Campaign Corral: Water woes, A-list endorsements

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on May 25, 2010.

See original copy of story.

Two weeks away from the June 8 election. The last day to register was Monday, ballots are being mailed out (though I haven’t received mine yet and I’m quite jealous of those who did), candidates and their campaign managers are feeling the heat, and political fashionistas like me are deciding which outfit will go best with our “I Voted” sticker on June 8.

I know, you’re just as excited as I am. (I’m thinking black polka dot dress and red pumps. The red will indiscreetly bring out the red in the sticker and I have a feeling red pumps will go out of style by the general election.)

In the corral this week are two candidates for City Council answering our nonpolitical question of the week, as well as a complete round-up of what’s going on from the local races to the federal.

Featured race — San Diego City Council District 2:

Councilmember Kevin Faulconer and his opponent, Democrat Patrick Finucane, were asked the following question: What is the greatest crisis we face as a world? Unfortunately, no word from Faulconer, whose busy fulfilling his councilmember duties right now, according to his staff. But here’s what his opponent wrote via e-mail:

“The greatest crisis we face as a world today is access to clean drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, about 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water. 3.5 million people die every year because they lack access to clean water and over 80% of them are children. A child dies every 20 seconds because of water-related disease.

As San Diegans, this is a problem we can relate to. Here in San Diego we are lucky to live in a wealthy county with greater resources, but the future of our water supply is far from secure. By importing 90% of our water, we are at the mercy of all the users upstream of us for both price and quality. Our city leaders need to do more to plan for the future. With continued development and climate change, demand for water is increasing while the supplies are become scarce.”

Other campaigns:

Brian Barry Pollard — who is running against incumbent Councilmember Tony Young in San Diego’s Fourth District — is still knocking on the doors of voters. He has four walks scheduled up until Election Day with two of them happening this weekend.

Also knocking on doors this weekend are the young San Diego Young Democrats for Humberto Peraza who is running for Chula Vista City Council Seat 2 and David Alvarez who is trying to win a San Diego City Council seat in District Eight. The Young Dems are planning to support Peraza on Saturday with a mid-day walk and Alvarez on Sunday in the morning.

Stephen Whitburn seems to be rocking at his campaign. The front-runner against Supervisor Ron Roberts in the County District Four race posted on Facebook that supporters seem to be losing his yard signs. On Sunday, Whitburn’s status read: “Several of you tell me your yard signs vanished. I can’t imagine how. Rhymes with… lawn robbers?” Despite the setback, Whitburn noted that he ran out of door hangers and will order more when he has enough funding.

Jay La Suer, running against Jim Duffy and Bill Gore for San Diego County Sheriff, will have a meet and greet at Barret Junction Café in Dulzura. The candidate, who has received the endorsement of Sheriff Jeff Arpaio, will meet with voters beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Friday.

At the state level, Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher fulfilled a civic task Monday by reminding those on Facebook that it was the last day to register to vote in June. He added one tip in his reminder though. He wrote, “If you plan to vote for me on June 8th — today is the last day to register. If you plan to vote for someone else please disregard message : -)”

Mike Paster — a Libertarian running against Rep. Darrell Issa in the 49th Congressional District — is lobbying against Proposition 14, a measure that would allow all voters to choose any candidate regardless of party affiliation during primary elections. (Check out more info on the propositions on this SDNN page.) Paster links to a “Vote NO on Proposition 14” video on his Facebook asking voters not to “believe the commercials the Governor is paying for.”

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee announced his endorsement for Nick Popaditch, who is running against Rep. Bob Filner in the 51st Congressional District. In response to the endorsement of the major Republican player, Popaditch said he was “honored.”

SDNN stories:

If you haven’t checked out SDNN’s Elections 2010 page recently, here’s a summary of what you may have missed. Political reporter Steven Bartholow made a fancy chart of propositions that will be on the June ballot with how some leading groups stand on the propositions. SDNN media partner La Prensa San Diego interviewed Chula Vista City Council Seat 2 candidate Jill Galvez and I wrote a story on the nasty race in the 53rd congressional Republican primary. Also, the Registrar of Voters announced it is looking for poll workers for the big day.

In the next few days, look for a story on the race between Tracy Emblem and Francine Busby in the 50th Congressional District, details on the recall effort against Poway Councilmember Betty Rexford and the scoop on how campaigns are using social media this election year.

Until next week, vote on the poll and let us know if you have any questions on the ballot measures or candidates.

Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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California Budget Crisis Diaries: Schwarzenegger the Destroyer

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on May 20, 2010.

See original copy of story.

It’s been a week since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced his May Revise and Californians have wasted no time in offering their opinions on his proposal to close the $19 billion deficit and the man himself.

In this edition of CBCD, I’ll focus on the swarm of opinions. And, if you haven’t already, you must read the main article surrounding the Governor’s plan.

(Brace yourself, Mister Governor, the last few months of your term in office will be crummy. But hey, at least you can say you’re the best looking Governor there is. And sometimes, well most of the time, looks are all that matter.)

Giving Schwarzenegger an F: Writing for BeyondChron.com, Lisa Schiff focuses on how the Governor has affected California’s public education system. She starts her commentary by noting that the “only good thing” about the May Revise is that it’s Schwarzenegger’s last one.

“The ‘Governator’ has made one final effort to destroy as many social programs as possible including public education where he is cutting the K-12 budget anywhere from just under $900 million to $1.5 billion, depending on who’s counting. And even with higher education, although he technically kept his bizarre pledge to increase funding for this sector, he did so at the cost of increased student fees, which can only reduce the overall effect.”

But, this isn’t the first time Schwarzenegger has made such cuts to education, Schiff writes.

“Throughout the entire span of his time in Sacramento, Schwarzenegger has seemed intent on both raiding public education funding and weakening the security of that funding. This revised budget continues in that same vein, even using some of the same trickery. For instance, the very first paragraph of the introduction to the budget summary claims that the Governor is ‘fully funding the Proposition 98 guarantee.'”

Schiff doesn’t just lash out at the Governor though (p.s. I refuse to use the pronoun “Governator;” that is so 2009), she says most budget problems can be fixed if the California Legislature amends the two-thirds majority vote needed to pass a fiscal-related bill.

The state is worse off: Jerry Roberts of The Santa Barbara Independent thinks Schwarzenegger is leaving California is a worst situation than when he stepped into the Capitol in 2003.

Roberts, pretty much, writes that Schwarzenegger failed at his attempt to lead the country’s most populated state.

“Seven years after he roared into Sacramento, having ousted and humiliated incumbent Governor Gray Davis in an unprecedented recall election, the action-hero politician is limping through the final months of a lame-duck term, surrounded by the wreckage of failed promises and squandered political opportunities to repair the Capitol’s dysfunction.

Handed a once-in-a-lifetime chance to lead California into an era of sweeping reform, the governor instead followed a path of policy blunders and misguided judgments, frittering away his political capital in favor of seeking to sustain his personal popularity. By choosing a seemingly easy way out of the budget tangle at the beginning of his term, he was left at its end with nothing but impossibly hard choices?—?and a popularity rating matching that of the disgraced governor he replaced.”

Roberts goes on to write that Schwarzenegger screwed up when he made three decisions relating to: vehicle license fees, short-term borrowing and “political overreaching.”

Reducing opportunities: Two Californians partner-up in this opinion piece featured in The San Francisco Chronicle.

Judy Patrick and Sandee Smith of the Women’s Foundation of California write that the budget cuts hurt women and families.

“The governor’s revision to the state budget is unconscionable. By completely eliminating CalWORKS, California’s welfare-to-work program, along with all child-care assistance, it unfairly saddles working mothers and families with balancing the budget and thwarts opportunities for low-income women to move themselves and their families out of poverty.

CalWORKS has had a life-changing effect for people like Deborha Valarde. A single mother of two, she is a full-time student at Chabot College, where she is working on her degree in human services. CalWORKS assistance has helped her to get her education, provided critical supports so that she can hold down a job, and put her on the path to self-sufficiency. ‘CalWORKS has enabled me to start to get back on my feet again. If the CalWORKS program ends, a lot of single parents, including myself, will be left with nothing and nowhere to turn.'”

Simply put, the ladies write, “The governor’s budget is unacceptable.”

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a positive piece on Schwarzenegger. So, if you happen to stumble upon it…help me be fair and post a link to it on the comments section of this article. Until next week!

Associated Press writer Judy Lin contributed to this report. Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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Campaign Corral: A dirty 53rd congressional race

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on May 18, 2010.

See original copy of story.

On tap for the Campaign Corral this week are independent campaigns that are still breathing, and a recap on what’s happening in the 53rd Congressional race.

