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Archive for the ‘The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal’ Category

Regulate This!

Friday, February 13, 2015

San Diego City Councilmember Chris Cate appeared at February’s meeting of the Albondigas Political Society (San Diego edition) at Casa Machado Friday. Among all the usual ho-hum questions he was asked about the San Diego Chargers, a proposed infrastructure bond measure, and the like, Cate was asked something vitally important and a true reflection of his taste and character: his “go-to” favorite karaoke song.

Rostrafarians, for your Friday entertainment, here’s the original version of Cate’s choice: “Regulate,” Warren G featuring Nate Dogg. A fitting selection for an elected official, don’t you think?


How low can they go? California’s voters set a record low of 51 percent voter turnout in 2002. Political pollster John Nienstedt, president of Competitive Edge Research & Communication, made his final voter turnout prediction for Tuesday’s midterm election at the witching hour on Election Eve. Read his prediction here, then weigh in on whether he’s high, low, or right on target.


There can’t be many San Diegans who haven’t given thought about the late Tony Gwynn in the past week. Everyone’s got a story, including San Diego’s foremost political numbers guy, John Nienstedt of Competitive Edge Research & Communication.

You might assume Nienstedt would be impressed by Gwynn’s many impressive numbers. Not exactly. In his latest blog post, Nienstedt is impressed like many of us in something much more important.


Comments Off on Tony Gwynn Was Wrong

In the wake of low voter turnout in the June 2014 California primary which favored conservative / Republican candidates, is there any chance of a repeat on a bigger scale in November 2014?

John Nienstedt, president of Competitive Edge Research & Communication, says November 2014 could be a real downer for California when it comes to voter turnout. As John notes in a new blog post for Competitive Edge, The June primary turnout was stunningly — unprecedentedly — bad, as only 23 percent of registered voters cast a ballot. This embarrassing record justifiably gets him thinking about whether the upcoming general election will sink to a record low as well.


Voter turnout for the June 2014 California primary will be low. Not a “Stop The Presses” kind of statement.

How about this: “San Diego is on the cusp of experiencing record low voter turnout. I’m talking about turnout potentially so weak it could damage the city’s psyche.” 

Competitive Edge Research & Communication President and CEO John Nienstedt made this assertion in a blog post Tuesday and it’s getting plenty of attention. Voice of San Diego saw fit to include the post in its Morning Report. Social media chatter is making noise about it.

Comments Off on June 3 Voter Turnout: One Prediction Getting Plenty of Attention

Anyone running for elected office wants to win. Pretty darn basic: the person who earns the highest number of votes from constituents gets the job. There is a winner and by default, a loser. A failure.

Typically Type A, hard charging, ambitious political candidates and their equally hard-charging, ambitious political campaign managers shirk from failure. Failure is not an option, right? It’s what most of us believe.

Failure is not an option, Gene Krantz, NASA

Remember these guys from NASA? The truth is a little more complicated. Photo courtesy

But the truth is a lot more complicated. The truth is that you often need to be a failure to win.

Comments Off on Advice from the campaign trail: failure is an opportunity
Thor is very happy with all of us tonight at San Diego Rostra. Our humble political blog won first place in the Best News and Opinion Blog category at the San Diego Press Club Journalism Awards. The Libertarian Lass and Barry Jantz graciously accepted on behalf of everyone in the Rostra blogpen. Visual aid shown here.
San Diego Rostra, Barry Jantz and Gayle Falkenthal

The Libertarian Lass, Gayle Falkenthal; Barry Jantz


Disclaimer: The author is not a medical professional and does not represent herself as a medical expert, merely an observer asking a question worth considering in light of recent events.

Increasingly disturbing accounts from women reporting sexual harassment by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner have left observers scratching their heads for a possible explanation.  It seems inconceivable for an elected official who has been in the public eye for decades to think it’s acceptable to treat women like “sexual objects or stupid idiots” as former communications director Irene McCormack Jackson put it.


The unassuming blonde woman with her hair pulled back filled out the required form to address the San Diego City Council during the non-agenda public comment period on Tuesday. She stepped to the microphone for her four minutes of time to address members about an issue not on the docket. She was slotted in right after the gadfly going on about Solyndra.

She only used a little more than two minutes. Stating her name for the record gave her away to the handful of people present, or watching on the City’s cable TV broadcast of the meeting: Ann Romney, wife of Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, now a resident of La Jolla, a suburb of San Diego.


