By Doug Porter
A mayoral contest best characterized thus far by the quantity of candidates took a turn towards being much more interesting yesterday as Democratic City Councilman David Alvarez entered the race.
Should he end up in the winner’s circle come February (which is when a final runoff will decide the victor), Alvarez will be the first mayor of Mexican descent since the city emerged from being ruled by trustees (bankruptcy) back in 1887.
This is no small thing in a city with a growing Hispanic (28.8%) population. It wasn’t so long ago that brown-skinned people were prohibited from buying homes in many San Diego neighborhoods.
Alvarez is also popular with many on San Diego’s Labor Council, whose participation in get out the vote efforts in recent elections has boosted turnout in less affluent neighborhoods. His electoral base is mostly south of Interstate 8, which changes the dynamics of an election many thought would be decided by mostly white, older voting blocs in other areas of the city.
From NBC7’s account:
Alvarez, who grew up in Barrio Logan, was the first in his family to graduate from high school and college, according to his website. He also graduated with honors from San Diego State University. Alvarez, his wife Xochitl, and their daughter Izel reside in Logan Heights.
Most importantly, Councilman Alvarez provides a progressive alternative in a race where the differences between the best known candidates weren’t easy to discern.
Going for the Latino Vote
Nathan Fletcher’s campaign made its pitch to local Hispanics yesterday, with a press conference featuring Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, Congressman Juan Vargas, Southwestern College trustee Humberto Peraza, Escondido Councilmember Olga Diaz, and Sweetwater Authority Chair Jose Preciado. Chula Vista Councilwoman Mary Salas was expected to attend, but did not show up.
From NBC7 News:
Gonzalez described going to Fletcher for help with a janitor’s strike during the 2012 primary campaign when the Labor Council she helmed had already endorsed former Mayor Bob Filner.
“When I called him and explained the situation that we were in and the families that would be affected by this contract, and how people’s healthcare and their children’s healthcare were dependent on this being settled in a positive way, he said ‘How can I help?’ And he did,” Gonzalez said. “A week before the primary election, he worked hard at helping us settle a contentious contract. And he knew he was going to get nothing out of it.”
Word has it that Gonzalez, who formerly headed the local labor council, is working hard to make sure Fletcher gets seen in places and neighborhoods outside of what many observers (including me) consider his comfort zone.
Interestingly, one local activist was heard complaining about Fletcher’s decision to invite Vargas, based on the Congressman’s public support for US intervention in Syria. A more relevant complaint might have been Vargas long history of playing footsie with the insurance industry.
Nailing the Restaurant Vote
Kevin Faulconer was in Ocean Beach this morning touting his endorsement by the California Restaurant Association (CRA) San Diego County chapter.
The CRA has been active in opposing increases in minimum wage legislation and Obamacare, so this endorsement is telling for those wondering where Faulconer might stand on the local implications of such issues.
Frank Gormlie had this to say about Faulconer’s politics in the OB Rag:
Tony Krvaric, head of the County GOP is pushing the party’s new narrative, that Kevin Faulconer is a “centrist” politically. He told the media:
“We are pleased that Councilman Kevin Faulconer is considering running for Mayor. He is a centrist leader in proud San Diegotradition with broad appeal and an established track record of service to our city. He would be a great mayor.” (Our emphasis.)
But Faulconer is hardly a “centrist”. Besides being a huge voice over the years for “managed competition”, the competitive bidding program championed by Republicans like him which is supposed to create a leaner city government, Faulconer also opposed California doing away with all the state’s and our city’s redevelopment agencies. In years past, District 2 – Faulconer’s current district – included downtown San Diego. Which meant that Faulconer was and is beholden to those downtown interests who for decades have been “re-newing” downtown – the Convention Center, the Padres’ ballpark, the Gaslamp District, etc., – to the detriment of San Diego’s neighborhoods.
And no, Mr. Faulconer, standing in front of the OB Noodle House for your press conference doesn’t qualify as campaigning for “ethnic” votes.
Quote of the Day: (From a Faulconer press release) Someone who looks at what Faulconer has accomplished and calls it “the status quo” hasn’t been paying attention.
Amazing Factoid Tweet of the Day:
Not what I expected. July 2005 special election: 265,573 votes cast. June 2012 mayoral ballot: 241,404.
— jeff light (@jelight) September 6, 2013
FYI- jelight is the editor of UT-San Diego
The Entire Field (23!)
