Fletcher Versus Alvarez: The Battle for the Soul of San Diego’s Democratic Party

by on September 23, 2013 · 46 comments

in Columns, Editor's Picks, Encore, Government, Labor, Politics, Under the Perfect Sun, Voter Guide Special Election

democratic-party-where-are-youby Jim Miller

This last week marked the two-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, a political happening that finally put the issue of economic inequality in the spotlight and started a national discussion about money, class, and political corruption. That movement was largely brought to us by young people, Millennials mostly, whose view of mainstream politics is justifiably jaded.

As Peter Beinart recently pointed out, “Compared to their Reagan-Clinton generation elders, Millennials are entering adulthood in an America where government provides much less economic security. And their economic experience in this newly deregulated America has been horrendous.”

And this experience has been made worse by bankrupt politics that pits what Beinart rightly characterizes as “a procapitalist, anti-bureaucratic Reaganized liberalism” that is “inclined toward market solutions” to everything against a radicalized “right wing populism”:

The argument between the children of Reagan and the children of Clinton is fierce, but ideologically, it tilts toward the right. Even after the financial crisis, the Clinton Democrats who lead their party don’t want to nationalize the banks, institute a single-payer health-care system, raise the top tax rate back to its pre-Reagan high, stop negotiating free-trade deals, launch a war on poverty, or appoint labor leaders rather than Wall Streeters to top economic posts. They want to regulate capitalism modestly.

Their Reaganite Republican adversaries, by contrast, want to deregulate it radically. By pre-Reagan standards, the economic debate is taking place on the conservative side of the field. But — and this is the key point–- there’s reason to believe that America’s next political generation will challenge those limits in ways that cause the leaders of both parties fits.

Thus, the hope for the future is that the next political generation will not just challenge “Reaganite orthodoxy” but also “Clintonite orthodoxy” and bring us a truly progressive Democratic politics that rejects the compromised corporatism of the “New Democrats” with their love of neoliberalism and austerity lite.

Here in San Diego, what we are seeing inside the Democratic party is a battle between those who want to put the party on a “New (read: corporate) Democrat” track and those who want the party to stand for all San Diegans. Nathan Fletcher has the “New Democrats” and the 1% crowd in his corner and David Alvarez is the best hope of the progressives. It’s a battle between the son of the local barrio and the favored child of Irwin Jacobs making $400,000 a year just to be himself.

Those who are seeking to anoint Fletcher in the Forrester, Jacobs, Gonzalez set of the party have been doing everything they can to dress him up with the proper faux Clintonian mantle by emphasizing his largely symbolic shifts to the left on social issues and his totally empty promises to labor, but it hasn’t been easy. Fletcher lost the Labor Council endorsement badly (that’s 128 of San Diego’s 135 unions if anyone is counting) and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana decided to back Alvarez rather than jump into the race herself and split the progressive vote. And with folks like Donna Frye, Toni Atkins, and others doing the same, Nathan’s coronation just might be in jeopardy.

Indeed, it’s tough to keep wooing labor when you whisper sweet nothings in their ears one week and then bring on a money bundler with ties to the Koch brothers-funded Manhattan Institute the next. Yes it’s surely tough to head fake well enough so folks in labor miss the fact that your pledges to the working people one moment are followed by your receipt of a big check from the union-busting Tarsadia Investments (the target of a recent hunger strike by hotel workers) the next week.

And it’s rough going when after your “Latino Leaders Endorse Fletcher” press conference, La Prensa writes this about your record:

[H]is work on behalf of the Hispanic community is almost non-existent. We looked up his record as Assemblyman and went through all the bills he sponsored, all his press releases, and all the news stories about Fletcher and we didn’t find one mention of the Hispanic community or any of their issues during his term as Assemblyman.
We read where the Latino “leaders” cited his recent support of the janitors, his support of the DREAMERS, and his work as with the San Diegans United for Comprehensive Immigration Reform where Fletcher is listed as Chair, as their reasoning to support him . . .
When Fletcher’s had a chance to support the DREAMERS he voted against them both times in 2011 when he voted against the private scholarships act and the state financial aid act. So his support of the DREAMERS is mere rhetoric.
In regards to the San Diegans United for Comprehensive Immigration Reform we looked that up and it basically consists of a web page that was created in March 2013, the month Fletcher and Lorena Gonzalez announced the group’s creation. There was also a Twitter page and a Facebook page. All three internet pages show activity in March and in April and nothing after that.
For all intents and purposes, the organization is dead after one short month. Basically an organization created for political purposes only!!!

