San Diego has had a long list of elected Republican mayors, with one exception, from the early 1970s until today. But the times, they are a-changin’. On Monday the city will inaugurate a new mayor — a Democrat named Bob Filner.

A Republican, Councilman Carl DeMaio, came up short on Election Day. But he still found a reason to brag: He says he appealed to voters well beyond his GOP base.

As he put it in a newspaper column: “In a Democratic city where Republicans are actually a third party behind independents, we outperformed Republican Party registration by 21 percent,” he wrote.

It’s an impressive, if not technically winning, boast. But is it true? Our Fact Check department examined the numbers and finds that DeMaio is … correct.

• Another tidbit of note: Tens of thousands of registered Democrats either voted for Filner or simply didn’t vote in the mayor’s race.   

So how come we’ve had so many Republican mayors in a city that has more registered Democrats than Republicans? (That was even the case back in 1972, when city voters were 50 percent Democrat, 42 percent Republican and 7 percent independent.)

Political scientist Vlad Kogan, who now monitors San Diego politics from Ohio State University, offered a theory in our pages in July: “In the closest local races in 2008, almost one in seven Obama voters did not even bother casting a ballot in the city races. This reflects the weakness of the local party in doing member communications and raising awareness of its candidates’ ‘brand name.”

• Mayor Jerry Sanders pondered his legacy in a press conference yesterday, the U-T reports, “saying he hopes he’s remembered for turning the city’s finances around and thanking a long list of people who helped him make it happen.”

• Want to go to the city’s Inauguration Day on Monday? The new mayor, new members of the City Council and the city attorney will take office. It’s at 10 a.m. at the Balboa Park Club.

Where? Good question. Click here for directions and a map.

Meet Our New Reporter

Say hello to journalist Andrew Keatts, who’s joined our news staff this week to cover land use. He comes to VOSD from the Daily Transcript where he covered a variety of high-profile issues.

He writes: “The goal with the new coverage is not only to explain why land-use decisions are so important, and why San Diego’s facing an immediate future during which many will be made, but also to clearly establish what previous decisions have encouraged, and how they’ve contributed to our current arrangement of neighborhoods, employment centers, transportation nodes and lifestyles.”

Checking Up on Charter School Exodus

Earlier this year, we reported on how charter schools were abandoning the San Diego school district’s special education program.

Where do things stand now? Here’s an update. The district has boosted the cost for charter schools of taking part in the program, which serves disabled kids. That doesn’t appear to be making charter schools happy.

But discussion about the issue is pending, and things could change.    

In Chula Vista, Using Test Scores to Laud Teachers

“Without apologies or much controversy, the Chula Vista Elementary School District has been crunching test-score data to identify and honor its most effective teachers for the past six years,” the U-T reports.

Wait, aren’t those the same test scores that many teachers don’t want to use as measurements of their skills as educators? Yup. But in this case, the teachers are getting praised, not getting raises, so that seems to be just fine.

Earlier this year, we took a look at how San Diego district schools aren’t jumping on the national bandwagon to use test scores to evaluate teachers. Instead, “teachers are evaluated in San Diego in much the same way they have been for decades,” our Will Carless reported.

Meet Dr. No

Among local state legislators, Assemblyman Martin Garrick — who represents a big chunk of North County — is the biggest naysayer when it comes to bills. He only voted yes 57 percent of the time, according to a CityBeat rundown of what our legislators have been up to.

Of course, he’s a Republican, and he and his fellow GOPers have had a lot to oppose this year in Sacramento. By contrast, local Democrats were a yes-yes-yes brigade, with Assemblyman Marty Block (who represents much of eastern San Diego) voting aye a whopping 98 percent of the time.  

The CityBeat story also examines whether legislators were able to get anything done in terms of their own bills. Assemblyman Brian Jones, who represents some of East County, was only able to pass 10 percent of bills he introduced.  

And who didn’t like to show up to vote? Two Republicans were leaders here. Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who failed in his bid for mayor, missed the most — 24 percent of votes. State Sen. Mark Wyland, who did not run for anything, missed 18 percent of votes.

This Time, a Lance-Less Big Bike Race

U-T columnist Logan Jenkins notes that Escondido next year will once again be the host of a leg of a major bike race &the Amgen Tour of California. This time, though, the race won’t have Lance Armstrong on hand.

Jenkins writes that he won’t miss the “bigger-than-life Armstrong road show”: “There was always something troubling about the message: You can go from virtual corpse, riddled with cancer, to Superman in spandex if you just live strong.” It has, he thinks, a “cruel underlying message for non-survivors.”

Quick News Hits

• Marijuana arrests are way down in the county after a law took effect that reduced possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction. (U-T)

• The New York Times says California’s economy is on the rebound, especially in places on the coast like La Jolla. Its story is accompanied by photography from our own contributing photographer Sam Hodgson.

• In general, recliners aren’t supposed to make whirring sounds. That’s why I was surprised a few years ago to sit in my parent’s La-Z-Boy and hear the sound of a motor behind me. Turned out it was the electronic kitty litter box.

Hopefully the AMC theater in the La Jolla area will pay attention to the shhh factor when it installs motorized recliners for movie watchers.

“We’re bringing the comfort of the living room to the movie theater,” a spokesman tells the U-T. Great! Maybe that’s why they play commercials before movies now, just like watching TV at home. (Grr.)

Please contact Randy Dotinga directly at and follow him on Twitter:

Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at and follow him on Twitter:

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