"Leaders are visionaries with a poorly developed sense of fear and no concept of the odds against them." —Robert Jarvik
If, like Spin Cycle, you've already grown a tad weary of the constant chatter about the Big Four in the 2012 mayor's race—you know the names: Fletcher, Dumanis, DeMaio and Filner—then take heart! For lo, there exists others—actually 10 so far—who would tell you, San Diego voters, that they, too, want a crack at being Jerry Sanders' replacement.
Sure, you have your perennials. But who among us can't help cracking a smile when we learn that Loch David Crane, of "Star Trike" fame, will be taking his sixth shot at the mayorship? There is truly such a thing as tradition here in San Diego!
But you'll also see fresh faces—both young and not so—who seem to have given this crazy dream more than just a passing thought. They come with ideas like nothing you may have heard, certainly not from the Big Four.
This gets to a Spin Cycle gripe. Who died and made the mainstream media king of who among mayoral candidates gets to air their ideas? I'll repeat again: There are not four, but, rather, 14 candidates so far in the running to be San Diego's next mayor. Heard of any of them other than the aforementioned quartet? Thought not.
So, in the spirit of an expanded universe of choices, Spin Cycle proudly brings readers the first installment of "The Others." This week, you'll meet the first three alphabetically listed candidates not named Bob, Bonnie, Carl or Nathan. Here's hoping all 14 make it to a future stage for a rigorous debate.
David Cardon, 33, U.S. Navy vet, real estate broker, surfer: A New Orleans native, Cardon (pronounced Car-DOAN), came to San Diego in 1997 for the Navy and practically never looked back. Honorably discharged as a rescue swimmer, he sold motorcycles for a while before settling into the San Diego real-estate world.
He said several conversations he's had over the years—one with an impressed Navy captain, another a chance meeting 11 years ago with a San Diego city employee—hinted that he would one day run for mayor.
"I even spoke to a couple police officers just after surfing one day," he recalled. "The sergeant said, Do you have any political experience?' I said, I sure don't.' And he said to the other officers, This kid might win!'" Cardon, a Republican, speaks a lot like that. No matter that the Big Four get all the press. "I applaud them for that," he said. He's one of the few "other" candidates with a campaign manager ("a friend of mine") and website, davidcardonformayor2012.com.
He said he's read the city budget (claim that, Fletcher!) and notices that many of the assumptions made tie back to his real-estate expertise. He proposes to review all city assets to determine which could be put to work in a sale-leaseback arrangement that would "put assets to immediate use into public-works projects" that the city has long delayed.
Oh, and he also calls the battle over medical marijuana "our generation's Prohibition." He thinks it should be taxed and regulated. "If the people want decriminalization of marijuana, then that's what I want."
Sharam Adhami, 62, car-dealership owner: A child of pre-revolution Iran, Adhami came to San Diego to go to college. He married his college sweetheart and spent the next three decades building up a private transportation company that took him all over the county.
Adhami sold most of his transportation holdings in 1995 but kept a car-rental business and a car dealership near the 805 on El Cajon Boulevard. He lives in Tierrasanta with his wife, a New York native who is presently studying for the state bar exam.
"She's 100 percent behind me running for mayor," Adhami said. "She sees what's going on with the parks and the streets and how nobody at the city cares. I'm gonna be a long shot, but sometimes even long shots hit the bull's eye."
Adhami is not all that fond of city workers. He doesn't want to get too specific about what city departments he's sharpening the budget ax for, but he says if he's elected mayor, those employees will know he's coming.
About the pension mess, he said, middle managers shouldn't get too comfortable in their chairs. "I'm down at the city all the time," he explained, "and these people are always just sitting around, doing nothing. And on Fridays? Forget about it. It's like just a part of the weekend! Yes, there would be lots of cutbacks."
He also envisions the mayor as a "boots and jeans" kind of person: "Can you see Bonnie Dumanis out there in boots and jeans making sure work is getting done in this city? She's good as a D.A., but not for fixing potholes."
Adhami, a Democrat, would also like to see public transportation improved, including trolley links to the airport and beaches. "I just want to do my best for this city," he said.
Hud Collins, 64, retired Army major, attorney, frequent spur in city's side: If you've seen the public-comment period at City Council meetings, you've certainly witnessed the fiscal preaching of Hud Collins. With his trademark aviator glasses and gravelly New York accent, the feisty decorated warrior can be found berating the council with frequency and passion.
Collins isn't banking on victory, but he would like some lectern time on the upcoming mayoral debate circuit for two reasons: 1) To get traction for his 30-day solution to San Diego's financial woes and 2) To debunk the notion that 401(k) plans touted by some mayoral wannabes will solve the problem.
"Their plan is ridiculous—and illegal," Collins barked into the phone. A trial attorney who boasts being two courses short of five college degrees, he said he can end the city's fiscal crisis in 30 days simply by transferring roughly $2 billion in city assets (those total nearly $13 billion, Collins said) to the city's retirement fund, thereby fully funding it and freeing more than $2 billion over five years to return city services to 2001 levels.
He offers a six-page plan to those interested at council meetings, but he has yet to embrace social media. "I don't even have an email address," he said. "But my wife does."
More profiles in coming weeks. Send tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.