This isn’t just garden-variety hypocrisy. What these examples do is not just eviscerate the logic of those arguing that the bad old GOP Nathan was “back then” but “now he is on our team,” but also point to what is really at stake when the local Democratic Party endorses for mayor tomorrow: its soul.

In the serious conversations being had about this battle, no one behind Fletcher is arguing that he is truly progressive with a straight face because they know it’s not true. It’s all about expediency, money, and viability.

Fletcher is the 1% Democrat par excellence. The Magic Democrat can posture as a progressive and line up opportunist politicians behind him to praise his conversion while still raking in the corporate cash. He can win!

The problem is that winning with Fletcher is just defeat dressed up as victory for progressives. You get to wash down Filner’s betrayal of progressive principles through his reckless behavior with Fletcher backers’ betrayal of progressives in the service of a cynical opportunism that takes advantage of our civic tragedy to stage a New Democrat take-over of the party.

But what becomes of the political narrative in San Diego when Fletcher represents the “left” while Faulconer is the right? It becomes a joke again. You get Sanders versus Sanders lite; the Chamber of Commerce’s first choice versus their happy second choice. You get an election brought to you by a secret meeting of Republican power brokers on one side and a secret meeting of Democratic power brokers on the other side. That’s not democracy; that’s a rigged game.

107And it gets worse: in perhaps the most disgusting attempt to pull people’s attention away from the real ideological and political battle here was made by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez. In a response to a tweet by Lionel Sanchez last Thursday asking, “So how are these two Democratic camps being described? Progressives versus Neo Liberals? North Versus South of I-8?” Gonzalez replied with “watch it . . . You’re treading on dangerous water [sic]. How about Due Process Filner folks vs. other Dems.” The tweet has been subsequently erased but it was there long enough to make things plain.

108I guess the “dangerous water” that Gonzalez and the rest of the Fletcher camp doesn’t want us to “tread on” is the question of what the political, ideological, racial, and class consequences of this mayor’s race are. Just stick to the dirty Filner narrative and don’t look at the big political gorilla behind the curtain. And if things get rough for Fletcher’s side, you can just Filner bait people to change the subject. (Although it’s not clear how Donna Frye’s endorsement of Alvarez fits into the Assemblywoman’s tortured logic.)

105It’s a new low, but the best answer to this kind of politics is for the Democratic Party to endorse David Alvarez, the true progressive in the race. If Fletcher represents the tired old corporate politics of the past, Alvarez is the face of the future. He is the standard bearer for the new majority in the city, a leader who will stand for all San Diegans without having to answer to the big money donors that Fletcher’s friend from the Koch brothers-funded Manhattan Institute is rounding up.

106-1Alvarez will fight for historically underrepresented neighborhoods like his own Barrio Logan; he will continue to have the solid environmental record that Lori Saldana praised; he will not be afraid to buck the downtown special interests. Is he perfect? No, but he is a real progressive with a solid record to stand on including his leadership in the recent victory for the better of the two Barrio Logan plans.

And, unlike Fletcher, who likes to tell people that he could always go back to his $400K a year job and move to a beautiful house in Solana Beach rather than drop in to save us, Alvarez is really in it with us. David Alvarez still lives in his modest home in Barrio Logan. He is San Diego, one of the 99%.

 

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Jim Miller

Jim Miller, a professor at San Diego City College, is the co-author of Under the Perfect Sun: The San Diego Tourists Never See and Better to Reign in Hell, and author of the novel Drift. His most recent novel on the San Diego free speech fights and the IWW, Flash, is on AK Press.
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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Bill September 23, 2013 at 8:33 am

There’s a third and best alternative: Bruce Coons. He’s the one candidate who has proven he will stand firm on neighborhood issues. He’s the only candidate who didn’t support the unpopular (and illegal) adulteration of the iconic Cabrillo Bridge in Balboa park with a parking ramp.

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avatar Dave September 23, 2013 at 10:31 am

I don’t think another abrasive, polarizing personality like Bruce Coons is what the city needs after Filner. I think the Democratic party is much better served with Alvarez or Fletcher.

