Democrat in Republican Clothes

by on November 16, 2013 · 40 comments

in Politics, Voter Guide Special Election

Photo courtesy of nathanfletcher.com

Photo courtesy of nathanfletcher.com

Nathan Fletcher was always a member of the Republican Party, but he wasn’t really one of them.

By Andy Cohen

It’s the subject of much consternation and speculation.  It was a move made out of pure political expediency, insist some in the local political sphere.  An act of blatant opportunism, plain and simple.  A cold, calculated move to set up for his next run for office.  The GOP hates him, the ubiquitous “They” say about the former Republican State Assemblyman-turned-independent-turned Democrat.  So now he’s trying to pull a con job on everyone else to convince them he’s “changed” and now he really is one of “you.”

That’s the narrative Nathan Fletcher’s political opponents would like you to believe.  Fletcher’s switch to the Democratic Party was made simply because he could find no home elsewhere, but he doesn’t really mean it.  He’s still a Republican in a blue suit, whether or not the GOP will lay claim to him.

The truth, as Fletcher tells it, is nowhere near as sinister, far more complicated, and was almost as surprising to him as it was to his critics, on both the left and the right.  It was a move he was prodded, even courted into by prominent Democratic elected officials and Party representatives.  It wasn’t something he sought to do, but rather something that was sought of him.

You’re a Democrat, Nathan.  Might as well make it official.

These were strange words to hear for the lifelong Republican, and at first they didn’t make any sense.  Gradually, though, he began to realize that just because you identify as a Republican doesn’t mean the label fits.  Which was odd.  And Confusing.  And difficult to sort out.

Maybe I’m not a Republican.

More frequently, Fletcher found himself at odds with his GOP colleagues.  Voting your conscience instead of the Party line will do that, particularly in a political party that demands conformity and disdains independence.  But more and more often he would find himself at odds with the official Party position.  On issues like Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:  “This is wrong” (and coming from a Marine who had served in combat, that’s significant).  He would vote against insurance industry wishes (which of course became the Party’s stance).  He worked with—GASP!—Governor Jerry Brown to create tax fairness for California based businesses, eliminating preferential treatment for out-of-state businesses.

After constructing a bill with the governor, Fletcher had a meeting with representatives from the tobacco companies.  “They were pissed,” he said, because their state income taxes were about to go up.  “I’m not picking on you because your product kills people,” he says he told them, “I’m picking on you because you don’t employ anyone here and it’s not my job to take care of you.”  The bill—which would eventually be placed on the ballot as Prop 39—was opposed by Republicans because, you know, it was a tax increase (sort of—at least on out-of-state businesses).  But it created fairness within the state, it created an additional $1 billion in revenue for the State of California, and it created (and protected) jobs in California.

Microsoft insisted to him that the initiative would increase the cost of their products in the state.  “I’m like, I DON’T BELIEVE YOU.”  Twenty-seven other states have similar laws, he told them, and it had no effect on product pricing.  “I got crushed by the Republicans,” Fletcher said.  Prop 39 passed with over 61% of the vote statewide.

Time after time, vote after vote, he found himself siding with the Democrats, without fully knowing it.  Slowly he started coming around.  “I realized that I was very consistently voting the Democratic Party line.”  At the same time he found himself increasingly at odds with the Republicans, increasingly uncomfortable—and unpopular—within their ranks.  “I stopped going to Party Caucus meetings because I was just out of line too much,” he said.

“I’d had such a long and tortured relationship with the GOP, and in particular with Tony Krvaric, and they constantly were saying ‘you’re not one of us, you don’t belong, you don’t share our values.”

Eventually, Democratic leaders started approaching him, needling him, telling him what he was only beginning to accept as the truth.  “These are people I’ve worked with, Democratic leaders who’ve known me for years, and they’re like, ‘you know you’re one of us, right?  You know you really belong on our side.’”

He was then approached by John Pérez, the State Assembly Speaker.  He carried with him an analysis of Fletcher’s votes.  “He had it charted out.  He said you’re a Democrat.  On equality issues you are solidly Democrat.  On choice you’re solidly Democrat.  He said on environment, you’re more Democratic than some of the Valley Democrats.  And he said on economic issues you’re a little moderate, but you’re in the spectrum.”

“Juan Vargas took me to breakfast three or four times and said ‘you’re one of us.’  I ran into Chris Kehoe at the airport and she said we’d love to have you.”

