“The U-T wants only what is best for San Diego”
– quote from editorial warning Carl DeMaio to obey publisher Doug Manchester’s wishes
By Doug Porter
It was a day to remember in San Diego’s political history. Three high-profile politicians opted to decline the opportunity to enter the contest for the top spot in the eighth largest city in the United States. That’s like three customers going into a Starbucks paying for a latte with a hundred dollar bill and saying “keep the change”…or a camel passing through the eye of a needle.
Carl DeMaio did a stellar job of playing the media as to his intentions. “According to a source with direct knowledge of his plans” DC’s Politico and other media outlets ran with the story saying the former city councilman had decided to drop his candidacy for Congress to run for Mayor. He posted a photo on social media with supporters holding campaign signs for both Congress and Mayor.
The 11am press conference on San Diego’s harbor featured a podium sign strongly suggesting DeMaio was in it to win it for the mayor’s seat. One reporter even pre-typed a Tweet to that effect and ‘accidentally’ hit ‘send’ as DeMaio’s speech meandered across the political landscape. It was clear the former councilman was enjoying playing the press and his “special interest” opponents.
In the end, DeMaio deferred to his Congressional ambitions, Todd Gloria said that the job of being interim mayor demanded his full attention and County Supervisor Ron Roberts opted out of the race.
On the surface anyway, this leaves Democratic convert Nathan Fletcher and the GOP’s District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer as front runners in the race. Both can be considered “safe” choices. It’s center-left vs center right.
The “everybody knows” crowd is already at it, as in [insert name of candidate here] is the obvious choice for [insert political leanings here]. And discussion or even mention of the other 15 already declared or or potential candidates is summarily dismissed, as in “everybody knows” they can’t win because [insert reason here].
Perhaps we should just call off the primary just to keep the “everybody knows” crowd happy. Why bother with campaigns, or platforms when we can have the wisdom of “everybody knows”?
Of course this consensus masks a larger, and some would say more sinister, picture.
On the Republican (Tweedle-dee) side the power plays were obvious. Carl DeMaio, really, really wanted to be mayor. Word has it that he was strongly discouraged from pursuing that course by the “non-partisan” Lincoln Club with a push from UT-San Diego publisher “Papa” Doug Manchester.
From UT-San Diego’s reporting on DeMaio’s presser yesterday:
The decision by DeMaio comes after lengthy behind-the-scenes deliberations among Republican power brokers this past weekend in which they urged DeMaio to stay in the congressional race and unanimously agreed to back Councilman Kevin Faulconer in the mayor’s race. Faulconer is expected to announce his candidacy at 10 a.m. Wednesday.
Lest DeMaio not get the message (and they were obviously worried that he wouldn’t), the UT-San Diego editorialized:
As this editorial page has said in the wake of Filner’s resignation, quality of character must be the hallmark of the new mayor — and the standard by which voters should judge the candidates. Never before have integrity, stability, long-standing core values and leadership style been so important.
This election is a time for statesmen. There is no room for political opportunism…
…DeMaio will announce Tuesday whether he will remain a candidate for Congress or demonstrate his own political opportunism by switching to the race for mayor. His decision will mark him as a future Republican star, or could end his political career. The U-T editorial board urges DeMaio to stick with his congressional candidacy; he can count on our editorial support if he does so.
So Carl DeMaio did the “right thing” and announced he was still running for Congress. He was rewarded with a very nice editorial today in the Daily Fishwrap.
Just to make sure nobody else got any ideas, the San Diego GOP jumped the gun, not waiting for Kevin Faulconer’s candidacy announcement (this morning), issuing a press release shortly thereafter:
Local Republican Party Chairman Tony Krvaric today issued the following statement concerning the special San Diego mayoral election:
“We are pleased that Councilman Kevin Faulconer will be running for Mayor. He is a centrist leader in proud San Diego tradition with broad appeal and an established track record of service to our City.”
“The Republican Party of San Diego County will consider an endorsement in the race for Mayor at its next meeting on Monday, Sept. 9 at 7 pm at the Town & Country Hotel in Mission Valley.”
An hour or so later the release was updated to say they were pleased that Faulconer was “considering” running.
Not everybody was trilled with the GOP’s move to the center on Faulconer. As one commenter at the Daily Fishwrap put it:
Now get ready for the repackaging of Kevin Faulconer. Wherein Barney Fife gets transformed into John Wayne.
