We had a plan: We wanted to have a beer with all the candidates running for City Council. We figured we could get them liquored up a bit and find out who they really are before they had their politician masks firmly in place. Unfortunately, we ran into problems. First, a lot of candidates wouldnt drink with us. It would be unprofessional, they said. Whatever. Second, we just ran out of time, and we couldnt speak with everyone. So, to Robert Lee, Paul Broadway, Bill Daniel and David Tos, were terribly sorry. Anyway, here are our observations:
Candidates who actually drank with us: Todd Gloria (beer), Stephen Whitburn (beer) and Marshall Merrifield (margarita). Way to let your hair down, fellas.
Best meeting locations: Tie between Marti Emerald and Todd Gloria. We asked candidates to choose the place. Gloria took us to Bourbon Street, a hip bar with a nice patio in University Heights. Emerald took us to Nicolosis, an Italian joint near the College Area and clearly a neighborhood favorite. We appreciate the local charm.
Worst meeting locations: Sherri Lightner, George George and April Boling each took us to Cocosthree different locations. (Actually, Lightner got crowded out by another meeting, so we ended up elsewhere.) A chain restaurant? Whats up with that? Youd think candidates for public office would choose to support local independent eateries.
Playing by the rules, or not: Stephen Whitburn was adamant about buying his own beer, per campaign-finance regulations. All others paid for their own refreshmentsexcept for April Boling, who, having worked as a campaign treasurer, should know the rules. No biggieit was just an iced tea. Gloria gets extra points for declining the Bourbon Street bartenders offer of a complimentary beverage.
Gabbiest companion: John Beatty, who accompanied Marti Emerald. We were flattered by his familiarity of CityBeat, but he answered about half of the questions we posed to Emerald. Dude, youre not the candidate; let her field a few more.
Most entertaining companion: Jane Potter, who accompanied Sherri Lightner. She seemed to know when to bide her time, but she was funny and informative when she did decide to jump in, and she knew lots of gossip. Who doesnt like gossip?
Most unfortunate distraction: During our meeting in the bar at the Hyatt in University Town Center, Phil Thalheimer got a call: The family dog had to be put to sleep. We offered to end the meeting, but he was determined to soldier on.
Biggest choke under pressure: Stephen Whitburn, who blanked when we asked him to pick a place to meet. We had to pick for him: The Red Fox Room in North Park.
Lamest lameness: Hands down, Carl DeMaio. Not only did DeMaio cancel our meeting the day before we were scheduled to meet, he also refused to reschedule. His press assistant wrote us saying, Being that our race will likely be over on June 3rd, hed love to meet with us after that.
Most confused candidate: Tie between Phil Thalheimer and John Hartley (pre-leak incident). Hartley sat with editor Dave Rolland for nearly two hours before discovering that Rolland was the papers editor, and that was after Rolland had moderated a candidates forum that included Hartley. Thalheimer spent his entire interview making confusing references to Internet-based news outlets. It wasnt until after the meeting that we realized he probably thought we were voiceofsandiego.org.
Candidate wed drink with again: Marshall Merrifield. The guys a hoot. He cracked jokes, regaled us with tales of his associations with Barack Obama and John McCain and his exploits as a punter on Princeton Universitys football team. Upon learning of Dave Rollands theatrical past, Merrifield broke into song, serenading the CityBeat editor with show tunes several times. And he wasnt even drunk.