We’ve decided to include all our efforts to understand the 2016 election under the banner of San Diego Decides. As part of that, I’ll be writing a biweekly look at what’s happening in the races facing San Diego voters in 2016. It’ll include new reporting, follow-ups on bigger stories, and a round-up of other coverage of local races. To get the complete picture of the local election landscape, make sure you also check out the San Diego Decides podcast, hosted by Sara Libby and Ry Rivard. — Andrew Keatts
A handful of San Diego’s Democratic leaders arrived to some startling news at an endorsement meeting this week: Their party is under attack, from the inside.
A confidential memo obtained by Voice of San Diego alerted party insiders that Anthony Bernal, a staffer for Councilman Todd Gloria who’s running to replace his boss, was actually a stalking horse for the Republican Party. The party needed to endorse his opponent Chris Ward, chief of staff for state Sen. Marty Block, to stave off the “stealth GOP takeover of San Diego City Council,” according to the memo.
Jess Durfee, the county party’s chair emeritus, looked through the donation histories of Bernal’s donors and found a number of them had been substantial contributors to the Republican National Committee, a handful of Republican presidential campaigns and conservative local groups like the Lincoln Club.
In all, nearly $10,000 of the roughly $100,000 Bernal has raised so far came from people with a history of donating to Republican candidates and causes, according to Durfee’s memo.
Help Us Raise $100k By the End of May
If anyone wonders why Decline to State voters are growing at
a faster rate in San Diego (and nationally) this article will help explain
Preliminaries are hard on moderates, even well qualified ones. Our preliminary system tends to require candidates to push toward the more extreme edge of their parties beliefs, and god help the candidate who has a any support out side of their party. (for confirmation look back to 2012 and the mayoral race with Filner, DeMaio and Fletcher)
As long as party leaders continue to support the farther left or right candidates, well qualified moderates will have a hard time.
The reason that one party or the other loses elections is that there are more voters who are becoming aware and independent than those who choose to vote a party line.
The County Republican Party's endorsement of Sam Abed is disturbing. Abed is a Republican in the mold of Trump - racist and offensive. Under his leadership, the Escondido City Council passed an ordinance that required landlords to check the immigration status of existing and prospective renters. It was a law that Republican backing groups such as the Apartment Owners Association firmly opposed. A similar law in Lancaster, PA was later struck down by the Supreme Court, so Escondido repealed its version. There are many other examples of Mr. Abed's bias. Why couldn't the local Republican Party get behind a reasonable conservative in his stead?
In our highly polarized political atmosphere, i'm happy to see a Democrat looking at the issues (instead of pandering to party politics) and landing where it benefits the people. Believe it or not, you can be liberal and pro-growth. We need to meet in the middle folks - i hope Bernal is an impetus for that.
I look forward to more information in the "San Diego Decides" series, and hope it encourages higher voter turnout for the June 7 primary.
In reviewing this article, I realized it would be helpful to readers who are not politically savvy if the reporter would explain exactly what groups are being described in this sentence:
"The majority of liberal grassroots organizations in town have decided not to endorse
any of the four Democrats in the June primary."
Interesting choice of words. Political endorsements are done by various groups of diverse ideology- why not name the ones that have that option, rather than lump them all together and call them "liberal" and "grassroots"?
How long could the list be?
Moreover, hearing their names might be helpful for readers to understand more about the political landscape in San Diego, in terms of understanding who does endorsements, and who often backs campaigns with contributions.
FYI: For those who don't know about tax codes and political work, most non-profits are prohibited from doing political endorsements, unless they have a 501(c)4 tax code status. This is usually in addition to the more common 501(c)3.
The (C)4 status allows them to do political education and advocacy in addition to charitable work. In San Diego, only a handful of non-profit organizations have both tax code designations. (e.g., Sierra Club, San Diego Chapter)
The San Diego Labor Council endorses candidates- but they are not charitable.
Also the Taxpayer's Association, Chamber of Commerce, Run Women Run, etc. These groups are hardly "liberal"- so, have they endorsed?
And also add individual employee associations that often represent and negotiate contracts for public employees, such as police officers, sheriff's deputies, teachers, deputy city attorneys, city and county workers, etc. Have they weighed in?
