By Doug Porter
Mayoral candidate David Alvarez isn’t taking the victory laps today on the morning talk shows. He can’t. He completely lost his voice talking to voters as the special election neared.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting this morning, Faulconer received 89,043 votes, Alvarez 52,283 votes, and Fletcher 49,645 votes. There remain as many as 34,500 mail and provisional ballots still to be counted. By shortly after 10pm last night Alvarez had moved into second place and his lead grew throughout the night.
What little life was left in his vocal chords was expended as he thanked supporters last night at a rally held in the old Weber bakery building in the heart of the neighborhood he came from. Back in the day the bakery marketed its white bread as the ideal food for the white bread leaders of the community.
From a 1931 Evening Tribune supplement:
“The big business man eats good white bread and milk because that food keeps him well fed, alert — able to cope with every problem quickly and efficiently.”
Today the 43,000 square foot structure has been repurposed as Bread & Salt, a multi-use office/workshop/gallery. The very mixed demographics of the overflow crowd last night were suggestive of the actual make up of a San Diego that has evolved away from its era of white bread dominance. Draft beer and Tecate in cans washed down the free tacos dispensed from the food truck adjacent to the building.
The election night parties of the three top candidates were an accurate reflection of their campaigns’ appeal. Former Assembly Nathan Fletcher’s campaign hosted an event at their campaign headquarters in a soul-less Mission Valley office building. The enthusiastic crowds were professionals; not too white collar and not too Caucasian.
The party wound down not long after election results came in suggesting a third place finish. One participant texted me wanting to know if they were serving up craft beer over at the Alvarez party.
City Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s event was at the historic US Grant Hotel, symbolic of an era when tycoons ruled the city and much of the riff-raff present at the other candidate’s parties knew their place (or went to jail, in the case of the unions). Business attire was the preferred costume. Cocktails were the beverage of choice.
Smug satisfaction permeated the air as the GOP’s consensus candidate coasted to a first place win. The Traitor (Fletcher) had been vanquished. Compromise with those pesky neighborhoods at the expense of downtown developers could be dispatched with mere lip service. As one tweet noted, “San Diego republicans way more excited to spike the football in Fletcher’s face than they are about Faulconer’s win.”
The plan for the next round is simple: Kevin smiles a lot, while his buddies “independently” gin up fear about Another Filner with a dash of (wink, wink) racism.
Rising from Relative Obscurity
Just three months ago City Councilman David Alvarez barely registered as a known political entity in San Diego. Outside of his council district, hardly anybody knew who he was. And the notion that he’d be seriously contending for Mayor of the nation’s eighth largest city would have been considered absurd.
All that changed when labor leader Mickey Kasparian refused to buy into the backroom consensus that Nathan Fletcher would be the guy to replace Bob Filner. One account suggests he was miffed at being informed after the fact. Another suggests he and others felt Fletcher had yet to prove his bona fides as a new-found friend of labor.
Other candidates names were floated and sunk in the weeks before the crucial labor council endorsement: Donna Frye, Todd Gloria, Lori Saldana and Toni Atkins are names I heard on the grapevine.
City Councilman David Alvarez emerged as the man in the plan. With his squeaky clean image, Latino heritage, work ethic and reputation as a straight shooter, he hit the campaign trail running hard.
Much has been made of the fundraising prowess that the labor council brought to the table. A million and a half plus dollars is nothing to sneeze at. But it wasn’t the TV ads the endorsements, or the slick mailers that won the day for the Alvarez campaign.
The (not-so) secret to his success was an army of volunteers going door-to-door. Incremental increases in voter turnout in areas of the city long neglected by ‘consensus’ politicians have changed the political landscape of this city. Add this to the generally leftward drift of the California electorate and smart technologies and you have a much higher probability of winning.
Kevin Faulconer’s busloads of Young Republicans imported from around California pale in comparison to the 500+ volunteers working door to door using the resources and infrastructure that labor’s networks and funding brought to the table for Alvarez.
As the Fletcher campaign gets (which will probably happen shortly after I hit ‘publish’) around to conceding, it’s not about the vote count.
Deep rifts occurred during the dark days of the Filner saga. Fingers were pointed. Accusations were made. Feelings were hurt. And the Fletcher campaign ultimately ended up being the repository for those partisan activists who demanded Mayor Bob’s resignation. Those who stayed loyal or refused to enter the fray tended towards the Alvarez camp.
That rift needs to healed. It’s much deeper than many people are willing to acknowledge. And some people just won’t get over it.
Fortunately, the holidays should provide a break from the political mania that’s defined San Diego politics for the past six months. Both Democratic camps need each other in the face of the Republican onslaught that’s sure to come shortly after 2014 dawns.
FYI– The Registrar of Voters estimates turnout to have been at 33%.
