The Race for Mayor a Dead Heat

New Poll has Alvarez at 46% only 1% behind Faulconer

By Brent E. Beltrán

The race for mayor has gotten a lot closer as a new 10 News/San Diego Union Tribune poll has big business friendly Republican candidate, and maritime industry minion, Kevin Faulconer at 47% with surging District 8 councilman David Alvarez coming in at 46% with 7% undecided.

The poll, conducted by SurveyUSA, has a margin of error of +/- 4.4% making this race a statistical dead heat. See full poll data here.

The question that the pollsters asked was: If the runoff election for San Diego mayor were today, who would you vote for? Kevin Faulconer? Or David Alvarez?

Though polls funded by 10 News and the SDUT have historically been inaccurate in favor of Republicans (see last year’s mayor’s race when they had Carl DeMaio up by 5% over Bob Filner) it is very interesting to see a poll by them that actually shows positive numbers for the Democratic candidate.   [Read more…]

The Last Refuge of Sore Losers: UT-San Diego Proposes Splitting California in Two

By Doug Porter

The editorial board at UT-San Diego finally crossed the line from delusional to just flat out insane this weekend.  After reading Sunday’s paper a rational human being might even be open to arguments suggesting that the satirical Onion website has surreptitiously taken over our Daily Fishwrap.  But this weekend’s fare wasn’t funny…

Our city has many pressing issues, as the many debates leading up the special mayor election prove beyond a doubt.  Now UT-SD is trying to frame the upcoming runoff in the context of our city’s desperate need for a new football stadium, saying they’ll step in from Day One to pressure our next mayor to “get it done”.

Forget those potholes, declining city services or neighborhood empowerment; a sports venue tops all those needs.

If that singularity of bad policy wasn’t enough, they’ve also come out full bore for secession. California, they reason, needs to be split in two to save us from the evils of the nanny state and excessive taxation. They’ve even published a wish list of conservative wet dreams they’d like to see included in a new constitution.   [Read more…]

Reflections on the Mayoral Race . . .

By Larry Remer

If it hadn’t already been apparent, the Mayoral Primary clearly demonstrated seismic shifts that have taken place in recent years on the local political landscape.

San Diego is now a very solidly Blue City and Democrat David Alvarez is well positioned to compete strongly in the February Mayoral runoff.

Just look at how stunningly strong the Democratic vote was last week. Despite an abysmally low voter turnout of barely 36%, more than 55% of the vote went to 3 clearly identified Democratic candidates (Alvarez, Fletcher and Aguirre). Republican Kevin Faulconer finished with less than 43%. In other words, the combined vote of the Democrats in the low turnout primary handily beat the anointed Republican candidate by more than 12 points.

This is consistent with the 14 point registration edge the Dems hold over the Reps in the city; and this result is clearly not a transient phenomenon. When San Diego went for Obama 2008 and 2012 and for Filner in 2012, most of the punditry ascribed it to the high voter turnouts (70%-plus) that accompany Presidential elections. After Filner resigned, the “conventional wisdom” was that Republicans are more likely to vote in off year elections and GOP dominance would emerge in a low-turnout Mayoral special election.   [Read more…]

Sitting in on Papa Doug’s Gathering of the Elite to Chew on the Election of Kevin Faulconer

By Jay Powell

Last week Voice of San Diego CEO Scott Lewis reported (“Stadiums and Pensions,” November 27) that he had been informed by a reliable source that Papa Doug Manchester was hosting a lunch for “a group of the city elite” on Monday, December 2nd to “strategize on how we can best move San Diego forward in support of Kevin Faulconer as Mayor.”

He confirmed that the invite was authentic and quoted from it:

“ We all know the need to preserve and protect San Diego from losing the Chargers, fix the pension system, and create incentives that will allow San Diego to reach its full potential and recover from what we have experienced over these past several years…”.

Scott did a fine job showing the irony of some other these assertions and reprised the exchange between Sanders and Manchester when they last convened in La Jolla to pick Kevin Faulconer as the candidate for the elite. Scott then queried his readers to write him and let him know “if you were at this U-T (lunch) meeting, what would you say should be the top priorities for city government in coming years?”

