San Diego's largest military contractors continue to shovel money toward a political campaign whose goal is to sink the Barrio Logan community plan update at ballot boxes on June 3.
General Dynamics spinoff National Steel and Shipbuilding Company (NASSCO) has given the most, aiming to defeat the city-council approved land-use changes that would create breathing room between industry and residential neighborhoods. On April 28, the shipbuilder put another $250,000 into the industry-led “Protect Our Jobs Coalition.”
So far during the month of April the coalition has collected nearly $400,000. On April 3, Virginia-based military contractor Huntington Ingalls contributed $100,000 to the Protect Our Jobs Coalition. San Diego's Chamber of Commerce, run by former mayor Jerry Sanders, followed suit with a check for $20,000.
If money is the deciding factor, then Barrio Logan residents and environmental groups supporting the measure are up a creek. The "Yes on B and C, Barrio Logan Community Plan, Sponsored by Social Justice Organizations" has raised just $11,000 since forming, $10,000 of which came from California Assembly-speaker-elect Toni Atkins’s political action committee.
In response to the flood of cash from military contractors and pro-business groups, residents recently have taken to the streets in protest. On April 25, a press conference featuring former mayor Jerry Sanders and shipping industry representatives was interrupted by a handful of protesters, as reported by writer and Barrio Logan resident Brent Beltrán in the San Diego Free Press.
The fight for Barrio Logan land use has moved from the courtroom to court of public opinion. On April 4, Superior Court judge Randa Trapp decided to allow the ballot measure to move forward, despite evidence that the signature drive funded by General Dynamics and others was steeped in misinformation.
"[Environmental Health Coalition] has met its burden to show the likelihood of prevailing on its claim that at least one of the three statements made by [the] association was misleading," read Trapp's ruling. "The statement was not an opinion based upon the statements within the maritime report. Nonetheless, this evidence does not meet the high standard set forth [in previous court cases]."
The items will appear as Propositions B and C on the June ballot.