Mayor Mayor on the Wall, Who’s the Fairest of Them All?

by on December 16, 2019 · 9 comments

in Election, San Diego

Original San Diego City Hall, constructed circa 1874

By Norma Damashek / NumbersRunner / Dec. 13, 2019

I know what you’re thinking: we’ve got plenty of time to make up our minds about who to choose to be San Diego’s next mayor.  No rush, right? Wrong!

Let’s get the timing straight.  The primary election is coming up sooner than you think—the date is March 3, 2020.  Then the top two winners will face off in the November 3 general election.

Now, let’s get the candidates straight.  The frontrunners for mayor are Barbara Bry and Todd Gloria — both are Democrats.  Civic activist Tasha Williamson is also in the running– for some voters she represents a protest statement.  There’s also Republican candidate Scott Sherman— he’s the disgruntled candidate who voices cynical disgust for city government from his seat on the City Council dais.  Additionally, there are several also-ran names to choose from.

Pete Wilson

Above all, let’s get this straight: the mayor of San Diego may not be a hot item on the national agenda, but here at home the position of mayor could be–no, SHOULD be–a very big deal.

That’s why it boggles the mind that nearly every past San Diego mayor (present mayor included) can be described as a nondescript, mediocre, banal, unremarkable, complacent, fly-by-night, tunnel-visioned, utterly forgettable minor league political figure.

Roger Hedgecock

To be fair, Mayor Pete Wilson brought some innovative touches to the office before he went on to greener, though more conservative, pastures.

Mayor Roger Hedgecock seemed promising until he tripped over his own feet and skidded off the rails.

Susan Golding

Mayor Susan Golding had hints of verve until her overweening political ego practically bankrupted our city’s finances.

Bob Filner

Mayor Bob Filner coulda been a contender, but it was not to be.  (Did I miss anyone?)

For San Diego, the cumulative impact of settling for second-rate leaders is painfully clear.  Take a look at the persistent state of our bleeding financial budget, understaffed city departments, failing levels of performance, and zero accountability.  It’s hard to miss the fact that current mayor Kevin Faulconer (just another pea in the pod) has proven himself incapable of taking care of basic city business, much less tackling San Diego’s complex, ever-growing problems.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could elect a competent, stable, independent, trustworthy, responsible, well-informed, honorable leader… a mayor with integrity and a dependable moral compass?  It could be a game changer.

We may be in luck this time.  There is ONE candidate who could fill the bill.

Barbara Bry

Barbara Bry is the only candidate running for office who meets the criteria for competence; stability; independence; trustworthiness; responsibility; knowledgeability;  honorability; integrity; and a dependable moral compass.

Looks like a good start, doesn’t it?

I’ve become convinced that for a fighting chance to wrest political control away from San Diego’s business-as-usual power brokers and bend the benefits of good public policy toward the residents of our city, the odds for a good outcome lie with Barbara Bry.  The sum of her attributes is abundantly more vote-worthy than the scorecard for any of the other mayoral candidates.

Of course, nobody’s perfect.  Barbara Bry earns demerits when it comes to her public demeanor.  She scores low on the charisma scale.  She’s no smooth-talker.  She’s not fiery, not the cheerleader type.  She doesn’t qualify for membership in San Diego’s entrenched good-old-boys club.

What you see is what you’ll get: a down-to-earth, practical, realistic mayor with sharp business skills, lots of common sense, and no negative baggage… no hidden conflicts of interest… no secrets in her closet.  She understands that communities and neighborhoods must be the primary beneficiaries of city policies and decisions.

Not long ago I made a practical suggestion: forget the fancy stuff… the bells and whistles… the silly-talk about sexy streets and world-class status.

With the right mayor in office–someone with integrity, strong management skills, and a nuts and bolts approach–we could see real progress toward meeting the needs of our neighborhoods and residents, along with securing a stable future for the city.

Todd Gloria

Who can deliver? Not Todd Gloria–he’s got a documented, reprehensible record of betraying his constituents and the public good.

Not Scott Sherman– he has scant respect for city government and treats the public with contempt.

Not Tasha Williamson–she speaks with authority on police abuse and overdue social reform but running the corporation called the city of San Diego takes a whole other bag of talents.

