In the News

Rep. Scott Peters received a lot of praise and attention for using the Periscope live-streaming app to give the world a view of the Democrats’ sit-in on the House floor Thursday to protest the stalling of gun-control legislation in Congress.

As the Union-Tribune’s Abby Hamblin noted online, Peters was breaking House rules by doing so. But he said if Republican Speaker Paul Ryan and the GOP leadership were going to shut down the cameras, somebody had to do it.

Tweeted Peters during the protest: “If they will turn the cameras on, we will turn our cameras off. #TurnOnTheCameras”

Peters was joined in using Twitter’s steaming app by Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas and C-SPAN picked up their feeds to provide live coverage.

Much of the focus was on Georgia Rep. John Lewis, a key figure in the civil rights movement who gave added gravitas to this latest historic sit-in.

But it was Peters and his use of the relatively new streaming app that set social media on fire, so much so you’d have thought he invented the Internet.

He was later interviewed by CNN’s Wolfe Blitzer, appeared on MSNBC, is scheduled to be on CNN’s Sunday morning political show and was mentioned by about 120 media outlets, big and small, by one account. He was the subject of Hamblin’s early and popular post that day and the Los Angeles Times also wrote online about his Periscoping.

“@ScottPetersSD We love what you’re doing. Could you please hand the phone to someone under thirty? #NoBillNoBreak”

Clearly she was on to something. Peters said he had never used Periscope before and was given a lesson by a millenial staff member before he joined the sit-in.

“I downloaded it on the House floor, and turned it on,” Peters told the Guardian.

Lewis and Clark

Rep. John Lewis not only became the moral symbol of the sit-in, he also was its main voice and visual presence. You may have noticed a woman with short gray hair wearing a blue jacket sitting next to him on the House carpet.

That would be Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass. It was through her actions that Lewis and the other Democratic members found themselves sitting on the House floor, according to Time magazine.

Clark, who was elected in 2013, took up civil rights cases when she was fresh out of law school, so Lewis was something of an idol and she was tongue-tied when she first met him. But the two struck up a friendship and this past week, frustrated about the gun bills, she went to Lewis seeking advice about how keep the issue from fading.

“... he suggested having a sit-in, and it really went from there,” Clark told Time.

There’s no San Diego connection here — it’s just a nice story — other than I used to live in her district decades ago, when she was in junior high school.

Wanted: Mailbox retrofit

That thud you hear this fall will be your mailbox collapsing under the weight of official voters guides.

The next thud you hear will be your rebuilt mailbox collapsing from all the campaign flyers stuffed in there.

The November election ballot is always bigger than the one in the June primary, in part because so many city council, school and service district races are in the fall. But also because that’s when statewide initiatives are decided. And on that front, this one will be a doozy. November will produce a bumper crop statewide propositions.

Just this past week, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s gun-control initiative qualified for the ballot. That looks to be among 18 propositions that will go before voters in November, depending on how many pending initiatives qualify. There could be more.

Repeal of the death penalty, marijuana legalization, the suspended statewide plastic-bag ban, new tobacco taxes and Gov. Jerry Brown’s overhaul of prison parole and juvenile justice laws are among the marquee measures headed for the ballot.

“I think it’s overwhelming,” Cristina Uribe, state director of the Ballot Initiative Strategy Center, told John Myers, Sacramento bureau chief of the Los Angeles Times, in May.

Myers notes there hasn’t been this kind of ballot proposition volume in California since Bill Clinton was president.

How the sheer bulk, let alone the subject matter, will affect San Diego ballot measures is anybody’s guess. We may be facing three major tax increase initiatives. Two San Diego city initiatives would raise the hotel tax, one to fund a downtown Chargers stadium and convention center project and the other that could help turn the existing Mission Valley stadium site into an education and research campus with parkland — while also clearing the way for a downtown stadium.

The San Diego Association of Governments is poised to put a countywide half-cent sales tax increase on the ballot to fund transportation projects and infrastructure.

Tax-increase measures are always a tough sell, though San Diego County voters have twice approved the existing Transnet transportation tax. But this time around they may be asked to increase a lot of taxes, even if they’re not paying all them — such as the hotel tax on out-of-towners.

Meanwhile, some political experts suggest that when people find a measure confusing, they tend to vote no, regardless of how many propositions there are. I suspect that’s also the case when they’re overwhelmed.

One thing's for certain: the political consulting business will be booming.


Tweet of the Week

Goes to John Myers, (@johnmyers) of the Los Angeles Times on Thursday.

“The single greatest ad for Periscope ever... in DC now for hours.”