In honor of former staff writer Dave Maass, who left CityBeat this year for the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, we're resurrecting his Turds & Blossoms idea as a way of assessing 2013 in local politics. The year was really about Bob Filner, but not only because of his personal implosion; his downfall created a ripple effect for several other San Diego politicians. Let's get to it:
Bob Filner: The first modern-era progressive mayor of San Diego put the city, and his own political legacy, in a creepy headlock and eventually cut a deal with prosecutors that ended his career. He gets 1,000 turds for every woman he's ever skeeved, which means his total poop count is incalculable.
Donna Frye: Along with attorneys Marco Gonzalez and Cory Briggs, former San Diego City Councilmember Frye set Filner's downfall in motion with a call for his resignation in July, and most San Diegans will be forever grateful. We lavish Frye with 117 magnolias—one of her favorite flowers—for every day she had to work in the Mayor's office.
Nathan Fletcher: After his unsuccessful but exhilarating bid for mayor in 2012, Fletcher became a Democrat and was well-positioned for 2016, but then Filner crapped all over that plan, forcing Fletcher to run again before his new political identity could ripen, and his vague campaign couldn't withstand the fire he took from all sides. After his defeat in November, he announced he was leaving politics. Fletcher earns three turds, one for each percentage point he finished behind David Alvarez for a spot in the February runoff.
David Alvarez: The youthful, liberal City Council member waited to make sure Frye wouldn't run for mayor and then jumped in. No one thought he had a chance against Fletcher, but with the help of labor and conservative business interests that were afraid of Fletcher, he finished second in November and now has a chance to be San Diego's first Latino mayor. He also brokered a deal between Filner and tourism officials, was quick to call for Filner to resign and shepherded a new community plan for Barrio Logan to passage. We deliver 65 native San Diego sunflowers to Alvarez, one for every 1,000 votes he received.
Kevin Faulconer: The year's luckiest pol was Faulconer, who didn't run for mayor in 2012 because he had no chance and became the Republican golden boy by default in 2013 when a GOP cabal voted Carl DeMaio off of Mayor Island. With everyone's attention on Fletcher, Faulconer got a free ride in the primary election and emerged in first place. For being so fortunate, he gets 42 fistfuls of flowering clover, one for every percentage point he received in the election.
Carl DeMaio: Runner-up to Filner in 2012, DeMaio announced his campaign for Congress but then was widely expected to switch to the mayor's race after Filner went down. However, when a bunch of muckety-muck Republicans met to decide who would be their candidate, former mayor and Faulconer backer Jerry Sanders' forces bested U-T San Diego publisher and DeMaio supporter Doug Manchester. DeMaio had to quash his mayoral ambitions and keep his campaign anchored in the 52nd Congressional District. That's why he gets 52 toilet floaters.
Jerry Sanders: For starting a lucrative new job at the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and getting his horse in the mayor's race, we hand him three carnations, one for every $100,000 he reportedly pockets every year in his new gig.
Todd Gloria: The biggest beneficiary of the Filner scandal in 2013 was Gloria, the City Council president who managed the unprecedented feat of leading both the legislative and executive branches of San Diego government when he became interim mayor. Though it's reasonable to criticize Gloria for overstepping his placeholder, unelected (as mayor) status, we'll let him off the hook because of his recent affirmative swing votes on some big issues for us progressives. We're planting a single lilac in each of his two gardens.
Myrtle Cole: We reluctantly give blossoms to Cole for winning a crowded race to replace Tony Young in San Diego City Council District 4—reluctantly because she did it with sickening, false attacks on opponent Dwayne Crenshaw. But, we can suffocate those flowers with a wheelbarrow full of doo-doo for her reluctance to call for Filner's resignation.
Mark Kersey: The San Diego City Council member from District 5 gets a bouquet of roadside poppies for largely staying above the political fray while keeping his focus on what lots of city residents care most about: fixing the public infrastructure.
Toni Atkins: For Atkins, 2013 was her first full year as majority leader in the state Assembly, and she's impressed enough influential people that she's now the frontrunner to be named speaker of the Assembly, one of the two most powerful positions in the state Legislature, next summer. For her boldness and increasing political mojo, we bestow her with 80 bold dahlias, one for every member of the Assembly that would be under her rule if she's named speaker.
Darrell Issa: Benghazi and the IRS—two "scandals" that Congressmember Issa tried to trump up in order to damage Barack Obama's presidency. Issa's misleading claims about Benghazi, in particular, earned him a place on the Washington Post's list of "The biggest Pinocchios of 2013." We'll just leave two steaming piles of poo on his congressional doorstep.
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