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

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


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Campaign Corral: Weaver unravels, Alvarez digs Juanes jams

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on May 4, 2010.

See original copy of story.

I probably should have taken my kickboxing class after my phone call with Congressional candidate Mason C. Weaver, as I couldn’t envision anyone to punch. Oh well, I’ll have motivation in tomorrow’s class.

So this week’s Campaign Corral includes info on Weaver’s campaign signs violating a city ordinance, what went down with Assemblymember Mary Salas and her Democratic opponent Juan Vargas and the introduction of Congressional candidate Joe Ryan, who is running against Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.).

Let’s start with this week’s featured race, though.

Featured race – San Diego City Council District 8:

This week, I asked San Diego City Council District 8 candidates the following question: What song best describes you when you first wake up in the morning?

Unfortunately, David Alvarez was the only candidate in the race to respond:

“‘La Vida…Es un Ratico’ by Juanes is one of my favorite songs. Juanes sings about the importance of appreciating every moment in life. This optimistic outlook best describes me when I first wake up in the morning.”

Other campaigns:

There is drama among some of the campaigns, which I guess makes this an even more interesting election season. The first campaign to enter dramahood is Mason C. Weaver. Weaver – a Republican running against Michael Crimmins in the primary for Rep. Susan Davis’ Congressional seat – was recently attacked by a press release sent out accusing him of violating a city of Coronado ordinance with his campaign signs. The press release also included comment from Coronado Mayor Casey Tanaka after an e-mail was sent to him from a local woman named Lacey Silverstein.

Being accustomed to receiving various accusatory e-mails on Weaver, and opting to write about this particular e-mail since it included comments from elected officials, I gave him a ring. Weaver said it was “too early” for him to comment on the violation but apologized to the city. He also said he just has “overzealous volunteers.” Our conversation was complete with a wankerish and intrusive Weaver asking me why I’ve never called to ask him about his stance on issues like immigration, and whether I was a registered Democrat, how I voted in the “last election” or if I was even a voter.

I also talked with Tanaka to verify the quote in the press release. Though Tanaka confirmed he did say, “I have been thinking the same thing!” in response to Silverstein’s e-mail, he said the quote was taken out of context and his original message included that he would deal with the situation “during the work week.”

At any rate, Tanaka — with his accustomed courteous attitude, pretty much the opposite of Weaver — said the consequences are a “confiscation of the signs.”

Essentially, Weaver’s campaign signs violate the ordinance that prohibits the placement of political signs in the public right of way.

On a side note to Weaver, I believe an American voter has the right to decline information on how he or she voted and it would probably be more appropriate to, instead, ask elected officials where they stand… A candidate for U.S. Congress should probably know that. Just sayin’, as I’ve successfully soaked in and practiced lessons on courtesy.

In other drama-related news, a news conference was hosted by Assemblymember Mary Salas and Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.) regarding the campaign finances of Salas’ opponent for State Senate, Juan Vargas. Salas and Filner accused Vargas of getting some heavy cash from insurance companies.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, there was a “shouting match” between Vargas supporters and the Salas team, who accused “Salas of hypocrisy because she has received donations directly from some of the same interests.”

So what’s the deal between the two Democratic candidates looking to replace Sen. Denise Ducheny?

Not completely sure yet, but we’ll find out. Until then, Salas released the following statement:

“These despicable acts cannot be tolerated, and I call on Juan to renounce these acts and to immediately fire everyone associated with the assault this morning.”

Ending this week’s CC on a fun note, Congressional candidate Joe Ryan – an Independent candidate in the race for Rep. Duncan Hunter’s seat – informed me that he has a total of five websites for his campaign. One website is the “main one” titled and the other four are pitted against his opponents:,, and (Terri Linnell is also in the race).

What’s the strategy behind all of this? Ryan, a local businessman, said, “The philosophy behind three 4 websites revolves around winning a 4-way race by illustrating to voters how a common sense approach to issues that is not tied to a party platform allows a politician to reach out to a relatively large majority of the electorate without contradicting themselves.”