About That $13 Billion JP Morgan Settlement
The news media been all agog over the “record setting” settlement with one of the big banks associated with the misdeeds leading up to the economic crisis caused by the collapse of the real estate market.
I hate to break it to you, but like most “deals” made with Wall Street types, they’re laughing all the way to their offshore depositories. Four billion dollars of that huge settlement was actually announced last month by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. As to the rest….
David Dayden at Salon.com breaks it down:
Almost none of this represents a real penalty for the bank. It performs anti-blight procedures annually in its normal course of business. Principal forbearance has minuscule long-term cost. Second liens that typically cannot be recouped are worthless to a bank, and it’s hard to say it “costs” anything to extinguish them.
The bank is even credited for writing down principal on loans owned by mortgage-backed securities investors, paying off their fine with other people’s money (the other people in this case being the very investors they defrauded!). And all the measures to help struggling homeowners actually help JPMorgan Chase in the long run, because it makes financial sense to modify loans rather than foreclose. It’s good to align financial incentives properly to force the bank to help homeowners now instead of kicking them out of their homes. But as a penalty for misconduct, it’s less than meets the eye, all told maybe 10 cents on the dollar to JPMorgan’s bottom line. Factor that in and you get a $5.4 billion deal.
As a side note, the principal reductions will actually hurt homeowners more than they help them, unless Congress extends the Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act. If not, all principal reductions of this type will be taxable income for the homeowner. Poor people who need principal write-downs to save their house don’t typically have bags of cash lying around to pay off tax bills they didn’t think they’d get. The hardship exemptions for homeowners who cannot pay the tax require significant tax planning, the functional equivalent of declaring bankruptcy to the IRS. It will be a nightmare for homeowners who get blessed with this “gift.”
Meanwhile, almost all of the deal, save a $2 billion penalty to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Sacramento to settle a civil lawsuit, is tax deductible as a business expense. Assuming a 38 percent rate for deductions (as JPMorgan does) on $7 billion in business expenses, this knocks another $2.66 billion off the real cost to JPMorgan Chase. A ballyhooed $13 billion settlement winds up being closer to $2.74 billion. That’s less than what BP or GlaxoSmithKline paid in their Justice Department settlements.
Is Your Congressman on Drugs?
A measure earlier this year tying drug testing for food stamp recipients to tests for Congressmen was treated as a joke and pushed aside. Maybe they should rethink that idea.
From Huffington Post:
In September, Rep. Trey Radel voted for Republican legislation that would allow states to make food stamp recipients pee in cups to prove they’re not on drugs. In October, police busted the Florida Republican on a charge of cocaine possession.
“It’s really interesting it came on the heels of Republicans voting on everyone who had access to food stamps get drug tested,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told BuzzFeed Tuesday. “It’s like, what?”
On This Day: 1962 – The Cuban Missile Crisis ended. The Soviet Union removed its missiles and bombers from Cuba and the U.S. ended its blockade of the island. 1962 – The Four Seasons’ “Big Girls Don’t Cry” was released. 1969 – The Nixon administration announced a halt to residential use of the pesticide DDT as part of a total phase out of the substance.
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Where’s that nice big headline, “Its Faulconer vs. Alvarez for the Run-off”
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
Great question, Frank. Thanks for doing the asking.
— Happy Camper Today
Brent Beltran says
Good seeing you in my ‘hood last night, Doug. Hopefully Fletcher’s people quit their crying and join the winning team.
Doug Porter says
Let’s be gracious winners. There is nothing to be gained with spiteful behavior.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
After what you have been running in the SDFP in the last few weeks, Doug, your reprimanding Brent Beltran for cheering David Alvarez’s victory seems disingenuous.
— Happy for David and Solid with Brent
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
Never happen, Brent. Like I mean NEVER. But it’s the thought that counts.
— Happy Camper Today
First off, thank you for all of your mayoral primary coverage. Secondly, congrats on this headline. You nailed it.
Neither myself nor my wife (me = life-long Dem; she = recent Independent) voted for Mr. Alvarez. This was not for lack of the campaign run in his name. We received several knocks; numerous phone calls; and countless mailers.
The KUSI debates did him in for us. Especially the 2nd, roundtable forum. To me, Mr. Alvarez looked like the awkward kid that for the first time, is invited to the adults table at Thanksgiving. Waiting to be called on by the moderator and unable to add any substance to an otherwise adult discussion.
My wife ended-up voting for Mr. Aguirre, the guy we both thought was far and away smarter than the rest of the field. I voted for Mr. Fletcher mainly because I thought could beat the would-be winner Mr. Faulconer. But in the end, I give ALL of the credit where credit is due: the labor campaign machine.