While the GOP has cleared the deck of potential distractions, local Democrats (Tweedle-Dum) are still working on it.
City Councilman Todd Gloria’s announcement that he was not running was a step forward towards consolidating their package. Nathan Fletcher’s candidacy got a big boost even as he was releasing the official video saying he was in the race.
There are those pesky progressive types lurking in the shadows that have yet to be convinced that a figurative battle of the Titans (Manchester vs Jacobs) is the best way forward. And then there’s labor.
While the Metropolitan Employees Association and the Firefighters have already endorsed Fletcher—and the Police Officers Association won’t be far behind—the rest of the Labor Council isn’t convinced of the former Assemblyman’s ideological conversion, especially given his legislative vote history.
Councilman David Alvarez told the City Beat he’d defer to a Todd Gloria or a Donna Fry candidacy. Now that Gloria’s out, some activists are encouraged. Alvarez @ City Beat:
“Clearly, if Donna runs, I don’t have any question that we’ll have a victory. With Todd, he’ll have a better chance than I do, even though some folks might have some reservations.”
The way Alvarez sees it, among the progressives, he comes next in line. So, he’s tried to figure out how much money he’d need to run an effective campaign. He’s made a list of individual donors who could max out at $1,000, he’s thought about how much the Democratic Party might spend independently if he were the guy the party chose to support and how much organized labor might spend; he’s thought about voter turnout and how many votes he’d need depending on the potential field of candidates. And he’s considered the fact that he and his wife are expecting their second child in March.
“I’ve got all these scenarios compared; it’s now just sort of finalizing who the candidates are,” he says. “That’s why this week, for sure we’ll know, and then it has to be, because I need to get started soon.”
Alvarez isn’t the only well-known politico mulling his/her options this week. But if any of these folk want in, they need to consider that the Central Labor Council meeting later (Friday) this week, where an endorsement package is reportedly on the agenda. The San Diego Democratic Party is waiting until September 24th to consider it’s endorsement options.
The Wild Cards
Activist Bruce Coons and former City Attorney Mike Aguirre are both candidates with enough name recognition to consider as viable alternative candidates. And there’s at least a dozen other possibilities.
We’ll be looking at some of those less well-known candidates in the coming weeks. Remember, the primary isn’t until November 19th. And any run off election won’t be held until at least a month into next year.
So for now, don’t settle for “everybody knows”. Your vote is too important to be relegated to the same decision making process used by Madison Avenue.
More Action on the Walmart Front
Labor Day may be over, but things are starting to get heated up for America’s largest retailer.
From The Nation:
Walmart workers and supporters plan to mount protests in fifteen cities Thursday, a mobilization that the union-backed group OUR Walmart expects will be its largest since last November’s Black Friday strike. This week’s rallies follow an August 22 civil disobedience action at which the campaign announced a Labor Day deadline for Walmart to raise its wages to at least $25,000 per year, and reverse the terminations of twenty workers who participated in a June strike….
…According to the campaign, Thursday’s rallies will have the largest total turnout by Walmart employees, and the biggest overall number of participants, of any Walmart mobilization since the one-day November 23 strike last year, in which organizers say four hundred-some workers walked off the job and thousands of supporters turned out to support them. Since then, organizers say hundreds of workers took part in collective confrontations with local management over scheduling on April 24, and over a hundred participated in the longer June work stoppage, which included a week of protests in and around Walmart’s Arkansas hometown.
No War on Syria Demonstration
The San Diego Veterans for Peace are relocating their weekly No Drones protests to downtown San Diego until further notice.
They’re calling for people to join them on Thursday, September 5th, 4-6pm at the 6th Street overpass over Interstate 5. People are encouraged to bring posters with very large letters so they can be read from 100 yards away. (The traffic is moving and they have only seconds to see the message.)
For more info: Dave Patterson – 760-207-9139
On This Day: 1781 – Los Angeles was founded by Spanish settlers. The original name was “El Pueblo de Nuestra Senora La Reina de Los Angeles de Porciuncula,” which translates as “The Town of the Queen of Angels.” 1894 – A strike in New York City by 12,000 tailors took place to protest sweatshops. 1968 – “Street Fighting Man,” by the Rolling Stones, was banned in several cities. Authorities feared it might incite public disorder.
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