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San Diego mayoral race

San Diego voters will choose between City Councilman Carl DeMaio and Rep. Bob Filner for mayor when they go to the polls on Nov. 6.

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SAN DIEGO — Mayor Jerry Sanders thanked San Diegans, city employees and City Council members Wednesday in his final scheduled news conference before leaving office on Monday.

He also offered well wishes to his successor, Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego.

“I think the community has been a tremendous part of the turnaround of this city that we’ve seen over the last seven years,” Sanders said. “We’ve all been through some dark days and I think the people of San Diego felt that, and I think that’s the reason the support has been so good.”

Sanders became mayor after Dick Murphy resigned in 2005 amid growing municipal financial problems. He told reporters today that he and his staff were “immersed” with fiscal issues the first two years, as they tried to get the city back into the bond market and implement recommendations of a consultant.

Municipal employees in recent years worked harder and made less money, and around 1,500 of them were laid off, he said.

Sanders also credited the City Council with making tough decisions on a variety of issues, some of which put members at odds with their “natural constituencies.”

They never shirked their duty, he said.

Sanders described outgoing council President Tony Young as a “steady hand” and “tremendous resource.” Young resigned, effective at the end of the year, to become chief executive officer of the San Diego chapter of the American Red Cross.

Under questioning, Sanders refused to endorse a successor to Young.

He said he wished Mayor-elect Filner the best.

“I think in San Diego we all have a vested interest in the city moving ahead, and I don’t think it’s a time for partisan politics,” Sanders said. “I think it’s a time to get together and continue solving the issues we’re facing.”

During the campaign, he expressed worries that Filner would reverse many of his policies. But at his closing news conference, he said the reforms of the past few years were already in place.

Filner, always prepared with one-liners, popped into the room where the media was assembled and jokingly announced a “coup,” saying that he was taking over early. He departed before Sanders took the podium.

An inauguration for Filner, re-elected City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and council members Marti Emerald, Todd Gloria and Sherri Lightner, and incoming councilmen Mark Kersey and Scott Sherman, is scheduled for Monday at 10 a.m. at the Balboa Park Club. The public is invited.

Sanders is scheduled to succeed Ruben Barrales as head of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, and then depart with his wife, Rana Sampson, to Italy for a three-month vacation.

SAN DIEGO – Mayor-elect Bob Filner reinstated San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne and Fire Chief Javier Mainar Thursday while asking the city to direct $22 million toward public safety.

The money would come from a liability reserve account created with the $27 million settlement San Diego Gas & Electric paid out to the City of San Diego after it was found liable in the 2007 wildfires.

“I’m going to ask city council not to just give lip service, but to take immediate steps,” Filner said. “San Diego’s public safety is running at dangerously low levels. Police and fire cannot meet minimal demands in response times, and that means lives.”

Police, fire and rescue, lifeguards have been hit hard with budget cuts. According to Filner, Mayor Jerry Sanders is leaving the city with a balanced budget and bond rating. He wants to spend $8 million on a news state of the art communications system, police training and firing range, staff and equipment.

“They can’t communicate the kind of emergency needs that are needed,” he said. “We need a 911 system that can actually function as real system. It was installed almost 25 years ago.”

City councilwoman Marti Emerald, who has championed public safety investment, said everyone on the council cares about public safety.

“They represent neighborhood’s that need more resources,” she said. “This is our statement about public safety being a priority and it should be.”

SAN DIEGO — Jerry Sanders will be changing work addresses next month, but only by a few blocks, as the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce announced Thursday that the departing mayor will become its new president and CEO.

Sanders will replace Ruben Barrales on Dec. 4. His term as mayor of the city of San Diego ends one day earlier, when he will be succeeded by Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego.

Barrales announced in September that he would step down after six years at the chamber’s helm. He said he wanted to pursue other opportunities in which he could promote the area’s economy.