I would caution SDFP readers and posters to not take all of the Aguirre, and especially Fletcher supporters, for granted (e.g., “people quit their crying and join the winning team”). This is an absolute recipe for general election defeat. Fletchers endorsement may mean something to someone, but his votes do not auto-transfer. Votes are not given; votes are earned. Labor earned the right to be in the run-off. But their candidate has some convincing to do. Because “Meh, I guess the D after his name is better than the alternative” isn’t exactly inspiring. And for that matter, either is a volunteer calling/knocking/mailing (though admittedly, it worked in this race).
I’ll be voting for Mr. Alvarez, but I guarantee you that there are folks out there (I suspect my wife is one) that will need some convincing.
Andy Cohen says
I attended the Fletcher presser this afternoon. He said he would be putting all of his support behind David Alvarez, and offered his full endorsement. Interesting you mention his supporters, though, because that’s the exact question I asked him: How can you, and what will you do, to convince your supporters to back Alvarez given the acrimony between the two camps (but not between Fletcher and Alvarez personally)? What are you willing to do to bridge the divide?
The answer was that he would encourage his people to support and vote for Alvarez, but beyond that, he really had no answer. You get the sense that he just wants to step away from politics for a while–he’s taken quite a beating from both sides in this race, fairly or not, and you can tell it wore on him. He specifically mentioned the fact that he was getting hit from both sides–Labor and the GOP/business establishment, and it’s near impossible to survive in that kind of environment, an argument that Scott Lewis made in the VOSD. He won’t admit it, but I think he’s a little put off by it all.
I do think he’ll come around, and in the end he’ll do some campaigning for Alvarez. The wounds are still pretty fresh. And it will be important that he does so if he has any future political aspirations. He needs to bolster his Dem bona fides, and he knows it. He admitted as much in my interview with him.
Andy Cohen says
“After what (we’ve) been running in the SDFP in the last few weeks?” Other than my interview pieces with Fletcher–which you seem to be personally offended by, which is too damn bad–this publication has been overwhelmingly supportive of David Alvarez.
We are a news and information outlet. It is not our job to carry the water of any particular candidate or cause, although that is often what end up doing. When we do so, it is a conscious decision by the members of our editorial board or individual writers. We don’t OWE anybody anything, other than to provide accurate information or incisive opinion. Neither Labor, the Democratic Party, nor any candidate pays our bills. We are indebted to NO ONE.
I was curious about Nathan Fletcher, so I pursued an interview with him. I consider it to be my job to inform our readers about the candidates running for office. I did the same thing with our Bonnie Dumanis interview in the OB Rag before the SDFP officially launched, with Scott Peters, and the same with Sherri Lightner. What our readers decide to do with that information is entirely up to them. But I think they are much better off for having had the opportunity to hear from Fletcher on our site, whether or not they voted for him.
And by the way, just because we published a piece on Dumanis did not mean that we supported her candidacy for mayor. And because I interviewed Fletcher did not mean that I or anyone of the SDFP ed board endorsed him. But it is our responsibility to provide that kind of insight so that folks will have better tools with which to make up their own minds. It is not our responsibility to tell people who they should be voting for, even though at times that is what many of us are inclined to do.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman says
After all that Fletcher cheerleading, Andy, probably you shouldn’t wrap yourself in the flag of alleged reportorial objectivity at this point. And please don’t deny the nature of what has been put out here in the last couple of months, including today, about newly-hatched “Democrat” Nathan Fletcher. In my opinion, the SDFP has dropped the “progressive” ball with its shockingly lukewarm reception for excellent Democratic City Councilman David Alvarez and its openness to a flat-out photogenic charlatan.
I heard today on KPBS that Fletcher not only lost again, but he claims he’s retiring from politics and just going back to work at Qualcomm (where he’s pulling down six figures.) A friend reminded me, that’s exactly what Dick Nixon said before he came back to become an infamous President of the USA.
So who knows, you might get another chance to reintroduce master changeling Nathan Fletcher to SDFP readership down the road. You have certainly worked diligently to present him in the best possible light.
Andy Cohen says
“Lighten up, Frances.”
Annoyed by Frances says
Am I the only one who is annoyed by everything Frances writes?
LOL. No, you are not the only one.
Brent Beltran says
Nope. Somehow she thinks she’s the standard bearer for all things progressive. Her incessant sniping against Fletcher/Jacobs borders on lunacy. And her attacks on Doug and Andy are beyond absurd. I have a salt lick that I suck on after reading her comments due to her bitterness. I’ll have it ready when she responds to this comment.
Mark Bauman says
Francis is entitled to her dogmatic, my way or the highway approach – that’s annoying but forgivable. It’s her thinly veiled attacks, subtle innuendo and strident sniping that puts her in the comment arena usually occupied by internet trolls.
I love everything Frances writes. Are we voting?
La Playa Heritage says