The coalitions that developed on both sides of the Proposition D campaign weren’t natural allies.
On the yes side, Republican Mayor Jerry Sanders and business groups like the regional Chamber of Commerce joined with Democratic City Councilwoman Donna Frye, Sanders’ former mayoral rival, and organized labor to support a tax increase and financial reforms. On the no side, Republican Councilmen Kevin Faulconer and Carl DeMaio came together despite being potential rivals in the 2012 mayor’s race.
With Prop. D’s failure, and a massive budget deficit staring everyone in the face, it’s natural to look for signs that ties between both groups are fraying.
Yesterday, I tweeted that an alternative financial plan being released Friday was DeMaio’s alone, and not Faulconer’s. Immediately, others jumped on that as indications the two had split up. But DeMaio always had promised to unveil his plan after the election and Faulconer never was part of that effort.
Similarly, I characterized a conversation about the Yes campaign’s fundraising challenges with strategist Tom Shepard as evidence of tension between the business and labor sides of the campaign. (Shepard is the mayor’s strategist and doesn’t have the best relationship with unions.)
But Shepard said he had no issue with labor. He said he’s spoken with San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council head Lorena Gonzalez, who took exception to Shepard’s remarks, and assured her he wasn’t blaming her for Prop. D’s failure.
“The bottom line is there’s no problem between me or anyone else in the campaign and labor,” Shepard said.
Frye, fire union head Frank De Clercq and left-leaning think thank analyst Murtaza Baxamusa all have expressed interest in the Yes on D coalition continuing.
Mike Zucchet, the head of the city’s white-collar union, made a similar plea in an op-ed in the Union Tribune this morning:
Prop. D taught us that the various leadership factions of this city can work together in a civil, productive and bipartisan way. The San Diego Municipal Employees Association is especially grateful to Mayor Jerry Sanders and Councilmember Donna Frye and others who worked hard to form a coalition of business and labor interests in support of a comprehensive reform/revenue budget solution.
The fact that voters rejected Prop. D does not diminish the importance of this accomplishment. In fact, it makes it all the more impressive that these interests reached compromises and came together in the face of obvious political headwinds.