• I got a lot of great response to Thursday’s column. Most pointed out that while the Republican Party’s endorsement of incumbent Mayor Jerry Sanders was unusually early, it was pretty easy to expect.

Not only does the party regularly endorse incumbents, but the party’s Central Committee was probably particularly interested in endorsing this mayor. In 2005, when Jerry Sanders and a cadre of other Republicans were running for mayor, the party had a tough choice. After an apparently bizarre late-night meeting, the party decided to somewhat surprisingly endorse businessman Steve Francis for the post. It was surprising because few had ever heard of Francis in the weeks preceding the endorsement. The party then spent money on behalf of Francis’ campaign.

It’s sometimes easy to forget that the party is run by people, and the Central Committee is run by people like Matt Adams, the chief lobbyist for the local Building Industry Association. It’s not unimaginable that people like him — who do business with the city — would be eager to make up for those decisions to not only endorse but actively try to defeat the guy who eventually became mayor.

  • Because the column was already getting a bit long, I decided against going after another interesting point that came up in my discussions with the people who engineered the Republicans’ early endorsement of the mayor. The move, of course, upset Francis.

The beneficiary of the late-night party maneuvering in 2005 thought the organization would at least pretend to consider other candidates before endorsing the mayor.

But Francis also wanted to bring up another point. He said it was wrong for the Republican Party to endorse Sanders because the party is against raising taxes and because, he claimed, Sanders has broken his pledge not to raise taxes as mayor.

Francis pointed to Sanders vigorous — and ultimately successful — lobbying for an increase to the rates that sewer and water users pay.

Here’s what Francis wrote to me in an e-mail Wednesday:

What is so odd was that Sanders rode to election on Republican support on his no tax pledge in November. He broke that promise in January 2006 with calls for water and sewer rate increases. … So why would the county party endorse him with that core principle broken?

I asked Jonathan Buettner, the chief operating officer of the San Diego County Republican Party, what he thought of that contention. And his answer was rather amusing to a political nerd like me.

Buettner defended Sanders’ water and sewer rate increases, saying that the mayor had admirably “right-sized the fees.” This is funny because it was arguably Francis himself who brought that term “right-sizing” into the popular conservative lexicon locally. When the businessman was running his campaign for mayor, the one line he repeated over and over again was that a new city leader had to work to “right-size” City Hall.

I asked Buettner if Sanders had reiterated his pledge not to raise taxes if he’s reelected.

“I think he was consistent with his previous position, which was no new taxes, absolutely,” Buettner said.

  • One last point, sorry for the slow posting lately. I’m on a plane right now going to visit the folks on Father’s Day weekend. They took my toothpaste and shaving cream away from me in the security line. I know, I can get crazy with that stuff, but I was a little miffed nonetheless. I hope the parents don’t mind a little bad breath and facial hair.

I was just reading the Wall Street Journal and after wading through the myriad news about trouble in the housing and mortgage markets, I came across a story (subscription required) about how rich people are buying extremely nice cars and then wrecking them because they don’t know how to handle such fast automobiles.

I came across this passage:

It’s not just drunken celebrities doing the damage. On the way to an MBA class near San Diego one morning. Naser Aboubakare, a 40-year-old private equity firm president, lost control of his new 550-horsepower Ford GT and wrenched it over a lane divider. “The car is like a wild animal,” he says.

To compound matters, it’s tough to be inconspicuous when you damage a $150,000 automobile. After Mr. Aboubakare’s accident, several passing motorists snapped pictures while one leaned out of the window of his pickup truck and shouted “What an idiot!”

I do own a pickup truck but that wasn’t me. I would have been one of those to snap a picture. I’ve been dying to see a GT in person for a long time.

Have a great weekend.


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