Only two of the top four candidates even showed up — Nathan Fletcher and Bob Filner. Kudos to them for showing up. As for Carl DeMaio and Bonnie Dumanis, their no-shows were disappointing.
OB Rag wrote:
“The debate, sponsored by A Better San Diego Coalition, a conglomeration of various community groups—including unions—was moderated by Lorena Gonzalez, the leader of the San Diego and Imperial County Labor Council. Also notable was the absence of the other two top candidates: Republican Bonnie Dumanis, who refuses to participate in any debates until the primary ballot has been made official; and Republican Carl Demaio, who declined the invitation out of concern for the reception he would receive from the coalition groups that he is vehemently in opposition to.”
DeMaio’s decision is understandable, but still wrong in my opinion. One test of leaders is how they can deal with those who disagree with them. And if DeMaio gets elected, he’ll have to deal with them anyway. If he could earn some grudging respect from foes, that would be good to know.
Dumanis’ reasoning, however, is simply incomprehensible. She appears in danger of sliding into a second or third-tier status as the forgotten candidate. Maybe she was also afraid of a hostile reception. Her zealous enforcement of medical marijuana laws has made her a lot of enemies among the left. And even some not on the left might question Dumanis’ priorities.
As for those who showed up, Filner’s appearance is hardly a surprise, as those sponsoring the debate are his base. Fletcher’s is not as surprising as it might seem, as he has been diligently cultivating support in certain sectors of labor, as witness his endorsement by the San Diego city police union.
By the way, libertarian talk show host Chris Reed said that the police union endorsement may backfire on Fletcher. Here’s a link to a 2 MB audio clip from his program on Tuesday.
Reed said Fletcher’s reputation as a reformer is called into question by what critics call his less-than-energetic support of the pension reform initiative. (Starts at 3:56 in the audio clip).
“We already have an undercurrent of criticism of Nathan Fletcher from folks out there who say that he was inadequately supportive of the comprehensive pension reform measure championed by Mayor Sanders and Councilman DeMaio,” Reed said.
“You even have the rumor going around that Nathan Fletcher, while he supported it, actually never signed the petition. I have talked to one person who could know the details here, and the person says as far as to that person’s knowledge, no one can recall seeing Fletcher sign this. So you have this backdrop of folks who already believe and are putting out a narrative that says Nathan Fletcher’s heart is not in pension reform.
“Pension reform used to be the ultimate eye glaze over issue. But now it’s kind of like a standard part of any California political debate. So if Nathan Fletcher wins the support of the police union, and the perception is that it’s because he helped insulate them from pension pain by shifting the burden from city taxpayers to state taxpayers, that’s a powerful line of argument with influential people who, like (libertarian commenter) Steve Greenhut … who are open to his argument that you are an ultimate RINO, a total RINO, if you have union support, because that suggests you’re a sell-out.”
It would be interesting for Fletcher to go onto Chris Reed’s show so we can hear how he responds to those rumors. I find it very difficult to believe that Fletcher failed to sign the pension reform petition, but if he didn’t . . .
DISCLAIMER: Opinions expressed here are my own and not necessarily those of my employer, the North County Times.