July 27 2011 10:49 AM

Our readers tell us what they think

Durfee's got cojones

About your June 29 editorial, “Durfee's a thug”: It's indeed a shock to open a newspaper you generally respect and find an editorial viciously attacking someone you consider a personal friend as a “thug.” It's even more shocking that you stuck that epithet on him because, as the chair of the San Diego County Democratic Party, he's doing his job. His job is to elect Democrats to office in San Diego County and advance the policies and principles of the Democratic Party through the democratic process.

Your editorial compares Durfee and his Republican opposite number, Tony Krvaric, as “political hacks who'd fit in nicely as party operatives in some fascist foreign regime.”

Apparently, you've become so used to Democrats who cave when the going gets tough that you're nonplussed when you finally encounter one with the cojones to enforce the same kind of party discipline that has essentially put the Republicans in sole control of public policy in this country for the last 31 years.

All too often, the Democrats have been playing by the Marquis of Queensberry rules while the Republicans have turned politics into a blood sport. As a result, Republican policies and priorities get enacted when Republicans win elections and when Democrats win elections, as well. One can only look at the way unified Republican opposition sabotaged President Obama and the Democratic majorities in both houses of Congress in 2009 and 2010 and how unified Republican opposition forced a Republican-style “austerity budget” on the state of California, with continued tax giveaways to the rich and program cuts a recession-strapped state can ill afford, even though its voters soundly rejected Republican candidates statewide in 2010.

Jess Durfee is absolutely right to ban any financial or other help from the San Diego County Democratic Party to any Democrat who endorses a Republican for any office whatsoever, even a nominally “nonpartisan” one like mayor of San Diego. There was a time when progressive voters could occasionally find moderate and even liberal Republicans worthy of support. Today, thanks largely to the kind of party discipline you seem to hate so much, the Republicans have become a unified radical-right party. Republicans like Scott Walker and his tame lap dogs in the Wisconsin Legislature have made clear their party's long-term agenda, and any Democrat who compromises with it in any way, deserves to be read out of the party.

Any vote for any Republican for any office whatsoever in 2012 is a vote to abolish the U.S. middle class; increase this country's already yawning inequalities of wealth and income; end the right of workers to organize into labor unions; put private corporations above the laws against discrimination and pollution, or those promoting workers' health and safety or honesty in business dealings; abolish women's right to reproductive choice and the right of privacy generally; end all civil-rights protection for Queer people; and eventually consign the human race to extinction via the refusal to act on climate change.

Jess Durfee has every right to expect the elected officials of his party to refuse to support anyone from such a meanly retrograde party, and I applaud him for having the balls to bring to the Democratic Party the same kind of discipline that has enabled the Republicans largely to control political debate in this country for the last three decades.

Mark Gabrish Conlan, North Park

Durfee's inconsistent

Interesting editorial [“Durfee's a thug,” June 29], particularly in light of the fact that Durfee did not oppose Democrats endorsing

Republicans for the mayor and city attorney races in 2008. His current stance is simply not consistent with his past actions.

It's also important to note that Durfee was not elected by his Democratic constituents in San Diego, but was appointed to his position as head of the county party after losing the Democratic Central Committee election. Both Durfee and his Republican counterpart Kvaric have a very narrow special agenda which does not include the average citizen.

Kathryn Burton, Torrey Hills

Dems need discipline

I was disappointed by your June 29 editorial calling San Diego County Democratic Party Chair Jess Durfee a thug. Besides being offensive, I strongly disagree with the assessment.

Republicans are much stricter in enforcing party discipline, which is why they get their way more often. Political parties are a useful tool for like-minded people to have their ideas and ideals prevail.

In this particular case, there are three Republican mayoral candidates and only one Democrat. If the Democrats want to win this race, they cannot afford to fragment their vote.

Kevin E. Davis, North Park


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