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avatar Peter September 23, 2013 at 11:14 am

Coons is going to have to break out of seeming to be a one trick pony. The public perception of him is summed up in one word – preservationist. What has he done for people south of the 94, for example, or where does he stand regarding civic labor relations and contracts? How about preserving open space? The need for more low cost housing? Etc., etc.

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avatar Dane September 23, 2013 at 1:23 pm

Peter: the way Coons is going to change that perception is by being allowed to be heard in interviews and in the debates. He has no problems articulating his ideas when you get the chance to hear him. The reason you know him as a preservationist is because that was his job and he did his job well.
Peter: we could certainly ask what Fletcher has done for people south of the 94. Bruce and Alana lived in National City for 10 years, so they certainly are not North County obsessed like you suggest. Bruce has been involved in many San Diego City South of the 94 issues: from the Villa Montezuma, to the Aztec Brewery, to the Chicano Park Murals, to Border Park and the fence there. He is quite comfortable in all parts of town. In fact, in all the towns in the County.

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avatar Peter September 23, 2013 at 4:28 pm

Thanks Dane – I certainly agree with what you are insinuating about Fletcher. Didn’t mean to say the same thing about Coons. The only press I’ve seen about him was the interview in the UT. Unfortunately, what they mostly talked about was buildings, although I was glad to read that he didn’t want a new football stadium.

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avatar john eisenhart September 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm

Dave, I agree with your comment about the “party” being better served by Tweedle dee or Tweddle dum. Democrats vs Republican is the same old scam of Pepsi vs Coke, 49ers vs Giants, Apple vs Microsoft. The two parties sold out the average person a long time ago.
Second, Bruce Coons is not someone I would label as polarizing unless I was a large developer or politician who values money and power over quality of life issues for the average person.

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avatar Marasmom September 23, 2013 at 8:37 am

Martha Sullivan Rec’d this email from Gerry Senda, a member of the SD County Dem. Central Committee in the Central Area, this a.m.:
“Please join me in supporting DAVID ALVAREZ for the Democratic Party Endorsement for Mayor. He is unquestionably the candidate who best represents our values.
“The real reason for this email is to complain that our own County Committee Executive Board has stumbled into disenfranchising the Central Area from performing our duty to inform and advise the entire Central Committee through an Area recommendation on the Mayor of San Diego where we live. Thus, the process reeks of UNFAIRNESS!

“A week before the Central Area’s Sept 17 meeting, the Executive Board voted in violation of the Central Committee Bylaws and over the strong objections of our Vice-Chair Howard Wayne to disallow the Central Area from making a recommendation.

“The County Committee bylaws say :
ARTICLE XIII – ENDORSEMENTS
Section 4. Rules Concerning Endorsements and Ballot Propositions/Initiatives
2.b. Areas shall make recommendation on Endorsements.

“The Executive Board’s motion is out of order. The language says “shall”, not “may” and Roberts’ Rules say Bylaws cannot be suspended.

“The effect of the out-of-order motion is that the Central Area could not send questionnaires and without those, could not hope to conduct a fair mayor’s forum.

“I suspect that you, like I, defer to our Chair and Chair Emeritus when they argue passionately and firmly for a position, even when you don’t feel comfortable in doing so and I believe that that is the background cause of this mistake by the Executive Board. After all, nobody has memorized the bylaws, right?

Furthermore, at the Central Area meeting, Fred Rogers, Mat Kostrinsky and I proposed a Bylaw change to be submitted to the Administration Committee to allow any Central Committee member resident in a district that is being endorsed by an Area, but who personally lives outside that Area, to vote in that Area’s endorsement recommendation. There are 5 Supervisorial and 5 Community College districts but 4 areas, so this would be an appropriate enhancement to our Bylaws on Areas. Each district that the Central Committee endorses in would need to be assigned to a respective Area. Jess argued strongly that could have the effect for example that there would be only one voter in
an Area Recommendation in a district in Chula Vista. Clearly, that statement is unrelated to what was being proposed. My heart said that Jess was “disrespecting our proposal” but my head said that Jess merely misheard the motion and made a mistake. Nevertheless, the net result was that the motion was eviscerated by this mistake.

“Another mistake that Jess has made is in endorsing Nathan Fletcher. His twitter page says: “Jess Durfee It’s offcial. I’m supporting Nathan Fletcher for Mayor. I have a great deal of respect for David Alvarez. It was a dicult decision, but I went with Nathan. September 13 at 2:07pm · Like · 2″
“I surmise this endorsement is based on the calculation that Mr. Fletcher can raise more money and that money will win the election. I believe that this calculation is in error.

