Thursday, May 29, 2008
I grew up in a Brooklyn apartment with a gaggle of relatives, all of whom were passionate about professional baseball and politics. We were uncompromising and vigorous about which team we loved and which political party and candidate deserved our support. And the best part was that we never did reach compromise and we expressed our disagreements loudly and often dramatically with waving arms and stomping feet. The teams about which we struggled were the Brooklyn Dodgers ("dem bums"), the ("high-falutin'") New York Yankees, and the cruel, cold New York Giants. There were even more political parties than local ball clubs in contention including, but not limited to, the Republicans, Democrats, the Socialist Workers Party , The Farm Labor Party , and the Communists . It was indeed a time of political tempestuousness married to baseball frenzy.
Now here we are decades later and 3000 miles away, and once again, I'm feeling an echo of that former time. True, the Padres are not inspiring anything resembling baseball passion these days. But, oh, our candidates - and I'm talking local. The Clinton-Obama dust-up becomes remote when you think about whether the mayor or the president will have a greater effect on your life. After all, the president can't influence whether the pothole in front of your property will be repaired.
So, congratulations to San Diego's candidates who are engaged in closely-contested races, close enough to get our voter-blood flowing a bit faster these days. At the risk of treading on a few campaign workers and supporter sensitivities, here are some really competitive contests :
- Mayor Jerry Sanders and Steve Francis for San Diego mayor
- City Attorney Mike Aguirre and City Council President Scott Peters for city attorney
- Sherri Lightner and Marshall Merrifield in District 1 (Phil Thalheimer has gone extreme with the number and tenor of his direct mail pieces)
- Stephen Whitburn (endorsed by Congressmember Bob Filner) and Todd Gloria (endorsed by Congressmember Susan Davis) in District 3
- April Boling and Marti Emerald in District 7
There are endorsements, news reports, blogs, and, best of all, kitchen-table and water-cooler conversations about these candidates, and some of those arguments are really loud and dramatic. Reminds me of my childhood.