March 5, 2002
This year the PRIMARY ELECTION will take place March 5 instead of June 4th. This does not give anyone time to analyze issues and candidates. Nor, does it give the candidates sufficient time to launch a satisfactory campaign. However; we will, in the next five (5) Fridays, try our best to provide our readers a cogent understanding of the Propositions and our position on them, as well as our endorsements on the various candidates.
City of San Diego
PROPOSITION B: Proposes to grant SUBPOENA powers to the newly created ETHICS COMMISSION.
This proposal is premature. If approved it would give the Ethics Commission the powers to subpoena witnesses and compel their attendance and testimony! It would also require the production of any books, papers, records, or other items material to the performance of the Commissions duties or exercise of its powers.
Though the Ethics Commission is supposed to apply to City employees only, it is in fact applicable to anyone who may run for public office. If in the eyes of the Ethics Commission, candidates have violated their Ethic laws (such as their campaign finance laws) or who may violate a state ethics law runs the risk of facing a kangaroo court. This is power that the County Grand Jury hasn't been provided with, though they have begged for subpoena power repeatedly!
This is asking the voters to approve draconian powers for an Ethics Commission that has yet to come out with a single statement on what is going to be ethical or unethical in the City of San Diego! More to the constitutional point, Mayor Dick Murphy and the City Attorney Casey Gwinn, are ignoring our rights as citizens to plead the 5th Amendment under the United States Constitution against being forced to incriminate ones self! Anyone facing an inquisition by this so called Ethics Commission cannot plead the 5th if he feels he is incriminating himself! This Proposal clearly states "The Ethics Commission needs the power to require witnesses to testify under oath and produce documents that are needed to investigate alleged violations!" Clearly the Mayor, the City Attorney, nor the City Council has thought through the implications of their so-called Ethics Commission.
City of San Diego
PROP E: Amends the City Charter to require that any increase in an existing general tax or imposition of any new general tax, by the City Council must be first approved by a 2/3rds vote of the qualified city electors voting on the proposition.
Comment: Recent experience with our city elected officials has indicated that there is a high disregard for and how the public's monies are used. Case in point is the PADRES Ballpark. The public purse has been raided, over and above what was originally approved by the voters by majority vote. Additional millions of dollars have been added on, without a public vote to build a ballpark that will be privately owned. This raid of public funds for a private business, was carried out by the Mayor and City council who were elected to govern and protect the public interest.
Voter turnout in recent elections has been very low as disenchantment with the political system has grown. With voter turn out often as low as 25-40% and with a majority vote only being required, what has occurred is that frequently major financial proposals have been passed with less that 20% of the electors voting. That was the case with PROP C, which approved the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding), with the PADRES and former Mayor Susan Golding. The results: vast sums of money are being spent to build a private ballpark for a wealthy owner. It is important that the bar be raised and that 2/3rds majority of those voting are required to safeguard the public purse each and every time required.
Our elected officials have shown a lack of intestinal fortitude in representing the interests of the tax paying voters. Protect yourselves against abuses by the politicians!