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Roundtable: Local Pols On Comey, Labor Split-up, Returning Seized Funds

Comey Firing, Labor Split, Asset Forfeiture


Chris Jennewein,

Scott Lewis, Voice of San Diego

Joshua Stewart, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Ricky Young, The San Diego Union-Tribune



The Story

The reactions of California legislators to the firing of FBI Director James Comey fell along party lines.

Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, immediately called for a special prosecutor to oversee the FBI's ongoing investigation into Russian influence on the election. Fellow Democrat Sen. Dianne Feinstein said the memo recommending Comey's firing "reads like a political document ... hastily assembled to justify a preordained outcome." Feinstein has also said the nominee to replace Comey would receive a fair hearing in the Senate.

On the Republican side of the House, Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Vista, said he'd been unhappy with Comey for some time, while Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, as of Friday morning had not issued any statement.

All three congressional Democrats weighed in, with Scott Peters expressing the most outrage.

The Conversation

–What do the differing reactions of Harris and Feinstein say about their careers, their style?

–Issa is thought to be vulnerable. Will his reaction help or hurt him?

RELATED: Feinstein, Harris Reactions to Comey Firing a Study in Contrasts

RELATED: San Diego Representatives React To Trump Firing FBI Director Comey


The Story

The AFL-CIO this week removed the leaders of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council and essentially took it over.

Several large locals, including United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) Local 135 and Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 221, left the SDICLC — PDQ.

They formed their own group, the San Diego Working Families Council (SDWFC) and put the ousted leaders, Mickey Kasparian, president of Local 135, and Dale Bankhead, secretary of SDICLC, in charge ASAP.

At a press conference Tuesday, Kasparian stated the AFL-CIO takeover was in reaction to his group’s planned breakaway, which, he said, was caused by a longtime clash of egos.

He refused to address the three pending lawsuits against him but did note that the new coalition would be powerful in its support of candidates for office.

The Conversation

–How influential are local labor unions in San Diego politics?

–Are the two councils equal in numbers and influence?


The story

Fifteen months ago, drug agents raided James Slatic’s Kearny Mesa licensed medical marijuana business.

The agents seized all his inventory, records and cash, and eventually seized the funds in his and his family’s personal bank accounts.

No charges were filed, but the San Diego County District Attorney's office kept the Slatics’ assets — more than $100,000 — for over a year. Slatic’s lawyer said the case was about “policing for profit” to boost the budget in the District Attorney's office.

A new state law in effect since January said officials can no longer keep cash and property valued at less than $40,000 without obtaining a criminal conviction.

A spokesman at first said the DA’s office might appeal, but on Thursday, said they would take no action.

The Conversation

–If Slatic's business was legal, why the raid?

–What is the legal basis for keeping seized assets when charges are not filed?

RELATED: DA ordered to return money to medical marijuana distributor and family

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