I dutifully replied that if I was at the lunch meeting with Papa Doug and the other “city elite” this day (Dec 2), it wouldn’t be me…

but let’s just pretend for a moment that I was a person who was invited and attending…   [Read more…]

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

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?   [Read more…]

A Tale of Two Cities: North and South of Interstate 8

By Doug Porter

It’s been touted as fact of life in San Diego politics: the electorate south of Interstate 8 votes heavily Democratic while those on the north side votes Republican.

After all, the northern part of San Diego is generally wealthier, older and whiter than the city’s southern half.  Even as the GOP’s partisan advantage in the city has disappeared in recent years, the party’s candidates and causes have done well, leading to the general perception that the electorate in the regions favors conservative causes.

A succession of Republican Mayors and a track record for mostly voting with that party’s positions on initiatives re-enforce that perception.  It’s a commonly accepted view in news media accounts; a local report on this weeks special election taps National University’s “policy analyst” Vince Vasquez, who says “You see that deep geographic divide among voters. It’s something not going away. If anything its more pronounced,” –

But not everything is as it seems.   [Read more…]

Looking Back at Our Special Election Coverage: Sixty One Articles by Sixteen Writers

By Doug Porter

The email said: “You have lost me”.

The reader was presumably upset by an interview with Nathan Fletcher posted a few days ago. After posting five dozen articles by sixteen different writers, this conversation with one of the major Democratic candidates was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

So today as people have their final opportunity to cast their ballots, I thought that taking a look back over our coverage might be useful.  If you haven’t voted this might prove useful.  If you have voted, good for you; send this story to a friend who might not have voted.

Mostly this column will be about short quotes and links to the articles. I strongly encourage you to click through to the original stories early and often. In case the words “Progressive Views” on the top of the page have somehow eluded you, SDFP has (and encourages) a certain point of view. We’d rather be honest about that fact than try to delude you as is the standard in much of the mainstream media.   [Read more…]

Want Your Voice Heard? GET OUT AND VOTE!

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?   [Read more…]

Nathan Fletcher: The Minimum Wage Must Be Raised

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.”   [Read more…]

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

By 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?)   [Read more…]

Closing the Deal for David Alvarez: Your Vote Will Make a Difference

Perhaps out of the summer of scandal and the fall of discord, new hope can be born

By Jim Miller

With less than 24 hours to go until the polls open, San Diego’s special election for mayor has turned into a contest to see who will face Republican Kevin Faulconer in the run-off. A Datamar automated poll last Wednesday showed Faulconer at 44% with Alvarez pulling in at 25.3%, way ahead of Fletcher’s 15.9%. This was followed by yesterday’s UT poll that showed Faulconer ahead as well but with Fletcher up by two over Alvarez, 24% to 22%, a statistical dead heat.

The American Federation of Teachers’ (AFT) final internal polling has the race to make the run-off at 20% for Alvarez and 14.3% for Fletcher with a big pool of undecided voters still waiting to make their call at the last minute. Thus, taking all of this into account, it’s mostly likely a dead heat leaning Alvarez heading into Tuesday. Alvarez can make the primary and win, but his voters have to show up for that to happen.

Bottom line: your vote matters a lot this time. We’ll either have a race between plutocracy and plutocracy-lite or we’ll have an opportunity to keep a bold progressive agenda alive in San Diego. It’s your choice.   [Read more…]

Readers Write: Time for a 21st Century City

By Christian Ramirez

Three generations of my family call the 8th District of the City of San Diego home. We love San Diego but could never live far from Tijuana; in fact, our clan has an unspoken rule that to live north of I-8 is akin to falling off the face of Earth. Our roots are intertwined with the border; we are proud fronterizos, borderlanders.

America’s Finest City has not always embraced our border identity; in fact many of us who live in the southern part of San Diego have always had the uneasy feeling that City Hall had its back turned towards us. That is until we elected David Alvarez as our councilmember. As soon as he took office David got to work, he understood that the border region is an economic engine and celebrated our unique cultural heritage.

When we learned that David was running for mayor, my family knew that we could finally have the opportunity to fully be engaged in the civic life of our city. A mayor that understands us, can you imagine!   [Read more…]

Readers Write: An Impassioned Plea for ‘Proposition F’

By Matt Valenti 

What do school bathrooms have to do with San Diego’s mayoral candidates?

