This Week in the Mayor’s Race: Flip-Flops, Babies and Instagram

This Week in the Mayor’s Race: Flip-Flops, Babies and Instagram

Mayoral candidates Kevin Faulconer, Nathan Fletcher and David Alvarez at a Friday debate in Barrio Logan.

It’s easy to get caught up in the fracas of an election — day-to-day shuffling of who’s endorsing  whom, or what throwaway claim was made at the latest debate. Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis took a step back to look at the public reception of the candidates vying to become our next mayor, though he did have one contender in mind.

Councilman David Alvarez is expecting his second child, due to arrive sometime around the final election. And no one’s asking whether he can “have it all.”

“Were a prominent woman to decide to run for mayor after a sudden vacancy in that office,” Lewis wrote,  ”how would we take it if she were five months pregnant?”

Some dismissed it as a silly question; others agreed that Alvarez might face more tough questions about his decision to run if he were a woman. VOSD reader Glenn Young had a different take:

“Having young children, or children on the way, does improve the electability of a candidate. Helps them appear warm, caring, and relatable. So David and Nathan [Fletcher] have the young family thing going for them. Makes for a nice picture.”

But Alvarez also showed an edgier side this week. The councilman went further in criticizing former Mayor Jerry Sanders than virtually any other candidate has in the past. “It was a culture of secrecy that I think held back our city,” Alvarez said.

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Moving the city forward includes reshaping how San Diego goes about supporting public services — namely safety and the Police Department. Addressing police retention issues was a key theme this week, most visibly at the police-sponsored forum Tuesday night. While Alvarez, Fletcher and Kevin Faulconer all spoke up to bolster compensation and resources, Mike Aguirre was the odd man out with a more restrained approach. “I’m not here to make any promises to any police officers,” he said.

That got nods of approval from some commenters who cheered his fiscal responsibility. Not so much from VOSD reader Jim Jones, who also weighed in for our crowdsourcing campaign to collect questions for the candidates. A question he posed to Aguirre:

“When city attorney, you had very contentious relationships with groups as diverse as the police unions and sunroad developers, and you had detractors from every corner of the political spectrum. Following the disaster that was Bob Filner, how do you plan to pull the city together, something you couldn’t do as the bomb throwing city attorney?”

Nathan Fletcher also drew Jones’ ire. To the Democratic candidate: “What party will you be in next year?”

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Fletcher’s been heavily scrutinized over the course of his political transformation. The U-T slammed him earlier this week, accusing him of flip-flopping on the new Barrio Logan community plan’s impact on the maritime industry: ”Fletcher is appealing to some voters because his message can shift depending on the crowd that’s listening … Are Fletcher’s positions for sale to the next endorser?”

VOSD’s Lewis pointed out the newspaper might want to figure out where it stands on the issue before throwing stones for switching sides.

But hey, at least we know one thing for sure: None of the top three candidates has a record of sexual harassment.

Consider it one less question we’ll have to throw at the candidates during our chat with them Nov. 5. Have you heard about this? Leave ‘em at The Plaza, or use Instagram to send us videos or stills tagged with #noBSmayor.

Some of our favorites from The Plaza so far:

“Is there one public policy subject in which you would be considered an expert?” –Andy Kopp

“Other than Managed Competition, what efficiencies can you identify to help lower the city’s annual expenses?” –Omar Passons

“What specific actionable issue, or issues, is one that you hold a policy position that is contrary to your political party affiliation’s stance or ideology?” –Leah Placido Dutra

“What is your philosophy about future growth in San Diego? Do you think the City should meet the target set by SANDAG in respect to new housing growth? Which communities should take those 300,000 or so new residents?” –Erik Bruvold

“How would you bring our policies in sync with the General Plan to fulfill the vision for San Diego?” –Walter Chambers

@allyallyoxenfree was brave enough to be our first Instagram submission: “Will you commit to funding an urban forestry program to comprehensively improve SD’s urban forest? #noBSmayor”

And well, VOSD staff couldn’t resist getting in on the fun, too. Below are some motion-picture queries we very seriously plan to ask the candidates.

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Catherine Green

Catherine Green

Catherine Green is deputy editor at Voice of San Diego. She handles daily operations while helping to plan new long-term projects. You can contact her directly at catherine.green@voiceofsandiego.org or 619.550.5668. Follow her on Twitter: @c_s_green.

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