Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version Share this



By Nadin Abbott

October 31, 2013 (San Diego) With the mayoral race moving to high gear and early voting starting, ECM has compiled information on the leading candidates in the special election San Diego Mayor, filling the vacancy left by Bob Filner’s resignation. We include highlights of their announced agendas and endorsements.

Although the office is officially nonpartisan, the San Diego County Republican Party and powerful business interests have thrown their endorsements behind Councilman Kevin Faulconer. The Democratic Party, with three Democrats in the race, has endorsed Councilman David Alvarez.

Alvarez received the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council endorsement, while  former Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher has picked up police and firefighter union support. Fletcher was a Republican until recently.  Former City Attorney Mike Aguirre, also a Democrat, trails in polls and endorsements, but has proven to be a scrappy debator highlighting key issues.

Whether San Diego will elect a candidate to continue the progressive policies and focus on neighborhoods (the new buzzword in campaigns, following Filner’s emphasis on this issue), or a candidate apt to implement policies favorable to special interests such as big business or labor unions, remains to be seen.  This is a critical evolution in San Diego city politics with campaign issues  brought by demographic changes and growing partisan differences that have made both national and local political races sharper in tone and more devisive.

David Alvarez

David Alvarez grew up in Barrio Logan. He has worked as a social worker, after-school teacher, and liaison to state Senator Denise Ducheny before his election to San Diego City Council. He has drawn support from the Latino community

He promises to invest in neighborhoods that have been left behind. His priorities including public safety and roads. Both have deteriorated and need to be improved and invested in, he believes, adding that neighborhoods have to become safer. Like Fletcher, he is specific in the need to invest in new fire stations and to increase personnel. His website includes a detailed blueprint for San Diego.

Alvarez was one of the Council members who voted for the Property Value Protection Ordinance (PVPO) that has stopped the decline of foreclosed properties in San Diego, also helping maintain property values and safety.

He also aims to identify sources of homelessness and seek solutions.  


San Diego-Imperial Labor Council

Democratic Party of San Diego

San Diego Unified School District Board of Education President John Lee Evans

Richard Barrera, San Diego Unified school district trustee

California Nurses Association

Lori Saldana, former Assemblywoman

Council Member Myrtle Cole and Marti Emerald

California Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins

Former San Diego Council Member Donna Frye

Chicano Democratic Association of San Diego


Here is a link to his David Alvarez for Mayor site:


Kevin Faulconer

A former public relations executive, Councilman Faulconer has placed investment in the San Diego Police Department as a high priority. The department has faced cuts in recent years and now has a major structural deficit. He has also said that 911 calls must be answered in a timely manner, regardless of where one lives in the city. He has pledged to improve this in particular in the Southeast San Diego neighborhoods.As part of this process he also has pledged to deal with the gang problem that the city has had for decades.

He has also promised to invest in libraries and in the street services. Like the rest of the candidates he is promising to invest in neighborhoods, other than downtown, which has been the focus of multiple mayors over the last few decades. While this process started truly with Mayor Jack Murphy, this focus was finally entrenched in city politics under the Bob Filner Administration.

Faulconer has also promised to enhance education in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) This is a priority not only of Council Member Faulconer, but for candidates at all levels of government it seems. STEM has become a national priority.

While serving on the City Council, Faulconer has voted to replace some public employee pensions with 401K plans and pushed the ban on alcohol at city beaches. He is also noted for his support for Proposition C, which kept money raised in Mission Bay Park in his beach-area district, and for Proposition D, which prevented a hike in taxes.


San Diego Chamber of Commerce

Former Mayor and current President of the Chamber Jerry Sanders

San Diego County Hotel-Motel Association

Republican Party of San Diego

Latino American Political Association

San Diego chapter of the California Restaurant Association

Republican colleagues on the City Council Lorie Zapf, Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman

Here is a link to the Kevin Faulconer for Mayor website:


Nathan Fletcher

A former Marine, Fletcher later served in the California Legislature, where he was best known for authoring “Chelsea’s Law”  to create stiffer penalties for sexual predators.

Like Faulconer, Fletcher says he intends to invest in public safety and erase the gap in pay for the Police Department, but he also intends to invest in the Fire Department. There are areas that are underserved by the Fire Department due to lack of stations. Fletcher intends to have those stations built.

Fletcher also intends to fight to keep companies in San Diego and to move our emphasis in life science from number two to number one. He aims to bring the industrial park in Otay Mesa back online, bringing manufacturing jobs to San Diego.

Like other top competitors, Fletcher also states intent to go back to the neighborhoods. This means investment in libraries, city services and other incidentals of city life, he says.

He touts a 21st Century jobs plan on his website, with plans to export products produced in the city of San Diego.

VoteSmart  has highlights of Fletcher’s voting record from his years in the California Assembly, as well as interest group ratings:


California Small Business Association

Governor Jerry Brown

San Diego Police Officers Union

San Diego Firefighter Union

San Diego Lifeguards Union

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom

State Superintendent of Instruction Tom Torlakson

Assembly Speaker John Perez, D-Los Angeles.

Fletcher is under attack by the two other top tier candidates on both left and right, with a humorous Halloween themed zombie attack ad.  The ad accuses him of switching views on issues from pension reforms to labor concerns, and for previously quoting the Tea Party with “anti-immigrant rhetoric.”

This is a link to Fletcher’s website:


Mike Aguirre

Aguirre served as San Diego City Attorney in 2004. While in office he says he saved the City $250 million on legal cases. After he left office in 2008, he has served as a consumer lawyer, battling SDG&E on issues ranging from rate hikes to representing wildfire survivors suing the utility. 

During his launch announcement, he promised to work on a plan for energy in San Diego, which he sees as mission critical. He supports creation of an energy cooperative to provide consumers with an alternative to SDG&E.

He has also promised to develop water sources for the city that will allow the city to grow well into the future, and promised water independence.

Aguirre has been vocal on the need for pension reforms.  According to the San Diego Reader:

“Aguirre showed that pension spending, which is growing every year, is higher than spending on fire protection. In fact, as the accompanying charts show, pension spending tops spending on fire protection, and almost tops spending on fire protection and roads combined.”

The San Diego regional Chamber of Commerce is headed by former Mayor Jerry Sanders, who has been claiming in an ad that Faulconer cut pension obligations by $1 billion and that money is available for infrastructure. Aguirre says that is a lie.

Aguirre lists no endorsements, but he has not pursued them. You can visit his candidate website at:

Several lesser known candidates are also on the ballot. (Note: Bruce Coons has withdrawn from the race and endorsed Alvarez, though his name still appears on the ballot.)  

For details on all candidates in the race, see:


Error message

Support community news in the public interest! As nonprofit news, we rely on donations from the public to fund our reporting -- not special interests. Please donate to sustain East County Magazine's local reporting and/or wildfire alerts at to help us keep people safe and informed across our region.