Roughly halfway through his January 2011 State of the City address, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders mentioned his plans to “soon bring to voters” a measure that would switch city workers to a 401(k)-style retirement plan.
Lest you bemoan San Diego’s poor turnout on election night June 5, estimated somewhere between 27 and 37 percent, consider this: Only about 23 percent of the population of the United Kingdom watched the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert, and that featured Paul bloody McCartney.
The theme driving two local campaigns—City Councilmember Carl DeMaio's bid for mayor and Prop. B, the ballot measure that seeks to overhaul the city’s retirement system—is that labor unions are the taxpayers' adversaries, unwilling to budge on pensions or compensation.
It's a Saturday morning in late March, and a group of 20- and 30-somethings is gathered in the conference room of a Mission Valley office building. For the next several hours, they’ll learn about political messaging: how to frame an issue, market it and combat opposition.
Melissa Harris’ room at Hotel Metro is big enough for her wheelchair, a twin bed, a simple kitchenette (mini-fridge, sink and microwave) and not much else. Still, she describes it as “huge,” just fine for her and Peter David, a sand-colored poodle-terrier mix and her constant companion.