Next week I’ll focus on one of three races listed in the poll below. And, for candidates and campaign managers — please keep me up-to-date by sending any new info to Politics(a) or start blogging for us!

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


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Campaign Corral: Politicians on the rack

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on April 27, 2010.

See original copy of story.

In a perfect world, politicians would choose their own punishments for their shady dealings, right? Well, these politicians have yet to enter the Hall of Shame, but if they ever should, they’ve answered (well, somewhat answered) the winning question in the last edition of Campaign Corral.

Here’s your weekly round-up of what’s happening with local campaigns, starting with supervisor-hopefuls and their answers to our punishment question.

Featured race – San Diego County District 5:

In last week’s CC, readers decided they wanted me to ask the candidates of the San Diego County District 5 race the following question: If you were punished for a crime, what type of punishment would you choose?

Unfortunately, we don’t have responses from Steve Gronke, William Haynor or Tom Bumgardner. But three candidates — Fabio Marchi, John Van Doorn and Supervisor Bill Horn — fearlessly chose to answer the tough question. Here are their responses:

Marchi: Dostoevsky wrote a whole novel about this subject of crime and punishment! However, as requested, I will synthesize my answer in a few words: My Italian parents taught me the value of hard work and education, which helped me stay out of trouble. As County Supervisor, my focus will be on crime deterrence and ensuring that the branches of law enforcement, such as the S.D. County Sheriff’s Department, Probation Department and District Attorney, have the tools and equipment necessary to protect our citizens and keep our streets safe. Crime is preventable, if we allocate the resources necessary toward achieving that goal.

Doorn: We’d all like to think we deserve favorable treatment and I do believe in allowing for leniency for certain first-time offenders. But that is not the question here.

There is the Biblical standard (eye for an eye), and I do believe we would be better off as a society if it were followed more often. Unfortunately, our current court system is a joke. Our judges allow all sorts of mischief in their courtrooms (perjury and such), and they themselves do not follow the rules that we as citizens are mandated to follow. Sit in on courtrooms as I have and you will soon find that the guilty often get off easy while the innocent are abused by the process.

But if I broke a law worthy of incarceration? Well, to be fair, I would expect to be incarcerated for a period of time commensurate with the crime.

Horn: This question reminds me of one of my heroes in history, Nathan Hale. He was an American soldier during the Revolutionary War and widely considered America’s first spy. The 21-year-old was caught by the British and charged with espionage during the Battle of Long Island. In those days, punishment was swift. The Redcoats marched him to the hangman’s noose following the battle, but before they could silence this patriot, he gave an eloquent speech that included one of the most famous quotes in the history of the United States.

The patriot stared down his captors and said, “I only regret that I have but one life to give for this country.”

Next month is Memorial Day, when we honor those who have died serving our country. If I were to be punished for a crime, I would hope it would be for the same reason. Any punishment would be worth enduring if I knew I was standing up for my country.

Other campaigns:

Tracy Emblem and Francine Busby — both Democrats running for Rep. Brian Bilbray’s seat in Congressional District 51 — seem to be raking in the endorsements.

Recently, Emblem was endorsed by the California School Employees Association, while Busby was endorsed by the California Teachers Association. Split votes from the education sector? Well, SDNN staffer Steven Bartholow (who wrote his first “Political Sense” piece last Friday) said: “Those two are so similar, even the educators can’t tell the difference.” On the other hand, local Democratic leaders have noted the differences between the two candidates…check out what they said in this past SDNN article.

In other endorsement news, San Diego Councilmember Ben Hueso, who is running for State Assembly District 79, received the endorsement from the Equality California campaign.

Stephen Whitburn, who is running against Supervisor Ron Roberts in District 4, is turning Craigslist on Facebook. The former candidate for San Diego City Council posted on Facebook that he is in need of a second “phone banking location for most evenings” and anyone who can help can call Whitburn directly.