Well, some of the same people who brought us Proposition 8 are at it again, having gathered enough signatures to place an initiative on the 2014 ballot that would repeal California’s transgender students’ rights bill. That law is to take effect in January and will provide transgender students with equal access to school programs and facilities.

But if there’s to be a law meant to prevent people from passing themselves off as something they’re not, perhaps it should be a law to prevent conservative Republicans from passing themselves off as progressives. This is a phenomenon that San Diego has seen a lot of lately.

What we need is a local ballot initiative we could call “Proposition F,” after the two mayoral candidates who are the worst offenders: Nathan Fletcher and Kevin Faulconer.   [Read more…]

Democrat in Republican Clothes

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.   [Read more…]

Analyzing the Responses: Virtual Mayoral Forum—Transit and Walkable, Bikeable Communities

Civic leaders have a renewed focus on a bikeable city, but transit still falls woefully short of serving San Diego’s needs.

By SDFP Staff

Part 4:  Walkable/ Bikable Neighborhoods and Public Transit

Here’s our question to the candidates:

What is the importance of walkable/bikeable neighborhoods and public transit in San Diego? 

World class cities have world class transit.  In San Diego, we have a world class, and often overcrowded, freeway system and city streets that are often pocked by ruts and cracks, and sometimes suspension-bending potholes.  But we are a city that is dependent on our cars, so we continue to climb behind the wheel simply to get to the grocery store 3/4 of a mile away.  Our public transit system is almost entirely inadequate to act as a replacement for cars, leaving San Diegans who don’t live on the trolley line or on one of the major bus routes little choice but to drive to their destination in order to arrive in a timely fashion.

So in this regard, San Diego has a long way to go to be able to consider itself world class.   [Read more…]

Basta! Barrio Logan Group Files Lawsuit Citing Illegal Signatures on Referendum Petition

By Doug Porter

The stories have been circulating for weeks about simply outrageous falsehoods being told by signature gatherers employed by backers of a referendum to overturn the Barrio Logan Community plan. Now community members, led by the Environmental Health Coalition (EHC), are fighting back.

The three biggest lies being told are:

  • 46,000 jobs were endangered
  • Businesses were going to be replaced by condominiums
  • The Navy would abandon San Diego

This morning they filed legal documents seeking to block any referendum on the basis that organizers deliberately made misrepresentations in order to gather signatures.   [Read more…]

Analyzing the Responses: Virtual Mayoral Forum–Building Permits and the City Planning Department

Big developer interests should not receive preferential treatment.

By SDFP Staff

Though his brief tenure came to a tumultuous end, former Mayor Bob Filner did do some good things for the city while in office. Arguably, one of the best things he did was to revive the city’s planning department, dismantled and incorporated into the Development Services Department by Jerry Sanders. Filner then went on to hire Bill Fulton to lead the department, a veritable rock star in civic planning circles.

In the past, due to lax enforcement by the City of San Diego—particularly during Sanders’ tenure—developers tended to view the rules more as guidelines or suggestions than they did hard and fast laws they were required to follow or face consequences. Filner changed that, but with his departure, there is concern that developers will once again be allowed carte blanche to skirt the rules when it suits them.

“It’s not a problem of building permit enforcement,” wrote Mike Aguirre, but a problem of whether, when, how, and what type of permit should or should not be issued in the first place.”   [Read more…]

Latino Voters Could Determine the Future … If We Vote

By Andrea Guerrero

A couple of weeks ago my nine-year-old son and I got into a friendly argument about who should be the next mayor of San Diego. He seemed to get the same thrill out of talking about his favorite candidate as he gets out of talking about his favorite superhero. If you have a child, you may have been asked a thousand (or maybe a million) times what your favorite this or that is and then told why it should be something else.

In our conversation, my son reminded me that he could not vote, but that I could and should vote (for his favorite candidate, of course). It made me think of others who cannot vote, like friends and family whose immigration status prevents them from voting, and why I can and must vote in every election for the candidate or the ballot measure that will move my family and my community forward.   [Read more…]

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

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.   [Read more…]

San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith Get Some Much Needed Scrutiny

By Doug Porter

The people’s prosecutors.

