What Happens If [Fill-in the Candidate’s Name] Wins the Runoff Mayoral Election?

startinglinelogoBy Doug Porter

There will be two winners come Wednesday morning, since nobody outside of GOP Bossman Tony Krvaric’s opium dreams thinks any candidate will win more than fifty percent of the vote.  The accepted wisdom is that City Councilman Kevin Faulconer, a Republican who’d like voters to forget about that fact, will take “first place.”

Faulconer would prefer that we ignore the sources of his cash, since voter registration in San Diego is tilted in favor of the Democratic Party.  The local GOP is currently less popular than even Congress, with a mere 3% of newly registered voters willing to affiliate themselves with the Party of Lincoln.

What we’re really voting on is who makes it to the runoff election, which will take place at sometime in February… Or maybe March, depending on when this round’s votes are certified.

And it’s that runoff election I’ll be talking about today, in the hopes you’ll be further inspired to vote this time around. (Did I mention yet how important it is to vote?)

Kevin Faulconer’s hope for the runoff round has to be in lulling infrequent voters to sleep.  No matter what the election, turn out is consistently higher in the older, mostly white districts North of Interstate 8.

This will result in two pronged campaign, with Official Faulconer Marketing made up of smiling ads with sunny happy people and a Dark Lords Marketing blitz designed to scare the hell out of people in La Jolla and Rancho Bernardo.

The other two candidates of the Democratic persuasion face a more challenging course.  Rifts within the party that started in the downward spirals of the He Who Should Not Be Named former mayor have spilled over into the campaigns of Nathan Fletcher and David Alvarez.

Whoever “wins” second place will face the daunting task of making their supporters mea culpas for utterances made during the past five months sound sincere enough to gain some measure of support from the third place finisher’s supporters.  And I have real doubts about that happening.

I’m sure that Fletcher and/or Alvarez will make the “we’re all in this together speech;” I’m just not so sure that it will be accepted by the people in the political trenches.

The Fletcher campaign, if victorious but not able to sell themselves to Alvarez supporters, will have to be more reliant on the registration advantage Democrats have.  Not being able to build bridges to the more activist wing of the party means they’ll have a much weaker ground game in South of Interstate 8 neighborhoods.

fletch4I’ll go so far as to predict they’d opt to go head-to-head in the city’s more affluent neighborhoods. If they can sell Fletcher as being one of “them” and “somebody you can trust” that could be a winning strategy…unless you happen to live in City Heights or Barrio Logan, in which case the candidate will owe you nothing.

The Alvarez campaign has, in my opinion, the harder sell in trying to win over Fletcher supporters. They will have defeated an “insider” and while the insider types will give lip service to supporting the winner, I have a hard time believing the big money types at Qualcomm will follow their lead.

The support that organized labor has generated for David Alvarez has been impressive thus far; he’s gone from single digits to being contender.  The ground game that ironically vaunted Fletcher supporter Lorena Gonzalez into greater prominence has been unrelenting and thorough.

Should the Alvarez campaign pull off a more impressive margin of victory than the razor thin margin pollsters are currently predicting, his task will be easier, since the argument being advanced in Fletcherland is that David “can’t” win.

Whoever wins the right to face Kevin Faulconer will be facing a tidal wave of negativity from the Lincoln Club /Lynchester cabal.  The Republicans winning strategy will be based on discouraging voting by convincing Democrats that their candidate isn’t worth the effort to cast a ballot.  That’s the only path open when you don’t have actual ideas.

This entire story is about tactics and probabilities.  To the Mike Aguirre supporters that will undoubtedly write in to complain that I’ve left them out, I say “prove me wrong.”

Alvarez and Fletcher are different in their approach to governance.  On the issues/ideology scale it’s clear to me David Alvarez is the better candidate.  Nathan Fletcher’s past record makes it hard for me to believe in him, even as I recognize the difficulty he’s faced in moving away from the GOP.

I urge you, if you haven’t voted, to vote. Not voting at all is worse than voting for the “wrong” candidate.

I voted for David Alvarez last week. I think he’s the right guy for the job.

Walmart! Walmart! Walmart!

I saw the tree lot going up in Mission Valley last week and my Christmas cactus is starting to bloom, so that means it must officially be The Holiday Season.  From here on out I won’t get angry at hearing Holiday Harmonies or seeing newspaper inserts flogging mostly worthless merchandise.

It’s time to spend, my friends!

In order to get you in the “mood”, I hereby present a few horror stories about the Grinch that is Walmart.

From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

GrinchThe storage containers are attractively displayed at the Walmart on Atlantic Boulevard in Canton. The bins are lined up in alternating colors of purple and orange. Some sit on tables covered with golden yellow tablecloths. Others peer out from under the tables.

This isn’t a merchandise display. It’s a food drive – not for the community, but for needy workers.

