The Fletcher Flim Flam

by on April 24, 2012 · 38 comments

in Civil Rights, Culture, Economy, Election, Labor, Popular, San Diego, Under the Perfect Sun

Nathan Fletcher is not a man of great political courage. He isn’t even a particularly independent thinker. But he is politically clever, and he knows that San Diego’s Democratic base has a long history of being bamboozled by wolves in sheep’s clothing from the days of Pete Wilson to the present.

Fletcher’s recent move to leave the Republican Party and become an Independent clearly banks on this tradition continuing. Indeed, if I were Fletcher’s campaign manager I would have advised him to do exactly the same thing. After losing the GOP endorsement to Carl DeMaio, Fletcher was sitting at 13% in the polls in third place with only a slight lead over the absolutely hopeless Bonnie Dumanis. And if you are a genuinely affable, good-looking, war veteran with big ambitions and the strong conviction that the world needs you now, that is not a good place to be sitting.

What to do? As the great Janis Joplin once sang, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose,” so Fletcher taped a pious speech about how he was done with “a system that is dysfunctional” with all its “political party insiders” and “games.” Catch your breath; I know this is heady stuff.

Pete Wilson supports Nathan Fletcher. Wilson represents the GOP establishment.

OK, ready. In his speech he continues on, noting that he is interested “solely in advancing our city” unlike the political extremists named Carl DeMaio and Bob Filner. Wow. Knock me over with a feather.

And, sadly, it worked. Fletcher leaped over the extremely low bar of American political authenticity and credibility expectations. Nationally prominent columnists from David Brooks to George Skelton praised his courage and hoped it signaled a new day of less partisan politics. This same line was echoed locally and Fletcher doubled his support as the most recent Survey USA poll showed, jumping up to a 26% approval and passing Filner who is now polling third with 20% of the vote.

If you look at the numbers in that poll, Fletcher did not rise by picking up disillusioned conservatives (DeMaio actually gained and has totally consolidated that vote); he did it by picking up Democrats and Independents. Now 20% of Democrats support Fletcher along with 24% of independents. In sum, at least in this snapshot of the race, he is stealing votes not from DeMaio but from Filner.

What’s the problem with this? Ah, my Democratic and “Independent” friends of Fletcher, as Malcolm X once, said, “you’ve been hoodwinked!” Who better to know this than Nathan’s not so old friends on the Right. As Jon Fleischman noted on the Flash Report after the Fletcher switch:

Heck, just a few minutes perusing Nathan’s campaign website allows one to check out photos of Karl Rove and Nathan, Meg Whitman and Nathan, Carly Fiorina and Nathan, and even Newt Gingrich and Nathan — mostly at events for Nathan himself. And of course one cannot forget that former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and his wife, Ann, are both major donors to Fletcher’s Mayoral bid. The point I am making is that there is no magic wand that allows you to cast a “forget everything” spell on the voters.

For loyal Republican voters, Nathan’s decision to leave the GOP will sting, and make it harder for him to win over a constituency that was already problematic for him. But in trying to win over Democrat or independent voters, it’s not going to be easy to shake the Republican label.

Indeed, Fletcher’s site still proudly lists the support of Pete Wilson, Joel Anderson, Mark Wyland, Richard Riordan, and a whole host of other GOP big shots. Don’t think endorsements matter? Show me the money. As the San Diego Reader reported last week, Fletcher has plenty of donations coming in from former Rick Perry, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and George W., Bush aides and confidants. This makes sense, of course, because Fletcher’s wife was a Bush Administration press aide. That’s why Texas GOP types and other fans of W dig Nathan. Sound like a new day to you?

Still need more convincing? In the first of his two columns on Fletcher’s decision, Fleischman does something uncalled for by quoting the old, bad Nathan Fletcher of —17 days before his moving revelation that he was tired of the “game” (way back in the dark ages when he was trying to get the local GOP’s endorsement for mayor). In particular note the statements in bold:

Thank you for having me. I’ve been a Republican my entire life, which is telling because I came out of a Democratic household. When I was a child, I represent a generation who’s first president we remember was President Reagan, who very clearly and succinctly outlined the difference between the candidates, between being an individualist and a collectivist, and that basic American dream is we have the power if left to our own devices to achieve greatness. We don’t need government to do it for us, we need it to stay out of the way.

