San Diego Prepares for 2013 Mayoral Special Election

San Diego Prepares for 2013 Mayoral Special Election

The city will hold an election Nov. 19, following the September resignation of disgraced former Mayor Bob Filner

The city of San Diego will hold a special mayoral election on Nov. 19, following former Mayor Bob Filner’s resignation in September.

Filner resigned from office nine months into his three-year term as mayor in the midst of charges relating to the sexual harassment of nearly 20 women. In a deal with San Diego City Council, Filner agreed to leave office in exchange for coverage of legal fees and settlement costs.

According to public accusations, the 70-year-old former mayor groped and made inappropriate comments to people including city employees, military veterans, a nurse, business executives and other officials.

Immediately following Filner’s resignation on Sept. 2, Democrat City Council President Todd Gloria became acting mayor — a position he will hold until a new mayor is elected in 90 days.

As of last week, 11 candidates — including former UCSD Professor Nathan Fletcher — qualified for the special election ballot, out of 40 contenders who filed intents to run in September.

“For UCSD students, especially those who got to take one of Nathan Fletcher’s classes last year, I think seeing him run for mayor makes politics and public service something real, something they feel connected to and something they can aspire to themselves,” UCSD Professor of political science Thad Kousser said. “Plus, they might enjoy walking into the ballot box and getting to vote for — or against — someone who gave them a grade.”

Fletcher, a Democrat and the curre nt frontrunner, previously ran for mayor in 2012, finishing in third place. He is also a former assemblyman, focused on bettering city government and improving jobs and education.

22 year-old SDSU student Michael Kemmer also qualified for the ballot, under a technology-focused campaign that will push a “city of the future” idea.

“There’s a lot of room for opportunity and a lot of room for change within the city government,” Kemmer said. “We’re focusing on SUSTAIN: San Diegans United for Sustainable Technology and Innovation Now, and we have a whole bunch of fixes focused on that for the city.”

Other candidates include city council members Kevin Faulconer and David Alvarez, former city attorney Mike Aguirre, attorney Hud Collins, nonprofit organization director Bruce Coons, veteran and administrator Harry Dirks, engineer Simon Moghadam, former contractor Lincoln Pickard and construction superintendent Tobia Pettus.

According to the San Diego city charter, the special election — set to cost $6 million for the city — must be held within 90 days; if no candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote, the city will hold a runoff election.

Student Organized Voter Access Committee Executive Director Kyle Heiskala hopes that UCSD students will get involved in the election.

“Although the special election originated from unfortunate circumstances, it has given UCSD students another opportunity to see our political impact in the San Diego community,” Heiskala said. “The challenge for SOVAC has been getting students excited about participating in the selection of the new mayor while trying to maintain the momentum our organization worked hard for last fall.”

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