July 8 2015 12:08 PM

Our metropolis as seen by a political man of steel

Mayor Kevin Faulconer's fantasy
Photo illustration by John Lamb

Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels.


[We take you to the waterfront, to a patch of grass in the shadow of the space-age Hilton San Diego Bayfront. Between two Tele-Prompter screens, a portable lectern emblazoned with the city seal overflows with microphones. An international throng of reporters huddles nearby. But wait! What's that in the sky? A speeding comet? A banner plane in distress? No, it's Mayor Kevin "Superman" Faulconer heading this way!] 

"Hey everybody! How's that for an entrance? Beats the leotard off last year's zip-line arrival, eh? Yeah, that harness left a few marks, if you know what I mean. Plus I had to share the spotlight with then-City Council President Todd Gloria. Don't get me wrong, he was a great sidekick. But this town is only big enough for one superhero, so five months later we orchestrated his return to regular-councilmember status. And now he's running for state office and not against me, so here we are!

"Flying in here today at supersonic speed made me realize a couple things. First, you all look like ants from way up there. And second, flying through the cold, damp marine layer feels the same as eating ice cream too fast—hello, brain freeze! But now that I can see the Tele-Prompters, I can tell you that I wouldn't be anywhere else than right here, welcoming the world to Comic-Con 2015, or as I like to call it, my re-election trump card.' Here's looking at you, Donald Trump cosplay character there in the back! Awesome.

"I call it my trump card because, as you might have heard, I was able to secure this iconic convention for San Diego at least through 2018, which just happens to be the year when Californians will be shopping for a new governor. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

"Why is Comic-Con so important to me, you ask? Well, for a few summer days, San Diego becomes the international mecca of pop-culture marketing. Before I became Superman, I dabbled a bit in marketing. I don't like to brag, but I was pretty awesome at it. I worked hard at getting voters in 1998 to approve the expansion of the Convention Center you see behind me.

"In recent years, we've repeated the mantra incessantly that, without yet another center expansion, Comic-Con would seek wider pastures elsewhere, like Los Angeles or Anaheim. We put together a financing plan that we were certain would stand up to legal scrutiny, but a dastardly attorney in town smacked that plan down with a hunk of Kryptonite, aka the law.' Geez, what a nitpicker.

"Of course, that was the plan all along. Because, as it turns out, Comic-Con officials have actually warmed to the idea of a more campus-like experience with events scattered throughout Downtown, rather than packing everything in sardine-can-like at the Convention Center.

"Turns out the bigger concern for Comic-Con was securing sufficient discounted hotel-room blocks for the estimated 130,000 attendees who will descend on our humble city. This, of course, surprised Superman, who figured most visitors came equipped with their own Fortresses of Solitude, but whatever.

"So what's new this year? Well, just this week I stood on a road in Mission Valley as a mile of new asphalt was applied as part of my plan to pave 1,000 miles of streets by 2020, which corresponds either to my final year as mayor or second year as governor. But again, getting ahead of myself.

"So make an adventure of it! Head out and see if you can find the handful of smooth streets in San Diego. I guarantee you'll experience your own "Game of Groans" trying!

"Also, although I hesitate to mention it, we're deep in a drought. Some restaurants won't even ask if you'd like water, instead leaving it up to you to request it. I understand the burden this puts on you—with putting down your mobile device and communicating face-to-face with a fellow human being—but sometimes a few simple spoken words, repeated frequently, get the best results.

"Speaking of results, my friends over at the Lincoln Club tell me my approval rating right now hovers around 62 percent, so clearly 38 percent of San Diegans have yet to embrace my agenda of positivity, smiles and photo ops.  Even Superman can't please all the people all of the time.

"There are Lex Luthors out there, my friends. Oh, they'll cloak themselves as agents of change and claim that I am the benefactor of a growing economy, surrounded by yes-men of yesteryear undaunted by the shifting sands of time and demographic desires.

"But, as the kids say, I'm hip to the jive. Airbnb? We've got a tax for that! Bike sharing? Got those— in some places. Bike lanes? Those, too, although—spoiler alert!— some business folks and drivers find them a nuisance. To that I'd simply suggest, pick up the pace or out of the way, two wheels!

"I'm even fighting a minimum-wage hike that'll be voted on next June when I'm running for re-election. Why? For you, dear weird Comic-Con visitor. There are indeed a lot of you, but frankly you don't spend like those who attend the medical conventions. While many of you prefer to brown-bag it on a street corner rather than drop a Benjamin at the Grant Grill, I don't feel we should burden you with our cost-of-living issues here in San Diego. So what if Jimmy Olsen has to commute from Riverside. I can fly that in 4.3 seconds!

"Oh, and for those of you who become so enamored with San Diego that you think about staying, keep in mind residents here pay some the highest housing prices, utility rates and transportation costs in the nation.

"Which is why I'm thinking that Sacramento might look pretty good come 2018. Oh, and good luck finding a public restroom that isn't a porta-potty. Hey, look at the time. Superman, away!"

Got a tip? Send it to johnl@sdcitybeat.com or follow John R. Lamb on Twitter @johnrlamb.


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