Filing Snafu May Jeopardize Grosch’s Term Limits Effort

FireShot Screen Capture #011 - 'Filing Snafu May Jeopardize Grosch's Term Limits Effort - Government - Poway, CA Patch' - poway_patch_com_groups_politics-and-elections_p_poway-city-council-term-limitsThis story was reported for Patch on Dec. 23, 2011.

The effort to place term limits on a 2012 ballot may be in jeopardy due to a possible error in the filing, Councilman Dave Grosch said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Grosch, who led the Term Limits Committee, told Powegians that he resubmitted the petition on Tuesday after certain required papers were not included in the original filing.

“If there was an error in this, it was an error made by me,” he said during council-initiated items.

According to city laws, the petition required a “Notice of Intent to Circulate Petition” and an “Initiative Measure to be Submitted Directly to the Voters” on each page of the petition. When the committee failed to attach the papers to each page on Monday, the City Clerk notified Grosch that the petition was rejected.

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2 Poway Officials—City Attorney and Redevelopment Services Director—Resign on Same Day

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This story was reported for Patch on Feb. 16, 2011.

Lisa Foster, city attorney, and Dena Fuentes, director of redevelopment services, both resigned from their positions Monday.

Both women have worked with the city since 2006.

Though both resignations coincided, City Manager Penny Riley said they are unrelated and that city business will not be affected.

The position held by Foster—who contracted with the city through the firm McDougal, Love, Eckis, Boehmer and Foley, of which she is a partner—will be discussed at the Feb. 22 City Council meeting. Riley said the city will continue to contract with the firm and the City Council will interview prospects in a closed-door meeting.

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

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Mayor’s Office releases public records 8 months after requested

This story was reported for the San Diego News Network on June 3, 2010.

See original copy of story.

Good news — or, just one of those “gosh, finally” moments: After waiting for more than eight months, the office of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders finally released public records to San Diego News Network. To be exact, it has been eight months and 17 days.

The request, filed on Sept. 15, 2009, asked for correspondence between a former employee (Anna Daneggar) in the city of San Diego’s business office and employees of consulting company Grant Thornton.

After a series of e-mails, phone calls and one letter from legal counselor Terry Francke of Californians Aware — a nonprofit organization devoted to upholding the First Amendment — Sanders’ office released the records Wednesday.

According to the city’s Administrative Regulation of Public Records, San Diego seeks to comply with the California Public Records Act. The Act requires that requests must be replied to by government officials within 10 days. There is, however, no consequence for government officials should they not abide by the state law.

The city’s regulation also notes that “Department Heads are responsible for determining whether a City record should be released….” In this case, spokesperson Darren Pudgil said the mayor’s office took the lead role because “the city’s communications staff serves as the media’s one-stop shop for information about the city, facilitating requests for facts, interviews, statements or public records.”

This has been the case for years, he said.

So why did it take the mayor’s office eight months and 17 days to fulfill this request? Pudgil didn’t respond to my questions but to be fair, the documents came in a big box that weighed about 25 pounds.

In the past, SDNN also filed a request for or e-mails, memos, and other correspondence related to the preparation of the FY 2010-11 Five Year Forecast between the CFO, COO and Deputy Chief for Legislative and Community Affairs. The request was filed on Sept. 25, 2009 and was fulfilled on Nov. 2, 2009 by the Mayor’s Office. In total, 12 pages of correspondence was released with the city’s five year outlook released on Oct. 1, 2009.

The records — which we’ll review — were requested after we became interested in the relationship between the city, which hired a former Grant Thornton employee who then later resigned, and the company itself who was hired to assist San Diego implement its managed competition program, which has yet to take full-force.

Check out past stories on our inquiry and we’ll let you know in the coming days what the documents we’ve been waiting months for entail.

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

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Recall will damage Rexford’s career regardless of outcome

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

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The recall of former California Gov. Gray Davis in 2003 tanked his political career. In stark contrast, though, the attempted recall of now-Sen. Dianne Feinstein in 1984, when she was mayor of San Francisco, boosted her civic profile.

Despite the latter example of political perseverance, locals say the recall attempt against Poway Councilmember Betty Rexford will crush any future desires she may have in elected office, whether the effort is successful or not.

“She has so many issues surrounding her and the recall has brought it to the forefront,” said San Diego State University political science professor Brian Adams. “It’s a gamble, but chances are this will damage her career even if she stayed in office.”

Rexford is fighting a recall effort that Poway citizens will vote on in the June 8 primary. Should she be removed from City Council, she would be replaced with one of eight candidates vying for a seat.

The councilmember was pressured to resign and has faced criticism since residents claim she used her role as an elected official to interfere with building plans in her neighborhood last year. The claim led to a lawsuit, which forced the city to spend about $500,000 in legal fees.

Though it’s unclear what the outcome of the litigation will be, locals say Rexford’s career in the political arena is over.

Recalls that San Diegans have voted on have been rare. Since the gubernatorial recall in 2003, there have been only four other recalls in the county, according to the Registrar of Voters: the 2005 recall of a Rainbow Municipal Water District director; the 2007 recall of the Potrero Community Planning Area members; the 2009 recall of a Rainbow Municipal Water District ordinance; and the 2009 recall of an Oceanside councilmember.

Adams — who noted how rare recalls are, not just in the region, but throughout the Golden State — said the consequences of a recall vary, despite the apparent outcome of an elected official losing his or her seat. With a small city like Poway, whose population is about 48,044 according to the 2000 U.S. Census, the result could be damaging to Rexford’s career, given the fact that thousands of signatures have been collected to support the recall, said Adams.

“There’s an interesting dynamic in the city of Poway,” he said. “Turnout is generally fairly low in the primary, but the recall support seems great. At this point, the recall has already been successful enough to hurt her future chances of office.”

Gary Jacobson, political science professor at UC San Diego, shared Adams’ thoughts.

“If she survives the recall, it’s unlikely she’ll go on to greater things,” Jacobson said.

Steve Vaus, a candidate for Rexford’s seat who is leading the recall effort, said he feels “quite confident” the recall will succeed. Vaus added that Rexford “violated the trust of the people.”

Janette Littler, a San Diego-based GOP consultant, agreed that the recall would be successful.

“Recalls are very hard to accomplish, but I suspect that Betty Rexford will never again be an elected official,” she said. “The only question we should ask is, ‘Who will be fulfilling her seat next?’”

Betty Rexford declined an interview request. 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.

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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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