Salas, Vargas stink it up
Take a donkey and fill its feedbag with Metamucil. Then position that ass' ass in front of an industrial centrifugal fan. The result is what the state Senate District 40 race looks like in the last month before the primary.
The shit-storm started Friday, April 30, when Assemblymember Mary Salas—the Democratic favorite to replace Sen. Denise Ducheny—recruited Congressman Bob Filner for a press conference to expose her primary opponent, former Assemblymember Juan Vargas, as a puppet for corporate interests.
A day earlier, CityBeat spoiled the surprise by reporting (on lastblogonearth.com) that a group called the Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC), through various affiliated committees, had spent more than $400,000 between January and March to support Vargas. The group is largely made up of Big Insurance, Big Pharmaceutical, Big Energy and Big Tech. Salas claims that, as of last week, the group has spent more than $700,000 to promote Vargas.
Vargas dispatched several campaign staffers to crash Salas' press conference—emphasis on “crash.” A skirmish between the two staffs resulted in one Salas worker falling, banging his head and taking a trip to urgent care, which the Salas campaign characterized as hospitalization in a press release sent immediately after the event.
The Vargas campaign retaliated by e-mailing CityBeat several documents, including flyers accusing Salas of being “hypocritical and deceitful” because, over the course of her political career, she has accepted $75,000 from CJAC members.
We'd like to point out that a) that's still roughly a 10th of what CJAC has spent on Vargas just this cycle, b) accusing your opponent of being just as corporate as you are is not a winning argument and c) replacing the first S in Salas' name with a dollar sign is just weak.
Further dubiousness in Vargas' literature: “Mary $alas takes political cash from health insurers, Vargas will not.” That's untrue: Since January, Vargas has taken $2,000 from the Association of California Life & Health Insurance Companies. (After CityBeat e-mailed the campaign about this, a spokesman said Vargas would donate $1,000 to a nonprofit, stating that the association's money is only partially tied to health insurance.)
Vargas also attacked Jason Moore, the Salas staffer involved in the alleged shoving match. The campaign pointed to a 2007 San Diego Union-Tribune story about an ethics investigation into Moore while he was working for then-Chula Vista Mayor Steve Padilla and subsequent criminal indictments for perjury. According to the story, as part of a plea deal, a judge ordered Moore not to work for political officials for the length of his three-year probation, which would have extended through June 2010. Vargas' staff insinuated that Moore was breaking his probation by working for Salas, but CityBeat learned from the District Attorney's office that Moore's probation was terminated early, leaving him in the clear. Salas' campaign, however, would not comment on Moore's previously shady behavior and current employment.
On Monday, Vargas held his own press conference to attack Salas over her vote to allow counties to release jail inmates to relieve overcrowding. All of three reporters attended the event, where Vargas called for more prisons but wouldn't say whether he thought they should be built in his district.
Vargas and Salas both earn a donkey's intestines worth of crap (we'll split it 70 Vargas / 30 Salas), but we'll also issue Vargas a blossom for the best line of the week. Regarding the scuffle, Vargas recalled the days when he played basketball with Barack Obama while both were at Harvard Law School.
“I got checked by Barack a couple times harder than what I saw there,” Vargas said. “I think they're making a lot to do about nothing, but certainly we apologize.”
The illegals' choice?
Remember all the conservatives who claimed back in 2008 that groups like ACORN were registering illegal immigrants to vote in order to elect a Democrat to the White House? This image from a May 1 protest Downtown against Arizona's new anti-illegal-immigration law, SB 1070, has us wondering whether it's time to investigate Jay LaSuer—a hard-line right-winger running for sheriff—for voter fraud. For giving us a giggle, we award the sign stacker one yellow daisy and 1,070 turds to fertilize it.
Brian hearts Ed
After a floor vote last week, Congressman Brian Bilbray sprinted through the corridors of the Capitol building in order to make an interview with Ed Schultz, host of MSNBC's The Ed Show. Bilbray was ultimately bumped from the broadcast—but it's the effort that counts.
Last week, we slammed Bilbray for comments he made on MSNBC's Hardball about how he thinks police can spot an illegal immigrant by his shoes. Now we award Bilbray 30 blossoms, one for each media interview he's granted since putting his loafer in his mouth. That's a low-ball estimate, according to spokesperson Fritz Chaleff, who also says MSNBC has been the kindest network to the 50th District representative.
Indeed, Bilbray's media outreach has focused much on courting the so-called liberal media, including another appearance on The Ed Show, in which Bilbray seemed to win the notoriously left-wing host's support for his efforts to crack down on employers who exploit illegal labor—including an electronic employee verification system.
“Congressman, this crosses all party lines,” Schultz said. “I think we have found some common ground here.”
You can tell a lot about a candidate's level of support based on the grub served at fund-raisers. For example, here's what the über-powerful conservative group The Lincoln Club advertised in its latest calendar-of-events e-mail:
On Tuesday, May 4: A fundraiser for Sheriff Bill Gore at Nico's Steak & Chop House. Mmmm—red meat.
On Wednesday May 5: A taco-and-margarita fundraiser at Del Sur Ranch House for San Diego City Council District 2 incumbent Kevin Faulconer. Sabroso!
On Friday, May 7: A continental-breakfast fundraiser for San Diego City Council District 6 candidate Lorie Zapf at Hilton Garden Inn in Torrey Hills. Um. Gross. And outside of her district, too, which earns Zapf a turd the size of a pre-packaged cheese Danish.
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