After he left the Republicans, Fletcher says he was invited a number of times “very publicly” by the Democratic Party to switch sides.  But he didn’t take the bait and chose to remain an Independent, despite coming to an acceptance that yes, he was indeed a Democrat.  “I just didn’t want all the shit.  I just didn’t want all the criticism that comes from it.”  But a Marine buddy who he had served with in Iraq set him straight one night while discussing politics in general.  “He said you’re kinda being a coward.  Who cares what people say.  If that’s where you believe you line up at, then he’s like ‘do it.’  So I did, and I didn’t make a big to-do out of it.  I posted it on my Facebook and that was it.”

“And I got a tremendous, warm welcome and embrace.”  The Democratic Party is a big tent.  They welcome people in.  Republicans?  “Republicans drive ‘em out.”

“I can’t tell you how many Democrats I’ve met who went through the same transition I went through.  I just haven’t met anyone else who had to do it publicly.  But that’s okay.  I chose that.”

Still, the matter of his “groveling” before the San Diego GOP for their endorsement in the2012 mayoral race gets dragged around like an anchor, there at the ready for skeptics and critics to use against him.  See, you’re not one of us after all.

“I wish I hadn’t done that,” he said.  “It was a last gasp attempt to hang on in a Party where I was in such a bad place.  I faced this situation where I had been so brutalized with the Republican Party on fact that I didn’t belong.  There were so many issues where I wasn’t one of them.  I think it was one last gasp effort to try and cling and hold on.  It’s almost like a bad relationship where you both know it’s going down the tubes, and you make one effort at reconciliation, like a bad marriage that you’re trying to save.  And then you wake up the next morning and go, ‘What was I thinking?’”

“I walked out of that room, and it was just awful.  That’s not who I am; this isn’t where I belong.  And when they endorsed DeMaio, it was a relief.  It was just a crystallizing moment where I said I was never going to do that again.”

But, he adds, criticism stemming from that speech to the GOP is entirely fair.  He said what he said, whether he regrets it or not.  Can’t put the words back into his mouth now.

The trek from Republican to Democrat was a long and bumpy path, but Nathan Fletcher knows now he’s where he belongs.  It’s comfortable.  It’s home.

Part 2:  Fletcher on policy issues

avatar Dana Levy November 16, 2013 at 7:38 am

Thanks for the forthright article that is full of truth and doesn’t go for the cheap shots put forth by the Republicans and even the small contingent of hateful, jealous Democrats that can’t envision how someone could actually change (their smug selfrighteousness seems familiar to the stance and positions of the “other” party). After watching yet another debate last night on channel 7, I am reassured that Fletcher is the strongest, most capable candidate for the mayor’s job and am heartened that he expresses my viewpoints and is someone who can and will get the focus back on track that Filner had started. It is a tough job and it takes a tough person and Fletcher is the toughest, most capable person in the race. Come Tuesday evening I am hopeful that it will be “on ’till morning ” with Fletcher in the race to win it for us all.

avatar Bill November 16, 2013 at 8:04 am

Thanks finally for a fair and balanced article. I too was a Republican for over 30 years and switched to a Democrat a few years ago. I did not leave the Republican party, they left me. I still support some conservative ideas on international issues but am fully in support of a more progressive domestic agenda. Capitalism does not work if there are not sufficient government controls to corral it. I believe Nathan believes the same.

avatar Brent Beltran November 16, 2013 at 8:39 am

He can wait until it’s his turn: after Alvarez. He’ll keep the seat warm for Fletcher if Fletcher can build his progressive creds between now and then. If so, I might vote for the guy after Alvarez serves his terms as mayor.

avatar Eva November 16, 2013 at 9:11 am

Very well written, Andy. I really enjoyed reading this.

avatar Lori Saldaña November 16, 2013 at 9:45 am

Good for him to realize he’s a Dem. Unfortunately, Fletcher has always put himself first, as shown by his unwillingness to sit this out and support a progressive Democrat who has demonstrated a commitment to doing the kind of work that is much closer to the values San Diegans supported in 2012.

That’s what concerns and angers many Democrats: Fletcher’s need for attention and his blind ambition, compelling him to put his own desires over his newly adopted party. Many believe this non-stop campaigning is a compulsion.

While serving 2 years with Nathan Fletcher, I watched him strive for higher office every chance he had. He raised and spent huge amounts of campaign funds while running unopposed, simply to build name recognition for future office.

In 2008, rather than focus on learning how to be a good representative during his first term as an elected official, he took on complex and grandiose bills to curry political favors and capture more attention. This resulted in the destruction of state redevelopment programs, and the loss of funding for schools and affordable housing.