“I think that if the Democratic Party endorses David Alvarez instead, then we will be in an alliance with the Labor Council, the same alliance that elected Bob Filner last year. If we endorse Nathan Fletcher we will be at cross purposes with the Labor Council. Either way, the Republicans are going to hammer on him just like (allegedly) they are hammering on him right now with mailers to us and using the same material. As Mat Kostrinsky says, “They hate him.” They’ve been “disrespected” by Mr. Fletcher by his repudiating their party.

“I think I understand the diffcult quandary that Jess is in in trying to explain last year’s anti-Fletcher flyers with his name on them while trying to welcome Mr. Fletcher to the Party this year. That diffculty is exacerbated by the onerous responsibility to raise money for our Party simply to try to stay competitive with a brazenly corrupt Republican money machine.

” Jess’ letter literally says “That was then.”…”This is now. I rmly believe that Nathan Fletcher will be our strongest candidate in a head-to-head race against Kevin Faulconer.” There is no corroborating reasoning why. I ask you as a Fellow Central Committee Member to do your own calculations and not to defer to Jess or Francine. Jess needs to explain why, in this short Mayoral campaign time frame, why Mr. Fletcher did not participate in Friday’s debate at the Asian Business Association of San
Diego. Jess needs to explain why Mr. Fletcher did not attend the forums at today’s (Sunday, Sept 22) La Jolla and Point Loma Democratic Clubs. David Alvarez, Mike Aguirre and Bruce Coons all were at both and spoke at length (especially Mike) while Mr. Fletcher was at neither. He was invited to both. LJDC Pres Derek Casady said he declined. PtLoma DC Pres Susan Peinado said Mr. Fletcher’s scheduler Joselyn claimed a scheduling conflict. If Mr. Fletcher is the strongest Democrat in the race, why is
he not speaking to his base?”

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avatar Nancy Moors September 23, 2013 at 9:19 am

Bruce Coons’ grassroots campaign gets stronger and stronger. As voters learn more about Bruce they’re backing his run for mayor. Visit his website or FB page to learn more about his candidacy. You’ll be voting Bruce Coons for Mayor on November 19 too!

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avatar bob dorn September 23, 2013 at 9:21 am

Thank you, Jim Miller, for a tough, clear reading of where the Democratic Party in San Diego now stands: one foot downtown, the other outside it. It may well be that the Demo Central Committee could endorse Fletcher Nathan, who had an epiphany on the way to a meeting with fundraisers. Call it Fletcher Nathan’s mystical revision.
But if the Central Committee now dominated by DINOs and La Jolla does endorse Fletcher there should be no problem for Alvarez; he could then run a campaign absolutely free of those obligatory endorsements by developers, financiers, insurance conglomerates, tourism magnates and, by doing so, could simply speak the truth to San Diego. He will rise as a Democrat, and be heard by Democrats.
Let’s be real, Fletcher Nathan is a creation of the money people who long ago painted that tacky patina of “non-partisanship” over the local electoral system. He is no more Democratic than Duke Cunningham, whose local office he ran, nor the other GOP Assemblymen whose politics he embraced as recently as last year.
San Diego has a chance with David Alvarez to become a true 2-party system, and to set an example for other regions now suffering under non-representative government.

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avatar Brian Brady September 24, 2013 at 10:04 pm

“Let’s be real, Fletcher Nathan is a creation of the money people who long ago painted that tacky patina of “non-partisanship” over the local electoral system”

And the Dem Central Committee noticed that; they endorsed Alvarez.

“San Diego has a chance with David Alvarez to become a true 2-party system, and to set an example for other regions now suffering under non-representative government.”

This Republican mostly disagrees with but respects Mr Alvarez. In what may be the first (and I hope not the only) time, Mr Dorn and I are in agreement.

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avatar Jesus Palacios September 23, 2013 at 9:34 am

The Democratic Party must seize the moment at this time and make the right decission. These are defining times we are living in, and the rising tide is infallible. Suddenly San Diego discovered that we are in fact a large Metropolis, that we are next to the International Border, that we are rich in Diversity, and yes, that we can easily defeat the big money interests at the ballot box. We must not settle for crums falling from the table. We must demand our long overdue seat at the table to lead this great City in a new and better direction. Remember, this is the bluest of the the States in the Union, and it will remain so for posterity. We will remember you if you make a maistake for the sake of expediency. The choice is clear. Me must endorse David Alvarez for Mayor of our great City.

