Alas, how distant the "Run Dick Run" days seem. Just a short six months ago, a gaggle of San Diego business leaders gathered in the downtown plaza at the base of City Hall to cajole-beg, really-Mayor Dick Murphy into running for a second four-year term. Word was that these folks promised to do the heavy lifting campaign-wise (read: raise the bucks) so the mayor could focus on the job of being mayor. Now, it appears that Big Business, with a hand-up from Big Labor, may be leaning toward burying the mayor, not praising him.In the last week, business folk have reconvened below Murphy's 11th-floor perch with fire in their voices, intent on expressing their dissatisfaction with the city's state of stagnation on such pressing issues as the Chargers impasse, the city's suspect pension system and, in general, a sense that no one is really at the ship's helm.In the case of both the Chargers and the pension system, citizens apparently won't be learning anything new until after the primary election in March-not until May, in the case of the winless Chargers' effort to gain a new stadium. The mayor has denied that the hot-button issues were put off to help him glide through the election, but that's not how some business people see it."The negotiating teams are continuing to meet and discuss options-we think," said Jessie J. Knight Jr., head of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, at a recent rally that included representatives of labor, construction, finance, communications and even beer. "But what is apparent to many of us is that the May deadline for coming back to the City Council with a report is just a date that prolongs this process and the community's frustration."Local labor honcho Jerry Butkiewicz, who helped razz the "Draft Murphy" business folk six months ago, is now shoulder to shoulder with Big Biz on the city's molasses-like negotiating pace. "We can't leave these workers hanging," he bellowed. "We can't sit back and let attorneys wrangle about legal issues. As citizens and as workers, we just want the truth."But Mayor Murphy has his fingers in his ears when it comes to the recurring chorus of the Brooks Brothers crowd-that the city and Chargers should settle their cavernous differences through binding arbitration. The mayor, a former judge, argues that such a move would hamper the city's legal position down the road.That road, however, could be paved with massive legal bills-as much as $4 million over perhaps three years. Plus, there's potential exposure to the city under the much-maligned ticket guarantee of upwards of $75 million, according to the business folk, who argue that binding arbitration could be accomplished in six months time and cost less than $500,000.Despite all the dollar figures flying around, the underlying theme of the criticism seems to focus on leadership, or a serious lack thereof in a town not noted for its progressive thinkers.So, it seems not all that surprising that the mayor showed uncommon hostility this week when it became apparent that the gilded coronation he anticipated leading to a second term now is gearing up to be fierce horserace.Retired banker Peter Q. Davis, who narrowly missed a runoff with Murphy in the 2000 mayoral race, seems intent on challenging Murphy. Both Republicans who met during the '60s when they worked at Bank of America, Davis had been a trusted adviser to Murphy on financial matters after endorsing him over Ron Roberts the last time around.Now a San Diego Port District commissioner (thanks to Murphy's nomination) after playing a central role in downtown redevelopment as a longtime member of the Centre City Development Corp. board, Davis was dismayed to read Murphy's recent comments in the Union-Tribune that the mayor felt betrayed by Davis's interest in running."He attended my son's wedding earlier this year. He was a trusted adviser. If he runs for mayor, I will know how Julius Caesar felt when Brutus stabbed him in the back," Murphy reportedly whined.In an interview with CityBeat, Davis countered, "During the [last] campaign, we often visited, and I grew to believe he would bring the bold leadership to City Hall that we needed-thus the reason for my endorsement. I don't think he has-thus the reason I have considered running again."Davis isn't Murphy's only problem. Even when it appeared the mayor would face few, if any, known challengers, the fundraising that the business types promised has not materialized. In his most recent filing, Murphy reports just slightly more than $127,000 in the bank. In the most recent filing period (July 1 through Sept. 30), his campaign raised about $60,000 but also spent an equal amount with little to show for it."That's pretty pathetic. I can see why he was a little upset," said one local political operative about Murphy's financial situation and subsequent printed outburst. "He's going to have to work his ass off to raise another $750,000 to $1 million."Which begs the question-could this mayor decide, once again, not to run? Anything, of course, is possible, and if some nice, cushy judicial appointment were to fall into Murphy's lap, would it really surprise anyone if he donned a black robe again?"The funny thing is," the operative snickered, "they assassinated Caesar for fear that he was going to become a dictator. I actually see Murphy more like Hamlet than Julius Caesar, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. To be in a run for mayor or not to be...." Handeth over thy tips: spincycle@ SDcitybeat.com.