VOSD Podcast: The DA to Take the Stand
Andrew Keatts and Scott Lewis talk about DA Bonnie Dumanis’ upcoming court appearance, the 50-plus-one ballot measure and a story about assisted death that struck a chord.
On Monday, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is scheduled to testify in the biggest political corruption scandal happening right now.
José Susumo Azano Matsura is a Mexican businessman accused by federal prosecutors of illegally funneling more than a half-million dollars to San Diego political campaigns. Prosecutors have said at least $200,000 from Azano went toward supporting Dumanis’ failed 2012 mayoral bid.
Dumanis isn’t accused of any crimes herself, but her testimony could help answer a lot of the lingering questions. For such a high-profile case, remarkably little is known about what, exactly, Azano hoped to get in exchange for his generous financial contributions.
On this week’s podcast, hosts Scott Lewis and Andrew Keatts run through the many details they hope the DA’s testimony might divulge.
They pull up an old U-T TV interview between Rodger Hedgcock and Dumanis, where the DA said she knew nothing about Azano and that her campaign had done nothing wrong. They then describe the many ties between Azano and Dumanis that were uncovered after the interview ran.
Lewis, Keatts and all the journalists who’ve been paying attention to the case have been asking Dumanis about what she knows about Azano. She’s continued to deny knowing much of anything at all. But if things go as scheduled and she takes the stand Monday, it’s very likely she’ll have to answer all those same questions, but this time under oath.
Labor’s Big Wins
Mickey Kasparian, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers and the Labor Council in San Diego, joins the podcast and lifts the curtain on what happens when the workers union and major grocers like Vons and Albertsons sit down together at the negotiation table. He said the most recent talks resulted in a good contract for workers, but he said the union got uncomfortably close to calling for a major work stoppage.
“[Resolutions] always come at the brink of a dispute,” he said.
Kasparian also talks about the proposed city measure that would change the rule allowing a candidate to win outright in primary elections if he or she gets more than 50 percent of the vote – it’s a change he’s been vocal about supporting. Lewis asked whether he was surprised that the proposal made it to the November ballot despite lots of opposition.
“I think the mayor’s race probably really brought this to the forefront,” he said. “Just think about it – the city of San Diego one of the largest cities in the country, and you don’t really have a mayors race. … And so many people who could have run that would’ve really had a good chance to become the mayor in November did not run because they knew Kevin Faulconer wouldn’t be defeated in June, but he was very vulnerable in November.”
Also on this week’s podcast, Lewis and Keatts play clips from John Oliver’s segment about the sorry state of journalism and they discuss the new study from the San Diego Tourism Marketing District that found how lacking the convention center side of the Chargers’ proposed convadium would likely be.
Hero of the Week
Kelly Davis, a VOSD contributer, and her family, who decided to share their deeply personal experience putting the state’s new aid-in-dying law into effect.
Goat of the Week
The ACLU of Southern California gets goated for its recent report and press release about charter schools being in violation of California law by illegally restricting access to enrollment. While the findings do likely include some actual problems with charter school enrollment, it looks like many schools were likely unfairly included for doing things like requiring attendance at orientation meetings. Also, there are traditional public schools that have selective admission processes.