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It’s hard to survive in politics election when the two biggest rival coalitions attack you relentlessly. Case in point: Nathan Fletcher. The city’s voters bounced the former legislator from the mayor’s race yesterday, setting up a run-off battle between Councilmen Kevin Faulconer, the conservative-to-moderate Republican, and David Alvarez, the liberal Democrat.
Check the details and numbers. As our coverage notes, GOP endlessly bashed Fletcher as too liberal or too conservative, depending on whether they were targeting Republicans or Democrats. They wanted Faulconer to face Alvarez because they believe he’s a weaker candidate than Fletcher, and they got their wish.
We’ll discover soon if this strategy will work. It didn’t last year when the GOP’s hoped-for candidate, Democrat Bob Filner, actually won.
• VOSD’s Scott Lewis argues in a new commentary that Fletcher lost the election when he was abandoned by a top local labor leader, setting up an onslaught from not just the right, but also the left. The leader recruited Alvarez, mustered $1 million and fought Fletcher with passion.
Watch and Hear the Voters
• VOSD contributing photographer Sam Hodgson spent the day tracking the candidates and visiting polling places. Check out his photo essay.
• The south San Diego community of Barrio Logan is David Alvarez territory, and Mario Kogan, who chatted with voters there, found plenty of enthusiasm for their hometown hero. He “grew up with my son,” one said. “I trust him. If someone isn’t from here, how can we trust him to solve our problems?” “He’s our boy from the community,” said another.
A 70-year-old resident, meanwhile, went for Alvarez too because she believes he’ll fix the decrepit streets and sidewalks that threaten to trip her. Still, “I almost went with Fletcher. Just because he’s so fine and sexy.”
This woman is a quote machine. She also said: “Before I voted today, I just prayed, ‘Good Lord, don’t let me put another Filner in office.’”
• Andrew Keatts meanwhile went to UCSD, Sorrento Valley and Mira Mesa and found voters variously impressed by endorsements, appalled by Faulconer (only one voter who spoke to us acknowledged being for him) and interested in issues like bike lanes and transit options.
“I’m sick and tired of driving on these beat-up roads,” the Faulconer supporter said. “They’ve always got these other projects going on, but they’ve only paved my road once since I lived here.”
• Finally, Lisa Halverstadt talked to voters in Ocean Beach, Point Loma and Sunset Cliffs. You can read their responses here. “I just want somebody who’s not going to embarrass the city in any way,” said one voter, while another said he supports business-friendly policies: “I’d love to have it be a place where people want to do business.”
The Rest of the Day in the Election
• The website Mashable talks to both Faulconer and Fletcher about the importance of the tech-based economy here, but the site also hears from tech types who say “the lack of a central tech community, small number of mentors and little venture capital prevent the city from becoming the tech giant the two candidates want it to be.”
• Faulconer’s spokesman has declared that the candidate supports abortion rights, although it’s not clear to what extent or where he’s ever said so publicly. But why does it even matter? A mayor doesn’t have anything to do with abortion politics, right?
Wrong. Cities do get involved in issues like the level of protests allowed at abortion clinics. And the Atlantic Cities blog examines a battle over a bid to ban late-term abortions in the city of Albuquerque, thanks to a referendum effort: “National advocacy groups on both sides of the issue believe this is the first such municipal abortion referendum in the country. And it could open up a new, local front in a policy battle more often fought at the federal and state levels.”
• No, this is not a secret internal video of the Registrar of Voters counting votes on Election Night.
Inside the Debate over Fees for Affordable Housing
Our coverage of the battle over raising a fee on builders to support affordable housing sparked a big discussion. Here’s a summary of the pithiest opinions.
Some readers aren’t too sympathetic to the poor (“It’s expensive for everyone to live here. Why should anyone be forced to subsidize the choices of another?” asks one), while another reader says it’s “disingenuous” to rap the tax “for being too large but accomplishing too little.”
Quick News Hits
• This week’s VOSD Culture Report links to stories about San Diego’s ever-evolving alternative art venue world, something called the “InforMath Collaborative” (maybe someone in the alternative art venue world can come up with a better name?), more competition for our bids to woo Hollywood productions and a new restaurant that likes to waffle on things.
• A dumpy neighborhood seems to have played a role in the demise — at least for now — of the much-ballyhooed San Diego Public Market, which held two farmer’s markets each week in a Barrio Logan warehouse, the U-T reports.
• A former cop in South Florida who’s now a defense attorney is out with a new book about how to avoid being arrested. It’s more than a matter of just not doing anything wrong, he tells Atlantic Cities: “Policing isn’t about keeping streets safe, it’s about statistical success. The question for them is, Who can put the most people in jail?”
That’s quite a claim. But never mind that. How can we best get along with cops when we encounter them, perhaps while doing something we shouldn’t be? Don’t smile, the ex-officer says. Cops hate that. Don’t react. Be dignified — unless it looks like you’ll get hauled off to the clink. Then start acting pitiful, with bawling and begging, in a bid to just get a citation.
Bawling and begging? I dunno. People might think I’m running for office.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego and vice president of the American Society of Journalists & Authors. Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.