San Diego’s “Math Teacher of the Year” Kevin Beiser — who is running for the San Diego Unified School Board District B seat against Katherine Nakamura and Steve Rosen — is having a “SuperWalk” Saturday. The Superwalk will begin at his campaign headquarters at 10 a.m. and will be followed by a good ol’ BBQ.

Also on Saturday is the Asian Heritage Coalition Candidate Forum, featuring a bevy of Republican candidates for office including: Larry Breitfelder, who is running for Chula Vista City Council; Chula Vista Mayor Cheryl Cox, who is seeking a second term; Ed Gallo, who is running for Escondido City Council; all four candidates running for San Diego County Sheriff and many more! No seriously, many more. Check out the group’s website for details.

Assemblymember Mary Salas who is running for State Senate is teaming up with former San Diego Councilmember Toni Atkins who is running for State Assembly Saturday. The Democratic duo will have a precinct walk in Azalea Park at 10 a.m.

What you may have missed on SDNN:

Jason Everitt, who is running for Escondido City Council, had his first SDNN blog as a candidate published Monday. In the blog, Everitt writes that the “heart of Escondido” is on life support and proposes his ideas for revamping the city’s downtown area.

The San Diego County Republican Party joined its National Committee and the State Party in asking the Supreme Court to raise unlimited contributions from political parties.

Next week I’ll focus on one of three races listed in the poll below. And, for candidates and campaign managers — please keep me up-to-date by sending any new info to Politics(a) or start blogging for us!

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


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Campaign Corral: Politicos tackle LT’s departure

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

See original copy of story.

Americans are more than five weeks away from the June primaries and some races seem to be getting heated while others still seem non-existent.

Here’s your Tuesday lowdown with the details on races which have been sending info in for Campaign Corral. For those which haven’t sent in info, I’m sorry you didn’t send in info.

Let’s start with this week’s featured race…

Featured race — San Diego City Council District 6:

The nonpolitical question the candidates – Steve Hadley, Ryan Huckabone, Kim Tran, Howard Wayne and Lori Zapf – were asked the question: How will LaDainian Tomlinson’s departure impact the Chargers?

Here are three answers (Hadley didn’t respond):

Huckabone: I appreciate all that LT did for the Chargers during his career here, but his departure won’t have that much of an impact on the Charger’s offense. The transition to a pass-oriented offense means the Chargers aren’t utilizing their running backs like they did under coaches like Schottenheimer and Ross. Even if LT had stayed, he wouldn’t have realized the success he enjoyed early on in his career. The Charger’s run-blocking was horrible last season. While many people liken the new Charger’s offense to the Air Coryell teams of old, they need to remember that Air Coryell never played in a Super Bowl. I’d like to see the Chargers bring in a good young back through the draft and remind their offensive line how to run-block as well as pass-block. The departure of our offensive line’s run-blocking has had a larger impact on the Chargers than LT’s departure.

Tran: I do not even want to pretend that I know much, if anything about football. I do know that a lot of very large men spend a lot of time running up and down the field.

Given the hollering and screaming that emanates from our living room every Sunday during football season, I guess that LaDainian apparently does it a lot better than most.

I cannot really tell you what effect LaDainian’s absence will make as far as the team goes. I do know that LaDainian has a great reputation for being an outstanding role model for our children and his involvement in various San Diego charities such as his LT foundation and Amberwatch Foundation, which shows he cares deeply for our kids. I would say the more important question would be, what is the loss to the San Diego Community? To that I would say the loss will be great. I can only wish LT and his family the best of luck.

Wayne: LT is going to the Hall of Fame. For years he was the signature player for the Chargers and set the single-season record for most points and most touchdowns scored. That LT has been gone for the past two seasons. In 2008 he averaged a pedestrian 3.8 yards per carry, and last season was well under 1,000 yards.

