At polling stations in UCSD, Sorrento Valley and Mira Mesa Tuesday, voters were sparse, but their list of issues that motivated them ran long.

They pointed to clean energy, transportation alternatives, street repairs, attack ads and political parties to explain their votes.

At the Mesa Apartment complex, a housing option for UCSD students, Michael Kramer, 25, stopped in to vote before getting his day started.

He voted for Fletcher, he said, largely because of endorsements from politicians he trusts, like Gov. Jerry Brown.

Michael Kramer, 25, UCSD student, voted NF, “They all say the same things about potholes and stadiums.”

— Andrew Keatts (@andy_keatts) November 19, 2013

Kramer said he watched some debates, which didn’t really help him make a decision.

“They all say the same things about potholes and stadiums,” he said. “So it’s really about who you trust to get things done.”

Patty Stewart, a 64-year-old campus administrator who lives nearby in University City, said she was recovering from the tenure of former Mayor Bob Filner, who she “begrudgingly admits” to having voted for. Stewart said she voted for Fletcher partially because she was turned off by the negative attacks he faced from other candidates.

San Diego has an unusual mix of cultures and economic statuses, she said, and Fletcher is “more equipped to deal with that than Alvarez is, bluntly,” because he has more experience.

“And I wouldn’t vote for Faulconer if you paid me a million dollars,” she said.

Carla Blackmar, a 34-year-old city planner (and VOSD supporter, it turns out) who works for the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, said she voted for Alvarez after being impressed with the way he spoke about policy, and the things he focused on.

Carla Blackmar: voted DA bc he’s best option to carry on Filner’s pedestrian & bike policies. — Andrew Keatts (@andy_keatts) November 19, 2013

“It’s sad we even have to go through this process,” she said.

She said she trusts Alvarez to continue Filner’s bike and pedestrian-focused policies. Fletcher, who released his own cycling plan, would be a good option too, Blackmar said.

“Filner’s focus on bikes and pedestrians needs to continue,” she said.

Judy Bauerlein, 46, stopped in to vote before taking her son Max to school. She said Alvarez’s backstory resonated with her.

Judy & Max Bauerlein voted DA: his history resonated, and she wants a clean city w/ transit alternatives.

— Andrew Keatts (@andy_keatts) November 19, 2013

The issue she most wanted candidates to address was “city planning that helps unify the city,” she said.

Specifically, she wants Alvarez to pursue programs focused on creating a clean environment and providing transportation alternatives: HOV lanes, bike infrastructure, electric car charging stations.

“Programs that conserve gas and enhance livability,” she said.

Tara Pixley, a 30-year-old student of media studies at UCSD, said she voted for Fletcher after she filmed him working with students as part of a project, and thought he was likable and genuine. On the issues, she said the candidates “don’t differ radically, and don’t talk about the issues I care about.”

She also said she really liked a response Fletcher gave during Voice of San Diego’s mayoral debate. VOSD CEO Scott Lewis asked Fletcher if his support for an increase in a fee charged to developers to pay for affordable housing was at all affected by the fact that it might cost his employer, Qualcomm, a lot of money. Fletcher said he thinks Qualcomm can afford it.

“Yeah, they f—ing can afford it!” Pixley said.

She also said she wasn’t worried about Fletcher switching political parties from Republican, to independent, to Democrat, within a year and a half. 

UCSD student Tara Pixley voted NF: endearing to see someone in big business who’s disillusioned w/ GOP. — Andrew Keatts (@andy_keatts) November 19, 2013

“Everyone should be able to change their minds,” she said. “And I find it endearing that someone who is associated with big business can change their mind because they’re disillusioned with the Republican Party.”

In Sorrento Valley, at the Lopez Ridge Park Community Meeting Room, 53-year-old pastor David Bibel (“like the Holy Bible,” he explained), said he voted for Fletcher because he had integrity, character and proven ability.

David Bible, 53, a pastor, voted NF: negative ads from Republicans a major turn off. #sdvote

— Andrew Keatts (@andy_keatts) November 19, 2013

He said Fletcher’s party switches didn’t matter at all, and he understood why he did it.

“In fact, the negative ads from the Republicans were a major turnoff,” Bibel said.

A little south, at the Mira Mesa Presbyterian Church, 54-year-old design engineer Bill Drews was the first Faulconer voter willing to talk to me.

Mira Mesa’s Bill Drews, 54, voted for KF bc he helped reform pensions and cares about FINALLY fixing roads. — Andrew Keatts (@andy_keatts) November 19, 2013

He said he had two major reasons: Faulconer helped reform the pension system, by supporting Proposition B last year, and he worked with former Mayor Jerry Sanders to start fixing the city’s roads.

“I’m sick and tired of driving on these beat-up roads,” Drews said. “They’ve always got these other projects going on, but they’ve only paved my road once since I lived here.”

And Eugene Watts, a 68-year-old retiree, said he voted for Alvarez because he’s been around and kept his nose clean.

Mira Mesa’s Eugene Watts, 68, voted DA: he’s been around, kept his nose clean, and has good ideas.

— Andrew Keatts (@andy_keatts) November 19, 2013

“He knows the business of government, he’s been involved in it, but not too deeply, kept his nose clean and has good ideas,” Watts said. “And plus, he’s a Democrat.”

Andrew Keatts is a former managing editor for projects and investigations at Voice of San Diego.

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