I applied this at an early age. As a teenager I walked door to door. I spent summers in college sitting outside Home Depots registering voters. I worked on campaigns where I slept in headquarters. I went months without pay because I wanted the money to go to the cause. I organized African American ministers behind education reform and school vouchers. I was the Political Director of the California Republican Party where we gave more money and support to our grassroots causes and our county parties than at any point in our history, because I believe in that effort. I traveled around the country teaching youth outreach and voter registration at the request of the National Party.

Then I went abroad to promote our principles and ideas in East Timor and Cambodia and Serbia. And time and again I’ve demonstrated commitment to our cause as a team player.

In 2001, things changed. Our country was attacked and I was asked to serve in a different  way and I spent a period of time from 2002 to 2006 defending not only the principles of our Party but the principles of our country. I served in Iraq, in Fallujah and Ramadi and Baghdad and the Sunni Triangle, on the Somali border and in Yemen. I witnessed the great pain of loss and terrible sacrifice of close friends of mine and family members who believed in these causes.

When I came back I wanted to continue to serve. I ran for the legislature where I’ve stood shoulder to shoulder to make the tough decisions. We’ve taken protests in our office where we had 20, 30 cops there because we refused to raise taxes. We’ve got mailings dropped across our district. When the Democrats said, “Alright, if you won’t vote for taxes we’ll put up an all-cuts budget,” I stood and voted for an all-cuts budget, not one that reduced welfare but one that eliminated it because we had to take a stand. When we had to vote to eliminate SB 400, the most egregious pension bill at the state that ever passed, I not only voted for it, I was the whip to go get other Republicans who weren’t inclined to stand up to do it.

Time and again I’ve demonstrated that, but I’ve also shown that, consistent with your principles, if you articulate it the right way you can bring people together to get good things done, like we did with Chelsea’s Law, which regulatory reform, with pension transparency and other measures.

And as your Mayor, I’ll do the same. I’ve taken the tough positions. I opposed Proposition D, I support the Comprehensive Pension Reform, I support the ban on Project Labor Agreements, I support the outsourcing of City services. But as your Mayor, I will also make sure our principles are translated into achievable action items that get done, because it’s not enough to have ideas, you’ve got to be able to turn them into reality to positively impact people’s lives.

One charge that’s been made this week, the only one I think that’s been accurate, is that I didn’t work as hard for this endorsement as others did. And that’s because I’ve been torn between what is in my best interest and what is in the best interest of this Party. And I’d be honored to have your endorsement, but I see a greater purpose and good that says, let’s unite behind the City Council candidates, between passing Pension Reform, between our other causes. And at some point being part of a team means you have to care more about the team than your individual ambitions. If this Party chooses to endorse, I’d be honored to be your endorsed candidate. If you choose not to endorse, I’ll be honored to join our team either as a member or as a nominee for Mayor after the primary as we defeat Bob Filner and as we get our city back on track.

I’ve lived our principles. I am the American Dream. I grew up in a blue-collar family, the first to go to college. I am a reflection of that which is what’s great about us, that ability that anyone can achieve success. I’ve lived our principles as a Party. I’ve defended our principles as a Party as a Marine in combat. I’ve fought for our principles as a legislator, and if elected Mayor, I will take our principles and I will turn them into action as we move our city forward.

I am very proud to have a long and committed track record with this Party and with  this cause. I’m very proud to have stood with you for years, going back to the early days, walking door to door, registering voters. As a legislator I’ve raised and given more than a quarter of a million dollars to our candidates and causes, and will do the same.

Thank you very, very much for all that you do every day to make our Party great. Thank you for allowing me to be a member of this group and for participating in today’s process. I appreciate it. Thank you.

