Saturday, June 18, 2011

San Diego Mayoral Candidate Forum

I find it intriguing the two lines of banter about the San Diego Mayor's race with some of the below candidates that have filed an intent to run statement:
There is the one angle of talk about the actual campaign; who are the front runners, certain candidate ceiling and base of support, intensity of a campaigner, fundraising capacity, candidates with competing support, partisanship, flame out potential (dropping out of race), and then the potential match-up in a run-off.

There is the other conversation on the various candidates and their management as a mayor; a strong mayor, characteristics related to previous mayors, a coalition maker, partisanship, understand the complexity of the issues, relationship to council members, downtown establishment and labor.

I think we have an opportunity this far out before the Primary Election to allow the voters of the City of San Diego the opportunity to meet these real half dozen candidates, hear why they are running, what they intend to do in office and ask people for their vote through a type of multi-district townhall debate program.

First, there are currently 13 people that have filed intent to run, but only four that have opened a candidate account. While it would be grand to have every candidate that files speak at the forum it should be for the legitimate candidates. There should be a criteria for those who are invited and if they wish to attend each one can meet what I would outline as the required criteria:
  1. They need to open a candidate committee;
  2. They need to hire at least one staff member to run their campaign on a full-time basis;
  3. They need to hire a treasurer to manage their candidate committee; and
  4. They need to actually commit to run a real campaign (i.e. send out mailers, host phone banks, host fundraisers or self-fund a reasonable sum, etc...)
While many love the fringe candidates that run every cycle, and say everyone should be invited to the debates this is a real issue for the voters of the City of San Diego who need someone that will make this a real full-time job. You can't have a substance debate for the voters with 13 plus people answering questions. Sorry Crane.

Here is how I would outline the forums:
  1. There should be two forums hosted in each of the current eight city council districts with one in each district each following week starting the first of the year, then a second in each district after the completion of the first cycle of debates are completed.
  2. The forums should be no longer then two hours or some voters will leave, some will not be able to absorb the entire debate and it is hard for the working person to dedicate more then two hours to anything political, unless they are political wonks.
  3. Each candidate should get a two minute opening and a two minute closing.
  4. The debates should allow for real-time translation at minimum for Spanish and possibly a second or third language.
  5. The forums should be funded by the lcoal Republican and Democratic parties, who would just solicit donations from their respective donors anyway. We don't have to have taxpayers cover the cost of these forums.
  6. There should be a three person panel to ask questions, which should be someone selected by the Republican Party chair, someone selected from the Democratic Party chair and a third which both party chairs can hopefully deem as neutral. Panels are always charged with being partisan, so lets skip the theatrics of choosing only reporters, academia, or non-profits and allow there to be some meaty questions.
  7. The forums should hold candidates to 1-minute responses.
  8. Candidates should each be allowed a certain number of times they can ask one specific candidate a follow-up question.
  9. The audience should be polled at the end of each question on whether they think the candidates answered the question and not whether they liked the candidates answers.
  10. At the end of the forum there is a spin zone for reporters from print, on-line and social media representatives to ask questions of either the candidates, their campaign representatives, party designee, and allow the fringe candidates to have a representative to complain how they were not allowed to debate.
I have other ideas, but I think you can get my line of thought here. So, I call on the following organizations that have the ability to put together these types of forums, to step-up and help organize these forums:

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No 3rd Round of Public Comment

Word on the street is that the State Redistricting Commission will not have a 3rd round of public comment. Monday night's meeting here in San Diego will be the last opportunity for public testimony before the commission locally.

Assemblyman Martin Garrick arrested for DUI

From the North County Times.

Democrats Again Outnumber Republicans Countywide; Party Invests in Voter Reg. 

From the SDCDP:

As of this month, Democrats have regained the lead in San Diego County's voter registration, erasing a 5,000-voter advantage the Republicans held as recently as September.

Last year Meg Whitman dumped hundreds of thousands of dollars into voter registration during her failed gubernatorial bid, boosting the Republican rolls with fraudulent and financially incentivized registrations. But the county's "blue" tilt since then suggests that the underlying political and demographic trends favor Democrats.

Registration numbers for the two parties have hovered within a razor-thin margin of each other countywide since the 2008 elections. With an eye toward greater potential in the 2012 presidential election year, the County Democratic Party is currently developing an expanded voter registration program in its updated strategic plan.

More immediately, volunteers are needed to register Democrats at events this summer, including the Juneteenth festival (June 18), naturalization ceremonies in San Diego (June 22) and Chula Vista (June 24), and LGBT Pride (July 16-17). To sign up for a shift, email

Brown vetoes budget

The SacBee has the story (and image below) here.


The state budget adopted today by the California State Legislature represents an important step forward in achieving stability and fiscal prudence in state spending, while it also promotes California’s economic recovery, according to Assemblymember Toni Atkins. The balanced, on-time budget that was approved today is critical both to how credit rating agencies view our state’s finances and to restoring the consumer confidence California will need to continue its economic recovery.

“By adopting the first on-time budget since 1986, we have acted early, responsibly, and made the difficult cuts needed to balance this year’s budget, without the additional revenues many believe were needed,” says Atkins. “This aggressive plan shows how serious we are about putting California back on the right path.”

