Thursday, July 3, 2008
So now that the general election is upon us let's look at one of the more interesting local races to come around in a while outside of the City Attorney's race. I'm talking of course between the throwdown between Todd Gloria and Stephen Whitburn for District 3. The reason why this is interesting is that who ever wins might become the premier locally elected city Democrat. I mean after all it's possible that one of these guys might run for Mayor or State Assembly in a few years. But it also going to be very contentious as both candidates have very similar positions on choice, marriage equality, equal rights and essentially share the same progressive values. Looking at the money side, if one checks the San Diego City Clerk's office you'll see that as of 5/17/08 Whitburn raised $114,730.66 and Gloria raised $61,788.00 and during that same fundraising period from 3/18/08 to May 17th Stephen raised $8,000 more than Todd. While impressive, $73,000 of that roughly $114,000 were loans so in essence they've raised the same money. Also, both have an impressive list of endorsements. Stephen has Rep. Bob Filner and Donna Frye. While Todd has Rep. Susan Davis (his boss), Francine Busby and the rest of the Democrats on the council with the exception of Toni Atkins and Scott Peters. So like all races that have candidates with similar positions, it's all about perception and minutia.
Todd has been presenting himself as public safety choice that understands the problems of crime since he himself lives in City Heights, a low income neighborhood that has yet to be revitalized like Hillcrest and many sections of North Park. He has been presenting himself as someone who understands that the needs of the city can't just be met by the city alone but with building partnerships with community stake holders like local business and community groups to continue the revitalization of D3 and push it to the El Cajon Blvd corridor and City Heights while maintaining the atmosphere of those neighborhoods.
Steven has been presenting himself as the real Democratic choice and wants to be the voice of the district and ensure that special interests do not run the table. He styles himself as a continuation of the activist model City Councilperson like Donna Frye. Someone whose door is always open to his community and won't be bullied into making compromises that may negatively impact the district.
Now personally, I think both are compelling and are great candidates and I don't envy those that have to choose between these great candidates. But, like many intra party fights. Sometimes they get ugly quick.
Stephen supporters keep talking about how Todd isn't progressive and is in the pocket of developers. While Todd supporters feel that Stephen is condoning some of the questionable statements made by his hardcore supporters and isn't ready for prime time.
Also the November election is a totally different animal than the primary as first-time voters and voters that only vote in Presidential elections come out. These voters might receive a mailer with Stephen and Donna (by the way, during each of her runs for Mayor, her strongest support was in D3) and vote his way. Or Todd might try the Obama act. Trying to bring together DTS's and moderate Republicans to his coalition, painting himself as someone who will listen to them and take their concerns to account.
So my thoughts? Like I said both are great and would be a wonderful addition to the Council. But looking at the landscape of the new City Council and we are going to need a counterweight to incoming D5 Councilperson Carl DeMaio. This guy is smart, ambitious and brazen. I mean one day he's taking orders from the powers that be and then the next he's hugging Donna Frye talking about how he's all about reform. This guy is already laying the groundwork to take on Kevin Faulconer for the Mayorship and we are going to need some that can keep this guy in check and match him toe for toe. I personally think that if look through that prism, Todd is that guy to keep tabs on DeMaio and would be the perfect counterweight to check him.
But then again those are my two cents.
Penny for your thoughts?