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By Buck Shott

July 14, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) – The political scene in San Diego’s eastern regions runs the gamut from follies to jollies.  Here are the latest juicy stories—starting with a watchdog who may need some watching, according to newshounds at a local newspaper who turned up a pungent trail involving a prominent elected official.  Another media outlet found itself the target of criticism, however, after running a political cartoon portraying a one-eyed veteran running for Congress as a pirate. Plus a candidate in an East County council race has an illustrious resume that includes this jolly avocation: Santa Claus!


SNIFFING OUT CORRUPTION? CityBeat ran an expose of Congressman Darrell Issa titled “Issa issues: Congressional watchdog should get a whiff of himself.” Those sleuths at CityBeat turned up several conflicts of interest plus a sweetheart real estate deal in which a bank inexplicably dropped the price by $3 million on a home purchased by Issa. A Public Citizens’ Congress Watch spokesman said the deal raises red flags, reminiscent of the real estate scandal that proved the tip of a bribery scandal that ultimately landed Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham I in jail. Issa, a self-proclaimed “watchdog” who has trumpeted investigations of everything from ACORN to Toyota, has muzzled himself on this issue and did not respond to inquiries from Citybeat’s newshounds.

PIRATE CARTOON DRAWS FIRE: The Imperial County Press ran a cartoon depicting GOP Congressional candidate Nick Popaditch as a patched-eyed pirate with puzzled voters skateboarding past. The cartoon provoked outrage among Popaditch supporters, the conservative blog San Diego Rostra reported. Even Popavitch’s Democratic opponent, Congressman Bob Filner, denounced the cartoon as “in poor taste.” Critics believed the cartoon made fun of war wounds sustained by Popaditch , an Iraq war veteran who lost an eye during the battle of Fallujah. But the editor insisted that his intent was to show how ill-informed voters are about the Iraq War. Filner , who chairs the House Veterans Affairs Committee, called on the editor to “educate the public on how we can support our troops when they return home.” Touché.

DRUM ROLL, PLEASE! Drum Macomber is the latest candidate to announce a run for El Cajon City Council. His candidacy arose from a gag played by a friend, who posted http//www.drum4elcajon with a message stating “Even he doesn’t know what a good idea this is!” Macomber’s resume, however, sounds like it was tailor-made for the job: a former El Cajon Citizen of the Year who worked for the City for nearly three decades, he’s also served as coordinator of the leadership program for the East County Chamber of Commerce, graduated from the El Cajon Citizens Police Academy, and has been an active volunteer in numerous community groups including the El Cajon Community Development Council (CDC), El Cajon Rotary, Elks 1812 lodge, Home of the Guiding Hands, and El Cajon Animal Shelter. A U.S. Army veteran, he spends each holiday season serving as Santa Claus at charity events, won the “Stoney” award for community service benefitting children and chaired the East County Toy Drive. On Monday, Drum made it official, hosting a petition-signing party to get his name on the ballot. Ho, ho, ho! It’s promising to be a jolly campaign.

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