On Golden Hall

Miscellaneous observations from my five action-filled hours at Golden Hall tonight.

Oh, and I noticed walking in and out  of the hall that the Civic Theater is going big time Andrew Llyod Weber this summer.  Phantom of the Opera as a metaphor for the fall campaign?  Cats as a metaphor for Democratic party infighting? Hope you enjoy musicals, San Diego.

So, what is it with Ron Paul supporter?   Are they:  a) really enthusiastic and committed; b) really have no lives;  c) are too poor to afford cable so they don’t know their candidate isn’t a candidate for anything anymore; d) are nuts; e) are really nuts; or f) all of the above?  Me, I think it is ditto the last two in spades.  There were probably as many signs being waved for the Man from Texas via Outer Space as for any of the other (real) candidates.

I enjoyed the Democratic moment when Mike Lumpkin supporters kept screaming “I Like Mike”  all night around Duncan Hunter the elder and Little Duncan D.  The father-son duo seemed to take it in good humor and stride.  Of course, tomorrow Duncan senior will have the Lumpkinites rounded up and sent to Gitmo.   My big question is, after this is all over and Mike Lumpkin is soundly thumped by Duncan the younger come fall (and who said America doesn’t like old world style dynasties…), will the Lumpkinites meet up with the Paulies and form their own desperate supporters support group?

(Note to San Diego Democrats:  might you get your act together and run the right candidate in the right District – like Mike “I Can Kill You With My Pinkie Because I Was A Seal, Buckoo” Lumpkin, who should have been run in the 50tht against Brian “Never Served But Sure Did Surf A lot, Dude”  Bilbray as opposed to Francine “Once A Schoolboard Candidate Always Campaign Like a Schoolboard Candidate” Busby?)

Meanwhile, the excitement level in the hall after nine reached the fevered pitch of an Hometown Buffet’s on senior all-you-can-eat fish night.  Oh what a fascination an election that generates a 40% turnout rate has on the voice box of vox populi.  Note to San Diego: if you really do want elections that generate a somewhat demographic representation of the city, how about scheduling municipal primaries the same day as the big Presidential primaries, whatever day that might be come spring 2012?

And what is it about Election central that brings out enough quirky characters to fill a half dozen David Mamet plays?  Like the 60 something rail-thin biker dude sporting the obligatory American flag bandana around his gray ponytailed head?  Or the legions of Libertarians consisting largely of twenty and thirty something white males who look like they just came from a Bund meeting?  Though you have to hand it to the Libertarians.  What other party would run a candidate for Congress  with the handle Dan “Frodo”  Litwin.  (Who got, as of this writing, 59 of the 25,000 votes cast in the 51st District—presumably from free market/small government hobbits).

Most unfortunate chant of the evening: Todd Gloria supporters chant/singing the golden oldie, “G-L-O-R-I-A GLORIA!” (I’m sure they paid the Warlocks-cum-Grateful Dead for the privilege…).  Runner up:  the Mike Lumpkin supporters chanting “We Like Mike” forgetting a) he wasn’t a general; and b) he isn’t Ike.  But, then, neither is Duncan D.

Most unfortunate statement of the evening:  Mike Aguirre mouthpiece Dan McGrath saying, when asked why Mike didn’t spend more money and campaign more for the primary, that Mike tends to fund his own campaigns and has to be careful with his money because he has to plan for his retirement.  Uh-huh. Like from being City Attorney which, given that challenger Jan Goldsmith is ahead of him in the returns and given that the other 40% of the vote that didn’t go to him or Judge Jan went to candidates united in only their mutual desire to see him bounced out of office, means that unless the erstwhile embattled CA actually does start to try and mount a modicum of real campaign come the fall is a likely outcome come December?

Uh-huh.

On to fall.  Only 154 days to go until the next election.

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Shoulda Didda

Here, noble three readers, are my picks for who , come Wednesday, probably “didda” win after the chads clear—and who probably “shoulda “won:

MAYOR
Gentleman Jerry has had a good year: fires left him coated in good publicity Teflon, the return to the bonds markets (albeit limited in scope and at less than optimum rates) is a major step away from the municipal fiscal brink and no major oops have stuck to him, allegations of corruption by Mauling Mike Aguirre not withstanding. But Jerry’s scorecard of campaign promises met is even bleaker than the current Padre standings. And the return to the bonds markets is months later than he promised. Meanwhile City services continue to deteriorate and the mayor is on a collision course of epic NASCAR proportions with City employees over pensions.

Sander’s saving grace is that millions spent by supply-side businessman turned progressive civic savior St.eve Francis of the City’s hasn’t been the definitive tipping point one might have thought it to have been. Granted, given how the dollar has been doing in recent months, four mil just doesn’t buy what it used to. But Francis has not been able to translate his media onslaught into a coherent narrative of why Jerry, despite his shortcomings, should be dumped. Or, more importantly, why used-to-be-hard-right-now-coming-from-the-left Francis should do the dumping. Francis has positioned himself in the worst of both San Diego political worlds: progressives don’t trust him and conservatives resent him. He has not delivered a compelling narrative of just what drove his Paul on the road to Damascus moment of political conversion, leaving many to suspect cheap political opportunism as the motivation and not true social enlightenment.

