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Look down the list of mayors of the nation’s largest cities and you’ll see a lot of blue. Democrats run Chicago, Los Angeles. Houston, Philadelphia, Phoenix. San Antonio, San Diego (although ours is temporary), Dallas and San Jose. A Democrat will soon take over the mayorship of New York City.
It isn’t until you reach the 13th-largest city — Indianapolis — that a GOP mayor appears.
None of this is surprising. Urban areas have been Democratic. But it is disappointing to the Republican Party, which does does well the House, state legislatures and governors offices. Now, as the city of San Diego’s future looks more and more Democratic, the GOP is hoping for a big victory if Councilman Kevin Faulconer wins the upcoming run-off election. People across the country are watching.
• We were on hand as the mood turned sour at the election night party for former legislator Nathan Fletcher, who landed in third place after being blitzed with negative advertising and won’t make it into the run-off. Check our story here: “Within a few hours, a parking garage turned makeshift celebration room in Mission Valley was abandoned and some of the same backers who started the night confident wiped away tears.”
• Fletcher conceded, endorsed second-placer Councilman David Alvarez and said he’s leaving public life. (NBC 7)
The endorsement “seemed a throwaway gesture,” U-T columnist Logan Jenkins writes. “It was as if he wanted the sweaty questions to stop and so figures it’s easier to grant the pro forma endorsement and move on.”
• Local policy wonk Vince Vasquez reveals the hotspots for each major candidate in a map of the city’s precincts. Councilman David Alvarez did well in places you’d expect: San Ysidro, the city’s liberal-minded urban core, southeastern San Diego, Ocean Beach and UCSD. Fletcher had luck in some mid-city and northern neighborhoods (he did well in Hillcrest), while Faulconer ran the table in some beach areas and conservative-leaning northern suburbs like Rancho Bernardo.
• Inewsource has a nice precinct-by-precinct map of the vote.
New Planning Chief on Faster Planning Plan
Planning Director Bill Fulton is floating a new idea to speed up the process of updating neighborhood blueprints. “Pursuing ‘focused plan amendments’ for specific areas within one of the city’s 50-some community planning areas would let the city draw up new standards in areas ripe for growth. Then the city could just leave alone the parts of the community that aren’t likely to change very much.”
The best way not to spend so much money updating community plans might be to not update community plans. Recall: Outdated community plans set us up for controversy over new development. If new projects conform to existing zoning, they can sail through the process (relatively). It’s when the new developments require amendments to the plan that we get the battles that lead to major political and lobbyist involvement.
Remembering Another 1963 Kennedy Motorcade
As the 50th anniversary of Nov. 22, 1963, approaches, the U-T remembers another open-air Kennedy motorcade — the one that traveled through San Diego in June 1963. The newspaper talks to people who were there, when big and enthusiastic crowds gathered to see JFK.
A recently posted 29-minute video on YouTube shows a special KFMB/Channel 8 news presentation from 1963 about the visit. It features video of the president’s arrival, an interview with then-Gov. Edmund Brown, the motorcade itself, and his speech at San Diego State.
According to news accounts from the time, people held signs supporting the president (“A-OK with JFK”) and apparently opposing the Soviet Union (“Down with Coexistence”). A thrilled woman managed to pet the president’s cheek, annoying the Secret Service.
In 2010, I talked to a local woman who worked near the airport in 1963. She told me that she spotted a mattress and cases of scotch being loaded into Air Force One. I asked her if she thought about joining the party.
I also found a photo online of Kennedy standing in his limo, waving at the crowd in front of the Rudfords diner on El Cajon Boulevard. The diner became aware of the photo through VOSD and now displays it in a giant reproduction on one of its outside walls and on its menu.
Quick News Hits
• CityBeat profiles Sarah Boot, a former assistant U.S. attorney who’s positioning herself to be the top Democratic challenger to Republican Councilwoman Lorie Zapf, who will run to represent a different district thanks to recent redistricting.
“The new District 2 includes a small part of the old District 6—the neighborhoods of Bay Ho, Bay Park and Clairemont Mesa West—making Zapf a true incumbent to enough voters to push her to a win in a tight race,” CityBeat reports. “The district also includes Ocean Beach, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach, Point Loma, Loma Portal and Midway.”
• “State regulators investigating the breakdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant have proposed a $94 million refund to Southern California utility customers, with further potential refunds still under review,” KPBS reports.
• Hundreds of support workers, including those who operate X-ray and ultrasound machines, went on strike yesterday at UCSD’s hospitals in Hillcrest and La Jolla, the U-T reports. Dozens of operations were cancelled and rescheduled.
• The Border Patrol is locking up undocumented immigrants in rooms that immigrants describe as chilled and inadequate, according to a new Center for Investigative Reporting story. “According to interviews and court documents, men, women and children have developed illnesses associated with the cold, lack of sleep, overcrowding, and inadequate food, water and toilet facilities.”
• Housing costs play a big role in those endless charts that declare San Diego to be one of the most unaffordable places in the nation. But now, Atlantic Cities looks at an alternative approach to the ranking that puts San Diego somewhere around the middle among big metro areas.
• As we told you earlier this week, KPBS’s newsroom has voted to unionize. Now we know what the vote was: 28-22 in favor. Unions haven’t had a bright history in local journalism in recent decades: Workers at the Union-Tribune voted out their union after a bitter battle in the late 1990s.
• Luluemon, the local yoga clothing company that’s been in hot water before, is making news for all the wrong (and skin-exposing) reasons once again.
• The aforementioned Rudfords diner, open 24/7, even on Christmas, is a quirky place. It recently added plaques at tables in honor of longtime diners who’ve passed away. Here’s hoping the patty melts didn’t do them in.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.