Does Todd Gloria Really Have the Mayor’s Race All Wrapped Up?

by on September 12, 2019 · 11 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach, San Diego

The 2020 Primaries: Is it Time for Todd Gloria to Do a Victory Lap?

By Doug Porter / Words&Deeds / Sept. 9, 2019

Short answer: Nah, he’s not gonna pull a Howard Dean.

The first round of polling made news this weekend. A Union-Tribune/10 News poll has Assemblyman Todd Gloria leading Councilwoman Barbara Bry by more than a 2-1 ratio among likely voters in the race to become San Diego’s next mayor.

Here’s the fine print: 46% of likely voters are undecided, mostly because they don’t give a hoot just yet. 39% say they have no opinion of Bry, and 23% don’t have an opinion of Gloria. The poll surveyed 550 likely voters over three days over land lines, smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices and has a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Councilwoman Barbara Bry giving her “State of the District Address” in Jan 2019. Should she fold her tent and leave the race for mayor? No, not according to the polls.

Longer Answer: It’s time to start paying attention folks. Welcome to the first in a weekly series of local election updates. Today it’s City of San Diego Mayoral race, March 2020 Primary.

This is the first in a series of articles that will eventually be folded into a Voter Guide, to be published at the end of January.  Other City of San Diego offices on the ballot this year are: City Attorney, Odd numbered City Council Districts (1,3,5,7,9). I’ll cover those next week (usually Mondays).

Note: College and school district elections are administered by the County of San Diego, mostly because school districts don’t follow city boundaries. San Diego’s Mayor and City Council have no direct say in the operation of schools; any candidate for those offices who makes claims about reforms or oversight is factually challenged.

In addition to City of San Diego races, contests for State Legislature, U.S. Congress, and County Board of Supervisors are my top priorities for the March election as far as coverage goes.

San Diego has a strong mayor form of government, which effectively means the bureaucracy answers to whoever holds the post. Elected posts are technically non-partisan, but it’s no secret  the Republican-Chamber of Commerce alliance that once ruled the roost is in decline.

Incumbent Republican Kevin Faulconer is termed out. I won’t miss his deliberate do-nothingness, the press releases claiming something was being done, and the flashy smile as he waffled on all-too-many issues.

At the State GOP Convention in Indian Wells this weekend, Faulconer took a victory lap for his actions on homelessness, saying housing solutions are the path to making the organization the “party of yes.”

Nice try, Mayor. 

The bridge shelter program currently in place in San Diego took funding from permanent housing; it’s future –according to the city auditor budget analyst –isn’t sustainable. Faulconer has spent the last few years trying to blackmail voters by tying funding for homeless issues to an a ballot measure for convention center expansion.

Most of the action in city elections this year involves Dem on Dem contests. I wish I could say there are clear ideological lines, but there aren’t in many races.

Instead we’re mostly looking at crafted images, and assorted long-term grievances left over from past elections. Older people are still arguing over how and why Bob Filner was forced to resign as mayor. Younger people are like WTH?

Mix in a gallon of real estate money, a quart of white privilege, a pint of patriarchy, and a dash of activism, and you’ve created the unique flavor of our local politics.

The State of California’s move into early presidential primary voting wasn’t accompanied by a corresponding shift in filing dates, so everything isn’t set in stone as far as ballots are concerned until December 6th. Mail-in voting starts February 3 and concludes a month later.

Thanksgiving thru early January are historically lackluster periods when it comes to fundraising and voter outreach, so local candidates have a couple of months now, and one month later to get their campaigns rolling.

The high profile issues in San Diego’s Mayoral contest are housing, homelessness, roads, and climate action. Future posts in this series will address the differences between the various candidates on these and other issues.

Running for Mayor are

Todd Gloria – Lives in Mission Hills, served eight years on the City Council before being elected to the state Assembly in 2016. He was interim Mayor of San Diego (8/2013 – 3/2014) after Bob Filner’s resignation. While on the Council, Gloria was instrumental in the creation of a proposal for a Climate Action Plan and a campaign to raise the local minimum wage + paid sick leave.  If he wins, he would be the city’s first openly gay mayor.

