Dinosaur Democrat

Illustration of a DINO doing what it does best
  • Illustration of a DINO doing what it does best

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.

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What further proof do we need that politics makes strange bedfellows. Quite the Heinz 57 Variety of supporters.

"protects the interests of big-money military and high-tech contractors." YOU MEAN JOBS?! Most of the companies mentioned in this misleading silly article are local companies...economic engines for our region. Fortune 500 and 300 companies. Congressman Scott Peters is no DINO. Since entering political life back in 1998 the Congressman has always been a solid vote on progressive issues, while maintaining an understanding of many interests including the environment, education,waterfront, business, women's health, and was a strong leader with San Diego sewage spill issues. So, Alex Roth goes to work for the Congressman? This is an issue? He is a seasoned journalist and has experience working with both sides of the aisle. If there is anything we need in Washington, for sure, it's to elect people who can talk to one another to try and depolarize the Congress. If Alex Roth can help Congressman Peter's communicate all sides coming to the table on critical issues in our region and country, then I applaud Scott for hiring someone who knows how to help cross the aisles of partisanship and FINALLY get something done in DC.

Scott Peters is not a Progressive Democrat. You can claim it all day long, but it doesn't make it true. More accurately, Peters has always been a well-publicized solid vote on small issues that seem progressive, but the conservative money sniffed out by his arrogant nose is where his other votes go.

Alex Roth is a long-time right-wing-biased reporter with the same kind of nose. I'm sure his former buddy at the UT, Jennifer Vigil, will now give him some press at the Times of San Diego. In the years that they were at the UT, those two wrote articles that were favored re-posts by the Free Republic and other ultra-conservative groups.

I'd say, watch out Peters: you may have given access to your camp to one whose inside status you will ultimately regret.

Interesting about Alex Roth's pieces being "favored re-posts" by the Free Republic etc. I did not know that. Perhaps there is more to that story, also. I do remember that Alex Roth, when at the U-T, seemed kind of like an instigator/troublemaker from time to time.

No one ever accused Scott Peters of being a Progressive Democrat. I'd say he is Barely A Democrat. And in that respect, he is perfect for the Congressional district he represents now and will be re-elected to in November.

Alex Roth may be a Trojan horse, as BlueSouthPark suggests, so let's hope that Congressman Peters is reading the Reader and keeping his wits about him. It's amazing -- all those ex-U-T reporters out there for hire -- but maybe this is a case of "keeping your enemies close," given the odious Roth/Sanders/Gloria connections.

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