Monday December 3, 2012 the daily aztec
SD’s year of the Democrats Letter to the Editor
local The San Diego City Council, set to be inaugurated on Monday, will have a new look. Along with a new mayor, the city council will have one additional member—nine council members instead of eight—and a new council president in January. One thing that will remain the same is the Democratic majority in the council. Democrat Sherri Lightner’s election day victory against Republican Ray Ellis in District 1 race gave Democrats a 5-4 majority in the council. Along with Bob Filner’s victory in the mayoral election, Democrats will control both the city council and the mayor’s office for the first time in more than 20 years. The new council will also have a new leader. Current City Council President Tony Young, a Democrat, is resigning from his position to fill the job of CEO of the American Red Cross in San Diego and Imperial counties. He leaves office on Dec. 31 and a special election will be held 90 days after his resignation to fill his district’s seat. Young represents District 4, which covers democratic Southeast San Diego, making it unlikely Republicans will be able to capitalize on Young’s departure and take control of the city council. The council will select
Matthew Smith Staff Columnist
a new president on Monday. Currently, Democrat Todd Gloria is favored to win the position. This is an important position because the council president leads the legislative branch, sets the council’s agenda, makes committee appointments and acts as a counterbalance to the mayor. Even with control of the mayor office, the city council and the council presidency, don’t expect Filner and Democrats to easily push a liberal agenda through. According to San Diego State political science professor Brian Adams, the city doesn’t have the financial resources to push such an agenda through the council. “You need money to push a liberal agenda and (Filner) doesn’t have any,” Adams said. Furthermore, unlike congressional Democrats, council Democrats are much less partisan than their congressional counterparts. Some council Democrats could even stand with Republicans to block some of Filner’s agenda. Gloria has already expressed a willingness to stop Filner if he attempts to push a partisan agenda. “I’m here to support him when he’s right and oppose him when he’s wrong,” Gloria said in a recent interview with the U-T San Diego.
Adams emphasized the bipartisan relationship in the council. “Votes (in the council) don’t necessarily fall on partisan lines,” he said. “We have seen a lot of strange coalitions over the years between Democrats and Republicans. There may be opposition to Filner from Democrats, opposition based on policy.” Bipartisan coalitions have helped departing Mayor Jerry Sanders pass many of his legislative priorities such as the Convention Center Expansion project, which passed with a 7-1 majority vote. The council also differs from Congress in legislative priorities. Typically, council members don’t have citywide legislative plans or priorities. Instead, council members tend to have an agenda for their own districts. Redevelopment, however, may have a better chance of receiving renewed attention with Filner. Sanders focused heavily on downtown infrastructure and much less on projects away from the city’s core, a policy which Filner has criticized. However, redevelopment may still face financial obstacles as it might have to pay back as much as $42 million in bonds to the state for its now-defunct redevelopment agency. Financial liabilities and a lack of money to pay for them could
y name is Nick Holeman and I am a current SDSU student. I read today’s paper and felt that your portrayal of the U.S. military and the federal government in the column titled, “Take government out of marriage to ensure equality” was inaccurate and unfairly shed both institutions in a bad light. The column opened with a touching story of a lesbian American soldier whose partner will not receive survivor benefits after she passes away. Mr. Heral went on to state that same-sex military spouses cannot obtain military identification cards. Both of these tragedies were attributed to the federal enforcement of the Defence of Mariage Act and an uncompassionate military. This is the impression that Mr. Heral deliberately gave to his audience. I am fully aware that this is an opinion piece, and believe that Mr. Heral is entitled not only to his own opinion, but also his right to express it. This does not grant him the right, however, to twist or contradict facts to belittle our government and U.S. military. The Obama administration has come out publicly stating that it will no longer back the blocking of military benefits for same-sex couples. This includes survivor benefits, identification
cards, as well as many other provisions. Hours after Obama stated this, Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki announced that his department would not argue in support of DOMA and its banning of rights to same-sex couples. Both of these are hard facts that the military and Obama administration are in support of extending rights to samesex military couples, and have already set the wheel in motion to defend them. Mr. Heral also writes, “With one stroke of a pen, President Barack Obama can remove the government from the marriage business.” I find it ironic that someone who is arguing for a smaller government, that keeps its hand out of the institution of marriage, would propose the president signing an executive order. I am writing this as a supporter of gay marriage, an ex-columnist and a student on the GI Bill. Please do your job as a journalist, and stop twisting/omitting facts just to strengthen your argument. I look forward to a response. —Nick Holeman, International Business Senior
DEMOCRATS continued on page 4
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