By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner
You’ve already read my take on bad boys. Now it’s time to flip the coin and ponder San Diego’s good boys.
Lately, good boys have been coming out of the woodwork. You can spot them a mile away by their gee-whiz grins and GQ grooming. Their toothy, soulful smiles can break your heart. Of course they’re super-civil and never raise their voices in public. You wouldn’t hesitate to bring these dewy-eyed boys home to meet your momma.
Don’t do it! What you see is NOT what you get from these two-dimensional paper dolls… Stepford wives in drag. Who are these people, you ask?
Let’s start with the godfather of them all: Pete Wilson. Once nicknamed ‘Mr. Clean,’ Wilson introduced to the city the art and craft of big-time political ambition. He knew how to pull the wool over the eyes of environmentalists and growth control advocates while catering to business leaders, land developers, and the downtown crowd — all the time giving short shrift to the ranks of San Diego’s working class and regular neighborhoods. Wilson’s canny Republican mentors and consultants were like horse-whisperers, steering him down his political path. He set the pace for the young, knockout, exquisitely ambitious political darlings who’ve followed in his tracks. He may seem like ancient history but his legacy lingers.
One heir apparent is Scott Peters – the Democratic rising star who spent two terms on the City Council mouthing liberal-sounding sentiments and sanctimoniously voting the opposite way. Peters’ quasi-environmental credentials, water-carrying talents, and well-honed ability to simultaneously practice prevarication and wide-eyed sincerity suggest he may be Wilson’s natural son. His personal wealth and very good boy persona recently orbited Peters directly into a congressional seat. For sure, he was better than the alternative… paltry consolation for many of us voters.
Of course there’s Nathan Fletcher — our changeling little lord Fauntleroy is still hanging around town, rearranging pencils and staying busy-looking in temporary trophy jobs. He’s another good boy who’s mastered the ‘Mr. Clean’ script. With armor as impervious as sharkskin Fletcher patiently circles the waters, ready to strike the moment his feeders throw him the sign. He may be neither fish nor fowl, but he’s perfected the evasive, fence-sitting,opportunistic, indeterminate, but disarming qualities of a meticulous good boy.
Carl DeMaio? from the get-go he’s disqualified from the good boy club — not that he, too, can’t be smooth, wily, and occasionally disarming. But he’s not silky enough to fool anyone for long. DeMaio is a special edition cardboard cutout, a paid peddler for the anti-government Reason Foundation and other like-minded corporations. He can’t manage to disguise his contempt for government and the public process, so try as he may he’ll never gain speed in the race for best good boy.
Hands down, the best show in town is Todd Gloria.
What turned Todd Gloria’s head? a hungry ego… the lure of upward mobility… sycophants whispering in his ear, showering him with praise? When did he switch sides to become a master of guile, self-deceit, hubris, sucking-up? What transmogrified his earlier good-guy inclinations into a parody of good boyvalues and virtues?
Remember when Linda Bernhardt got her head turned and went up in flames? Think back to when pampered, overinflated Susan Golding burned her bridges.
It’s never a pretty sight to watch potentially good elected officials – male or female — become politicians for sale.
bob dorn says
OMG and LOL and coffee shot from my nose. This nails extreme unction to the wall. Look upon us, Republicans, and envy our suits, and boyish sweetness. You done it again, Norma.
Bob, are you from N.J. around Red Bank? Your name sounds familair
bob dorn says
Who? Me? Nah, I ain’t him. But I worked about a year in
Newton for the Herald, there, up in Sussex County near the
A lot of people had been questioning Todd Gloria’s attraction to the backroom power brokers, ever since he supported OLP during his initial campaign for the council.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
I have a few cavils with Norma’s wall of shame.
Scott Peters annoyed lot of libs when he was on City Council, and he got himself a seat on the Port until he could live down his Council reputation, but he definitely did NOT just waltz into the halls of Congress. Peters had formidable opposition in true social democrat and environmentalist Lori Saldana and he spent a fortune wresting the 52nd Congressional District into the Dems’ column by a small margin.
I personally was thrilled at Peters’ victory in retiring the likes of Congressmen Brian Bilbray and his predecessor, jailed bribester Randy “Duke” Cunningham. I also have no doubt that Jacob$-backed chameleon$ like Nathan Fletcher might wish to challenge Peters’ narrow win. (Only today after a few months in office, Peters sent out an email appeal for money for re-election!) Peters has always been a centrist sort of Democrat, but that’s how he stayed viable in San Diego politics. I believe he will vote to provide Obama with the help he needs, so I am glad he’s representing me in D.C.
While GOPeople Pete Wilson, Susan Golding, Carl DeMaio and Nathan Fletcher richly deserve their public flogging, Todd Gloria should be singled out as exceptionally obnoxious, not just one in the crowd. Gloria is the original whippersnapper — a self-involved, self-promoting semi-Democrat City Councilmember, bent on unseating his old boss Rep. Susan Davis, another centrist Democrat, by any means necessary, while unforgivably making life difficult for our new liberal change agent Democratic Mayor Bob Filner.
Finally, memory is fallible, but I remember Linda Bernhardt being driven from office by vicious smear masters, not from “having her head turned.”
Norma Damashek says
Indeed, politics involve horsetrading but voters should be able to depend on elected officials whose core principles are dependable and out in the open. I, too, appreciate our current mayor Bob Filner for his core principles and the fact that he acts on them.
As for ex-councilmember Bernhardt — shortly after her election she caught the bug… decided she’d make a terrific mayor… foolishly turned her back on the community that elected her… and became a sitting duck for recall…
It could be that Todd Gloria might also be digging his own grave.