Andy Cohen

Thumbnail image for Aztecs Fall to 13 in AP, Coaches Poll After UNM Loss.  Time to Panic Yet?

Aztecs Fall to 13 in AP, Coaches Poll After UNM Loss. Time to Panic Yet?

by Andy Cohen 02.25.2014 Sports

Yearlong offensive struggles have finally caught up.

By Andy Cohen

The San Diego State Aztecs plummeted from 6th in the AP poll and 7th in the Coaches poll to 13th in both yesterday after losing to New Mexico 58-44 in Albuquerque on Saturday night.  Perhaps “plummeted” is a bit much.  This isn’t the Aztec basketball apocalypse…..yet.

Let’s not take anything away from the Lobos here.  They are a very good team who just happens to be playing its best basketball of the entire season right now.  The Aztecs hit a buzzsaw at the wrong time.

But to say that the Aztecs have been in an offensive funk since the first quarter of the conference season would be a bit of an understatement.  This team has prided itself on its effort and effectiveness on the defensive end of the floor all year, and through the non-conference season they were able to do just enough offensively to power them through some very big games, most notably against then #20 Creighton (now ranked #9 in the AP poll) and at then #16/17 Kansas (now #5/6), who just secured their 10th straight conference title to go against only their ninth home loss that the Aztecs dealt them on Jan 5 during that same period.

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Thumbnail image for The Carl DeMaio as Moderate Fallacy

The Carl DeMaio as Moderate Fallacy

by Andy Cohen 02.18.2014 Economy

According to the national media, being a gay Republican candidate for office automatically qualifies one as a moderate.

By Andy Cohen

Carl DeMaio has himself back in the news again.  And this time—for him, at least—its’ for the right reasons.  And no, it’s not the usual UT-San Diego drivel about how Carl is the “Savior of San Diego,” Doug Manchester’s Golden Boy (although given the most recent mayoral selection process, it seems that DeMaio may have fallen out of favor with his “Papa.”)

This time DeMaio has garnered the attention of the national media.  The Wall Street Journal first picked up the story about the first openly gay Republican candidate for Congress to feature his partner in a web ad, a serious departure from accepted GOP norms and surely a shock to the system of the Republican establishment.

The Washington Post then picked up and ran with the story, calling him “a moderate Republican who is running for Congress in Southern California who is openly gay.”

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Thumbnail image for Faulconer Victory Brings Back Business as Usual

Faulconer Victory Brings Back Business as Usual

by Andy Cohen 02.12.2014 Editor's Picks

San Diego’s shadow government poised to make its triumphant return.

By Andy Cohen

So that just happened. Not that it’s all that surprising that Kevin Faulconer beat David Alvarez in the mayoral special election last night. What is very surprising is the margin by which Faulconer beat Alvarez. It was expected to be squeaker of an election, with most polls showing a one to two point spread. Every poll considered to be credible had Faulconer with a one point lead and a margin of error of around four points.

Faulconer won by nine points, 54.5 percent to 45.5 percent.

First, let me just say that I must be a complete idiot. I stood up last November (figuratively speaking) in front of a packed house at a meeting of the Pt. Loma Democratic Club and definitively predicted that David Alvarez would win this election. The numbers were in his favor, and San Diego was in the midst of a political transformation.

This is why I got out of the prediction biz a long time ago. Not sure why I decided to wade back in, because I’m obviously not very good at it anymore.

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Thumbnail image for Court Rules City Within Its Rights To Reduce Retiree Health Benefits

Court Rules City Within Its Rights To Reduce Retiree Health Benefits

by Andy Cohen 02.11.2014 Government

Potentially precedent setting ruling opens the door for governments statewide to slash worker benefits.

By Andy Cohen

Last month, a state appeals court confirmed a lower court ruling that retiree health benefits are not vested benefits, as are employee pensions, and therefore are not subject to the same rules that apply to pension benefits.

The original lawsuit was filed on behalf of a retired police officer who sued the city because the it placed a cap on the premiums it would pay on her retiree health benefits. The cap, she said, fell $600 short per year of covering the full premium. Her attorneys argued that, according to the city’s agreement with the San Diego City Employees Retirement System (SDCERS), the city had to pay the full premium on medical benefits for all eligible retired city workers.