Sanders was selected by a five-member committee that included last year’s chamber chairman, Vincent Mudd of San Diego Office Interiors; Mike Niggli of San Diego Gas & Electric, who will be the chairman next year; and Mary Ann Barnes of Kaiser Permanente, who will be vice chairwoman next year.

The hiring came together rapidly. Sanders said Mudd called him about a week ago, and the more they talked, the more he realized it would be a good fit for both sides.

“Given my work over the years to create jobs and grow our economy, heading up the chamber is a very natural extension of my work here in San Diego,” Sanders said. “And there is plenty of work to do.”

He listed looming automatic federal budget cuts to defense and cross- border commerce as immediate issues. He also said he wanted the chamber more involved in public policy, at all levels of government.

“While our elected officials may mean well, the policies they set often do great harm by stunting economic growth,” Sanders said. “We must remove the obstacles that are preventing our smaller businesses from growing and hiring.”

Sanders, who lives in Kensington, has spent the past eight years at the City Hall on C Street. The chamber is located on West Broadway.

He previously was San Diego’s police chief and headed the United Way of San Diego County.

SAN DIEGO — Mayor-elect Bob Filner said Wednesday he will do what he promised voters — shift political power from what he called “downtown special interests” to the neighborhoods — and added that he looked forward to working with those who opposed him during the election season.

Filner, who stressed his mandate by holding a late afternoon news conference at a park in University Heights, said residents did not choose a “status quo” administration. He said he will spend the next 30 days assembling his administration, reaching across party lines to find the most talented, creative and diverse group from every neighborhood.

“There’s going to be new people at the table where decisions are made, and I think people want to see those changes,” he said. “Whether it’s people of color, whether it’s neighborhoods that have been neglected in terms of their infrastructure, whether it’s women, whether it’s those who care about education, whether it’s those who care about the arts, whether it’s those who care about affordable housing and public transportation, they have not been asked to participate in the political and economic decisions of this city. We’re going to ask them.”


Filner, who will be the second Democrat to hold the mayor’s office in 40 years, led the mayoral election with 51.5 percent of the vote to Republican candidate Carl DeMaio’s 48.5 percent.  During DeMaio’s concession speech Wednesday morning, he said he plans to stay the course with the city’s fiscal reforms.

“This may be the end of the campaign, but this is not the end of my involvement of serving the great city that I love,” DeMaio said.

DeMaio’s concession cames after a 17-month-long race and a record $13 million spent on attack ads and campaigning. DeMaio said he wouldn’t do anything differently.

“Everyone worked hard. We spoke from the gut. We took positions of principal and we took heat for doing so, but we laid out a positive vision,” he said.

DeMaio told reporters it was possible, but not probable, he could overcome Filner’s 9,800-vote lead.

“I know that ballots are still being counted, and I will absolutely ensure every vote counts and that process will happen in respect above my decision today to concede this race,” DeMaio said. “So every ballot will count, but I want to give our next mayor the most time possible to put together a solid administration and I want to begin the process of healing our city and bringing all sides together.”

He said he would help Filner make a successful transition and move San Diego forward. He said he was optimistic to hand Filner a city government that was on the right path to financial recovery.

Filner said he wants San Diegan’s to start dreaming of a new future.

“Why not a pension plan that works for everyone? Why not a transit system that makes it more livable and walkable,” he said.

Speaking of futures, Filner introduced his fiancé Bronwyn Ingram to the San Diego media Wednesday.

Filner, who will be San Diego’s 35th mayor, is scheduled to be inaugurated Dec. 3 at Golden Hall.

SAN DIEGO — City Councilman Carl DeMaio conceded victory to Rep. Bob Filner Wednesday in the hard-fought battle for mayor of San Diego.

At a news conference in front of the U.S. Grant Hotel, DeMaio told reporters that he had called Filner to congratulate him on his victory.


DeMaio, 38, a conservative Republican, said he remains proud that he was a leader in the movement to reform the financial practices of city government, including curbing “runaway pension costs” and defeating a sales-tax increase.

