Feinstein: Obama and Romney Both Wrong on Greatest Threat to America

FireShot Screen Capture #012 - 'Feinstein_ Obama and Romney Both Wrong on Greatest Threat to America - Government - Rancho Bernardo-4S Ranch, CA Patch' - ranchobernardo-4sranch_patch_com_groups_politics-and-elections_This story was reported for Patch on Oct. 23, 2012.

Contrary to what Barack Obama and Mitt Romney said in Monday night’s debate, the greatest threat to America is cyber-attack, says Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

The 79-year-old senator—who visited San Diego on Tuesday—told a group of about 200 business and community leaders that it’s “imperative” Congress pass a cyber-security bill.

“The greatest threat is a major cyber attack,” said Feinstein, who chairs the Intelligence Committee. “We have major cyber problems. We know that it is quite possible to take down the electric grid. The problem is these attacks are kept silent.”

In the final presidential debate Monday, the president suggested the greatest threat to the country is terrorist networks while Gov. Mitt Romney indicated it’s a nuclear Iran.

Feinstein—who spoke at a downtown luncheon hosted by the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp., San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and CONNECT—said though the country is safer than it was pre-9/11, a cyber-security bill that requires certain information be shared needs to pass.

Read the full story on Patch.com or click on the picture to the right.

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Experts say Democrats in 50th race seek a lost cause

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on May 26, 2010.

See original copy of story.

It’s a race that could be considered quixotic by many standards.

Two candidates face off in a primary knowing that the big prize might be unattainable: a seat in the U.S. Congress. That’s because those candidates are Democrats, the incumbent’s a Republican, and the district’s demographics don’t favor an upset.

Of course, it could happen. Look at Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts or Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in California. But Francine Busby and Tracy Emblem face formidable obstacles, from name recognition to campaign financing to the simple fact of Rep. Brian Bilbray’s popularity.

So why do it? Why run, the odds being what they are?

It’s simple.

“Clearly, they think they can win,” said local political consultant John Dadian. “Unfortunately, most pundits don’t [think they can win].”

Busby and Emblem are working hard to prove those detractors wrong.

Related Links: Elections 2010 | Campaign Corral | Politics | A More Perfect Union

Busby is on her third attempt to snag the seat for the 50th congressional district, a heavily populated Republican-leaning area. She ran two unsuccessful campaigns — in 2004 against Rep. Duke Cunningham, and again in 2006 against Bilbray.

For her part, Emblem is a former Busby supporter. In a past interview with SDNN, Emblem said she not only contributed money to Busby in 2006 but also gave her information about the precincts. But Emblem, the appellate attorney, now says that loss showed her Busby can be beaten, and that she doesn’t think Busby can sway enough voters this time around, either.

A glance at just some of the endorsements….

Francine Busby:

California Democratic Party

San Diego Democratic club

National Women’s Political Caucus

California Labor Federation

California Teachers Association

Tracy Emblem:

California Labor Federation

California Federation of Teachers

California Nurses Association

California School Employees Association

Progressive Democrats of America

See a full list of endorsements for Busby and Emblem are their websites.

In fact, political analysts say no Democrat is likely to unseat the incumbent. It’s a matter of the math. Although the number of Democrats in the district increased 16 percent — from 105,504 in 2006 to 122,274 in 2009 — and the number of Republicans decreased by 371 people to 156,437 in the same period , that’s still a big gap in registration.

According to Dadian, one traditional sign that no Democrat will take over the 50th is that none has financial support from the party. For instance, while the California Democratic Party has endorsed Busby, it hasn’t written her a check. (San Diego Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee noted that the local party hasn’t put money into any race this year.)

“[Busby’s] not a serious candidate,” Dadian said. “She doesn’t have a chance in unseating the incumbent.”

Chris Crotty, a San Diego-based Democratic consultant who worked on Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, agreed. He said he would love to see Busby or Emblem unseat Bilbray, but that neither will. He’s not even sure why they are running.

“I don’t understand it,” he said. “I didn’t understand the first Francine Busby race in 2004.”

Crotty said if Busby or Emblem want the seat, they would have to get “every single Democrat to vote for them, plus the majority of Independents.”

Then again, the district has gone Democratic in a big way before. Busby and Emblem’s main argument that victory is possible is that the district voted for Obama over Sen. John McCain by 51 to 47 percent.

Emblem called the district “barely Republican.” Busby said that “Bilbray is very vulnerable” because of the changes in voter registration. But both Dadian and Crotty noted that Obama’s triumph in the district occurred in the same year voters re-elected Bilbray.

“What occurred in 2008 is a once-if-you’re-lucky, twice-in-a-lifetime occurrence,” Crotty said. “Francine has run before and has shown that even in the best of times, with all the money in the world, she can’t win.”

According to the Federal Elections Commission, Busby raised and spent about $3.6 million in the 2006 campaign cycle. That far exceeds the $345,253 she has raised for her current campaign. But she’s ahead of Emblem, who has raised only $135,495. Bilbray trounces them both with his $710,911.

