Roundtable: Election Aftermath
June 8, 2012 1:24 p.m.
Katie Orr, Metro Reporter, KPBS News
John Warren, publisher, San Diego Voice And Viewpoint
Alison St. John, Senior Metro Reporter, KPBS News
Related Story: Roundtable: Election Aftermath
PENNER: I'm Gloria Penner. And today is Friday, June†8th. With me at the Roundtable today are Katie Orr, it's lovely to work with you again.
ORR: Lovely to see you, Gloria.
PENNER: John Warren, editor and publisher of San Diego Voice and Viewpoint. Always a pleasure.
WARREN: Good to see you, Gloria.
PENNER: And Alison St. John our North County reporter for KPBS. Joy to see you too.
ST. JOHN: Always nice to be here.
PENNER: Thank you. Well, this election was very different for California voters who sent the top two vote-getters in state and congressional races into the November runoff. Even if the candidates were of the same party. And San Diego is getting national attention for passing Proposition B, which eliminates pensions for most future city employees. So Katie, let's start with the mayoral race. Tell us about the results of it. Was it a surprise?
ORR: I don't think so. I think when the primary first started, when they started campaigning for it about I year ago, this was a general assumption once we knew who the final four candidates would be, that Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner had the strongest chance of making it through to November. I talked to both candidates early on, and both of them assumed that that would be the final match-up.
ORR: Well, because they both have such strong bases, and that's who tends to come out during a primary. DeMaio appeals to a lot of conservative Republicans in the city. Filner appeals to a lot of liberal voters. He's got strong union backing. They were just seen as the two frontrunners. Everyone was thrown for a loop when Nathan Fletcher announced he was leaving the Republican party to run as an Independent. And he gave Filner a run for his money. It got closer than Filner was expecting it to be. But in the end, Filner was able to pull it out.
PENNER: DeMaio's campaign specifically targeting Fletcher was that helpful to DeMaio? Or did it give people some pause for thought about that negative campaigning?
WARREN: Well, it was certainly helpful to Bob Filner. And so he enjoyed having Carl and Bonnie Dumanis go after Nate Fletcher. I think if we had a few more days, it could have maybe made a slight difference. But when you look at the number, 30% -- 24%, I think it came down to what you call the marketing brand recognition. DeMaio and known and recognized, Filner is recognized, Nate Fletcher had to build his brand. And Bonnie's brand was labeled from a different perspective.
ORR: And Fletcher's campaign was counting on getting people to the polls who might not otherwise have voted in a primary. And in the end, they just didn't see the voter turnout that they wanted to. About 27%, and once they count the absentees, it might be 30%. But it wasn't the big numbers they were looking for that they needed to get over that hump.
PENNER: So turnout is important for some candidates. And in this case, it really was a low turnout. Not totally dismal, but low.
ST. JOHN: Yes, I think it was pretty much along the lines of most primaries over the last few years. They have been in the low 30s. But I think that Fletcher had a problem in defining himself, and that's what he failed to do, explain to voters how he was different and how he would fall on different issues. And I think part of the problem is voters are dependent to some degree on the party name just to identify in a busy world who they can relate to with their values. So it was really a challenge for Nathan Fletcher to redefine himself and make it clear. I've spoken to a couple of people who said I was thinking about Nathan Fletcher but I couldn't quite be sure where he would stand on my issues.
PENNER: Well, we did know he was a marine. We heard about that a lot, and that he liked to exercise and --
[ LAUGHTER ]
PENNER: And in certainly would appeal to some people. But was that defining enough?
ORR: Well, I read I think it was in the UT, an article that said Nathan Fletcher, he had that big movement -- moment when he left the GOP to run as an Independent, and he didn't have a second act. So that was I believe ten weeks before the election. So all that momentum that he generated fell off. And it gave the election a chance to move back toward, you know, where it -- things would normally fall.
PENNER: John, I want to ask our listeners before I get to you what their reaction is to the result of the mayoral race. Were you pleaseds with the result? Did it go the way you wanted it to? John, this race is now being seen as a battle of opposites. A Republican fiscal hawk, DeMaio, and then we have democratic progressive, UT is calling Bob Filner a progressive. How much will party affiliation mean in November?
