What We Learned This Week
In the New York Times this week, Farhad Manjoo lamented the extent to which the presidential contest locks out huge swaths of the country – including California.
“Because I’m in California, the country’s most populous state and its biggest economy, my vote in The Most Important Presidential Election of Our Lifetime is hardly worth the paper it’s printed on,” he wrote. “All we can do is hope it doesn’t blow up in our faces; otherwise, we have little say over the matter.”
OK, so Californians don’t matter in the national election. Surely, things must be going better when it comes to their own state government, right?
The state might be liberal enough to prompt constant right-wing fear-mongering about the Californiacation of the country, but the truth is California hasn’t even been able to Californiacate … itself.
“Democrats hold all the statewide offices and a supermajority in the Legislature,” NBC News reported this week. “So progressives in the state have a question: If California is so left of center, why has the state failed to pass plans for single-payer health care, a bailout for renters harmed by the Covid-19 pandemic and a system to strip badges from police officers who commit serious offenses?”
Hmm, OK. So progressive Californians don’t have a say at the national level, and their will is also being thwarted at the state level.
Maybe things are better locally, where politicians are close enough to their constituents to maybe feel some pressure to address their concerns?
Kayla Jimenez spoke with several young activists at VOSD’s Politifest, and they all sounded pretty jaded about the extent to which government was representing their interests. One “said the major political parties in Escondido do not actually represent her group or the young people who live there. ‘We had 300 public comments at one of the City Council meetings rejecting the city budget and it didn’t work,’” she noted.
Another “said even though San Diego has a lot of Democratic leaders, young people still are not seeing the kind of change they desire. “I think it’s important because we have to kind of fight against the system for the system to listen to us.’”
Given how things are playing out at the state and national levels, maybe these young people can at least take comfort in the fact that they’re far from alone.
What VOSD Learned This Week
We took a trip around the county in our election coverage this week: Kayla Jimenez has a rundown of the major issues at play in the bananas 12-candidate Oceanside mayor’s race, and Maya Srikrishnan gave an overview of the highs and lows of Sen. Ben Hueso’s record in Sacramento.
On the podcast, we covered the five local San Diego ballot measures. Speaking of ballot measures, here’s how local pols are using their obscure ballot measure committees.
San Diego Unified’s phase one reopening plan was meant to address the inequities of distance learning by bringing certain students back to campus. But because only some schools have teachers willing to participate, it’s creating a new layer of inequities.
Police arrested dozens of people at the height of racial justice protests this summer who they said were violating unlawful assembly orders, but prosecutors have yet to charge a single case. And speaking of punishing speech, many of the police officers who wrote more than one seditious language ticket also have racked up misconduct complaints.
Don’t worry, there was good old-fashioned City Hall news this week, too. Accusations are still flying back and forth in the 101 Ash St. debacle. And both mayoral candidates believe an outside group should provide more significant oversight of Balboa Park.
What I’m Reading
- Here’s a very hot take that this wild story drives home: Government is good! (New Republic)
- This is an infuriating deep dive into how Trump’s COVID-19 coordinator undermined the CDC’s data collection efforts. (Science)
- As Portland continues to wrestle with how its racial justice protests have played out, this well-reported piece details explosive sexual assault allegations against a rising leader in the Black community. (Portland Mercury)
- The latest sensation being promoted by influencers: joining a union. (The Guardian)
- I am deeply, supremely here for Megan Thee Stallion’s byline gracing the New York Times op-ed page.
Line of the Week
“Fascinating how we’ve decided the best interview process for a job that consists entirely of having opinions about things is to spend a week insisting that it would pain you to have opinions about anything and you don’t have a single one, not even of any kind!” – The latest round of Supreme Court hearings has been quite something.
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