San Diego School Board
Before the June primary election, we endorsed incumbent John Lee Evans for the Sub-District A seat on the San Diego Unified School District’s Board of Education and Marne Foster for Sub-District E. They made it through the primary and are facing Mark Powell and Bill Ponder, respectively. We’ve been presented with no new information that causes us to change direction.We’re not without concerns about a union-friendly board, but our concerns about Ponder and Powell swinging the board toward privatization are greater. We’re sticking with Evans and Foster.
U.S. House and Senate
San Diego County has five congressional seats on the ballot, but none are more significant than the District 52 race, which, due to the periodic redrawing of the boundaries, has become one of the key national battlegrounds for control of the House of Representatives. In the primary, we endorsed Democrat Scott Peters, a port commissioner and former San Diego City Council member, and we confidently urge you to vote for him again.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Brian Bilbray is trying to court moderate voters by highlighting his interest in renewable energy and environmental protection. At the same time, he’s also pandering to the Tea Party, particularly on immigration issues. Both groups will find themselves betrayed if Bilbray’s reelected: His loyalty belongs to a small group of business interests. Even the briefest glimpse at this session’s bills (none of which have passed) reveals that he’s not working for his constituents, but rather for a few health-supply companies, renewable-energy firms, golf-club manufacturers and the organizers of the America’s Cup. He’s proved himself malleable on his other values, too, whether it’s flip-flopping on reproductive rights or protecting pork while calling for belt-tightening.
We’ve had our issues with Peters during his time on the council, but his calm demeanor, sharp intellect, keen understanding of law, bipartisan appeal and negotiation skills would be a welcome change at the nation’s capitol. The most crucial reason: Democrats need to seize the majority in the House.
And, seniors, be assured, the only cuts Peters wants to make to Social Security and Medicare are the costs—despite Bilbray’s intellectually dishonest video editing to the contrary.
The remaining races are foregone conclusions, but we’re only going to endorse in two of them. In District 50, Democrat David Secor has no shot, but we love his progressive ideals about as much as we love his bowler hat, so he has our support over incumbent numbskull Rep. Duncan Hunter. In District 53, Rep. Susan Davis has her reelection locked down and, while she’s generally a touch too hawkish a Democrat for our taste, we want her to trounce Nick Popaditch so badly that he decides to sit out 2014.
In District 51, Democrat Juan Vargas is going to win handily in part because of the heavily Democratic and Hispanic makeup of the district, but also because the Republican candidate Michael Crimmins hasn’t even won the support of his own party. We like Crimmins because his very name makes local GOP boss Tony Krvaric’s asshole tighten, but that’s not enough to overlook his anti-gay, anti-abortion, Tea Party platform. At the same time, we also know that while Vargas is pro-labor, he’s also in the tank the insurance and financial industries. We can’t in good conscience give our endorsement to either candidate.
That leaves District 49, where Rep. Darrell Issa is going to win reelection, no question. Normally, we’d just automatically endorse his opponent to spite him, but this time the Democrat—Jerry Tetalman—has us a little nervous. See, Tetalman wrote a book called One World Democracy, in which he advocates trading national sovereignty for global government. That’s not something this paper is prepared to get behind. Meanwhile, Issa’s two years as the House Oversight Committee chairman haven’t been all bad; without him, the nefarious anti-privacy bill known as SOPA would likely have passed. So, we’ve decided not to oppose Issa’s reelection.
While we’re at it, we’re also endorsing Sen. Dianne Feinstein for reelection—not that she needs it with her 20-plus point advantage in the polls. While we don’t agree with her on several key issues (including intelligence-gathering policies), and we wish she’d debated her challenger, the fact remains that she is a lifelong champion of progressive causes and a key Democratic vote in the Senate. That’s enough for us.
To sum it all up, we want you to check the box for David Secor in the U.S. House 50th, Scott Peters in the 52nd and Susan Davis in the 53rd, and we’re cool with you leaving the ballot blank in the 51st and 49th. But everyone should vote for Dianne Feinstein for U.S. Senate.
State Senate, District 39
We’re not always fans of Assemblymember Marty Block’s tough-on-crime posturing, but this last legislative session, Block has impressed us in other ways. He took the lead when San Diego Unified needed legislation to avoid sending out pink slips, led hearings in response to the Occupy-related pepper spraying at UC Davis and ushered in new measures making it easier for the district attorney to respond to public-records requests. Give Marty Block a promotion to the state Senate in District 39.
In the primary, our top candidate for Assembly District 79 came in dead last but we also said we’d be pleased as punch if Dr. Shirley Weber made it to the general election. Well, she did, and we endorse the educator and community organizer not only for her experience, but also because it’s about damn time San Diego’s African-American community sent a representative to Sacramento.
Also in the primary, we endorsed former San Diego City Councilmember Brian Maienschein as a strategic move to edge out Bill Horn clone Dustin Steiner. With that mission accomplished, we rescind our endorsement of Maienschein because he’s still exhibiting the absenteeism that plagued the latter part of his council term. To keep our endorsement, all Maienschein had to do was explain how his experience as the United Way’s commissioner of the Plan to End Chronic Homelessness would inform his actions in Sacramento. No response. Instead, we’re stamping our seal of approval on Democrat R.J. Hernandez, an energetic young businessman who, unfortunately, doesn’t have a hope in hell of winning.
In the remaining Assembly races, we reaffirm our primary endorsements. Even though Democrat Patrick Hurley made an ass of himself at our table at Golden Hall on election night, we still prefer him to the Christian right incumbent in District 71, Brian Jones. In District 75, Marie Waldron is still the worst human being on the ballot, so we endorse veteran and software programmer Matthew Herold. Even though he’s a Republican, Rocky Chavez has demonstrated a commitment to bipartisanship on issues related to the arts, homelessness, climate change and veterans and he retains our endorsement in district 76. In Assembly Districts 78 and 80, we endorse incumbents Toni Atkins and Ben Hueso for reelection.
In summary, our picks are Patrick Hurley, Matthew Herold, Rocky Chavez, R.J. Hernandez, Toni Atkins, Shirley Weber and Ben Hueso.