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In The Pocket: The Price of Getting Elected Mayor Of San Diego

It's now two weeks until the special San Diego mayoral election on Feb. 11. Are you feeling winded yet?

According to some polls, the race is getting tighter. And according to some close watchers of political maneuvering, it's getting more combative.

While councilman and Democratic candidate David Alvarez focused in on women’s rights this past weekend, and gun control on Tuesday, Republican candidate and councilman Kevin Faulconer hammered hard against large sums of money being provided to his opponent by organized labor unions.

Unions are channeling a lot of cash toward Alvarez’s bid to become the second Democratic mayor of San Diego in more than 20 years. Organized labor has provided just less than 85 percent of the cash pointed towards getting Alvarez elected. But Faulconer has accused unions of “trying to buy this election.”

Mesa College political scientist Carl Luna said that charge is a tad bit disingenuous. Luna doesn’t dispute the numbers, but he says “if you take a look at Mr. Faulconer’s funding, even though he gets it from lots of different people, he gets a disproportionate share from business-oriented interests.”

So why is it easier to pin Alvarez under the thumb of influence? According to Luna, “it is just that there are more businesses to contribute than labor unions per se. So that sort of skews the debate.”

Basically Luna said it is a case of the pot calling the kettle … up for sale. It is politics after all and everyone is funded by something and someone.

It is worth noting that labor money isn’t going directly into Alvarez’s coffers. Instead, it is financing political action committees set up to help with election efforts.

Luna said that is the real issue on which to skewer Alvarez.

“I actually think a bigger point Mr. Faulconer could raise is that the money that is being received from Mr. Alvarez from labor unions is in the form of independent expenditures,” he said.

Luna said part of that is because of campaign contribution limits, but he feels there is more to the story.

“Part of it seems to me to be that they (the unions) feel he can’t run the campaign as well as they might. It’s like they are buying him the car, but not letting him drive it,” Luna said.

So maybe not buying him off, but buying him wheels?

But that is a simplification of both candidates, even according Luna's calculations. Both might be funded by disparate groups but the gears of politics are always greased by cash.

It is how the candidates' narratives emerge from messy politics of a short and negative election that will add up in the end.

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Avatar for user 'rrichardscot'

rrichardscot | January 29, 2014 at 3:28 p.m. ― 3 years ago

When one looks at the size and number of direct mail pieces sent by the Lincoln club and other business supporters of Faulconer it is indeed the pot calling the kettle .... In terms who is spending the most money.

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Avatar for user 'CaliforniaDefender'

CaliforniaDefender | January 29, 2014 at 4:54 p.m. ― 3 years ago

“Part of it seems to me to be that they (the unions) feel he can’t run the campaign as well as they might. It’s like they are buying him the car, but not letting him drive it,” Luna said.


So the union bosses are driving and Alvarez will be a backseat mayor.

That is an open door for more corruption.

San Diego can't suffer through more corruption after Filner. Please no more!

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Avatar for user 'Missionaccomplished'

Missionaccomplished | January 29, 2014 at 6:39 p.m. ― 3 years ago

Totally agree, Scott. Just look who spent more at the 2012 presidential race!

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Avatar for user 'lderman'

lderman | January 29, 2014 at 8:01 p.m. ― 3 years ago

This is the reason why the best qualified candidate - Todd Gloria did not run for Mayor. He did not have the big labor in his pockets. With this upcoming election either way we're going to get another "Filthy Filner". Hopefully Mr. Gloria will stick around for the next election. I'm still writing in his name at the ballot.

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Avatar for user 'Peking_Duck_SD'

Peking_Duck_SD | January 29, 2014 at 8:23 p.m. ― 3 years ago

"So the union bosses are driving and Alvarez will be a backseat mayor."

And one can argue the Lincoln Club funded by big business tycoons, including San Diego's own Mr. Dithers (Manchester) will be driving and Faulconer, if elected which I don't think will happen, will be in the backseat.

Let's be fair, those who pay don't do it for free and it works that way on both sides. Will Alvarez be favorable to unions if he wins? Yeah I'm sure he will.

And Faulconer will be favorable to the Lincoln Club benefactors.

The thing that scares me though, Manchester already has supreme control over our city's largest print media outlet, and if Faulconer wins he will have a direct pipeline of influence into the mayors office.

One very rich, very partisan man with control of our largest media outlet AND city hall!?

That is a VERY SCARY prospect!!!!!

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Avatar for user 'RegularChristian'

RegularChristian | January 30, 2014 at 8:06 a.m. ― 3 years ago

Well said.

The rich just shouldn't be in positions of power. The middle class should be in charge of the public good.

This. of course, is an oversimplification to point out the difference between a plutocracy and a democracy.

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