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avatar John Lawrence September 23, 2013 at 9:55 am

Alvarez seems to be the logical successor to Filner in terms of his politics and hopefully without Filner’s baggage.

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avatar I vote, too! September 23, 2013 at 1:37 pm

John (and Jesus), given the two choices of Fletcher vs Alvarez, you are totally correct. Alvarez is easily the Democrat.

I’m just asking that the “people’s candidate” — Bruce Coons — also be considered a worthy warrior for the embattled Democratic Party’s soul. There’s a bunch rotten in that party…start fresh with a man beholden to no unions, no billionaires, no party — just the people. Now that will create an open government.

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avatar La Playa Heritage September 23, 2013 at 10:15 am

COMMENTARY: Wilson, Rove, Gingrich … and Fletcher. JESS DURFEE – CHAIR, SAN DIEGO COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY. May 4th, 2012. (Editor’s note: The Chair’s Corner is a blog by Jess Durfee, chair of the San Diego Democratic Party.)

“… We face a different kind of challenge in Nathan Fletcher, another mayoral contender whose defection from the Republican Party to become an “independent” has won him valuable media attention.

Voters who know the current Assemblymember only from his vague, feel-good campaign ads might be forgiven for not knowing about his long history as a partisan insider.

Fletcher began his political career working for the California Republican Party. He served as district director for Rep. “Duke” Cunningham prior to the congressman’s bribery conviction. He held a fundraiser featuring Karl Rove — a connection made through his wife, who was a senior campaign operative for George W. Bush.

In his 2008 campaign for Assembly, Fletcher courted and proudly promoted the endorsement of former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. In the current mayoral race, he is being supported by likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Having named former Gov. Pete Wilson as his political mentor, Fletcher has racked up a predictably Republican voting record, scoring low ratings in recent years from the Sierra Club Foundation (30%), Equality California (29%), the Consumer Federation of California (18%), and Planned Parenthood (0%). He remains a member of ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council), a think tank funded by the right-wing billionaire Koch Brothers.

Last month’s stunt was brilliantly opportunistic. But San Diego voters need to remember that Nathan Fletcher votes like a Republican, fundraises with Republicans, and holds up some of the most divisive conservative figures in the country as his political heroes. In other words, he’s about as “independent” as his buddy Karl Rove.”

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avatar I vote, too! September 23, 2013 at 10:22 am

Why only TWO candidates battling for the “Soul of San Diego’s Democratic Party”? Indeed, it will be a battle, but how can one of your duo of “progressive” choices be a guy who only last year was running for mayor as a REPUBLICAN??!? That’s just crazy. In addition…in your sister site, the OB Rag, recently had a mayoral poll, and Bruce Coons got more votes than Alvarez and Fletcher combined!! Why not include him?

There are THREE Democrats in top tier. Don’t leave out the people’s choice — Bruce Coons for Mayor! http://www.brucecoonsformayor.com/

Everyone knows Fletcher is a recycled Republican who now works for Dr. Jacobs. Alvarez supported the Jacobs Plan that would have destroyed Balboa Park. I hope it’s time for our city to have a mayor whose focus is the PEOPLE of San Diego and what needs to be done to make this city TRULY GREAT.

BRUCE COONS has a vision for San Diego that will benefit all. He is a true progressive leader who has shown that he will work with others to get the job done and move our city forward while respecting and protecting San Diego history.

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/Sep/18/meet-the-candidates-bruce-coons/

Please don’t elect another recycled politician this time around.
San Diego deserves better.

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avatar Dane September 23, 2013 at 10:39 am

Annoyed at this “alternative” paper giving us the same candidate list as the UT. Only somebody that has held an office, even in the other party that they claim now, even after not even finishing their freshman term, even after being swept out of that office, anything goes, as long as Bruce Coons is hushed up. When is this paper going to report that the debate invitations were sent out by Mayor Sanders’ head Plaza de Panama guy? Do you possibly think he might have a beef with Coons?

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 23, 2013 at 10:27 pm

I really appreciate Dane’s lead sentence. But I don’t understand the innuendo in the rest of the post, however, and wish you would be more forthright.