The courts disagreed, noting that, according to the city’s municipal code, “Health plan coverage for retirees and eligible dependents is subject to modification by the City and the provider of health care services, and may be modified periodically as deemed necessary and appropriate.”

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Thumbnail image for NFL On Cusp of Having First Openly Gay Player

NFL On Cusp of Having First Openly Gay Player

by Andy Cohen 02.10.2014 Health

Draft prospect from Missouri will test the sports world’s readiness to join the rest of us in the 21st Century.

By Andy Cohen

By now you’ve probably heard that former Missouri defensive end Michael Sam came out to the national press yesterday as gay.  Sam is an NFL prospect—projected by some to be picked as high as the third round—hoping to earn a paycheck as a professional football player next Fall, and should he make an NFL roster, he will become the first openly gay player in any of the major pro sports in the United States (sorry, the MLS doesn’t count quite yet).

Sam’s draft stock will be the topic of conversation from now until the NFL season begins next September.  Attitudes are changing about the LGBT community; acceptance of LGBT people is now almost a given, something unthinkable 10 years ago.  Poll after poll show that by a large majority Americans now accept the rights of gays to marry, with 17 states having legalized gay marriage, the federal government having disavowed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), and Attorney General Eric Holder having recently announced that the DOJ will fully recognize same sex couples, ensuring them the same rights as heterosexual couples.

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Thumbnail image for “Special Interests” Define the Agenda in San Diego Mayoral Special Election

“Special Interests” Define the Agenda in San Diego Mayoral Special Election

by Andy Cohen 02.05.2014 Faulconer vs Alvarez

David Alvarez touts his status as champion of the little guy in the race for the top spot in San Diego City Hall.

By Andy Cohen

“Special interests” is a term that has been thrown around a lot during this mayoral special election, especially during the runoff between Democrat David Alvarez and Republican Kevin Faulconer. But it is a term that has not been easy to define; one that depends almost entirely on your political point of view.

In TV and radio ads and mailers, the Faulconer camp decries Alvarez’ support from the “special interests,” the unions that are funding “eighty percent of Alvarez’ campaign” for mayor. Alvarez is critical of Faulconer’s support from the “business community,” the “downtown special interests” that many on the political left in San Diego feel have held the real governing power at City Hall.

As far as Faulconer is concerned, he doesn’t have any “special interest” support. His is a campaign fueled by individual San Diegans who believe that he is the right choice for the top spot at City Hall. He is supported by business groups (including the Lincoln Club), industry groups that may have a particular interest in city government and that Faulconer believes will play key roles in growing the San Diego economy. For example, the Building Industry Association, or the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce. Not special interest groups according to Faulconer.

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Thumbnail image for Honesty Apparently Not the Best Policy for Kevin Faulconer

Honesty Apparently Not the Best Policy for Kevin Faulconer

by Andy Cohen 02.04.2014 Editor's Picks

The Republican candidate for Mayor of San Diego demonstrably and provably lies in his latest campaign ad.

By Andy Cohen

I will certainly be grateful when this mayoral campaign is over and we can begin to move on to the 2014 midterms. That sounds weird coming from a reporter/columnist that thrives on these election cycles. This mayoral special election has certainly been the gift that keeps on giving, providing endless material for all of us San Diego political observer types to offer up to hungry readers. Otherwise at this time of year we’d be struggling to find subject matter to fill our website with. For a weekly columnist that’s not always easy (but then again, as they say, if it were easy everyone would do it). For a daily columnist like my colleague Doug Porter, this mayoral special election is a godsend.

But what I’m tired of are the TV ads and the mailers that deliberately mislead their viewers; the voters of San Diego. I’m absolutely disgusted by the TV commercials that attempt to rewrite history.

In other words, the candidate ads that LIE.

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Thumbnail image for Alvarez Brings Neighborhoods Agenda to Carmel Valley

Alvarez Brings Neighborhoods Agenda to Carmel Valley

by Andy Cohen 01.30.2014 Faulconer vs Alvarez

Mayoral candidate criticizes his opponent for prioritizing industry, big developers over community groups.

