The TV cameras were all lined up on the Concourse Plaza, and a dozen or so reporters stood idly by while retiring City Councilwoman Donna Frye gathered up her troops to mount a last ditch effort to inform the public about the downsides of Proposition D, the ballot measure that Mayor Sanders and his developer buddies have up for a vote in next week’s primary election.
While there wasn’t a whole lotta “news” coming out of this press conference, it certainly put the David vs. Goliath aspect of the battle over Proposition D into sharp focus. This press conference represented the sum total of public effort in opposition to the proposed permanent switchover to a strong Mayor form of governance. Speaking against Prop D were Frye, Councilwoman Marti Emerald, and a handful of representatives from neighborhood organizations around San Diego.
Not content to let the opponents of Prop D have a few moments in the sun, Prop D supporters, placed “Yes on D” signs around the Concourse Plaza, and shadowed the event. City Councilman Kevin Faulconer was on hand to provide “rebuttal interviews” with the press.
His hair was perfect, and his campaign war chest is overflowing with donations from many of the same developers and special interests that are funding this initiative. (For a list of the big bucks backers and more details about Prop D, see Anna Daniels’ excellent article here.) Another major lobbyist for the developers just happened to standing around as the show got underway.
Our city is plastered over with “Yes on D” signs, Cox Cable has donated tens of thousands of dollars in free airtime for the Prop D advocates and Mayor Saunders has lent his voice to a major robo-call campaign. They have offices, yard signs and bumper stickers. So you have to figure that they sent the troops out for this event just to rub it in. They sure were smug about it.
I spoke with one Tom Geldner who stood just a few feet away from the press conference holding a “Yes on D” sign. Geldner said that he was just there to advocate for Proposition D as a concerned citizen. He denied being paid to attend the event. He & his wife operate a public relations consulting outfit that just happens to represent various contractors.
Donna Frye’s speech lasted all of about five minutes. She got off a couple of zingers, like, “It’s easier to buy one elected official than it is to buy nine” and “D is for Dumb”. I’ll wager that the pro D gang gets more airtime this evening than Donna Frye does, proof once again that San Diego has the best government money can buy.