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Our weekly insiders guide to political and policy news (Saturdays)
Every year, we’re inundated with pleas from readers looking for some guidance on how to vote on the various judges’ races on the ballot, and every year we disappoint them. In a world of limited resources, we’re forced to make difficult coverage decisions, and thus far we have not figured out how to adequately and consistently cover the county’s woefully undercovered judicial races.
One group that offers a valuable public service on those races, though, is the San Diego County Bar Association. Every year, the legal organization evaluates each candidate simply on their qualifications to serve as a judge. It’s not an endorsement, and they don’t compare the judges’ positions or anything like that.
They label each candidate “exceptionally qualified,” “well qualified,” “qualified,” “lacking qualifications” or “unable to evaluate.” Here’s a bit more detail on the process the Bar’s evaluation committee follows.
We’ve compiled the ratings for the judicial hopefuls on the March election into a simple chart that you can use as a reference.
If you’re looking for a bit more information on each candidate – for instance, on how they might view their role on the bench – check out the Union-Tribune’s Q-and-As with each of the candidates.
Nick Stone has given $10,000 to the Republican Party of San Diego County to support Councilman Scott Sherman for mayor. Stone was the face of FS Investors, the group that pushed the SoccerCity proposal for Mission Valley.
Sherman was the only member of the San Diego City Council to support SoccerCity. Councilwoman Barbara Bry, on the other hand, arguably launched her campaign for mayor with her opposition to SoccerCity. Her forceful pitch against it helped her get early support from developer Tom Sudberry.
Stone declined to comment about his donation. The Republican Party can spend the money to communicate to Republicans that Sherman is the party’s choice.
Scott moderated a mayoral debate Tuesday night hosted by Voices of Our City Choir and Think Dignity. The debate covered only homelessness and housing (with a minor digression on the city’s mess in the old Sempra headquarters). You can watch the video here.
Forums focused on only one or two policy areas are nice. It gives candidates ample time to demonstrate their mastery or lack thereof on a subject. (Maybe forum organizers can even work out a deal about who will cover which topics. Consider it!)
There was an interesting breakdown of the candidates’ positions on the city’s recent vehicle habitation ordinance. Lots of residents pushed for laws against letting people sleep in cars on their residential streets. The city passed a law banning it but then a court forced the city to pull back until they had safe parking lots.
There were four very different takes on stage about it.
Assemblyman Todd Gloria: I wouldn’t have voted for the ordinance that criminalized people sleeping in their cars and effectively makes them have to sleep on our streets. … To tell people that they cannot sleep in their cars … and tell them we’re going to criminalize you, and we’re going to ticket you, we’re going to tow your car and make your life as miserable as possible, that’s the current approach that is supported by some people in this race. It is not supported by me. We can do better than this.
Bry: I voted for the vehicle habitation ordinance. At the time, there were companies like Airbnb, who were renting out vans for tourists to come to San Diego and sleep on our streets as tourists. As I understood the ordinance at the time, it would prohibit that from happening. I also voted for it because I wanted the city to open more safe parking lots. Ultimately, a car is not a home. It is not a solution to homelessness.
Sherman: The ordinance does not say you cannot live in your car. It says you cannot be here overnight. You cannot be there overnight. And here’s a place for you to go if you are wanting to stay in those areas. We have a place for them to go. … But it can’t be carte blanche to live wherever you want, for as long as you want, in your vehicle.
Tasha Williamson: No one should be living in a car, but nobody should be criminalized for it. No one’s car should be taken – all their property. … Don’t play games with words. If I can’t sleep in my car overnight, I can’t live in my car because I sleep at night.
Last week, we did a brief Q-and-A with Mike McConnell, the homelessness activist who has made it his personal mission to kill Measure C, which would raise hotel taxes to expand the Convention Center and pay for some homelessness programs and street repairs.
One of his comments seemed uncontroversial at the time, but looks a little different after his new hit on the measure hit mailboxes this week.
“I’m not going to benefit from this whether it wins or loses,” he said. “I’m not running for office.”
Well, McConnell isn’t running for office, but you’d be forgiven for thinking he was based on his latest anti-Measure C ad.
It’s a photo of McConnell, with a quote attributed to McConnell, on a piece of mail with a disclosure line “paid for by Michael McConnell.” The whole design is to candidate campaign ads what a picture of a little boy holding a balloon next to a fountain is to real estate development renderings.
We take McConnell at his word that he has no intention to run for office now or later, but he has now very much made himself – and not just his argument against Measure C – a part of the campaign.
Megan Wood, again, is the reason this newsletter was not a waste of your time. She’s a hell of a journalist. Scott Lewis is also a person who works at Voice of San Diego. If you have any ideas for the Politics Report or feedback send it to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.