There is a technical phrase for someone who can give this speech and then declare himself an independent 17 days later: bullshit artist.

What is particularly offensive in all of this is how, when not speaking to Republican audiences, Fletcher likes to paint himself as a great advocate for public education. Clearly, as he overtly states above and his support from Bridgepoint Education would also indicate, Fletcher’s version of education reform is the same old back door privatization push. Education “reform” for him means turning schools into an instrument to serve business interests more than the public good.

More specifically, note how Fletcher, who brought out 20-30 cops to greet community college students and interfaith leaders calling on him to vote for new revenue measures to support education, brags about voting for an “all cuts budget.” To this day, he still has not come out in support of a single revenue measure to help fund education—not the Governor’s nor Molly Munger’s initiative–despite the fact that another round of devastating cuts to schools will occur if they fail. He simply lacks the political courage to do so. Rather than challenge the rich or his friends in the corporate world to ante up, Fletcher supported a budget designed to trample the weak and politically powerless. Hence his lip service to education is bogus. Fletcher’s aforementioned support of an “all cuts budget” is not a display of political bravery or “independence,” it is a shameful display of pandering to the lowest impulses in the contemporary right.

As I pointed out in an earlier column just as the electoral field was beginning to take shape:

As the mayor’s race continues to unfold, the election season rite of local Republicans trying to morph themselves into “moderates” palatable to the ever-malleable Democratic electorate in San Diego continues. The most recent example of this is Nathan Fletcher’s announcement that he is coming back from Sacramento to save San Diego. As reported in the Union Tribune and KPBS Fletcher has a vision:

“When I look at the city I see an amazing potential for the future of San Diego over the next decade and I believe I represent a new generation of leadership that can get us there . . . In a lot of ways, I think it’s going to take a new energy, a new vision, a new generation of leadership that’s not tied to some of the polarizations and problems of the past to get things done . . . It’s time to turn the page, time for a new vision, a new energy,  time for a new generation of leaders not tied to the gridlock or problems of the past to step forward and lead.”

This all sounds fantastic and, with his handsome looks and slick packaging, Fletcher is bound to be more appealing to some voters than the snarling pit-bull of the hard right, Carl DeMaio, and/or the stunningly uncharismatic establishment favorite Bonnie Dumanis (who has the endorsement of the mayor and Councilman Kevin Faulconer). Even some in progressive circles have been seduced by Fletcher’s “new generation” pitch.

Grover Norquist

The problem with this is that it completely ignores Fletcher’s record on the central state issue that he has had to deal with during his time in the Assembly —the state budget. As I noted in a previous column, nearly every single Republican in the legislature has signed Grover Norquist’s “no new taxes” pledge. Fletcher is one of them. Thus, on the most important issue at the state level, Fletcher stands with Norquist and the “starve the beast crowd.”

Rather than compromise on Governor Brown’s budget proposal and allow the voters to decide whether or not to extend current taxes to avoid catastrophic cuts on top of the nearly $12 billion in cuts that have already been made, Fletcher lined up behind Norquist and the hard-line anti-tax crew.

Hence far from being a “new generation” leader who stands above “gridlock” and “polarization,” Fletcher is part of the gridlock and polarization that plagues our politics. By aligning himself with Norquist and the anti-tax zealots in Sacramento, Fletcher has harmed education, social services, public safety, and fire protection in San Diego. Anyone who follows politics knows that when the budget gets cut in Sacramento, it gets passed on to the cities. So if Fletcher is coming back to save us, he’s saving us from a problem he helped perpetuate by starving the cities of funding.

Fletcher likes to talk about education, but the Republican budget plan he supported proposed to spare education by gutting state spending on services for the mentally ill, the poor, and children (not to mention firing more state workers, of course). Nobody seriously expected it to pass, but it was a clever Machiavellian ploy that played on fears about children’s educations while pitting their education funding against services for the weak with no constituency or lobby.

