Mara Elliott is a politician.
When I met her, I was underwhelmed. She came off as a loony progressive. Her campaign speeches inspired few — she ran as a “technocrat” who failed to attract support from the Democratic insiders. When she defeated her Democratic opponents in the June 2016 primary, I remember thinking that she might win the City Attorney race if she kept a low-profile — she did. She won the General Election by 15 points.
I thought Mara Elliott was a lightweight and I was wrong. She’s shrewd, she’s calculating, she’s patient, and she’s disciplined. I was surprised that she grasped the anti-Trump furor and initiated litigation against the President, but she’s a politician — I shouldn’t have been surprised. Once I established that she was a politicias, it was no surprise that she started picking fights with Councilman Chris Cate. While Cate was trying to figure out a reasonable short-term vacation rental policy, she declared that all vacation rentals were illegal. She put him in a box on the Trump Border Wall resolution and Sex Offender law. She brushed aside Cate’s criticism of her office’s use of Padres box seats (who doesn’t love hard working prosecutors?).
I think Elliott is running for Mayor in 2020 and she saw Cate as the only viable opponent from the GOP. Cate is young, upwardly mobile, hard-working, and center-right. His wedding was highlighted in the U-T in what looked like “society page” spread. Chris Cate is a local boy made good and an example of what every San Diegan wants in a Mayor. BUT…
Cate shared a confidential memorandum with a party which was negotiating a big real estate deal with the City. I believe his explanation that there was no malice in his action. I think he was genuinely trying to get good information. I believe Cate, but that doesn’t matter. Elliott gave him a chance to come clean months ago and Cate decided to wait until he was outed. Now the issue is in the hands of the appointed District Attorney (a technically-incumbent Republican who is running for office in 2018).
Elliot isn’t letting up on Cate. In this U-T editorial, she refutes his explanation and repeats that his action was illegal. Her explanation suggests that, at worst Cate is on the take (I would dispute that) and, at best he is naive and immature. Mara Elliott vanquished Cate as a potential opponent for Mayor and now she’s is looking to derail his re-election bid. Cate’s response was to have his PR man pen a confrontational article.
Cate needs to avoid confrontation with Mara Elliott, clean up this mess, and focus on damage control for his 2018 re-election.
Yes, it’s THAT serious.