When I and others advised him of the funding and other implementation problems related to his original Chelsea’s bill in 2010 , he ignored our advice and refused to modify it to avoid the problems that we had described. Instead, after much fanfare with the first bill’s passage, he quietly drafted a second bill the following year, costing taxpayers more money to correct the first bills flaws. His ambition blinded him to good policy decisions, and likely will again.

Although many of these bills failed to achieve their desired policy intent, it didn’t matter to Fletcher. He had authored them for one reason: to increase his visibility and run for Mayor.

I’m asking all San Diegans, regardless of political affiliation: don’t give Fletcher the opportunity to continue with these reckless, costly mistakes, and make San Diego pay to become an expensive stepping stone to his next political ambition. Vote for a candidate who knows who he is, where he comes from, what he values, and is honest about who and what he will support.

For me, that’s David Alvarez.

avatar Alice West November 16, 2013 at 8:30 pm

Lori, you called it right: Trojan Horse. And thank you for your service and warning Dem leadership about Filner ahead of last year’s election.

Tom Shepard should step out of the shadows and take a bow. Great Fletcher for Mayor ‘2012 through Filner Fiasco to Fletcher for Mayor 2013 play until David showed up to debates, and his boots on the ground provided authentic chats with residents. People like it when candidates show up and answer forthright. Not my opinion, it’s social media the past month solid for Alvarez.

As for this marine, his tweets and content makes you wonder who’s messaging he regurgitates? Read his copy. A discredited band who don’t disclose their conflicts of interest in numerous press interviews? Where do we hear the same content all over Twitter and in press interviews???? At 25 and < 900 twitter followers… look forward to the day he wises up and spits out the Kool aide an aggressive campaign misinformed him with. I have hope for you @willrk787. You like Dante, but have you heard Voltaire: 'Anyone who has the power to make you believe absurdities has the power to make you commit injustices.' BTW Gabe is a chick, not a dude. But you learned that already.

avatar Dana Levy November 16, 2013 at 9:30 pm

Not sure what the content is here but I am sure medical cannabis must be involved, or, I am too old and set in my ways to decipher the true hidden meanings of the various phrases. I don’t have an enigma machine and my 7 year old granddaughter is sleeping so I can’t ask her either right now.

avatar Debbie Terry November 16, 2013 at 10:18 am

Flether needs to prove himself in the trenches! He should start proving he is a Democrat by supporting the Democratic Party candidate David Alvarez.

avatar Dana Levy November 16, 2013 at 5:06 pm

Who and what makes you think that he is not supported by many and maybe a majority of the local Democratic Party? And just because the weak “Democratic Party” of San Diego made an error by endorsing Alvarez, this makes him unworthy? Look at Fletcher’s endorsements and you will see real Democrats, locally and throughout the state, doing what is in the best interests of the city in the long run. There is no lock on who is better when there are two strong candidates (Aguirre was never in contention or popular, along with several really long shots) and the DP of SD County should have done a dual endorsement (or no endorsement in the primary) and avoided taking sides inside the “tent” of us liberal progressives here locally in San Diego City proper. Hopefully it won’t be a legacy from which it will again take 20 years from which to emerge victorious again.

avatar Erin November 18, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Endorsing Alvarez was a show of strength for our party values. A small group of wanna-be king makers had already decided that we “had” to accept Fletcher as our chosen savior, similar to the way a small group of kingmakers decided that the republican central committee would endorse Kevin Faulconer. But when it came time for the vote, the democratically elected members of the central committee, stood up to pressure from Jess Durfee, Lorena Gonzalez and others who thought they could decide for us and chose a real Democrat, with a real Democratic voting record to run on, with a real history of winning elections, with a real base of grassroots support and said that we will stand on our values and not be cowed into accepting the lesser alternative. I am very proud of the guts and integrity of our local Democrats who stood strong against Sacramento politicians and local opportunists. Watching the Democratic Party of San Diego, in an open, transparent and fully democratic, forum choose David Alvarez to be our endorsed candidate made me very proud to be a Democrat.

avatar Doug Porter November 16, 2013 at 10:59 am

I concur that David Alvarez is the best candidate for Mayor of San Diego.

I agree with the UCFW’s Mickey Kasparian’s position of welcoming Mr. Fletcher to the party and feeling like he hadn’t paid his dues yet. http://voiceofsandiego.org/2013/09/25/how-labors-top-personality-went-from-welcoming-fletcher-to-fighting-him/ I’d go one step further and say that the Democratic Party in California has a real problem with the “mainstream” professional politicians who have to be watched constantly. Scott Peters is a fine example of that type.