“Let me be clear, this budget does include deep and difficult cuts that span the breadth of state government and which are in addition to cuts to the core of the state’s health and social services safety net that were made in March.” $2.85 billion in payments to public schools will be deferred and the public universities will take additional major cuts to their budgets.

But the budget adopted today also eliminates 60% of the state’s structural deficit, provides for a $600 million reserve for emergencies, and protects investments in programs that promote job creation and reduce unemployment. The budget includes reforms to enterprise zone and redevelopment programs which generate funds for job creation, education, and the elimination of blight. It restores $200 million for child care programs, ensuring that Californians can continue to work while knowing their children are safe and cared for. In addition, the budget restored critical job training funds that will enable people to get back to work as soon as possible.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Let the Games Begin!

Since the imposition of term limits, San Diego politics has been essentially a carousel - a politician starts out on one level, then slowly climbs his or her way up the ladder.  Take Christine Kehoe, for example.  She started as a San Diego City Councilwoman, almost beat Bilbray in 1996, then onto State Assembly, then State Senate.  Each time, she's done an admirable job, and rewarded with voters.  But she's also been able to take advantage of open seats as politicians above her got termed out.  And following Chris is Toni Adkins, an admirable politician in her own right. 

The one place where the carousel hit a wall was U.S. Congress.  Unlike political offices for the State of California or the City of San Diego, federal office does not have term limits.  As a result, Congressmen locally have held onto their jobs in Congress with both hands.  All you need to do is look at Juan Vargas' scars from his campaigns against Bob Filner to understand this principle. 

The other interesting factor is that until recently, the position of Mayor of San Diego was considered a crappy job.  Seriously, outside of the usual suspects (Ron Roberts, Jim Bell, Steve Francis, etc.), few politicians would even conceive of running.  And that's not a huge surprise, because the office of Mayor WAS a crappy job.  The Mayor would set the Council agenda and act as the 9th vote on the council.  While he/she would get credit and/or blame for the City's successes/woes, he/she couldn't do anything about it.  As a result, San Diego never seemed to have good races for mayor, and also not surprisingly, the last four mayors - Roger Hedgecock, Maureen O'Connor, Susan Golding, and Dick Murphy - have not held public office after their terms ended.  As a result, the carousel ends without many San Diegan politicians have a chance to move up in the world.

But two things have changed.  First, the Mayor of San Diego is now the chief executive of San Diego City Government.  The Mayor gets to do stuff, and not just look the part of the big cheese, but be the big cheese.  The kind of big cheese that gets talked about for state-wide office, like mayor of San Francisco or mayor of LA.  As a result, ten thousand people* are running for Mayor.  Not only are they running for Mayor, but they're leaving their other jobs to run for Mayor.  Second, redistricting has come to the Congressional districts, and these new districts with new lines and borders change everything.  Darrel Issa, for instance, has to move back into the district he's represented for the past ten years.

So what does this all mean? The carousel has ended folks.  For the next year or so, everything will be in play to a degree.  Democratic districts will probably remain Democratic, and vice versa, but who holds these seats will be a crapshoot as more and more seats open up. Once epic contests, such as Filner v. Vargas I, II and III, are ending peaceably as Filner vacates his Congressional seat to run for Mayor.  Or not.  I don't know, you don't know, no one knows.  That is going to make things interesting for the next few years because the rules have changed.

*All numbers are approximate.

Run Women Run Names Francine Busby to Executive Director Position

Former Congressional Candidate and Cardiff school board member Francine Busby has been named executive director of Run Women Run, announced Michelle Burton, president of the organization. Run Women Run, started in 2008, is a non-partisan political action committee that inspires, recruits, trains and mentors pro-choice San Diego women who are seeking elected or appointed office.

“We are excited that Francine has agreed to lead our organization as we approach an important election year,” said Burton. “National numbers indicate that women are still a minority in most state Legislatures, in Congress and as mayors of major cities.”

Busby, a long time advocate and mentor for girls and women, has served as an adjunct professor of Woman's Studies at California State University, San Marcos and as an elected member of the Cardiff School Board where she guided the district through a tumultuous transition involving critical personnel issues, multi-million dollar budgets, union negotiations and decisions that affected hundreds of families.

“While women are certainly not monolithic, women legislators are more likely than their male counter parts to support policies and laws related to the education, protection of reproductive rights and other issues impacting women and children,” said Busby.

Busby has mentored women in offices from school board and city council to state Assembly and Congress. She has also worked closely with Emily's List, the California List, California Women Lead, the National Organization for Women, National Women’s Political Caucus, Emerge, Planned Parenthood and other organizations that support women in leadership and elected office.

While raising her family, Busby served on governing boards of numerous community organizations including serving as the founding president of the Casa Teresa Central Guild in Orange County, as president of the Cardiff Education Foundation and as a Girl Scout troop leader.

Busby grew up in an Italian American family of small business owners in the Los Angeles area. She graduated from UC Irvine with a B.A. in humanities. She has been married to David Busby, a computer software engineer for 32 years, and they have two adult children. They have lived in Cardiff-by the Sea for 23 years.

