Scott Peters is the right choice

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Photo above is a screenshot from a YouTube video of Congressman Scott Peters talking about the open area in Sorrento Valley that is now closed to motor vehicles (except emergency vehicles) and given over to nature and the people who use the road for walks or bike riding. Watch the video to get some measure of who Scott Peters is and one of the things he values about San Diego.

Next week on Tuesday we go to the polls for the mid-term elections. Not many Americans vote in the mid-terms and worse still people who identify themselves with the Democratic Party, liberals, progressives and even “moderate” Democrats, just don’t seem to think it’s important to roll up to the polls and cast our votes. I’ll be honest: I’ve missed a few, mainly for health issues, but I switched to voting by mail to alleviate that reason, or excuse, as the case may be.

My polling place is actually about a mile away, across the street from Lake Miramar—the Scripps Miramar Ranch Library, a lovely facility if you want a quiet place to read. And of course you can vote and then take a trip around Lake Miramar by foot or bicycle.

Scott Peters supporters. (Peters Facebook page)
Scott Peters supporters.
(Peters Facebook page)

This area of Scripps Ranch, the San Diego Community where I reside, is in California’s 52nd District, which at the moment has as its Congressional representative, Scott Peters, a Democrat.

He’s the first Democrat to hold the seat in all the years I’ve lived in the 52nd. For years this district has been represented by a Duncan Hunter: first the father who was a hyper-extreme Republican and then his son, for one term, who as actually as extreme as his father.

The main selling point of both Hunters was that they are both veterans. The “old” Duncan served in the Army in Vietnam and the “young” Duncan was a Marine serving in Iraq. I always tip my hat to veterans of any political stripe — until they open their yappers and say incredibly toxic things. Still, Semper Fi Duncan II.

But since 2012 we’ve had a Democrat, Scott Peters, as our elected representative. Thanks in large part to redrawing the lines of California’s districts.

A couple months ago I reached out to the Peters campaign to ask for the chance to interview the Congressman. They never got back to me. Who are we, the Los Angeles Post-Examiner anyway? Peters is in San Diego, not Los Angeles. Well yeah, but we are a regional online publication with stories as far ranging as Las Vegas and even Chicago.

Alas, there was no reply from the Peters campaign, so I’m left with just his campaign site to plum for answers. For instance: since he’s been the district’s congressman, Peters has done his best to get claims to residents they have earned, be they from the V.A. or Social Security and even the I.R.S.

That’s about all he can do of course because the GOP controls the House of Representatives and they have chosen to stop government from doing anything. Literally, they have stopped the government from doing what government should do: govern. They can’t pass budgets, they can’t raise the debt ceiling to pay our collective bills — the GOP has made the decision that shutting down government, and denying people health services, benefits and paychecks, is preferable to a functioning, if imperfect, federal government. That has been their aim since 2009 when that Black guy was sworn in as president.

Scott Peters official Congressional portrait. (Wikipedia)
Scott Peters official Congressional portrait.

Scott Peters wants government to function and he wants it to function better and more efficiently — which is practically and philosophically the opposite of the Tea Party-controlled Republican Party. They don’t want the federal government to work at all.

Which is where Peters’ opponent comes in: the would-be perennial candidate for anything, Carl DeMaio. A couple years ago I wrote about DeMaio who was campaigning to be San Diego’s mayor. He lost to Congressman Bob Filner … who left office under a big, sexual harassment cloud. We now have another Republican, Kevin Faulconer, as mayor. He won a special election and so far he has been everything we expected — not doing anything of note, leaving the levers of power in the hands of the city council.

Back to DeMaio. So, he was a city Council member for one term prior to running for mayor and before that he made millions training the federal government on how to outsource jobs. Yes he did! And he got government grants to do it. This “advisor” started two private business, that received government grants, to train other people how to have government-granted startups to train the government how to outsource jobs.

The companies were the Performance Institute and the American Strategic Management Institute. He sold both businesses in 2007 when he decided to become a politician. According to Thompson Media Group, which bought the two companies, the Performance Institute is a “… private, non-partisan think-tank in the United States that specializes in improving government results through the principles of performance, transparency and accountability.

Your head is spinning, I can tell. This was all legal; there was a law passed in 1993 called the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. DeMaio, a college student and paid intern on Capital Hill, got in on the ground floor of that and started teaching people how to hold government accountable and be more efficient — outsource.

Then he started his two companies. Good for DeMaio: he found something he could do and make a nice living doing it.

Carl DeMaio failed at becoming our mayor so he bided his time until now, when Scott Peters was up for re-election, so he could run for the office and hopefully beat Peters in what has been characteristically a GOP-held district. The problem is people know who Carl DeMaio is from his failed attempt to be mayor. He’s considered sneaky by any political standard. While campaigning to be mayor DeMaio held private meetings with the owners-publishers of the city’s only daily newspaper, the U-T San Diego (That is its name now), who just happened to be major Downtown San Diego developers. If anything put off voters more than anything else it was those sneaky, private meetings with the biggest developers in San Diego.

