The Morning Report
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In coming days, countless writers will try to understand the disconnect between what they assumed would happen in the presidential race and what did.
But the disconnect is especially dramatic in San Diego. Hillary Clinton led Donald Trump in San Diego by nearly 17 points as we put the Morning Report to bed early Wednesday. Even some local Republicans are themselves stunned and concerned.
One who did support Trump early and enthusiastically, though, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, maintained his lead Wednesday and appears to have survived a tough challenge.
• We’ll let the national discussion go at that. Voice of San Diego is locally focused and intensely so. Here is the straight data on results in San Diego County. Obviously they may change slightly over coming days as provisional and later ballots are counted.
• Our contributing photographer Gabriel Ellison-Scowcroft spent Election Day visiting democracy hotspots around the city. Click here for his photo essay, featuring workers sorting ballots at the Registrar of Voters and voters getting down to business at polling places.
A Democrat Takes Back City Attorney Spot
Democrats have an elected citywide official in San Diego again. Deputy City Attorney Mara Elliott bested her Republican rival, Deputy District Attorney Robert Hickey, on Tuesday. She was outspent by a nearly four-to-one margin but won anyway.
Our Andrew Keatts explained what happened.
Elliott’s win, according to her supporters, means city business can now go forward without the politically motivated legal analysis that came from her predecessor and boss, Republican Jan Goldsmith.
Voters Pull Plug on Chargers’ Dreams
The San Diego Chargers turned to city-shaming after it failed to get a spanking-new football stadium. We just weren’t the best place for the team, it declared. Then the NFL spurned its get-us-out-of-here request. The Chargers turned to city-shaming yet again, telling voters that we didn’t qualify as a Big Important City without a stadium.
How’d that go? Not well. City voters squashed stadium hopes via not one but two ballot measures. Lisa Halverstadt runs down what’s next for three big pieces of the puzzle: a Chargers stadium, the convention center expansion and the hotel tax.
• Our Scott Lewis ponders the team’s efforts for Measure C: “The campaign was bizarrely focused on the Chargers — even the efforts meant to appeal to those not all that concerned about the Chargers. So many of the ads and the press conferences featured only men and Chargers fans or dull city fathers like former Mayor Jerry Sanders. In the end, the push to pass Measure C came off more as a message to fans than it did an effort to actually pass an initiative. And maybe that’s all it really was.”
In a letter to fans, Chargers Chairman Dean Spanos said no decision on what to do next would be made until after the football season.
Countywide Transit, Housing Measures Crumble
Measure A, the proposed tax increase for transportation, infrastructure and open space being pushed by SANDAG, fell short of the two-thirds votes it needed Tuesday.
While Measure A’s funding and promises were uncertain, the tax measure’s failure leaves major questions as to how the region will move forward to build public transit.
Many federal and state dollars for public transportation projects require local jurisdictions to put up matching funds, which will be difficult if San Diego County can’t find its own source of funding.
Maya Srikrishnan looks at some of the options the county has moving forward, many of which wouldn’t provide funding until 2020 — the next presidential election.
• Measure B, the ballot initiative to approve the controversial 1,700-home Lilac Hills Ranch development near Valley Center, failed Tuesday. After years of trying to gain approval with the County Board of Supervisors, the developer changed course and turned to the ballot.
Two land use experts tell our Maya Srikrishnan that the developer’s loss at the ballot wasn’t a surprise, and that politically, the project will have to be significantly changed if it comes before the county again.”I think the developers knew that this was their Hail Mary path,” says one San Diego State professor.
Roundup: The Best of the Rest
• Measures I and J, which aimed to keep San Diego High in Balboa Park and to speed regional park projects, faced some unexpected opposition. But they won handily.
• Chula Vista’s Measure P did not need two-thirds support of voters to raise the city’s sales tax but may have gotten it.
• Gary Ernst, the Oceanside treasurer who is deceased, won his re-election. (This means the City Council will choose his replacement. It’s a win for a City Councilman and others who continued campaigning for Ernst after his death.)
• Scott Peters won re-election as did the other local congressional incumbents besides Issa, whose race may still be a bit too close to call.
• We’ll have more on school boards and other races we were following as those become clearer. In the most contested race for trustee of San Diego Unified School District, Sharon Whitehurst-Payne was leading Lashae Collins 56 percent to 44 percent.