WARREN: I think it's going to mean a great deal after this primary. The interesting thing about the primary vote is that when you have a scenario where there's a presidential election year, you have high name recognition, and you don't have really major issues. Even though we thought we had major issues, we didn't have the kind of issues that would make people come out. The lower voter turnout will always favor those candidates. Now we're going to see a really party battle. When we look at what happened in Wisconsin, and the tensions generated between the propositions and those who are not in favor, the stage is being set for a real party move.
PENNER: And just one more question to John, I'm putting you on the spot, but which party at this point seems better positioned to be able to take on this battle?
WARREN: It's all in the eye of the beholder.
ST. JOHN: But just in terms of hard facts, there are 40% in the registered voters in the city are Democrat, 28% are Republican. That's a pretty steep difference.
PENNER: That is, assuming people really do vote along party lines.
ST. JOHN: They don't have to.
ORR: And Republicans in the city have a good tradition of turning out their voters and getting them to the poll and getting their candidates elected. Look at the City Council races, Mark Kirsty ran unopposed, Scott Sherman ran district seven and run outright, and ray Ellis and sherry Leitner are in a runoff for district 1. But Ellis had 45% of the vote to her 41%. So he is arguably the leading candidate in that race. So the Republicans know how to mobilize and get people turned out to the pulls, which could make a difference. But I think it's worth noting that Bob Filner got a lot of criticism for running a lack luster campaign, not raising a lot of money, sitting back. But in the end, he was only 2†percentage points behind DeMaio. So I think he was a lot closer to DeMaio that people had been anticipating.
PENNER: And DeMaio was the energizer bunny in this campaign.
PENNER: And you're right. It was sort of a laid back Filner that we saw. The follow-up, do you think Filner can afford to continue that through November?
ORR: It's interesting. Through the whole primary he said I know what I'm doing, we're going to make it through. You guys keep saying I'm running a lackluster campaign. I've won, he keeps stating, 25 campaigns including primary elections. Now that it is set up to be a national -- on a national stage, I mean maybe he'll get more money from the Democratic Party, maybe he'll get more money from donors who otherwise donated to other candidates. I think he probably will step up his fundraising efforts. But so will DeMaio. DeMaio donated $700,000 of his own money to his campaign. I think it's going to be very extensive.
PENNER: Now, Katie mentioned that this is rising to the national level. Why would this race rise to national interest? Do you think it's linked to Proposition B? DeMaio was a big supporter of pension reform.
ST. JOHN: Well, I must say, I think the pension reform in some ways is the thing that is breaking the mold. There were only two reform initiatives about pensions on the California ballot this year. And one was in San Jose. And that one was really much less radical than San Diego's. It wasn't suggesting that you would give up public pensions and go to a 401K program. It was just tweaking the way people would contribute to their pensions. San Diego's initiative, the fact this is passed, and the legal battle that's going on, that's going to be of more interest to people across the country than the mayor's race. And Filner, leading up to November, he's going to have to figure out where he stands on this or make his case on the pension issue really powerfully. Because there is such a strong public feeling that pensions need to be reformed, for him to say he didn't support that initiative, he's going to have some explaining to do.
PENNER: Well, you just posed the next question for our listeners. Yes, there could be a big change in city employees receiving pensions. Could be eliminated except for a few segments. Would you approve of this?
WARREN: Three points. In terms of November, it's a presidential election year, and that's going to be a driving factor in getting more Democrats out, even though Republicans have a stronger track record. Second, Filner gave insight when he said he sees an opportunity for national involvement. He's thinking that in large part that he's going to experience what Scott walker experienced in terms of money coming in from outside of the state.
WARREN: The governor of Wisconsin. And the third point is that the labor cannot afford to sit back in terms of this because they have one defeat in terms of Wisconsin, they have a second defeat here in terms of Proposition A and B. And so to go into November without some kind of an active effort in terms of their 1†shot to influence the outcome of San Diego would be like the triple crown of defeat.
PENNER: Staying with that, critics say that the electorate skewed conservative in this election because there was no presidential election. How accurate is that?
