If you can get past the multi-million dollar glut of garbage that Carl DeMaio and his sleazy allies are throwing at Bob Filner in the closing days of the election, the choice San Diegans face is a simple one: do you want the same old moneyed interests running San Diego or do you want to take a step toward a more democratic city government that listens to the voices of ordinary citizens more than to the pleas of the plutocrats?
The air war aimed at Filner is designed to so thoroughly demonize him personally that voters will take their eyes off of the big picture and focus on the grotesque, frequently anti-Semitic caricature that they are trying to substitute for the real Filner. It is one of the lowest assaults on a good man’s character in recent memory, a truly disgusting spectacle.
Why the sleaze? Because if the election were focused on the real choice, DeMaio would get crushed. Thus they’ve had to demonize Filner and lie about DeMaio’s past, ideology, and political intentions. In my column before the primary, I reminded readers of some history to show what was at stake:
In Under the Perfect Sun, Mike Davis, Kelly Mayhew and I observe that San Diego is a city that “many conservatives extol as a utopia of patriotism and free enterprise.” Indeed it was Nixon’s “lucky city” but, as we note, “San Diego has too frequently been a town wide open to greed but closed to social justice. Like its Sunbelt siblings—Orange County, Phoenix, and Dallas—it has a long history of weak and venal city halls dominated by powerful groups of capitalist insiders. ‘Private Government’ has long overshadowed public politics.” More recently in Paradise Plundered: Fiscal Crisis and Governance Failure in San Diego, Steve Erie, Vladimir Kogan, and Scott MacKenzie similarly illustrate how San Diego’s political and business elite have done a fantastic job of “using public resources to maximize private profit” with little to no oversight from our “shadow governments.”
If you look at the field of candidates for mayor you can see who San Diego’s moneyed elite support with right-wing front-runner Carl DeMaio leading the pack taking in $1.8 million in donations from conservative PACS, the Republican Party, downtown business interests, and developers. DeMaio is also getting a lot of help from his biggest fan, Carl DeMaio, who has poured nearly half a million dollars of his own money into his corporate jihad . . . Coming in last is Bob Filner . . .
Why does Filner have so much less? Because the big money in San Diego, the real “downtown insiders” who everyone in the race says they are campaigning against know that if Filner becomes mayor they won’t be running the show anymore. That’s why the brain trust of Doug Manchester’s mouthpiece, the San Diego Union-Tribune, recently declared, “We as an editorial board do not want to see Bob Filner get through to the general election, because the environment around the general election is much more favorable to Bob Filner. So we certainly want to keep that from happening.”
So take it from the horse’s mouth: San Diego’s elite are afraid of Bob Filner because he will be a mayor for all San Diegans, not just a tool for the City’s entrenched power brokers. If Filner wins this election, it will be a historic loss for the old guard and a real victory for the majority of the people of San Diego, particularly those whose interests have never been well represented in City Hall.
Thus San Diegans have a real choice this Tuesday. Filner with his great, long progressive record on everything from labor and the environment to education and veterans’ and women’s issues versus the pure product of the right-wing think tanks bent on busting unions, privatizing the commons, and turning San Diego into a Petri dish for every libertarian scheme and give away of public monies to private hands imaginable.
As Doug Porter noted in a column last week, the forces behind DeMaio are honest about this when they are talking to other radical right-wingers as was the Union Tribune’s Chris Reed when he outlined DeMaio’s vision for the American Spectator:
As mayor, DeMaio would ramp up San Diego‘s already-aggressive attempts to bid out a wide array of government services. He also wants to end automatic “step” pay increases given to public employees just for years on the job and to finally bring to government the productivity revolution that has fueled U.S. private-sector growth for two decades.
The goal, DeMaio told me in April, is to set up a national model for downsized, efficient government. If elected, DeMaio appears likely to have a GOP majority on the City Council. If these more conventional Republicans back him up, San Diego could become Ground Zero for government experimentation — of a sort that many will call radical but that libertarians will call long-overdue.
Enough said, believe him. So please, San Diego Democrats, don’t let the negative ads take your eye off the ball while the zealots slip one past you. Tomorrow you have a choice between a mayor that will represent ALL San Diegans and a mayor who would not just represent moneyed interests but IS a moneyed interest posing as a reformer.
If DeMaio wins, San Diego’s elite will get the same kind of policy and the same cozy little private government will rule. It will be a continuation of the shadow government that has feathered the nests of the powerful for this city’s entire history.
This just in: it’s the guy who went to jail fighting for civil rights who is the game-changer here. So let’s break the historic pattern of settling for less, San Diego. Take a step toward making history and put a real progressive in the mayor’s office tomorrow.
Afflict the Plutocrats: Dump 32 and Pass 30
Wouldn’t it be nice if we wake up on Wednesday to a world where a handful of millionaires LOST when they tried to buy an election? As of this writing, the baby of the Lincoln Club and Charles Munger, the union busting Proposition 32, looks dead as a door nail, down by 16% in the last Field Poll. Proposition 30, on the other hand, has a fighting chance to pass at 48% Yes in the Field poll and 51% Yes in a Survey USA poll.
Let’s leave Charles Munger and company with a bad hangover and a case of Fear and Loathing on Wednesday. That certainly would be a big win for small “d” democracy against a naked attempt to move us further toward plutocracy.
And Win Two for the Home Team: Robinson and Foster
Finally, don’t forget to vote for the SD Free Press/OB Rag’s own (and my good friend) Gregg Robinson for County Board of Education. Sending our colleague and mutual friend Marne Foster to the San Diego Unified School Board is a good idea too. They are the best—fine human beings and accomplished educators with much integrity.
Happy election, dear reader (fingers crossed).