The point’s been made early and often that he’s an opportunist following the dictates of what I would characterize as old-style party bosses. (Remember when running for office was called “public service?”)

I also acknowledge that Mr. Fletcher’s candidacy is being promoted by specific segments of our gentry seeking a vehicle to enable their agendas. Again, I say: “don’t vote for him”.

Having said that, there will be life beyond Tuesday’s election.

And the story of one conservative’s journey out of the GOP is a compelling one. We should not forget that there are many engaged former (or thinking about it) Republicans who have crossed over from the dark side. The danger in engaging in overkill in our quest to see a progressive candidate elected mayor is that those folks may feel they’re unwelcome in our tent.

I’ve already seen notes from people upset with the fact that SDFP is publishing this series. IMO this isn’t a matter of “balance” or “telling the other side”. It’s a matter of not playing the game of “shunning” those on our side (if only nominally) of the fence.

At this point our “tent” isn’t big enough to win elections based on political purity. A corrupt corporate media and unlimited opposition funding stand in the way of many progressive candidates and causes.

So let’s be careful about committing the kind of slow political suicide we see taking place within the Tea Party factions of the GOP. The politics of exclusion or purity are a slippery slope that historically always leads to disaffection with the democratic process.

I’m glad Nathan Fletcher’s a Democrat. I’m just not ready to vote for him.

avatar Dana Levy November 16, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Not to be too argumentative, but why does somebody have to wait their turn? Alvarez is the inexperienced newcomer who is not ready. Being home grown, as I have read too many times, also is no great feat that recommends one for office. And, Don’t EVER forget that Scott Peters (whether you are in love with him or not) did actually beat an ensconced Republican Bilbray thus ending his stranglehold as a carpetbagger in North County and ending his “illustrious” career as a politician (good riddance!). There is room for any and all who want to espouse and carry the Democratic Liberal flag if they can stand the heat and Fletcher will do a great job doing just that. From the beginning I have maintained that beating the Republicans, whomever they run, is the most important thing we can do, and, infighting and disparaging one of “our own” is counterproductive to what we want. Losing in the long run is detrimental to all we stand for. You must give the Reps credit for utilizing a divide and conquer strategy to it’s best advantage in most races. Maybe we will grow into a real political party/force someday. As for today and Tuesaday, let’s keep our eyes on the prize. The “strong” mayor is a position that we are best served by from one from our side ,no matter where they come from and the last thing that the city needs is a runoff race that WE can’t win (regardless of all the endorsement Sanders commercials Faulconer runs).

avatar Erin November 18, 2013 at 12:14 pm

Why is Alvarez the “inexperienced newcomer”? Alvarez has been on the San Diego City Council for three years, Nathan Fletcher served only four years as an Assemblymember in Sacramento. I believe City Council experience is a much more relevant experience to the position of mayor that being one of the 80+ votes on statewide legislation.

And why can’t Alvarez win? David Alvarez won an incredibly tough city council race against the brother of the President of City Council who was backed by the labor council… So, Alvarez has proven he can win a hard campaign. And look his trajectory in this race, with no name recognition north of the 8 in September, he is now neck in neck with Fletcher for second place.

Fletcher, on the other hand, has never won a competitive race. He was the chosen Republican candidate in a Republican assembly district. He got re-elected, again with no real competition, running as an incumbent. Then he lost a race for mayor. Now, in this race, he has managed to go from leading the polls to being neck in neck with David Alvarez for second place.

Fletcher has not proven that he can win a competitive race – Alvarez has.

avatar Lori Saldaña November 17, 2013 at 1:08 pm

To be clear: my critique of the newly minted Dem in this election is less about partisanship, and more about concerns over commitment and loyalty to progressive Dem ideals; 250k voters chose a progressive mayor in 2012, and we need to get them to do it all over again.

Had a long term democratic colleague voted for and authored the kind of bills he did in Sacramento, with similar policy results, I would withhold support as well.

As for the “inexperienced” criticisms aimed at Alvarez, I look at the quality as well as quantity of a person’s legislative experience. David has a solid, if slightly shorter, record in elected office.

avatar Anna Daniels November 17, 2013 at 2:44 pm

Lori’s points are well taken. When we voted last year, we voted for an agenda as well as a mayor. We must not lose sight of that agenda when evaluating mayoral candidates. That agenda is being unwound, quietly dismantled and the status quo has crept back in to City Hall.
It is clear to me that only David Alvarez is committed to the equity and transparency in government that we voted for last year.

avatar Kimberley November 16, 2013 at 11:23 am

This story has factual errors. The writer states the following:
“He worked with—GASP!—Governor Jerry Brown to create tax fairness for California based businesses, eliminating preferential treatment for out-of-state businesses.
After constructing a bill with the governor,…. The bill—which would eventually be placed on the ballot as Prop 39—was opposed by Republicans because, you know, it was a tax increase (sort of—at least on out-of-state businesses). But it created fairness within the state, it created an additional $1 billion in revenue for the State of California, and it created (and protected) jobs in California.” “I got crushed by the Republicans,” Fletcher said. Prop 39 passed with over 61% of the vote statewide.”