WARREN: I think it's very accurate. As you went down the ballot, you looked under presidential, if you strained you could find Obama or Romney, or you could find Diane for Senate. But there was no attention focused in the direction of those campaigns. I do believe that Filner will not have to do as much defending in terms of this pension issue because the Court case is going to be on fast track. With the city attorney having been a judge, and with him seeking consalidation, and trying to move all of the obstacles that traditionally would hold this up and draw it out, that the Courts are going to give up more feedback than the candidates moving through this next phase.
PENNER: There are two quick points I really want to make. You mentioned the City Council, Katie. The Republicans that either are already elected or on their way to being elected all live north of Highway†8.
ORR: North of 8, and west of the 5, basically.
PENNER: Okay. So they're in a higher economic group.
ORR: Yeah, I think that is going to be -- that to me is very fascinating. All of the democratic districts are east of the 8. So Point Loma and OB are Kevin Faulconer Faulconer's district, west of the 5, and more affluent neighborhoods. With the exception basically of downtown, you have all of these maybe lower income, higher density neighborhoods all represented by Democrats. And the only minorities on the council are Democrats representing those areas. And all the districts to the north with the exception of district 1, because sherry Leitner is still a very viable candidate there. But it should be said that she has had to go to the right to accommodate her voters. She backed the pension reform initiative. She is -- and the unions do not like her because she do not always support them. She's definitely catering to the conservative voters up there. But it really does set up an interesting picture of San Diego. You have a clear dividing line down the middle of the city that separates politics, socioeconomic status, all of that. And I just think it's something that's pretty fascinating.
PENNER: One more question. Bob Filner says he does indeed have a plan that would help the city in terms of the cost of pensions. And his plan in part is to refinance pension debt. As you would refinance your home and go for a lower percentage of interest. Why doesn't that make huge sense, John?
WARREN: Well, it makes sense. But if you're in DeMaio's position, and you've done all of this work, and put out these blueprints and documents, you can't turn around and embrace Filner's idea thought because it's right.
[ LAUGHTER ]
ORR: And Filner points out the county uses pension obligation bonds. But DeMaio and them will say you're just pushing the problem down the road, kind of thing. We should deal with this now. Filner says you don't need legislation to do that. As mayor, he could cap the pensions and refinance it with these pension obligation bonds to make the payments lower. But again, I don't know how much that catches on with voters. Voters seem to be antipensions and they want them gone.
ST. JOHN: It's so interesting that the independent budget analyst suggested that the city isn't going to save very much with DeMaio's plan. And here we have Filner coming up with a plan that the county has already proved. But somehow the idea hasn't caught on yet.
PENNER: We have so much more to discuss. Coming up, we're going to be talking about the congressional races, and also those two statewide propositions, 28 and 29. And if you don't know what they are, you'll find out when we come back.
I'm Gloria Penner, and this is Midday Edition Roundtable. I'm with Alison St. John of KPBS, Katie Orr of KPBS, and John Warren of San Diego Voice and Viewpoint. And we are talking about what happened on Tuesday. That of course was election day. And somewhere around 30% of our registered voters went out to the polls. So I'm sure there's going to be even higher interest as we approach the November election. We talked about the mayor's race, Proposition B. Now let's talk a little bit about the congressional races. Democratic leaders are looking to convert those registration advantages that Democrats now have to votes. Let's start with the 52nd congressional. It's a newly drawn district, it extends from North County into La Jolla with Republican Brian Bilbray as the incumbent. And he got more than 40% of the vote. Do we know who his opposition will be at this point? Here we are noon on Friday, and that vote was taken on Tuesday night.
WARREN: Well, as of now, there are approximately 100,000 provisional ballots that have not been counted. As of today, Scott Peters is leading Lori SaldaÒa by 790 votes, and it's very close. I think he picked up 45 votes in terms of the last count.
PENNER: And both of them are Democrats.
WARREN: Both are Democrats. In terms of expenditures, she spent about $15 per vote, and he spent about $74. Having given to his campaign $125†million.
PENNER: And we really -- a lot of people are saying we already know who the winner is because this is a trend that Scott Peters is ahead by all of this. But there are still thousands of votes out to be counted.