Voices of the Voters
Each election, a favorite VOSD tradition is getting out to polling places across the county to talk with voters about what motivated them, and the issues and candidates they care about most. Here’s what we heard on Tusday
• In District 9: One young voter walked out of his polling place at Mid-City’s Featheringill Mortuary and told our Ry Rivard that he had a vision: “Future of our country — in a mortuary.”
He voted for Trump. “He’s an idiot, but he’s not a traitor,” the voter told us.
Another voter in the City Council’s District 9, which includes City Heights, Kensington, Talmadge and the College Area, expressed dissatisfaction with the candidates, even the local ones. “I think those two candidates are as flawed as our two candidates for president of the United States,” said another voter of the two City Council candidates; she isn’t impressed by Councilwoman Marti Emerald, the retiring incumbent, either.
Several voters told us they refused to support the football stadium measures. “If you want a sports venue, all you gotta do is drive up to L.A.,” one said, adding that local tourists “deserve more red carpet treatment,” not higher hotel taxes.
• In North County: Up the coast in Encinitas and Solana Beach, our Ashly McGlone found that voters were focused on ballot measures, even ones that didn’t spawn endless vote-this-way TV commercials: “Some were motivated by state issues on the ballot, like gun control or whether to ban the death penalty. Others worried about prescription drug prices. Still others feared what would happen if their presidential pick didn’t win.”
An Encinitas voter wants to see the death penalty stay alive although get reformed: “I believe in the death penalty, but then the racial issues come into play … I want it to be reformed,” she said. “They just keep on appealing. They could live for decades on death row.”
In Encinitas, voters said they supported their mayor, Republican Kristin Gaspar, in her bid to oust the scandal-plagued Dave Roberts, the only Democrat on the county Board of Supervisors.
• In the South Bay: A South Bay grandmother brought her little grandson to her polling place, and he clung to her shyly during a conversation with our Maya Srikrishnan. The grandmother has big dreams for this bashful boy: “I want him to be president one day.”
Seaport Village to Become SeaPort S.D.
The board of the Port district approved an overhaul of Seaport Village Tuesday, and plenty of things will change besides a new capital letter (it’ll be known as SeaPort San Diego for some reason): The project “is a 70-acre, 2.2 million square-foot project that includes hotels, restaurants and shops surrounded by a public beach, aquarium, educational facility, Smithsonian Media attraction and a 480-foot observation tower,” NBC 7 reports.
One of the project’s creators says “it will be 70 acres that knits together the Bay, the City, the air, Coronado Bridge.”
Meet S.D.’s Temporary Write-In VP
It’s too early to know how the state’s official write-in candidates fared in the presidential election. But it’s not too early to alert you to the fact — surprise! — that there were official write-in candidates in the presidential election, including a San Diegan.
No, we’re not talking about our hometown perennial candidate-for-everything Rocky De La Fuente, who showed up on some ballots, like Florida’s, representing the Reform Party. There, he got at least 9,000 votes, trailing the guy from the Constitution Party. (Yes, in a related news story: Yes, there’s a Constitution Party.)
Instead, the write-in San Diegan was a 40-year-old consultant named Nathan Johnson, the vice-presidential partner of Evan McMullin, the Mormon candidate who briefly threatened to take Utah’s electoral votes. But Johnson was actually just a placeholder in states like California. In fact, “Johnson isn’t campaigning with McMullin and doesn’t even want to be vice president. Voters don’t even know who he is, because McMullin’s campaign has withheld details,” McClatchy reported. McMullin’s VP partner elsewhere was a Republican strategist named Mindy Finn.
Got that? Good. And who was not an official write-in candidate? Perennial also-rans like Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse won’t count. Neither will your mother-in-law, Cary Grant or Mr. Magoo.
Or, for that matter, the year’s popular election meme: Giant Meteor of Death, aka Sweet Meteor o’ Death. As its Twitter bio says, it’s “Ready to Make an Impact.”
No thanks. We’ve had enough Earth-shaking this election.
Randy Dotinga is a freelance contributor to Voice of San Diego. He is also immediate past president of the 1,200-member American Society of Journalists and Authors (asja.org). Please contact him directly at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter: twitter.com/rdotinga.