Here’s the real story:
Fletcher never violated his Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge. The claim that he worked with the Governor to close the tax loophole favoring out of state corporations and costing the state billions is a farce. In 2009, he strongly supported this $2 billion corporate tax giveaway. When Governor Brown proposed closing the loophole in January 2011, Fletcher opposed it because the additional revenue would go to schools and to closing the budget deficit. Only when it was crafted as revenue neutral and Jon Fleishman of the Flash Report tweeted the following, “Because the tax plan is revenue neutral, supporting it does NOT violate a no new taxes pledge.”, did Fletcher support it.
And to insinuate that Fletcher had anything to do with the passage of Energy Prop. 39 is insulting to Mr. Steyer, the San Francisco Billionaire Environmentalist who funded the signature campaign and ballot initiative campaign, after the Governor had failed twice to close the loophole.

avatar Andy Cohen November 16, 2013 at 3:02 pm

Then why have Jerry Brown, Kamala Harris, and Gavin Newsom all endorsed him over Alvarez? I’m not making a case for Fletcher over Alvarez, I’m just saying that their endorsements tell us there’s obviously a lot more validity to what he told me than you’d care to acknowledge.

avatar Lori Saldaña November 17, 2013 at 9:40 am

Brown, Newsom and Harris know Fletcher from Sacramento. Speaker Perez, Senator Block also lobbied on his behalf.

Not rocket science, just going with who they know vs listening to local Dems and their experience at city level.

Also, they want to build a safely moderate Dem bench of people they believe would be electable statewide- he fits that prototype.

In contrast, many locals are tired of musical chair politics, and want the next mayor to stay focussed on local issues and stay put for 2 terms. There’s much work needed to recover from the economic and other setbacks of past decade, vs using the mayor’s office as stepping stone to next position.

avatar Kimberley November 18, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Facts are facts. And, all facts that I’ve stated to controvert your statements are verifiable.

avatar Kimberley November 18, 2013 at 9:26 pm

Referring to Andy Cohen.

avatar Kimberley November 18, 2013 at 9:32 pm

And, Mr. Cohen, your logic is flawed. Fletcher’s statements are true because JB, KH and GN are supporting him?? Do you see the flaw in this rationale? What if they are supporting Fletcher because Irwin Jacobs is promising to contribute millions to their campaigns? When $ determines the outcome of elections 93% of the time, this makes more sense.

avatar Lori Saldaña November 20, 2013 at 10:03 am

Update: one statewide elected official who endorsed Fletcher without checking in with locals has been informed by San Diego AFT they will be withholding a pledged $5K contribution, presumably so they can put the money to better use in the general election.

All politics are local… and elections (and endorsements) have consequences.

avatar Peter Dennehy November 16, 2013 at 11:59 am

You have got to be kidding Lori Saldana and others. Nathan Fletcher came in 3rd in the last city-wide, mayoral election and top 2 were not running. He wanted to run as a Democrat and i think David Alvarez was rightfully in line behind Nathan in line. Time will tell, but hopefully the decision of local Democrats to not unite behind one candidate will not hand the office over. If so, it was the fault of the local Democrats (just as Bob Filner was) and i will never follow you blindly down a rabbit hole again.

avatar Jay Powell November 16, 2013 at 12:22 pm

I’m with Doug on voting for Alvarez and agree we should not attack people who at least say they are moving our way. But this is the fast-track special election to pick who will be the highest local elected official in the San Diego region. This story seemed like it was pouring more syrup on a lot of empty calories. In contrast, I attended an Alvarez ‘Walk the Walk” event this week at IBEW 569 HQs in Kearny Mesa. Councilmember Alvarez was joined by a journeyman woman and young Latino apprentice electrician in touring their facility with representatives of the Sierra Club. The tour included visiting the 85 kw solar electric panels on the IBEW 569 roof. Alvarez asked very pointed questions to learn more about the potential of this technology to help address climate change and our energy needs while creating long-term, sustainable jobs for coming generations. Bringing labor and environmental advocates and workers together is an example of his approach to finding win-win solutions that benefit the environment and the economy. He is young, he is bright, he is qualified and he will lead on these issues.

avatar Andy Cohen November 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm

For the record, and for all of those who insist that he “should have paid his dues:” Fletcher actually agrees with you. “I wish I’d had more time in the Party.” But before Alvarez jumped into the race, he was strongly encouraged to run by many of those same Dem leaders that pulled him into the Democratic fold in the first place. Most of those people are still supporting him.

