23 Candidates Running for San Diego Mayor (and Counting) As Councilman David Alvarez Declares His Candidacy

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

A mayoral contest best characterized thus far by the quantity of candidates took a turn towards being much more interesting yesterday as Democratic City Councilman David Alvarez entered the race.

Should he end up in the winner’s circle come February (which is when a final runoff will decide the victor), Alvarez will be the first mayor of Mexican descent since the city emerged from being ruled by trustees (bankruptcy) back in 1887.

This is no small thing in a city with a growing Hispanic (28.8%) population.  It wasn’t so long ago that brown-skinned people were prohibited from buying homes in many San Diego neighborhoods.

Alvarez is also popular with many on San Diego’s Labor Council, whose participation in get out the vote efforts in recent elections has boosted turnout in less affluent neighborhoods.  His electoral base is mostly south of Interstate 8, which changes the dynamics of an election many thought would be decided by mostly white, older voting blocs in other areas of the city.

From NBC7’s account:

Alvarez, who grew up in Barrio Logan, was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, according to his website. He also graduated with honors from San Diego State University. Alvarez, his wife Xochitl, and their daughter Izel reside in Logan Heights.

Most importantly, Councilman Alvarez provides a progressive alternative in a race where the differences between the best known candidates weren’t easy to discern.

Going for the Latino Vote


Credit: Brent Beltran

Nathan Fletcher’s campaign made its pitch to local Hispanics yesterday, with a press conference featuring Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Congressman Juan Vargas, Southwestern College trustee Humberto Peraza, Escondido Councilmember Olga Diaz, and Sweetwater Authority Chair Jose Preciado. Chula Vista Councilwoman Mary Salas was expected to attend, but did not show up.

From NBC7 News:

Gonzalez described going to Fletcher for help with a janitor’s strike during the 2012 primary campaign when the Labor Council she helmed had already endorsed former Mayor Bob Filner.   

“When I called him and explained the situation that we were in and the families that would be affected by this contract, and how people’s healthcare and their children’s healthcare were dependent on this being settled in a positive way, he said ‘How can I help?’ And he did,” Gonzalez said. “A week before the primary election, he worked hard at helping us settle a contentious contract. And he knew he was going to get nothing out of it.” 

Word has it that Gonzalez, who formerly headed the local labor council, is working hard to make sure Fletcher gets seen in places and neighborhoods outside of what many observers (including me) consider his comfort zone.

Interestingly, one local activist was heard complaining about Fletcher’s decision to invite Vargas, based on the Congressman’s public support for US intervention in Syria.  A more relevant complaint might have been Vargas long history of playing footsie with the insurance industry.

Nailing the Restaurant Vote


Credit: Brent Beltran

Kevin Faulconer was in Ocean Beach this morning touting his endorsement by the California Restaurant Association (CRA) San Diego County chapter.

The CRA has been active in opposing increases in minimum wage legislation and Obamacare, so this endorsement is telling for those wondering where Faulconer might stand on the local implications of such issues.

Frank Gormlie had this to say about Faulconer’s politics in the OB Rag:

Tony Krvaric, head of the County GOP is pushing the party’s new narrative, that Kevin Faulconer is a “centrist” politically.  He told the media:

 “We are pleased that Councilman Kevin Faulconer is considering running for Mayor. He is a centrist leader in proud San Diegotradition with broad appeal and an established track record of service to our city. He would be a great mayor.” (Our emphasis.)

 But Faulconer is hardly a “centrist”.  Besides being a huge voice over the years for “managed competition”, the competitive bidding program championed by Republicans like him which is supposed to create a leaner city government, Faulconer also opposed California doing away with all the state’s and our city’s redevelopment agencies.  In years past, District 2 – Faulconer’s current district – included downtown San Diego.  Which meant that Faulconer was and is beholden to those downtown interests who for decades have been “re-newing” downtown – the Convention Center, the Padres’ ballpark, the Gaslamp District, etc., – to the detriment of San Diego’s neighborhoods.

And no, Mr. Faulconer, standing in front of the OB Noodle House for your press conference doesn’t qualify as campaigning for “ethnic” votes.

Quote of the Day: (From a Faulconer press release) Someone who looks at what Faulconer has accomplished and calls it “the status quo” hasn’t been paying attention.

Amazing Factoid Tweet of the Day:

Not what I expected. July 2005 special election: 265,573 votes cast. June 2012 mayoral ballot: 241,404.

