Redemption Time: Alvarez Beats the Odds and Keeps Hope Alive

by on November 25, 2013 · 12 comments

in Election, Labor, Organizing, Politics, San Diego, Under the Perfect Sun

Alvarez megaphone

By Jim Miller

Last Tuesday, fortune favored the bold. David Alvarez defied the pundits and political insiders and beat the prohibitive favorite, Nathan Fletcher, in the race to face Kevin Faulconer in the run-off to be San Diego’s next mayor. This was a seminal moment for San Diego—perhaps the biggest political upset in history of the city.

It just wasn’t supposed to happen. Guys like this aren’t supposed to have a chance. Nobody knew who he was, the favored one had already been chosen, and all the experts thought he couldn’t win. He had powerful party insiders opposing him, the Governor of California campaigned against him, Sacramento politicians came out of the woodwork to support his opponent, and he was down near the single digits in the polls.

Everybody knew it was a crazy to run a little-known Latino councilman from South of 8 in a low turnout special election against a well-funded, favored son of the local establishment. It wasn’t his turn. The deck was stacked against him. Only folks who’d lost their minds would support him.

Then he won. David beat Goliath.

What was important about the interparty conflict that the primary represented was not the battle of personalities that much of the local media is obsessed with but the contest of political philosophies and orientations it represented. Alvarez’s unexpected triumph was a victory for progressives over corporate Democrats, activist over machine politics, and social movement unionism over business unionism. Like De Blassio’s win in New York City and similar triumphs of progressive populists across the country, Alvarez’s victory is a sign that business as usual inside the Democratic party and in the country as a whole can be successfully challenged.

And the consequence of all this is that the historic pivot toward a new, diverse, inclusionary San Diego has a chance to continue. Alvarez’s candidacy redeems the promise of a better San Diego that Filner betrayed. Thus out of a summer scandal and a fall of discord, new hope has been born.

On Tuesday night, you could see it in the joyful crowd of people celebrating the Alvarez comeback at Bread and Salt in Barrio Logan. It was multiracial, young and old, blue and white collar—a living embodiment of the notion of the beloved community. As a friend posted on social media, “No matter what the eventual election results are, I hope the Alvarez watch party is what the future of San Diego looks like.”

It is, and the future is now. And that’s something we should be excited about.

Surely, it won’t be easy, but we can do this. The Lincoln Club will crank up their hate machine and Manchester Inc. will unleash its toxic word hoard defaming all things Alvarez as the next Fliner nightmare brought to you by union thugs while Kevin Faulconer does his best neighborhood loving Filner imitation brought to you by downtown power brokers and developer money. And if that doesn’t work, they’ll no doubt remind you that David Alvarez is a “south of 8” guy in as many ways as they can muster.

But no matter how hard they try, they can’t change the fact that it’s not their San Diego anymore. Our city is move diverse, democratic, and less inclined to believe that Republicans in sheep’s clothing have their interests in mind.

And Faulconer is no moderate. He is bought and paid for, business as usual brought to you by a back room meeting between the House of Manchester and the Chamber of Commerce crew. Simply put, he doesn’t believe in Republican or Democratic potholes, he just spits out the party line from the memory hole at the Union Tribune.

Thus the business as usual crew are crowing and popping champagne corks now that they have their desired opponent. There is no way he can win. Not in this election with all their money and connections against him. It just can’t happen . . . until we make it happen and David beats Goliath, again.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Thomas November 25, 2013 at 12:30 pm

I’m a die-hard registered Republican and proud of it. Voted for Faulconer and will vote for him again.

Painting rosy pictures of Alvarez while dishing out slanderous opinions of Faulconer is no way to win over moderates and conservatives. There is very good chance a majority of Fletcher’s voters will go over to Faulconer.

But hey, good luck with your candidate and thanks for slinging the first mud ball.


obecean November 26, 2013 at 12:15 pm

So, Thomas are you part of the one tenth of 1% in terms of wealth?


Katydid52 November 27, 2013 at 9:26 am

There are poor and middle class conservatives, and rich liberals. Why would you assume Thomas is a successful, educated, and wealthy conservative?


Thomas December 4, 2013 at 7:54 am

Not even close Obecean. Why do you ask? Are you one of the poor down trodden 47% that doesn’t like to work and wants free handouts from the Government?


JuanCarolos November 25, 2013 at 2:11 pm

I think Alvarez only really relates to the hard core public employee union guys, which I am not. Faulconer seems much more moderate and right for San Diego.


SaneVoice November 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Well, since you’re a die-hard Republican, thank you for holding our country back lo these many years. Thank you for the alcohol beach ban, thank you for continuing to line the pockets of the downtown hotel crowd. Thank you for your racism, your sexism and your hatred for the poor and indigent. And by the way, it would be considered libel, not slander. But that point is moot because all of the things mentioned in this written article about Faulconer are true. He didn’t even care enough to show up in OB for the last Council meeting.


Thomas December 4, 2013 at 7:59 am

Hey SaneVoice, who is spewing the the hate with the slanderous name calling? All you know is my name and political view point. I could be gay or African American or some other ethnic background, sexual orientation, etc, or both, or none. I could be poor, or rich, or somewhere in between. So hey liberal, keep an open mind before you spew out garbage OK?


Jon November 25, 2013 at 9:38 pm

I don’t think it’s fair at all to equate a commenter named Thomas the republican to a racist. I know nothing of Thomas, and I know a lot of Republicans who aren’t racist. That’s a pretty broad brush. And probably not allowed per the Rags rules of not calling people racist.


SaneVoice November 26, 2013 at 8:56 am

I notice you didn’t disagree with anything else though. So we’re in agreement on the sexism and hatred for the poor.


JuanCarolos November 26, 2013 at 10:18 am

SaneVoice, you are what give progressives a bad name. Where is the tolerance?


fstued November 26, 2013 at 12:03 pm

don’t much care for Faulconer he is bought and paid for by the UT syndicate but he may not be bad My guess is he’ll keep the status as is and not do much for anyone except business which isn’t all bad.
Now Alveraz he is a new guy on the b;ock and I suspect will be dynamic in the beging but that will no doubt fade by the second term if he can get there.
To bad about Bob he could have been good some one should have told him to cool it before he left D.C.
Good luck to the south of 8 guy


Reisubroc November 26, 2013 at 9:51 pm

What an awesome primary! Clearly a shock to so many political observers. But feet on the ground always beat the head in the cloud types. Now that the people are voting in numbers, will our business leaders get on board? South of 8 – whatever! Play that stupid card all you want. Any way the deck is shuffled, Alvarez is going to be Mayor of San Diego!


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