In the eyes of her supporters, Donna Frye's campaign has taken on an almost mystical quality. That's because they understand that San Diego is at a crossroads-it can continue down its path into the darkness, or it can head into the light. Frye represents the light. Politicians make a lot of noise about telling the truth and being responsive to "the people," but Frye lives it. Yes, she talks about those things a lot-because they form the basis for her write-in candidacy for mayor-but she doesn't have to, because her constituents know she's the real deal. Some people seek leadership. They run for office, and sometimes win, and then they call themselves leaders simply because they're in positions of leadership.
That's Mayor Dick Murphy's story. Murphy reacts-slowly-and says he's leading. Meanwhile, it's painfully obvious he's uncomfortable with leadership. He rarely says anything unless it's carefully scripted. He seems downright fearful of reporters. We're not even sure he wants to be mayor; at one point he decided against running for reelection and then had to be talked back into the race. By all accounts, Murphy is a very nice man-but he's not mayor material. As for county Supervisor Ron Roberts, he seems little more than a protest alternative. He gained a lot of traction, thanks to the city's pension-system disaster, but does anyone really know what his candidacy is all about? We know that he's cozy with sports team owners, and that makes us nervous
San Diego needs Donna Frye. She does her homework. She's compassionate. She's smart. She's honest. She's respectful of everyone, no matter who they are. When she doesn't understand something, she asks questions. She listens. She speaks her mind. She knew something wasn't right with the pension system, so she cast the only vote against raising pension benefits. She knows we can't afford to build a big downtown library or finance the infrastructure necessary for a new football stadium. She won't treat appointments to boards and commissions like they're political payouts. She honestly believes the role of government is to provide necessary services and protect quality of life. We voters have a rare chance to do something special and incredibly positive for San Diego:
write in Donna Frye for mayor 2
For candidate Leslie Devaney, it's a case of guilt by association-she's been part of the leadership structure in the City Attorney's Office that has made a string of bad decisions and given some pretty lousy advice to the City Council: the Boy Scouts, Mount Soledad Cross, pension underfunding and, most recently, a legal defeat over the city's so-called "social host" ordinance. Like current City Attorney Casey Gwinn, Devaney seems to take her professional lead from God, which makes us more than a little nervous. The clear choice here is lawyer Mike Aguirre, whose experience in the U.S. Attorney's Office and in the field of securities fraud makes him ideal for this position at a time when the city's being scrutinized by the feds for not being up front with investors when it came time to disclose the city's financial condition. But more importantly, Aguirre sees the city attorney job as more than just someone who protects the legal interests of city officials-he sees it as someone who protects the interests of the citizens of San Diego. What we need is someone who will tell the City Council when it is acting afoul of the citizens' interest. He and Mayor Donna Frye will make a great team. Just one word of advice, though, Mike, please remember to always work and play well with others.
Vote for Mike Aguirre 2
City Council District 1
Incumbent Scott Peters is a moderate Democrat who often sides with the conservative wing of the San Diego City Council, upsetting the town's progressives. His enigmatic voting record, which has endeared him to San Diego's business and development interests, suggests he's aiming for higher office. He's controversial in his own district-some of his City Council votes have made strident environmentalists in La Jolla and Torrey Pines furious enough to back the Republican running against him. We at CityBeat are similarly angry with Peters, thanks to his particularly galling effort to remove the seals from the Children's Pool beach, which was likely a result of his desire to pander to La Jollans who don't like the crowds of visitors the seals attract. We just can't forgive him for it.
Peters' opponent, businessman Phil Thalheimer, touts himself as an environmentalist who doesn't take campaign money from development interests and therefore won't be beholden to them while in office. That's a little bit disingenuous-it's likely those donors would pick the incumbent, anyway. We also have trouble with his environmental claims. What genuine environmentalist would donate $4,000 to the presidential campaign of George W. Bush? Thalheimer did just that last year. He also gave $5,000 to the very-conservative Lincoln Club in San Diego, and more than $1,500 to other local and national Republican committees. That tells us he'll vote along with the conservatives on the City Council, which is fine on fiscal issues, but it worries us on social and environmental issues. Here's what we hope will happen: Peters will ride the populist wave in San Diego that carries Donna Frye and Mike Aguirre to victory and join a progressive slate that already includes Frye, Toni Atkins and (sometimes) Michael Zucchet.
Vote for Scott Peters and hope for the best 2
San Diego Unified School District
Is there a school board election this year? The race to fill three trustee seats has been so low-key, we almost forgot about it. Could this relatively civil campaign be a sign of things to come once a new board takes over in January? After six years of discord, it's time for a little love and consensus-or, as The Byrds once put it: "A time for peace, I swear it's not too late."
Hands down, we'd like to see Sharon Whitehurst-Payne at the helm in District E. For goodness sake, the woman holds a doctorate in education administration. She's also the chair of the Southeastern Economic Development Corporation and has spent the last 31 years working in education.