WARREN: I think if it were any other situation, you could follow that statistical pattern that would normally project him as the outcome, as the winner. But remember, she's a former assembly member with name recognition, brand, if you will. Just as he's a former council member. So the recognition that they both maintain makes it somewhat difficult to project.
ST. JOHN: She was obviously thrilled on election night as how well she had done, considering the huge amounts of money that her democratic opponent had thrown into the race. And I think she feels like she made her point that she represents middle class, working families, and that part of the population was more impressed with her than someone who could throw $1.5†million into his own campaign.
PENNER: Which of the Democrats would be stronger against Bilbray?
ST. JOHN: We're sort of looking at a situation here that mirrors I thought the Republican primary at the national level. The Republicans didn't really all come -- fall in behind Mitt Romney, but they feel like he had the best chance against Obama. And in this case, you've got a district that is very marginally very Republican voters than Democrats. Just a couple of percentage points between. So you need someone who's not too far to the left or you're going to have a really hard time winning that district. So Ducheny, to her credit, has put herself over as somebody who really be represent the middle class and --
ST. JOHN: I beg your partner. Lori SaldaÒa did put herself over as somebody who is a traditional Democrat, yet she didn't get the Democratic Party endorsement. And I think that was because the party had a question in its mind about here in such an evenly divided district, would somebody like her have a good chance of defeating Bilbray?
WARREN: Well, I think people knew that Scott Peters had money. And they figured that he would be able to support his campaign. Brian on the other hand is playing up the fact that he's a former member of the Board of Supervisors, he's been in Congress for 12 years, he's born and raised, he comes from Coronado. He playing the homegrown piece. And yet Lori, having represented an assembly district, does have a broad range of appeal, and I think that it would be a good thing if she ended up being the candidate. I think it would not be an automatic win for Brian if she did.
ORR: And she got a lot of attention during this primary. Emily's list, the organization --
ST. JOHN: That's right.
ORR: That supports women candidates gave her a lot of support. That I must have judged she was someone with a credible shot after this seat. So --
ST. JOHN: Yeah, and the other thing is she may have more name recognition in the district. She did represent a lot of the people in that district in the assembly. And Peters of course is carrying the baggage of having been at the city when the pension crisis broke. Even though he's doing his best to spin it to make it that he was one of the ones on the City Council who solved the crisis, in some voters' minds that may be too much to bear.
WARREN: And his campaign came back to work against him. It worked against what's her name who ran for governor now?
[ LAUGHTER ]
WARREN: Meg Whitman. And historically, these people with too much money, with the exception of Bloomberg in New York don't do very well.
ST. JOHN: I guess what he was doing is saying I'm in this for real. And showing the Democratic Party, and anyone else who might choose to support him that he is going to commit all, including a lot of his own money to win this race. And I think that was a powerful gesture.
PENNER: How important do you think money is in winning these races? At this point, can we expect a deluge of dollars to support Bilbray in this leadup to the November election?
WARREN: I think Republicans would put a lot of money in because they want to keep control of the house. And Democrats want to gain control of the house. So they see this as a very important race. And that will probably be a greater driving factor than the individuals who are running.
ST. JOHN: Right.
ORR: I wonder with Filner being in the race for mayor, and him being on the national scene, he said that he has contacts in the Obama White House, and the White Houses before that. If we'll see more national political figures coming to San Diego to help him raise money, and if that will have a trickle-down effect for other candidates in the Democratic Party, or a counter balance from big-time Republicans coming as well. If the mayor's race takes a national stage, it might, you know, benefit all the candidates to have more money coming into the area.
PENNER: I want to go to the 51st congressional. And interestingly enough, Juan Vargas was opposed by Denise Ducheny, both high-ranking Democrats on the stateside. And yet amazingly, Vargas walked away with 45% of the vote, and Ducheny came in third. John, what happened there?
WARREN: Well, I think Vargas has a more favorable rating over the years with people than Denise does. He has stayed closer, No.†1. The fact that just in the past two or three years he had the race for the Senate seat, which he beat out Murray Salas by 20 or 30 votes. He has maintained a closer tie. Denise has some baggage. They consider the insurance industry baggage for Vargas. But he has the ability to pool the money, and the vote that Denise is not able to muster.
