This post originally appeared in the May 16 Morning Report. Subscribe here for free.
Lots of people theorized that County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher would not actually resign when May 15 arrived, the day he said he would resign. Radio Host Carl DeMaio, for instance, declared on KUSI that Fletcher wasn’t going anywhere.
But May 15 arrived, and now he is former County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher. He resigned at 5 p.m. yesterday. The four remaining members of the Board of Supervisors voted unanimously at the beginning of the month to fill the vacant seat with a special election.
What he said: Here’s the letter Fletcher sent to supporters early Monday.
Here are the main points: 1) He again characterized what happened between him and Grecia Figueroa, a former public relations specialist for the Metropolitan Transit System, as “consensual interactions. (She has called them assault and harassment.) He acknowledges those interactions were “unquestionably inappropriate” because he is married but not abusive.
“I am confident that when all communications are made public, including written messages and voice recordings, and the interactions and exchanges are fully revealed in a court of law under the penalty of perjury, the truth will present a very different reality.”
2) He implies he has to resign, however, because it will take too long to be fully vindicated.
3) He discusses his rehabilitation and recovery from post-traumatic stress disorder and alcoholism as ongoing and said he will remember his service at the county with great pride. “The mission and purpose of serving those most in need is so much greater and more enduring than any one flawed individual.”
Figueroa’s lawyer responded to Fletcher’s letter with an email sent to the press, saying they wouldn’t answer further questions yet.
“It is disappointing that Mr. Fletcher continues to victim blame, even amidst his forced resignation,” wrote Zach Schumacher. “We look forward to conducting our own investigation, and we hope Mr. Fletcher will be cooperative as that happens. It is apparent that full accountability must come through the civil justice system.”
What it all means: Fletcher has had an unusually tumultuous political career. Out of the Marines, he started as a congressional aide and Republican Party staffer, and was then a highly regarded young Republican when voters elected him to the California Assembly.
As he was running for San Diego mayor, in 2012, he became the first of several prominent Republicans to leave the party. He had tried and failed to get the party’s endorsement and the move was seen as a calculation to help his campaign when he seemed increasingly unlikely to make the runoff. He missed the runoff.
He later ran for mayor again, this time as a Democrat. He gained the support of then-Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, which caused a rift among labor leaders, many of whom were supporting now-Assemblyman David Alvarez. Fletcher lost but ended up dating and marrying Gonzalez.
The alliance proved powerful and he won the Democratic endorsement for his run for county supervisor. For Democrats and liberals, he led a major restructuring and realignment of the county government along social justice and community welfare priorities.
But he became a household name in San Diego after he volunteered and was chosen by his four Republican colleagues to become the face of the county’s response to the spread of COVID-19. It made him the target of regional opposition to the government’s pandemic response. He eventually became the chair of the Board of Supervisors and of the Metropolitan Transit System, where he met Figueroa.
Now, after almost five years back in elected office, Fletcher is, once again, unemployed.
Related: Candidates for the County Supervisor District 4 special election will debate in upcoming candidate forums that will be open to the public. The special election will determine a replacement for Fletcher. The first candidate forum will be Thursday, May 18. (Union-Tribune)
Mister Fletcher has committed a self-avowed sin. From biblical reference, “The flesh is weak” as untold billions of men on the planet will attest. What is more alarming, are the untold thousands of local hypocrites who have burned this man at the stake. You would have to believe this is Rouen, France and not San Diego in the 21st century. But, as the old French saying goes, “The more things change, the more things stay the same.” No judge or jury in the United States has held Mister Fletcher culpable of these alleged crimes. I stated these views in a letter to the editor of the San Diego Reader from day one and stand by my comments. Concepts and totality have given way to prejudice and quite frankly, American stupidity. I really feel sorry for you people.
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