Barbara Bry – Lives in La Jolla, was elected to the City Council in 2016 after a long career in the private sector that included founding several local high-tech companies. She is currently President Pro Tem of the San Diego City Council. Her background includes stints working as a journalist first with The Sacramento Bee and later with the Los Angeles Times. In 2008, Bry founded Run Women Run, a nonpartisan organization that inspires, recruits, and trains qualified, pro-choice women to seek elected and appointed office.

Tasha Williamson – Lives in southeastern San Diego and co-founded the San Diego Compassion Project to advocate for family members of police violence victims in the region. In 2013, she was one of three California activists to receive a California Peace Prize from the California Wellness Foundation. She launched Building Justice last year, a non-profit benefiting disadvantaged individuals trying to navigate the educational, criminal justice, and social service systems

Lesser known candidates in the 2020 mayor’s race so far include Gita Applebaum, Bonnie Eisner, J’Erek Evans, Andrew Gade, Cedric Green, Richard Hansen, Beatrice Marion, Rich Riel and Daniel Smiechowski.

Already dropped out: Attorney Cory Briggs announced he was running for mayor in January, motivated by what he saw as a giveaway to developers in return for promises of affordable housing. He dropped out of the race in May, and is now running for City Attorney.

Spoiler alert: Termed out City Councilman Scott Sherman has made noises about running for Mayor as a Republican. His entry into the race would pull votes from Barbara Bry, whose business background is appealing to some Republicans.

The top two finishers in the March 2020 primary will advance to a runoff in November 2020.

Basic information…

Check your voter registration status here.

San Diego voter registration by party as of August 31, 2019

  • Democrats: 318,507
  • No Party Preference: 242,522
  • Republicans: 162,004
  • *American Independent: 24,216
  • Green: 3,423
  • Libertarian: 7,553
  • Peace & Freedom: 2,831
  • Misc: 6,166

*Many people registered as American Independent mistakenly thought they were signing up for No Party Preference. The AI party is actually the remnants of Alabama Gov. George Wallace’s neo-segregationist movement.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

triggerfinger September 12, 2019 at 11:03 pm

Good primer.

Also: “No Party Preference” voters can vote in the Democratic presidential primary if they choose to. The Republican Party does not allow this.


Richard September 13, 2019 at 8:29 am

In my opinion Todd Gloria is a clone of Mayors past Wilson Murphy Sanders and Faulkner. This guy is not trustworthy and will definitely not get my support. Wake up San Diego, we need progressive leadership. The last time we had that was with Maureen O’Conner in the 1980’s. The last thing San Diego needs is another lap mayor for developers and the Port Authority. Let’s hope for better than Todd Gloria.


Cholly September 13, 2019 at 8:49 am

On first glance it appears that the arch-establishment lot down at the Union-Tribune are rooting for Gloria. There’s an article in this week’s San Diego Reader, “Tales of a dead fixer… SEC alleges investor by top Todd Gloria funder Gina Champion -Cain -Matt Potter, (pp. 2; 25) which alleges that a Nancy Hoover-J. David Dominelli-like scam to defraud investors was filed in Federal court on August 28, 2019 against Gina Champion -Cain. Betcha that won’t appear in the “award-winning” San Diego Union.


Geoff Page September 13, 2019 at 11:32 am

I too am not a fan of Todd Gloria.

In July 2014, I learned that Gloria was responsible for appointing Robert Vacchi to head the Development Services Department. Gloria was the City Council president at the time.

If ever the old saying about the fox guarding the hen house was appropriate, this was it.
Vacchi is an attorney who worked for a real estate and land use firm, Sullivan, Wertz, McDade & Wallace. He had worked for the city, then went to law school, then to the law firm, and then back to city government. He was, in my opinion, an incredibly bad choice to head the DSD and proved to be so.

