Mayoral Race Draws Alvarez to Potential Record-Sized Field - NBC 7 San Diego

NBC 7 Coverage of the 2014 Special Election

Mayoral Race Draws Alvarez to Potential Record-Sized Field



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    City Councilmember David Alvarez announced his decision to run for mayor during a news conference Monday.

    A second San Diego City Councilmember has now become an official candidate for mayor.

    On Monday, David Alvarez also became the fourth "name" Democrat to announce, or file "notice of intent," to run.

    Almost three years into his freshman term, Alvarez has built a populist brand advocating for "under-served" neighborhoods over "well-connected" businesses.

    He said he wants to change a lot of fortunes.

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    “I'm running for mayor because I believe that San Diego is bigger than any one special interest," Alvarez told reporters at a noon-hour news conference in Presidio Park-- site of San Diego’s first Spanish settlement and the place where his family would celebrate Easter every year.

    “We don't need any more slick politicians, we need trusted public servants,” Alvarez said. “"The city has neglected the needs of neighborhoods and vital infrastructure and has focused instead on giving taxpayer dollars, subsidies, to a few special interests. The city has been best by corruption, conflict and scandal.”

    Among dozens of sign-bearing campaign volunteers who formed a backdrop for Alvarez was Anabel Salcedo, who pronounced herself “super-excited” to take part of in Alvarez’s Nov. 19 special election bid.

    "He's very sincere. He holds the values that I grew up with as a child,” Salcedo said in a post-conference interview. ”I'm a mother of three; I grew up in San Ysidro. I would love to see a mayor like David Alvarez who came from a community like I did…a progressive mayor who’s going to be good for the future of my children and for the future of San Diego.”

    Alvarez – endorsed by the region’s influential Labor Council -- represents San Diego's 8th District, comprising the city’s near-downtown and southernmost neighborhoods, stretching from Barrio Logan to the border-area communities of San Ysidro and Otay Mesa.

    His background as a child of poverty has inspired an approach to public service that'll be reflected in progressive, grassroots campaign themes.

    "We are the residents who want to have a voice in the planning decisions affecting all of our neighborhoods,” Alvarez said in announcing his candidacy. “We are the bicyclists and pedestrians who are tired of the cracked sidewalks, or just missing sidewalks, the bad roads, broken roads and snarled traffic."

    Alvarez chairs the Council's Natural Resources & Culture Committee, which has taken up issues such as water supplies and climate change.

    And while he was a close ally of former Mayor Bob Filner, buying into many of his initiatives, Alvarez was quick to call for the mayor's resignation once word of Filner's sexual harassment scandal broke.

    Political observers say that with three other prominent Democrats -- each of whom has held elected office -- in the increasingly crowded race (which includes the GOP’s Alpha-Dog Republican, Kevin Faulconer), Alvarez has to build a major campaign structure quickly to make a two-way runoff.

    "If he succeeds in that, I think he has a real shot at becoming the Number Two in there,” said Scott Lewis, CEO and columnist for Voice of San Diego. “The problem is that a lot of his natural constituency might be within (Democrat) Lori Saldana's camp or Mike Aguirre’s' camp, if not in Nathan Fletcher's camp. And so to get to the second spot is going to be a really tough fight."

    Added political strategist Johh Dadian: "If you go with the maxim that there's definitely going to be a runoff, then I think it's good you have more Democrats in it because that shows who the strongest Democrat is…clearly, as it gets very close to the election, it's going to get pretty rough. All campaigns do. People say they don't like negative campaigning, but political consultants use it because it works."

    Right now, 29 names are on file with the City Clerk's office as “potential candidates” in the race.

    The largest number of candidates ever to qualify for a mayoral ballot in San Diego was 20, in the 1983 special primary election.

    On Friday, the ‘potentials’ can start submitting petition signatures from at least 200 city voters, registered for a minimum of 30 days prior to signing.

    And, pay a $500 filing fee-- or submit 2,000 more signatures instead.

    Those requirements tend to weed out all but the most avid and determined ‘wanna-be’ mayors.

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