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Home / Articles / Opinion / Spin Cycle /  Happy birthday to me
. . . .
Tuesday, Mar 25, 2008

Happy birthday to me

I'm turning 49, and local politicos have given me some fabulous gifts.

By John R. Lamb

A birthday bonus!“Middle age is when you choose your cereal for the fiber, not the toy.”—Unknown“Politics is the gizzard of society, full of gut and gravel.”—Henry David ThoreauAwww, folks, you shouldn’t have. No really, you didn’t have to go to such trouble. Surprised? Of course I’m surprised!

On birthdays such as these (and in this case, I mean the one just before you hit a half-century), it goes beyond words to know there are people out there who really care whether “my day” is special.

Bill Horn! Oh, Billy, you’ve gone and become San Diego County’s Barry Goldwater and John Muir all wrapped in one! I’m speechless (as is just about everybody else over your sudden lean toward the kind of green that doesn’t involve a few Benjamins). Even your GOP buddies are blown away by your call to buy and preserve North County’s 21,000-plus-acre Rancho Guejito in all of its pristine natural glow.

Now, part of me says, Come on, Bill’s got to have a dog in this hunt. Maybe he doesn’t want countless cookie-cutter tract homes mucking up his view from that Valley Center avocado ranch he calls casa. Yeah, selfish. That sounds more like Bill.

And Horn’s about as far removed from tree-hugger status as anybody in the county—after all, you don’t earn a nickname like “Bulldozer Bill” planting daisies and getting all weepy about undeveloped land. So, it’s suddenly all about a pony ride with the now-deceased landowner, old man Coates, who professed his desire that the ranch remain virgin. Well—sniff—how utterly beautiful, man. Sniff. I’m touched.

If all it takes is a pony ride, I propose we get busy setting up plans for Horn to saddle up with a homeless senior or mentally disturbed street inhabitant. Heck, who knows what kind of birthday this could turn out to be.

Speaking of GOP buddies, what the heck is going on over there at local Republican Party Central? What? Open the present? Oh, OK!

Why, it seems some party faithful are beginning to wonder about their leader, a Swedish chap by the name of Tony Krvaric. His story is probably similar to other foreign folks who one day see the GOP light: Hear Ronald Reagan give a speech, swear to self to get to America to live the dream, get here, start living the dream. Cha-ching!

Christmas seems a particularly special time for Mr. Krvaric, a financial consultant by trade when he’s not doing whatever a local party chairman does. I’m guessing a ton of cocktail parties.

Well, one anonymous tipster to Spin Cycle who claims to be a Central Committee member has accused Krvaric of allegedly using GOP resources (the party's Oberlin Drive headquarters and local GOP interns) to hand-inscribe Christmas cards for his personal financial-consulting business last year.

Of course, in the world of anonymity, this tipster could be anybody, and his/her information could be as worthless as a Fox News commentary, but the supposed Central Committee member told Spin Cycle that Krvaric was on holiday in his native Sweden when interns were employed to hand-sign, address and mail the holiday cards for his consulting business, as well as those in his capacity as chairman of the county’s Republican Party.

“At the time, it seemed pretty weird,” said the tipster, who added that Krvaric, a notoriously quick e-mail responder, hasn’t responded to questions about the episode, which Spin Cycle officially now dubs “Cardgate.”

Jonathan Buettner, chief operating officer of the San Diego GOP, denied the allegations and suggested that some Central Committee members are still irked about the local party’s early reelection endorsement of San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders.

“I was asked to address Christmas cards for Tony’s friends, not his clients,” Buettner told Spin Cycle.Krvaric, whom Spin Cycle wasn’t able to reach by press time, was the handpicked successor to local GOP chairman Ron Nehring, who moved up to the state chairmanship in February 2007. Nehring was recently in the news when it was discovered that a Canadian political operative he had hired as deputy political director for the California Republican Party was fired for violating immigration laws.

Funny thing. This Christopher Matthews character apparently got into legal hot water for working for a second employer, that being the San Diego County Republican Party.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported in early March that the state GOP considered hiring Matthews a lawyer, but that plan was chucked when “other party leaders argued that spending money to defend Matthews could subject state GOP officials—who have often been outspoken in their criticism of illegal immigration—to charges of hypocrisy.”

Ha, ha, ha. Oh my, sometimes birthdays can be so energizing! Thanks, GOP, you always know just what I want! More infighting!

And speaking of hypocrisy, how is it that those nutty editorial writers over at the Union-Tribune seem so unaware of their constant slipping on the banana peel of irony?

Last Saturday, two editorials sat side by side, one boo-hooing the “needless rancor” over proposed parking meters for La Jolla and the other a call to make it more difficult for residents to preserve their historic homes.

Ah, yes. “Parking meters would compromise the village character of La Jolla,” one editorial declares in a sky-is-falling tone. “Limit the number of structures that meet the same historic criteria to the most exemplary of them. The 100-plus Craftsman homes already designated, for instance, seem more than enough,” yawns the other.

Cripes, folks. Are we at the point now where village character gets defined by people who clearly prefer the La Jolla model—perhaps even live there, eh, Bob Kittle?—to the older mid-city neighborhoods that feel just as village-y but also happen to be where developers want to bulldoze to make way for “City of Villages” clones?

Here’s the greatest gift you can give. Get involved in your community. Meet your neighbors. Go to meetings. Yeah, sometimes they’re as dull as dishwater, but you need to stay on top of things. Just look at La Jolla—they just scared away the Boogie Meter Man. And the U-T is right there with ’em.But if you think San Diego could use more beige stucco boxes instead of historic Craftsmans, well, you too have a friend in the U-T. Now, if that doesn’t get you out of your way-too-cozy Barco-Lounger, then maybe nothing will. Birthdays, bah!    

Got a tip for a 49-year-old skeptic? Let Spin Cycle know at