Still, Francis has been able to do respectfully well against an incumbent supported by most of the City power establishment, from the GOP to the UT to the business community in general. He’s within five percent or so of Sanders in polls. And, while the other runner-ups are running far behind, the five to ten percent of the vote they might get tomorrow could possibly throw this race into a fall runoff. Which would give Stevo time to retool his message and reintroduce himself to the independents and crossover progressives he’d need to win in November.

Didda: Sanders wins a narrow victory tomorrow putting this to bed.
Shoulda: Voters burned by a succession of nice but nonperforming mayors should dump Jerry and take the chance on Francis, proven or not.

CITY ATTORNEY
I’ve laid out my pros for keeping Mike Aguirre, warts (…tantrums, media stunts, over-using of the “C” word, poor press conference fashion statements…) and all. Numerous times. His detractors have laid out their case to dump (or, preferably, immolate and scatter the ashes to the next Santa Ana winds) him as well. Mike Aguirre is the Hillary Clinton of San Diego politics: we all fully well know his negatives by now and fully well know what he stands for. The same cannot be said for his primary primary challenger, Judge Jan, whose campaign has been a statement in blandness. Meanwhile, of Aguirre’s two City Council opponents, Scott Peters is clearly the standout having demonstrated consistent—though often erroneous—leadership on the Council. But Peter’s opposition to continuing the investigation of Sunroad alone defines what he would be like as City Attorney—and, in my view, disqualifies him from consideration for the office. That’s without even considering the various pension-fiasco votes he cast. Ditto Brian Maienschein, except for the leadership thing, which he hasn’t really demonstrated. Think of him as Peter’s lite. That being said:

Didda: Aguirre gets his 30%+ and goes on to the fall runoff, probably against Goldsmith. What happens then is still, as the statisticians would say, a stochastic event.
Shoulda: Aguirre wins outright. San Diego, do you really want to go back to the Golden Gwynn days? And, his own warts and all, Peters would be a better choice than Judge Jan.

CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT ONE
Didda: Phil Thalheimer’s money beats Marshall Merrifield’s, buying him the right to stand against Sherri “The populist pauper” Lightner come fall.
Shoulda: Sherri wins outright as the vox populi speaks to say it’s tired of guys with tons of money trying to buy their way into office. Say what you will about the sordidness of soliciting campaign contributions. In the absence of public funding of campaigns, it is still better than just letting those with money already steamroller over those without.

COUNCIL DISTRICT THREE & FIVE
Given the matchups (or, in District Five, lack thereof) I can’t muster the emotional energy to pontificate on these two. Except, to point out, just how much I am really looking forward to four years of Carl Pod-boy DeMaio jovially joshing with Roger Hedgecock about outsourcing as many City Services as possible to for-profit private contractors who can then outsource them to a Chinese subcontractor using Pakistani labor imported through Saudi Arabia.

COUNCIL DISTRICT SEVEN
Didda: Marti Emerald beats April Boling by a reasonable spread.
Shoulda: Marti Emerald beats April Boling by a reasonable spread.

PROPA
Didda: Exempting fire and police personnel from privatization/outsourcing is a sure winner. After all, after supporting the troops, we love to support our cops and firemen (although not with competitive wages and benefit packages…). Prop A passes by a landslide.
Shoulda: Any social conservative government-is-bad-private-sector-is-heaven types who don’t vote no on Prop A should be forced to wear a scarlet “H” for sheer hypocrisy. The “managed competition” crowd will tell you that the private sector is always more competent and efficient than government. So why, then, should any of us entrust the most important function of government—keeping us all physically alive and safe—to such incompetent government? If trash collection and midlevel paper-shuffling can be done cheaper and better by the private sector, why not police and fire? After all, for most of human history these functions, when provided, were largely provided by private entities outside of government anyway. Or could it be, perchance, that there are some things that affect the common good that government can do better than the private sector? And if that includes cops, firemen and lifeguards(and, apparently, Marines, Blackwater notwithstanding) might it not include at least some of the other providers of government services conservatives would target for privatization? Perish the thought.

PROP B
Didda: Ditto Prop A, this passes by a comfortable margin.
Shoulda: Prop B should have expanded the Council by at least three seats to provide better, focused attention by representatives to the people they purport to represent.

PROP C
Didda & Shoulda: Donna Frye is wrong about Prop C. She says allowing the Mayor to have so much influence over who will audit the City books is like allowing the fox into the hen house. Actually, it’s more like moving the whole hen house into the fox’s den. Prop C should—and probably will—fail. I mean, how many times will you expect to see Carl DeMaio and Donna Frye agreeing on anything?

OK. Now go vote.