Word on the Street: Saldana for Congress

Rumor - This has been swirling for over a month but now has picked up steam. A number of electeds have been talking about this possibility and it seems to validate the conventional wisdom that Bilbray's days in Congress may be numbered.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Bilbray draws another challenger.

This morning, local Democrats were introduced to Bob Nascenzi for Congress via e-mail. The link to his site is here. This appears to be his first foray into politics and we would love to know more about him.

His intention is to run against Brian Bilbray. Maybe moving to Clairemont was not the best for the current Congressman, who seems to be drawing challengers at a steady pace.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Word on the Street: Kehoe is out for Mayor and in for Congress

This is a rumor-Kehoe explored a Congressional run in 2000 but went for Assembly and cleared the field for Susan Davis. Now, Chris can replicate Susan's success at beating Brian Bilbray for Congress.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Redistricting, campaigns and the South Bay

So now that the draft maps are up and the announcements of Bob Filner running for Mayor and Juan Vargas running for Bob's seat frees up the 40th State Senate seat because let's be honest Paco(Juan) has a lock on this seat. So now the speculation is who would take over this seat in the special election to replace him in the State Senate.So far I think the following would be either obvious or interesting depending on your point of view.

The first thought would be Assemblyman Ben Hueso because the 79th would be entirely in the now 39th Senate district and he's a known commodity and would have access to Sac money. Also that has
been the trend in the South Bay that the Assemblymember becomes the Senator. Only Mary was unable to continue thistrend when she lost to Paco by less than 30 votes.

So I guess that's the obvious choice but I noticed something interesting on this Senate seat. This seat would include Clairemont which would mean that Lori Saldana, who has declared her intention to run for the 39th and technically this would be the 39th now. She's a former Assemblymember and has been die hard Juan Vargas supporter when he ran against Bob Filner back in `06 and Juan was the only person of clout to support Lori's first campaign, raising money and hooking her up with Larry Remer. Anybody who know politics in San Diego knows about Larry and that guy doesn't play politics for fun and games. She's Latina and past president of the Sierra Club which would fit this district. But she's not popular in Sac and with the local party establishment and her fundraising base is not as strong as others. So if she throws her hat who does
Paco endorse?

The other thing that occurred to me is what if Ben doesn't run. I mean it's possible but unlikely. So in that event who would run is Ben is out and Lori is in? That got me looking at the map and I saw that PB is in
this district so maybe just maybe Lorena Gonzalez runs for that seat. I mean her pedigree would be compelling as she went to Georgetown, UCLA and Stanford. She's been an environmental activist and was Chief of Staff to Lt. Governor Cruz Bustamante so she still has loads of Sac money and contacts. Also as Secretary-Treasurer of San Diego-Imperial Labor Council she would be a lock for that endorsement and with Bob running for mayor the Republicans would be split on who they would want to defeat more which gives her a shot and she's Latina and she is way more palatable to the Senate Leadership so why not?

Now let's talk about the 79th. If Ben runs this leaves this seat open if he wins so who would run for that? Well there's Pamela Bensoussan. She's a sitting Councilmember of the second largest city in the County and a big part of it is in the new 79th. However she isn't Latina, which could be problematic and her fundraising base seems limited to Chula Vista which is a bigger problem. Also she might have tough reelection fight if a big name Republican comes in. Of course there is an open seat but depending on who runs for that would determine if a credible Republican decides to run against Pamela or an op
en seat.

Another possibility is Raquel Marquez-Madsen, she's a staffer to Ben and is President of the San Ysidro School Board. But she's not known outside San Ysidro and it's not know how much money she could raise on her own without an endorsement of Ben. While she been seen at Democratic Party events it is curious whether she would be able to break out unless she starts raising some serious money and Ben starts talking to the powers that be in Sac.

Now an interesting candidate for this seat would be someone who has worked in the area for almost 10 years who is well versed in this issues that impact all of South Bay and especially in the areas covered by the 79th. So why not Humberto Peraza? He's young, smart and Latino, served as Bob Filner's District Director and before that was a Field Rep for Barbara Boxer and reciently served as a Senior Policy Advisor to Ben Hueso. He's been active in Chula Vista for years he also has strong connections to National City and San Diego due his work with Bob and supporting Mona Rios in National City. With Bob's endorsement, especially if he's elected mayor and Ben's endorsement he could get some serious money and he would play ball with the Speaker's
office. Sure he lost his first campaign by a few hundred votes but didn't FDR, JFK, and Barack Obama lose at least one election or nomination? He would be an extremely attractive candidate and of the Caliber that Sac likes.

Finally there's Pearl Quinones, she ran against Ben and lost but she still serves on the Sweetwater Union High School District and is strong in National City. But National City is only a fraction of the
79th and she had problems in South San Diego and in the areas not served by Sweetwater. That and whether she can convince Sac that she can play ball and is able to diversify her support and hold on to Bob Filner's support if Humberto doesn't run gives her a shot.

Well kids this has been fun. Let me know your thoughts, click on the comments section and have your say.