ST. JOHN: And the fact is that it's possible that Michael cremins, the Republican, came in second was a reflection of the fact that there are a lot of Republicans in that district, and they all just voted for him
ST. JOHN: But it is kind of hard to really explain why Denise came out so low. She has held office in this district before, and she has name recognition there. She was suggesting that possibly Vargas might have been doing some campaigning on behalf of her Republican opponent for the second place.
PENNER: I want to ask a more philosophical question, rather than a numbers question, Allison. Are the new primary rules where the top two vote getters make it to the November election in congressional races and statewide races, will that make for the election of responsive candidates?
ST. JOHN: Well, it's interesting, it doesn't seem to have worked that way so far, does it? Everybody was waiting to see will that mean we'll get more moderate candidates? Because Independents are able to vote now. When you look at the results, that doesn't seem to have been the case. I don't know what you feel, but --
WARREN: Well, it has -- again, I hate to sound like a broken record. But it has a lot to do with who you talk with. If for instance one of the two vote-getters is a libertarian or an independent, that's okay. As opposed to when they didn't have a chance to be taken seriously. I just feel you're going to have this mixture since it's the first time out. And I'm looking at the races and I see where there's a match-up between Democrat and Republican, Democrat and Republican. So that part of the process is working.
PENNER: Before I go to you, Katie, we have some listeners who have been waiting on the line for a while. And I want to hear what they have to say. Nicole from Pacific Beach. You're on with the panel.
NEW SPEAKER: I just want to make a comment about the Peters/SaldaÒa race. There were other factors at play. Lori SaldaÒa has managed to antagonize a lot of the activist democratic women because of her personality issues. One thing that's noteworthy was that almost all of the elected officials with one or two exceptions endorsed Scott. All of the people who worked in the legislature with Lori SaldaÒa endorsed Scott. And it was mainly because Lori is just impossible to work with.
PENNER: Okay, well --
ST. JOHN: But she did get the endorsement of Emily's list, which suggests that she appealed to some women's groups.
PENNER: Did any of you hear about SaldaÒa being a difficult person to work with?
WARREN: Again, I think that's an issue of who you talk with. Of while she was in the assembly, she did champion some very progressive issues, and more conservative elements didn't appreciate that. The so we might have a backlash from that period.
PENNER: That may be Nicole's opinion. People hold there'll opinions --
ST. JOHN: I haven't heard that, to be honest.
PENNER: I haven't either, really. Let's take another call before we run into those propositions, 28 and 29. David from San Diego.
NEW SPEAKER: I have a comment about what you were talking about, dealing with how important money in races.
NEW SPEAKER: And I think that the Lori SaldaÒa, Scott Peters race is a perfect example of how, yes, you can spend money, but when you spend $75 per vote and only get a 700 point lead, that money is not spent effectively, and the people can definitely see right through that.
WARREN: Oh, I would agree. The only situation I know of where people have been successful in buying vote was Rockefeller when he was running for governor of West Virginia. Outside of that kind of a national spectrum, I think people will definitely begin to be concerned because they were aware of Peters' wealth, and there were some issues surrounding him when he was on the City Council in reference to the use of water and the concern about conservation.
PENNER: His personal use?
WARREN: His personal use in terms of his home, and was he just flagrantly throwing that out there because he could afford to?
PENNER: Do you think that's going to come up in the general election? You think bill pray is going to bring up Peters' use of water in his home?
WARREN: I think everything is going to come up in the general election.
[ LAUGHTER ]
PENNER: You did mention -- I need to get to 28 and 29. Whether money can really buy an location. Of in the case of Proposition 29, to add a dollar to cigarette tax, at this point we don't know whether it's winning or losing. The vote is so close. But we do know that a lot of money was spent by the tobacco companies to oppose it. Is that what might defeat Proposition 29?
WARREN: Well, it's the manner in which they moved on opposing it. The they ran the kind of commercials that said, well, yes, this is for cancer, but there is no control, and there's no control over salary. So it was the type of ads that they ran against the proposition that weakened the support for it, I believe.