Way back last March I asked these questions: Is there time for Barbara Bry to grow? Spread her wings? Expand her scope? Be a risk taker by speaking truth to San Diego voters? Emerge as a multi-dimensional public-minded political leader?
Nine months later, my informed conclusion is that Barbara Bry is our best bet for San Diego’s next mayor.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Paul Webb December 16, 2019 at 3:18 pm

I have always found that Norma Damashek has a much greater insight into our local politics than most of the people who are consulted by the UT and others. She’s a straight shooter and a straight talker and has spend many years in the political fray, including her work with the very much respected League of Women Voters. Right on, Norma!


Dee Lange December 17, 2019 at 6:58 am

Hearing Barbara Bry concisely sum up the scooter issue at the December 16, 2019 City Council meeting ,pragmatic and to the point, confirms my decision …BRY FOR MAYOR! This gal knows how to govern!!


norma damashek December 17, 2019 at 9:43 am

Thanks Paul.
San Diego has so much going for it but, for reasons that still confound me, we invariably settle for mediocrity. San Diego voters just won’t hold elected officials accountable for their empty performances! We pride ourselves on being civil but I wonder if it’s just an excuse for staying passive.


Geoff Page December 17, 2019 at 10:04 am

Great piece, Norma, I’m with you all the way. For my money, the biggest mistake San Diego has made since I’ve lived here was Susan Golding, she should have been prosecuted for what she did to this city. I wish the picture of her was one of how she normally looked, twice that size. I remember how fast she got skinny before the Republican convention here when she had her eyes on higher office. I was so glad to see her fizzle.

I like Bry as well and I have no use for Gloria. I liked Tasha also but I agree, she’s a little light in experience although her attitude is great. Bry would truly be a breath of fresh air in the mayor’s office. Gloria would be the same old stale breath. One fact that definitely turned me against him. He appointed Robert Vacchi to head up the Development Services Department when he was the temporary mayor, a land use attorney who was clearly on the side of developers. I had to email GLoria’s office three times to get an answer to why he appointed Vacchi and all I got was a political response saying what a great guy Vacchi was. That told me volumes.


norma damashek December 17, 2019 at 1:06 pm

tch tch– watch it Geoff. Comments about a lady’s figure are so very boomer…

But yes, Golding was a disaster for the city’s finances. She may be gone from the political scene but her legacy lingers on, thanks to willful negligence and convenient denial by subsequent mayors Jerry Sanders and Kevin Falconer (and including “acting” mayor Todd Gloria).

On the other hand, Golding couldn’t have been so successfully destructive were it not for her clever city manager Jack McGrory. Notice how he escapes all censure and has kept his fingers in many lucrative pies over the past couple of decades.


Geoff Page December 17, 2019 at 1:42 pm

I knew when I wrote that comment that it would cause some ire, Norma. Actually, I make a point of never denigrating a person’s appearance in print, I think that is the low road that many take who can’t think of anything else to say. But, in Golding’s case, I think her normal appearance was an illustration of her character. Sort of like the old cartoons depicting Boss Tweed.

And I agree, her legacy is still with us much the same as George Bush’s is still with us and will be for many more years. And, absolutely, Jack McGrory, should be wearing stripes. I hope San Diego historians treat them as the destructive forces they were.


Paul Webb December 17, 2019 at 3:38 pm

I agree with both Geoff and Norma. Sadly, I would be willing to bet that Jack McGrory will probably not be condemned in the history books. As Norma points out, he has thus far escaped judgement for the financial shenanigans he and the council of that era foisted of on the rest of us. His defense at the time was that he was only telling them what they could do, rather than acting in his role as the responsible adult in the room and telling them what they should do. Enabling a politician to get access to money is like enabling an addict to get access to drugs.
And now, he is everybody’s hero for his role in the SDSU stadium deal, frequently on the society page of the UT and generally seems to be well liked. However, I keep wondering about the relationship between his business interests and those of Gina Champion Cain.


Jay Baron December 18, 2019 at 1:57 pm

Thank you Norma. I would also like to point out that for many of us who supported the Girls Think Tank’s efforts to get Portland Loos in downtown to provide decent accommodations for those that needed to use the bathroom in dignity, Mr. Gloria’s efforts as a council member to remove those same facilities by claiming falsely that they where havens for drugs and prostitution when the police departments internal reports and experience said otherwise was the point at which I could no longer support him in his goals for higher office. For those interested I encourage you to read City Beat’s take on this and remember that a year after the Loos were removed San Diego watched in shock as the Hep A outbreak claimed the lives of 19 homeless men and women. Shame on Gloria for not standing up for the simple decency to use the toilet!


Vern December 20, 2019 at 8:14 am

Barbara Bry gets my vote.


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