At base, it was a cruel budget proposal just as the Republican strategy at the statewide level has been merciless for some time now. So Nathan may be pretty, but his policy is neither nice, nor progressive by any reasonable standard. The minute Fletcher votes for any revenue increase, he’ll deserve some consideration for the moderate label. Until then, it’s a sham.

You can’t starve the beast and then claim you’re here to save it. Fletcher just can’t have it both ways—unless enough San Diego voters are dumb enough to let him get away with it.

That was true last June and it’s still true–even after Nathan’s bait and switch. Just because Fletcher and DeMaio dislike each other personally doesn’t mean their political philosophies are radically divergent. Other than optics and style, there isn’t much difference between Fletcher and DeMaio. As another one of Fletcher’s old Republican buddies, Tab Berg, put it, “Rather than ‘rejecting division,’ the moves strikes me more of embracing the politics of personality over principle. To me, it screams that he values his personal success more than the ideas all of us have fought for together.” Thus those who hold out hope that Fletcher is really something new and fresh because he doesn’t snarl and is less than reactionary on one or two social issues will be sadly disappointed when they elect him and get the same old business as usual in a younger, more handsome package.

Jim Miller’s “Under the Perfect Sun” column usually runs on Mondays, but since we had an OB Rag interview with Bob Filner to publish, we decided to hold off Jim’s post until today.

{ 38 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Andy Cohen April 24, 2012 at 10:19 am

Very compelling stuff, Jim. And you’re right: He does need to answer some of these very important questions about his apparent “shift” to moderation; whether he truly had an epiphany or it was a change made purely out of political expedience. No one has directly challenged him on that point yet, and I would really love to hear him answer some of those questions.

That said, I still think that besides Bob Filner, he’s the only other voice in this race worth listening to. You may be exactly right in that once in office he’ll govern in a manner identical to “Dr. Destructo” Carl DeMaio. But I would like to hear him specifically address those concerns. I’d like to hear him talk about how exactly he supports public education and how he believes it should be funded–or did his private religiously affiliated college education teach him that “public education bad, private religious instruction good?” I would like to hear him address his pledge to Richard Rider and Grover Norquist. I would like to hear how he rationalizes that an all-cuts budget is the only proper solution and that revenues are not needed.

He surely is a slick talker. But as I wrote after last week’s debate, his entire platform seems to be “I served in the military, vote for me!” It didn’t work for John McCain, and it shouldn’t work for Nathan Fletcher. Government is not the military, and military service does not necessarily qualify one to serve in government. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t listen to what he has to say.


avatar Anna Daniels April 24, 2012 at 10:30 am

So, remind me again. Why are Democrats backing/considering Fletcher??????


avatar Andy Cohen April 24, 2012 at 10:37 am

‘Cause he’s the new shiny toy that talks slick and sounds compelling. He’s also the kind of guy that once you get down to the nitty gritty and find out what he’s really all about, you fall out of love with him just as quickly. The problem is that we’ve got less than a month-and-a-half before the primary and he needs to be challenged on some of these issues. Thus far he’s been allowed to skate on his departure from the Republican Party. But he hasn’t really been challenged on what his true principals are.


avatar JMW April 24, 2012 at 10:54 am

“Fletcher leaped over the extremely low bar of American political authenticity and credibility expectations.”
Great line!
Having read the quoted, but not cited, Fletcher text, I can’t see how any progressive person, at least not one who can read, could be seduced.
He needs a speech writer.


avatar Andy Cohen April 24, 2012 at 10:59 am

They are cited. See the link immediately prior to the quoted text.


avatar JMW April 25, 2012 at 2:16 am

Thanks, Andy. I’m not much of a link follower. I wanted to see “at such a place, before such a group, on such a date” as part of the text.


avatar JMW April 24, 2012 at 10:58 am

One more thing: when I “came back” I wanted to serve too. I just didn’t want to serve the guys who were kind enough to send me off to war.


avatar Anna Daniels April 24, 2012 at 11:49 am

Well said JMW, well said.


avatar JMW April 25, 2012 at 8:34 am

Thank you.


