The art of pleasing is the art of deceiving.
California Republicans are drooling. Cant blame them, really, given the candidate-starvation-diet theyve endured for so long.
So, Spin Cycle says let the party have its cake. Eat up. Fill your bellies with sugar and flour and eggs, then run around the room on the energy buzz that results. Frankly, you need the exercise.
However, the question arises: Your new Golden Boy, that Republican who ran as far as he could from the GOP brand to snatch a victory in an off-year election? Yeah, that guy Kevin Faulconer. Well, he seems to be having an issue transitioning from campaign bromides to straight-shooting leader.
During Mondays KPBS radios Midday Edition program, Faulconer still appeared in campaign mode. The reforms are taking hold, the dollars that were saving are real and my commitment was that when we start to see some of this increased growth as our economy gets better, we put it exactly where it should be, which is neighborhood services, library hours, fixing our streets, he said.
When a caller asked if the city planned to sell the Qualcomm Stadium and Sports Arena—er, Valley View Casino Center— sites to pay for a new Chargers stadium somewhere, Faulconer let out a small chuckle, questioned where the gentleman got his information, responded with an emphatic no to selling, then hit the sound-bite play button to remark that a stadium deal has to be a solution that protects us as taxpayers.
Now, a leader might have suggested that the Chargers have long hinted that new development on those sites would go a long way toward paying for a new stadium. Instead, listeners got a piece of cake. Were certainly a ways out from coming up with any solution, but we started interacting with the Chargers . Faulconer said.
But then program host Mau reen Cavanaugh did something enlightening. She returned to a previous question about Faulconers campaign pledge to spend $180 million to improve San Diegos crumbling infrastructure and a lawsuit challenging the legality of $120 million of that amount approved by the City Council.
The lawsuit, filed by thorn-in-the-citys-posterior attorney Cory Briggs, contends that those bonds should be approved by San Diego voters. (Hes also challenged the financing plan for the Convention Center expansion on similar grounds.)
Why not just put these on the ballot? Cavanaugh asked.
Cavanaugh seemed unsatisfied with Faulconers initial response, which was: The City Council backs my plan and its unfortunate that a lawsuit was filed against a proven legal mechanism, but were moving forward.
Later, Cavanaugh returned to the topic, specifically asking why such funding measures arent put before voters. I think the council, who were elected by the voters to make these decisions, and with my support, this is what were in the business of doing, is providing infrastructure, he said, then reiterated, The unfortunate reality is anybody can file a lawsuit.
Cavanaugh, clearly having heard enough blather, went for the kill shot, asking, Is there not the fear that voters will not approve these bond measures and these plans for expansion if its going to cost them money?
Were moving expeditiously, and weve been open and transparent, and everybody who drives over San Diego roads knows what were talking about, and, you know, the fact that other cities are moving forward . The fact that somebody would want to file a lawsuit now is their ability to do that . the mayor responded, his talking points seemingly crashing into one another.
What hes afraid of is going to the voters and facing a conservative challenge in his own party for mayor if he has hopes to go beyond San Diego, said Carl Luna, Mesa College political-science professor and longtime observer of local political behavior. Because supporting bonds is not something Republicans are supposed to do.
Lets face facts, San Diego: Were on our third mayor in the last eight months, so continuity has not been our strong suit of late. Two years from now, well be facing yet another mayoral election. So, in essence, our mayor has been a blending of three distinct personalities. Lets call him Mayor Filglorconer. Hes been part passionate scrapper with human-interaction flaws, part middle-ground seeker and part—well, that remains to be determined.
Just who is Kevin Faulconer? Hes the new-andimproved Tide, the national product youve always known, Luna quipped. Hes got his new-and-improved brand. But the policies underneath it, 90 percent of the ingredients, are going to be the same.
That means strongly opposing Council President Todd Glorias push for a hike in the citys minimum wage, likely pushing unions for further concessions, aggressively seeking outsourced city services and speaking up for businesses over residents in cases like the Barrio Logan Community Plan brouhaha.
I dont see Faulconer in a situation to really advance a significant agenda, Luna said. He has to dance on issues because he ran a nebulous campaign. And if he fills in the blanks, it affects any other future campaign he wants to do. San Diego voters elected something of a cipher. That worked in 2014. Its not going to work in 2016. A sidewalk here and there probably isnt enough.
So, yes, Republican elected wannabes, copy and paste all you want with your newly chosen campaign model. Let specific solutions fade into the Novocain haze of feel-good sound bites. Try to be bold without an ounce of nutritional sustenance. Go ahead.
As Luna notes, At some point, Kevin will get asked a question he cant answer, like what substantively are you going to be able to deliver? If, in 2016, his record is he defeated a minimum-wage hike and the Barrio Logan plan, hes going to have a hard time running as that new Republican.