Opinion

Opinion: Why We Started Movement to the Middle

Opinion: Why We Started Movement to the Middle

On Wednesday, 39 CEOs, business owners, founders and executives of significant San Diego companies came together to announce a coalition of people who are tired of divisive politics and determined to give a voice to the many moderates who want compromise and problem-solving to replace the gamesmanship and gridlock at all levels of government.

Not surprisingly, we were immediately attacked by the leaders of both the San Diego County Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as two of the mayoral candidates. They are entitled to their opinion on the value of this coalition, but they’re not entitled to their own facts about who we are.

We’re happy to address these attacks with the facts.

One of the questions is whether this coalition is a Nathan Fletcher campaign “stunt” manufactured by his campaign manager, Tom Shepard. A bunch of successful entrepreneurs coming up with their own ideas and organizing a coalition isn’t exactly unprecedented, but I guess for some reason it’s hard to believe we could have done this on our own.

Well, let me make it very clear: We didn’t ask for their blessing or their help. Movement to the Middle has no financial, strategic or organizational support whatsoever from the Fletcher campaign.

This group came together organically, starting with discussions inspired by Nathan’s defection from the GOP. We recognized from our conversations with others in the community just how many of us there were and how formidable a force we could be if we joined together. In the true San Diego entrepreneurial spirit, we’re testing our hunch that there’s a market for a moderate, pragmatic political leadership.

One of the candidates dismissively referred to the Movement to the Middle founders as the “Downtown establishment,” displaying a curious lack of knowledge about the companies and people involved.

In truth, we’re the very people that every single mayoral candidate courts for financial support and lauds from the podium at events and speeches — entrepreneurs who have put capital and sweat equity behind ideas we believed in.

We’re the founders and leaders of some of San Diego’s most successful innovators, like Qualcomm, Life Technologies and Gateway as well as businesses of every size and type. We’re people who have been involved in the civic and community dialogue for many years and who revel in organizing around constructive ideas.

The incredible response we’ve received from all over the state makes it obvious we’ve tapped in to a well of discontent with politics as usual. The people who are invested in partisan dysfunction can continue to try to marginalize us and dismiss our ideas, but this sentiment is real. The rest are welcome to join us and thousands of their fellow political moderates at MovementToTheMiddle.org. If enough of us raise our voices and demand progress, they won’t be able to ignore us forever.

Dan Shea is the president and CEO of Donovan’s Steak and Chop House. Dane Chapin is a partner with Zephyr Partners. And Scott Dickey is the CEO of Competitor Group Inc.


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24 comments
David Cohen
David Cohen subscriber

Anything that keeps DeMaio in his cage will get my support.

fryefan
fryefan

Anything that keeps DeMaio in his cage will get my support.

Erik Bruvold
Erik Bruvold subscribermember

What the movement to the middle owes voters, if they seek to have influence, is to stake out, with some specificity WHAT CITY POLICIES THEY WANT TO SEE ACHIEVED and why they feel those policies and solutions requires meeting in the middle. Without that it sounds like a slogan, appealing to sentiment but without much substance.

ErikBruvold
ErikBruvold

What the movement to the middle owes voters, if they seek to have influence, is to stake out, with some specificity WHAT CITY POLICIES THEY WANT TO SEE ACHIEVED and why they feel those policies and solutions requires meeting in the middle. Without that it sounds like a slogan, appealing to sentiment but without much substance.

David Hall
David Hall subscriber

Extreme positions rarely offer the best solution, but you're not offering moderation. You're trying to hijack the political discourse to your own greedy benefit.

sdguy
sdguy

Extreme positions rarely offer the best solution, but you're not offering moderation. You're trying to hijack the political discourse to your own greedy benefit.

joe vargo
joe vargo subscriber

Yes Jim, politics are local. From a national perspective, I think these folks are right on target. I share ideologies with both parties, that hardly makes me moderate. I don't know, maybe it does. People take sides because they want to win. Even at the detriment to themselves. Got winners?

joev
joev

Yes Jim, politics are local. From a national perspective, I think these folks are right on target. I share ideologies with both parties, that hardly makes me moderate. I don't know, maybe it does. People take sides because they want to win. Even at the detriment to themselves. Got winners?

