May 25 2016 12:25 AM

CityBeat’s endorsements for the June 7 primary election

Bernie Sanders at the San Diego Convention Center
Photo courtesy of San Diego Convention Center / Flickr

Assuming you registered (if you didn’t, apply the duct tape to your mouth immediately), the best way to approach the June 7 primary—or any election—is to request the mail-in ballot. But, then, hold it for drop off on Election Day. This way, if you get summoned out of town at the last minute you can drop it in the mail. By holding on to your ballot you can get any last-minute race updates—and you can go pick up the ever-fashionable “I Voted” sticker. Before you decide where to affix this year’s sticker, check out these endorsements.

U.S. PRESIDENT: The most important aspect of the race for President of the United States has become keeping the Cheetos-hued reality TV show host out of the office. America doesn’t need or deserve a racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, narcissistic, egomaniacal huckster/schmuck in the White House. Schmuckster Donald Trump—who’ll be in San Diego for a testosterone fest at the San Diego Convention Center on Friday, May 27—has managed to blow up the Republican Party and alienate its elite leadership (groovy). Beware, however, the slithering normalization of the Creepy Coif candidate.

In the quest to nullify Trump’s misdirected appeal to voters who want a political outsider, the alternative is Democratic Socialist Bernie Sanders. His ideas for free college and universal healthcare are dreamy—and we should all still be able to dream. Kudos, too, to Sanders for visiting the border during his recent campaign stop in San Diego.

In reality, the numbers—and the superdelegates—point to Hillary Clinton becoming the Democratic nominee. Just as quickly as a proud progressive should fill in Bernie’s bubble, so should they get solidly behind Hillary if/when she gets the nod. Bernie Bro anger shouldn’t be aimed within the party. That passion needs to be funneled into electing a Democratic President—one who will build on the social justice platform that’s been re-established and solidified during the current administration.

San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer was elected to office in a special election two years ago. Over that time he’s demonstrated his ability…to hold press conferences and be a marketing maven. He’s ducked making decisions on major issues facing the city, such as the Chargers stadium initiatives, and deserves to be vetted by the public beyond the primary election.

The Republican Faulconer is a congenial, widely-liked former city councilmember with a huge following. He wins the race outright if he gets 50 percent plus one in the primary. The city has two other choices for mayor, including former state Assemblymember Lori Saldaña, who is running as an independent, and Ed Harris, a Democrat who filled in on the city council in Faulconer’s seat after he was elected mayor.

San Diegans deserve to see Harris— a straight-shooting former Marine and action-oriented Lifeguard Sergeant—take Faulconer to the November general election. The incumbent is going to get the most primary votes; the hope is Harris and Saldaña can combine to get on more than 50 percent of ballots cast. A poll this week by The Independent Voter Network San Diego indicates Faulconer is right on the precipice.

To note: Getting Faulconer to the general election should not be read as being in alignment with downtown stadium advocates who believe the mayor is standing in the way of that goal. To the contrary, if Faulconer wins the primary outright he most likely gets cozier with the notion of public subsidy for Team Spanos. Harris, however, has publicly voiced his opposition to corporate welfare for NFL football team owners.

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 1: Democrat Barbara Bry is the best candidate in the District 1 San Diego City Council race. All eyes are on this contest to see if the Democratic majority on the city council stays in place. Bry is thoughtful, savvy and business minded. She was the original editor of Voice of San Diego and on the startup team for Bry’s competition comes from Lincoln Club-backed Republican Ray Ellis, who has run a greasy campaign in which he’s strongly mischaracterized Bry’s positions on the Chargers Initiative (she’s against public funding for a new stadium) and pension reform.

In a field of five challengers, it’s likely Bry and Ellis coming in one-two, with a likely general election skirmish to ensue.

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT 3: For a while this race could have gone either way. It was tough to distinguish between the policies of Democrats Anthony Bernal and Chris Ward. Bernal is a staffer on the team of termed-out District 3 councilmember Todd Gloria, a local star of progressive politics. Ward is chief of staff to state Senator Marty Block.

An endorsement of Bernal from Gloria would have been golden, but one was not forthcoming. Then Bernal did get an endorsement from our Republican mayor, as well as campaign contributions from anti-gay-marriage, pro-business developer Doug Manchester. Yuck.

While Bernal’s endorsement list has come into question, Ward’s is long and strong, including former District 3 councilmembers Toni Atkins and Christine Kehoe, former councilmember Donna Frye and current councilmember David Alvarez.

And of no small regard, Ward has a proactive plan (if not a proven resume) to hit the ground running to face off against District 3’s biggest problem: homelessness. Ward would expand the city’s Homeless Outreach Team, push the mayor to create a position of Homeless Czar and declare a Homeless State of Emergency in San Diego.

Incumbent Republican Mark Kersey has done little except author the doomed infrastructure lockbox proposition, but is firmly entrenched. Outspoken challenger Fotios “Frank” Tsimboukakis, who has labeled Kersey a carpetbagger, has the moxie and the drive to upend Kersey, who ran unopposed four years ago.

has the backing of the Democratic establishment and hopes Republican incumbent Scott Sherman, who is obsessed with the Chargers getting a new stadium in Mission Valley, garners less than the 53 percent of the vote that won the race for him in 2012.

This is a toughie. Ricardo Flores is the handpicked successor and chief of staff to retiring city councilmember Marti Emerald. But activists Sarah Saez and Georgette Gomez have strong social justice cred. For her well-documented efforts in fighting for the rights of local immigrant taxi drivers, the nod goes to Saez.

In a competitive race with four Democrats, most likely running to face off in the general election against a lone Republican, former chair of the San Diego Ethics Committee Gil Cabrera shines. Heads are shaking at candidate Rafael “Caste…Verde” Castellanos’ TV ad that focuses mainly on how to pronounce his last name. Meanwhile, Cabrera’s commitment to making the office less political and nonpartisan is admirable. And his endorsement from Cory Briggs makes you wonder if he might be able to befriend, rather than continuously butt heads with, the omnipresent activist lawyer.


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