They’re chosen by voters in both San Diego City and County and charged with the responsibility of protecting our interests. Today we’ll look at recent news accounts suggesting there’s much to be desired in assessing the job performance of County DA Bonnie Dumanis and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.

I’ll also recap developments in the mayoral race (new poll results!) including a young union organizer reading Nathan Fletcher the riot act, a high profile endorsement of David Alvarez that compares him to Jackie Robinson, and a gaggle of of young Republicans from around the state taking to the streets for “super candidate” Kevin Faulconer…   [Read more…]

Fletcher Floundering, Alvarez Ascending, and Other Tales of Fear and Loathing from the Campaign Trail

By Jim Miller

This just in: it appears that Nathan Fletcher’s claims of inevitability have evaporated as the race to meet Kevin Faulconer in the run off is a dead heat leaning Alvarez heading into the last week. The internal polling in all three camps shows Faulconer having consolidated the Republican vote as Fletcher’s early name ID-fueled lead has collapsed, and Alvarez has continued to steadily trend upwards.

More specifically, the most recent numbers from the AFT tracking poll over the weekend have Faulconer at 37.2%, Alvarez at 21.7%, and Fletcher trailing but still barely within the margin of error at 16.3%. Mike Aguirre has 2.5% and a big 20.5 % are still undecided. Hence the trend we are seeing is one of Alvarez slowly tracking up and Fletcher sinking like a lead weight.

Those who follow politics closely know that the trend line is what matters most at this point in a campaign and this bodes well for Alvarez.   [Read more…]

My Meet-and-Greet with Michael Aguirre

By Judi Curry

One of the goals I had set for myself during this mayoral election was to meet each of the candidates running for office. The only exception to this goal was a meeting with Kevin Faulconer, since he is my representative already and I know more about him than I need to know before voting.

I have met with David Alvarez – and try as I might to meet with Nathan Fletcher I was thwarted all the way. And although a Michael Aguirre supporter, I felt that he did not have a chance of winning the election and I would need to look at others running for office.

However, I received an invitation to meet and greet Mike Friday at a home in Point Loma, and decided that since I had not made my final decision yet, this was a good time to hear what Mike had to say in person.   [Read more…]

All Major Mayoral Candidates to Appear at KNSJ / Cal Western Law School Forum

San Diego Free Press reporter Andy Cohen is slated to be among the panelists on Monday, November 11th at a mayoral forum slated for the Cal Western School of Law starting at 6:30pm.

Sponsored in part by listener sponsored progressive radio station KNSJ (89.1FM), the panelist will also include other members of the local non-mainstream press including San Diego City Beat, La Prensa and Voice of San Diego.   [Read more…]

Analyzing the Candidate’s Responses: Virtual Mayoral Forum–Plaza de Panama

The Plaza de Panama saga was a debacle for San Diego and its City Council, which doesn’t seem to be of any concern to the mayoral candidates.

By SDFP Staff

Earlier this month we published an eight part virtual mayoral forum, and invited each of the mayoral candidates to answer one question each day with the promise of no editorial intervention on our part. You can view that series by going to our 2013 special election coverage, here.

Part 2 of our virtual forum asked the candidates their position on revising the Municipal Code in order to accommodate the now defunct Jacobs plan for Balboa Park’s Plaza de Panama. Mike Aguirre provided the most in depth response, while Nathan Fletcher and David Alvarez’ responses were somewhat concerning. Kevin Faulconer did not participate. Click through to see our analysis of the candidate responses.   [Read more…]

North Park Mayoral Debate Tosses the Rulebook: Intelligent Questions Evoke More Informative Answers

By Doug Porter

I’ve listened to and watched a bunch of mayoral debates this year. Usually I come away from those things feeling like I’d wasted my time.

No other face-off featuring the major players even came close to what occurred last night at the North Park Theater.

I came away with a much better understanding of who the candidates are and what they stand for. Which is what’s supposed to happen.

A broad range of issues were covered. There were no opening statements, no mandated time for each candidate to rebut. Questions were submitted from the general public via electronic media and thoughtfully shaped by Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis.  There were no mouth-breather questions about traffic tickets, favorite colors or unicorns.  No candidate promised free ponies for everybody if they were elected.   [Read more…]