Countywide political merry-go-round

Gordon Clanton

By Gordon Clanton

Countywide, a complex game of  political musical chairs is playing out.  Congressman Bob Filner was elected mayor of San Diego in November.  State Senator Juan Vargas, whom Filner had defeated three times, then won Filner’s congressional seat.  Assemblyman Ben Hueso then took Vargas’s senate spot.  Labor leader Lorena Gonzalez is among those now seeking Hueso’s assembly seat.

Meanwhile, San Diego Councilman Tony Young resigned to become local head of the American Red Cross.  Myrtle Cole and Dwayne Crenshaw will meet soon in a special election to determine Young’s successor – and the balance of power on the council.  Filner has endorsed Cole.

So much for the intention of the term-limits movement to put an end to “career politicians.”  BTW: Legislative term limits is still a bad idea, the source of much of the dysfunction in Sacramento.  We don’t have a problem with “career doctors,” “career lawyers,” or “career mechanics.”  Only in politics do we assume that experience is not the best teacher, that the novice can do it better than the professionals.

Although San Diego’s Fourth District includes more Hispanics and more Asians than African Americans, it has long been represented by black men, beginning in 1969 with “Living Legend” Leon Williams — so designated by Mayor Filner at his inauguration.  More recent D-4 representatives have been disappointing — parochial, self-interested, inclined to nepotism.

Closer to home, Republican Supervisor Bill Horn will seek re-election in 2014.  Once again Horn’s campaign will be managed by super-consultant (and former boy mayor of Del Mar) Tom Shepard.  Shepard, who mostly has worked for Republicans, recently helped elect Democratic Mayor Filner.  Horn, first elected in 1995, is term-limited to one more four-year term.

Encinitas Councilwoman Kristen Gaspar will challenge Republican incumbent Darrell Issa in the 2014 congressional primary.

Supervisor Dave Roberts or his staffer Adam Kaye will meet with voters every third Friday, 3-5 p.m., at the Del Mar Community Building, 225 Ninth Street.

Outsiders often think of San Diego as a Republican town, but Democrats have outnumbered Republicans in the city of San Diego since the 1990s.  For many years, San Diego County had a Republican majority, but now Democrats outnumber Republicans countywide.  For many years, Del Mar was the only city in North San Diego County with a Democratic majority, but, although Barack Obama carried Del Mar with 53 percent of the vote, Republicans now outnumber Democrats by 17.  Not 17 percent.  17 voters.  There goes the neighborhood.

Gordon Clanton teaches Sociology at San Diego State University.

He welcomes comments at

Related posts:

  1. Bored with supervisors?
  2. More than a dime’s worth of difference
  3. An evening of political theater
  4. Primary election post-mortem
  5. Not a dime’s worth of difference? — Revisited

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Posted by Staff on May 2, 2013. Filed under Letters, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Countywide political merry-go-round”

  1. “Encinitas Councilwoman Kristen Gaspar will challenge Republican incumbent Darrell Issa in the 2014 congressional primary”

    She is? Where did you hear that?

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