San Diego City Hall / File photo by Brittany Cruz-Fejeran

Before we poke our heads in to 2022, let’s look back — about 18 years.

This week on the VOSD Podcast, we’re dropping a special interview between Voice of San Diego podcast host Scott Lewis and host of the San Diego 101 podcast, Maya Srikrishnan.

Lewis was one of the interviewees of the latest SD101 episode, “A Short History of San Diego Politics,” along with Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher and San Diego City Councilman Chris Cate.

Lewis has been covering San Diego politics since 2004 — when a whole bunch of political drama boiled over. In this interview, he recounted the so-called “Cheetah-gate” scandal that took down up-and-coming San Diego City Councilmembers, the write-in mayoral campaign of Donna Frye, the Bob Filner scandal and more.

Scandals and intrigue aside, major structural changes have catalyzed more progressive politics in the region, like the implementation of the strong mayor form of government from 2006, the establishment of the City Council President position and term limits for County Supervisors.

One of the juiciest tidbits that came out of this interview that didn’t make it into the San Diego 101 episode was something that went down in 2012 amid the Filner scandal.

As former Mayor Bob Filner was resigning (after many women accused him of sexual harassment and prominent local figures were demanding he step down) a few dozen local Republicans got together in a mansion in La Jolla. There, they decided among themselves who should be the next Republican nominee for mayor. Their choice: Kevin Faulconer. He, of course, went on to serve as mayor of San Diego for the next seven years and, as Lewis tells it, delayed what turned out to be an inevitable Democrat take over of San Diego City Hall.

As we step in to the new year, there is just one Republican elected official left in the city — that’s Chris Cate. He’s also featured in the 101 episode. In that story, Cate gave his take on what’s gone wrong for the GOP and what may come of his district and the local political scene. “The tides always turn,” he said. “There are always shifts in politics. There are waves.”

Check out the full interview with Lewis below.

This is our final podcast episode of 2021 year-end fundraising campaign. If you’ve loved the show this year and want to give us a boost for a great 2022, here is where you can give:

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Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at

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