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Election Central at Golden Hall was a unique San Diego tradition — a party where the outcome of elections was the celebration.
The registrar of voters started Election Central to distribute printed out vote counts. But it evolved into the neutral ground carved out in the heart of downtown where candidates, political operatives, journalists and anyone else who wanted to could gather on Election Day to watch the votes come in. Candidates would parade in with their supporters.
It was a true favorite for Voice of San Diego and many local TV, radio and print journalists. Boy Scouts, students and conspiracy theorists could mingle with members of Congress and City Council. For now, it’s gone.
Scott Lewis reflects on what Election Central represented for so many in the region — as well as himself.
“As a young journalist almost 20 years ago, I discovered Election Central and fell in love,” Lewis writes.
Our Election Contest Is Back
Enter our election contest for a chance to win a lunch with our editors. You have until the polls close to enter. Read up on the rules here.
BTW: If you’re hitting the polls today, but still need to cram on some of the races, we’ve rounded up all our election stories on some of the hottest races in our helpful San Diego Election Hub.
Coronado Unified Is No Longer Just Fighting About Budgets
Like many school districts across the country, the pandemic rocked Coronado Unified and reshaped the politics of its school board.
The murder of George Floyd brought calls to address racism and discrimination in the district and community, which were closely followed by pushback to programs meant to do so. Then an incident that went viral last June pushed those politics to a breaking point.
Now, as voters prepare to elect four new members to the district’s five-person board, the arguments are no longer just about budget concerns, but about nationally tinged identity politics.
Conflict about critical race theory, LGBT issues, masking and vaccination have been a rocked the district, and have colored the campaigns for some of the current board candidates.
Big Bucks Are Flowing Into San Diego Unified’s District C Board Campaign
Over the last month, more than $250,000 has been spent to support and oppose Becca Williams and Cody Petterson in District C’s board race. The teacher’s union money, which supports Petterson, and funds from The Community Leadership Coalition, which supports Williams, have led to an increasingly hyperbolic and negative race. Petterson’s backers have sought to portray Williams as a COVID conspiracist with extreme MAGA beliefs, while Williams’ backers have depicted Petterson as a political activist who will keep the district going down a path toward “failing schools.”
It all underscores the fact that Williams is largely running against the district and the way it currently operates, while Petterson is more supportive of it. Regardless of the fire she may be taking now, Williams believes the controversial stances she took, like opposing masking and the district’s vaccine mandate, have given her an enthusiastic base of support. Even Petterson acknowledges that this is a competitive race, something he said he’s had trouble communicating to supporters.
Other Stories You Should Read
- The San Diego County voter registration map has steadily shifted from red to light blue over the past couple of decades. In 2004, the county was 42 percent Republican, 35 percent Democrat and 19 percent no party preference. In 2020, 42 percent of the county were Democrats, 29 percent Republican and 24 percent no party preference. KPBS examined why San Diego’s political makeup has changed so significantly, especially in recent election cycles. (KPBS)
- Port of San Diego Commissioners will vote Tuesday to start an environmental review of the Seaport San Diego Mega Project. The action wouldn’t constitute project approval, but would be a milestone in moving the project forward after years of mixed signals. The project includes a redo of downtown’s Central Embarcadero with hotels, attractions and new marinas. (Union-Tribune)
- Thirty people across San Diego County were arrested as a result of an online sex trafficking sting operation last week that targeted people trying to buy sex. Law enforcement officers posted online ads offering sex for sale as part of an undercover sting called Operation Century Week. Arrests were made in San Diego, Encinitas, National City and Santee. (Union-Tribune)
- Election Day is here! Follow this link to find your nearest voting center or drop box. (Union-Tribune)
The Morning Report was written by Scott Lewis, Jakob McWhinney and Tigist Layne. It was edited by Andrea Lopez-Villafaña.