In unofficial returns, DeMaio trailed Filner, 70, a liberal Democrat, 52% to 48%. DeMaio told supporters that he had called Filner with congratulations. He dodged a question about whether he would ever seek office again.

DeMaio leaves the City Council next month after one term. He said he remains confident that, after a series of fiscal reforms that he helped initiate, the city government would function effectively and become a “great city” through cooperation among various factions.

“There is no Republican or Democrat way to do that, there is no gay or straight way to do that,” said DeMaio, who would have been the city’s first gay mayor.

Outgoing Mayor Jerry Sanders, who had backed District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in the primary and endorsed DeMaio in the November election, released a statement congratulating Filner on his victory.

“I want to congratulate Mr. Filner,” Sanders wrote. “He’s a long-time San Diegan and my hope is that he will continue to move our city forward with the kinds of reforms that have fueled San Diego’s turn-around.  I wish him all the best and look forward to working with him to ensure a smooth transition.”

DeMaio outspent Filner, but Filner was helped by a large Democratic turnout and the fact that Democrats hold a 40% to 27% registration edge over Republicans, with 27% independents.

DeMaio said he will have to do a “deep dive” into the election figures to determine why he lost. But he said the fact that he is gay “wasn’t an issue in this campaign.”

He shrugged off suggestions that the campaign was particularly vitriolic. “Politics can be rough,” he said.

By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

SAN DIEGO — Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, outlasted Councilman Carl DeMaio to claim the San Diego mayor’s office, according to unofficial results released early Wednesday.

With all precincts reporting, Filner had 51.5 percent of the vote, compared to 48.5 for DeMaio, with about 10,000 votes separating the two candidates out of more than 320,000 cast.

“People in this city have realized that I am on their side and this city has got to change,” Filner told supporters Tuesday night while votes were still being tallied. “This city has changed demographically, it has changed business-wise, it has changed — the kind of people and the way they look at the world.”

The city’s political structure has not kept up, the congressman said.

DeMaio based his campaign on continuing economic changes started under termed-out Mayor Jerry Sanders, who gave the councilman his backing. Filner said he would oversee a change of political power from what he called “downtown special interests” to the neighborhoods.

The councilman and congressman emerged from a field of four major candidates in the June 5 primary, with both collecting nearly one-third of the vote. They ousted District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who left the Republican Party to become an independent in a highly publicized move.

Filner is the first Democrat elected mayor of San Diego since Maureen O’Connor in 1988.

If he had won, DeMaio would have become the first openly gay Republican mayor of a large U.S. city.

Filner, who will be San Diego’s 35th mayor, is scheduled to be inaugurated Dec. 3 at Golden Hall.

SAN DIEGO — Councilman Carl DeMaio took a slim lead early Tuesday night over Rep. Bob Filner, D-San Diego, in the race to become mayor of San Diego.

According to the county Registrar of Voters Office, DeMaio led by 50.95 percent to 49.05 percent, with 16.5 percent of the vote counted.

The initial results reflect early voters and absentee ballots. County officials said the first significant batch of results from polling places probably would not be tallied until around 11 p.m.

DeMaio based his campaign on continuing economic reforms started under termed-out Mayor Jerry Sanders, who gave the councilman his backing. Filner said he would oversee a change of political power from what he calls “downtown special interests” to the neighborhoods.

They emerged from a field of four major candidates in the June 5 primary, with both collecting nearly one-third of the vote. They ousted District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who left the Republican Party to become an independent in a highly publicized move.

Filner hopes to become the first Democrat elected mayor of San Diego since Maureen O’Connor in 1988. DeMaio, if elected, would be the first openly gay Republican mayor of a large U.S. city.

The most recent poll, conducted last week by SurveyUSA on behalf of 10News, showed Filner ahead by 49 percent to 45 percent.

The winner, who will be San Diego’s 35th mayor, is scheduled to be inaugurated on Dec. 3 at Golden Hall.

SAN DIEGO – The day before elections, top candidates in San Diego’s key races were out making their last minute push.