I look at it this way: We’ve got two VERY good Democratic candidates running for Mayor. I think that’s a good thing.

avatar Peter Dennehy November 16, 2013 at 8:14 pm

Andy – great article and so appreciated to have thoughtful approach. I think it’s worth reminding us that this election was thrust on us and all candidates by an “unusual situation” Nathan loved his job at Qualcomm and I saw him at the Chelsea run in spring and he told me he loved teaching his course too. Seemed totally happy and I know Mindy loved him being home. He completed his transition to being a democrat and was welcomed with open arms by many in party in spring. We knew he would go back to politics, he is hugely talented. Then BF exploded. Nathan came in 3rd in election and 2 top place people did not run. I am thrilled he was willing to put himself forward again. He did not choose this timing. More time in party would be helpful but he is with us on the issues people. Military, family man, loves San Diego and found himself here. boundless energy, state and national connections and credibility. I am so proud to support him.

avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman November 16, 2013 at 4:23 pm

It is terrible to read Andy Cohen’s apologia here for FletcherNathan — something Andy’s been angling to do for months. Finally he puts it out today with the blessing of “big tent” ringmaster Doug Porter on the weekend before the special election for Mayor of San Diego.

Anyone who buys this delusional line and actually votes for Cohen’s preposterously-whitewashed version of the charlatan/puppet of billionaire Irwin Jacobs can take personal responsibility for ruining the chances of the Democratic Party’s best-in-field — David Alvarez for Mayor.

David Alvarez is the embodiment of what the what the Democratic Party is supposed to be about: commitment, hard work, modesty, intelligence, education, service to others.
We have a rare opportunity to elect a rare excellent candidate and we should not hesitate or be misled. David Alvarez has no equal in this race.

David Alvarez campaigned and won his City Council seat against the Hueso Family machine; David has served his Council District honorably and achieved the new Barrio Logan Community Plan over heavy-hitter industrial opponents; David helped former -Mayor Filner reach detente with hoteliers over their controversial fees; David is a native son of Barrio Logan and a graduate of SDSU; David is endorsed in this race by the Sierra Club and by the AFL-CIO Labor Council which represents hard-working people, including nurses and teachers.

This is not the time for fence-sitting. We need to identify our essential liberal values — not watered-down “progressive” ideas, — our liberal values. We know which way the wind is blowing. We need to stop hedging our bets and stand for something better than what’s gone before. That’s best-in-field David Alvarez for Mayor.

In closing, let’s look at the record instead of Andy Cohen’s version of FletcherNathan’s political “conversion.” FletcherNathan early-on was mentored by influential anti-immigrant GOP Gov. Pete Wilson. FletcherNathan took the Grover Norquist no-new-taxes-ever pledge; FletcherNathan happily worked as chief of staff for GOP Congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham, up until Duke went to prison for selling votes for bribes; GOP up-and-comer FletcherNathan was warmly endorsed by right-winger Karl Rove; FletcherNathan was willing to use the parents of a murdered girl in his mayoral campaign TV ads a year ago. Fletcher Nathan is the epitome of the empty vessel narcissistic self-promoting politician.

David Alvarez for Mayor.

Let’s get real, SDFP readers. You know what to do.

avatar Dana Levy November 16, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Sorry Ms. Z. but it appears your time has come and gone. Same old arguments that didn’t float weeks before and now you are rallying troops that don’t exist to do YOUR bidding as if they also don’t read. Please try to do a better job of stating a position rather than rehashing old comments with inuendo and unproven statements that mean nothing but must make YOU feel good. It is Faulconer that is the actual enemy (in more ways than one) and he should be your target, not another fellow Democrat, to which you appear to think you have all the facts, labels, and descriptions down pat. I am glad we have room and time for debate and discussion but running down Andy Cohen for his great analysis and Fletcher for being a real candidate is counterproductive and needs re thinking on your part. Just your spewing of venom will benefit no one from “our” side! Vote for whomever you think is best suited for the job but please refrain from the negative pall you are tying to cast over the democratic side of this election.

avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman November 16, 2013 at 10:05 pm