“Please Donate Food Items Here, so Associates in Need Can Enjoy Thanksgiving Dinner,” read signs affixed to the tablecloths.

walmart binsThe food drive tables are tucked away in an employees-only area. They are another element in the backdrop of the public debate about salaries for cashiers, stock clerks and other low-wage positions at Walmart, as workers in Cincinnati and Dayton are scheduled to go on strike Monday.

Is the food drive proof the retailer pays so little that many employees can’t afford Thanksgiving dinner?

It’s my understanding that Walmart’s Chula Vista location has been selected (there will be others) for San Diego’s part in this ongoing struggle against low wages and lower expectations.

The Teamsters aren’t waiting for the end of the month. From Salon, a prelude to the wildcat type actions being organized for Stupor Thursday / Black Friday around the country:

occupy-walmartIn labor’s latest challenge to a low-wage economy and a legal system that excludes huge swathes of the workforce, hundreds of non-union Portof Los Angeles truck drivers plan to stage surprise strikes against three companies Monday. The workers transport goods from the port to companies including Costco, Forever 21, Sketchers and Wal-Mart. They allege their companies — Green Fleet Systems, American Logistics International, and Pac 9 — illegally punished workers for organizing and exposing wrongdoing. While drivers striking at GFS and ALI (starting at 5 a.m. PST and 4 p.m. PST respectively) are legally employed by those logistics companies, the workers at the third company, Pac 9, are among the growing ranks of so-called “independent contractors” who legally aren’t employed by anyone at all. They plan to walk (or drive) off the job at 5 p.m. PST Monday.

“I’m demanding what a worker deserves,” Pac 9 driver Jose Galindo told Salon in Spanish in a pre-strike interview. Wal-Mart, Sketchers, Costco, Forever 21, GFS, ALI and Pac 9 did not provide comment on the workers’ allegations in response to Friday inquiries (Pac 9 referred Salon to a communications firm, which did not respond to a Friday request for comment).

The port truckers, backed by the Teamsters union, are the latest to take up tactics that have characterized a wave of low-wage, non-union strikes since 2012. Like strikes targeting the Wal-Mart supply chain and the fast food industry

And if you want a reason to really get fired up about just how bad they are, check out this story from Gawker:

ebenezer-scroogeNo one cares more about poor Americans than the Wal-Mart corporation does. That’s why Wal-Mart is speaking up to say: The government must stop forcing Americans to waste money on health care, when that money could be spent buying crap at Wal-Mart.

Wal-Mart has so many customers that its economic fortunes are considered to be a strong indicator of the economic fortunes of the middle and lower classes as a whole. No one sells more stuff to poor Americans than Wal-Mart does, and no company is responsible for keeping as many Americans poor as Wal-Mart is. Wal-Mart is the shining symbol of American poverty!

Of course, this means that whenever Wal-Mart has a bad quarter, it can just point to various ongoing national issues as an excuse. Well, sales were poor in the most recent quarter. Why might that be, Wal-Mart? From the Wall Street Journal:

“While it is not coming through in customer research, we do know that some of our customers are concerned about the impact of the Affordable Care Act,” Carol Schumacher, vice president of investor relations, told analysts on Thursday. “For many of our customers, having to afford health care and insurance may be another line item in their personal budget that they may not have had to cover previously.” Wal-Mart says it has 140 million customers a week.

Alternatives to Obamacare

By now you should be aware of the Republican alternative to Obamacare:

Don’t get sick.

If you do get sick, don’t worry, as one of the Daily Fishwrap’s letter writers’ tells us today, “…this country has free clinics and abounds with hospitals that must provide care to all without insurance or ability to pay.”

And let’s not forget the oft repeated claim that we have the finest health care system in the world. So the status quo is fine….

Except that isn’t true, as we learn in the New York Times today:

die_quicklyEven as Americans struggle with the changes required by health care reform, an international survey released last week by the Commonwealth Fund, a research organization, shows why change is so necessary.

The report found that by virtually all measures of cost, access to care and ease of dealing with insurance problems, Americans fared poorly compared with people in other advanced countries. The survey covered 20,000 adults in the United States and 10 other industrial nations — Australia, Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Britain, all of which put in place universal or near-universal health coverage decades ago. The United States spends far more than any of these countries on a per capita basis and as a percent of the national economy.

For that, it gets meager results. Some 37 percent of American adults went without recommended care, did not see a doctor when sick or failed to fill prescriptions in the past year because of costs, compared with 4 percent in Britain and 6 percent in Sweden. Nearly a quarter of American adults could not pay medical bills or had serious problems paying them compared with less than 13 percent in France and 7 percent or less in five other countries. Even Americans who were insured for the entire year were more likely than adults abroad to forgo care because of costs, an indication of how skimpy some insurance policies are.

