Pee-yew! Something stinks. Oh, right, it's the campaigns for mayor of San Diego, each generating a unique, foul aroma, all swirling together to create a massive, putrid cloud of stench that's engulfed the city. It'll be giving us the dry heaves until late winter when someone, mercifully, is elected.
The odor of negativity is mostly coming from so-called super PACS, the ostensibly independent groups that favor certain candidates, raise unlimited amounts of money and spend it on things like mailers. They are the thugs of election time, doing the dirty work that the candidates themselves want to steer clear of, lest their nice suits get soiled with the ugly taint. But we blame the candidates because they don't do enough to discourage the thuggery.
The worst offender, by far, is Republican City Councilmember Kevin Faulconer and his hench men, the Lincoln Club of San Diego County. The archconservative business group has carpet-bombed San Diego with non-issue hit-piece mailers against former state Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher and cynically attempted to prop up Democratic City Councilmember David Alvarez because it would rather have Faulconer face Alvarez than Fletcher in a runoff. But Faulconer himself has also been the most negative candidate, his spokesperson constantly jabbering about Fletcher's lack of transparency— presumably because Faulconer can't find a ton of daylight between him and Fletcher on the issues, and assuredly because Faulconer's terrified of going one-on-one against Fletcher.
The American Federation of Teachers, on behalf of Alvarez, has also been highly negative against Fletcher, but at least the union has stuck a bit closer to the candidate's record on issues. Meanwhile, the Fletcher camp stayed mostly positive until recently, when the pro-Fletcher Neighborhood Market Association hit Alvarez, obviously fretting that Alvarez may have a shot at reaching a runoff. Faulconer has gotten a free ride because it's assumed that, as the only Republican in a race with three Democrats (Alvarez, Fletcher and former City Attorney Mike Aguirre), he'll reach the runoff no matter what.
Several weeks ago, we announced our endorsement of Alvarez because his progressivism will benefit the greatest number of San Diegans. We wish San Diego would use the instant-runoff-voting system, under which voters list candidates in order of preference and the computer instantly holds several rounds of runoffs through a process of elimination (the candidate with the least number of votes is eliminated first, and his votes are redistributed based on voters' second choices, and so on, until there's just one candidate left). There would be no need for a costly second election between the top two vote getters. If that were our system, our ballot would look like this: Alvarez, Fletcher, Aguirre, Faulconer. If Alvarez were eliminated, our vote would automatically go to Fletcher.
Alas, San Diego's not that evolved. For now, if you agree with our choice of Alvarez, make sure everyone in your circles of likeminded friends, acquaintances and family vote on Tuesday, Nov. 19. There's nothing else on this ballot, so the turnout will be relatively low, and the successful candidates will be those who compel the most supporters to get to the polls and vote. Do it. Get active.
Kinsee Morlan just can't stay away. Our former arts editor has agreed to rejoin the CityBeat staff—for her third stint! We believe Kinsee is second to none in San Diego when it comes to reporting on visual arts, so we're stoked that she said yes when we asked her to fill an open slot. We think she keeps coming back because, every time she leaves, we tell you all how awesome she is and how sorry we are to see her leave. Well, no more! Next time she bails: crickets! Kinsee starts as our new arts editor— again—next week.
Unfortunately, the reason there's an open position is that Alex Zaragoza, one of our all-time favorite CityBeatniks, has decided to step away from her job as staff writer. Happily, she vows to continue her monthly column, "There She Goz," and write feature stories on a freelance basis. Alex has been a staff writer since January 2013 and our events editor before that, beginning in July 2011. She started freelance writing for CityBeat in January of that year. Alex, who's become an excellent arts-and-culture reporter in her own right, has been a constant positive force in our office, always funny, vibrant and full of creativity. We'll miss her a ton-and-a-half.
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