Three ex-U.S. Customs chiefs are getting antsy about the long delay in confirming onetime San Diego city schools chief Alan Bersin as the nation’s next commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. “It is hard to imagine that the background and current experience of Mr. Bersin does not at least meet the threshold of deference to the President’s choice of nominee sufficiently to merit a hearing and vote by the Committee in performance of the Senate’s ‘advice and consent’ role,” former commissioners Ralph Basham, Robert Bonner, and Raymond Kelly said in a letter. “Regardless of who the nominee for commissioner was, however, all of us believe the appointment deserves more focused attention and swift action in the manner of other critical national security nominations.”
Some speculate that the lag on confirming Bersin, currently serving as the Obama administration’s “border czar” in the Department of Homeland Security, is due to a heavy workload of the Senate Finance Committee, which must pass on the nomination before a floor vote. But others speculate that Bersin’s controversial history with San Diego schools and his wrangles with the teachers’ union here, along with his financial interests in border businesses, including the Silicon Border industrial park near Mexicali and a Mexican travel insurance outfit, have given some Democratic senators cold feet. … Ramping up for big state and local races, the county Republican Party has been spending heavily on voter registration efforts, paying Arno Political Consultants $23,024. Major contributors include Don Bren’s Irvine Company of Newport Beach, with $15,000 on February 15.