Whatcha’ Doin’ City Beat?

by on June 10, 2011 · 11 comments

in Media, Popular, San Diego

What is the role of the alternative press in these uncertain times?

As far as I know, San Diego City Beat still refers to itself as an “alt-weekly” newspaper.  This implies a certain stand-offishness from the local power structure and the mainstream media, as far as I can tell, having edited an alternative paper here in San Diego for several years (The San Diego Door) back in the stoned ages. The way I see it, this should translate to a lack of trust in politicians of all flavors, be they Republicans or Democrats. And on certain counts, the City Beat fulfills this role, whether it’s critiquing Dem Juan Vargas (for his shameless pandering to the insurance industry, among others) or the GOP’s Carl DeMiao (for just about everything).

The race for the top spot in San Diego is still a year away from the primary election. It’s another five months after the primary until the general election. There have been no debates, and it’s even possible that not all the candidates have declared yet. So I have to ask the question: Why did City Beat announce this week that they were sweet on Republican Nathan Fletcher in the Mayoral contest?

To be totally accurate, what City said, via their editorial “How you doin’ Nathan?”, was:

“Given the current lineup of suitors, we’d like to announce that we’ve decided to start dating Nathan Fletcher.”

Nathan Fletcher

They go on to tell us that their support is contingent on several factors, including the ever-so-slim possibility that Donna Frye might decide that she wants the job. But still, what the hell were they thinking over there?

“Dating” Fletcher? Really? What happens if Nathan goes all Wienergate on one of your outings? Will you let us know if he gets past third base with you in the City Beat mobile news wagon parked high atop Mount Soledad?

And just what is this fascination over at City Beat with all-things Republican? Last year they actually endorsed a handful of GOP candidates.  I get it that the paper might be sensitive about being portrayed as a shill for the Democratic Party.  After all, with all the pro-democrat media around San Diego…Oh, wait! There isn’t any!…can’t be that then.

Maybe it’s just that they find Nathan Fletcher to be a nice guy, which I’m sure he is.  After all, not all Republicans are venom spewing borderline racists who hate the poor.  We’ve even had our dalliances here at the OB Rag with City Councilman Kevin Falconer, a known Republican. And I’m certainly not going to fault Mayor Jerry Sanders for his brave stance against the party orthodoxy when it came to Proposition 8.

But being a nice guy doesn’t divorce Fletcher from the despicable core leadership of the GOP. He can be all “touchy-feelie” and sweet as pie until the ideologues that run his party call in their chits. When the party leadership decides it’s “no new taxes” or “start hatin’ on the Mexicans” time, Fletcher will have to make the hard choice between political suicide and upholding the party line.

This is the same Republican party that’s fighting for abolishing child labor laws; the same national leadership that told tornado victims their emergency aid should be contingent on the Obama administration cutting other programs; the same party that’s supporting a State legislator who says women should plan ahead for rape, because, after all “I have a spare tire on my car.” If they say that’s not the San Diego GOP; I’ve got a two word response—Tony Krvaric.

Perhaps it is that the City Beat has bravely decided to rise above the partisan fray. These are contentious times, where the 24 hour news cycle is dominated by frothing trolls, corporate image campaigns and the power of the government’s propaganda machine. There’s only one problem with that approach: it ignores the historical context that frames the GOP’s broader agenda. And I have another two word retort that should give this context a San Diego twist—Pete Wilson. (Remember, he was the nice moderate who turned hard core on the immigration issue when the opportunity for higher office presented itself.)

This is not to say that the Democratic Party is the party of hope.  I would argue that any progressive things (that is, things that actually benefit somebody other than rich people) that have happened over the past century have only occurred in the face of public pressure. We happen to have a two party system that typically dishes up choices between bad and worse.  And the dems in general have shamelessly prostituted themselves in the face of falsehoods like “tax-cuts create jobs” and “deregulation of the banks would be good for the country”.

The fastest growing political group in California is, after all, “decline to state”, which is the voter bloc City Beat ought to be catering to.  But if they insist on pumping up a Republican, they should go with Carl DeMaio–at least he’s upfront about what his platform is.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Frank Gormlie June 10, 2011 at 10:30 am

And Doug, don’t forget Scott Barnet, the GOP’er one of our bloggers endorsed for the school board.


avatar doug porter June 10, 2011 at 2:16 pm

This would be the “endorsement” you’re speaking of?…

“The problem here is that he is being opposed by a R-R-R-R (you can do it, Doug) R-R-R Republican. …I had a Republican once, but the wheels fell off, so they’re unsafe at any speed… Did you hear about the new Republican dictionary? It defines class warfare as any attempt to raise the minimum wage… …Under ‘China’ it says: See WalMart….. There ARE good Republicans, right? Wasn’t Dwight Eisenhower a Republican? He seemed like a nice guy…

Scott Barnett
Now that I’ve got all my jokes and political instincts under control, I can tell you that I actually met Scott Barnet, John DeBeck’s opponent for this school board seat and came away impressed. He didn’t bite. Seemed like a nice guy, even if he did subsequently flip flop on Proposition J. He convinced me that he really believes in the promise of public education.