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avatar Doug Porter September 24, 2013 at 7:07 am

1. We are NOT a paper. No trees were killed to publish SDFP
2. You Bruce Coons people need to get off the cross and do actual campaigning as opposed to whining online.
3. There’s a good solid reason why this story talks about two candidates. See my comment below.
In this same edition/day different story here at SDFP there is a complete list of ALL 19 candidates running for Mayor. We have talked about Briuce Coons in other stories. Are ALL our stories supposed to mention Coons? Here’s the list from that story FYI.
City Attorney Mike Aguirre
Councilman David Alvarez
Save Our Heritage Organisation director Bruce Coons
Councilman Kevin Faulconer
Ex-Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher
Attorney Hud Collins
San Diego City College student Lexy Allen
Small business owner Gwen Coronado
Realtor Harry Dirks
Physician Steven Greenwald
San Diego State University student Michael Kemmer
Businessman Sina “Simon” Moghadam
Gun rights advocate Lincoln Pickard
Organic fertilizer salesman Mark Schwartz
Kevin Swanson
Chad McKinney
Richard Pearson
Tobiah Pettus
Kurt Schwab
http://sandiegofreepress.org/2013/09/say-no-to-paying-san-onofre-nuke-shutdown-costs-you-break-it-you-buy-it/

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avatar I vote, too! September 24, 2013 at 10:10 am

Doug….Believe me, Bruce Coons supporters ARE in the trenches working hard for their grassroots candidate. Why? Because we know he’s the real deal. Not a politician, but a local boy (since the age of 4) who has the vision, the background and the backbone to make this city GREAT.

Since a primary election is underway it would be quite democratic of you to include choices other than one recycled Republican and a city councilman in upcoming commentaries….otherwise, we may continue to whine.

San Diego deserves better.

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avatar Cynthia September 24, 2013 at 10:54 am

Doug: Thank you for your always-sensible writing. I must brag that, as someone who plans to vote for Mike Aguirre, I do not have to climb down from the cross, because I understood the focus of this article, which I think is quite clear in its limits.

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avatar Rick September 23, 2013 at 10:40 am

So Lorena Gonzalez is using “due process” as if it is a bad thing? I understand what she is getting at in the context of Filner, but I don’t think “due process” is the right thing to attack. Maybe Donna Frye will call for her resignations next?

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avatar Al Shur September 23, 2013 at 12:13 pm

I worked around Lorena Gonzalez for a few years and the only thing that comes to mind is…
“You can’t turn a narcissist into a progressive…. except by accident! “

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avatar Jim Dey September 23, 2013 at 1:31 pm

Definite doubts about Fletcher. It’s great when a reformed whore decides to join the church, but that doesn’t mean she should be leading the choir right away.

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avatar Judy Swink September 23, 2013 at 3:18 pm

Jim Miller, why have you limited your article to only two of the 3 main Democrats in the mayor’s race. Yes, I know other candidates are probably registered as Democrats but very very few have a chance of getting many votes whereas Bruce Coons will do well, I believe, even though it’s doubtful that the local Democratic Party will endorse him. Is that sufficient reason to ignore him?

Bruce brings a very different perspective to the campaign for mayor and he should not be excluded from discussion of viable candidates. Though he is a registered Democrat, his principles are not based in party politics but in true democratic (lower case) convictions. Unlike Fletcher and Alvarez, will not answer to a political party’s direction but to direction based in the residents of San Diego and its many, diverse communities. He also has far more real-life business management experience, more than 3 decades worth, than either of the two in the article. See his bio at http://www.brucecoonsformayor.com/biography.htm

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avatar Doug Porter September 23, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I’ll answer on Jim’s behalf to all of those who’ve submitted comments about Bruce Coons:
The article doesn’t talk about Bruce Coons–who is a really nice guy and would probably be an excellent Mayor for San Diego–because Jim’s discussing the tensions that Fletcher’s candidacy has created, particularly with the Labor movement.
Mr Coons, despite his generally progressive stances, just isn’t a player in this particular dynamic. He wasn’t considered by the Labor Council, nor has he been the subject of manipulations by the pro-Fletcher forces.
Again, this is NOT to say that Coons’ candidacy isn’t something San Diegans should consider. It just has nothing to do with the narrative that Jim Miller’s discussing. If you’ve been reading his columns here at the SD Free Press and over at the OBRag you’ll understand that is focus is causes and candidates relevant to the labor movement that he’s a proud part of.