Ian Trowbridge
Ian Trowbridge subscribermember

What is hateful in San Diego is not the political discourse, it is the lack of effort to provide affordable housing, the lack of help for the homeless, the wages and benefits paid to housekeepers in non-union hotels, the incompetence and deliberate efforts of local agencies such as the City Council and the Port to thwart their sworn responsibility to protect the rights of the public and more. It is actions that are hateful not words.

iantrowbridge
iantrowbridge

What is hateful in San Diego is not the political discourse, it is the lack of effort to provide affordable housing, the lack of help for the homeless, the wages and benefits paid to housekeepers in non-union hotels, the incompetence and deliberate efforts of local agencies such as the City Council and the Port to thwart their sworn responsibility to protect the rights of the public and more. It is actions that are hateful not words.

Ian Trowbridge
Ian Trowbridge subscribermember

I believe their support of their Ken doll, Nathan, is unhelpful to the thoughtful readers of the Voice as the earlier comments suggest.

iantrowbridge
iantrowbridge

I believe their support of their Ken doll, Nathan, is unhelpful to the thoughtful readers of the Voice as the earlier comments suggest.

Lee Burdick
Lee Burdick subscriber

Folks, I understand that the state of our current politics has everyone hyper-vigilent and skeptical about new ideas. But the polls show that 75 percent of Americans have ideals that fall in the moderate range regardless of whether there is a "D" or an "R" after their name. Is it really all that shocking that a group of people who care about our region would stand up and say "We are the 75%"? What is more shocking to me is that they felt they had to do it, because our politics have become so partisan we can't get anything done. Our political discourse has become so hateful and poisoned that we can't even consider a new idea, compromise or coalitions. It's up to us to find a way to get unstuck, because the current state of affairs is not working.

LeeBurdick
LeeBurdick

Folks, I understand that the state of our current politics has everyone hyper-vigilent and skeptical about new ideas. But the polls show that 75 percent of Americans have ideals that fall in the moderate range regardless of whether there is a "D" or an "R" after their name. Is it really all that shocking that a group of people who care about our region would stand up and say "We are the 75%"? What is more shocking to me is that they felt they had to do it, because our politics have become so partisan we can't get anything done. Our political discourse has become so hateful and poisoned that we can't even consider a new idea, compromise or coalitions. It's up to us to find a way to get unstuck, because the current state of affairs is not working.

joe vargo
joe vargo subscriber

De Maio (aka Republican Party) and his scorched earth policies are going the way of the dodo. I don't believe for a minute that he gives a rats ass about the middle class taxpayer.

joev
joev

De Maio (aka Republican Party) and his scorched earth policies are going the way of the dodo. I don't believe for a minute that he gives a rats ass about the middle class taxpayer.

Chris Brewster
Chris Brewster subscribermember

Mr. Fletcher did not leave the Republican Party until after he had begged it to endorse him and it rejected him. Up until then, he professed love and devotion to it. The same goes for you with respect to your own party affiliation. I personally see Mr. Fletcher as an opportunist, but for you, it’s mostly a money issue. It wasn’t important until your party endorsed the “wrong” guy.

B Chris Brewster
B Chris Brewster

Mr. Fletcher did not leave the Republican Party until after he had begged it to endorse him and it rejected him. Up until then, he professed love and devotion to it. The same goes for you with respect to your own party affiliation. I personally see Mr. Fletcher as an opportunist, but for you, it’s mostly a money issue. It wasn’t important until your party endorsed the “wrong” guy.

La Playa Heritage
La Playa Heritage subscribermember

FYI. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to get rid of HUD, and all the million in Federal funds for Housing Vouchers to end Veterans Homeless in San Diego by the 2015 deadline which were secured by Congressman Filner.

La Playa Heritage
La Playa Heritage

FYI. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney wants to get rid of HUD, and all the million in Federal funds for Housing Vouchers to end Veterans Homeless in San Diego by the 2015 deadline which were secured by Congressman Filner.