— jeff light (@jelight) September 6, 2013

FYI- jelight is the editor of UT-San Diego

The Entire Field (23!)

brnsuperbrief111812_248463a_8colI heard a story this morning on KPBS claiming there were now 20 candidates in the race. I’ve heard other stories with different numbers.  So, to help clear up this confusion, here’s a list of everybody I know to be running:

  • People that I’d heard of prior to last week: Nathan Fletcher, Kevin Faulconer, David Alvarez, Bruce Coons and Hud Collins.
  • Other declared candidates: Paul Michael Dekker, Harry J. Dirks, Marcus Dunlap, Steven Greenwald, James Grogan, Fred Charles Hill, Michael Kemmer, Jared Mimms, Teresa Miucci, Ashok Parameswaran, Tobiah Pettus, Lincoln Pickard, Kurt Schwab, ; Mark Schwartz, Kevin Swanson, David Tasem, and Keith Wong.
  • Says he’s gonna run (but hasn’t pulled papers): Mike Agguire, who managed to snag this ‘damned with faint praise’ column by Logan Jenkins in UT-San Diego..

Still thinking about itLori Saldaña, who posted this on Facebook yesterday

 “Good morning! I’m being asked to consider a run for Mayor of San Diego in the upcoming special election. So far, all the announced candidates (nearly 20 so far) are men.

“What do you think? Would you support a “Lori Saldaña for Mayor” campaign?

“Also, I don’t have an expensive polling firm making phone calls for me to determine my “message” or “voter appeal.”

“Instead, I want to use social media to do an informal survey.

“Would you be willing to post a notice on your Facebook page to ask friends what they think? Would they want me to run?

“Thank you. I appreciate your help.”

 Formerly thinking about runningAssemblywoman Toni Atkins, whose fans are shutting down her Facebook thingie:

 I will be shutting down this page shortly, for obvious reasons. I encourage folks to think about which remaining (albeit imperfect) Democrat can best continue last Fall’s promise of neighborhoods first, while being viable against the GOP good-ol-boys backing Faulconer. He was not my first choice, but take a look at Nathan Fletcher. And hold him or whoever is the next Mayor accountable to our values regardless.

UPDATE: Those were not Toni Atkin’s words, I’m told. Rather it was Matt Corrales, who is responsible for the ‘Draft Toni Atkins’ FB page. Ms. Atkins staff has informed me that the Assemblywoman has NOT endorsed any mayoral candidate to date.

Shilling for the War on Drugs

NixonDrugWarBUT-San Diego ran a gloom and doom op-ed yesterday by Robert L. DuPont, once White House drug czar under Presidents Nixon and Ford.

He’s been in the news lately whining about the Justice Department’s decision to back off on confrontations over voter approved legalization in Colorado and Washington. At least he didn’t pull the ‘drugs can cause race-mixing’ card, the main argument used by original proponents of criminalization:

It is clear that legalization increases drug use. In 2011, 52 percent of Americans ages 12 and older used alcohol in the last 30 days. The equivalent figure for tobacco is 27 percent. For all illegal drugs combined the figure is just 9 percent (for marijuana it is 7 percent). Drug legalization will push the use of currently illegal drugs into the usage patterns of the two legal drugs. What sort of country will we have then?

Of course, the daily fishwrap neglected to point out DuPont’s current day job, which happens to involve ownership in a company profiting from drug testing.

From US News:

Robert L. DuPont, who was White House drug czar under Presidents Nixon and Ford, and Peter Bensinger, who was administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the 1970s, today run Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, a company that specializes in workplace drug testing, among other employee programs. Both men signed an open (along with eight other former DEA officials) addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee members this week criticizing the Obama administration for failing to quickly address the new states laws legalizing pot, which are inconsistent with federal law…

…According to its Web site, Bensinger, DuPont & Associates provides “full-service” drug testing for employers, which includes everything from developing company policy to selecting a laboratory to training supervisors.

“In a sense that’s true,” DuPont says of whether the company benefits from keeping marijuana illegal. But he argues the company could also benefit from marijuana legalization, “because the problems it would create for employees would be greater.”

On This Day1901 – President William McKinley was shot and mortally wounded (he died eight days later) by Leon Czolgosz. Czolgosz, an American anarchist, was executed the following October. 1941 – Jews in German-occupied areas were ordered to wear the Star of David with the word “Jew” inscribed. The order only applied to Jews over the age of 6.  1995 – Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis performed the National Anthem in Baltimore’s Camden Yards before Cal Ripken Jr. set baseball’s all-time consecutive games played record.

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Doug Porter

Doug Porter was active in the early days of the alternative press in San Diego, contributing to the OB Liberator, the print version of the OB Rag, the San Diego Door, and the San Diego Street Journal. He went on to have a 35 year career in the Hospitality business and decided to go back into raising hell when he retired. He's won awards for 'Daily Reporting and Writing: Opinion/Editorial' from the Society of Professional Journalists in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Doug is a cancer survivor (sans vocal chords) and lives in North Park.
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  1. avatar says

    The OB Noodle House better be careful; they’ve already pissed off a number of neighbors with the crowds in front of the restaurant, but now with this latest politico event, could be stirring the pot – it has a lot of Democratic neighbors.

