California Primary – Part 9: City Council Race In District Two – Faulconer vs Whats-His-Name?

by on June 3, 2010 · 12 comments

in Civil Rights, Election, Environment, Ocean Beach, Organizing, San Diego

district2.mapThere are City Council races in all our City’s even numbered districts this year, including District Two, encompassing Mission Beach, much of Pacific Beach, some of La Jolla, Old Town, parts of Hillcrest, Little Italy, most of downtown, and of course Point Loma and Ocean Beach. There are three announced candidates: incumbent Kevin Faulconer, and two members of the Pacific Beach Town Council, Patrick Finucane and Jim Morrison.

Dist 2 candidates 2010

District 2 candidates: Patrick Finucane, Kevin Faulconer, Jim Morrison

Just one year ago, there were web sites and Facebook pages up calling for Faulconer’s defeat and even threatening recall in the wake of voter approval of (last election’s version) of Proposition D, which permanently banned alcohol consumption on San Diego’s beaches.

This year’s race would have been a whole lot more interesting had Samuel Assmann, a 27-year old from Crown Point, made good on his boasts in the San Diego Reader to run against the incumbent based on his flip-flop in support of the booze ban. Think of it: “Assmann for City Council” buttons, “San Diego Needs Ass” bumper stickers, and “I’d Rather Have a Bottle in Front of Me Than a Frontal Lobotomy: Send Kevin to the Funny Farm” posters. But, alasss (sic), we’re stuck with what has been a rather boring campaign. Let’s start by damning the incumbent with (it’s in there, we promise) faint praise:

Kevin Faulconer

When you go to City Councilman Kevin Faulconer’s website, the first thing that strikes the eye is the headline:



We’re guessing that he’s referring to the change that occurred when Faulconer decided that changing his mind on the booze ban was one of his proudest accomplishments in his State of the District speech.

“Alcohol is prohibited along the coast of most Southern California communities, meaning San Diego’s beaches had become a magnet for troublemakers. I couldn’t fight for Mission Bay without addressing the problems alcohol was creating at our beaches and bays. This wasn’t an easy decision for me. But I knew what the right choice was.”

Though the issue passed with only a 5 percent margin and was opposed by Ocean Beach residents more than 2 to 1, Faulconer claims the benefits of dry beaches aren’t debatable. So there. He knew the local booze hounds would forget all their angry rhetoric after a couple of Happy Hours, and he considerably enhanced his image in other voting districts of the City, where he’ll need the support should he decide to run for higher office later on.

sign of no alc etcThe 43-year-old Point Loma resident was first elected into office in 2006, beating Lorena Gonzalez by just more than two percentage points in the special election to replace then-incumbent Michael Zucchet. Zucchet, as you may recall, was booted from the City Council following his conviction on various charges in San Diego’s “strippergate”. (Most people are probably unaware that the cases against him were overturned by the courts based on a lack of evidence.)

Local observers think this race will be a cakewalk for the incumbent. What makes Faulconer’s re-election most likely has been his responsiveness to constituent concerns. It’s the oldest game in the book and it works. His office returns phone calls. He makes appearances at every event of note throughout his district. And, when he can, he even works a little political magic –as he did in the case of the fire pits and local libraries —to ease the concerns of his constituents. Faulconer’s easy-going personal style has also gained him points with his district. He’s been endorsed by the Republican Party, San Diego Firefighters, San Diego Police Officers Association. He’s the incumbent and that’s powerful plus.

Of some importance in this campaign (and any future campaigns) are the Councilman’s claims of fiscal responsibility in the face of San Diego’s lousy financial condition. Part of the game here involves ongoing support for “outsourcing” city services, which, in political terms, translates into hefty contributions from companies that expect to gain from future municipal contracts. That’s why Faulconer’s total cash reserves were reported to be near $99,000, more than 20 times the reserves of his nearest opponent, Pacific Beach-based engineer Finucane.

Patrick Finucane

He’s a good looking, easy going candidate. If he had five thousand dollars for every endorsement he’s garnered, he might stand a chance. Democrats, Women, and Conservationists all say he’s their guy. We get that he’s not the kind of candidate that’s gonna raise a ruckus by attacking a Teflon coated incumbent. We even friended him on Facebook.

Finucane spent three years on the board of the Pacific Beach Town Council and three years as Vice President of the Pacific Beach Community Parking District. He is currently employed by General Atomics Aeronautical Systems as a mechanical engineer. And he was also on the executive board of the San Diego League of Conservation Voters.

But you can’t run on platitudes, so unless Faulconer gets caught up in a sex scandal, that’s all he’s got. Here’s Finucane’s environmental stance (in toto, which accounts for 25% of what he says on any issue on his website):

Walking the PB boardwalk at sunset. Jogging around Mission Bay. Taking the family down to the Harbor. The very cornerstone of the San Diego experience is built around our incredible natural resources. For posterity, and the future of San Diego as a world-class city, we must be vigilant in protecting our local environment.

