City Hall Showdown

City Hall Showdown
By Andrew Lockard

Big kerfuffle at the group of buildings collectively known as City Hall this summer.  You may have heard about it.  As it turns out, our ex-Mayor, the ex-honorable Bob Filner, was kinda creepy, with allegations proffered that could be both illegal and regurgitating.  Many of these accusations, however, are nothing new; reports of Battlin’ Bob’s “abrasive” personality have been press fodder for years.  But with a welcomed resignation, an abbreviated and special election is forthcoming on November 19th.  What does this mean for America’s Finest?

  •             Filner’s progressive agenda has been derailed.  Filner’s brand, and likely his vision of a livable, inclusive, and sustainable city likely goes down with its captain.  His special election successor (and former Republican mayoral candidate) Nathan Fletcher’s credentials have been distinctly at odds with the Democratic party.  In fact, most voters will find that the last time they voted for him, he was in the GOP.  He’s sharp, articulate, and has a future in politics, but he hasn’t been a Democrat long enough to vet his stances on the issues.  San Diego’s Democratic brokers were quick to put weight behind him, likely recognizing his political gravitas.  He’ll likely be more beholden to San Diego’s business interests than adopt Filner’s “rattle-the-cage” pugilism.
  •             City Councilman David Alvarez more recently announced his intention to participate.  Alvarez is more of the classic liberal, which may prove problematic to Fletcher’s campaign (in addition to the Democratic party).  Alvarez’s campaign could split the Democrat vote between Fletcher-Alvarez, providing a Republican candidate an opening to pull a majority, which would forego a run-off election.
  •             Speaking of run-offs, if no candidate attains a majority percentage of the vote, a run-off between the top two vote-getters is held, regardless of party.
  •             City Councilman Kevin Faulconer throws his hat in to the ring as the likely Republican sweetheart.  He was an early proponent of Filner’s resignation and is running on a “chicken in every pothole” campaign.  Most interestingly, if Faulconer were to win, it would shake up the ideological stew of the strong mayor/city council – a 5/3 D/R split with an open seat, that could very well go D, with an R mayor.  It would be an opposition majority on city council with strong working ties to a Republican mayor.
  •             Carl Demaio has declined to rematch against Fletcher for the Mayoral election many wanted.  He’ll take his chances against freshman congressman Scott Peters for California’s 52nd District.  Men with dark suits and calculators with polling data likely told him this was the more winnable race.
  •             Former City Attorney Michael Aguirre also announced his intentions to run for the office.  He has been a longtime San Diego aristarch and is never boring.  Also of note is former Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, who lost a primary bout to Scott Peters for the 52nd Congressional District.
  •             More than 36 candidates, as of September 14th, have filed for the special election – a record number of candidates for the office.  It brings to mind the imbroglio of the Golden State’s recall election of G. Davis a decade earlier.
  •             Amongst these is a very electable fellow named Matthew “Eyeball” Isom.
  •             Todd Gloria wears the crown temporarily.  He takes a less rambunctious spin on Filner’s policies for the time being, but has noted the broad disorganization of the last administration.
  •             San Diego still remains in a novel position in its history – a Democratic city council could still be coupled with a (D) mayor, but it’s clear that the city’s demographics and ideological bends are changing in an urban-centric, millennial, and diverse re-envisioning.

That’s the word on the ground in San Diego’s mayoral politics.  Feel free to apply an icepack to your head.

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