Roundtable: San Diego Election News; Not Much Middle-Class Housing; Suing Hillary Clinton
Friday, August 12, 2016
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Ballot big on propositions but short one council race
This week the San Diego City Council decided to include in the sample ballot for city voters the full text of two initiatives regarding a convention center annex and downtown Chargers stadium.
That's a big deal. Literally.
The Chargers’ initiative is 119 pages long, while the Citizens' Plan initiative runs a mere 77 pages. And there are 10 other city initiatives, 17 state initiatives and several county measures, one of them to increase the sales tax to fund transportation.
That’s a lot of paper.
Including the full text of the two Chargers-related measures will cost the city at least $1 million that had not been included in the election budget.
The City Council could have opted to include shorter summaries in the voters pamphlet and make the full text easily available elsewhere. The Chargers didn't object to using summaries. Cory Briggs, author of the Citizens' Plan, was reportedly concerned about bias in the summary language.
The city could still save money if it chooses to mail one pamphlet to each household, rather than each voter in each household.
The ballot will be somewhat less heavy in one area, however, as Republican Ray Ellis announced Friday morning he dropped out of the race for the City Council District 1 seat, leaving it to Democrat Barbara Bry. The district includes Carmel Valley, La Jolla and University City.
Ellis' departure means the Democrats will keep their majority on the City Council.
Middle-Income homeownership endangered
The numbers are depressing and alarming: Since 2000, rents in San Diego County have increased 32 percent, while wages decreased 2 percent.
At least half of San Diego renters now pay more than one-third of their income in rent, and more than 70 percent are priced out of the housing market.
Housing experts with the San Diego Association of Governments believe the region has the space and capacity to meet the area’s housing needs, 325,000 units by 2050, or 11,000 to 12,000 new units a year.
But 11,000 housing permits have not been issued in the county in a single year since 2005. And, although 10,000 units were produced last year, the vast majority of them are priced at over $500,000. From 2003 to 2010, 152 percent of the housing built was for above-average earners.
That leaves the middle class with no place to call home.
Some reasons cited for these conditions include regulations which drive up the cost of construction thereby making lower-cost housing less profitable and lack of incentives to build housing for middle-income families.
Suing Hillary Clinton over Benghazi
Patricia Smith, the San Diego woman whose son was killed in a 2012 raid on the American Embassy in Benghazi, Libya, has filed suit in federal court against Hillary Clinton for wrongful death, defamation and negligence.
Charles Woods of Portland, Oregon, whose son Tyrone was also killed, joined the suit.
Their attorney is Larry Klayman, founder of the ultra-conservative Freedom Watch organization. Klayman, a former federal prosecutor, has also recently filed lawsuits against President Barack Obama, the Rev. Al Sharpton and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Several legal analysts say the suit has no chance of success but is designed to inflict political damage.
Republicans have used the Benghazi raid, when four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed by Islamic militants, to question Clinton's role in the incident and its aftermath.
The State Department, CIA, and Department of Defense were sharply criticized by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of Vista devoted major resources of the Government Oversight Committee to Benghazi hearings.
The plaintiffs claim Clinton’s negligence killed their sons and that she called Smith and Woods liars, directly or indirectly.
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