Welcome to the second installment of CityBeat's new election column, in which we issue “turds” and “blossoms” to political campaigns for their reprehensible and respectful behaviors.
A politician's gotta make tough decisions about where to go and whom to schmooze. Take District 8 hopeful Nick Inzunza's rejection of CityBeat and the local ACLU chapter's invitation to a March 20 candidate forum.
“I know that groups like to do forums as some sort of community service,” Inzunza's spokesman, Larry Remer, said via e-mail. “Truth is, they tend not to attract ordinary voters. And they are time consuming.”
Instead, Inzunza went block-walking. The forum lasted 90 minutes. Assuming each home has two voters and Inzunza spent five minutes at each, at best, he could've visited with 36 constituents in that hour-and-a-half. Approximately 75 voters and community leaders attended the forum. Though many were not directly district constituents, we'll still issue Inzunza the difference in turds—39 stinkers.
Meanwhile, we accept District 8 candidate David Alvarez's “deepest apologies” with a get-well carnation: Between an ill wife and a 5-month-old baby, he had to cancel.
The forum was across the street from District 4 incumbent Tony Young's district office, yet he opted to drive across town to a forum on racism at UC San Diego (he wasn't listed on the bill of speakers). Young dispatched spokesman Jimmie Slack in his place and, while a proxy is better than nothing, a turd goes to Young for sending someone whose answers rarely went beyond “The councilman's record speaks for itself.”
As tropical music seeped in from a Guamanian celebration outside, moderators at the ACLU forum grilled candidates on campaign-finance limits, police brutality and minority-business interests. The audience then took over with questions ranging from “9-11 Truth” to the drunken “Floatopia” in Mission Bay.
We award a blossom to all the attending candidates—Barry Pollard in District 4 and Felipe Hueso, James Wright and B.D. Howard (a youngun' who was, frankly, bitchy in his e-mails to forum organizers but refreshingly thoughtful in the flesh) in District 8. We also issue each a turd for thinking that “government transparency” simply means returning phone calls.
On the subject of LGBT rights, Hueso unloaded this bizarre anecdote about an 83-year-old he met on the campaign trail:
“He was wearing a gown, he stood up and he flashed me his sex-change operation. I'd never seen one personally, especially that close, but you know, that gentleman has rights. He's been married 35 years; he votes. What's wrong with allowing him to do what he has to do?”
That gem is worth a dozen pink roses. Hueso, brother of sitting councilmember Ben Hueso, also earns a poop for claiming that “name recognition” is a qualification for office.
Iss-man cometh not
District 49 Congressmember Darrell Issa's political-action committee is throwing its second annual Longboat Key Trip in Florida on April 30, a day of “tropical seclusion, fishing, championship golf and relaxation” with Issa and five other Republican members of Congress. Cost: $2,500 per attendee. On March 15, Issa's reelection campaign benefited from a $500-per-plate dinner hosted by Microsoft Corp. and other technology interests.
For constituents who'd like to bend the congressman's ear without the price tag: Sorry. His scheduler says he has no public appearances on his calendar. In that case, we're sending him a log long enough to cover the barrier island where he's holding his April party: 12 miles.
This column's namesake will be signing his new memoir, Courage & Consequences, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 31, at Warwick's (7812 Girard Ave. in La Jolla). Some liberals may find the title ironic since Karl Rove left the White House without an indictment.
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