Roundtable: Congressional Debate, Dueling Water Boards, Big Kitschy Statue
Friday, March 16, 2012
Aired 3/16/12 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Guests: Christopher Cadelago, UT-San Diego
JW August, managing editor, 10News
Roger Showley, growth and development writer, UT-San Diego
Special Feature KPBS Election Coverage
Debate: Meeting in the KPBS studios for a debate in what is nationally a hyper-partisan, take-no-prisoners political season, each of the three top candidates for the 52nd Congressional District seat challenged the others in a civil manner.
Port Commissioner Scott Peters and former Assembly Member Lori Saldana, both Democrats, went after Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray on regulation of gas prices, a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, the federal Affordable Health Care Act, access to birth control, and the Citizens United Supreme Court decision allowing very large contributions to SuperPACs.
When asked a series of yes-no questions by moderator Joanne Faryon, Bilbray and Saldana said they were part of the 99 percent; Saldana and Peters support same-sex marriage; and none supports legalizing marijuana (Saldana does for medicinal purposes).
Although there are several others vying for this seat, the KPBS debate featured only the candidates with 10 percent or above favorability ratings among voters.
SDCWA vs MWD: San Diego County’s escalating water rates will climb another 11 percent unless the San Diego County Water Authority prevails in a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Water District, the largest water supplier in Southern California.
San Diego charges that a “secret society” or “shadow government” made up of MWD members from other counties are manipulating rates and conspiring to rip-off San Diegans in order to reduce their own expenses.
The society, says the SDCWA, charges membership fees, pays consultants and explicitly excludes San Diego. The MWD responded that there is no such society. Meetings between staffers with common interests, it says, were not “backroom” meetings and didn’t violate the Brown Act.
Unconditional Surrender: The very first project of the newly revitalized Public Art Committee of the Port of San Diego was to weigh the merits of a bronze version of the big statue known as "Unconditional Surrender" according to the Port's own rules and decide if it should reside on the waterfront.
The committee said no. The Port overruled them. Committee members quit. The committee had been beefed up with arts professionals who used the Port’s revamped rules for accepting works into its public-art collection. The committee members noted that the Port had a “lofty master plan and went against it almost immediately.” The Port must raise almost $1 million to construct the statue.