Monday, Sept. 15, 2008| The City Council District 3 race has been one of the most contentious races I have witnessed. With the Democratic Party backing Stephen Whitburn, who moved to San Diego when Toni Atkins was already on the City Council, it’s been clear from the start that the campaign would be negative. Whitburn knew he’d need to avoid the carpetbagger label. How better to do that than to go after a homegrown candidate, Todd Gloria?

Gloria is a true San Diego story, having graduated from one of the lowest achieving high schools in the area, Madison High School. When he graduated in 1996, Christine Kehoe, Bob Filner, Susan Davis and Ron Roberts were already elected officials.

For those who question why he’s spent most of his young working life toiling under a politician, the answer is simple. A minority candidate (which he is) running for office in San Diego has no hope of winning office north of downtown unless he or she works for a politician first — which he did. It is the sad truth, but he understood that. Now he is ready to step out of his boss’ shadow and serve the very diverse District 3 on the City Council.

Gloria has run a clean campaign and has made people feel uncomfortable because of his youth and freshness. Todd is the Barack Obama of District 3. If you look at the makeup of the Central Committee endorsements, most of the members are non-minority. Anyone who swears to vote for him solely on the fact that he has the party endorsement needs to think twice. He is no progressive, and calls himself a leader despite no experience besides joining the North Park Planning Committee after it was already widely known that he would run for office.

This election reminds me so much of Obama. Gloria would usher in a new era of politics where new homegrown young progressives can lead the city in a newer, smarter direction for working families. A Gloria win will clear the way for the old guard to exit the stage and make way for new young homegrown talent. After all, isn’t that what we need — a fresh breath of air?

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