avatar Jack April 24, 2012 at 11:16 am

Almost had me fooled. No wonder Willard is a big supporter.


avatar judi Curry April 24, 2012 at 11:47 am

Andy, hope you jump on this and do your next article comparing Fletcher and Filner.


avatar Kimberley April 24, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Bravo! Finally, solid reporting on the real Nathan Fletcher. I was begining to lose hope. Here is my posted comment from the Brooks article:
Desperate times call for desperate measures, and this is one act of desperation. It’s ironic that Mitt Romney just came to San Diego for a visit. He apparently left his clone, a local political candidate who shifts according to the most favorable political winds. The record remains – that Nathan Fletcher aided and abetted in the worst financial crisis California Public Schools, from Kindergarten through University, have ever faced. Since his election in 2008, he has never violated his Grover Norquist anti-tax pledge. The claim that he worked with the Governor to close the tax loophole favoring out of state corporations and costing the state billions is a farce. In 2009, he strongly supported this $2 billion corporate tax giveaway. When Governor Brown proposed closing the loophole in January 2011, Fletcher opposed it because the additional revenue would go to schools and to closing the budget deficit. Only when it was crafted as revenue neutral and Jon Fleishman of the Flash Report tweeted the following, “”Because the tax plan is revenue neutral, supporting it does NOT violate a no new taxes pledge.”, did Fletcher support it. He has consistently blocked revenue for schools, prohibited local voters from deciding to support additional revenues, supported nonstop cuts to education and other services and funneled school property tax revenues to his developer buddies. A profile in courage, this is not!

And here is more factual information on Fletcher:
1. We are in an education funding crisis. Since 2008, over $17 billion have been cut from public education and the loss per student in the Poway Unified is over $1,300. In 2008, schools had already been suffering from years of constant underfunding of education. In over 10 years that we’ve been with Poway Unified a well-rounded, fully funded education has not existed.
2. When Nathan Fletcher was elected 75th AD Assembly Member in 2008, he signed a “no tax” pledge to an out-of-state lobbyist. This crippled his constitutionally mandated duties to serve his constituents and the people of California.
3. During the state budget crisis of 2009, Nathan Fletcher supported a corporate tax giveaway that was estimated to result in the loss of over $2 billion per year to the state. Schools get roughly 40% of this revenue.
4. In 2009 Fletcher voted against an Assembly Resolution (no force of law) to bring education funding up to or beyond the national average, “and to a level that accounts for the actual cost of educating California’s students.” When asked why he voted against this nonbinding resolution, he stated that he could not remember.
5. In 2010 Fletcher opposed allowing local communities the opportunity to raise local sources of revenue for schools. The measure was called, “Local Control of Local Classrooms Funding Act.”
6. In 2010 Fletcher secured a backroom deal to lift a cap on downtown San Diego redevelopment funds. This effectively transferred stable property tax revenue from schools to building projects, like a new football stadium.
7. In 2011 Fletcher signed a pledge (a different lobbyist) to vote against allowing his constituents the opportunity to vote on a revenue extension measure. The Legislative Anaylst’s Office (LAO) reported that this would result in the loss of over $335 per student.
8. Parents have made hundreds of phone calls and students have written dozens of letters, with no response.


avatar Anna Daniels April 24, 2012 at 1:57 pm

Kimberley- thanks for your amplification of Jim Miller’s points. Will any of the upcoming debates require Fletcher to address these positions and allegiances? I really want him to explain to us how maintaining the Grover Norquist pledge squares with being open to all possible solutions and reflects a moderate/independent political position. Once revenue increases are off the table, budget cuts, privatization and user fees are the only remaining fiscal tools. Combine that with give aways to wealthy interests and you end up with San Diego, exactly as it is today, and pretty much exactly as it always has been.


