Scott Sherman
San Diego City Councilman Scott Sherman / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

The Politics Report has been your place for “A-Republican-may-run-for-mayor-or-may-not-run-for-mayor-of-San-Diego-who-knows-we-heard-this-and-that-and-maybe-how-weird-for-San-Diego-to-not-have-a-GOP-candidate-for-mayor-golly-things-have-really-changed” news for quite some time.

This week, we got a tip from a well-placed source that Councilman Scott Sherman, the man who notoriously hates politics, the man who has a countdown in his office marking off the days until he can finally move back into private life, has not only decided to run for mayor but has decided to announce the campaign next week!

We contacted Sherman.

This was our exchange, which ended up in text message form.

Me: Hi. Scott Lewis here. I heard some news you should call me about.

Sherman: I’m in Hawaii. What’s up

Me: Hi. Sounds nice. Heard you’re running for mayor. Announcing next week.

Sherman: Not true. I may run but I have plenty of time to announce.

Me: Got it. Can I quote you on “I may run and have plenty of time to announce.”?

Sherman: Sure.

That’s what this Politics Report does for you. Friday afternoon, frantic reporting to help you follow things obsessively.

Instant analysis: Sherman should be able to get the Republican endorsement, obviously, and he should be able to gather some at least base amount of resources from his own network. As the only Republican, he has a tough road to actually win but may have a path to get through the primary. It’s just top two. As we have seen the last two cycles the seat has been open, the Republican choice and the Democratic choice were able to target the guy in the middle to ensure they both made it through the primary and he didn’t.

In that sense, it doesn’t seem like Sherman’s decision would be welcome news to Councilwoman Barbara Bry, who lost the Democratic endorsement contest to Assemblyman Todd Gloria.

But Sherman would have to run and raise money and all those things that politicians do, of which he is notoriously not fond.

Bry Brings Up Balboa

Bry was not worried about the Democrats’ endorsement. She was, in 2016, the darling of the party, as she trounced Republican Ray Ellis in the District 1 San Diego City Council race. Now, she was excited to proclaim her outsider status.

“I’m ready to stand up to the insiders who don’t want an independent woman like me standing up for our neighborhoods,” she wrote to supporters.

Last week she also briefly advertised a new video on Facebook with a new line of attack against Gloria: He was bad for Balboa Park.

“This mayoral election will be critical for our park. As my opponent and I have very different visions for its future,” the video says.

And then the hit:

“He supported a massive paid parking garage and automobile ramp that would have forever changed the park’s character. Under his watch, Balboa Park deteriorated,” she said.

(Quick aside: The music in Bry’s video is the same soothing beat that Gloria’s team used months ago in the long video announcing his candidacy.)

This is something. This is the first political broadside I’ve seen really using the Jacobs plan for Plaza de Panama, which would have overhauled the western entrance to the park, eliminated cars on the surface of the Central Mesa of the park and replaced those spots and more with a new parking garage.

It was championed by Qualcomm co-founder Irwin Jacobs, who supported Bry’s City Council run (and also has been a donor to Voice of San Diego).

Jacobs and his supporters abandoned the project after nearly a decade of work, though it remains the master plan for the park. Proponents had all the necessary approvals and had survived most legal challenges but delays had ballooned the cost. When they approached Chris Ward, the city councilman who succeeded Gloria, he balked at a modified implementation plan. And suddenly, the project that dominated so many years of discussion about the park was over.

Gloria’s support of Jacobs’ plan came up in the Democrats’ deliberations about whether to endorse him. In response, he said “The Jacobs plan is dead,” with emphasis on the dead part. And he said that the current layout of the Plaza de Panama, as modified by former Mayor Bob Filner, was a success.

Balboa Park / Photo by Jamie Scott Lytle

Reached Friday, Gloria’s campaign pointed out that he had helped secure $8 million for Balboa Park’s Botanical building this year from the state.

“Rather than consistently looking backward at a plan everyone knows is dead, Todd is focused on looking forward and actually getting things done for our city’s crown jewel,” said spokesman Nick Serrano in a written statement.

Sotelo-Solis: Not Sure Yet on MTS Tax

National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis / Photo by Adriana Heldiz

We had an actual mayor on the podcast this week: National City’s Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, who last year succeeded longtime mayor, and now City Councilman, Ron Morrison.

One interesting bit from the interview: Sotelo-Solis is not yet fully on board with a planned new sales tax increase the Metropolitan Transit System is trying to put on the November 2020 ballot. The agency has been calling it “Elevate SD.”

“Before we take a full-on stance as a city, we want to hear what our constituency is saying,” she said.

I asked her whether she personally supported the effort. “Personally, I think it’s important,” she said. But reiterated that she wanted to hear from the community. The sales tax in National City is already 8.75 percent. Another half of a percent would not be nothing.

CityBeat Editor Pushed Out

San Diego CityBeat’s editor tweeted Friday afternoon he has been laid off and was pushed out without being allowed to gather his things. Seth Combs has been editor of the liberal alt-weekly for three years.

The paper’s influence had ups and downs but it could make waves. Its endorsements issue has often been touted by Democratic candidates. Gloria had some kind words for Combs. One of the writers who just left CityBeat, Andrea Lopez-Villafaña, has been tearing it up at the U-T.

Recently Southland Publishing sold CityBeat to an Arizona publisher of neighborhood papers called Times Media Group.

Combs wrote that he did not know what was in store. “If I were to speculate, I think they’re going to completely rebrand as a more conservative neighborhood newspaper.”

(Insert point about how fraught media is these days. I physically cannot do it. Please consider donating so we can avoid this kind of thing.)

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Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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