COMMENTARY | COLUMNISTS | RON CARRICO

The mayor’s race — who to vote for?

The mayoral election is Tuesday. The four main viable and qualified candidates are David Alvarez, Mike Aguirre, Kevin Faulconer and Nathan Fletcher.

Three candidates — Councilman David Alvarez, Fightin’ Mike Aguirre, and “Used to Be Republican” Nathan Fletcher — are Democrats. Councilman Kevin Faulconer is the only announced Republican in the race and he appears to be sane.

While I have not followed the campaign closely, I am struck by one significant fact. Our local major daily newspaper, UT San Diego, really does not want Fletcher as mayor. There have been front-page editorials posing as news against Fletcher and many editorial page attacks.

It almost seems as though the UT would prefer Mike Aguirre. Well, that might be stretching to think the UT could prefer Aguirre; he is well behind and probably not a factor.

Frankly, to my mind, the fact that the UT is so anti-Fletcher encourages me to vote for him.

The biggest rub against Nathan Fletcher is that he changed parties from GOP to Independent and then to Democrat. Why is this a bad thing? Are we not supposed to learn and grow with experience? Are we supposed to stick forever with a position, no matter how bad or stupid? And the modern GOP is not exactly the image of caring, progress, science or intelligence.

Another campaign issue is that Fletcher missed votes while in the state Assembly. The anti-Fletcher forces point out that both Alvarez and Faulconer never missed a vote as San Diego councilmen in the last campaign. Missing the point that voting in San Diego is a bit easier than flying to Sacramento to vote; many of the votes were probably meaningless anyway.

The college transcript issue was rather interesting. Does an A in surfing mean much? Frankly, I think college grades have little to do with future success — even as a politician. Ask John McCain. And if colleges attended and grades mean anything, “Fightin” Mike would win easily.

According to a KPBS poll, Faulconer is leading with 41 percent, Fletcher has 28 percent, Alvarez has 17 percent and Aguirre has 7 percent. To avoid a runoff election, someone needs to win more than 50 percent or the top two vote getters will continue campaigning.

All of the four candidates look like intelligent and responsible men who would make a good mayor. I am still amazed that Bob Filner won the last campaign for mayor. Didn’t people watch the debates to see how poorly he performed? Also, the now acknowledged fact that his proclivities were well-known to political insiders and not a campaign issue is puzzling.

The UT website has a Mayor Picker info page where you answer questions and the computer tells you who you favor. I answered the questions. Interesting how the issues are framed. Most interesting to me is the positions attributed to Fletcher and Aguirre.

According to the survey, I disagree with them on a new Charger stadium. That is odd because I believe that the Chargers should pay for the whole thing. Period. No public funds to subsidize the billionaire Spanos family. The threat used to be the team would leave town. Sort of stale now, isn’t it? Apparently no other town wants them or they would be gone.

Let us be honest about the UT: they want a Republican as mayor. There are several reasons, but high on the list of priorities is saving the Chargers and if that means another taxpayer-funded stadium, then so be it. The Chargers are key to the success of the UT. Look how much space is devoted to the team every issue. That coverage sells newspapers — lots of them.

Also, the downtown insiders who back GOP candidates favor expanding convention centers, stadiums, libraries — in fact, anything that will improve downtown. Ever wonder why streets and sidewalks are falling apart? Think how much the city spends to subsidize the Padres and Chargers.

But the tactic is clear. Fletcher is in strong second place in the polls. If he is defeated or his numbers drop 10 percent or more, Faulconer wins over 50 percent and he becomes mayor. I believe most Fletcher supporters are former Republicans longing for a sane conservative, and Fletcher is an attractive candidate who stepped away from the GOP because of to the “take no prisoners” craziness in the party.

What would help him a lot is if Aguirre would step out and endorse Fletcher, but it’s not very likely.

Incidentally, in the unlikely event Faulconer were to go head to head with Alvarez. Alvarez would win handily. And probably be a terrific mayor.

However, I am not sure how he did in Surfing 101.

Carrico is a San Diego attorney and can be emailed at roncarrico@hotmail.com. Comments may be published as Letters to the Editor.

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