It’s a time-honored New Year’s tradition to review all the new laws taking effect starting on January 1. So I thought I’d get a look at new laws affected Rostrafarians in California. I nearly choked on my breakfast when I looked at the number. There are 837 new laws taking effect as of today. Seriously? Our state was so far askew we needed over 800 pieces of legislation passed to patch us up? Holy moly.


Pardon us for just a moment while we at Rostra congratulate ourselves and each other for having our humble political blog honored for the third year running at the 2012 San Diego Press Club Excellence in Journalism Awards.

San Diego Rostra won in the following categories:

  • Second Place, Websites: Blog – News and Opinion
  • Second Place, Websites: Blog – Topic Based
  • Third Place, Daily Newspapers and Websites, Headlines for “The Libertarian Lass”

My experience as an American Red Cross disaster responder for the last 20 years has taught me to expect anything and to prepare for the worst. So when I see hurricane experts discussing whether or not Isaac (now a tropical storm but predicted to become a hurricane this weekend) will hit Tampa, Florida during next week’s Republican National Convention, I start assuming it will happen and back it up from there.

It made me wonder: if the convention gets cancelled, what happens to the nomination of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as the Republican candidates for President and Vice President? Does the convention have to be rescheduled? What are the alternatives? Could the hurricane derail the whole process?

Comments Off on If Isaac Cancels GOP Convention, Republicans have a backup plan

Recent revelations about high-interest, long term financing of a school bond measure by the Poway Unified School District cannot have escaped the attention of a single school official in San Diego, the state of California, or nationwide for that matter. Citizens are outraged and sounding off. Watchdog groups are calling for reforms that would prevent this type of financing scheme on future bond measures.

But it appears San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Bill Kowba isn’t too concerned about that pesky fine print. On Tuesday, KGTV 10 News investigative reporter Mitch Blacher interviewed Kowba about the District’s $2.8 billion Proposition Z school bond measure, which will be on the November ballot.


San Diego Rostra’s street reporters have been working their sources all day, and it’s paid off! We’ve gotten our hands on exclusive video from last night’s San Diego County Taxpayers Association Golden Fleece and Watchdog Awards, and we’re sharing it now with our Rostra readers.

OK, who are we kidding? This isn’t like a Lindsay Lohan exclusive. SDCTA granted permission for us to post it. But that doesn’t make it any less funny.

If you need us to explain any of the inside jokes, feel free to ask.

Taxpayer TV: We Can’t Make This $#!% Up


Comments Off on This just in: Taxpayer TV’s Got the Goods

Smart governing decisions saving taxpayer dollars and collaborative initiatives took top honors, while cavalier attitudes and lost opportunities were called out and shamed at the San Diego County Taxpayers Association (SDCTA)’s 17th annual Goldens Awards Dinner, held at the Town and Country Resort & Convention Center in Mission Valley.

Remote controls were nowhere in sight as the evening’s theme “Taxpayer TV: We Can’t Make This $#!% Up!” entertained the appreciative audience who shared the details of the exclusive video parodies highlighting the program via social media. As in past programs, elected officials, members of the news media and other public figures willingly humiliated themselves in a good-natured send-up of the year in government news and achievements in San Diego.

Comments Off on At Least the Fleece Awards Were Cute: SDCTA Hands Out 2012 Goldens

Just in time could be my life’s mantra. I am reminded by Thor’s Assistant that no Official Drinking Game has been devised for tonight’s epic 17th annual San Diego County Taxpayers Golden Fleece and Watchdog Awards.

Calling Ms. Tipit to the rescue.

DISCLAIMER: In this litigious, risk-averse society, we must pause here to admonish anyone reading this column that it is strictly for entertainment purposes ONLY. Please drink responsibly if at all. Please do not be a dunderhead and drink and tweet/post/drive, or you will be the next person we write about on Rostra and it won’t be pretty.


As it does every election, the San Diego County Taxpayers Association has analyzed local propositions and selected state ballot measures with an economic impact on taxpayers, and issued its recommendations based on its mission statement, which is “promoting accountable, cost-effective and efficient government and opposing unnecessary taxes and fees.”

