San Diego is again proving to be the land of perpetual campaigns. We all love to ask our San Diego friends what the deal is down there so I did a little digging. We all know that recently two Democratic city councilmen resigned in light of their recent felony convictions related to what is commenly called strippergate. What most people are still trying to figure out is who in the heck is running to take their place.
The two convicted councilmen’s districts are almost polar opposites of each other. Michael Zucchet represented District 2 which included such well known areas as Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma and downtown. Zucchet’s district is more moderate than Democrat so a Republican stands a good chance of winning this seat. Inzunza’s seat on the other hand consists of extremely loyal Hispanic democratic voters. His family has controlled much of the Democratic political machine in the district for a long time so we are sure to see them run another dog in this race. The good news for Republicans is that voter turnout is extremely low. In the last few elections it has been around 25% or 5 to 6 thousand voters. This could be the ideal time to show off what Ron Nehring’s precinct operation can really do. Can anyone say knock and drag!
Now for the lineups…..
Kevin Faulconer – Moderate Republican, unsuccessfully challenged Zucchet in 2002, did not return calls seeking comment but several political consultants said he has called them seeking advice about a potential run. Faulconer chairs the city's Mission Bay Park Committee and has sat on advisory panels for the wetlands, charter reform and parks and recreation. He has recently been endorsed by the Lincoln Club and is expected to easily win the support of the Republican Party. Kevin might be an environmentalist but somehow he is also an avid pro-growth and pro-business supporter. Prior to his campaign announcement Kevin served as the Chairman of the San Diego Lincoln Club’s PAC.
Kathy Blavatt – Liberal Democrat, a graphic designer and progressive activist, said she is considering a run. "I've had a couple hundred calls in the last few days asking me to run," she said last week. A strong Frye supporter, Blavatt sits on the city's Peninsula Community Planning Board, and is a co-founder of the San Diego Coastal Alliance. She has also been a vocal critic of redevelopment that uses eminent domain as well as the city's agreement with the Corky McMillin Cos. to develop the Naval Training Center properties. She resides in Ocean Beach.
Carolyn Chase - Liberal Democrat, a planning commissioner and Pacific Beach resident, said she is probably going to run. City Hall insiders say she has been running since before Zucchet's trial even started, but she maintains that the decision is still under consideration. Chase is a volunteer for the Frye campaign, a transit advocate and the political chair for the local Sierra Club chapter.
Cynthia Conger - Moderate chair of the Peninsula Community Planning Board, said she is considering running, but may not want to put up with the "big politics" that are required for the race. A realtor in Ocean Beach, Conger is a critic of redevelopment at NTC.
Lorena Gonzalez – Liberal Democrat. Lorena, an attorney, is active in local environmental groups and is Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante's alternate to the state Lands Commission after serving as director in his Southern California office. Gonzalez and her brother successfully sued to have the wording of last November's strong-mayor ballot initiative made more impartial. She is a volunteer for surf shop owner Donna Frye's mayoral campaign and resides in Crown Point.
Bruce Henderson – Nutcase! former Pacific Beach councilman, said he is considering running but that it will be difficult for him to win because he believes the Spanos and Moores families, owners of the San Diego Chargers and Padres, respectively, will spend parts of their fortunes to defeat the avid critic of subsidies to both teams. Henderson's criticism of the Charger ticket guarantee and the public financing of Petco Park extended into courtroom battles, but his name identification in a crowded field may prove helpful just as it did for the new City Attorney Mike Agurie.
Don Mullen – Democrat. Zucchet's policy chief, now that the boss is going to jail he is also mulling a run. Mullen ran a surf shop in Pacific Beach before joining the District 2 staff, and was formerly the executive chair of the College Area Economic Development Corp.
Wayne Raffesberger like Faulconer, ran for the District 2 seat in 2002. Although he failed to reach the runoff, Raffesberger was later appointed to the city's powerful downtown redevelopment arm, the Center City Development Corp. The land-use attorney has resided in Point Loma for two decades and has in the past chaired the area's town council and served on the Peninsula Community Planning Board. Raffesberger was also one of 26 members of the NTC Base Reuse Committee.
Luis Acle,- Republican. Is the newly elected president of the San Diego Unified School District Board of Education, has been preoccupied the past few weeks with the installation of a new superintendent, but he recently public stated he will run. Rumor has it he still needs to pay off about 40K in outstanding campaign debt. If Republicans smart they will help him pay it off and fund his campaign.
Richard Barrera – Union Democrat, the San Diego-Imperial Counties regional director for the United Domestic Workers of America, said he will run only if he can convince himself that he can help District 8 residents on the same level he feels he does now. When Inzunza's seat became available in 2000, he led a voter information effort that resulted in the district's highest ever turnout for a council-only election.
Richard Babcock - Republican, a pollster whose Datamar surveys were featured prominently in the recent mayoral primary, is one of the few Republicans running. The Golden Hill resident has been involved locally in the Southeastern Development Corp. and Casa Familiar. He said his decision hinges on his family's interests in enduring the scrutiny of a campaign. Babcock is the chair of the San Diego chapter of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly. Babcock has garnered the support of some real shady Hispanic Republican radio station owners in San Diego to bank roll his campaign. From what I have learned some of these guys have more FBI attention on them than terrorist cells.
Dan Coffey - Democrat, a private attorney, said he will pull candidacy papers but that he will hold off until the field of opponents shapes up. Coffey, recently resigned from the Park and Recreation Board in protest of the treatment of volunteers, such as the pension trustees, by City Attorney Mike Aguirre. Coffey and his wife, Pepper, were both ardent opponents of the Brown Field airport proposals, and Coffey claims that defeating the proposal saved the city $500 million. Frankly, this is the only thing he has going for him. A white guy is just not going to take this district without something special. Pepper Coffey was also rumored to be running, but she denied any intentions Monday.
Raoul Lowery Contreras - Carpetbagger, an author and syndicated columnist. Don’t think he will run, said he wouldn’t if said Acle or Babcock runs. Contreras currently lives in Del Mar Heights, but said he will move back to Logan Heights, where he has resided before, to qualify for holding office. Contreras currently operates a tour group, but has continued to pen a column that has at times been carried nationally. His commentaries run in the North County Times every two weeks and regularly at Calnews.com. Contreras also sat on the Proposition C steering committee, the panel charged with garnering support for Petco Park.
There ya go!