Politics & Media Mashup
There was a short but very telling story in Friday’s U-T San Diego. On the surface, “Labor gives ‘F’ grade to five on S.D. council” does not look like much more than a few inches on B2, but the story highlights how cutthroat politics can be at City Hall.
The piece, written by Jen Lebron Kuhney, says only two council members, Democrats Marti Emerald and David Alvarez, received passing grades. Each received a B.
Democrat Todd Gloria received a D and Democrat Sherri Lightner received an F — the same grade given to Republican council members Carl DeMaio, Kevin Faulconer and Lorie Zapf and Council President Tony Young, a pro-business Democrat.
Union boss Lorena Gonzalez says in the story the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, which handed out the grades, is not endorsing Gloria or Lightner for reelection in June. Sitting out the races was not enough of a message. A failing report card (from a credible and unbiased source) would show ’em who’s boss.
The labor council endorsed Gloria and Lightner when they first ran for office. So what did the two Democrats do to upset Gonzalez and her inner circle?
Lightner has never cozied up to labor, but Gloria has carried a ton of water for Gonzalez. Gloria is quoted in the story as saying:
“Apparently you can author an ordinance challenging super centers, be the acknowledged leader on homelessness and affordable housing and still be cast as someone who does not care about working families.”
Gloria also said his score suffered because the rubric used for grading featured some issues, including the San Diego Convention Center expansion plans, multiple times.
I was shocked to learn labor’s scoring system was skewed.
Gloria fell out of favor with Gonzalez in January when he voted to move forward with the financing plan to expand the convention center. Emerald and Alvarez were the only two council members who voted against the financing plan.
Gloria also voted recently to shift sales and marketing from the convention center to ConVis, a move hotel owners requested. Alvarez cast the lone “no” vote. Gonzalez and convention center employees fumed. The U-T’s story put it this way:
Lorena Gonzalez, secretary-treasurer of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, blasted the shift as “a terrible, terrible example of government not working. It was a clear, huge giveaway,” she said.
Lightner’s lukewarm support of the Comprehensive Pension Reform measure on the June ballot was among the items that soured her relationship with Gonzalez. Ray Ellis, an impressive coastal Republican running against Lightner, could benefit.
Gloria is running unopposed. My guess is things between Gonzalez and Gloria will improve when she finds she needs him for something important. When that happens, maybe Gloria will take a page from Nathan Fletcher’s book and tell Gonzalez he’s not interested in playing games.
Rostra broke the news this week that U-T Metro columnist Tom Blair was no longer with the paper. We’ve asked Jeff Light, the newspaper’s executive editor, to fill us in but he hasn’t responded.
I like Blair. He’s affable, he knows a lot and he has good sources. But I have wondered how long the U-T would keep him and Diane Bell because they basically wrote the same column – light news and notes from around town.
Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis wrote a smart piece this week about Fletcher and the controversial midnight deal he brokered in Sacramento a couple years ago. It’s worth a read.
Lastly, former San Diego City Council member Donna Frye pointed me to a letter she wrote to Voice of San Diego Friday about a recent council decision that might not hold up. In another letter Frye wrote earlier this month to Voice she wryly noted the differences between two financial outlooks at City Hall.
I always enjoy hearing from Professor Frye. That’s what some of us called her when I worked at City Hall because her understanding of policy and politics was often unmatched.