Democrats have held the majority in Sacramento for over a decade and in that time; San Diego has not been well served.
With the introduction of term limits, the Speaker’s Office has become a revolving door. The exodus of qualified policy staff, and the state of the Speaker’s Office of Majority Services (SOMS), went from being the “Praetorian Guard” to the Keystone Cops in a rather short period of time.
As such, the thinking among Sacramento Democrats became very short term and cyclical focused on the following question: What do we need to do to maintain the majority and the Speaker for the next cycle?
In this environment, the survival of the status quo became paramount. Thus deal-making takes on an increasing prominent role. Therefore, anyone or any region which could disrupt the current balance of powers needs to be placed in check or gotten out of the way, at least until the next election cycle in over.
As the second largest city in the state, I have wondered why, San Diego is not treated as such in Sacramento. IMHO, here’s one reason: It makes sense for the leadership in Sacramento to marginalize areas like San Diego, San Jose, and the Inland Empire at the expense of promoting Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
The obvious answer is that there are more Democrats in these two areas so they deserve the lion’s share of the spoils. I won’t argue that, but I would challenge the assumption that the other areas should fall by the wayside.
San Jose is bluer than San Diego and the I.E. is wall-to-wall red, which is why I think San Diego deserves attention as the next battleground.
What makes San Diego so special? We are the largest city in California with a Republican mayor. There is a very good chance of a gay Republican being elected to city council and the Republican candidate for State Assembly in the 78th district is a Latino former police chief. In a nutshell, San Diego is in danger of becoming the launching pad for the next generation of Republican statewide candidates.
We need all the help we can get, and this requires Sacramento Democrats to get out of the box they’ve placed themselves into and actually start doing things differently, to challenge Republicans in this area. The standard response is that’s what the party is for.
As a San Diegan who has watched Sacramento air-drop staffers and pour money into the 78th AD over the last three election cycles all to be destroyed by an above average Republican operation, all I can think is that if Sacramento wants to win here, they’re not lacking in resources or money. What they seem to lack is the temerity to try something different.
From a negotiating perspective, I can’t help but think it makes perfect sense to keep San Diego on the outs. So long as San Diegans are fighting for control of their own city and county, they won’t look to the Assembly or State Senate for much. It’s almost as if Sacramento is willing to surrender San Diego and other places like the I.E. as wastes of money in poor campaign operations, while they shore up Democrats in safe seats elsewhere in the state.
So where does this leave those who life in the fastest growing areas of the state? I guess in the hands of the mega-churches, which seem to be the only body doing any outreach of significance.