avatar Kimberley April 24, 2012 at 2:18 pm

I’ve been asking the same question. Fletcher has a 3 1/2 year record of rightwing, Grover Norquist, gridlock creating votes in Sacramento. Yes, no reporters or moderators have asked him about this.
Fletcher also voted against requiring that school children have access to drinking water during mealtimes. As a PTA parent, I have taken many letters from students to his office in Sacramento, yet, to my knowledge, he has never responded to one. That’s just inconsiderate and tacky. Yet he claims to be a champion of education. When I started calling his office in 2009, his staffers would say that the Assembly Member was a big supporter of education because his son would be starting kindergarten. Then I found out his son was less than 2 years old at the time. That’s when I started to notice the pattern of deceptions.


avatar La Playa Heritage April 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm

When Nathan Fletcher made the midnight deal in Sacramento to end CCDC’s Cap, Fletcher also went along with Mayor Sanders, CCDC, and the downtown developer’s plan to not increase the Affordable Housing Set Aside from 20 percent to 30 percent minimum for Redevelopment Plan Amendments. Literally taking cash from the poor and homeless to subsidize luxury projects including a new NFL Stadium.

Nathan Fletcher, Mayor Sanders, and CCDC’s move to steal from the poor brought scrutiny on themselves and helped end Redevelopment throughout California.

Plus Nathan Fletcher went around the Redevelopment Board of Directors, our City Council, specifically our downtown Councilman Kevin Faulconer, and City Attorney Goldsmith to make the midnight deal with CCDC development interests without public input from communities of need. With this BOLD move, Fletcher essentially stole Councilman Faulconer’s place as the future star of the Republican Party. Lowering Councilman Faulconer’s chance to run for Mayor in 2012.

Months later, Fletcher was betrayed by Mayor Sanders and the downtown Republican elite who back Dumanis for Mayor.


avatar scott April 24, 2012 at 3:16 pm

Bob seems to have his head on straight. Unfortunately, he does not present a good sound bite and comes accross as a grumpy or at least slow old man. Also unfortunate, that will alienate manty voters right away and they may turn to the pretty Fletcher as a response.


avatar Frank Gormlie April 24, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Manly men turning to pretty boy? Got lost somewhere in the genderictics.


avatar Andy Cohen April 24, 2012 at 5:38 pm

Well, having sat directly across the desk from him for a good 45 minutes grilling him with what I think were some pretty tough, pointed questions, I can tell you he wasn’t grumpy or testy at all. Not even a little. He was personable, amiable, and only too happy to provide solid, detailed answers to mine and Annie’s questions. He ducked absolutely nothing.

Now it is true that he did come off as a little testy in last Thursday’s televised debate, and I even wrote as much. But when we sat down with him face to face it was quite the opposite.


avatar gaelic April 24, 2012 at 4:26 pm

He had to tow the party line to be a contender and he got sick of it. Simple as that. Its a major issue with the two party system in this country. But, anyone who actually has taken the time to get to know him knows that he’s an incredibly decent human being and a great leader.


avatar Andy Cohen April 24, 2012 at 6:03 pm

But he hasn’t changed a single one of his policy positions. He still believes in the policies of a far right Republican. School vouchers and the Norquist pledge are particularly problematic. His policy positions are not those of a moderate independent, they’re of a hard core Republican.


avatar Kimberley April 24, 2012 at 8:18 pm

So, the excuse is, “They made him do it”? Not exactly a profile in courage. And how about the timing of becoming an independent? He’s giving up his assembly seat, which means he could have acted on his personal convictions in the state legislature when he decided not to seek reelection. Instead, this “nice guy” cast votes that kicked sick elderly people to the curb due to forced reductions in home health aid for the elderly – real nice!


avatar scott April 24, 2012 at 5:42 pm

I agree with you he is a good guy but the problem is for people who don’t have the time to follow things so closely at first glance that does not come accross and somewhere in there his good message gets lost.


avatar Anna Daniels April 24, 2012 at 5:55 pm

Scott- this very issue of style over substance was addressed today by Norma Damashek in her blog NumbersRunner:
“Nathan Fletcher comes across as an attractive, appealing, handsome candidate who — after a bruising and losing fight for the endorsement of the local Republican Party — made a calculated decision to rebrand himself as a political “independent.”