  • It’s not clear where Kevin Faulconer stands on Downtown development but it’s a good bet he’s no enemy to the developers.
Carl DeMaio’s official photo. (Wikipedia)
Carl DeMaio’s official photo.

Then of course there was the thing about paying $16k to his domestic partner for the gathering of signatures for a ballot measure that was tossed by the County Registrar of Voters. Not enough legitimate signatures, according to the registrar. Apparently Jonathan Hale was paid the money so he could pay the interns that gathered the signatures for the local ballot initiative, called the “Transparency in City Contracts,” that, among other things, cut the unions out of any say in the contracts the city got into for local government business.

The plan would have essentially outsourced city employee jobs to private contractors.

So, now DeMaio wants Scott Peters’ job and DeMaio’s latest ads are A) calling for the campaigns to stop with the negative advertising and B) attacking his opponent for driving a BMW.

I know what you might be thinking: “Scott Peters drives a Beemer?”

Apparently so, but this is a rather affluent neighborhood of San Diego and BMW’s are more numerous than the Mexican Taquerías that blanket the San Diego metropolitan area — and let me tell you we got a lot of them. I’ve visited quite a few and barely scratched the surface.

There’s really nothing unique or out of place about owning a BMW in the California 52nd and many other San Diego area neighborhoods. But Carl DeMaio is banking on the district’s voters looking aghast at that fact — as those voters step out of their Beemers … or Benzes, Lexuses, Lincoln Navigators, Audi’s and any other luxury automobiles many of the people in these parts drive if they don’t have a big ole’ pickup truck.

Now, in defense of the Mercedes-Benz drivers, they probably do have legitimate spiritual and emotional aversions to BMW drivers. I know a couple M-B mechanics and they have nothing nice to say about BMW’s and vice versa. Ask any Beemer operator what he or she thinks of Mercedes-Benz and you’ll get an earful.

It’s the same sort of rivalry between Chevy and Ford owners, Packers and Bears fans — the San Diego Chargers v the Oakland Raiders. Nothing good comes of it when fans of the Chargers and Raiders mingle before, during and after one of their two seasonal games.

Back to DeMaio. The heart of his attack ad about Peters and his BMW is that Peters took money from city government to drive that BMW around town.

Oh my lord what a … normal city policy every city council member gets? Yep, in lieu of keeping track of mileage city council members get a blanket payment to pay for the wear and tear on their private vehicles because city council members get around a lot.

Carl DeMaio got the same allowance when he was a member of the city council because he got around a lot in his — and we kid you not — BMW.

He bragged about driving a BMW in an interview he did during the campaign. “Don’t people know I’m a man of means now? I drive a BMW!”

Whatever car (or truck) a candidate or politician drives shouldn’t be the measure of whether or not someone is fit to hold office, especially if one candidate is going to throw stones at another for driving the same type of car. You get the blatantly hypocritical picture.

Neither should race, religion or sexual orientation be a litmus test for a candidate’s ability to do the job. We do hold our candidates to political standards; I, for instance want a candidate who is at least reasonably progressive and Scott Peters fills that bill. He’s also been a strong advocate for veterans and their issues, not the V.A. and its issues. Sometimes the two are the same, but as any vet will tell you: often enough the veterans are at odds with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Carl DeMaio’s supporters call him a reformer. His main claim to fame as a reformer was pushing through a local ballot measure to strip city employees of many pension benefits, even though city employees are not able to pay into or collect Social Security.

That was the deal the city and its employees came to over 20 years ago so the city could stop paying into the Social Security system. Now, thanks to DeMaio, other city council members and the voters of San Diego, the city’s employees are getting screwed.

Scott Peters with former President Bill Clinton, (Peters Facebook page)
Scott Peters with former President Bill Clinton,
(Peters Facebook page)

It’s funny how screwing public employees translates to being a reformer.

Peters is leading in the polls, despite all the money pumped into the campaign by Koch-funded PAC’s to support DeMaio. Oh yes, DeMaio is a Teabagger. He told the Tea Party he would owe them everything if he wins this election. But in public Demaio tells voters he is not affiliated with the Tea Party.

Juts like with the BMW ad, DeMaio’s claim of not being in the Tea Party’s pocket is backfiring and rings false. The Peters supporters are airing an ad that features a video of DeMaio telling the Tea Party exactly that.

Carl DeMaio will say anything to any group of people to try and win votes. He is an election opportunist. DeMaio figures that with the president’s approval ratings being so low all he needs to do is show up on the ballot wearing his GOP hat and the voters of the 52nd will just vote for him. Well, even in a fairly conservative district like this one, the voters would like at least enough integrity in their candidates to not get caught lying to the public or being hypocritical.

  • Really Carl? You’re going after Peters because he drives the same car you drive and received the same travel allowance you got when you were a city council member?

Carl DeMaio is a BMW-driving loser as a public servant. The only person DeMaio wants to serve is himself and he’s been proving that for the past 20 years.

Scott Peters is the clear choice for the voters of California’s 52nd. He will need the vaunted Democratic ground game to get voters to the polls on Tuesday. Go to the polls and vote, Tuesday, November 4th and cast your votes. These elections are too important to ignore.