The City of San Diego has the largest sewage treatment plant in the country that does not meet clean water standards. Every day we dump 170,000,000 gallons of only partially treated sewage into the Pacific Ocean. We need to address this issue NOW.

We happen to live in an arid climate that depends upon water from other parts of the state and country. These resources are coming dangerously close to being depleted. For San Diego’s survival, we must find sustainable ways to continue supplying water to our neighborhoods. Although boo-hoo’ed by past downtown politicians, me must implement water reuse. The water we currently use in San Diego has already been used and treated by such places as Las Vegas. Water reuse is a safe, cost effective method of providing water to San Diego. We can not delay any longer.

The dude even opened a twitter account last summer, but hasn’t used it in six months. So what’s happening, dude? Milquetoast.

Jim Morrison

He’s making his fourth bid for the City Council. He’s a property manager, and sits on the PB Council and the Pacific Beach Community Planning Committee. So he’s very involved in Pacific Beach, and he’s been called a down home guy who’s interested in the community. No Website. No money, either.

Interview of all three candidates

I did find an interview with all three candidates here . Nothing was said in that interview will rock your world.


Well, I’ve just about wasted enough of everybody’s time on all this election nonsense. The only thing left for me to do is the act of filling out and mailing in my ballot. Those of you who’ve stuck with me through this ten thousand word saga may dimly remember that getting my ballot in the mail is what triggered this paroxysm. I’ll be recapping this series along with any nuggets that I find laying around just in time for those of you who vote the old fashioned way to mark your ballots.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

psd June 3, 2010 at 9:19 am

Dang – was hoping you’d know more about the other two candidates…seems like they’re running incognito. I’ve gotten two mailers from Finucane, visited his website and found nothing of substance both times (I was really hoping since he had the money to spam me twice he’d have at least taken the time to form some opinion of substance).


JMW June 3, 2010 at 11:44 am

Unless I’m mistaken, undergrounding utilities is SDG&E’s responsibility, and I also believe that SDG&E has been taking a little bite out of every gas and electric bill for a couple of decades for that purpose. Am I wrong?


doug porter June 3, 2010 at 2:26 pm



lane tobias June 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

district 2 is way too big. cut it in half and let downtown/little italy/etc. deal with the problems of urbanity, while beach communities deal with the problems that most effect us – pollution is obviously a big one at the top of that list.


psd June 3, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Has anyone seen (or does there exist) a proposed redistricting if we add that 9th council seat?


doug porter June 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm

there will be a commission that will take into account this year’s census data, among other things.


George June 3, 2010 at 5:27 pm

@JMW For information on utilities undergrounding financing, the City of San Diego’s Utilities Undergrounding Program website is:


JMW June 4, 2010 at 9:57 am

George, Hi. I visited the website, and, of course, I can dig through it for the answers: 1) Isn’t SDG&E responsible, and 2) Hasn’t SDG&E taken a bit from all utility bills for decades for that specific purpose? Do you know the answer to either or both? Thanks, JMW


George June 4, 2010 at 11:50 am

@JMW I’m far from knowledgeable about the undergrounding program, but it looks to me like the city is responsible for undergrounding while a good chunk of the funding for it does come from a surcharge in SDG&E’s bill but the city also allocates taxpayer funds to undergrounding projects. This document from the website gives a little more flavor of the setup:


JMW June 4, 2010 at 1:17 pm

George, thanks, I’ll check both sites out further. By the way, my name is Mike.


clubstyle_dj June 3, 2010 at 9:59 pm

Thank You for the “One year ago” paragraph. Kaptain KillJoy may win but not with my vote. At this point I’ll vote for the keyboard player that floats around OB instead. As far as the firepits and the Library goes… the “lipstick on a pig” phrase keep repeating in my brain.


Editordude June 5, 2010 at 11:00 am

U-T: Faulconer also points to his efforts to scale back pay and benefits for city employees and believes City Hall should turn to the private sector to provide some services, believing it could save taxpayers millions of dollars.

Regarding downtown, the incumbent favors the expansion of the convention center and perhaps a new City Hall complex, but only if there’s a public vote on the project and it proves a net benefit to taxpayers.

He said he wants to help the San Diego Unified Port District craft a modified redevelopment plan for the North Embarcadero, between Seaport Village and the airport. The state Coastal Commission recently rejected a port proposal for the area, saying it did not include enough park land.

“It’s essential that we open up the North Embarcadero to the public,” he said. “I want to bring this to a successful conclusion because it’s so important.”

Finucane, 32, said the city can’t afford many of the big-ticket projects envisioned for downtown. The first-time candidate said City Hall should instead focus on developing a citywide water-recycling program and search for additional ways to raise revenue, perhaps by asking voters if they would be willing to pay for trash service.

Morrison favors the selling of more city-owned land to raise revenue and would like to see a new central library built downtown — but not the large complex currently planned.

He has reported more than $800 in campaign contributions since the start of the year, while Finucane has raised $4,300. Faulconer has collected $74,349 over the same period.


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