The Star-News


What ever happened to being a gracious winner?

Sat, Dec 22 2012 12:00 PM Posted By: Tom Basinski

Count me among the happiest persons when the elections were over. I didn’t mind the incessant phone calls because I have caller ID and never picked up those bothersome dinnertime interruptions.

What I couldn’t stand was the mutual hateful attacks of the candidates. In my opinion the worst battles were between San Diego mayoral candidates Bob Filner and Carl DeMaio. They should both be ashamed of themselves.

But to the credit of Grumpy Bob and Doughy Carl, they shook hands at the conclusion and vowed (at least publicly) to work together for the good of the city.

The race for Chula Vista City Council Seat 3 did not have such a conciliatory ending. Michael Stewart, a Chula Vista Police Officer and Police Officers’ Association board member recounted his chance meeting with successful candidate

Pamela Bensoussan on election night. In case you didn’t know it, the POA did not back Bensoussan, and actively worked to defeat her.

It was explained to me that the POA believed Bensoussan was not completely truthful in previous statements that the older officers were more interested in keeping money in their pockets than protecting newer officers facing layoffs. I’m not getting into that because it is ancient history. Neither do I want to get into the squabbles involving Bensoussan’s supporters and enemies. After all, it’s politics, and when the races are over most participants don’t need a shower; they need a fumigation.

Stewart said he saw Bensoussan and two companions at the U.S. Grant hotel. Stewart said he knew that Bensoussan had won and it was time to move on. Even though he had worked against her, Stewart offered his congratulations to her and said he hoped the POA would be able to work together with her during the upcoming term.

Stewart said he was floored by her reaction. “She looked at me with a strange look. She said, ‘You should have pulled out a lot sooner.’” Stewart took this to mean the POA should have backed off earlier in their opposition to her.

Stewart said to me, “Here I am trying to mend fences to work with her in the future. I acknowledged her victory and extended an Olive Branch to let her know there were no hard feelings. She indicated we should have cut our losses. I was very upset by that. I don’t think that’s how the spirit of politics should go.”

Stewart asked Bensoussan, “Is this how it’s going to be for the next four years?”

She looked away.

I contacted Bensoussan by email and she responded, “I can assure you there is no story here. I believe the person may be projecting his own ideas about what he thinks I may have said…..”

Thanks, Pammy, but I’m the one who will determine if there is a story here. I wrote to her that it was her call whether to respond. I didn’t think her terse reply was a sufficient response. She wrote back, “While this is a non-issue I have no other information to impart.” She then directed me to make an appointment with her assistant. Yeah, I’ll get right on that appointment thing.

I don’t follow the coalitions on the city council. I know Mayor Cheryl Cox and Bensoussan are usually in agreement. I have known Mayor Cox for more than  30 years and like her a lot personally. I think she’s a pretty good mayor too. I don’t buy into any accusations that she doesn’t like the police and is trying to short them on anything. I do know she has a city to run, and run it responsibly with money that is available. I don’t know much about Bensoussan.

In grading Ms. Bensoussan, I give her an A—for Arrogance.


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