The NFL game today features passing. Neither of the Super Bowl teams this year had great running backs, but both had superb quarterbacks. The Chargers will be well poised to contend if they can find an everyday running back who can keep them from being stereotyped as a pass-only team and can pick up the key yards in third and short.

The Chargers also need a nose tackle who can clog up the middle of the line and collapse the other team’s pocket, an offensive line that can run block better and an upgrade at cornerback.

If the Chargers can do all that – and stay healthy – LT will be a fond memory for a championship team.

Zapf: LT has contributed more than his football skills to San Diego. He has been an inspiration to San Diego’s children on and off the field. LT has been a tremendous role model, at a time when we definitely need them. His departure not only impacts the Chargers on the field, they also lose an outstanding ambassador of goodwill.

Across the campaigns:

Assemblymember Mary Salas, who is running against Juan Vargas and Bill Henry for the 40th Senate seat, seems to be getting endorsements each week. Her latest comes from the California Labor Federation.

The union’s executive secretary-treasurer Art Pulaski said he is proud CLF is endorsing the assemblymember.

“Mary is a leader in the efforts to protect the interests of working people,” he said. “We know she’ll fight every day to improve the lives of working families and will always stand up to the big banks and insurance companies that have made Sacramento a mess.”

Carl DeMaio, who spoke about the competition ballot initiative this morning on Mark Larson’s Show, raised $30,966 at his “MoneyBomb” fundraiser last Thursday. The new money now sets his campaign funds around $500,000 since starting his fundraising on Oct. 22. More money is expected to come in online, said DeMaio.

In other DeMaio news, the councilmember announced his endorsement for Carly Fiorina in her race to unseat Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

In the San Diego City Council District 8 race, Republican Adrian Vazquez posted a confident Facebook status update:

“Contemplating on how great it is going to be to win the District 8 seat. Yes we can, Yes we can, Yes we can Contemplando en lo maravilloso que va a hacer ganar el asiento del Distrito 8. Sí se puede, Sí se puede, Sí se puede.”

The candidate also posted photos of his latest meeting with the San Diego County Republican Party and is one of two Republicans running for the seat (the other being Lincoln Pickard).

Also advertising on Facebook is Kristi Stone, who is running for the 38th Senate seat against Mark Wyland. She has labeled herself the “Freedom Czar” and said she attended one of the many Tea Party protests on April 15. Mike Paster, who is running against Rep. Darrell Issa, commented on her comment, stating “Good Times!”

Retired sheriff Bill Koleander announced his endorsement for Robert Faigin for Chula Vista City Attorney, who is running against Glen Gloogins.

In a letter to voters, Koleander wrote, “You may be asking yourself right now, ‘Why do I care about the race for Chula Vista City Attorney?’ Well, as we all know from past experiences in the City of San Diego, the wrong City Attorney can virtually grind a city to a halt. Robert Faigin is the right choice for Chula Vista City Attorney. “

On the subject of sheriffs, the University Club will host its next “Distinguished Speaker Series” on Friday featuring the three candidates running to be the county’s next sheriff. Jim Duffy, Jay LaSuer and Sheriff Bill Gore are all expected to participate.

Congressional candidate Nick Popaditch and state Senate candidate Greg Stephens are participating in Sweetwater Harley-Davidson’s “Freedom Rally” Saturday. The rally will begin at 3 p.m. at 3201 Hoover Ave. in National City. Popaditch is running against Rep. Bob Filner in the 51st District and Stephens is running against Michael Metti, Joel Anderson and Jeff Stone in the 36th District.

Last week at SDNN:

In election-related news featured on SDNN last week, Supervisor Bill Horn and San Diego City Council District 6 candidate Lorie Zapf participated in an anti-tax “Had Enough” rally. The rally attracted about 100 protestors and Carly Fiorina supporters and blasted the federal and state governments for “overspending.” Zapf even went as far as to say Americans spent more on taxes than food, shelter and clothing combined. What did an SDSU professor think of her remark? Click on the article to find out.