Whoever you vote for in this race, we’ll end up with a school board member that can be counted on to question the majority consensus in that body. So it’s a toss up. I flipped a coin and Barnet won. Went for best three out of five and Barnet still won. Knowing that (editor) Frank Gormlie’s vote would cancel mine, I closed my eyes and filled in the circle on the ballot.”


avatar OB Joe June 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Thanks, Doug, this needed to be said. WTF?? City Beaters. Maybe when they think of themselves as “alternative” they knew that Fletcher wouldn’t be endorsed by the U-T , so they took it upon themselves to give the guy some exposure – yeah, right!


avatar annagrace June 10, 2011 at 1:34 pm

If my “suitor” is most well known for his recent role in “crafting” a tawdry back room redevelopment deal, I’d certainly want to check him out- in a public place and in the bright light of day. I wouldn’t call that a “date.”


avatar mr.rick June 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm

Was the San Diego Door once known as the Door to Liberation? It caused me to give my Doors tickets in 1970 away. Just to hitch-hike up I-5 in August (barefooted) to attend a counter convention to the American Legion convention in Portland,Oregon.That trip started a hitch-hiking adventure that lasted 2 or 3 years.


avatar doug porter June 10, 2011 at 6:57 pm

it was the Door to Liberation, merged with another paper and became the Teaspoon-Door, and finally the San Diego Door. I was with it in its final incarnation.


avatar JEC June 11, 2011 at 9:42 am

Excellant article. Makes me think of years back when Mexico’s PRI was secretly funding the PAN to make voters think they had alternatives. As nearly as I can tell, Fletcher is the hier apparant; a vote for Fletcher is a vote for the status quo. If you like the job Sanders is doing now you have choices; Dumanis or Fletcher – either flavor will give you the same result.


avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman June 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Oh please, CityBeat an alternative paper? Falling in love with Nathan Fletcher? The professional Marine? The guy who talks about God and National Security in the same breath? Who opposes gay marriage and a woman’s right to choose? I guess the CB lovefest with Nathan came from David Rolland who is all about having an inside-track at City Hall, even if Nathan isn’t likely to go there. Apparently nobody asked CB editor and resident feminist Kelly Davis how she feels about Fletcher.

And while we’re at it, Republican Scott Barnett — not really a “nice guy” nor CityBeat’s nor my choice for School Trustee over the esteemed John deBeck — just recently voted to raise to $750 per election the permissible individual campaign contribution limits for School Board. That makes it $1500 per election cycle of Primary and General — more than City Council, more than County Supervisors. Let the record show that after I spoke against this travesty at a Board meeting, Barnett piped up with a sarcastic recommendation (that failed to gain a second from his embarrassed all-Democratic peers) to raise the ante to $1000 per election.

But back to the opportunistic — not “alternative” — CityBeat, that also happened to endorse the very establishment “Strong Mayor” initiative and a business-oriented-parent candidate for School Board from Scripps Ranch over a Democrat and fulltime middle school match teacher who is also the first gay trustee in the history of San Diego Unified.

If this is “alternative,” give me the San Diego Reader any day.


avatar Frances O'Neill Zimmerman June 12, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Please note that the new School Board member is a middle school MATH teacher, not a
“match” teacher.


avatar Reality Check June 13, 2011 at 1:50 pm

Nathan’s voting record on LGBT issues:

09/03/2009 Recognizing Out-of-State Same-Sex Marriages
SB 54 N Bill Passed – House (47 – 29)
Nathan voted NO

09/03/2009 Harvey Milk Day
SB 572 N Bill Passed – House (46 – 28)
Nathan voted NO

03/02/2009 Statement of Opposition to Proposition 8
HR 5 NV Resolution Passed – House (45 – 27)
Nathan did NOT vote

Go to http://www.votesmart.org/voting_category.php?can_id=104432 for his full voting record.


avatar ss June 14, 2011 at 11:51 am

Now that Mr Filner has made his name known for the Mayoral battle I think the CB may endores him and lose Fletcher.
That is like the Francis vs Sanders race go for the less foul tasting medicine and with Demiao runnnig there is real bad medicine out there. Dumass looks good compared to him.


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