Late last week, 19 aspiring mayoral candidates turned in petition sheets and other paperwork in hopes of appearing on the Nov. 19 ballot. The city clerk’s office said Tuesday that 11 candidates turned in enough valid signatures to meet that goal.

To learn more about those candidates, we reviewed the qualifying statements, documents that allow candidates to detail why they’re fit for the post, that were submitted to the city clerk’s office last week.

In the process, we learned about some of the lesser-known candidates and picked up some common threads among those who hope to become the city’s top political leader.

Innovation matters.

Entrepreneurship and new ideas were key focuses in multiple campaign statements.

Candidate Michael Kemmer, a San Diego State student, emphasized the need to revolutionize city government with, um, enthusiasm:

Michael Kemmer Campaign Statement

Innovation and an early commitment to public service also loomed large in 23-year-old Lexy Allen’s campaign statement. Allen, who learned Tuesday she didn’t make the ballot, described founding her own charity at age 12 and as a young women, being part of a “forward-thinking, international team of socially conscious entrepreneurs.”

They want you to know they’re not politicians – at least not yet.

Businessman Kevin Arthur Swanson led with what’s he’s not:

Kevin Arthur Swanson Campaign Statement

And fellow businessman Richard Pearson emphasized that he’s not a career politician.

Both men learned Tuesday they won’t have to fear earning that label come Nov. 19.

Some are businesspeople – and that’s how they’d like to run the city.

La Jolla realtor Harry Dirks emphasized his administrative business bona fides, writing that he’d like to take the politics out of the office.

“Having been in business management  and administration for three decades, my past and present business experience will serve the community as mayor, with competent leadership qualities,” he wrote.

Restaurateur Sina “Simon” Moghadam also said he’d apply that experience to the gig.

“I am a small business owner that matured the tools, talent, dedication and energy to get things done correctly,” he wrote.

Running for mayor? You might as well tout your Texas Hold’Em skills.

Retired contractor Lincoln Pickard is officially running for mayor and he wants San Diegans to know he plays Texas Hold ‘Em. He listed it among his “membership, attitudes and past activities.”

Pickard also mentioned multiple gun club memberships. If elected, said he’d instruct police to issue concealed weapons permits to law-abiding citizens to “lower murder rates and make neighborhoods safer.”

For the record, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department currently handles those licenses.

Candidates carefully chose their words.

Last-minute edits were a hallmark of many campaign statements.

Several candidates crossed off and amended passages of their statements.

Former city attorney Mike Aguirre’s edits were most interesting.

Mike Aguirre Campaign Statement

It’s all about consensus-building.

A handful of candidates emphasized their ability to bring people together.

Kevin Faulconer wrote that he’ll “work with anyone who has good ideas” and Nathan Fletcher cited his work on a bipartisan bill that strengthened sex offender laws as an example of his ability to bring opposing sides together.

Bruce Coons, who’s best known as the leader of a preservationist group that opposed philanthropist Irwin Jacobs’ plan to revamp Balboa Park, also emphasized his ability to play well with others.

“Bruce has a track record of forging consensus with government, business, non-profit and community stakeholders,” he wrote in his statement.

Subtle jabs abound.

Faulconer, the leading Republican candidate, subtly dug at former Republican Fletcher in his candidate statement.

“Above all else I promise not to change who I am just to win an election,” Faulconer wrote, presumably of Fletcher, who joined the Democratic Party just months ago after a previous Republican mayoral run.

Fletcher subtly defended himself against such attacks in his own statement by saying, “his belief is that getting things done is more important than voting a party line.”

Disclosure: Irwin Jacobs is a major donor to Voice of San Diego

Lisa Halverstadt

Lisa is a senior investigative reporter who digs into some of San Diego's biggest challenges including homelessness, city real estate debacles, the region's...

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.