Is this the beginning of the end for Ron Roberts?

by on September 15, 2010 · 0 comments

in Election, San Diego

Ron Roberts 02by Blue San Diego / Originally posted on September 8, 2010

With November being just two months away, the Ron Roberts saga began its last whimper. I figured County Supervisor Roberts would try to salvage his campaign and ditch his “smoke and mirrors” approach to try to claw back on top to stay in office another four years.

Instead the campaign (aka the county staff in the Roberts office over at the County Administration Center working on government time) has been campaigning quietly as if Roberts is the only candidate in the race as a means of discrediting his opponent Stephen Whitburn’s legit campaign to unseat Roberts.

Roberts has basically just stuck with his smoke and mirrors approach of reminding people of the good things that other people have done while he was in office even though he was in no way responsible nor a main player in getting any of the goods.

This time tested approach won’t work for Roberts anymore.

Stephen Whitburn

Stephen Whitburn - Robert's Democratic opponent.

The other day I had a conversation with a local GOPer about Roberts’ piece in the Mission Valley community newspaper about jobs for youths via the Hire a Youth program. Initially I was appalled that Roberts was trying to take credit for something he was never involved in. Then I re-read the article and realized he wasn’t taking any credit and was using the smoke and mirrors approach and talking about good stuff happening in his district that he was in no way involved with. I felt disgusted about this so I talked with a fellow GOPer about this and the interesting reaction was something I had never figured out on my own before.

“Of course, that is classic Ron Roberts” was his response. He gave me a rhetorical question and asked me who do you think the GOP party would support if there was a real GOP running against him? Smoke and Mirrors Roberts or the legit GOPer? My answer was the incumbent and his response was no. I thought about it for a moment, the reason why the GOP stuck with a bad politician like Roberts is that it was their only chance to hold onto the seat and he was the only GOPer running for it. He then brought up the fact that Roberts would never be elected mayor because when given a choice, GOPers know Roberts is not worth his weight in gold.

It all made sense. He couldn’t beat Dick Murphy twice and the last time he ran, so many of his voters who turned out to be Dems flocked to Donna Frye while Murphy still won because his solid base of supporters who turned out the vote for him were logical GOP voters who saw through Roberts. He then asked why did the GOP flock so early to Francis and Sanders in 2005 before Roberts could even test the waters for a possible re-match with Frye. Enough said.

Roberts district

Ron Robert's supervisorial district, San Diego County.

Roberts is just a very lucky politician – albeit a bad one. He has made so many campaign missteps. From the beginning he was using his Facebook campaign page contact section to list his county office phone number and address as his campaign headquarters. He took that down shortly thereafter.

Then he has just ignored his opponents and played up a PR campaign in local communities by reminding them of all the good that has happened that he has had no control over.

Another example of Roberts’ legendary lack of leadership was pretty obvious when CityBeat ran a good piece on Roberts giving $25,000 for a rebranding effort for a golf tournament that takes place outside of his district.

I can think of a million ways that Roberts could have ditched his true colors and shown some leadership capability by using that $25,000 for improving communities within his own district.

The Southeast area of Robert’s district needs help and I am 101% sure his constituents there would rather see $25,000 funding for beautification or local community projects in their community instead of seeing that money wasted on a rebranding effort for a golf tournament that takes place on a world class golf course that most people in Southeast San Diego will never get the opportunity to play on.

Roberts has been a disaster.

Speaking of disasters, the VOSD piece on “The Failed Fire Protection Initiative That Wasn’t a Failure” only reminded me of what a disaster Roberts is. When I read the story and took another look at the headline and then glanced over to Robert’s time worn face, I realized the title should be “The Failed Leader That Wasn’t a Leader” to remind myself of why Roberts will always be a failure when it comes to fire safety.

Back in 2007 during the wildfires, Roberts caused a commotion within the deaf community in San Diego. There are some deaf folks who depend on sign language and cannot read written English well. Sign Language interpreters were stationed next to public officials speaking on the news about evacuations to ensure that deaf people who use primarily sign language would understand the evacuation orders when watching the news on tv. When Roberts tried to appear to be a leader by standing next to real leaders on television, he showed his true colors. He shoved a sign language interpreter off screen so he could have more screen area for his pretty boy face. One of the interpreter coordinators later confirmed that real leader Mayor Sanders had told Roberts “that was not cool”.

I seethe when I think about all the missed opportunities from the past 16 years and I know that GOP voters will continue to vote for Roberts because there is no “choice”. When there is indeed a choice for GOP voters, they go towards the anyone-but-Roberts camp. That won’t happen this time around so the best thing for Roberts to do is to remain leaderless and hope to cruise to re-election. That fortunately won’t happen since his opponent has a tall but doable goal of turning out the dems to vote for him.

The VOSD seemed to be somewhat mocking the Whitburn campaign earlier for having a small turn out at his rally today. I was giddy when reading the article because it was clear that the VOSD was treating Whitburn as a real legit candidate by talking about “low turn out”.

Low turn out was never an issue for Whitburn in the media before. The fact is that Whitburn has always had low turn out at his rallies or pressers and no one from the media really took notice before. Whitburn works the precints so much that his rallies and pressers don’t even reflect his broad base of voter support. I learned that the hard way in 2008 as a big Todd Gloria supporter.

I thought Whitburn would have so little support at the polls just by comparing turn out at Whitburn and Gloria rallies/pressers. Boy was I wrong. Then as a Whitburn supporter in 2010, I was surprised at how small his campaign kick off event was compared to the humongous kick off for Todd Gloria that I had attended in ’08.

But then a few weeks later Whitburn forced Roberts into a runoff. It felt like deja vu seeing him force Roberts into a run off just as he had forced Gloria into a run off. The end result will be different in November since Roberts is no Todd Gloria. After three election cycles of watching Whitburn, I can tell you that turn out for his rallies/pressers have always been small and deceiving in a good way, they help catch opponents off guard. Whitburn is going to be going through several pairs of sneakers the next 8 weeks and come election day, the Roberts era will be ending with a quiet whimper.

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