By Andy Cohen

In an effort to reach out to a wider array of voters, and answering criticism that he is unfamiliar with the neighborhoods in the northern parts of San Diego, City Councilman and mayoral candidate David Alvarez ventured into Del Mar to discuss his plan for neighborhood and community development with representatives from various community groups throughout the northern reaches of the city.

There are more than 40 identified, unique communities in San Diego, each with different characteristics and different needs. To better address those needs, Alvarez called for a series neighborhood summits within his first 100 days in office, allowing each community group the opportunity to communicate directly to city staff and identify their priorities.

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Thumbnail image for The Liberal/Progressive Agenda Becomes Cool Again

The Liberal/Progressive Agenda Becomes Cool Again

by Andy Cohen 01.28.2014 Editor's Picks

Todd Gloria’s State of the City Address paved a path for Dems, Alvarez to re-embrace a progressive agenda for San Diego.

By Andy Cohen

This has been a rather strange special election cycle. On the one hand we have a conservative, Republican candidate that can’t run away fast enough from the San Diego Republican Party—indeed, the Republican brand in general—who tries to sweep that identification under the rug at all costs. On the other hand, we have a progressive Democratic candidate who has seemed a little bit shy about brandishing his more liberal credentials.

That latter situation may have changed with iMayor Todd Gloria’s State of the City Address (no one, except for maybe GOP head henchman Tony Krvaric, expects Kevin Faulconer to claim the Republican mantle—at least not openly until after the election). For the first time since the 2012 mayoral election, a San Diego pol made the case for a complete departure from the Business as Usual crowd that is clamoring to return to power—and undermine San Diego’s elected government.

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Thumbnail image for Peters, Family Health Centers Combine Efforts to Bring Health Care to Local Residents

Peters, Family Health Centers Combine Efforts to Bring Health Care to Local Residents

by Andy Cohen 01.21.2014 Government

Logan Heights branch of Family Health Centers of San Diego adds twist to Congressman’s ACA outreach efforts.

By Andy Cohen

Congressman Scott Peters may have his issues with the Affordable Care Act—and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?—but you’d be hard pressed to find another elected member of Congress who has done more, conducted more outreach efforts to inform his or her constituents about what the law really is, how it works, and how they can best take advantage of what it has to offer.  It’s an imperfect solution to an even more imperfect healthcare system, but it’s a start, and a reasonably good one particularly given the current political environment and adamant GOP opposition to a law they have exactly zero chance at undoing.

The ACA, or “Obamacare” as it’s come to be known, is a work in progress, says Peters.  It can be a success, and it will be, but we have to work to make it better.

His Republican colleagues, says Peters, would seem to prefer a return to the old way of doing things with regard to health care in America, and that’s simply not an option.  The old way wasn’t working…..for anyone.  And yet they have done everything in their power to undermine and sabotage the first significant expansion of healthcare in America since Teddy Roosevelt first tried over a century ago.  “They’ve talked a lot about alternatives, but they haven’t offered a single one,” said Peters.  Thankfully, he says, now that the law has been fully implemented, the days of constant repeal votes in the House of Representatives appear to be at an end.  At least that‘s the hope.

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Thumbnail image for Todd Gloria Lays Out Vision For San Diego

Todd Gloria Lays Out Vision For San Diego

by Andy Cohen 01.16.2014 Business

By Andy Cohen

If this was indeed his first and final State of the City Address, iMayor Todd Gloria made it count. As politically aware San Diegans have come to expect, Gloria brought his ‘A’ game to the Balboa Theater, delivering a sweeping vision for what he views is the future of San Diego.

One thing’s for sure: This ain’t Texas.

It was a speech and a vision that is sure to rile up the arch conservative sect of the town, but much of it was surely welcomed by the growing and strengthening Democratic base.

If 2012 and 2013 saw a growing partisan divide in San Diego, if this City Council holds to what the once and future City Council President laid before a crowded house, then the ride is sure to get even more contentious and even more partisan, even if, as Gloria noted several times, that was not the intent.