Here’s a shorthand way to think about your choices: if you would feel comfortable voting for Carl DeMaio, you should have no trouble whatsoever voting for Nathan Fletcher. Or vice versa. ”
Read the rest here:


avatar scott April 24, 2012 at 5:43 pm

clarification: my comment was in response to Andy (re: Filner) not Fletcher.


avatar dorndiego April 25, 2012 at 10:35 am

Deep digging on the latest face to loom up from the plutocracy. Thank you, Jim Miller and the Rag. You guys are getting more and more important.
But, it’s sorta weird that when the subject is city politics no one deals with what the Fletch has to say about the takeover of downtown development by the hotels, municipal employees’ pensions, propositions A and B, the Chargers’ stadium and tax money for it, the destruction of Cabrillo Bridge. What Fletcher thinks about those issues might persuade Democrats he’s just another stooge, no matter how pretty his face.


avatar Brian Brady April 25, 2012 at 10:52 am

Great reporting. Clearly, progressives are abandoning Filner because Fletcher is the ABCD candidate. Fortunately for the GOP, Fletcher is, was, and always will be a philosophical Republican, regardless of his decision to decline to state.


avatar Assemblyman Isadore Hall April 25, 2012 at 12:11 pm

On the same day that Jim Miller published his piece against Nathan
Fletcher, the right wing group Americans for Prosperity was doing a
press conference to attack him as well. You may have heard about this
group, the front group for the Koch brothers. This is the same group
that supported the chaos and dysfunction in Wisconsin-a model and vision
that Carl Demaio has laid out as his vision for San Diego.

It’s unfortunate that Jim Miller doesn’t know Nathan Fletcher, but I do.

I have served with him since we were both elected in 2008. As a
lifelong Democrat, we have found a shared frustration with the extremes
and a desire to try and come together to solve problems. But for the
last four years, Nathan has been routinely attacked by Republicans for
his willingness to break party lines to do what he believed was right.
I have seen scorecard after scorecard where he was attacked by the right
wing as “not pure enough” or a RINO (Republican in Name Only). In fact,
Carl Demaio’s own campaign manager blasted him for acknowledging months
ago (well before his actual move) that he struggles with this place in
partisan politics. He acknowledges on fiscal issues he tends to lean
more Republican, but on social and environmental issues he leans more
Democratic. These same forces that for years attacked Nathan for not
being a real Republican are now bent on portraying him as the opposite
of that to suit their political needs.

The reality is that Nathan Fletcher has always been an independent voice
willing to do what he believed to be right.

I’ve been impressed by Fletcher’s willingness to diverge from party
orthodoxy and pursue an independent course long before he made his break
with the Republican Party official. Fletcher’s willingness to put
solutions ahead of partisan game playing made him one of the most
effective legislators in Sacramento, including passing Chelsea’s Law,
tax reform and campaign finance reform. He also authored legislation to
ensure people who lost their jobs could keep their health insurance,
fought to restore healthy families, and authored legislation to help
homeless youth. Fletcher’s support for women’s reproductive rights,
environmental protection and marriage equality prove both his
independence and courage.

San Diego needs a Mayor who can guide their city into a better future.

As the former Mayor of Compton and from where I sit, on the Assembly
floor besides Nathan Fletcher for several years, I can say he will be a
great Mayor.


avatar Kimberley April 25, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Unfortunately, this is the sort of “Ivory Tower” mentality I witnessed in Sacramento from members of both political parties. As a PTA parent, lobbying Sacramento on behalf of our public school children, I discovered that most of the legislators did not have children in the public schools. Since they had no “skin in the game”, they could easily claim their political opposition was a moderate and decent person, even in the face of brutal cuts to public services due to the Anti-tax pledges of Grover Norquist and Jon Fleishman. I will re-post here the facts that cannot be ignored. This is another politician that has now disappointed me due to a lack of core progressive values. Many elderly, sick, disabled and poor people have been severely hurt by these very real cuts. I am indeed losing faith in our elected representatives.