PENNER: So Katie, does that not tell us about the power of advertising?
ORR: Oh, yeah, absolutely.
PENNER: And you need money to advertise?
ORR: Yeah, and I had -- I saw, I believe it was on Monday before the election, a group sent out an analysis of where the money was coming from. And the second -- in the campaign to oppose Prop 29, North Carolina had spent, like, sent a significant amount of money to the campaign to oppose it. So I imagine maybe that's where the that bocko companies are. It was interesting because they were drawing money from all across the country. California certainly had a big role in the spending. But you saw, yeah, North Carolina was there, also Georgia spent a lot of money in favor of it, which I don't understand. But --
WARREN: CDC is in Georgia.
ORR: Oh, yeah.
ST. JOHN: It might have gotten more money if it was going to help out the state budget. Voters are thinking it's not going to go into the general fund. So maybe this advertising says, bal -- ballot box budgeting is unpopular.
PENNER: So do you think this close vote indicates that the involvement. Tobacco companies doesn't seem to bother the voters?
ST. JOHN: I guess maybe voters were just unaware of where all the funding for these ads were coming from, and they saw the ads and were convinced.
WARREN: And I like the ads sponsored by R. J Reynolds or Philip Morris, the ads were run so you saw doctors standing there, researchers, all of these people who were concerned like you about cancer but were worried that the money wouldn't get to their projects. And I think it was a very smart move.
ORR: I wonder too, and pure conjecture here, but there are so many regulations on smokers now, right? You can't smoke in buildings, you can't smoke in a lot of parks, you can't smoke in restaurants. I wonder if there is some backlash against all those regulations saying listen, thought because people smoke doesn't mean they're evil people.
ST. JOHN: Enough!
ORR: Exactly. I don't know how much that played into it. But I wonder if that was behind some people's thinking am
PENNER: Great, that you feel discussion. And we're not going to have time to go into Proposition 28 and whether we're going to see that term limits is on its way out. Just yes or no.
WARREN: I think yes. I think people are seeing that there is a loss of institutional memory, which plays a great role.
PENNER: Thank you very much.
PENNER: I'm Gloria Penner, and this is Midday Edition Roundtable. We're doing an analysis of the vote that happened on Tuesday right here in San Diego. And it's really interesting. So many elements involved. We're turning to two more elements, one of them a very competitive race for third district supervisor. Supervisors are very powerful people in San Diego. They control a great deal of San Diego's health, welfare, and they touch you in many ways. So it's an important race. We're going to just touch on a race that's terribly superintendent to some people who live in mobile home parks. Alison, proposition E was rent control for the parks in Oceanside. It was soundly defeated by Oceanside's voters. What motivated Proposition E in the first place?
ST. JOHN: Well, that's a good question, Gloria. It was basically the fact that of the City Council, a couple members of the City Council, had supported this initiative to gradually phase out rent control. And they passed an ordinance to that effect. And immediately the whole constituency of people who support the people in the mobile home parks rose up and collected 15,000 signatures to put it on the ballot. So it's been an extremely emotional issue. You see people out on the streets. I've received dozens of leaflets. And the money that was put into it was considerable too. Of the park owners poured in $300,000. Five times as much, of course, as the people who own the homes in the parks were able to contribute. So it was a real David and Goliath battle. So it's quite surprising that in the end, 65% of the vote came out to defeat the thing.
PENNER: But three of the five members of the City Council of Oceanside were in favor of it. How could they misread the public like that?
ST. JOHN: Oceanside is an interesting town. And it's constantly veering from one side to the other. You've got a 5-person City Council, and there's always 3-2, and it changes every couple of years from one side to the other. Other cities around North County have more stability in their political match-up. Oceanside is really fighting for its identity. And in some ways, the more probusiness majority that is the current majority on the council was thinking, okay, this is it. We're going to change the rules because the other initiative on the ballot would have changed the charter. And we're going to start putting things that are pro business, and they believed that they would win, that that was the trend in Oceanside. But it doesn't appear to have been borne out.
