Over 1,000 Turn Out in San Diego to Support Wisconsin Workers (tags)

Over 1,000 people turned out for a rally outside the San Diego County Administrative Center February 26 at noon to support Wisconsin's unionized public workers against the threat by Governor Scott Walker and the Republican majority in the state legislature to pass a bill essentially eliminating the right of the state's public employees to unionize and bargain collectively. A wide range of speakers, including union activists, community leaders and elected officials, said that if Walker's bill and similar ones in other states pass, it will essentially mark the end of the American middle class. The rally was part of a nationwide mobilization, and many of those who braved the cold and the rain to attend mentioned that the protesters in Wisconsin itself are sleeping out in the cold and snow in weather far worse than that in San Diego.

Right-Wing Queer Councilmember DeMaio Dominates San Diego Economic Debate (tags)

Openly Queer Right-wing San Diego City Councilmember Carl DeMaio dominated a forum on the city’s budget woes sponsored by the Hillcrest Town Council February 5. Three other panelists spoke ¬— former San Diego City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who stunned his supporters in the progressive community by joining DeMaio in campaigning against a proposed city sales tax increase last fall; former City Councilmember Michael Zucchet, a lobbyist for the city workers’ main union; and economics professor Alan Gin — but DeMaio and his proposed “Roadmap for Recovery,” a plan to balance the city’s budget by privatizing city jobs, slashing pensions and reducing supposedly “nonessential” city services, was the basis for the discussion and provided the context to which the other three panelists responded.

A Different Kind of Tea: Some Tea Partiers May Support Pot Legalization (tags)

Proposition 19, which would legalize and tax marijuana in California, may have some unexpected supporters in the conservative tea party movement, reports Leo E. Laurence, associate editor of Zenger’s magazine and a former deputy sheriff who's campaigning for the measure as a member of the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (L.E.A.P.).

Two Openly Gay Councilmembers Debate Sales-Tax Increase (tags)

Rival City Councilmembers Todd Gloria and Carl DeMaio — the first two openly Gay men elected to the San Diego City Council — spoke at the Hillcrest Town Council September 14 and debated Proposition D on the November 2 ballot. This would allow the city to raise its sales tax one-half cent for five years to plug the $72 billion hole in its current budget — but only after the city implements 10 “reforms” reducing its pension obligations to workers and making it easier to privatize city jobs. But even in Gloria’s relatively liberal district, the polite but hostile response from the audience made it clear the measure will be a tough sell to city voters.

San Diego’s Queer Democrats Discuss Election Aftermath (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club heard from three local experts — San Diego County Democratic Party chair Jess Durfee, San Diego CityBeat editor David Rolland and political consultant Jennifer Tierney — on the aftermath of the June 8 primary election at their regular meeting June 24. The discussion centered mainly on how Democratic candidates like state gubernatorial nominee Jerry Brown and local City Council candidate Howard Wayne can overcome the vast advantage of Republican money — and, in Brown's case, the multi-billion dollar personal fortune of his opponent, Meg Whitman. The club also took a position against SB 1070, the controversial anti-immigrant law recently passed by the Arizona state legislature.

Stephen Whitburn: Progressive San Diego City Council Candidate (tags)

Zenger’s-endorsed District 3 City Council candidate STEPHEN WHITBURN is the real deal: an experienced journalist and progressive who’s seen more of the world than San Diego and knows from government in other cities what works and what doesn’t. Don’t be fooled by an opponent who offers nothing but charm, geography and experience at taking orders.

Queer Democrats Hold Love-Fest for School Board Candidates (tags)

The predominantly Queer San Diego Democratic Club overwhelmingly endorsed three candidates in local school board races in a love-fest meeting February 28 that contrasted dramatically with their previous one on January, a knock-down, drag-out debate between incumbent city attorney Mike Aguirre and two of his challengers (one of whom has since left the race). They also rated openly Gay Republican Carl DeMaio "unacceptable" as a candidate for the San Diego City Council.

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