The iMayor began the address by doing something that would have been fairly unthinkable three years ago: He thanked and applauded the city’s thousands of workers, acknowledging the value of the services they provide to San Diego. It was a refreshing gesture in an era where the public workforce is more often than not vilified as moochers and a waste of taxpayer money.

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Co-opting the Neighborhoods Agenda

by Andy Cohen 01.14.2014 Economy

The local San Diego GOP attempts to steal a page out of the Democratic playbook in an attempt to rewrite history and claim the neighborhoods agenda for its own.

By Andy Cohen

Over the past two decades, the economic and development focus in San Diego has been overwhelmingly focused around the “downtown special interests” that have controlled the city’s political agenda during that time. For two decades, whatever the big, powerful moneyed interests wanted in San Diego, they got.

That’s not to say that San Diego hasn’t benefited at all from some of the policies enacted during that period. It has. Downtown has undergone a pretty spectacular transformation. The massive General Dynamics complex in Kearney Mesa has been almost completely redeveloped (although not without significant controversy). Sorrento Valley has become a tech Mecca of sorts.

But it has been the downtown special interests that have dictated the who, what, where, when, and how of everything that has happened. It has served to make rich people multitudes richer, but it has done relatively little to bring about broad based reforms and economic development to the nation’s eighth largest city.

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Thumbnail image for Why Free Trade Agreements Don’t Work, But Could

Why Free Trade Agreements Don’t Work, But Could

by Andy Cohen 01.07.2014 Business

Outsized influence by corporate interests continue to prevent free trade agreements from delivering on their promises of economic prosperity.

By Andy Cohen

There has been a lot of consternation and handwringing lately about free trade agreements and their benefits/detriments to our overall economy.  My San Diego Free Press colleague Anna Daniels recently penned a piece largely lamenting the 20th anniversary of the signing of the NAFTA treaty:  “Twenty Years of NAFTA:  Capital Freely Crosses Borders While People Can’t”.

Anna is entirely correct:  NAFTA did not deliver on the promises that were made upon its signing.  And it laid the foundation for an exodus of capital and good paying jobs to other low wage locales, in Mexico and around the world.  But NAFTA’s failures—and the inherent problems with the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) that is currently being negotiated—are not due to the fact that free trade is inherently bad or unsustainable.  Quite to the contrary:  The concept of free trade can be potentially extremely beneficial to all parties involved, if the treaty is done right.

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Thumbnail image for The Freezer Bowl:  Recollections From the Coldest Game in NFL History

The Freezer Bowl: Recollections From the Coldest Game in NFL History

by Andy Cohen 01.05.2014 Sports

Like their 1981 counterparts, the Chargers head to Cincinnati and the cold weather to take on the Bengals. Will history repeat itself?

By Andy Cohen

It’s been a bizarre season for the San Diego Chargers. The 2013 iteration of this team has been a near complete enigma, at times appearing completely hapless, at other times playing like Super Bowl contenders. Yet despite their maddening inconsistency, the stars eerily aligned to send the Chargers to the playoffs.

That bizarre season could potentially become even more bizarre, as they travel to Cincinnati to take on a Bengals team they lost to on December 1, 17-10 in Qualcomm Stadium, a game where the Bolts clearly did not bring their ‘A’ game. It was their last loss before heating up for a regular season ending four game win streak that included wins over playoff bound division rivals Denver and Kansas City.

This will be only the second ever playoff meeting between the Chargers and Bengals, both times in Cincinnati, and potentially an instance of history repeating itself. Any longtime Charger fan should be able to recall the scene back in January, 1982 in old Riverfront Stadium, the AFC Championship game remembered as the “Freezer Bowl.” It’s the stuff legends are made of, and was the second coldest game in recorded NFL history at nine degrees below zero. Factor in the 25 mile per hour winds that brought the wind chill factor down to -59 degrees, and it was the coldest game ever played.

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Thumbnail image for The Stars Align, Send Chargers to the Playoffs

The Stars Align, Send Chargers to the Playoffs

by Andy Cohen 12.31.2013 Sports

After a series of fortuitous, near impossible events, the Bolts are on their way to the NFL playoffs for the first time since 2009.

