By Dale Larabee | Larabee Laments
I was the perfect person to moderate the Oct. 17 Mayors’ Forum at the Kensington Church. I have run in one election in my life. That was for president of my fraternity pledge class in college. I lost. I had met Diane Feinstein, coached Susan Davis’ son in soccer and lived in the same neighborhood as Jerry Sanders. He shops at Von’s as do we. That was my total experience in politics—probably similar to most of the audience.
I moderated the Mayor’s Debate between Bob Filner and Carl DeMaio shortly before their August 2012 election. It was a brawl. Filner was rude and insulting and avoided answering my questions. He consistently blasted his favorite whipping boy, Doug Manchester, and tied DeMaio to Manchester and the good ol’ boys Downtown. DeMaio wasn’t much better answering questions. Both answered the questions they wanted asked or picked part of mine and answered that. DeMaio entered our small church with a parade of followers, carrying signs and chanting. I thought this was out of place, like he was walking into a Hare Krishna Convention. Filner stepped into the ring alone, shadow boxing. Before we started the presentation and to loosen things up, I told DeMaio I wanted him to tell a joke. “I can’t tell a joke! I don’t know any jokes,” he almost whined. I said he must remember a joke from second grade or could ask one of the younger members of his parade group. “I can’t tell a joke,” he repeated. I scrapped the idea. Filner might have told a dirty one.
Toward the end of the questions that night, I asked each candidate what they did for fun. Filner lowered his gloves for one minute and told us he read, listened to music and hiked. DeMaio said he only loved to campaign. I left the church thinking that for a major city like San Diego, we didn’t have much to choose from for mayor, and we sure were not going to laugh much. I voted for Filner. OK, hit me.
Mike Aguirre, David Alvarez and Nathan Fletcher showed for our Oct. 17 Forum. “Forum” to make the event more civilized. Kevin Faulconer didn’t come due to a conflict—one that several people in the audience attended and arrived before the debate started. What a refreshing change! Our three candidates were funny, relaxed, professional and respectful. No low blows, no blows at all except that Alvarez looks like he just graduated from high school, Fletcher flip-flops from one party to another and Aguirre was a one-issue candidate demonizing the outrageous city pensions—still.
The three candidates joked around. When I asked them what they did to have fun, Alvarez cracked he liked to read the negative articles about Fletcher in the Union Trib. After Darryl Kistler, the church minister stared at the three men in suits across the room and articulately challenged them to undo all the harm done by Filner, no matter who won. Fletcher began his opening two minutes with, “Boy I am glad he is not running for mayor.” Aguirre maintained his perfect record to immediately stop talking whenever the timekeeper raised her red stop sign often with hilarious results. This is a good group. Although I was ticked off Faulconer didn’t show, I know he is a solid candidate as well.
I told the audience as we ended the program that no matter which candidate won the election, including the no show Faulconer, “we are in for a huge upgrade.”
We are, so remember to vote on Nov. 19.