Let’s begin with praise. The online news folks at Voice of San Diego deserve big props for diving in head first with a great concept – a political festival centered around the first San Diego 2012 mayoral debate or as they called it Politifest 2011.
However, due to no filtering of candidates, it felt more freak show than what they dubbed a “Lincoln – Douglas” style county fair debate.
Though top-tier candidates, Rep. Bob Filner and Assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, participated – they were not “the talk” of the debate.
The “It” kid of the event, Rob Harter, called himself “Girly Girly.”
He opened up with a diatribe about how men are evil, ruining the world with war and guns. Oh, did I happen to mention this event took place on the grounds of the old Naval Training Center, where sailors like my father, attended boot camp?
Yes, clearly the Lincoln candidate.
Meaning wacky retired teacher and magician Loch David Crane played Douglas.
He really let loose the crazy canisters containing gems of pot-smoking adventures all over San Diego, including in his days at San Diego State University in Filner’s history class. All that dedicated pot smoking pot apparently left no time on his hands to read about the Comprehensive Pension Reform measure currently trying to qualify for the city ballot.
Priorities of a true statesman.
A few other crowd favorites: Build a casino in land-locked, upper crust La Jolla; do away with cable companies because they’re disliked by the public; and the creme de la creme, establish a “Little Amsterdam” district for marijuana use in downtown San Diego.
Two candidates skipped the event, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis and City Councilman Carl DeMaio, to the chagrin of event hosts who once again pleaded for them to participate even as the debate began. The crowd booed their absence, but after the show finished, few felt they were going to feel any regrets.
Most of the real word play happened on the stage between candidates away from the microphone. Filner and Fletcher sat beside one another, chatting regularly, as you’ll see in a picture of the stage. At the podium, the top tier candidates reflected vastly different styles.
Filner: Rough edges, arrogant. A number of times, including to Fletcher, he started sentences saying: “That’s a great idea, fellow candidate, and when I’m mayor you’ll be my director of…”
Fletcher: Polished, reserved. He seemed to err on the side of caution when discussing highly “Republican” issues, including the Comprehensive Pension Reform measure, which received boos from the audience (mostly from the Filner side).
I went, I saw, I laughed and played along, but I hope that’s the last we’ll see of those time-wasters. We’ve got serious issues that needs the experience of a woman, not a girly girly.
– Follow me @erica_holloway.