By Andy Cohen

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. And the 2013 San Diego Chargers certainly are very lucky.

Against all probability, the Chargers are headed to the playoffs after completing a 9-7 regular season. Two weeks ago I wrote a column calling the talk of the Chargers making the playoffs nonsense, even after their dominant week 15, Thursday night win over the #1 overall AFC playoff seed Denver Broncos in Denver. The Chargers, it seemed, had finally gotten their act together and were playing some of the best football in The League. The problem was that it took them 13 weeks to get there.

The best the Chargers could hope to finish was 9-7, and with both Baltimore and Miami (who the Chargers lost to in week 11) ahead of them in the playoff standings, and with both teams coming off of impressive week 15 wins—Baltimore against Detroit, and Miami against Tom Brady (is there any other player on the Patriots that really matters?)—their chances at extending their season beyond week 17 were slim to none.

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Thumbnail image for San Diego’s Shadow Government Steps Into the Spotlight

San Diego’s Shadow Government Steps Into the Spotlight

by Andy Cohen 12.24.2013 Business

Former Mayor Jerry Sanders steps back into the spotlight to undermine San Diego’s elected government

By Andy Cohen

We often hear, particularly when a government entity is seeking to raise revenues for an important project (or, on occasion, a not-so-important project) that the associated revenues amount to a “jobs tax,” or a “job killing tax.” It’s a favorite meme of those of a particular political persuasion or economic status. Ordinance ‘A’ is a JOBS KILLER! We must not allow it to pass! Requiring health care is a JOBS KILLER! Any ordinance requiring a living wage is a JOBS KILLER! The minimum wage is a JOBS KILLER! Increasing the sales tax by one-half of one percent is a JOBS KILLER!

It’s an effective scare tactic used by those on the political right to prevent governments from being able to raise enough revenues to provide services that residents demand. That’s especially true here in San Diego, where we have a history of demanding services without providing a means to pay for them. We’re notorious for that.

As far as the Lincoln Club, or the San Diego Taxpayers Association, or the San Diego Chamber of Commerce, or, to a lesser extent, the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation is concerned, any revenues raised by the city for the provision of services—or just day-to-day operations—is a JOBS KILLING tax. Any regulations placed on any local businesses are JOBS KILLERS and are a hindrance to our economy. Anything that benefits workers is a JOBS KILLER.

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Thumbnail image for Chargers and Aztecs:  Please Stop With the Nonsense!

Chargers and Aztecs: Please Stop With the Nonsense!

by Andy Cohen 12.17.2013 Sports

No, the Chargers are NOT going to the playoffs, and no, the Aztecs should NOT replace Rocky Long.

By Andy Cohen

Alright, so let’s have some fun. A little diversion from the world of San Diego politics for a moment.

Bolts Playoff Bound? Not a Chance!

First, let’s dispel any notion that the San Diego Chargers have any hope whatsoever at making the playoffs. Via Twitter yesterday, the Chargers issued a poll, asking followers whether, with two games remaining, will the team make the playoffs? They then joyfully tweeted out the results of the poll (a tweet that has oddly since been deleted….but thankfully someone else was smart enough to retweet the Chargers’ tweet) showing that 69% of respondents enthusiastically replied “Yes, the Chargers will make the playoffs!”

(I don’t really know how enthusiastic they were….I totally made that part up).

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How Low Will They Go?

by Andy Cohen 12.10.2013 Economy

Where will the negative campaigning in the San Diego mayoral race take us?

By Andy Cohen

Negative campaigning works. It’s a simple fact of our political world, otherwise it wouldn’t be such a constant. Yes, we all complain about it, lament how dirty and slimy our politics have gotten. But, even the most disgusted among us has to admit that the negative campaign ads and rhetoric has an effect on our opinions of the candidates. And despite promises to wage “positive” campaigns, every single candidate eventually wades into the muck and sullies him or herself in the mud. It becomes unavoidable.