So- there are a lot of potential organizations to make endorsements in campaigns, which makes me wonder: who are these "liberal grassroots organizations" that are withholding endorsements? Or is this a thinly veiled reference to Democratic Clubs, chartered by the County Democratic Party, operating under their private by-laws, and organized by geographic area, interest and other distinctions?
They are not charitable, but must conform to state and federal election laws regarding contributions to candidates.
So....I hope to see to more informational details on these topics and others, as this series continues, between now and June 7- thanks!
@lorisaldana Voice of San Diego has 501(c)3 tax code status, and is prohibited from making political endorsements. When a 501(c)3 news organization uses their editorial discretion to give more publicity to some candidates then others or is publishing unfounded charges against individual candidates; is that not tantamount to a political endorsement and in violation of their tax code status ?
@lorisaldana Thank you Lori. I am looking forward to supporting you for mayor.
what you are describing may be an indicator of a certain "bias" but that is far from an "endorsement." Journalists are like all people: they have their personal biases and blindspots, try as they might to manage them when doing their work.
So long as all candidates have an equal opportunity to participate on the VoSD website, offer comments, submit commentaries for publication etc. I see no evidence of an action that equals actual endorsement.
Of course, if someone were blocked from participating at that level or not given time to have their positions discussed- there might be some reason to complain, sort of like FCC "equal time" provisions.
And as with campaign contributions: follow the money. Who is giving financial support to VofSD? that might be informative. As the saying goes: "Tell me who you wak with, I will telll you who you are." (
I am a resident of the Third District and a victim of Todd Goria"s and Anthony Bernal's stated policy " of working with our neighborhood business to offer incentives for business attraction while controlling the cost of permitting. That's why I support cutting the red tape that burdens our would-be entrepreneurs. ( Bernal's website).
Yes, the statement seems to be something that voters in the Third District could support until the details are revealed. What Anthony Bernal is talking about is ignoring the provisions in the Municipal Code that are there to protect residents from nonconforming uses. Anthony Bernal is advocating cutting the red tape known as a conditional use permit, a permit required of businesses who wish to locate in areas where they are currently prohibited by City zoning ordinances. He would cut the permit that requires a nonconforming business to notify the neighborhood in which they plan to locate and gives effected residents not only the right to know what is being planned but the right to object and have their objections ruled on in a public hearing.
Anthony Bernal is advocating placing business interests ahead of the health and safety concerns of Third District residents. Currently, Todd Gloria with the aid of the Director of Development Services ( a Gloria appointee), are surreptitiously denying San Diego residents their Constitutional right to the due process of law as stipulated in the Municipal Code and the requirements for obtaining a conditional use permit and then lying about it. Anthony Bernal and his boss Todd Gloria do not respect the civil rights of San Diego Citizens and are therefore unworthy of any elected office in the United States of America.
Follow the money folks... its not just 10% of Anthony's take. Where there is smoke there is usually fire.
I guess politics breeds dirty tactics, so I shouldn't be surprised at Durfee's comments. But as a supporter of Mr. Bernal (and I'd describe myself as a progressive person), my support stems not from ideological purity, or a secret agenda, but observation that he has done a good job providing constituent services in Todd Gloria's office. I would guess that at least some Republican supporters who live in District 3 probably support him for that same reason. I've had no exposure to Chris Ward so don't know what kind of job he'd do.
Nice headline.. The Republicans are taking over the Democratic Party. Got me interested. Now where is the article??
Let's see. Citizens who may or may not be a member or supporter of a certain party donate money to one candidate in a NON PARTISON RACE to keep a less favored candidate from winning. Let's see somebody's husband is running for a seat to possibly keep another candidate from winning. There is a word for that.... legal? yes ; but what is that other word??? Oh yeah.. it is called POLITICS
Moderates raising money from moderates, to wage negative attacks against progressives?
Conservative interests taking over progressive districts??
Republicans infiltrating the Democratic party???
Yawn... the current Party Chairwoman was a registered Republican before running for Congress 10 years ago.
And, at least one other Dem Party Executive Board member has also been a registered Republican in recent years.
The death of political parties, as with the deaths of most large organizations, comes from internal strife, not attacks that start from without.
One reason why, with 250,000 registered Democrats in San Diego vs. 180,000 Republicans, they still can't win city-wide elections.