Roundtable: Food Stamp Cuts; Navy Bribery Scandal; Mayoral Race
Friday, November 15, 2013
Megan Burks, KPBS News
Tony Perry, L.A. Times
Sandhya Dirks, KPBS News
Food Stamps Cut
If the $1.57 per meal, per person, in food stamp aid your family of four had been receiving was suddenly cut to $1.40 per meal, per person, what would you do?
You would make a lot of painful decisions. Buy food? Pay rent? Buy gas? Fill up on cheap junk instead of the more expensive healthy food?
Of the estimated 450,000 San Diegans living below the poverty line, 270,000 of them receive food stamp aid. That aid was cut by five percent this month when a federal stimulus expired. They and the four million other Californians who currently receive food stamps will now have to get by on $36 less each month.
Advocates say this reduction will make it much more difficult for a family to make it to the end of the month without going to a food bank. In San Diego County, a food bank can generally give a family of four about three days worth of food. The cuts will also affect merchants, like those in the City Heights Farmers’ Market, the first farmers’ market in the county — and one of the first in the U.S. — to take food stamps, or EBT.
Navy Bribery Scandal
A rare bribery scandal in the U.S. Navy has ensnared two admirals, both involved in intelligence, an NCIS agent and four others. Five have already been charged in a San Diego federal court.
The scandal revolves around Leonard Glenn Francis and his company Glenn Defense Marine Asia, which services ships in several far eastern ports. Naval personnel are charged with directing ships to ports where Francis had operations. Francis, whose moniker is "Fat Leonard," allegedly supplied food, fuel and repairs at grossly inflated rates, in effect ripping off the U.S. Navy and American taxpayers for tens of millions of dollars. In return, navy officers received lavish gifts, trips, money and prostitutes.
The two admirals have not been charged with bribery, but with "inappropriate conduct."
Mayoral Race Winds Down
The San Diego mayoral primary race has been relatively short and relatively expensive. The candidates and their independent committees raised more than $4 million, which they used on countless mailers, robo-calls and television advertisements.
They also engaged in numerous debates and forums.
With the election next week, it's looking like the real race is for second place. Most polling has Republican Kevin Faulconer leading. Depending on the poll, either Democrats Nathan Fletcher or David Alvarez will survive the primary to run in the general election. Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre is not given much of chance.
The Barrio Logan Community Plan, passed by the San Diego City Council, remains one of the biggest issues in the campaign. Faulconer is opposed to the plan on grounds that it will cost the community maritime jobs. Alvarez, who helped craft the plan, is obviously in favor. Fletcher is optimistic that a compromise can be reached, but has not provided specifics.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Health Coalition has filed a lawsuit against the maritime industry claiming it lied during its signature-gathering campaign for a referendum against the plan.