  2. avatarGretchen Newsom says

    Doug – great update! But, one small correction please:

    Pertaining to “Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, who’s shutting down her Facebook thingie” – that is (was) not Toni’s Facebook page.

    Unaffiliated to her, the ‘Draft Toni Atkins for Mayor’ Facebook page was created by one of her supporters — Matt Corrales. That quote “…GOP good-ol-boys backing Faulconer…he was not my first choice, but take a look at Nathan Fletcher…” are Matt’s words, not Toni’s.

  3. avatarmichael-leonard says

    If Krvaric thinks Faulconer’s a centerist that shows how far right his POV is.
    RE: your ‘tweet of the day’: did Jeff Light think that was high or low??
    But, who in the field is the progressive/liberal standard-bearer who will truly continue some of the excellent policies that Smiling Bob started? WHO??

    • avatarDoug Porter says

      The standard thinking about special elections is that they are usually very low-turn out affairs. I’ve heard supposedly informed politicos saying things like this election might only draw 60,000 or so voters.

      The numbers that Mr. Light quoted prove this is not the case.,

      There are still two weeks left for people to enter the race for mayor, so there may well be even more candidates. The election isn’t until November 19th, so deciding who’s best is something we can continue to ponder.

      • avatarDane says

        No, there will be fewer, with a couple of new ones, because half these people don’t have enough friends to get the signatures and won’t be able to sell enough pot to pay the entry fee.

  4. avatar says

    I happen to know Dr. Robert DuPont and he is neither a “whiner” nor is he an unethical profiteer. He is a first-rate physician and medical researcher who has always believed there is a tremendous social cost — as in human wreckage — from widespread marijuana use and addiction. His point of view is not hip or popular, but it is sincere and based on science. And, for what it’s worth, I agree with him.

    DuPont opposes marijuana legalization without full medical scientific vetting, which has never occurred, and for this reason, and he regards medical marijuana as a dodge to get around the law. That he now provides drug testing services for companies whose employees are routinely screened for being high on the job doesn’t make DuPont evil, though it is news to me. I guess I regard this information as his embracing the American Way: using one’s expertise, whatever it is, to make an honest buck.

    • avatarChuck says

      If Dupont is so concerned about his fellow mans addictions and use of drugs on the job, why go after Marijuana? He admits that alcohol is much more widespread in use. The percentage of use in the last 30 days he quotes are evidence of how big the alcohol problem is in comparison to marijuana. But guess what…alcohol is legal and there is no money to be made fighting, testing, or restricting its use.. Marijuana prohibition on the other hand allows Dupont to make thousands of dollars off of his drug testing company. How can you seriously not see this connection and not question his motivation?

  5. avatarzebragnome says

    I’m a female Democrat and I’d never vote for Lori Saldana in a million years. The Filner debacle proves she does not have San Diego or women’s best interest at heart. She knew about his issues, kept her mouth shut and voted for him anyway, then bailed when the getting was good. I don’t want someone like her running our city.

  6. avatarDoug Porter says

    Something about this comment just doesn’t ring true. I don’t know any women who describe themselves as “female Democrats”; not that there’s anything wrong with the term, it just sounds awkward.
    From having talked with her I know that Saldana’s situation is a lot more complicated.
    I’ll give you the short version: if she followed her instincts and ratted Filner out, her political career was over.
    It’s easy to fantasize about a strong political woman who Stands Up to The Man; the reality is that the vast major of people who make this kind of move end (not just in politics) up being marginalized. That’s the way the (male-dominated) system works; it’s much more effective to label somebody as a loose cannon than it is to march them before a firing squad.

    • avatarHelen Weals says

      I don’t normally describe myself as a “female Democrat” either, but I think it is necessary when discussing the Filner situation, since there seems to be a general assumption that no woman, least of all a female Democrat, supported him. In fact, right now there is no way I would vote for any Democrat who threw him under the bus, especially those who were so blatantly opportunistic about it (Todd Gloria and Lorena Gonzalez being the first who come to mind). And Nathan Fletcher a Democrat? Puhleeze! As Irwin Jacobs’s lapdog/employee, Fletcher would be a disaster for the fate of Balboa Park. I would rather see a Tea Party loony elected than Faulconer or Fletcher, since at least there would be a slight chance they would resist the downtown elite welfare queens’ demands that taxpayers fund the convention center expansion and a new football stadium, if only on fiscal grounds.

  7. avatarDon Wood says

    To the degree that Alvarez and other candidates like Coons eat into Fletcher’s vote, they may just be handing over the election to Falcouner. The only hope is that voters will see that a contest between Falconer and Fletcher is just a race between a traditional pro-business republican and another pro-business republican impersonating a democrat. Then give their votes to more qualified candidates who are really equipped to carry out the pro-neighborhoods strategy that Filner ran on, like Bruce Coons.