- Photo illustration by John R. Lamb
"A hypocrite is the kind of politician who would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation."
The rich and powerful in San Diego who have despised departing Mayor Bob Filner seemingly since he sported diapers are making no secret that lady-frettin' time is over. Getting back to gift-wrapping pet projects for the wealthy is the new (read: old) focus du jour.
Now, Spin isn't saying San Diego's become a seething cauldron of hypocrisy and feigned outrage so that a few fat-cat elderberries can heap yet more booty into their already-bursting valises.
Our entertaining little corner of the world has witnessed more jockeying in the last few days than Del Mar has seen all pony season. We've been whipped into such numbness by endless calls for "healing," "unity" and other such self-help-book blather from armchair mayors that it appears they think we all need therapy.
But do these folks really care about our collective well-being, or are they simply opportunists trying to grab the brass ring of power for themselves?
Before we go stomping all over the few good things that emerged from the nearly nine-month saga that was the Filner Era, let's take a deep breath, get centered and—just for fun!—figure out where we stand.
The local GOP chairman's call for unity: Did you catch it? Yeah, it sped by like a shooting star, but there was a brief time in the social-media world when the county's psychotically partisan Republican Party chairman, Tony Krvaric, appeared to be channeling Dr. Phil.
Aug. 20, early in the recall drive to oust Filner, seemed a particularly rich day for Kumbaya Krvaric.
"Thank God there are plenty of regular San Diegans whose focus is the #Filner recall and NOT on playing games or speculating who may benefit," the chairman tweeted.
But in an email only days later to his Republican flock, Krvaric sounded more like the bombastic partisan hack we've all grown to love and ridicule.
"So Bob Filner is GONE! Good riddance!" the chairman who would make Joe McCarthy proud starts off in the Aug. 23 missive. "We have a MASSIVE opportunity to win the mayor's race as Republicans. DO NOT LET ANYONE TELL YOU ANY DIFFERENT. This electorate will be the EXACT OPPOSITE of the one that showed up in November of last year. San Diego is desperate for steady, pragmatic and fiscally prudent Republican leadership."
Krvaric then proceeds to alert his disciples that it would please him mightily "if we can all unite behind ONE Republican." He said efforts were under way to make that a reality (queue the "thanks but no thanks, wannabe mayor Kevin Faulconer" music).
"If it can't be done, it can't be done, but we must try," he wrote. "This isn't about personalities or whose turn it is but about winning the mayor's seat, period."
(Note to populace: Next time Krvaric tells you he's concerned about the plight of women in the workplace or calls for nonpartisan unity for a better tomorrow, keep in mind what Krvaric said: Winning is everything.)
He then devotes a paragraph to the man he loves to hate most, former Republican-turned-independent-now-Democrat Nathan Fletcher, who's already thrown his marathon visor into the burgeoning mayor's race.
"Nathan Fletcher is an unprincipled politician who will say, do and promise ANYTHING to get elected," Krvaric grumbled. "It's really pathetic to watch a man sell out like that. He is now a registered Democrat who toes the union line. Rest assured we will expose him for the political shape shifter that he is."
The problem with that statement is, it's nowhere apparent that Fletcher will be labor's pick, at least initially. In fact, there's some speculation that local labor leaders are seeking to recruit City Councilmember Marti Emerald to take a stab at the Mayor's office, and colleague David Alvarez is said to be mulling a possible run, as well.
And if Republicans really want only one candidate at the end of the day—presumably the latest incarnation of Carl DeMaio—in what will likely be a packed primary race in November, then it sounds eerily reminiscent of last November's general, when Filner bested DeMaio in the hunt for disillusioned supporters of other candidates.
Bottom line: Keep talking, Krvaric. You are the progressive movement's best hope for keeping the dream alive!
Old is new again: Meanwhile over at the plantation, Doug "Daddy Warbucks" Manchester is likely operating these days without the need for little blue pills. The U-T San Diego publisher must be as excited as a schoolgirl, knowing the mayor he loathes is heading out the door.
Up until Friday, readers of the mainstream daily may have had the sense that the paper's owner truly cared about the alleged victims of Filner's unwanted attention. But as soon as Filner ended his farewell speech before the City Council Friday, it was like someone hit a light switch.
Suddenly, the conversation on its editorial pages turned to non-women issues, like (where have we heard this before?) managed competition, the convention-center expansion, a new City Hall, dusting off billionaire Irwin Jacobs' Balboa Park makeover plan, a new Chargers stadium and on and on.
As über-wealthy Downtown land baron Malin Burnham wrote even before Filner's administration drew its last breath, "Community before self." Problem is, everything he wrote before that concluding line read like a how-to guide for refocusing the city's energy back Downtown, away from Filner's pledge of "Neighborhoods first."
Here's the deal, old San Diego: You'll have to convince voters that it was the mission, not the mission's creep, that doomed Filner's mayoral tenure. That'll be a high bar to leap, considering that the conversation up until now was about Filner's bad behavior with women, not bad policy. Or have you already forgotten that?