You’ve got to be kidding… Mayor Sanders called me at home and left me a personal message! Oh, by the way – No on Prop D!

by on June 1, 2010 · 17 comments

in Economy, Election, Organizing, San Diego

No on PropD 02

Homemade signs can be wonderful. Photos by Rich Kacmar.

I started listening to the messages on the answer machine and whose voice did I hear but “Mayor Jerry Sanders,” asking me to “Vote yes on Proposition D,” that personable, avuncular voice reminding me that the Strong Mayor form of government in San Diego is the only hope for digging us out of our financial mess and righting all the wrongs of City Hall over the past decades. Really?

Number 1, I hate robo-calls. Number 2, the Strong Mayor from of government sucks, and I say that having lived through a less than perfect City Manager form of government for most of the thirty years that I have resided in San Diego.

Proposition D gives city of San Diego residents the opportunity to vote on not only whether the City Charter be changed permanently to a Strong Mayor form of government, which is in itself a substantive issue, BUT ALSO includes adding a ninth council district seat and the requirement of a super majority to pass legislation. Wow. Don’t roll your eyeballs up in your heads. Keep reading!

Now why in the world would we want to do that? Because the Masters of the Universe think it’s a good idea, which is to say the San Diego Taxpayers Association, which really isn’t taxpayers like you and me; Carl DeMaio, the councilman who would be mayor, and the developers and special interest groups identified by the League of Women Voters- all think it’s a really swell idea.

Where do YOU fit into these groups? Did you kick in this kind of support- $10,000????? Read about the rest of the backers here .

Here’s a sample:

Corky McMillian Co. / Real Estate Investment, Land Development & Home-Building Company $ 10,000

Sudberry Properties /Commercial Real Estate $ 10,500

San Diego Association of Realtors $ 10,000

Allied Waste /Contract for mayor’s privatized recycling program $10,000

San Diego Restaurant & Beverage PAC $ 10,000

Malin Burnham / Cushman Wakefield $ 10,000

John Davies /Attorney $ 10,000

AT&T California Employee PAC $ 10,000

A host of construction services, surveying & mapping, urban design, transportation, legal support services, including …

Sempra Energy / Parent Company of San Diego Gas & Electric

Nova Engineering / Works on 4 Largest Construction Projects in San Diego Region

Our Strong Mayor has dismissed those of us who show up at lengthy City Council meetings and sub–committee meetings to give our 2 minute citizen presentation as “special interests.”

Think about that- he thinks those of us who take the time out of our lives to often wait hours to speak on behalf of our fire rings, our libraries, our park and recreation services, that WE are special interests. Corky McMillian, Allied Waste, Malin Burnham et al evidently don’t take that de classe route. And besides, the Strong Mayor never has to hang around those public meetings to hear our pain.

What has the Strong Mayor system given us?

It has given us spin instead of a transparent and democratic discussion of policy. Instead of being present at Council meetings, the Mayor meets with Council members individually-at breakfast, or whatever.

The Strong Mayor gets to pimp off of photo ops- like holding a press conference a few years ago to say that the Ocean Beach Library would not be closed as he proposed. He gets to look like a good guy, doesn’t he, when in reality he told the Library Department to make x amount of cuts and those cuts weren’t palatable to Ocean Beach or any of the other seven communities faced with library closures. That’s disgusting.

The Strong Mayor’s spin support- the office of the COO, CEO and his own office staff of course- continue to grow as our beloved general fund services shrink and disappear or have fees attached. This is the Nightmare on Elm Street which has not only slashed services but has callously and calculatedly attempted to undermine public confidence in the public workforce which serves all of us.

Machiavelli is not in charge behind the scenes as Don Bauder opined here.  It is Freddy Kruger. And the Strong Mayor gets to do it with impunity.

Many, many people in our community have come out against Prop D. Donna Frye. The League of Women Voters. Marti Emerald. Community leaders in my neighborhood of City Heights. There is no official funded effort, however, against this proposition. What’s with that?

No on Prop D own signSo that leaves you and me. I made my own damn sign. You can too. Signs have started to go up across the City. Make your own damn sign. This is too important of an issue to ignore.

Send pictures of your signs and locations to the OBRag.

{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

doug porter June 1, 2010 at 11:27 am

right on anna! this is part of what i feel is a concerted effort to remove “those pesky citizens” from the democratic process. next year they’ll be asking us to let “committee” pick four members of the school board. if there ever was a time to make your voice heard, the June primary is it!


Shane Finneran June 1, 2010 at 12:55 pm

Wow, I hadn’t put too much thought into D, but this article makes it clear that I need to vote no. The local Taxdodgers Association is for it, so right away, I know it’s probably bad policy. But I didn’t know about D’s super-majority requirement, that nasty little device the Howard Jarvis set uses to emasculate the rest of us. No thanks, Jerry Sanders.


Jeff June 1, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I like PROP D. It allows us to see exactly who’s making the calls more which will allow us to kick the person out of office. The City Council can veto-override the Mayor.

