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San Diego Democrats for Equality endorse Bob Filner, Marty Block

SAN DIEGO -- At its first general meeting as San Diego Democrats for Equality, the former San Diego Democratic Club endorsed Bob Filner in the San Diego mayoral race.

The club also endorsed Assemblymember Marty Block in the state Senate race to replace the termed-out Christine Kehoe. Both are Democrats.

Filner, a Democrat, currently represents San Diego in the House of Representatives.

“The club looked at the questionnaires submitted by several candidates, listened to the two who attended the meeting and considered all of the records,” said Craig Roberts, the club’s vice president for political action. “In the end, it became clear to an overwhelming majority of club members that Bob Filner was the LGBT candidate for the office.”

Filner received a 100% positive rating on the questionnaire, according to the club.

Roberts said that in non-partisan races, all candidates, regardless of party affiliation, are sent questionnaires, and those who complete the questionnaire are invited to participate in the candidate forum. The three leading Republican candidates for mayor, Carl DeMaio, Bonnie Dumanis and Nathan Fletcher, all declined to participate, he said.

In response to questioning from former club president Gloria Johnson, Filner said that he probably made a few mistakes in his long voting career in the House of Representatives. He admitted that his vote for the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 was a mistake and credited the club for immediately and forcefully teaching him about the gravity of it. He said that with the club’s help, his views had evolved and that he is now a consistent vote for marriage equality.

“While the other candidates point to one or two votes on non-binding resolutions as evidence of the level of their commitment to the community, Filner has voted for and/or co-sponsored the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act, the Respect for Marriage Act [to repeal DOMA], the Military Readiness Enhancement Act and the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 [both of which to repeal DADT-the latter succeeding], the Uniting American Families Act [to provide LGBT citizens with a non-citizen partner equal rights to sponsor that partner for entry into the US], the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act of 2009, and the Every Child Deserves a Family Act,” said Doug Case, club president.

“Also, as a leader on San Diego’s City Council prior to election to Congress, it was Bob Filner who put together the majority Council vote that created the current Third Council District that led to LGBT leaders like Chris Kehoe, Toni Atkins and Todd Gloria who have managed to represent their constituents and fought for LGBT equality,” Case said.

The club also unanimously voted to endorse Block in his bid to succeed Kehoe in the 39th Senate District. Block, who spoke to the club about his plans and accomplishments, pointed to four of his pieces of legislation that were signed into law by Gov. Jerry Brown at the end of the 2011 Assembly session. They include AB 620, which requires public colleges and universities to add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to campus anti-discrimination policies on harassment, intimidation and bullying in their student codes of conduct.

Democrats for Equality voted not to endorse in the 79th Assembly District race.

“Both Sid Voorakkara and Shirley Weber were rated as 100% on our questionnaires and they spoke eloquently about the plans and qualifications for the Assembly,” Roberts said. “Because both candidates were so good, neither received the 60% required for endorsement. While we think the district would be exceptionally well-served by either, the club voted no endorsement rather than both ‘acceptable’ to preserve an option to reconsider the endorsement early next year after the race has developed more.”

Also, the club went on record in support of Occupy Wall Street/Occupy San Diego and in support of an anti-death penalty ballot initiative. The Occupy San Diego resolution [see below] was overwhelmingly approved after lively discussion of the tactics and distortions being employed against the Occupation. The motion to support the signature gathering drive to put the Savings Accountability and Full Enforcement Act of California (SAFE California) initiative on the November 2012 ballot passed unanimously. The initiative would replace the death penalty with life in prison without the possibility of parole. Discussion focused on the costs of the current death penalty, both moral and economic.

San Diego Democrats for Equality does not conduct business meetings in November or December, but attendees were reminded of the club’s upcoming young professionals event, “One Year Out: Election Countdown to Equality” on Wednesday, Nov. 9, from 6 to 8 pm at the W Hotel in downtown San Diego. Tickets are $10. For details or purchase tickets go to the club's Facebook page.

Resolution on the Occupy / 99 Percent Movement

WHEREAS: the overwhelming influence of corporate interests over public policy and institutions – exacerbated by greed, mismanagement, and corruption – has caused catastrophic levels of economic inequality, financial distress, environmental harm, climate crisis denial and other injustices felt by the majority of Americans; and

WHEREAS: under the current conditions of corporate-owned media and corporate financing of political campaigns, political leaders and the media have failed to address and remedy these systemic problems; and

WHEREAS: the Occupy movement on Wall Street, in San Diego, and around the world is peaceably and authentically giving a voice to millions in the 99% of the population who have not been heard;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: that San Diego Democrats for Equality stand in solidarity with the “Occupy” protesters and their call for economic and social justice, and encourages the movement's evolution toward increased political engagement and policy reforms; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: that San Diego Democrats for Equality support the protesters’ constitutional rights to free speech and peaceful assembly, and calls on the City of San Diego and other public agencies to protect their rights fully and grant them the opportunity to occupy public spaces without intimidation or duress.