Saturday, October 6, 2012
This week brought two new ground-shakers in San Diego’s tight mayoral race.
The first is that Congressman Bob Filner has missed 14 times more votes this year than the other San Diego-area congress members combined. KPBS and I-Newsource reported Filner missed 353 out of 602 votes this year, or 59 percent.
An I-Newsource investigation last year found that much of Filner’s legislation helped individuals instead of working to change laws or create a bigger impact on the border in his district. And while Filner had sponsored more bills than any other San Diego-area representative, very few ended up becoming law.
Filner’s mayoral rival, City Councilman Carl DeMaio, quickly attacked Filner’s voting record, saying at a news conference Thursday that "Congressman Bob Filner has failed to do his job in Congress.” Filner defended himself by pointing out his stellar voting record through 2010—96.7 percent, he said. And he recorded a web video with a simple explanation for why he’s missed votes: He’s running for mayor.
DeMaio had some unpleasant news of his own to contend with this week. It was born out of a KPBS/I-Newsource investigation published last week about U-T San Diego’s attempt to push through its vision for the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, including a football stadium. You can catch up on all the details here, but as a quick overview: U-T CEO John Lynch wrote in an email that he’s made “significant progress with one of the mayoral candidates” regarding his plan. Both DeMaio and Filner said they are not that candidate. We sent a Public Records Act Request to DeMaio asking for all communication between him and Manchester and Lynch, and DeMaio’s staff responded saying they found none. During KPBS’ mayoral debate Monday, DeMaio reiterated this claim, saying he had taken “a meeting” with U-T San Diego’s editorial board (who endorsed him for mayor). He also had a funny thing to say about Lynch’s now infamous email: it “probably was making some claims that are not grounded in reality."
I-Newsource looked at all the leases on the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal, talked with port supporters and opponents, maritime experts, and dozens of employees and small business owners affected by what happens on that land. What follows is a look at the terminal from all angles
But this week, a source (not Lisbeth Salander) gave I-Newsource a copy of DeMaio’s personal calendar, which shows he had appointments with Manchester in December and in May. DeMaio said he did not release information about these meetings when we requested it because they were campaign-related.
Don’t get too bogged down in the he-said, he-said, who-met-with-whom of all this (unless you want to, of course). The big picture we are trying to look at is what interests might be influencing future leaders of the city. If powerful people like Manchester and Lynch are taking meetings with our politicians, we feel the public should know about it. We will continue to explore these issues, and if you have thoughts or information to share, feel free to contact us.
Other Stories This Week
Ordinances to allow medical marijuana dispensaries are on the ballot in four cities. We took this look at the supporters and opponents, including this medical marijuana user who dresses in a snappy suit. We also talked to U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy about Mexican cartels that are trafficking prescription drugs, and took the opportunity to ask how she would handle these cities if their medipot laws pass. She said her obligation is to enforce federal law by “addressing retail marijuana businesses.” Listen to her full interview here.
We also took a look at another state proposition that would change the “Three Strikes” law, which hands down lengthy prison sentences for people who break the law three times. Our report includes the story of one family who would be affected if the law changes.
KPBS will be bringing you more stories and explainers on all the state propositions over the coming weeks, so stay tuned.
Everyone thinks of the presidential race when they plan their voting for November. That race is of course extremely important, but there are also lots of local and state races and propositions to follow. To help you sort through it all, we give you the KPBS Voter Guide. It includes text and links for every single candidate and proposition no matter where you live in San Diego County, and also gives links to recent KPBS stories about the major races. We hope you find it useful.