The 2013 primary race to see who would complete Bob Filner’s first term was certainly no exception. In fact, it could be argued that it was messier than most others. In an abbreviated election cycle, candidates have to scratch and claw to distinguish themselves from their opponents, particularly when there are multiple big-name candidates running. The fastest and easiest way to do that is through negative campaigning.

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Duncan Hunter, Nuclear War Enthusiast

by Andy Cohen 12.05.2013 Government

By Andy Cohen

Congratulations, San Diego! We now officially have our very own neo-con nuclear warmonger as one of our five representatives to Congress! As if having Darrell Issa entertain us by wasting tens of millions of dollars in taxpayer money on wild conspiracy chases in search of narratives that only exist in the insulated cocoon of right wing Fantasyland wasn’t humiliating enough, now we have our very own member of Congress that wants to start a nuclear war! Well isn’t that special!

That’s right folks! Representative Duncan Hunter (R-50th) has the answer to our country’s Iran problem: Let’s nuke ‘em! Who needs diplomacy when, after all, we’ve got the bombs! (Cue Denis Leary)

Yesterday, in an interview on C-SPAN, speaking on the deal struck recently between the West and Iran. As a part of the pact, Iran agrees to stop building new centrifuges for the refinement of nuclear material, caps the amount and type of nuclear material that Iran is allowed to produce, and it halts Iran’s work on the construction of a heavy-water reactor that would eventually allow the country to produce plutonium, which could lead to high yield nuclear weapons. Iran also agrees to increased oversight of their nuclear related activities.

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Thumbnail image for A Misguided Attempt at Bipartisanship

A Misguided Attempt at Bipartisanship

by Andy Cohen 12.04.2013 Editor's Picks

Congressman Peters’ yea vote on H.R. 3350 an overreaching attempt to appease conservative critics.

By Andy Cohen

In the midst of the mayoral special election, there have been a number of items of local importance that have gotten, if not lost, then overshadowed. Often, in the course of our sometimes convoluted local political scene, the actions of our members of Congress get largely ignored….which is a shame, particularly in the case of our local right wing extremist/verbal bomb thrower/attention whore Darrell Issa. He, in particular, will do most anything, say most anything just to get his mug on camera.

But typically, our members of Congress will try to do what’s right for their respective districts, and do so in a respectable manner becoming of the office they hold. And despite the inbox full of press releases sent out by our Congressional brigade, the local news media doesn’t often find it sexy enough to keep tabs on what they’re up to. Which is a shame, because they’re often doing some very good work on our behalf.

But then again, sometimes our representatives will do something—vote on a bill, for example—in the name of “bipartisanship” that should be given some extra scrutiny. Such is often the case with Freshman Democratic Rep. Scott Peters.

Unfortunately, this desperation for bipartisanship has led Congressman Peters and 32 of his Democratic colleagues to cast a vote that could potentially be one of the most damaging of his brief tenure, and do serious damage to the healthcare reform law he professes to support.

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Thumbnail image for What’s Next in San Diego’s Mayoral Special Election Runoff?

What’s Next in San Diego’s Mayoral Special Election Runoff?

by Andy Cohen 11.26.2013 Faulconer vs Alvarez

By Andy Cohen

This past Sunday I had the opportunity to participate in a panel discussion on the mayoral special election, hosted by the Pt. Loma Democratic Club. The panelists included La Prensa’s Daniel Muñoz, San Diego Voice and Viewpoint’s Dr. John Warren, NBC San Diego’s Wendy Fry (a veritable rock star in San Diego reporting circles), and myself from the ‘lil ‘ol San Diego Free Press.

The discussion centered not only on the primary race itself, but on where we go from here? What kind of campaign are we likely to see in the coming months leading up to the February runoff to determine who will fill out the remainder of Bob Filner’s term?

Some things to consider about this race: Unlike the June 2012 primary, which featured two Republicans, a converted Independent, and only one Democrat, the 2013 primary featured three rather prominent Democrats and only one Republican. But, like 2012, the Republican frontrunner carried the day, winning a plurality of the vote.

However, in the November 2012 general election, San Diegans did something almost unprecedented: They voted for the Progressive Democrat over the neo-conservative Republican. With two extremes represented, the voters swung left. Will voters do the same in February?