SDCTA’s voting recommendations are:


Proposition A – City of San Diego Fair & Open Competition Ordinance. Amends Municipal Code: YES

Proposition B – City of San Diego Comprehensive Pension Reform Initiative. Amends City Charter: YES

Comments Off on San Diego County Taxpayers Association issues June Ballot Recommendations

Once again, Sacramento has taken away a little more local control from cities over their own business, thanks to approval today by Governor Jerry Brown.

Last week, the state Senate approved SB829, a labor union backed bill. The Senate’s approval of SB829 is an attempt to undercut Proposition A, the Fair and Open Competition Initiative, which is on the June ballot in San Diego.


Competitive Edge Research and its President and founder John Nienstedt are best known for their spot-on research about political candidates and ballot measures. But once in a while, Nienstedt admits he’ll indulge his curiosity and add a few questions on a topic of personal interest.

In February he asked people in a nationwide poll what they thought about Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow. He shared the research with me at a recent Albondigas San Diego lunch event.

Comments Off on San Diego’s John Nienstedt of Competitive Edge Research does some Tebowing

Five people who have a lot to do with the news you read, hear and see on a daily basis in San Diego got up early to talk about the role of news media organizations as advocates. What they had to say may surprise you… especially if you’re still living in the era of Walter Cronkite.

The San Diego County Taxpayers Association hosted the panel in the first of its Breakfast Club Forums for 2012. Participants included Mike McKinnon, station manager of KUSI TV; J.W. August, managing editor for KGTV; Scott Lewis, CEO of Voice of San Diego; Jeff Light, editor in chief, U-T San Diego; and Deanna Mackey, station manager, KPBS FM/TV. The assignment moderating this forum was mine.

Comments Off on Walter Cronkite is rolling over in his grave after SDCTA Breakfast Forum

We’ve gotten Jerry Sanders dropping f-bombs and then it was Ben Hueso doing an impression of Stevie Wonder. Last year, it was SDPD Chief Bill Landsdowne gleefully (my description) aiming his Taser at Councilman Carl DeMaio’s… uh… let’s just say he hit way below the belt.

All of this has been good clean fun in the service of calling attention to the serious business of being the taxpayer’s watchdog with the annual San Diego County Taxpayers Association Golden Fleece and Golden Watchdog Awards. The challenge each year is to figure out a way to up the entertainment quotient from the year before.


For true San Diego poliwonks, New Year’s Eve was just a warm-up act. We know many of you have been saving yourself for the real deal: Political Debate Season 2012.

Starting Friday, January 13 with the first official San Diego Mayoral Debate of 2012, we will soon be subjected to a seemingly endless series of candidate debates and it will all become a blur.

But if you are a diligent citizen, you know you should be paying attention to the debates and learning about the candidates even if they deliver nothing but a painful litany of clichés. It’s enough to drive any red-blooded voter to drink.


In Poland it’s called “election sausage” In the Czech Republic, it’s known as “goulash.” It’s called “sweetener” in the UK. In the USA, we call it pork.

But everywhere including on San Diego Rostra it means government waste and it’s a turkey for taxpayers no matter how you slice it. We serve up plenty of pork around here. Now the San Diego County Taxpayers Association calls on Rostrafarians to submit your finest examples of pork as nominations for the 17th Annual Golden Watchdog and Golden Fleece Awards Dinner on May 16, 2012.  This annual event recognizes the very best and worst of local government efficiency, spending and decision-making each year. No poliwonk worth his or her credentials would dare miss it.

Comments Off on How about a healthy serving of pork for Thanksgiving?

Oceanside City Councilmember Jerry Kern received an Excellence in Leadership Award for his pioneering support of fair and open competition from the Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego at its annual Excellence in Contracting Awards on November 17. “We only recognize one political figure each year, and this year the choice was clear,” said Philip Piel, ABCSD Board Chairman. “Jerry Kern has stood up for fair and open competition early and often.” Among Kern’s accomplishments:

  • Kern sponsored a city charter for Oceanside requiring fair and open competition in public contracting for the first time in California, saving Oceanside taxpayer millions of dollars.

While the blogosphere and Twitterverse foams at the mouth over the spectre of hotelier Doug Manchester’s reported purchase of the San Diego Union-Tribune today, far more attention should be paid to the other key player on this team: former radio station owner and executive John Lynch. When it comes to newsroom operations, John Lynch is likely to have far more influence on the day to day product as president and CEO than Manchester.


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