I heard a story this morning on KPBS claiming there were now 20 candidates in the race. I’ve heard other stories with different numbers. So, to help clear up this confusion, here’s a list of everybody I know to be running:
- People that I’d heard of prior to last week: Nathan Fletcher, Kevin Faulconer, David Alvarez, Bruce Coons and Hud Collins.
- Other declared candidates: Paul Michael Dekker, Harry J. Dirks, Marcus Dunlap, Steven Greenwald, James Grogan, Fred Charles Hill, Michael Kemmer, Jared Mimms, Teresa Miucci, Ashok Parameswaran, Tobiah Pettus, Lincoln Pickard, Kurt Schwab, ; Mark Schwartz, Kevin Swanson, David Tasem, and Keith Wong.
- Says he’s gonna run (but hasn’t pulled papers): Mike Agguire, who managed to snag this ‘damned with faint praise’ column by Logan Jenkins in UT-San Diego..
Still thinking about it: Lori Saldaña, who posted this on Facebook yesterday
“Good morning! I’m being asked to consider a run for Mayor of San Diego in the upcoming special election. So far, all the announced candidates (nearly 20 so far) are men.
“What do you think? Would you support a “Lori Saldaña for Mayor” campaign?
“Also, I don’t have an expensive polling firm making phone calls for me to determine my “message” or “voter appeal.”
“Instead, I want to use social media to do an informal survey.
“Would you be willing to post a notice on your Facebook page to ask friends what they think? Would they want me to run?
“Thank you. I appreciate your help.”
Formerly thinking about running: Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, whose fans are shutting down her Facebook thingie:
I will be shutting down this page shortly, for obvious reasons. I encourage folks to think about which remaining (albeit imperfect) Democrat can best continue last Fall’s promise of neighborhoods first, while being viable against the GOP good-ol-boys backing Faulconer. He was not my first choice, but take a look at Nathan Fletcher. And hold him or whoever is the next Mayor accountable to our values regardless.
UPDATE: Those were not Toni Atkin’s words, I’m told. Rather it was Matt Corrales, who is responsible for the ‘Draft Toni Atkins’ FB page. Ms. Atkins staff has informed me that the Assemblywoman has NOT endorsed any mayoral candidate to date.
Shilling for the War on Drugs
UT-San Diego ran a gloom and doom op-ed yesterday by Robert L. DuPont, once White House drug czar under Presidents Nixon and Ford.
He’s been in the news lately whining about the Justice Department’s decision to back off on confrontations over voter approved legalization in Colorado and Washington. At least he didn’t pull the ‘drugs can cause race-mixing’ card, the main argument used by original proponents of criminalization:
It is clear that legalization increases drug use. In 2011, 52 percent of Americans ages 12 and older used alcohol in the last 30 days. The equivalent figure for tobacco is 27 percent. For all illegal drugs combined the figure is just 9 percent (for marijuana it is 7 percent). Drug legalization will push the use of currently illegal drugs into the usage patterns of the two legal drugs. What sort of country will we have then?
Of course, the daily fishwrap neglected to point out DuPont’s current day job, which happens to involve ownership in a company profiting from drug testing.
From US News:
Robert L. DuPont, who was White House drug czar under Presidents Nixon and Ford, and Peter Bensinger, who was administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration in the 1970s, today run Bensinger, DuPont & Associates, a company that specializes in workplace drug testing, among other employee programs. Both men signed an open (along with eight other former DEA officials) addressed to Senate Judiciary Committee members this week criticizing the Obama administration for failing to quickly address the new states laws legalizing pot, which are inconsistent with federal law…
…According to its Web site, Bensinger, DuPont & Associates provides “full-service” drug testing for employers, which includes everything from developing company policy to selecting a laboratory to training supervisors.
“In a sense that’s true,” DuPont says of whether the company benefits from keeping marijuana illegal. But he argues the company could also benefit from marijuana legalization, “because the problems it would create for employees would be greater.”
On This Day: 1901 – President William McKinley was shot and mortally wounded (he died eight days later) by Leon Czolgosz. Czolgosz, an American anarchist, was executed the following October. 1941 – Jews in German-occupied areas were ordered to wear the Star of David with the word “Jew” inscribed. The order only applied to Jews over the age of 6. 1995 – Bruce Hornsby and Branford Marsalis performed the National Anthem in Baltimore’s Camden Yards before Cal Ripken Jr. set baseball’s all-time consecutive games played record.
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