- Illustration by Adam Vieyra
“History is mostly guessing; the rest is prejudice.”
Here’s some fiction for you: In the wildest ending to the wackiest campaign in San Diego mayoral history, Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner finished in a dead heat, and they’ve agreed to share the job—and a desk.
Sporting the biggest smile anyone could recall since he began running for mayor 25 years ago at age 13, DeMaio exalted to the bipartisan crowd, “I’m humbled, truly honored, to be standing here alongside Congressma—oops!—make that CO- MAYOR Bob Filner! Yes, it’s a dream come true! Real bipartisanship!! Hahahahaaaahaaahaahhhhaaa! Am dizzy. Feeling weak.” CRASH!
Filner moved swiftly to the microphone just as DeMaio hit the ground. (Exhaustion, the DeMaio camp would later say.) The heavy screech of feedback shattered all eardrums in a 10-mile range.
“Is this thing on?” Filner asked. (Tap tap.) A collective scream pierced the atmosphere, for the amplified knuckle raps had summoned The Rapture.
No, dear reader, Spin Cycle is forever bound to the nonfiction realm, where real people often do really strange things in the daily pursuit of power and prestige. Sometimes, unfortunately, they just don’t do those things in time for this publication’s weekly deadline. It’s just the way it is. No gripes, no feelings of inadequacy.
So, it’s Tuesday morning. Spin’s sporting his “Yo Voté” sticker already after dropping by the neighborhood nursing home to fill in the bubbles. Spin is an in-person voter. He likes to see the excited faces of voters, rub elbows with fellow democracy enthusiasts and get his sticker.
Back at Spin headquarters, the local-television early risers are already noting that the two San Diego mayoral hopefuls have cast their votes. So, at least it appears that both can operate a pen in the morning hours, an important skill for any civic leader.
With deadline fast approaching, Spin Cycle wishes he could see the future, not years ahead but simply a matter of hours (OK, in some races, maybe days). Hmm, maybe there is a way to do this. Presenting the multichoice Spin column. Just circle the correct answer and—voila!—yesterday’s words made relevant today!
Filner / DeMaio wins! / still awaiting results: Well, the voting is (over / still being tabulated), and it looks like (Bob Filner / Carl DeMaio / Who knows?) will be our next mayor!
In a campaign that dragged on as long as the Ice Age and left similar devastation, the key to the victory of (Filner / DeMaio) seemed to come down to the effectiveness of their (focused message / negative ads) with voters, who turned out on Election Day in (droves / trickles).
“I’m humbled by your (acceptance / rejection) of my own, personal, I-was-first clarion call for pension reform and getting back to (city basics / Doug Manchester’s agenda),” a (gleeful / somber / robotic) DeMaio told the (overflow / waitstaff-only) crowd at the posh U.S. Grant Hotel.
“You folks really love me!” a (jubilant / tearful) Filner proclaimed (earlier / later) during his (acceptance / concession) speech before a delirious crowd chanting (“A NEW DAY DAWNS!” / ”BARTENDER! ’NOTHER ROUND!! Get me shi—*hic*—t-faced”).
Local-television talking heads and pundits breathlessly dissected with blunt objects the significance of the (Filner / DeMaio) victory, particularly in light of the City-Council-majority-determining win squeaked out by (incumbent Sherri Lightner / challenger Ray Ellis).
For City Hall observers, the (Ellis / Lightner) victory means that (Republicans / Democrats) will control the (thoughts / direction) of the legislative arm of local city government by a 5-4 margin (despite a new six-vote mayoral veto requirement), much to the (orgasmic joy / deflating chagrin) of self-anointed (civic cheerleader / media vacuum / Trumpian blowhole) Manchester, who would like to see his side job of building (over-the-top hotels / phallic office buildings / DeMaio’s new City Hall digs a floor below his) pick up again.
For the hotelier-turned-mediabaron Manchester, the win by (DeMaio / Filner) means total (control / irrelevance) in determining where San Diego goes from here, just a few short (years / days) removed from a time when the laughingstock label of (“Enron-by-the-Sea” / ”America’s Sudsiest City”) was bestowed upon this city by the (venerable New York Times / clocked-out, beerdreamin’ Mayor Jerry Sanders).
Manchester—a ballsy, goes-to-11, one-man San Diego juggling act for decades—is known to don a gee-shucks, dirt-kickin’ persona from time to time when it serves his purpose, like when he refers to his “room-temperature IQ.”
But don’t buy it. He’s as sharp as his choice of (apparel / Playmate dates).
And this man—who insists on a familial nickname that Spin refuses to acknowledge due to its narcissistic ridiculousness—is no (wallflower / publisher) when it comes to his (opinion / editorial demands) for the growing legion of (journalists / Kool-Aid drinkers) under his considerable (business / ego)-driven belt.
After all, Manchester views himself as the (Artful Dodger/Al Capone) to Mayor-elect (DeMaio / Filner)’s (Oliver Twist / Eliot Ness). A smooth operator himself—just ask (him / “the ladies”)—Manchester may have played a role as well in the transformation of DeMaio from bombastic ideologue with cash and access to a print shop to the Eddie Haskell of San Diego politics. (Eddie: “Wally, if your dumb brother tags along, I’m gonna—oh, good afternoon, Mrs. Cleaver. I was just telling Wallace how pleasant it would be for Theodore to accompany us to the movies.”)
“The dream shall never die,” an (aroused / inconsolable) Manchester told reporters from his Hugh Hefner-influenced cabaña—affectionately dubbed “Papa’s Chillin’ Chamber”—somewhere near Del Mar. “I can’t wait to (call and deliver activation code / lose the number) to Mayor-elect (DeMaio / Filner). Now go away, I have endowed houseguests arriving any minute and am wasting time away from the hyperbaric chamber! Guards!”
At local Republican Party headquarters, Chairman Tony Krvaric was seen lining up aborted cigar butts on a conference table, asking the assembled thumb-like tobacco stumps, “You’re still my friends, right? You’ll still vote for me for chairman next year, right? Yes. Yes, you will, my pretties.”
Pulled by reporters from his trance, Krvaric said he was (personally responsible for / dreading) the coming four years under the mayorship of (DeMaio / Filner). Asked if his (prickly personality / bitter partisanship / obsessive name-calling) was to blame for the shrinking Republican Party base in San Diego, Krvaric merely snickered and mumbled repeatedly, “I’m just a volunteer. Just a volunteer.”
In the end, it was expected that the big winners were the local media outlets flush with a good chunk of the estimated $13 million spent just on the mayor’s race in a blizzard of (TV / radio / print / Internet) advertising that has finally ceased. Hallelujah!