Normally, I begin CC by featuring a race in which I ask the candidates a nonpolitical question. The featured race, which was selected by readers in the last edition of CC, is the Chula Vista Mayor race. However, the three candidates — incumbent Mayor Cheryl Cox, Councilmember Steve Castaneda and Board Trustee Jorge Dominguez — did not offer an answer to the question: If you could have a room full of any one thing, what would it be?

But a campaign helper for one of the candidates did ask me how I would answer the question. What did I tell him? A room full of children’s books to assist a local nonprofit with a focus on literacy development among economically and socially disadvantaged children.

See, candidates? Now how hard is that?

Third partiers:

As we’re only a couple weeks away from Election Day (or as I like to call it, Hoa’s 2nd Christmas), I decided to check in on a some of the independent campaigns to see how they’re doing.

Chris Chadwick — a Libertarian running for State Assembly District 75 against incumbent Nathan Fletcher and Democrat Paul Garver – doesn’t seem to be too active with his campaign though he did make the ballot. His last Facebook update on May 6 asks voters to consider him and to “Vote for LIBERTY!”

Mike Paster –a Libertarian who is running for Rep. Darrell Issa’s seat in the 49th District — attended a Fallbrook Tea Party meeting last Thursday in an attempt to garner support.

Greg Stephens — an independent in the race against Assemblymember Joel Anderson for the State Senate 36th seat — has a Meetup group, titled “Citizens for Stephens.” So far, he’s had nine “meetups” with one scheduled Tuesday evening. The sweet thing about Meetup is that group members can leave comments and Lisa Carol Jorden thinks this particular Meetup group is a “chance to get involved and make a difference.”

Kristi Stone — a Libertarian running against incumbent Mark Wyland for the 38th State Senate seat — is continuing to share her thoughts with the Facebook world. Her latest status update came Monday morning with thoughts from her friend John Howell, who said “Regardless of your religious affiliation, or lack thereof, there is one principle that will increase your circle of friends, will expand your network, and will enhance your success in life. Love your neighbor.”

Other indies seem to be nonexistent but check out Joe Ryan’s campaign. Ryan, who is running for Rep. Duncan Hunter’s seat, launched five websites recently. No, seriously.

Dirty politics:

A Twitter account called “SusanFreeCa53” is tweeting against Rep. Susan Davis. So, who is the particular Tweep behind the account rooting for? It’s unknown as the tweets don’t seem to be supporting one candidate or another.

However, the Twitter account links to an interesting video by C. Mason Weaver who uses the following terms to describe his primary opponent Michael Crimmins: “dirty old man,” “racist,” “disgrace” and “certified liar.”

Talk about dirty politics!

Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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California Budget Crisis Diaries: Schwarzenegger graduated!

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on May 13, 2010.

See original copy of story.

California is near the end of its fiscal year, and though budget cuts have already affected nearly everyone, the sun may not be coming out anytime soon. At least, that’s what some experts say but we’ll find out on Friday when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger releases his May Revise.

Schwarzenegger’s Revise: The gov will release his revised budget Friday to kick the weekend off right (just joking) and according to his press folks, there will be “terrible cuts.”

According to a Reuters report, the governor “has said he won’t seek tax increases to bolster California’s finances.”

“The Republican’s forecast for the budget gap may rise after revenue fell short of his targets last month.

‘We can’t get through this deficit without very terrible cuts,’ Schwarzenegger spokesman Aaron McLear told reporters in Sacramento. ‘We don’t believe that raising taxes right now is the right thing to do.’

California’s revenue in April, when income-tax payments are due, trailed the governor’s estimates by $3.6 billion, or 26 percent. The gap wiped out gains from the previous four months, leaving collections $1.3 billion behind projections for the budget year that ends in June.”

Also in the Reuters report, “Schwarzenegger’s newest plan will revise the proposals introduced in January to account for the tax-collection shortages.”

Poor wives: California’s wives are seeing hard hits from the recession and may possibly feel more pain with budget cuts.

According to CalCoastNews.com, a study by a nonpartisan organization shows a “dramatic increase” in the number of wives becoming the dominant bread winner.

“The analysis, released Tuesday by the California Budget Project, a nonpartisan budget study group, shows that the number of women taking over household financial responsibility rose a stunning 77 percent from 2008 to 2009.

The new study also warns that past and likely budget cuts in the state’s new safety programs and health insurance for the poor, including CalWorks and Medi-Cal, will disproportionately affect low-income women and their families — people who make up the bulk of the clients who rely on such services.

