Social justice? Unions savage gay, black Democrat in San Diego

May 26, 2013

By Chris Reed

San Diego’s recovery from its self-induced pension debacles a decade ago has been sufficiently vigorous that the state’s second-largest city is arguably in better shape than Los Angeles, San Jose and many big cities in California. But now the bipartisan coalition that got a lot done in recent years is mostly gone. GOP Mayor Jerry Sanders has been replaced by Bob Filner, a liberal former congressman who is blocking innovative, voter-backed efforts to reduce the cost of government services. And last week, a vacant City Council seat previously held by pragmatic Democrat Tony Young was won by a union official who was plucked from obscurity and powered to victory by union money and muscle.

colemailerBut Myrtle Cole’s triumph over community activist and fellow Democrat Dwayne Crenshaw in the southeast San Diego district race wasn’t a tidy win. It was extraordinarily ugly.

Just as they had done with Republican mayoral candidate Carl DeMaio, unions and their allies played innocent while offering up frequent reminders that Crenshaw was gay. But they also played the race card, raising utterly discredited allegations that Crenshaw — who is African-American — liked to hang out at a crack house. This is from the Voice of San Diego:

“’It was 3:30 am and Dwayne was sitting outside a crack house,’ the mailer reads. It goes on to imply that Crenshaw, who was attending San Diego State University at the time, was lying about being there to rescue a friend. It quotes a San Diego police officer saying Crenshaw was making up a story. “Everyone found outside a crack house at 3:30 am says they’re there for a friend and not for themselves,” the mailer says, under a banner called ‘The Truth.’

“The mailer is a rehash of a claim the San Diego Union-Tribune thoroughly discredited more than a decade ago when Crenshaw ran unsuccessfully for a council seat. Crenshaw’s opponent at the time, Charles Lewis, sent out a similar mailer. The officer quoted in the mailer, Lawrence Cahill, told the U-T in 2002 that Lewis’ mailer took his comments to San Diego State’s student newspaper about the incident out of context and that he was ‘very angry’ about it.

“‘That night I saw Dwayne 10 years ago, you could tell he wasn’t into the drugs, he was deeply concerned about his friend,’ Cahill told the U-T.

After being elected May 21, Cole refused to apologize for the ad and its ugly implications about Crenshaw, even though Cole is also African-American and presumably opposed to playing on ugly stereotypes about black men and drugs. The ends justifies the means. Another triumph for “social justice.”

School board member works for unions. Literally.

But that wasn’t the only union, er, mischief in San Diego. There was this:


“In California, it’s not just conservatives who think labor has too much power. In 2005, for example, The Los Angeles Times endorsed Proposition 75, which would have required public employee unions to obtain written consent from members before using their dues and fees for political purposes. Why? Because ‘public employee unions’ in many local governments ‘have gained control over both sides of the negotiating process,’ the Times’ editorial page noted.

“Eight years later, we have a glaring local example of this problem. San Diego Unified school board member Richard Barrera has been named to lead the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council, an umbrella group of 135 unions. Barrera intends to remain on the school board, a part-time post, where he may recuse himself from voting on contracts with unions that are his bosses at his full-time job but can’t help but influence overall policies that affect those unions. The labor council’s executive board includes Bill Freeman, president of the San Diego Education Association (the city’s teachers union), and Jane Bausa, an official with the California School Employees Association.

“How tidy.”

Private sector far more accountable than public sector

That’s from my U-T San Diego editorial. For all the very appropriate anger about Wall Street’s mendacity and its central role in our recent recession, it can’t be pointed out enough that behavior is tolerated in the public sector that would be criminal or banned in the public sector. Whether it’s CalPERS asserting the pension crisis isn’t real, the rail authority lying the bullet train bond to passage or gross conflicts of interest like the Barrera case, the government is unaccountable.

Great. Just great.



Write a comment
  1. Steve Mehlman
    Steve Mehlman 26 May, 2013, 12:22

    But it is time to stop with the nonsense that the Cole campaign was the epitome of evil while the Crenshaw campaign was all sweetness and light.

    Let’s review:

    1. A shadowy PAC called San Diego Voters for Progress and Reform sent an intentionally false mailer dubiously attacking Cole for an Ethics Commission fine. The PAC took advantage of a loophole in financial reporting rules and didn’t list its donors. Though the mailer was sent in March, we still don’t know who paid for it. Not only that, but the PAC used a facsimile of the city’s seal to make its mailer look like an official letter. (At least with the Cole campaign you knew who was paying for mailers, etc.) The conservative Lincoln Club of San Diego County sent a mailer repeating the claim we already debunked about Cole’s ethics fine.

    2. Supporters of Crenshaw falsely alleged that Myrtle Cole’s employer–UDW Homecare Providers Union–did not support LGBT candidates.

    3. When the Voice and Viewpoint ran an anti-gay editorial about Crenshaw, Cole denounced it and disavowed it immediately. When did Crenshaw disavow the false PAC mailer or the false accusations about UDW?

    Being called anti-gay by a right-wing newspaper like the UT is like being called ugly by a frog.

    It’s time to move on.

    Reply this comment
  2. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 26 May, 2013, 17:32

    Steve doesn’t address the legit points made about Cole’s slimy ad. Because there is no defense for it.

    Chris Reed

    Reply this comment
  3. No surprise here
    No surprise here 26 May, 2013, 18:28

    Someone should write a book about special elections for city council seats in poor urban districts. Such elections are truly a joke.

    Sandy Spackman should have won that seat, but the establishment was backing other candidates.

    Reply this comment
  4. Steve Mehlman
    Steve Mehlman 27 May, 2013, 10:01

    But there is a defense for San Diego Voters for Progress and the Lincoln Club?
    Why don’t you talk about the negative stuff pulled by the Crenshaw campaign and its supporters. Chris? So much for “fair and balanced.”

    Reply this comment
  5. Bill Gore
    Bill Gore 27 May, 2013, 22:05

    San Diego may be on the road to recovery, but said recovery is guaranteed to be very short-lived. The real power-mongers in America’s Finest City are Satan’s own Doublemint Twins: the Gonzalez siblings; Lorena and Marco. They always win.

    All the tough work done by Jerry Sanders and the much-maligned former city attorney will be completely wiped out by the current fiasco of Filner and Co. For every wrenchingly tentative step forward taken in the last 10 years, there will be a marathon’s worth of steps taken backwards. More benefits, higher fees and taxes, infrastructure crumbling to dust. If you don’t believe me step outside right now and look at your sidewalk and street…

    Really folks: if you are a small businessperson it is time to load up the U-haul and make for points north or east while you can still sell your house, cause this will not end well. Really.

    Reply this comment
  6. Skippingdog
    Skippingdog 28 May, 2013, 21:20

    Jerry Sanders is a reasonably good man who performed well as the paid mouthpiece of the old downtown San Diego business interests. Mike Aguirre was a well known kook and loose cannon long before he was elected to his one term as City Attorney, so it would be entirely appropriate and consistent with the principles of good government to reverse any and every policy decision he made while in office.

    As a point of note, I know Bill Gore personally and anyone who writes the kind of nonsense you posted under his name wouldn’t have the stones to carry his jockstrap.

    Reply this comment

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