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Thumbnail image for Want Your Voice Heard?  GET OUT AND VOTE!

Want Your Voice Heard? GET OUT AND VOTE!

by Andy Cohen 11.19.2013 Voter Guide Special Election

By Andy Cohen

Today is the first—but not likely the last—in the special election to determine who will fill out the vacated first term of former San Diego Mayor Bob Filner. This is an absolutely crucial election. Voters last fall chose a candidate who represented a decidedly progressive agenda over his opponent, who represented an extremely conservative agenda.

Bob Filner was a flawed candidate when he ran for mayor in 2012. Everyone knew it—we just didn’t know how flawed. But Carl DeMaio was an equally flawed candidate. So the choice in the 2012 mayoral election came down to which candidate best represented the values of San Diego voters; after decades of conservative, Republican structured leadership, San Diego voters decided that it was high time for a change. They chose a new way of doing business at City Hall. They chose an emphasis on communities over an emphasis on Downtown. They chose fairness over favoritism. They chose people over corporations (and no, corporations are not people).

As voters head to the polls today, they face a similar choice: Do they vote for a return to the ways of previous administrations, where the wealthy business interests based Downtown will once again drive the policy agenda in whatever direction they wish it to go, or do they stick with their choice from last November and choose a mayor who is going to put his constituents first, who will stand up for the “little guy?” Will the city vote where its voter registration numbers say it will? Or will the election swing in the Republican direction, despite the fact that Republicans have 90,000 fewer registered voters in the City of San Diego, and more than 12,000 fewer than Decline-to-State? Speaking of the DTS voters, what will they do? Who do they break for?

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Thumbnail image for Nathan Fletcher:  The Minimum Wage Must Be Raised

Nathan Fletcher: The Minimum Wage Must Be Raised

by Andy Cohen 11.18.2013 Government

Mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher lays out a surprisingly progressive policy agenda.

By Andy Cohen

Part 2 of the SDFP interview with mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher.  See Part 1 here.

Listen to Nathan Fletcher talk about his policy ideas and positions and it’s hard to believe that he ever considered himself a conservative, a Republican.  These are not the thoughts of the anti-tax, business-is-always-right crowd.  This is a guy who has given this stuff a lot of thought and understands the historical significance of the issues.  He understands that history can tell us a lot about what works and what doesn’t.

And, he says, it’s time we started focusing more on workers and wages than on protecting and promoting business interests at all cost.  He understands that protecting the American worker is protecting business interests.  The two are inextricably tied together, a concept that evades his former colleagues on the other side of the aisle.

For example, the minimum wage.  “We should have a real conversation about minimum wage, because what you see is a real erosion of the middle class.  It’s real.  It. Is. Real.  When you look at the average hourly wage of American workers, they’re going down.  The stock market continues to go up, and the average hourly wage of American workers is going down.”

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Democrat in Republican Clothes

by Andy Cohen 11.16.2013 Politics

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.

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Thumbnail image for In San Diego, Taxpayers Want More than What They Pay For

In San Diego, Taxpayers Want More than What They Pay For

by Andy Cohen 11.12.2013 Culture

At KNSJ Mayoral Forum, candidates unwilling to discuss raising city revenues.

By Andy Cohen

Last night I had the opportunity to represent the San Diego Free Press as a panelist in the KNSJ mayoral debate, hosted by the California Western School of Law. We were privileged to have three of the four major candidates for mayor participate, with Nathan Fletcher the only missing candidate.

This event had been in the works for months, with the upstart progressive radio station looking to put itself on San Diego’s political map, once again giving those on the more liberal side of the political spectrum a reason to listen to talk radio in San Diego, something we haven’t had since Clear Channel switched KLSD to an all sports format. Apparently they didn’t like the competition to their right wing property, KOGO.

In the debates leading up to this one, in my opinion not nearly enough has been discussed regarding the philosophy behind economic growth and development by the candidates thus far. And the candidates have not been asked to address how they would fund all of the different services that city government is supposed to provide, and all of the so called “goodies” that San Diegans have come to expect from their local government.

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