Mayor Jerry Sanders is picking at a takeout chicken lunch at a grouping of plastic white tables in the center of a strip-mall storefront in Serra Mesa that, at first glance, resembles a site in the initial stages of a remodel. The floor is bare concrete. It's almost unbelievable that this is the campaign headquarters of an incumbent mayor of the nation's eighth largest city. It feels a little sad, although someone has tried to enliven the place with a whimsical cutout of Sanders hung on the north wall.
The mayor is here for a campaign interview. He knows exactly how many days separate today from June 3, Election Day. It's 42, he says—no, 41.
Today is the day local blogger Pat Flannery reported that, several days earlier, Sanders had privately said, “Fuck you, Steve,” to challenger Steve Francis at a candidates forum when Francis went to shake Sanders' hand.
“I'm into being genuine at this point,” Sanders said about the much-publicized incident. “I've got six weeks to go, and I'm being genuine. I really don't have time for the games anymore.”
Not that he ever had time for games. Having been urged to run for mayor by local Republican Party leaders amid financial chaos and scandal, Sanders took office in 2005 and immediately set about restoring the city's reputation, a task he says he's not close to finishing.