Saturday, May 24, 2008

GOP only have two real choices for San Diego Attorney

Recently, I have talked to members of the local Democratic Party, Lincoln Club, local Republican Party and a union activist over the San Diego City Attorney race. I walked away from all those conversations with the Oh My Gosh moment. GOP has only have two choices come November, Scott Peters or Mike Aguirre.

We all know Mike will make the general election, the polls, the talk from the San Diego downtown establishment and the party insiders all know it. So, the second name on the ballot will make the difference on who will beat or lose to Mike.

Scenario 1 – Scott Peters wins the second spot. The unions support Scott, along with the downtown interests, developers and the Democratic Party. The GOP and Lincoln Club stays neutral. Mike won't get his party's endorsement again, is blocked from large contributions and can't mount a major campaign. Mike doesn't get many major endorsements to boost his case, except for maybe the likes of Donna Frye. Mike has no volunteer base, no money and no chance to beat Scott.

Scenario 2 – Jan takes second place and unions are forced to support Mike over Jan. Mike now gets his party's endorsement, which comes with major money and major endorsements. Mike can now mail, gets on the air and gets a lot of volunteers. Mike calls press conferences weekly about every scandal, or so called possible scandal of the GOP, linking it all to Jan. Lincoln Club and GOP are forced to spend major money on the race or look foolish. There are GOP and Libertians that like Mike, eroding Jan's base and the Dems vote and do it as a vote against Jan. Mike will win it.

Scenario 3 – Brian takes second place, the unions might do what they just did in the mayor's race and endorse in name only at the last minute. However, the Democratic Party now is forced to endorse Mike. Mike can now mail, gets on the air and gets a lot of volunteers. Mike calls press conferences weekly about every scandal, or so called possible scandal of the GOP, linking it all to Brian, including the pension underfunding. Lincoln Club and GOP are forced to spend major money on Brian who they really don't like in the race or look foolish. There are GOP that like Mike and hate Brian, eroding Brian's possible base, many Libertians vote for Mike over Brian and the Dems vote and do it as a vote against Brian. Mike will win it.

GOP make your choice Mike or Scott.

Off the topic, but can't help but say, if Mike McSweeney had won the San Diego Unified School District seat two years ago, then he would never had taken a job for the mayor, been the scapegoat for Tom Shepard as so many others have done before and now have his public political career ruined.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Eric Bidwell Is My Homeboy

Just when I thought I had seen it all from local Republican candidates comes the mother of all bonehead moves.

Voice has reported that Mayor Sanders' campaign manager and local GOP vice chair Mike McSweeney has resigned after Mayoral Candidate Eric Bidwell alleges that McSweeney tried to persuade him to read a statement bashing Steve Francis.

My questions is why would anyone think the anti-establishment, dreadlock wearing, "in a van down by the river" Bidwell would gladly sell out and join forces with the GOP and mayor's handlers?

This move reeks of stupidity, arrogance and being out of touch with reality. Smooth move.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Núñez for Mayor?

Departing Assembly Speaker Fabian Núñez spoke with the U-T today about his time in the Assembly and his future plans. Of particular note was the notion of Núñez returning to San Diego for a run at mayor:

After an expected stint in the private sector, he could choose from an array of political options, including perhaps a bid for mayor of his hometown, Núñez said in an interview.

“I have deep roots in San Diego. I have a lot of friends there, and San Diegans have been great to me,” said Núñez, 41. “It's a city that has so much potential. With a strong leader, there is so much that could be done.”

Now, the U-T gives this quote most of its context, so who really knows if this is at all a real possibility. But even so, it's interesting to contemplate, as there seems to be plenty on both sides of the pro/con ledger to consider.

On the con side, Núñez left San Diego 20 years ago, and has spent his entire professional and political life based out of Los Angeles which would make him a carpetbagger of sorts despite being raised in San Diego. Also, in spite of many accomplishments during his tenure at Speaker, the past year particularly has seen a bitter and divisive series of battles with organized labor in the state over gaming compacts and health care. Finally, in a town that desperately needs to be "cleaned up" at city hall (still- thanks Mayor Sanders), Núñez has had several brushes with questionable-if-legal ethics probes. And four years from now, will there be some homegrown talent ready to step up to the Mayor's office that would better serve the strength of the party?

All that said, the San Diego Democratic Party is rather lacking candidates at the top. If Floyd Morrow is the highest-profile Democrat available to run against a Mayor with a spotty record, well, there's room for a heavyweight to get a few things done. And Núñez certainly knows how to organize and fundraise, two skills that you can never get enough of when rebuilding a party. Also, while there are some legitimate points of contention in his legislative record, better environmental standards, higher minimum wage, and other successes have come through under his watch. While it presumably wouldn't hurt that San Diego is a softer target than Los Angeles for a profile-boosting Mayoral gig, if it takes overpaying for an attendance-boosting free agent to re-legitimize the franchise that is Democratic Party in San Diego, it could be worth it.

Ultimately, I'm not sure who else I'm waiting or hoping for in the next mayor's race, so this is a possibility I'd at least be open to. There are a number of locals who have gotten off to promising starts, but that doesn't mean they'll keep going. And if there's a glut of mayoral candidates next time who didn't get to be, say, City Attorney this time around, it could be a tough field to crack if you don't have Núñez-level weight behind you. So heck, who knows? But given where things are in this city right now, I'm open to anything.