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San Diego, Caifornia's Political Capital (At Least This Spring)

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San Diego, CA's Political Capital Du Jour

Gaslamp Quarter

It's a good time to go to San Diego.

America's Finest City is always lovely, but this spring a visit is mandatory -- particularly if you care about California politics.

San Diego is about to become the center of the California world.

The hottest political contest of the spring primaries is likely to be a San Diego ballot measure to replace the current pension system with 401(k) private investment accounts for most new city employees.

This is expected to be a hot race because ballot initiatives to do statewide pension changes have died, and the prospects of pension legislation in Sacramento are in doubt. 

That allows both sides of the pension debate to put resources that might have gone to a big statewide pension fight into San Diego's local fight.

But that's not the only reason the political heat is coming to San Diego.

With California splitting politically between the Republican inland and the Democratic coast, San Diego remains a swing region of sorts.

It's also likely to be hotly contested if the race for the GOP presidential nomination fight goes all the way to the June statewide primary.

And such a fight would be a home game for Mitt Romney, who has a home in La Jolla.

And one more reason why San Diego is important: the nature of the ballot initiative process in the state.

Few people know it, but San Diego County is the beating heart of the signature-gathering business.

The county produces a disproportionate share of signatures on initiative petitions -- more than a quarter of signatures in some campaigns I've encountered.

San Diegans love to sign their names.

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