Say hello to what will soon become the most populous American city with a Republican mayor. Voters elected Councilman Kevin Faulconer by a surprisingly large margin and, as Liam Dillon writes, they’ve cast a vote for business as it once was under Mayor Jerry Sanders.

A Republican in the traditional San Diego mold — socially moderate-to-liberal, receptive to business interests and less-than-friendly to municipal unions — Faulconer easily dispensed with Councilman David Alvarez. Alvarez conceded just before midnight via Twitter.

Labor unions raised more than $4 million to support Alvarez’s campaign. Mickey Kasparian, the head of the largest union in town, and the president of the Labor Council, told NBC 7 San Diego he would not have done anything differently.

Turnout looks to have been about 43.5 percent, according to pollster John Nienstedt.

Dispatches from the Campaign Trail

• Contributing photographer Sam Hodgson visited North Park, Barrio Logan and Point Loma in search of voters, especially a pair named Alvarez and Faulconer who appeared at the polls with their families in tow. Check his collection of photos here.

• We tracked one of the 400 volunteers who fanned out to get voters to the polls to for Faulconer. His appearance — he’s not white — surprises some folks who assume he’d be an Alvarez supporter. “I want all parties to fight for my goals,” he said. “I really believe San Diego is going to be at the forefront of a new GOP, with a big tent.”

• In the South Bay, we tagged along as about 40 volunteers for the Alvarez met at an auto shop — yes, an auto shop — and got a pep talk from the man himself (along with some high-profile supporters) before hitting the streets.

Our reporter learned a new phrase: “knock and drag.” That refers to finding and giving rides to supporters who haven’t voted yet. And yes, the campaign workers keep a close eye on who’s voting.

“There’s an energy here like I’ve never seen before because many people have never voted before,” a volunteer told us. “We’re hearing, ‘I want to cast my first vote for David because he’s one of us.’”

• The managing editor of VOSD went to vote yesterday and was shunted over to an electronic voting machine that confused her a bit. Every precinct has one of those, but they only account for an infinitesimal number of ballots cast. What’s the deal?

Using the powers vested in her, the editor asked a reporter to find the answer. He offers it here.

Goal Posts Moved Again for Charter Schools

Proposition Z, passed by voters in 2012, was a tax increase. Part of the reason it passed was it included a big chunk of funds for charter schools. But as we explain, the district has once again moved the goal posts for charter schools, this time when it comes to getting dollars for construction made possible by Proposition Z.

Housing Whisperer Speaks: No Bubble Here

Homes might be overpriced, writes Rich Toscano, but the data doesn’t show a bubble. He even defines what a bubble actually is. At least, he helps us understand the best definitions that are out there and why current home prices don’t fit the descriptions.

Culture Report: End of a Remarkable Life

If you’re an art buff with a bit of wanderlust, there’s a good chance you’re familiar with Salvation Mountain, the hill in Imperial County that’s covered with a ramshackle collection of painted rocks and adobe, all part of one man’s 30-year tribute to God. As KPBS puts it, thousands have come to gawk and gander: “visitors run the gamut from hippies to the devout, snowbirds to photographers, and a lot of the just plain curious.”

Leonard Knight, the man behind the desert spectacle, died Monday at the age of 82.

The Culture Report, our weekly compilation of news about the art and culture world, leads with a tribute to him. “Whether you’re an atheist, devout Christian, agnostic, Wiccan, miserable old fogey or a disaffected teenager scribbling in an angsty journal, he wanted you to be loved,” wrote Culture Report scribe Alex Zaragoza.

Also in the Culture Report: Food, beer, a documentary about the n-word, comedy, romance and comic books. And Zaragoza links to a new column of her own in CityBeat’s new sex issue. This is surely the first time VOSD has printed the term “lady business.” And no, it’s not a reference to a lingerie shop.

Quick News Hits

• Rep. Duncan Hunter (the son of the former congressman) was the only local House representative to vote against raising the debt ceiling yesterday. The vote barely passed the House with little Republican support.

• In sports, VOSD blogger Beau Lynott finds lots of similarities between the world champion Seahawks and the pretty-darned-impressive San Diego Aztecs, who unfortunately saw their 20-game win streak come to an end.

Meanwhile, we also hear from fellow VOSD sports blogger John Genarro, who really likes his sports television, even when he’s in Paris and should have other things to do. In a new post, he comments on the good news for Padres fans who get TV via Time Warner.

• In the U-T, former prosecutor Robert Brewer, the most prominent candidate trying to unseat District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, is being accused by a rival of offering jobs to deputy district attorneys in exchange for their support.

• The Washington Post reports that San Diego’s Irwin Jacobs was on the “A-list guest roster” attending President Obama’s state dinner with President Hollande, of France.

• Wanna see a photo of our next mayor from 1986? Of course you do. Nice hair, bro!

Wanna see a photo of me from 1986, complete with unfortunate hair and eyeglasses the size of the space shuttle? If there’s popular demand, I’ll cough one up in tomorrow’s Morning Report. Just promise that you’ll elect me to something too.

Dogcatcher? Postmaster general? I’m not picky. And neither are you if you elect me to anything.

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 and follow him on Twitter:

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Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. Please contact him directly at

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