Mr. Levy — we did establish a while ago that it is Mister, right? — seems to have taken a course in Mean Girl remarks. First to Ms. Saldana, now to me. But full credit for “the negative pall…cast over the democratic side of this election” must be given where it is due: to Andy Cohen and his good friends here at the spineless San Diego Free Press and to opportunistic FletcherNathan “Democrats” like Mr. Levy.

avatar Dana Levy November 17, 2013 at 6:50 am

Sounds like a bit of accusation of misogony and then to disparage the SDFP? Wonder why you read it or comment what with that mental state so fragile. Wrong is wrong no matter what human gender it is attached to. And, yes I am male and the name can go to either sex just like Fran but that is not even an issue, to which you seem to attach some importance. Thanks for putting the quotes around Democrat in the last phrase as it is reminiscent of Bill O’Reilly (et. al.) to whom you must liken yourself with the negative connotation and your perceived “ownership” and THE authority on all things Democratic. My history and credentials are complete, solid, and dedicated to progressiveness (your opinion aside) and you should look inward and question both your motives and methods as to what you are doing. Differences makes MY Democratic party strong and divisiveness is not one of them. The above mentioned article by Cohen can stand on its own merits but your blather and semi-hysterical comments don’t rate even a “good try” from me. Just another voice shouting into the wind from the wilderness that is neither accurate or credible.

avatar Mark Bauman November 18, 2013 at 9:04 am

FZ, you were wrong about Filner – who received the due process you droned on about and is now a convicted felon – and now you’re on another mission to disparage anyone who doesn’t support your candidate. My wife and I cast our ballets for Nathan Fletcher since IMO he’s the only candidate who has a realistic chance to defeat Faulconer.

avatar La Playa Heritage November 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm

http://tinyurl.com/20110218a

Nathan Fletcher racked up his bill count with symbolic and inconsequential legislation. Example of legislative bills authored by Nathan Fletcher include Assembly Bills AB-1177, AB-1279, AB-1282, AB-1336.

Changes, therefore new laws, made by Fletcher include the insertion of a comma on existing laws, that may or may not have been needed; changing the word “Director” to “Secretary”; changing the word “Pound” to “Animal Shelter”; and changing the word “assure” to “ensure,” etc.

Many of Fletcher authored bills seems like housekeeping or writing style items, rather than legislation that changes actual laws. Of the authored laws by Fletcher, how many needed legislative analysis? How many were approved on consent as Housekeeping items compared to actual relevant law changes that require Leadership and cooperation with Democrats? How many of the new laws required an advocate, and effort to author and pass?

avatar Kathleen Connell November 17, 2013 at 8:37 am

Rather than re-litigate a very complex recent political past, and be a savant who knows exactly who should have said what to whom and when, I have to get groceries and then go work for David Alvarez this afternoon. Hope to see you all there! Ok, heck, ok I am throwing down. If Lori had suddenly stopped her campaign and announced that Bob was a womanizer, without victims who were not ready to speak out, The Democratic Party was ignoring this, there are folks on this thread and elsewhere who have dropped everything to attack her ruthlessly. She did a lot more than most despite the fact she had a lot to loose by speaking up. Cut Saldana some slack, please. That’s how I see it.

avatar Bill November 17, 2013 at 9:38 am

Now I remember while it took so long for me to change to Democratic registration. Most of the progressive commentators who have written here remind me of Republican Tea Partiers, winning the election is not their main goal. They spend their time and money feeding their ever expanding egos. Get a grip Alvarez can’t beat Faulconer. It’s your choice eight years of Faulconer or Fletcher.

avatar Alice West November 17, 2013 at 10:31 am

Why can’t Alvarez beat Faulconer? And maybe he won’t need to if Faulconer just closes the gap last minute.

Nate was considered the anointed mayor in July when Filner hadn’t even resigned. The majority of Filner Resign team morphed into Fletcher 4 Mayor support. Despite the critical early operational advantage and heavy press rotation, David’s team did a fantastic job in WEEKS making sure voters had plenty of face time to hear his message. David’s sentiment in social media has climbed while Nate’s crashed because it’s a peer to peer world and David shows up to answer questions. David did the work he needed then and he’ll do it against Faulconer.