When Nathan Fletcher was elected 75th AD Assembly Member in 2008, he signed a “no tax” pledge to an out-of-state lobbyist. This crippled his constitutionally mandated duties to serve his constituents and the people of California.
During the state budget crisis of 2009, Nathan Fletcher supported a corporate tax giveaway that was estimated to result in the loss of over $2 billion per year to the state. Schools get roughly 40% of this revenue.
In 2009 Fletcher voted against an Assembly Resolution (no force of law) to bring education funding up to or beyond the national average, “and to a level that accounts for the actual cost of educating California’s students.” When asked why he voted against this nonbinding resolution, he stated that he could not remember.
In 2010 Fletcher opposed allowing local communities the opportunity to raise local sources of revenue for schools. The measure was called, “Local Control of Local Classrooms Funding Act.”
In 2010 Fletcher secured a backroom deal to lift a cap on downtown San Diego redevelopment funds. This effectively transferred stable property tax revenue from schools to building projects, like a new football stadium.
In 2011 Fletcher voted against requiring that school children have access to drinking water during mealtimes.
In 2011 Fletcher signed a pledge (a different lobbyist) to vote against allowing his constituents the opportunity to vote on a revenue extension measure. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) reported that this would result in the loss of over $335 per student.


avatar Anna Daniels April 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Mr Hall, if you are indeed a lifelong Democrat, why aren’t you supporting another lifelong Democrat, Bob Filner? Is Nathan Fletcher truly a lifelong Democrat’s dream? I am deeply confused.


avatar judi Curry April 25, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Great question, Anna!


avatar Kimberley April 25, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Not only is Bob Filner a life long Democrat, but he was one of the original Freedom Riders. He actually had Martin Luther King in his family’s kitchen. How’s that for creds!


avatar Anna Daniels April 26, 2012 at 2:09 pm

Kimberley-thanks for bringing up the issue of Filner’s Freedom Rider days. The U-T ran an interesting story recently: “Fletcher’s Iraq firefight led to sense of purpose” Fletcher is revealed as courageous, patriotic and deeply committed to the people he was fighting alongside. We tend to value these qualities as signs of unimpeachable character and they influence how we view someone.
The U-T, however, has not seen fit (yet) to run an in-depth article about how the Freedom Rider experience reflects Bob Filner’s sense of purpose. I have read accounts. Filner too is courageous, patriotic and deeply committed. Lucas Oconnor’s “Bob Filner’s Freedom Ride Legacy” is posted here and maybe we should repost it.


avatar Kimberley April 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm

Wow!! Thank you for sharing that. I had not read that article. I will share it with my contacts and elsewhere.


avatar Kimberley April 25, 2012 at 6:20 pm

(Ok, I apologize. I’m “on a tear”) But, he also spent several months in prison in the State of Mississippi because of his civil rights work. (Filner)


avatar Anna Daniels April 25, 2012 at 9:36 pm

According to Assemblyman Isadore Hall: “Fletcher’s support for women’s reproductive rights, environmental protection and marriage equality prove both his
independence and courage.”
I felt to compelled to research that statement, because I don’t know. According to a Project Vote Smart Survey, Fletcher receives a big goose egg (0) on women’s reproductive rights from NARAL, Planned Parenthood and California Abortion and Reproductive Rights League. Again- that is 0% from each of these organizations.
On the Environment? The Sierra Club never rates him above 33% on issues.
On sexual orientation and gender identity he scores the highest- 54%
More ratings here
Perhaps Assemblyman Hall will add some links/substantiation to his statement.


avatar Kimberley April 25, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Thank you for your research. Looks like Fletcher is not the only Flim Flam man. And, they wonder why their poll numbers are in the single digits.


avatar karl April 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

he was Randy “Duke” Cunningham’s chief of staff. lest I say more?


avatar mj del campo April 29, 2012 at 8:06 am

please add me to your email list.


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