The Mineta Transportation Institute at San Jose State University is out with a study likely to gladden the hearts of San Diego e-scooter riders, plagued by a rash of accidents and beset by neighbors angered by cluttered sidewalks. “Of the 530 e-scooters MTI researchers observed and photographed in downtown San Jose, 97% were well-parked,” according to the November 14 report.
“They were standing upright, placed on the edge of pedestrian paths or already obstructed areas, and not blocking pedestrian access.” Continued the study, “MTI researchers concluded that fewer than 2% of e-scooters blocked access for the disabled as most scooters were parked out of the way of pedestrian traffic on the edge of sidewalks or in areas already obstructed with objects such as benches, newspaper boxes, and trash cans, suggesting that perhaps e-scooter parking regulations may not need to be particularly strict. While e-scooter parking is mostly a question of sidewalk management, the authors note that cities also consider the management of e-scooters parked on private property.”
Not mentioned by the document was the role of California Strategies, the influence-peddling behemoth founded by one-time Pete Wilson aide Bob White, in funding the institute’s lavish June awards banquet and convocation celebration. The ubiquitous Sacramento-based lobbying outfit has been employed in San Diego by Ofo of China, a bike and e-scooter sharing outfit seeking to grab a share of the city’s e-transportation business. Other California Strategies clients here have included the now-defeated SoccerCity stadium project, for which the firm received unwanted attention after councilman Chris Cate, a major beneficiary of the lobbying company’s political money, illegally leaked a confidential city memo last year.
A difference of eight
As circulation and readership continue to deteriorate at the Union-Tribune, publisher and editor-in-chief Jeff Light saved some work this year regarding his “Letter to Readers” introduction to the paper’s November 11 “Making a Difference” special section for local charities. Wrote Light last year: “This sixth annual guide is a compendium of more than 25 organizations that are making a difference every day and need your help to continue their valuable work.” This year, Light’s message was identical, except for a drop of eight in the section’s advertiser count. “This seventh annual guide is a compendium of 17 organizations that are making a difference every day and need your help to continue their valuable work.” Wrote Light both times, “As Henry David Thoreau said, ‘One is not born into the world to do everything but to do something.’” But perhaps with an eye to income tax exemptions, Light’s final phrase about charitable giving was tweaked from last year’s “you’ll be amazed by how it enriches your life” to “you’ll be amazed by how it enriches you.”
Scott versus Lorie
It turns out that the volley of hit pieces that turned the electoral tide against Republican San Diego city council incumbent Lorie Zapf was funded partly with timely cash from the re-election fund of La Jolla House Democrat Scott Peters. Said to be eager to run for mayor when Kevin Faulconer’s term ends in 2020, Peters transferred $10,000 from his congressional campaign kitty on October 15 to the Progressive Labor Alliance PAC, per a November 9 campaign disclosure filing by the labor-run committee. On October 10, October 12, and October 16 the PAC dumped a total of $105,000 into a campaign fund calling itself San Diegans Against Hate opposing Lorie Zapf for City Council 2018. The effort is widely credited with aiding long-shot Democrat Jen Campbell — who was opposed by both mail attacks by the GOP Lincoln Club and a critical Union-Tribune editorial — take the Second District seat away from Zapf... Democrat Nathan Fletcher, who is finally getting a handsomely-paid job as a result of his easy victory over GOP ex-District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in this month’s run-off election, put more than a few last minute personal dollars into his campaign as he sailed to victory. A November 7 disclosure filing shows that the former Republican Assemblyman came up with $7500 for himself on election day, November 6, listing his occupation as Professor, University of California San Diego. In 2017, Fletcher was paid $25,144 as a part-time “professor of practice” at the university, per salary data maintained by Transparent California. Supervisors’ salaries jumped to $172,451 after a January 2017 raise championed by Fletcher’s GOP Fourth District predecessor Ron Roberts. Meanwhile, Omar Passons, a lawyer who lost out in the Fourth District primary, has joined the County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency as its first director of Integrative Services. “Passons will focus on building upon the Agency’s innovative integration of County services to serve individuals experiencing homelessness,” says a county news release