For District D, we're disappointed Pilar Arballo's name isn't on the ballot. Sadly, a signature-gathering snafu kept her name off the primary, so she didn't make it to the general election. We're left with Benjamin Hueso, a redevelopment manager for the city of San Diego, and Luis Acle, a schoolteacher. Hueso worries us a bit. We have a hunch that he's part of some Juan Vargas-Inzunza family political machine, and we don't see how his experience in property management and development qualifies him. We're going with Acle, whose education and business-management experience will serve him well.
In District A, tenacious Mitz Lee has been a fixture at school board meetings for years and has long been a regular thorn in the side of the school board majority and Supt. Alan Bersin. Lee's opponent and pal Miyo Reff is more flexible in her opinion of Bersin and has emphasized the need for consensus building and collective problem solving. Both candidates here would likely do a fine job, but we're going to stay with our primary endorsement of Miyo Reff.
vote for Miyo Reff, Luis Acle and Sharon Whitehurst-Payne 2
Assembly Districts 74, 75, 77 and 79
These are so-called "safe" seats, so the incumbents-Republicans Mark Wyland, George Plescia and Jay LaSuer and Democrat Juan Vargas-will undoubtedly prevail. But, for what it's worth, Wyland's shameful scapegoating of undocumented immigrants puts us firmly in Karen Underwood's corner, and we really like Karen Heumann over Plescia. Vargas is just fine for his district. As for the 77th District, we're not comfortable with either Jay LaSuer or Chris Larkin.
Vote for Underwood, Heumann and Vargas 2
Assembly Districts 76 and 78
These districts are two of the hottest contests statewide, considered "in play" by the major parties.
District 76 is up for grabs-current officeholder Christine Kehoe is being termed out of office. The district leans Democratic, demographically. That's why college educator Lori Saldaña, whose grassroots campaign came out of nowhere to win the primary, is the frontrunner. But the Republicans think they have a shot with former Assemblymember and current lobbyist Tricia Hunter, who they are selling as an independent-minded moderate. We're absolutely disgusted with the negativity from the Hunter campaign. In TV ads, she's capitalizing on the latest wave of disdain for undocumented Mexican immigrants by telling voters that Saldaña is a sympathizer. May we remind Hunter that immigration is largely a federal issue? She has also allowed the California Dental Association to wage an untruthful ad war suggesting Saldaña wants us to drink "toilet sewage." Saldaña has genuine environmental and education credentials that, coupled with her liberal social views, make her an ideal choice for this progressive-minded district. She's our strong choice.
In the 78th District, Republican incumbent Shirley Horton managed to walk away with a win two years ago, because her opponent, Vince Hall, had unfortunate ties to Gray Davis and ran a lame campaign-this in a heavily Democratic-leaning district (Democrat George Stevens helped Horton by endorsing her). To us, Horton seems like an empty shell who simply toes the Republican line. She campaigns, both now and in the past, without showing up to candidate forums, and her camp has developed a knack for saying she has endorsements she hasn't received-she's done it three times now. In a ludicrous attack on her opponent, Chula Vista City Councilmember Patty Davis, Horton's campaign charged that Davis is bent on taxing "the poor and elderly right out of their homes and cars." She based her attack on a totally unrelated topic that came up at a forum that Horton didn't even bother to attend. We're not exactly sure about Davis, but there's no way she's anywhere near as bad as Horton.
Our choices are Lori Saldaña and Patty Davis for Assembly 2
This seat currently belongs to Democrat Dede Alpert, who's being termed out of office. Alpert endorses Christine Kehoe, and so do we. Kehoe's opponent, Larry Stirling, gave $1,500 to the Lincoln Club of San Diego County this year, and the Lincoln Club gave $5,000 to George W. Bush. That's reason enough for us to endorse Kehoe. We like Kehoe's progressive stance on social issues, and she's been great on matters of personal privacy.
Vote for Christine Kehoe
for state Senate 2
Bill Jones is too conservative for California. No surprise here: we're for Barbara Boxer, despite that scary photo of her on her campaign website. She was right to oppose the Iraq invasion. She was right to oppose the pharmaceutical and insurance industry-friendly Medicare bill. She's always right on environmental, civil rights, gun control and abortion issues. We're for anyone who's proud of her liberal label.
We strongly endorse Barbara Boxer 2
House of Representatives
Thanks to our dysfunctional electoral system, these races have already been decided-typically, about 96 percent of congressional incumbents are reelected-so it would be miraculous if Republicans Darrell Issa, Randy "Duke" Cunningham and Duncan Hunter and Democrats Bob Filner and Susan Davis lose on Election Day. Given the demographics of each of these districts, the right representatives are probably in office, but we're a progressive newspaper, so we like the Democrat in each race. It won't matter, but
we endorse Mike Byron, Francine Busby, Bob Filner, Brian Keliher and Susan Davis 2