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avatar Judy Swink September 23, 2013 at 7:33 pm

Doug – thank you for your thoughtful response to my question. Still, I would like have seen at least passing acknowledgement that there are other Democratic candidates who are not seeking endorsements from “the usual suspects”. Not doing so leaves an impression that Fletcher & Alvarez are the only Dems running.

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 23, 2013 at 10:50 pm

Absolutely right. And when you write only about causes and candidates “relevant to the labor movement,” you are writing about the narrowest possible swath of today’s political spectrum, so you blithely ignore a truly highly qualified Democrat like Bruce Coons.

Unless the lock-step brethren break ranks and start thinking beyond the disgraceful unimaginable Democratic convert Fletcher Nathan or the nice-enough novice Council Democrat David Alvarez, you can all say hello to your new Mayor of San Diego, the Grand Old Party’s Kevin Faulconer,

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avatar rheftmann September 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm

What exactly are Mr Coons qualifications? As a consultant and special interest advocate he specializes in specific projects with a historic argument. What is his vision and experience in finance, labor, the environment, race relations, border policy, energy, water, regional policy, or, let’s say say everything but old buildings. What will he do when faced with daily responsibilities of a mayor of a deeply troubled city with major conflicts and challenges in a binational region? It’s different than leading preservationists, as good as that work may be.

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avatar Judy Swink September 23, 2013 at 7:58 pm

Many of the answers to your questions are covered in Bruce Coons’ announcement of his candidacy, found on the homepage of his campaign website

Read his biography, also on the website, and you’ll see more specific detail about his business and management experience and that it is not limited to historic preservation. Then, attend some forums or go to http://brucecoonsformayor.com/media.htm where you will find links to several video interviews.

There’s a forum coming up on Thursday, Sept. 26, @6:30 pm, 3900 Vermont St., and it looks as if it will be well attended.

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 24, 2013 at 7:04 pm

There’s also an important community forum for all candidates being sponsored by Dr. John Warren, publisher of the Voice & Viewpoint newspaper, on Thursday September 26, at the Jacobs (no relation) Center, 404 Euclid Ave., San Diego 92114. From 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. I certainly hope that Bruce Coons will be among the candidates present.

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 27, 2013 at 1:09 pm

Coons was not present last night. Presente: Aguirre and Alvarez for the entire two hours; Fletcher Nathan for one hour. I don’t know how you can run for Mayor and not reach out to the residents of the 4th Council District in this city.

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avatar A.Coons September 29, 2013 at 10:47 am

There was no invitation extended, or Bruce would most certainly have been there. He was at two other forums the same evening. Is he to crash these forums?

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avatar Lori Saldaña September 29, 2013 at 12:08 pm

Bruce presented to a group at an event I attended Thursday evening. We appreciated his comments and learning more about his business background. I thank him for being part of the civic discussion.

This will be a very crowded series of events until November 19. Not every candidate will be allowed a place at the table, For a variety of reasons.

I would recommend Any candidate and his staff attend As many of the mayoral forums as possile, even when not invited to speak, to Meet attendees personally and let them know he does want their votes.

What I have learned is people remember seeing a candidate in person at community events And if the impression is positive this will remain with them. It’s hard work, but more effective than many other means of reaching out to them.

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avatar Peter September 23, 2013 at 9:47 pm

It would be nice if his website had clear information about his stance regarding issues in addition to historic preservation. After looking over the testimonials on his website, my thoughts are that there are more important things than aluminum siding. For example, what does he propose to do to help the homeless in San Diego? Does he have any ideas about solving the ever shrinking police and fire departments? Any plans to help teen-age parents? Since he doesn’t have the name recognition, he needs to make it easy for people to find out the specifics of what he stands for. The statement from his website “I will represent , promote and protect a San Diego for all San Diegans.” can mean just about anything, and I don’t see him fleshing it out.

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avatar Lori Saldaña September 23, 2013 at 10:21 pm

Fletcher’s entry into the San Diego Democratic Party was a brilliant Trojan Horse maneuver. He looks so promising on the outside that party leaders refuse to consider he is full of dangerous intentions that will destroy the party’s activist base from within.

Watch how well Fletcher is practicing the divide and conquer form of campaigning. He will not even bother trying to unite Democrats or any other group around him. Instead, he will disrupt the process, block the 60% required, and consider it a victory, then hold himself up as the ONLY candidate who can possibly appeal to “moderates” and “independents” and can “work across the aisle.”

