SB 202 is for progressives
It used to be that a progressive was defined in part by their support for organized labor. CityBeat likes to play the part of a progressive journal, but your editorial stance often falls short when it comes to issues relating to worker rights and labor unions. The latest affront to the interest of workers and progressives in general is your opposition to Senate Bill 202 [“Krugman 9/11 post: lame, not wrong” (third item in the editorial), Sept. 14].
This bill is an attempt to correct the ever rightward swing in the ballot-proposition process. What was once a populist idea has turned into a highly effective tool for wealthy corporate and anti-worker interests to circumvent the democratic representational process by hiring mercenaries to collect signatures, often under blatantly false pretenses, in order to blackmail elected officials into caving to their interests.
One could point to a recent petition drive paid for by Walmart forcing the San Diego City Council to toss out a law requiring big-box stores to pay for an impact study on local communities. There was also a more recent petition, paid for by medicinal-marijuana business interests, which pressured the council to back down on regulations for pot shops. Argue the merits of these laws as you will, but they were passed by the people's representatives and were more or less reversed by corporate and business interests manipulating the process like San Diego were some sort of banana republic.
SB 202 would not make it impossible for wealthy individuals and corporations to use the ballot-proposition process, but it would make it more difficult for them to railroad through legislation. Perhaps a better law would be one that prohibits supporters of propositions from hiring pesky paid mercenaries to hound people in front of grocery stores for signatures supporting proposed legislation they themselves knowingly or not misrepresent. It wouldn't stop pests, like Carl DeMaio, from darkening the threshold of your local Vons, as it should not, but would make it more difficult for corporate stooges like Carl to get his vitriolic legislative trash on the ballot using hired guns.
It really is time that the whole process be reconsidered and that it be returned to its origins as a progressive reform that was supposed to give power to the citizens. I'm sure Hiram Johnson didn't foresee this process being used instead as a tool by the powerful to continue to dominate over the powerless.
Dan Epperly, University Heights
Praising good journalism
I just wanted to let you know I was glad to see the coverage of Praise Fest [“Praise Tony,” Sept. 21]. Dave Maass's article is a great example of how we need real journalists to knock on doors to cover stories like this. San Diego needs more of this.
Michael Caton, University Town Center
Taking Dumanis to court
I say “Amen” to Ellen Brooks' letter in your Sept. 21 issue, urging voters not to vote for Bonnie Dumanis for mayor of San Diego.
I am currently suing her for violating the California Public Records Act by denying me information on closed cases. Shortly after denying my request, she gave reporter Will Carless of voiceofsandiego.org much of what I asked for. One of her reasons for denying my request was that it wasn't worth the expense incurred. But she didn't mind the expense of listing 33 cases in her prompt answer to Mr. Carless.
After I filed my lawsuit, we were assigned Judge Denton, whom Bonnie immediately challenged and got replaced by Judge Strauss. My hearing is in October. Stay tuned.
Mel Shapiro, Hillcrest