Before we had Strong Mayor we had councilmembers who were paid off by Labor Unions or Private contributors making back door deals (I dated a councilmember so I know more about what really goes on.. and no they all make backdoor deals and you can’t stop that by the way). Can you really hold 8 councilmembers accountable for screwing up?? No. And if you don’t like what’s going on you can only vote or the councilmember in your area. I’d rather have EVERYONE vote for a Mayor who has authority to make drastic changes when needed than having a locked city council do nothing. Strong Mayor makes sense. It’s like saying we don’t want a President or VP but only Congress. C’mon, we need a strong person at the head… and if we don’t like Sanders we can find another.


annagrace June 1, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Jeff- have you actually read who is currently backing Prop D and how much has been contributed? Voice of San Diego states that “strong mayor proponents have spent $318,818.23 since November.” One of the contributors is the New Majority PAC, which donated $34K to the cause.

Ever heard about New Majority? I hadn’t either, but checked out their website. They “boast nearly 50 members who are some of San Diego County’s premier business leaders.” Their “top priority is to make sure government is made up of those who strive to promote sound, business friendly policies…” They have created events for small groups to “meet with prominent elected officials and appointees.” Doesn’t that rather smack of back room deal potential?

Are you still going to stand behind your comment that the strong mayor form of government is the way to reduce back room deals and special interest influences?


mr fresh June 1, 2010 at 2:42 pm

“Before we had strong mayor we had council members who were paid off…”
I’m sure that all those contractors that do business with the City were thinking the same thing when they donated all that money to support a proposition with no organized opposition. {snark}
Let’s hear it for honest government in Enron By The Sea. It’s the best government money can buy. Oh, and, by the way, the dreaded labor unions gave their defacto support for this proposition.


ClubStyle_DJ June 1, 2010 at 5:22 pm

NO on Prop ‘D’
Where have I heard that phrase before?
It’s right on the tip of my tongue.
Think I’ll go down to the beach, have a beer and think about it.


Frank Gormlie June 2, 2010 at 9:54 am

Received this note from Donna Frye: Friends,
Please join us this Thursday, June 3, at noon in front of City Hall for a rally and press event to oppose Prop D. Bring friends!!!
Donna Frye


annagrace June 2, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Jerry Sanders says “Voters should say ‘no’ to the strong-mayor experiment. He said that voters should say ‘no’ to the strong-mayor system in order to protect our neighborhoods from special interest control, keep government accountable to the people and stop backroom deals.”

That was then- almost six years ago, when he was running for mayor. He has certainly changed his tune, hasn’t he? Why do you think that is? Ah. It’s really good to be a strong mayor.

Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. (And special interest money makes the world go ’round….)


Chuck Abdelnour,City Clerk Emeritus June 2, 2010 at 3:16 pm

Hello everyone,
I sat next to 5-6 Mayors during my years of serving the Council as well 60 of them.. and a good strong Mayor does not need a law or change of the Charter to be effective..They need to assit in running City Council meeting and very closely providing leadersip for those elected by districts and not run rough shod over them or our citizens-We certainly do not need another Councl Distrct or the costs associated with it-Keep the Council and their staff strong..and they will serve our city and communities superbly…I have sat next to Strong Mayors. NO on D..


annagrace June 2, 2010 at 7:26 pm

Chuck, how well I remember you sitting there all of those years! Thank you for weighing in on this issue. Hope you are having a swell life as “emeritus.”


Adam June 2, 2010 at 6:12 pm

Right on, Chuck!
We need a strong Council, NOT a strong Mayor.
A Strong Mayor means WEAK PEOPLE.
It’s easier to buy one Strong Mayor than 8 Strong Council Members. Thats what all the fat cats want.
Adam (yes, THAT Adam)


Richard June 3, 2010 at 11:46 am

The right and left, Reps and Dems, Council and Mayor, School Board and all our State officials are all whores for campaign contributions. We need public financed elections and jail time for those who don’t follow the rules. Who cares which form of city government we choose when they are all peddling their vote for cash.


Shane Finneran June 3, 2010 at 12:49 pm

Well said, Richard. Until we completely revamp the electoral system, stuff like Prop D is largely just deck chairs on the Titanic. Still, seems like D would make the current system even worse.


Frank Gormlie June 3, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Yeah, you’re right. Prop D would leave the mayor unaccountable and inaccessible.


Frank Gormlie June 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm

Somewhat cynical Richard, but certainly our electoral system needs overhaul and deserves much disgust … and cynicism. Yet, ya know, the Right and their corporate sponsors/ clients/ chiefs keep throwing obstacles in the way of our people as they attempt to carry out their wants and needs within the electoral system. Little obstacles, like electronic voting machines, restrictions on peoples’ abilities to vote, even Supreme Court overrule. So if voting didn’t matter, why would so much effort go into restraining the popular vote? Even the most progressive politician needs money – but you’re right, they don’t have to prostitute themselves in the search for funds.

Cynicism can lead to non-involvement in any of the different levels of the political processes. We just can’t throw our hands up in the air and give up. That helps the bums – and I don’t mean the homeless. This all goes to the question of legitimacy.


Richard June 4, 2010 at 1:50 pm

Frank, I always vote. I plan to vote for change and will not vote for any state incumbent until school funding is restored. Also, you might want to add bribing candidate to drop out of a race in return for a federal job to your list of obstacles to our electoral system.


Kristin Harms June 6, 2010 at 10:51 am

Great article, Anna. In addition to the League of Women Voters, the following organizations also oppose Proposition D:

Clairemont Town Council
San Diego County Democratic Party
San Diego Chapter of the Sierra Club
San Diego Neighborhoods United
Neighborhood Historic Preservation Coalition
San Diego Police Officer’s Association


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