Rising Republican star Nathan Fletcher is no longer a Republican.

The mayoral candidate and assemblyman stunned the local political world yesterday by switching his affiliation from Republican to independent.

Maybe we should have seen this coming. Fletcher, after all, took pride in reaching across the aisle and consensus-building. And his struggling campaign for mayor, seemingly hobbled by his poor name recognition, definitely needs a boost before it’s too late to win.

We have coverage galore:

• Watch Fletcher’s video announcement.

• Liam Dillon traces how Fletcher went from a rising star, whose political identity was built around the Republican Party, to a lone wolf getting attacked by both parties.

“Fletcher’s move comes off as both principled and desperate,” Dillon writes. “He spoke as if he didn’t leave the party, but the party left him. The local party’s long deliberate march from consensus to conflict no longer fit his style, he said.”

• Scott Lewis strikes back against the idea, pushed by some GOPers, that Fletcher’s a quitter.

“The party overtly was trying to sink him,” Lewis says. “What is Fletcher supposed to do with that? Be sad? If a group did that to me, I would reconsider being a part of it too.”

• We’ve come up with a reader’s guide to give you background on what led to the switcheroo. The news highlights two storylines we’ve been following: the rise of San Diego’s new GOP and the way Fletcher has crossed the aisle and turned enemies into friends.

So what’s next? “I’ve heard a few people say: I like Nathan Fletcher, but I could never vote for a Republican. That might change now,” writes our editor Andrew Donohue.

In Bright-Red North County, a Dash of Purple?

The primary race in North County’s 76th Assembly district is an intriguing one, and not just because one candidate is named Farrah and another is named Rocky. As U-T San Diego’s Logan Jenkins notes, the state’s new election rules mean that the three GOP contenders are vying for the support of all voters, not just Republicans.

There’s fewer Republicans than everyone else. That means, Jenkins says, that “Republican red meat may be fool’s gold at the polls.” He finds evidence that he’s onto something.

Letters: Preserve the Arts, Fix the VOSD Bias

In opinion, Richard and Helen Nielsen-Eckfield bemoan the planned elimination of visual arts programs in Carlsbad schools. Aaron Larkin, meanwhile, says our journalists are sadly “uniformed” in what he thinks is too-negative coverage of the San Diego teachers union.  

Walking the Mail Beat

San Diego Reader cover stories can be a major drag to read, but this week’s is an unusual treat: it’s a snappily written and engaging first-person tale by a young man who got a job as a temporary mail carrier.

The writer talks about, among other things, an hour-long video about dog “language” (I’d like to get the Berlitz version), the perennial threat posed by snarly Post Office supervisors (wait, all bosses aren’t delightful dreamboats?), and the rash of carriers who call in sick on rainy days (and the bounty they miss around Christmas).  

Quick News Hits

• The U-T tracks the fate of redevelopment funds now that the state has snuffed urban-renewal programs. Locally, 17 “oversight boards” will be set up. At stake are billions of dollars.  

• The county’s community planning groups are saved, the U-T reports.

• The developers behind the dead-on-arrival Fat City Lofts, the proposed downtown apartment complex snarled by environmental concerns due to the neighboring Solar Turbines site, now want to build two hotels, the U-T reports.

Lewis has been following the Fat City story, seeing it as part of a march of new homes planned for the waterfront. We previewed the next steps in the flap earlier this month.

(And yes, I do enjoy writing “Fat City” as much as possible. It doesn’t actually refer to anyone’s weight or San Diego’s obesity rate, but is the last name of Tom Fat, whose family bought the property, home to the landmark Fat City Restaurant.)  

• The Wall Street Journal visits the Veterans Village of San Diego and profiles the struggles of returning vets and the way they rely on each other here at home.  

• You may know Richard Rider, president of San Diego Taxfighters, as a longtime local Libertarian activist and frequent letter- and comment-writer on our site and elsewhere. A white man, he’s also a frequent commentator on racial issues, and CityBeat has compiled some of his greatest hits.

Among other things, he thinks blacks are extremely racist and just offered the helpful perspective that “when it comes to murder, black people should most fear black people.”

• A top feminist author has a bone to pick with singer Katy Perry, who’s out with a new music video that features dozens of Marines and was filmed at Camp Pendleton. “It is a total piece of propaganda for the Marines… It is truly shameful,” declared Naomi Wolf, the U-T reports.

Wait until she sees this Perry video. It’s blatant shilling for the pyrotechnics industry will drive her around the bend.

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at randydotinga@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga

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