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Here is my take on the mayor’s race:

The candidates so far are incumbent Jerry Sanders, Rocky Neptun and probably Steve Francis, although that is not 100 percent sure at this moment. Keeping in mind my caveat in a previous post that there is still a lot of time left, one has to go with Jerry Sanders, especially since Francis has not yet really made a decision. Sanders is a decent, hardworking, and capable person who has learned a lot in the job. Frankly it would be a shame to replace him after he has gone through the learning curve and has shown some real insight into the problems and choices faced by both San Diego and a strong mayor.

Having said that, there are two factors that may have an impact: Mike Aguirre and the upcoming ballot measures recommended by the Charter Review Committee. The Mike Aguirre factor is big because I believe that sooner or later the public doesn’t care who is right in these public fights and Aguirre won’t stop, regardless of what Sanders says or does. Will the voters take this out on Sanders?

I know lots of people — and I count myself among them — who have made olive branch offers to Aguirre and been charmed by his seeming readiness to work together only to be blindsided by an attack and an outburst of temper that seems to come from nowhere. I simply do not believe one can work with him in any spirit of compromise or team play. It is Aguirre’s way or the highway.

The other unknown factor is the charter review recommendations. Will the fight over them — and there will be a fight — slop over into the mayor’s race? Time will tell.

Another factor which has not yet shown up but one has to keep in mind — the stress of daily attacks and accusations. No matter how balanced one is — and how supportive the family — the daily grind can get one down. I know. I’ve been there. Will Jerry someday simply say: you can keep this job?

— JOHN KERN

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