Also, the study found that women in California lost fewer jobs than men, but they still lost work. Unemployment among women doubled to ten percent from 2006 to 2009.”

Not only are husbands relying more on their significant others, the study points out that women still earn less than men. Lame.

Yup, another protest: Of course, this wouldn’t be a complete CBCD if it didn’t include news about a student protest.

Students at UC Irvine continue to protest cuts to higher education even after a massive March 4 rally that attracted more than 1,000 participants.

According to The Associated Press, the protests are attracting a major group of minority students. The report focuses on different minority students including Jesse Cheng.

“Cheng is a third-year Asian-American studies major at the University of California, Irvine, a campus less than five decades old in the middle of Orange County, a place of strip malls and subdivisions that gave birth to the ultraconservative John Birch Society.

Comfortable talking with both administrators and anarchists, Cheng is a presence at protests but avoids getting arrested. He doesn’t want to put his graduation at risk or upset his mother, who worked hard to get him here and worries for his safety because she witnessed what happened to dissidents in her native China.

Cheng is part of a growing movement of minority students rallying around a new cause — fighting a budget crisis that’s undermining access to higher education at a time when students of color have become a stronger demographic force.

‘For a lot of students of color, this is our dream and our hope — to get to college,’ said Cheng, who is about to start a one-year term representing students from all 10 University of California campuses on the system’s Board of Regents. ‘We never thought we’d make it and we’re here. And we’re not going to give it up so easily.'”

On a final and ironic note, Schwarznegger received a “doctor of laws honorary degree” from Emory University in Georgia this week. SDNN’s Steven Bartholow will offer his thoughts on Schwarzenegger’s new degree in this Friday’s Political Sense.

Associated Press writer Judy Lin contributed to this report. Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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Campaign Corral: Sheriff candidate talks tips; endorsements galore

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on May 11, 2010.

See original copy of story.

We’re less than three weeks away from primaries that will eliminate tons of candidates. Though some campaigns seem to be getting hotter, some candidates seem to have given up already. With that said, I’m only going to touch on the candidates and campaigns that appear to be making headway.

Let’s start with the featured race, though.

Featured race – San Diego County Sheriff:

I may have included this question in the last CC poll just for myself, as it’s always been important to me to properly tip a service employee. So this week I asked the three candidates for the San Diego County sheriff’s race the following question:

What’s your approach on tipping service employees?

Unfortunately, though, only one candidate replied: Jim Duffy.

“I empathize with the difficult jobs service employees do because my daughter was a waitress. Also, the service industry has been disproportionately hit hard by recent tough times. For that reason, I tip generously and hope others do, too.

“As a cop on the street, I was not permitted to accept tips, but expressions of appreciation — a smile, a wave, and a hearty ‘thank you’ — always were appreciated.”

Other campaigns:

The two Republican gubernatorial candidates are giving San Diegans extra attention this week. On Monday, State Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner visited San Ysidro to talk immigration after he announced his opposition to Arizona’s latest anti-immigration law, SB1070.

On Thursday, Poizner’s primary opponent Meg Whitman will be in town. It’s unknown what she’ll be talking about, but her E-blast said she will share “her vision.” She’ll be at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront at 10:30 a.m.

Assemblymember Mary Salas, who is running for the State Senate District 40 seat, announced she is the principal co-author of Chelsea’s Law. The proposed law, which is sponsored by Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher, who is running for re-election, and named after murdered Poway teenager Chelsea King, would toughen up penalties on sexual offenders.

In endorsement news, Assemblymember Martin Garrick, who is running for re-election in District 74, announced his support for Assemblymember Joel Anderson, who is running for State Senate District 36. The Assembly Republican leader said Anderson has the “Reagan ‘can-do’ attitude.” Talk about compliments!

Run Women Run, an organization that supports pro-choice women for office, announced its endorsements Monday. The organization has endorsed Francine Busby for the 50th Congressional seat, Del Mar Mayor Crystal Crawford for the 74th Assembly seat, Jill Galvez for Chula Vista City Council, Mona Alvarado-Rios for National City Council and Assemblymember Mary Salas for the 40th State Senate seat. Though the organization supports pro-choice women, this is the first time it has given endorsements.

I’ll end this edition of CC by fulfilling a civic duty… The deadline for voter registration is May 24. Registration forms are available at the Registrar of Voters office. For more info, go to www.sdvote.com

Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.

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