In Logan Heights, Bob Filner spent the last hours of his campaign appealing to Hispanic voters.

“The Latino community is the margin of victory in this election,” said Filner.  He was at a rally with Latino leaders at the Logan Heights library.  Filner said he felt confident moving into election with a campaign that promises change.

“I promise a change from the established way of doing things in San Diego, the special interests that control everything,” said Filner.  “I’ve won 25 elections, this is been the most incredible energy filled pre-election day I’ve had.”

While Filner met with members of the community, opponent Carl DeMaio at his campaign headquarters reaching out to voters by phone.    DeMaio said he’ll keep San Diego on the track of a balanced budget and growth.

“I think San Diegans want to continue forward with fiscal reform.  They want to restore services like after school programs and they want job creation,” said DeMaio.

From the mayor’s seat to the city council, the only race for a council seat is in District 1.  It’s a closely watched race between incumbent Sherri Lightner and Ray Ellis.

Lightner said she also wants to keep San Diego on track with a balanced budget, but she also has a focus on infrastructure.

“We’re going to continue with the pension reform,” said Lightner.  “Certainly also with getting more of the infrastructure fixed up, more roads repaved and restoring hours at parks.”

Opponent Ray Ellis has run a hard-fought campaign and feels optimistic voters will see the difference he will make if elected.

“I have a track record of leading organizations, a track record of working with others and a record of collaborating to get things done,” said Ellis.  “I want to bring that to city council.”

A top national race focuses on the congressional seat of Brian Bilbray.  Scott Peters looks to unseat Bilbray.

“I think if you think congress is going great, then send the same people back,” said Peters.  “The fact is congress is broken.”

Congressman Bilbray is running on experience and he said to get the job done in Washington, experience is what counts.

“We don’t need to send somebody back there who has to learn the game,” said Bilbray.  “At this time that’s really tough, it’s essential that we get back to work and get things moving right now.”

DOWNTOWN SAN DIEGO – Thursday was an interesting day on the mayoral campaign trail with one of the candidates heckling and a spokesman for the other comparing the competitor to “The X-Files.”

It started when Bob Filner held an afternoon news conference to discuss Carl DeMaio’s relationship with developer Doug Manchester and how it could impact San Diego.

Filner said the relationship began with Manchester giving DeMaio $150,000 to fund the San Diego Citizens for Accountable Government. Filner said it “bankrolled Mr. DeMaio’s entrance into local politics.” Filner went on to say DeMaio and Manchester used the organization to promte candidates they supported and tear down the ones they didn’t.

Filner said DeMaio now wants to use city tax dollars to move City Hall to the Navy Broadway Complex, which is one of Manchester’s projects.

“Do we want a mayor whose top priority is using hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer dollars to save his benefactors assets?” questioned Filner.

Councilman Todd Gloria spoke at the news conference, backing Filner on the issue. Gloria recalled a meeting where DeMaio was questioned about the future of City Hall.

“He confirmed his prior opposition to Sanders proposal for redeveloping on-site and went on to provide his rationale for that opposition and potential ways forward,” said Gloria.

“One of his suggestions was that the city could relocate City Hall to a future waterfront office building at the Navy Broadway Complex.”

Filner also said Manchester helped DeMaio get elected to city council through financing

After the news conference, DeMaio spokesperson K.B. Forbes addressed Filner’s claims.

“It’s another wacky unsubstantiated conspiracy theory,” said Forbes. “Sometimes I think I’m watching reruns of the X-files.”

“As everyone knows, Carl DeMaio has been against a new City Hall. With that said, we need to note that Carl DeMaio is always open to listening to ideas.”

Forbes continued the interview saying, “today Bob Filner showed again he wants to divide. He wants to distort the record.” As Forbes was talking, Filner, who was standing nearby, began heckling with the words “distort” and “demonize.”

Forbes called out Filner saying, “of course you can hear Bob Filner right over here ridiculing because he knows it’s the truth.”