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. There are those most recent Democratic wins to be considered.
If you take a quick look at one infographic on voting generated by inewsource.org’s Joe Yerardi, the ‘common knowledge’ seems irrefutable. In the screenshot below, districts carried by David Alvarez are highlighted in blue, those in red were carried by Kevin Faulconer and the green ones gave Nathan Fletcher the nod.
What you may not notice on first glance is much of the central part of the maps, didn’t give Faulconer a majority. In fact if you go back to original infographic and click on the various districts, Democratic candidates carried them.
While Nathan Fletcher’s support wasn’t very deep, 24% of the total electorate (and often higher in the central northern area of the city) is nothing to be sneezed at.
The 2012 election and this most recent round of voting also demonstrate increased turnouts in many “low voter interest” areas of the city, primarily in the southern neighborhoods. Intensive voter education efforts, get out the vote campaigns and candidates speaking directly to the interests of those communities have shown that they can be a force to be reckoned with.
Nationally speaking Republicans are very interested in the upcoming runoff. A Kevin Faulconer victory would give them one mayor among the ten biggest metropolitan areas.
City Councilman Alvarez has indicated that he’ll be cutting back on his campaign schedule a bit as we go into the holidays. The higher cost of advertising during December (driven by heavy purchases by retailers) means the intense part of this next campaign won’t start until the first of the year.
The key to a Democratic victory will be bringing voters who were disaffected following the attacks on Nathan Fletcher back into the fold. Given that Fletcher just announced his retirement from politics (for now), it might be wise to discontinue the grinding of partisan heels on his defeat. To do otherwise is to hand the election to Kevin Faulconer.
Harry Reid’s Nuclear Option
The US Senate has moved to allow a simple majority vote on approving most presidential nominations. By a 52 to 48 vote the rules were changed to eliminate the ever increasing use of the filibuster. Thus, one of tools most frequently used by Republicans in recent years to create gridlock has been eliminated.
Filibuster rules were not eliminated for legislation and Supreme Court nominees.
From the New York Times:
The gravity of the situation was reflected in a highly unusual scene on the Senate floor: Nearly all 100 senators were in their seats, rapt as their two leaders debated.
Tensions between the two parties have reached a boiling point in the last few weeks as Republicans repeatedly filibustered Mr. Obama’s picks to the country’s most important appeals court, the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. The Senate has voted on three nominees to the court in the last month. Republicans have blocked them all, saying they would allow the president no more appointments to that court.
Democrats, who filibustered their own share of Republican judicial nominees before they took control of the Senate, have said that what the minority party has done is to effectively rewrite the law by requiring a 60-vote supermajority threshold for high-level presidential appointments. Once rare, filibusters of high-level nominees are now routine.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the floor to denounce the move as an attempt to divert attention away from the ongoing problems with Obamacare.
ObamaScare Stories a Coincidence? I Think Not
The New York Times has laid its hands on a remarkable document from GOP Rep. Eric Cantor spelling out a game plan for a series of media and social media initiatives designed to undermine implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
From the Times coverage:
The memo distributed to House Republicans this week was concise and blunt, listing talking points and marching orders: “Because of Obamacare, I Lost My Insurance.” “Obamacare Increases Health Care Costs.” “The Exchanges May Not Be Secure, Putting Personal Information at Risk.” “Continue Collecting Constituent Stories.”
The document, the product of a series of closed-door strategy sessions that began in mid-October, is part of an increasingly organized Republican attack on the Affordable Care Act, President Obama’s signature legislative initiative. Republican strategists say that over the next several months, they intend to keep Democrats on their heels through a multilayered, sequenced assault.
Mr. Cantor and Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, another member of the Republican leadership, have also leaned on all 231 House Republicans. A 17-page “House Republican Playbook” walks members through “messaging tools” like talking points, social media tactics and “digital fliers”; details lines of attack; offers up a sample opinion article for local newspapers; and provides an extensive timeline on the health care law and an exhaustive list of legislative responses that have gone nowhere.
UC Strikers Picket Medical Center
Healthcare, custodial and foodservice workers throughout California staged a one day strike yesterday protesting what they say are unfair labor practices, intimidation and dangerously low staffing levels. Led by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) employees picketed locations throughout California. Several other unions, including the UAW-affiliated UC Student-Workers Union urged their members to join the picket lines.
At the UC Medical Center in Hillcrest about 200 workers set up a picket line, which ran from just after dawn till 7pm. Assemblywomen Lorena Gonzalez and Shirley Weber stopped by to pledge support at the state level to address complaints documented during last May’s strike. Local labor leaders also visited with the group, accompanied by a non-speaking David Alvarez (his voice was shot).
San Onofre Refund Under Consideration
A December 19th hearing of the California Public Utilities Commission will consider a ruling by an administrative law judge that could mean $19.3 million in refunds for SDG&E customers.
From Dave Rice at the San Diego Reader:
The refunds demanded are a result of the reduced cost of operating San Onofre after it went into emergency shutdown mode following a radiation leak due to failed steam generators in January 2012. If the proposed decision is upheld, it could mean a $19.3 million windfall for SDG&E customers.
“The proposed decision determines that Edison’s continuing to spend money on a restart plan for San Onofre after May 2012 was the result of an unsound decision-making process,” says a commission statement, “primarily because Edison did not consider alternatives or rate impact, or realistically assess the regulatory hurdles blocking a reasonably foreseeable restart.”
On This Day: 1783 – The first successful flight was made in a hot air balloon. The pilots, Francois Pilatre de Rosier and Francois Laurent, Marquis d’Arlandes, flew for 25 minutes and 5½ miles over Paris. 1963 – President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline, arrived in San Antonio, TX. They were beginning an ill-fated, two-day tour of Texas that would end in Dallas. 1973 – President Richard M. Nixon’s attorney, J. Fred Buzhardt, announced the presence of an 18½-minute gap in one of the White House tape recordings related to the Watergate case.
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