PENNER: One more question on this. I think that you really hit it on the head in terms of it being a business issue. How punitive is rent control to the owners of mobile parks?
ST. JOHN: Well, they do not have to by law declare their profits, unless they're in a lawsuit. There was one park that was in a lawsuit, and I was told that it was revealed that they were making 61% profit. Of it's hard to tell because some of those parks are beautifully maintained, and others are very rundown. And the only people who were out front to speak in favor of this, the park owner, was pretty much one woman who I felt she was sort of a fig leaf there who was part of a family-owned mobile home park, and she argued my dad opened this park, and he doesn't have the money to keep it upgraded to keep the sewer and the water and everything upgraded, and we want to be able to keep our parks in a better state. So we need more money now. Of
PENNER: So John, this is about personal stories, especially when you think about who tends to live in mobile home parks. Not to stereotype people, but it tends to be older adults who want to have their own home but really can't afford a usual single unit that don't want to live in a condo.
WARREN: There are some very beautiful, Emaculately kept mobile home parks. And they tend to be islands unto themselves. So they don't draw outside support, outside of their gates, if you will, in terms of support in a community. And that makes it even more difficult, because the owners pool together, and they've made their influence known as we've seen, mentioned Santee as well as Oceanside. They've come together. And I think there's a fear now that the next move is going to be one to move toward converting them to condos, and that that condo ownership will force out probably 95% of existing populations just because they won't be able to make the adjustment.
PENNER: That allows us to come up with an interesting question for our listeners. If mobile home park owners are not incentivized to stay in the business, what is this going to mean to people who want to live in them? Let's go over to that supervisor's race. It had the most surprising result perhaps in the county. Pam Slater price is going to retire, and the seat is open now for the first time in many years. Why did voters go for Bilbray's chief of staff, Steve Danon, and Solana beach deputy mayor Dave Roberts, and not for Del Mar mayor Carl Hilliard?
ST. JOHN: Well, I think Hilliard is asking that because he threw in a couple hundred thousand dollars of his own money. The thing is that Steve Danon has been running for about three years, and collecting money and endorsements. And until early this spring, he thought he might be the only candidate running. He got a huge head start. Nobody was surprised that he came in first. What people were surprised at was how close Dave Roberts came in behind him. Just a couple of percentage points behind him. And Dave Roberts of course is the Democrat. You could argue that one of the reasons rob thors same so close was because Carl Hilliard, another Republican, took away votes from Steve Danon, and they split the Republican vote in that district. The other two got 33 and 31% between them. It looks like -- what basically it's set up now is we've got a Republican and a Democrat. But the interesting thing is, I think that district is 31% Democrat, and 38% Republican. So Dave Robert, who's the Democrat, got 31%. And when you add up --
PENNER: Meaning it sounds like all the Democrats --
ST. JOHN: Just went and voted for him. And Danon and Hilliard got 53% between them. So you have to wonder did the independents just vote Republican?
PENNER: Or maybe they didn't vote. We have no way of knowing, do we?
ST. JOHN: That's right. But it's going to be interesting to see whether a Democrat can make any headway in a predominantly Republican district for a board that has been Republican for 25 years.
PENNER: John and then Katie. Are you an independent, and did you vote in this election? I'd really like to know that. I've just speculated that maybe the independents didn't vote.
WARREN: It's very significant that all the members of the board are Republican, and that Diane -- I mean that Pam Slater price reached across party lines and endorsed Roberts in this open primary. And I think that becomes a very significant move going into November. Perhaps those other people will get involved and vote likewise.
PENNER: Why do you think she would step away from her own party?
WARREN: I think she might have been upset about the redrawing of the boundaries and the manner in which she was treated ten years ago when they did the same thing. I think there was a little bit of revenge in that that's just my observation.
PENNER: Supervisors are human, aren't they?
ST. JOHN: She does have a more pro environmental approach to life than I think the rest of the board, and proculture. So Dave Roberts does represent more the quality of life, and the environment, and reflects her values much more than Steve Danon does.
ORR: I just wonder, we've seen this before where a Democrat goes up against one of the Republican supervisors, and it seems they never win. I guess this is different because you don't have an incumbent running. But do you think realistically that Dave Roberts has a shot at this? It seems like all the votes campaigned for both candidates go toward Danon, he seemed like a shoe-in.
