If you’re planning to bribe the president of the United States, here’s a handy pro-top: Don’t write “Please Destroy This” on a memo. And if you do, make sure the memo is actually, you know, destroyed.
Lesson learned, too late, by a colorful lobbyist whose attempt to influence President Richard Nixon unleashed a scandal and scuttled San Diego’s hosting of the 1972 GOP National Convention. Never mind that we were Nixon’s “Lucky City.”
In a week highlighted by convention(s) full of cartoon characters, it’s a good time for a San Diego history lesson that features an bona fide assassination plot, gay-baiting and presidential paranoia. Plus a mayor who had this to say about a political convention in town: “We need this like a hole in the head.”
As I write in our flashback — make sure to catch the cameo appearances by Pete Wilson, Jack Anderson and Brit Hume — this wild and woolly tale would disgrace San Diego and leave us with a legacy: our eternal “America’s Finest City” motto.
Politics Roundup: Voters Won’t Ponder Firehouses
• No plastic bags (well, hardly any) for you, San Diegans. (NBC 7)
• With Republicans balking at raising taxes, Democrats on the City Council couldn’t get enough support to ask voters to boost their property taxes to support construction of 18 fire stations, the U-T reports. The proposed bond measure is dead, but City Councilwoman Lori Zapf wants to use existing money to build five of them.
• Remember the recent kerfuffle when a judge slammed the city for wanting an employee sexually harassed by Mayor Bob Filner to cough up money to pay for the city’s costs? The case had ended in a bit of a draw, but the city didn’t want to have to pay for its expenses.
The City Council decided unanimously not to appeal the ruling that the city couldn’t go after the money. (U-T)
By the way, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith appeared in our comments last week, defending the choice to pursue money from the employee: “Some just don’t seem to get the idea that the city gets a defense and the lawyers are obligated to advocate that defense regardless of political correctness or our personal views.”
He also called the judge’s comments “out of line” and responded to a reader: “I should not pay the costs. I’m the lawyer for the city and we won the case. Our office did not create the Filner mess. In fact, I had to deal with Filner for a long time. But, when the mess is there, we must clean it up. We settled the claims that should have been settled and went to trial on the claim we felt was legally meritless. We were right.”
• Local Democrats are supporting City Council candidate Georgette Gómez to replace Councilwoman Marti Emerald. Gomez beat out the other remaining candidate, Democrat Ricardo Flores, for the nod.
• The L.A. Times digs into why labor unions don’t like the governor’s plan to boost home building, and make homes more affordable, by limiting local zoning rules. Unions are miffed because they want builders to be forced to pay higher wages; the gov’s office says that will make building too expensive for developers.
Hundreds of Homeless Vets Get Housed
KPBS finds that a program to house veterans has helped more than 200 of them within four months, exceeding the goal. Meanwhile, the annual Stand Down for Homeless Veterans begins Friday at 6 a.m. at San Diego High School and continues through the weekend. San Diego has been way behind other communities in its work to shrink homelessness among veterans.
The effort to house veterans is one of many in the works around the city and the county. VOSD’s Lisa Halverstadt broke down the status of all the swirling initiatives and plans here.
More Gun Dealers Than Big Mac Slingers?
Politifact checks a few claims about Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s gun control initiative, known as Prop. 63. Yes, stunningly, there are double the number of gun dealers in the state as McDonald’s restaurants. But a claim by foes about a ban on ammunition sharing is “mostly false,” and a statistic about national gun deaths is “mostly true.”
• Local Rep. Scott Peters gets a “Mostly True” from Capital Public Radio for saying Donald Trump “rooted for the housing crisis.”
• Drew Brees, the former Chargers quarterback, doesn’t fully understand the threat from concussions, says Politifact. He recently tried to compare the risk in football to that of women’s soccer and cheerleading. In fact,”football by far poses the greatest concussion risks, studies show, with women’s/girls soccer often placing a distant second. Cheerleading poses risks too, more so in practices, yet concussion chances are relatively slight compared to numerous sports.” He gets a “half true.”
North County Report: Feeding Seniors
VOSD’s weekly North County Report highlights a Sacramento Bee story about a coalition that is feeding seniors with the help of a food truck in Oceanside, San Marcos and Vista. Plus: The end (at least) of a drive-in, a tiny rally and a pesky dead whale.
• In a scathing and detailed VOSD commentary, Poway school board Kimberley Beatty scorches some of her colleagues for failing to do their jobs: “I called out self-dealing, conflicts of interest, backroom deals and other improprieties by the superintendent and others. I received harsh criticism and remained unsupported by a board majority all too willing to remain in the comfortable position of supporting the status quo.”
Now, the superintendent is out and Beatty is still in. She writes that she wants to see more accountability measures put in place to ensure taxpayer money is being spent efficiently and properly.
Quick News Hits: Crazy Town
• “Trial is set to begin next week for a Mexican tycoon and his son, both indicted for conspiring to violate campaign finance laws, but the son wants out of the proceeding because of health issues.” This is the trial of Jose Susumo Azano Matsura. (U-T)
For more on who Azano is and what he was hoping to accomplish by donating money to San Diego politicians, check out our major investigation into his dealings.
• If you like giving 15 percent tips to wait staff who provide adequate service, or less if the restaurant stinks, then you won’t like this news: A higher minimum wage might make a local restaurant dump tips in favor of a 20 percent service charge. (U-T)
• “Owners of the failed San Onofre nuclear power plant operated the reactor outside the allowable limits for pressure and temperature, causing the radiation leak that shut down the facility for good, a new report has found.” (U-T via L.A. Times)
• KPBS digs into the city’s struggling bike-rental program, which has been hindered by NIMBYs and lack of interest from residents.
• The L.A. Times profiles a publicist who turned Comic-Con into Hollywood South.
• @sandiegoscanner, the Twitter account that monitors local police radio traffic, has been reporting on a crazy week full of car chases, drunk folks and naked people wandering around on roadways. Among the bizarre behavior: A woman in Hillcrest kept slinging Bibles as passersby. (The only thing anyone should throw in Hillcrest is shade.)
“Some nights (and days!) it seems like nearly the entirely city population needs mandatory counseling of at least one variety,” @sandiegoscanner declared the other day.
A Twitter wit replied with this zinger: “Xanax overspray flights approved.” Great idea! Do me a solid and make a double flyover for my neighborhood.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also a board member and ex-national president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.