If there's one thing we CityBeatniks love more than Star Wars and politics, it's reducing politicians to overly simplistic archetypes of good and evil. That's why we couldn't wait for Comic-Con to come back around: An excuse!
If you want the good and the righteous represented by conservative Republicans—um, what are you doing here? Go elsewhere. In our universe, the San Diego establishment / empire has long been controlled by the business elite and its Republican operatives (with inroads being made by employee unions, to be sure). The liberal rebels have waged some spirited battles over affordable-housing funding, community planning and the minimum wage, but the empire quickly struck back and obliterated those first two uprisings so far and is currently planning its likely brutal response to the third.
With all that in mind, we've re-cast the original Star Wars trilogy with our own colorful characters from in and around San Diego's halls of power. (Photo illustrations by Lindsey Voltoline)
May the force of liberal populism be with you.
Councilmember David Alvarez is Luke Skywalker
Young, earnest and quick to lash out emotionally at the Evil Empire, Alvarez's campaign for mayor demonstrated that he's more about action than patience.
Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez is Princess Leia
Gonzalez is brash and says what's on her mind. She's totally committed to the progressive rebellion and would stop at nothing to unionize every inhabitant of every planet in the galaxy. We're amazed she can get all that hair into those side buns.
Council President Todd Gloria is Han Solo
At this stage in the saga, Gloria is the swashbuckling bad-ass of the local progressive movement. And he's good with a one-liner. This hero gets the girl—er, guy—in the end.
Jerry Sanders is Darth vader
As chief of the Chamber of Commerce, Sanders is way meaner than he ever was as mayor—a supreme, formidable foe of the galaxy's working class. You'll never turn Luke Alvarez, Darth Jerry!
Donna Frye is Obi-Wan Kenobi
Alvarez would have stepped back if Frye wanted to run for mayor, but Frye stepped aside for the New Hope. Like Obi-Wan, Frye has achieved a certain mythic quality in the progressive movement while not exactly leading it.
U-T San Diego publisher Doug Manchester is the Emperor
We simply like imagining Manchester pulling all the strings from his comfy chair at the daily Death Star. "Good! Let the hate flow through you!"
Councilmember Marti Emerald is Chewbacca
Emerald is Gloria's loyal liberal sidekick, ready to charge down any hallway into battle. Littleknown fact: Like Emerald, Wookiees have grave concerns about medical-marijuana edibles.
Councilmember Myrtle Cole is R2-D2
Well, Cole is kind of small, and we think it's possible she holds information that's vital to the rebellion. We just have to figure out a way to get it out of her. Maybe Obi-Wan Frye knows how.
Councilmember Ed Harris is C-3Po
We admit we're stumped here, but we had one council member uncast and one major character left. So, Harris is 3PO by default. Well, wait: Everything scares this droid, and Harris did seem rather spooked by Clairemont NIMBYs recently. Anyway, bone up on those alien languages, Ed.
Councilmember Sherri Lightner is Lando Calrissian
You never know when Lightner will betray the rebellion, but as she did with the minimum-wage and Barrio Logan battles, she tends to come through when she's really needed.
Carl DeMaio is Jabba the Hutt
Naturally, the creepiest local politician is the creepiest Star Wars character. DeMaio licks his lips over downsizing government and stripping hardworking people of their pensions the way Jabba licks his lips over Princess Leia (wait, that's Gonzalez—eww!). But mostly, this allows us to cast DeMaio's partner, Johnathan Hale, as Salacious B. Crumb, the little monkey-lizard character with the crazy laugh.
Mayor Kevin Faulconer is Governor Tarkin
At this point, the mayor is merely a high-level henchman of the Evil Empire. Anyone else see the similarities between what Tarkin did to Leia's beloved Alderaan and what Faulconer did to Barrio Logan?
Councilmember Mark Kersey is Boba Fett
Like the bounty hunter Fett, Kersey is smart and very dangerous. The progressive rebellion is left to hope Kersey's eventually eaten by the sand-dwelling Sarlacc. Are there any in District 5?
Councilmember Lorie Zapf is Greedo
Greedo, you'll recall, was the green alien bounty hunter working for Jabba the Hut (Jabba de Maio?) who was gunned down by Han Solo in that happ'nin' cantina on Tatooine. Shoot, Han Gloria, she's got a blaster!
Councilmember Scott Sherman is Bib Fortuna
Bib is that ugly dude who was Jabba's majordomo—you know, with the weird appendages coming out of his head and draped over his shoulders. You don't see it in Return of the Jedi, but after Jabba's death, Bib assumed control of Jabba's palace and possessions. Perhaps Sherman will follow suit after DeMaio's demise.
Rabble-rousing attorney Cory Briggs is Admiral Ackbar
"It's a trap!"
No one is Yoda
Hmm. Maybe that's the progressive movement's problem.