The conservative political action committee announced their endorsements against “activist judges” a couple weeks ago. Find out who they endorsed in last week’s article.

Finally, SDNN published my Q&A with political consultant Tom Shepard, aka “Mayor Maker.” He spilled his beans (or as much as a political consultant can) in a half-hour interview. Check out his answers to my questions here.

Next week I’ll focus on one of three races listed in the poll below. And, for candidates and campaign managers – please keep me up-to-date by sending any new info to Politics(a) or start blogging for us!

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


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Protesters, Fiorina say they’ve ‘had enough’ this Tax Day

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on April 15, 2010.

See original copy of story.

Hundreds of angry San Diego taxpayers protested federal and state governments “overspending” Thursday.

More than 10 countywide anti-tax rallies and protests were planned, one organized by local and state officials on the San Diego harbor.

County Supervisor Bill Horn, City Councilmember Carl DeMaio, California Republican Chair Ron Nehring and City Council candidate Lori Zapf hosted an anti-tax protest featuring Carly Fiorina, the primary opponent of Sen. Barbara Boxer’s re-election campaign.

The five politicos had support from about 100 protesters carrying signs that read, “Don’t tax me, bro” and “Had enough.” Some carried signs that read, “Carly for California” signs, but most sent a clear message to the federal government: “We want a different type of change.”

“I don’t have change in my pocket and that’s because I just paid my taxes,” Horn told the crowd. “Washington is wasting our money and change is coming.”

Others shared a similar sentiment. Zapf said she is “so alarmed at what’s going at every level of our government.”

Zapf also said Americans pay more in taxes than they do for food, clothing and shelter combined.

“Government is a service provider not an employment agency,” she said. “We need to reform.”

Zapf’s concerns were reiterated by Colette Hessler. Hessler, a native of France who has lived in the U.S. since 1952, said she was a very conservative Republican and “proud of it.”

“I don’t want them to print any more money,” she said. “I don’t want more hidden taxes. I just don’t want this president anymore.”

Hessler, who was accompanied by her husband at the protest, said the two had to pay more this year in income taxes. Though the couple would not give an exact dollar amount, they estimate it’s between 6 to 10 percent more.

But the increase in taxes isn’t by the Obama Administration, pointed out San Diego State University political science professor Bryan Adams.

Adams said income taxes paid this year are a reflection of the Bush Administration and Americans will see what kind of hit President Barack Obama makes next year.

Adams also disregarded Zapf’s comments that Americans paid more in taxes compared to shelter, clothing and food combined.

“Look at it this way,” he said. “The average American spends about a third of their income on housing, add the total taxes paid…it doesn’t equal up properly. It could be true for very wealthy individuals since the wealthier you are, the more taxes you pay but for the middle class, that is not true.”

Adams did say that the recent health care reform plan will implement new taxes, though it could benefit some Americans.

According to data supplied by Adams’ colleague Ron King, “federal taxation as share of GDP has been quite stable since 1960, except for the dramatic recession effect this year.” Additionally, “payroll taxes are now almost equal to income taxes as a percentage of federal revenues.”

The latest budget figures from 2008 showed the federal government collected $2.5 trillion, and federal revenue ranged from 14.4 to 20.9 percent of GDP, according to the Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution.

Though the event was labeled as the anti-tax “Had Enough,” attendees and politicos heavily campaigned for a senate seat for former Hewlett-Packard Company CEO Fiorina.

“The state of our government is in despair,” DeMaio said. “Our taxpayers deserve better… we need better leadership and on this Tax Day, I’m proud to urge you to send Carly Fiorina to Washington.”

In turn, Fiorina spoke heavily about Boxer while pointing out her and other leaders with similar viewpoints are to blame for the projected $1.75 trillion deficit facing the U.S.

“We are members of the ‘Had Enough,’” Fiorina told attendees. “We’ve had enough.”

Three attempts to reach Sen. Barbara Boxer and her press office for comment were unsuccessful. Hoa Quach is the political editor for the San Diego News Network.


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