The Morning Report
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This week, we’re highlighting some of the discussion from the last two weeks. Readers debated red-light cameras, the region’s water supply and election-related issues.
Check out the 10 comments below:
If people like government so much, why did they vote against Prop D, for Prop B, and for managed competition? I think that it is more complex than what some are implying. I think that Carl is correct when he says that the brand is a non-starter in some communities. Republicans need to figure out why more and more people are switching their registration to decline to state. I’m not convinced that all of those people are moderate. It’s hard to understand what moderate means. Every voter seems to have a few issues that they care about the most. It is always a challenge to figure out how to focus on the issues that the most voters will care about in any given election. The campaigns for the aforementioned propositions were pretty aggressive and limited government won the day for those. To suggest that voters don’t want limited government is just blatantly incorrect.
While it makes common sense to extend the yellow cycle or have the lights red in both directions a little longer, it seems to me that the experience cited in Virginia would indicate that the drivers who are risk-takers are just going to learn the parameters and push the limits when they know that no one is “watching.” I think extending the light cycles should be undertaken to reduce the potential consequences caused by the distracted driver, but maintain the camera enforcement for risk-takers and those that have line-jumping behaviors.
Considering the real possibility Sanders gave an overly rosy picture of the financial situation the city is in, neither Filner nor the Council should start throwing money around. Safety workers, who already have better deals than most other city workers, might have to have a reality check about available funds. The city has repeatedly spent fortunes on computer systems that have not been worth the money dumped into them; they should be able to do an assessment of the situation better than they seem to be able to do … they did, after all, just give some of the managers in charge bonuses so it might be nice if they earned it. If the city leaders didn’t direct city staff to play a shell game with the public, they might actually be able to do some realistic projections, instead of the fairy dust estimates the exiting mayor has been giving us.
I agree with Mr. Dotinga’s overall historic view of San Diego’s politics and the relationship of most of the local media. It was to a great sense like some kind of agreement not to disagree. Local business interests were rule number one. Very little else mattered. Most of the population was apathetic. People came here because of the beautiful weather and geographic surroundings or the Navy and defense contractors and business opportunities. There was very little tension politically and those in power enjoyed that. Obviously that created the atmosphere for the likes of people like Duke Cunningham and many others. But as we know from the most recent election the city and county are changing. Those who held power for so long are realizing they will have to fight. However I disagree with Mr. Dotinga’s use of the word “Brawlers.” Yes we are starting to see more challenging political contest were those who have long been apathetic are starting to speak out. This is democracy; not street brawling. Hopefully San Diego’s history of apathy toward politics is changing. That should be a good thing.
Scott, I’d be interested in seeing CWA’s special report if you have it. My concern is less about this being a boondoggle in the generic sense that we’ve come to expect here in San Diego but along the lines of the more specific example of Santa Barbara, which spent $34 million on a desal plant that was never turned on because demand decreased as a result of the increased cost of water resulting from the plant. I’m not an economist and I think it would be useful to hear from someone who can speak directly to the price elasticity of water. At any rate, if CWA is committed to buying the water and demand decreases because of the increased cost the unit cost of the water produced by Poseidon must increase as well. As an alternative, I’d like to see an analysis of moving toward full potable reuse, which also has the benefit of reducing future liabilities for the sewer system.
The proposition was called the Schools and SAFETY Act — we all knew schools would be splitting the money with general fund obligations. There is no bait and switch (if you read the initiative). We prevented a $5 billion cut to schools this year as Prop 30 money was already included in this year’s budget — I’m not saying I agree with Brown holding our kids hostage to get a tax passed — but so far the proposition is doing exactly what we all knew it would do — keep funding the same for this year.
As for hotelier Bill Evans and his “dead on arrival” quip: One of the reasons Mr. Filner was elected was to push back against the sense of entitlement of individuals such as Mr. Evans. If tax expenditures are to be controlled by private interests (“Monday’s vote means the hotel industry now gets to decide how the money’s allocated and the city can’t change the spending rules without its approval”), our system of government will be upended. The concept of promoting tourism seems logical, but the primary beneficiaries are the businesses that serve tourists and they tend to pay very low wages to their workers, so job creation is not a great offset. Meanwhile, city services must expand to deal with increased tourism. Mr. Filner’s basic concept seems quite logical: By all means, increase tourism, but ensure that the increased cost of city services are offset.
• Stacey Fulhorst, executive director of the city’s Ethics Commission, on “The Newly Elected Scramble to Protect Their Wallets “:
The city’s campaign laws have always (since inception in 1973) required candidates to pay vendors within a specified period of time (ranging from 30 days to the current 180 days). Before the 180 day post-election fundraising time limit was adopted in 2004, it was fairly common for officeholders to loan their campaigns personal funds to pay their vendor debts on time. There was no time period on the loan repayment, so the officeholders could accept contributions indefinitely, usually from individuals with business pending before the city, to repay their personal loans. In fact, some officeholders charged interest on these loans. This practice was the impetus for the Ethics Commission’s recommendation that the city adopt time limits for post-election fundraising.
Here’s an idea. If local philanthropists like Irwin Jacobs really want to help Balboa Park, step up and offer to pay for some of the maintenance the city has deferred for decades, instead of insisting on wholesale changes to the park before you’ll cough up any dough. Fixing all that deferred maintenance should take priority over a new bridge through the heart of the park, or the upcoming 2015 celebration. What’s the use of an international celebration if people are going to come here and see how rundown the city politicians have allowed the park to become? Fix the park first, then invite people to come celebrate.
At the risk of arguing over nothing, the 21 percent figure is meaningless. More people voted for DeMaio than are registered as Republicans? Well, sure. A third of San Diegans are DTS or other. By the measure above, “overperforming” the R registration only means that some DTS/other registrants voted for DeMaio.
That said, DeMaio may have overperformed his party to some degree. If we assume that DTS/other choose to be unaffiliated but reflect the same split in the city as D/R registrants, then DeMaio should have received 40.3 percent. He received 47.5 percent by current count. Pretty good.
That said, there’s good evidence that the past few years have seen a big a shift of conservatives away from GOP registration. If that’s true locally, then DeMaio should “win” DTS/other. That looks like overperforming, but not in a meaningful sense. Here’s TPM on this dynamic at the national level.
We could also compare DeMaio’s share of the vote with Romney’s at the city level when those figures are available. That might be a reasonable baseline from which to measure DeMaio’s overperformance, though with the caveat that Democrats have historically had more down ballot drop-off than Republicans.
Comments were lightly edited to fix typos and spelling.
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Dagny Salas is the web editor at Voice of San Diego. You can contact her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.550.5669.
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