I emailed Gloria to ask why he appointed Vacchi. It took three emails to get a response that came from his Deputy Chief of Staff, Katie Keach. Apparently, Gloria was too busy to respond personally to answer a tax-paying citizen’s question about why he appointed this person to head a major city department. Here is the answer I received:

“Good morning, Mr. Page.

Council President Gloria asked me to respond to your email. Mr. Vacchi’s professional history is more expansive than you note, including previous respected experience with Development Services, Code Compliance, and the City Attorney’s Office, and Council President Gloria remains confident in his leadership and knowledge of all aspects of his position. If you have specific concerns about Mr. Vacchi’s performance, the Council President welcomes you sharing them.”

I responded with:

“Ms. Keach,

I am aware of Mr. Vacchi’s previous work history.

The question I had hoped to obtain a response to was why Mr. Gloria personally recommended Mr. Vacchi. Were other candidates considered for the position, candidates with actual building experience? Was it Mr. Gloria’s decision to recommend Mr. Vacchi from a field of candidates or did Mr. Gloria make the recommendation simply based on someone else’s request? What lead Mr. Gloria to this recommendation?

I would appreciate a response. Thank you.”

I never received a response. People are accusing Gloria of being in the pocket of developers. This one action alone and the lousy response confirmed that for me. He will not be getting my vote.


Richard Hansen September 16, 2019 at 6:32 pm

Press Release: Hello, thank you once again for listing me as a candidate for Mayor. I am making news today as I re-registered as a Republican. 16 days before the 2016 election I dropped my democrat affiliation and re-registered as NPP No Party Preference and voted for then Candidate Donald Trump. Now as of today 09/16/2019 I am a Trump Republican. I am the only Republican running for Mayor. Can you image that I stepped into the shoes of Chief Zimmerman. They are a little tight, but I’ll stretch them out. If you want to know more check out my LinkedIn Page. God Bless You! America will never be a socialist nation.


Vern September 17, 2019 at 6:14 am

Claiming to be the real Richard Hansen but posting like Duncan Hunter. What gives?


Peter from South O September 17, 2019 at 9:03 am

Yeah, that’s probably him. From his website:

“If you believe that America will NEVER be a Socialist Country then join me and the President to fight the Good Fight. God Bless America!”


Daniel Smiechowski September 28, 2019 at 8:55 pm

Todd Gloria will be the next mayor of San Diego. Being a politically correct Democrat with a 100,000 watt gull-wing smile who can butter bread better than the best at Cafe de la Paix plus the best political prostitute money can buy certainly sways the common detached voter. San Diego you’ve got to be the dumbest sob’s on the planet!


Richard Hansen September 28, 2019 at 10:52 pm

This is the Real Richard M Hansen running for Mayor City of San Diego not to be confused with Duncan Hunter. Yes, you are correct Peter it is I. While I agree with Daniel’s sentiment regarding Mr. Gloria. I do believe given the right choice the good people of San Diego will make an informed decision by voting for me as the next Mayor City of San Diego.
Even though I am listed as one of the lessor know candidates, now that I have registered as a Republican I am getting a lot of traction from the media. Just in the first week since I changed my registration from NPP to Republican and I done two television interviews. One with Dan Plante on KUSI 8. Thank you Dan and KUSI . Also one interview with Jonathan Horn on ABC KGTV News. Thank you Jonathan and ABC News.
I am Not a Republican Elitist from the past. I am a Trump Republican. Like I told the San Diego Republican Party they need to get aboard the Trump Train or get the Hell out of the way. Join me in defeating the Democrat Radical Socialist Agenda. Let’s turn San Diego Red Again. This time without all the Corruption.
America will Never be a Socialist Country. God Bless the President of the United States and God Bless America!


Peter from South O September 29, 2019 at 4:17 am

Just a correction: KUSI is channel 9, not 8. KFMB is channel 8.


Richard Hansen September 29, 2019 at 8:12 am

Thank you for your correction Peter!


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