We should thank Fletcher for this. He is giving us a preview of how he will likely govern in office: ignoring the “masses” and focusing on those few who hold the most power, influence and/or money. The faces may change, but under a Fletcher reign, his predecessors’ closed door meeting style policies and maintenance of status quo of will remain.

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avatar bob dorn September 27, 2013 at 2:34 pm

Amen.

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 23, 2013 at 11:02 pm

There must be willing workers to build the Trojan horse and the San Diego County Democratic Party is where they hang out.

Congressman Scott Peters has endorsed Fletcher Nathan! Party Chairman Francine Busby is hot for Fletcher Nathan! Don’t forget former chairman, now San Diego’s only Democratic National Committee member Jess Durfee — he’s also going for Fletcher Nathan! Lorena Gonzalez wants Fletcher Nathan, and I forget, maybe Juan Vargas too.

If you’re in San Diego politics, it’s probably smart to bet on Fletcher Nathan, even if he loses, because you will have curried favor with Big Dem Daddy and his boys, Irwin Jacobs & Fils, and they will shell out for your next race.

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avatar michael-leonard September 24, 2013 at 8:35 am

Excuse me but what’s this thing Bob Dorn started about turning Nathan Fletcher’s name backwards? Now, Ms. Zimmerman has picked up on it. What gives?
As someone with an unusual surname who endured lots of jokes as a kid, I kinda object to this unnecessary – and derogatory – reference.
But mainly, I’d really like to know … WHY. Bob? Frances?

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avatar bob dorn September 27, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Here I am, michael-leonard. I had no idea I was founding a movement, but you should know it was in response to that conversion of Nathan Fletcher to the Democratic party he’d worked for years to defeat, first as Duke Cunningham’s local bagman, and then as an assemblyman compiling an 18% rating from labor. I just figured that his current i.d. can be inverted as completely as was Saul’s, when he was struck from his donkey on the road to Damascus and re-emerged a soon-to-be Christian saint named Paul. Only Nathan Fletcher got on the donkey after being knocked off his elephant. Hence, we’ll invert his name to… Fletcher Nathan. I’m not yet part of the Fletcher Nation.

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 24, 2013 at 10:17 am

I gratefully credit Bob Dorn for this innovation. For me, it is a way of never having to say or write the name of an ambitious fake from the farthest right of the Republican Party who has converted and been embraced by what passes for the Democratic Party in San Diego County.

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avatar Dorothy Lee September 24, 2013 at 6:42 pm

I recently read the book “Gulp,” which includes quite a treatise on a man named Horace Fletcher. He was an opportunist, promoting himself on the most ludicrous basis, to the extent that there is a verb, “fletcherize,” related to chewing food (or an idea) until it has become nothing. But the Urban Dictionary has an added meaning: fletcherize – 1) a word of favoring a certain person even if the person is not up to that level of appreciation; 2) an act of overrating a person.

I kind of like to think of Fletcher Nathan in this way.

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avatar bob dorn September 27, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Wow! “Fletcherize.” I love it. Once we’re all part of the Fletcher Nation, we’ll all be “fletcherized.”

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avatar John Kitchin September 24, 2013 at 6:04 pm

As I commented in the OB Rag, only Mike Aguirre is qualified to be Mayor, of the present candidates. Alvarez opposed the homeless tent, and opposed money to clean up and store the property of the homeless. Dr. John Kitchin, Publisher, San Diego Homeless News.

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avatar Lori Saldaña September 25, 2013 at 12:01 am

Congrats to David on receiving party endorsement and support. Good to see progressive Dems hold strong/stay united on core principles.

It’s a solid, broad base to build upon in the coming weeks.

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avatar John Kitchin September 25, 2013 at 1:43 pm

I hardly consider Alvarez, Fletcher, or even Todd Gloria to be “Democrats”, the party that started labor laws and labor unions under FDR to deal with the Hoover Depression. I think Coons may be a red herring here. Mike Aguirre brokered the court ruling ending the Illegal Lodging harassment, which now permits homeless to stay unmolested overnight (9 pm to 6 am only) on all City property. In return, the homeless cannot sue the City for failure to provide all residents with adequate housing, per the California Constitution.

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avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman September 27, 2013 at 1:15 pm

Congrats to David for bludgeoning the Democratic Central Committee into voting to endorse him — with the proviso that the party will support whichever “Democrat” makes it through the Primary election.

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