San Diego progressives lost when Tom Shepard took Bob Filner as his client – because he never let go of Fletcher 4 Mayor and Bob’s well known weaknesses were an advantage no other candidate had. He really needs to get some credit for thinking a long game. But he was dealt a poor hand in who took up the Fletcher cause and went to war with the army that he had. Looks like Fletcher gets #3 again.

avatar Bill November 17, 2013 at 10:42 am

Alice,
The only reason there is a gap is because Fletcher joined the race. Faulconer would have won by double digits if Fletcher had not enterred the race. The polls the UT are putting out are a joke just as the Democratic polls are only self serving. This is not as close as the polls suggest between Alvarez and Fletcher. Progressives are be played as tools by Mr. Manchester to see to it his guy gets elected. Oh by the was I stand corrected it won’t be eight years of Mr. Faulconer but ten; quite a good investment for Mr. Manchester.

avatar Andy Cohen November 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm

On the flip side: Fletcher might actually be WINNING this race if Alvarez hadn’t declared (he did jump in before Alvarez did).

Again, not advocating one over the other, just an observation.

avatar Alice West November 20, 2013 at 7:57 am

Like I said: Fletcher gets #3 again.

San Diego voted authenticity IS viability. Congrats Team David.

avatar Doug Porter November 17, 2013 at 10:59 am

Comments from Mr Rodriguez-Kennedy (and those responding to him, just so it’s not confusing) have been removed for violations of terms of service.

avatar Lori Saldaña November 20, 2013 at 10:07 am

Thanks to all who helped present a positive, aspirational vision of David’s campaign. His supporters created a bold, progressive vision for San Diego that many believed we were finally achieving in 2012. After a painful, but hopefully cathartic, detour, we are back on track.

Here is my take, shared elsewhere last night and updated this morning, on what we have seen since August, and where we need to go:

The votes haven’t been completely counted, but things are looking good for David Alvarez, who overtook Nathan Fletcher at 11 pm on Election night, just in time for the final evening news broadcasts.

This result makes me and many others very, very happy, and very proud of the work done by David and his supporters.

He has inspired volunteers and voters in this short campaign, and silenced those who underestimated not only him, but his energetic and unconventional support base.

The commonly heard charge that “David (or any other progressive) can’t win” because of being outspent/too liberal/too young/inexperienced is a cynical tactic. It is designed to devalue, undermine and demoralize the emerging vote of young people. These millennials are embracing and fueling grassroots/progressive campaigns around the country (Elizabeth Warren comes to mind) that are people-powered vs. wealth-endowed. They are a force of the future that must be respected.

The “can’t win” message also seeks to discourage the participation of older, more traditional but still idealistic voters, who want to reduce the impact of big money on elections and government, and who seek to elect people whose policies are supportive of the working as well as the monied class.

And finally the “can’t win” argument is often code for pointing out and invalidating candidates who don’t look like “traditional” elected officials. It allows criticism of “viability,” without needing to openly discuss the underlying ageism/racism/sexism/classism/corporatism of our political system.

Let’s hope we are seeing the end of these “progressives can’t win” arguments. They play on voters’ fears vs. aspirations- a tactic that has been used effectively in other campaigns when moderate/conservative candidates of both parties focus their pitches on funding for public safety, the war on drugs, defense/terrorism etc. and ignore broken infrastructure, education and social services.

Remember the motto “we are the 99%” from not so long ago? It’s still with us, but as with any truly grassroots cause, it is morphing and evolving with the flow of time. It’s not like the local economy has recovered and everything is OK for everyone. It’s more that no one wants to discuss the local economic divide directly, even as food insecurity and homelessness in America’s Finest City increases, and federal funds for “Navy Town” dwindle with sequestration and the slow end of a decade of war.

Instead, the code phrase in the current campaign is “put neighborhoods first” which is a subtle variation of “Main Street vs Wall Street.” Of course, the neighborhood of, say, Mission Hills expects very different things from City Hall than Golden Hills. It will be interesting to look at the final primary voting results, neighborhood by neighborhood, to better understand who shares this vision and acted on it in the primary.

This vote analysis (no doubt to be provided by INews source and/or Voice of San Diego’s capable researchers) will help us better understand and appreciate how, for the last 60 days, David inspired progressives and overcame the moderate wing of his own party.

In 2014, he needs to continue to inspire, PLUS unite Dems and contributors, and assure the party leaders who sat out the primary election (are you listening Todd Gloria and Sheri Lightner?) that it is “safe” to support David.

In closing: It’s time to fulfill the vision we had in 2012: a Mayor who will work for all of us. It’s time for San Diego to move beyond the hurt feelings and 20th century version of “America’s Finest City,” which was based on the disappointment of being left by the GOP at the altar of the 1972 National Convention.

In 2014, progressives, working families, and young people will help our city move, fearlessly, into a more diverse, vibrant and progressive 21st century.

Se puede? Si, se puede!

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