The more things seem to change in San Diego politics, the more they really stay the same. That might be the motto of Alex Roth, newly named communications director of the reelection bid of Democratic House freshman Scott Peters. “Alex has been a communications advisor and journalist in San Diego for more than a decade,” notes an email from Peters’s chief of staff MaryAnne Pintar announcing the move. “Most recently he was communications director for the Robert Brewer for San Diego District Attorney campaign. Before that he worked as a communications advisor for interim mayor Todd Gloria and as a deputy press secretary for Republican mayor Jerry Sanders.” Prior to his Sanders service, Roth was a reporter for the then-Copley-owned, strongly GOP-leaning San Diego Union-Tribune. While at the U-T, Roth became famous for his February 2008 run-in with Democratic then–city attorney Mike Aguirre — a foe of the Chargers stadium favored by the paper — who publicly berated the Copley reporter, saying, “You and your paper have become part of the campaign.”
Copley favorite and current GOP incumbent Jan Goldsmith defeated Aguirre, but the U-T was subsequently downsized and Roth left town. He did a brief stint with the Wall Street Journal in Atlanta before boomeranging back to San Diego to sign up with the Sanders city hall crew. GOP incumbent district attorney Bonnie Dumanis defeated Brewer, a non-partisan, last month. Roth’s sudden appearance on the Peters campaign payroll is likely to confirm the belief widely held among political insiders that the La Jolla congressman is largely a DINO — Democrat in Name Only — who toes the party line on high-profile votes in Washington but otherwise protects the interests of big-money military and high-tech contractors. His contributors include Eugene Mitchell, the Sempra “government affairs” vice president who sits on the board of the Voice of San Diego news and opinion website chaired by anti-union La Jolla investor Buzz Woolley. According to OpenSecrets.org, funding for the Peters effort from Sempra-related donors has totaled $7500 during the current election cycle.
Predator drone-maker General Atomics, run by anti-Obama arms maker Linden Blue and brother Neal, kicked in $8000 from its political action committee and $1000 from individual employees. The PAC of another drone maker, Northrup Grumman, gave $10,000. Qualcomm, whose Democratic founder Irwin Jacobs is especially close to the Jerry Sanders wing of the local GOP, was the source of $19,000. BAE Systems, the military contractor that helped finance this year’s Sanders-led June electoral victory over the Barrio Logan community plan, came up with $7000. Its partner in the battle, General Dynamics, gave $5000.