There may be no bigger rising star in the state Republican Party than Kevin Faulconer. But, as VOSD reporter Liam Dillon notes, Faulconer “largely sidestepped the GOP brand” and has “long been pro-same-sex marriage, pro-bike and pro-other issues that put him on the left of the national GOP.”

Remember, it was the GOP brand that Carl DeMaio blamed for his loss in the mayor’s race in 2012.

Conservative U-T columnist Steven Greenhut had a similar take. “Faulconer is closely identified with the Republican Party … but he did try to distance himself from the party during the election.”

The New York Times also notes the hope Faulconer’s win offers Republicans.

As for David Alvarez, there were many theories about his surprisingly weak performance. I theorized on Twitter that his age (33) hurt him. Others looked at get-out-the-vote efforts, which was high in GOP strongholds like the northern stretches of the city and stunningly low in Alvarez’s own Latino-heavy district. (Inewsource has a nice interactive map of how precincts voted.) And the I-8 divide (at least the part that’s east of I-5) is real.

In a commentary, VOSD’s Scott Lewis writes that Alvarez may have been doomed by the calendar. He may have lost the race several weeks ago. And even if he had a shot, he made a strange decision not to go for Nathan Fletcher’s voters, but instead to pound progressive themes.

Alvarez remains on the City Council, and he could have picked up some star power himself, we note in another story that analyzes his campaign.

Commentary: Stop Minding the ‘Achievement Gap’

In a VOSD commentary, David Lopez, executive director of Teach for America San Diego, tackles the San Diego school district’s heavier focus on the so-called “achievement gap.” He doesn’t like the term and explains why it fails to tell the full story.

“Many of us in the education community chose to scrap this phrase because it narrowly defines the challenge and what success looks like for students. In its place, we’re using the ‘opportunity gap,’” he writes.

DeMaio Airs Landmark Ad

The Wall Street Journal says former Councilman Carl DeMaio is the first congressional candidate to feature a same-sex partner in a campaign ad. The ad, which is chock full of stock footage, doesn’t make a big deal out of images of DeMaio and his partner, and some viewers might not notice them.

But this is still a landmark. The story quotes DeMaio as saying he wanted to highlight his partner in an ad when he ran for mayor, but “his campaign consultants persuaded him not to, arguing the ad might alienate conservatives and older voters.” Those consultants, DeMaio told the paper, aren’t on board this time around.

Finance Scandal Could Get National Eye

The magazine Foreign Policy gets wind of San Diego’s unfolding campaign finance scandal and reports that the allegations mark “the first known instance of a foreign national exploiting the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in order to influence U.S. elections. If proven, the campaign finance scandal could reshape the public debate over the high court’s landmark decision.”

Quick News Hits

• Here’s a simple idea: If you want to reduce crime, install more street lights. Simple, easy, done! Right? Maybe not. As Atlantic Cities reports, there’s a long-standing debate over whether streetlights do much to improve public safety.

Last year, we talked to residents who’d been victims of crime in dim parts of the city.

• “A San Diego Unified special education aide continued working in the classroom, after he was arrested at the border with more than $500,000 worth of cocaine and methamphetamine,” reports NBC 7 San Diego.

• Prosecutors in Utah have charged a Patrick Henry, the CEO of San Diego-based Entropic Communications, with assaulting Ariane Bellamar, a model and one of the pampered mothers on reality TV show ‘Beverly Hills Nannies,’ reports the LA Times.

• Yesterday, I posted a link to a pretty snazzy 1986 picture of a college-age Kevin Faulconer looking very slim, very blond and very too-cool-for-school. I offered to link to a photo of myself in 1986 if readers requested. They did, by underwhelming numbers.

So here it is. Mock away, haters! (Like Faulconer, I was college-aged and thin then. But not blond. And definitely not cool. Fun fact: The Flowbee is a San Diego invention. And no, I didn’t use one back then, but a hair dryer and an unfortunate coiffure had the same effect.)

• Speaking of ill-advised photos from my hometown, a church burglar in Chula Vista left his cellphone at the scene, the U-T reports, and it included a selfie — a photo taken by him of himself. Cops tracked down a suspect and arrested him.

Perhaps worst of all for him, the selfie is now public, and we can all judge his fashion choices. To mangle a “Project Runway” phrase, he did not make it work.

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 and follow him on Twitter:

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