Then there’s the sick little game being played by insurers on hard working Americans like “Donna” from Seattle Washington.  Via Talking Points Memo:

cancelAcross the country, insurance companies have sent misleading letters to consumers, trying to lock them into the companies’ own, sometimes more expensive health insurance plans rather than let them shop for insurance and tax credits on the Obamacare marketplaces — which could lead to people like Donna spending thousands more for insurance than the law intended. In some cases, mentions of the marketplace in those letters are relegated to a mere footnote, which can be easily overlooked.

The extreme lengths to which some insurance companies are going to hold on to existing customers at higher price, as the Affordable Care Act fundamentally re-orders the individual insurance market, has caught the attention of state insurance regulators.

The insurance companies argue that it’s simply capitalism at work. But regulators don’t see it that way. By warning customers that their health insurance plans are being canceled as a result of Obamacare and urging them to secure new insurance plans before the Obamacare launched on Oct. 1, these insurers put their customers at risk of enrolling in plans that were not as good or as affordable as what they could buy on the marketplaces.

And it’s not just letters being sent out before October 1st.  There’s a new variation called “you can only buy this or that policy” being pushed by medical groups like Sharp.

Boogie ‘Till You Puke, But Don’t Expect  to See a Doctor

Finally, in our round up of ObamaScareScams ™ we have the latest efforts by the Koch brothers funded “Generation Opportunity” which is touring college campuses urging young people NOT to sign up for Health Insurance.

From the Los Angeles Times:

creepy-uncle-samThe raucous scene at a University of Miami tailgate party on a recent weekend might have seemed an unlikely spot for a debate over Obamacare. But with six dozen pizzas in hand, the youthful staffers from Generation Opportunity rolled up in Hummers and Ford F-150s to claim their spot.

With “DJ Joey” spinning electronic dance beats, the group lured Miami‘s revelers to their tent with beer pong tables and plenty of swag, including bottle openers and beer cozies bearing the group’s logo on a black-and-white pill capsule: “Opt Out.”

They were seeking to keep out of President Obama‘s healthcare plan a group that, more than any other, must be in the program for it to succeed. Eighteen- to 34-year-olds, that demographic group courted relentlessly by television advertisers and presidential candidates, are needed in the insurance exchanges to offset, with their youth and health, the pool of older and sicker Americans expected to sign up.

So the battle for their hearts is unfolding this fall on campuses such as Miami‘s.

Conservative groups including Generation Opportunity — which counts the Koch brothers among its major donors — are trying to push young people away from the exchanges and toward shopping for private-market plans at websites like Esurance, which over time could cause the collapse of Obamacare by driving up its prices.

Check Out the SDFree Press Calendar

Thanks to the efforts of Brent Beltran, the San Diego Free Press now has an on-line calendar of events. You can see events in the arts, performances and political gatherings of every persuasion by clicking on the ‘Calendar’ Tab at the top of the page. To get your event listed, drop us a line: events@sandiegofreepress.org

On This Day: 1928 – The first successful sound-synchronized animated cartoon premiered in New York. It was Walt Disney’s “Steamboat Willie,” starring Mickey Mouse.  1978 – In Jonestown, Guyana, Reverend Jim Jones persuaded his followers to commit suicide by drinking a death potion. Some people were shot to death. 914 cult members were left dead including over 200 children.  1995 – The Rolling Stones become the first act to broadcast a concert on the Internet.

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I read the Daily Fishwrap(s) so you don’t have to… Catch “the Starting Line” Monday thru Friday right here at San Diego Free Press (dot) org. Send your hate mail and ideas to DougPorter@SanDiegoFreePress.Org    Check us out on Facebook and Twitter. AND ! You can now follow SDFP on Instagram.


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. avatarErin says

    I disagree completely that “The Alvarez campaign has … the harder sell in trying to win over Fletcher supporters”. Alvarez has the support of the Democratic base, which is why he won the Democratic Party endorsement. The democratic organizers and activist that won him that endorsement did so in revolt to the idea that they had to accept Nathan Fletcher as the “only option” being pushed upon them. To now have to turn back to the man they didn’t want to begin with, will be a very hard sell. Fletcher’s support may be as broad as Alvarez’s, but after rejecting one constituent base for another over the course of a year, it is hardly deep. Yea, they’ll vote for him, but will they be motivated enough to get other democrats out in February?

    I have my doubts since the Lincoln club has succeeded in painting Fletcher as Faucolner’s equally republican twin…. Voters will see two similarly looking guys tacking equally to the center. Low voter turnout favors Faulconer, and lack of enthusiasm will make for low voter turnout. Fletcher will face an enthusiasm deficit that will be hard to overcome.

    Now, the context of your comment led me to think that by “supporters” you were implying the monied interests. Irwin Jacobs may not sponsor David Alvarez’s campaign, but there are other interests groups that gave very large amounts of support Fletcher, mainly since they perceived him as their best strategy to defeat Faulconer, and I am guessing they will give substantive support whomever winds up running against him in the run off…