ST. JOHN: Well, no, I think he does have a shot. I think it's an uphill battle, but I think it's definitely worth watching. It's not a clean cut, predictable solution. I was just looking at the last-minute campaign contributions of both of them, and right before the election, Danon got $30,000 from the national association of realtors in Chicago, and Roberts got $28,000 from the Pala band of mission Indians.
PENNER: The Indians gave --
ST. JOHN: Dave Roberts.
PENNER: Roberts money, and the realtors gave --
ST. JOHN: Yeah, so it sort of sets up land use. Even though they don't actually represent a lot of the back country, that is one of the things that the supervisors do control, land use in the incorporated areas so much it's hard to say. But the BIA has supported Danon, and --
PENNER: That's the --
ST. JOHN: The building industry association. So more growth it electrics like is what Danon will be supporting.
WARREN: We have a master plan for the county that developers would like to see amended so that the parcels could be broken down, and they could do more development. Any change in the Board of Supervisors offers an opportunity to once again attack that issue that that I failed at so far.
PENNER: Where does it stand now, John? Do you know? Do we have a sense of where the board is going on this?
WARREN: The plan was approved about a year ago.
PENNER: To make the lots smaller?
ST. JOHN: To shift density toward the cities.
WARREN: Density away from the back country. Everything is toward protecting the back country.
ORR: I think it's interesting that again and again we talk about the changing demographics, and the growing democratic presence in the city and the county. Yet when it comes down to it, does it make a difference? It's not like the Democrats are blowing out any of these races or anything. I think it comes down to turnout. If it's really going to make a difference, the Democrats have to do a better job of getting those people to the polls and really mobilizing. Because we can talk about changing demographics all we want, but if they don't vote --
WARREN: Presidential election year, great vote turnout for November
ST. JOHN: And I think everyone thought there would be a higher Republican turnout for this June election because of the Republican primary.
WARREN: Let's not be too hard on San Diego. We got 27%. LA was down to 17% in terms of voter turnout.
PENNER: Why would that be?
WARREN: I think the people were not -- they weren't energized in terms of the choices on the ballot.
ST. JOHN: The mayor's race was such a hot button issue here.
PENNER: How much does this have to do with voting patterns? Some groups simply don't vote.
ORR: I think that's interesting. Yeah, the political scientist I spoke to told you time and again, in primaries, it's Republicans that turn out. If the Democrats turn out, it's because they are hardcore party supporters. And Nathan Fletcher's campaign was saying no, no, no, it's an open primary. It's going to be different this time. We think the voters are there. And then he certainly had a good showing. He got 24% of the vote. That's nothing to laugh at. But in the end, those patterns seem to hold steady.
ST. JOHN: Just one of the things that Dave Roberts, who is the Democrat, I've noticed when he's campaigning, he very much does not stress the fact that he's a Democrat. That's not what he's running on. And he needs to not run on that because there's a number of registered Republicans in the district. Over these last 25 years, since they have had a Democrat on the Board of Supervisors, they're very fiscally conservative. But social services, services for the indiggent, have not faired well in San Diego. We're one of the lowest in food stamps access, that kind of thing. So to have somebody with a different set of values on that board, if he can make a point to the voters that it will make a difference and that they should care about it, then he stands a chance.
WARREN: Remember, we have term limits now for the Board of Supervisors of the that's going to make a difference too in the future.
PENNER: Absolutely. So whoever comes in now is under the new term limits? What is the most important thing in your mind that this election could tell us or do for San Diego?
WARREN: Energize voter turnout once again. Get people excited enough to come back to the polls.
ORR: I think that's it. I think it's all about voter turnout, and appealing to the moderates. DeMaio and Filner are both seen on extreme ends of the spectrum, they're really going to have to appeal to moderate voters if they want to win.
ST. JOHN: And it's going to be interesting to see how much people shift their positions and compromise their positions in order to do that.
PENNER: Well, we will be watching. Thanks to our listeners and to our callers. I'm Gloria Penner.