Crotty said those dollar figures make clear that Bilbray will win the 50th district.

“That seat was gerrymandered to ensure a Republican would hold it,” he said. “There is a place in the political world for Francine Busby’s, but it’s not in the 50th district… Let’s not waste our time, money and energy on seats like the 50th anymore.”

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

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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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53rd congressional race: Homosexual slurs, libel lawsuits

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on May 24, 2010.

See original copy of story.

Nasty campaigning is nothing new. But even by those low standards, things may have gone a bit too far in the Republican congressional primary.

At least that’s what the candidates themselves seem to be implying – with one even announcing his intention to sue another for libel. Another claims that a candidate has repeatedly and wrongly called him a “homosexual,” as if that were a smear.

All this in a race where demographics favor Democratic Rep. Susan Davis maintaining her seat.

“When the antics get this amateurish, it reflects on the credibility of the candidates,” said San Diego-based GOP consultant John Dadian. “It’s sad to see these fringe candidates running in the primaries when there is a heavy democrat registration in the district.”

Still, how ugly the race has gotten depends on who is being asked. Candidates Michael Crimmins and Matt Friedman both say pretty ugly. Another candidate C. Mason Weaver says not so ugly, even though Crimmins threatened to sue him after the June 8 primary. The fourth candidate, Mari Hamlin Fink, who has raised the most cash of the three candidates, didn’t respond to request for comment by SDNN.

The others had plenty to say, though.

“Only one candidate has attempted to make this race negative,” Crimmins said. “That candidate is Mason Weaver.”

For his part, Friedman described the race as “verbally violent” and blamed the “meanness” on Weaver, too.

But Weaver doesn’t seem to care about winning friends in the race, just votes. In a video made for his campaign website, he called Crimmins a “dirty old man,” “racist,” “disgrace” and “certified liar.” And at different events he was caught labeling Friedman “homosexual.” Weaver turned his attention to liberals on his Facebook page. In a stream of comments, he wrote, “You cannot change a liberal but you can chain him.”

In an e-mail exchange with SDNN, Weaver insisted, “This has not been a negative race!”

Crimmins, who won the 2008 Republican primary, is running on name recognition. His “Crimmins for Congress” signs can be seen throughout the congressional district and the veteran said he plans to win his second primary.

Related Links: Elections 2010 | Campaign Corral | Politics | A More Perfect Union

Friedman is making his first run for Congress. The businessman who has started a clothing line and has ties to the entertainment industry, calls himself “the sleeping giant” and claims his opponents underestimate him. Friedman said he’s “93 percent” sure he’ll win the primary because his 350 volunteers have knocked on almost every door in the district.

Fink is the Point Loma community leader with plenty of support in her neighborhood. Friedman described her as “ethical and respectful” though she has yet to achieve same name recognition as her opponents.

Finally, there’s Weaver, who has stirred up so much controversy in the 53rd race, that there’s a website — Clarence Mason Weaver: Liar, unemployed, failed author and congressional candidate — for voters rooting against him. It is unclear who is behind the website.

Still, it isn’t a negative race if you ask Weaver. Not surprisingly, Crimmins and Freidman disagree.

As Crimmins put it, “Mason Weaver continues to weave a web of dirty politics and malicious lies.”

Crimmins said Weaver has lied on his resume, claiming, for instance, that he served as a combat veteran in Vietnam when he did not. Combat Veterans for Congress, a political action committee, later announced that Weaver was not a combat veteran.

Crimmins also said the African-American Weaver only called him a “racist” to “play the race card.”

A glance at the campaign numbers…

Mari Hamlin Fink is leading the race when it comes to campaign contributions.

According to the Federal Election Commission, Fink has raised $55, 319, Michael Crimmins has raised $37,175, Matt Friedman has raised $29,101 and C. Mason Weaver has raised $28,287.

Friedman agreed with his Crimmins. He said an uncomfortable amount of “meanness” has come from the Weaver for Congress camp and that it turns voters off from participating in politics at all.

“If [the voters] have already seen you exhibit the poorest of personality traits, why would they vote for you?” Friedman said. “[Weaver] claims he’s a Christian but he’s not acting very Christian, is he?”

The tension between the candidates has become so extreme that Crimmins now plans to sue Weaver .

“Lynn Schenk successfully sued Mayor Susan Golding for libel after their mayoral race and I will do the same with Mason Weaver,” he said.

There have been rumors that Friedman would also sue Weaver for his remarks, although Friedman’s camp said he is not.

Republican Party of San Diego Chairman Tony Krvaric declined commenting on the race. GOP consultant Dadian did though.

Dadian said he isn’t surprised by the ugliness. He says tight races often go negative, when candidates become desperate to set themselves apart from the pack.

“But not all campaigns get this vicious,” he said. “It’s unfortunate to see this happening in the Republican primary, particularly in the 53rd district.”

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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