Despite the accounts of women who accuse Mickey Kasparian of sexual misconduct, many of the region’s most prominent Democrats continue to have the local labor leader’s back.
VOSD’s Andrew Keatts found a photograph taken Oct. 4, 2017, showing five elected officials at a meeting of the San Diego Working Families Council, which split from other unions last spring. He decided to call the politicians in it it see if it was a sign they were sticking with Kasparian.
Myrtle Cole, the San Diego City Council president, gave Keatts a statement saying she’d hadn’t known about the allegations against Kasparian when the photo was taken. But those allegations had been made 10 months prior and were well discussed. In fact, the Working Families Council, where the photo was taken, was formed because of the rift in labor the allegations caused.
Kasparian denies them all. Friday, one of the most serious of them looked like it was settled.
None of the five politicians who were featured in the photo believe Kasparian should step down from his labor post. Some defended their presence at the meeting by saying it was about workers, not Kasparian.
Until recently, the only local Democrat to do that was San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez. Three others joined the calls this week, according to the Union-Tribune.
In December, Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher called for Kasparian to resign from the county Democratic Party Central Committee. He did a few days later.
So, AG, What Do You Really Mean About Pot?
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ decision to rescind an Obama-era policy of not interfering with states that have legalized cannabis was met this week with frustration. Proposition 64 passed with 57 percent of the statewide vote in 2016. Within the city of San Diego, the ballot measure got nearly 62 percent support.
All eyes turned to our federal prosecutor. San Diego has not gotten a permanent U.S. attorney. But the interim one spoke up: Southern District of California U.S. Attorney Adam Braverman said in a statement to NBC 7 that Sessions was restoring “trust and local control” over the Controlled Substance Act, which lists marijuana as a schedule one drug, on par with heroin and other drugs.
Amanda Chicago Lewis has a good explanation of everything going on in with cannabis legalization in California.
Sacramento Gets Back to Work
The specter of sexual harassment hung over the state Capitol this week as lawmakers returned to work for the first time since the scandals began breaking. Four lawmakers have been accused of misconduct, and three have resigned.
While on winter break, Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de Leόn announced the hiring of two law firms to investigate allegations within his chamber. He and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon also vowed on Friday to release more information about substantiated claims against legislators and high-level employees.
News organizations as well as the public have demanded greater disclosure and accountability in recent weeks.
In this week’s Sacramento Report, Marisa Agha writes that Sen. Joel Anderson wrote a letter to de Leόn suggesting that all senators under investigation for sexual misconduct should take a leave from office.
This week’s report also has a rundown of the legislative goals of our lawmakers, including Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher. Following one of our reports, she’s pushing a bill that would bar school districts from sending parents to collections for unpaid bus bills, library charges and school lunches. We revealed recently that San Diego Unified School District was sending parents to collections agencies for bus fees.
Opinion: Homeless Property Rights
As part of the settlement stemming from a 2009 lawsuit, the city of San Diego agreed to store and return the property its employees pick up during arrests. But as Ginger Stamper argued in a new op-ed, that ain’t so.
The artist and writer, who’s been homeless since August 2014, said the city failed to return several important items — including her and her boyfriend’s clothes, boots and blankets.
“The truth is,” Stamper writes, “the people in charge don’t really have our best interests at heart. How is a 52-year-old woman supposed to get a job when she has a criminal record and all her good clean clothes have been stolen by the city?”
In Other News
• The Department of Justice is investigating Rep. Duncan Hunter’s campaign finance spending, and the congressmen just wants to “get it over with.” (Union-Tribune)
• The fatal shooting of an Imperial Beach official in Mexico remains a mystery. (KPBS)
• A San Diego County supervisor is lobbying Congress to stop potential social service cuts. (U-T)
• The region has one of the lowest unemployment rates, but income inequality continues to rise. (inewsource)
• State investigation concludes university lecturer made disparaging remarks to a student. (U-T)
• An outsider from the north considers our “hip” city. (San Francisco Chronicle)
• The victims of last year’s hepatitis A outbreak are the U-T editorial board’s people of the year. (U-T)