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Wednesday, Jul 24, 2024

Stevens Makes His Mayoral Candidacy Official

San Diego City Councilman George Stevens, who has represented the 4th District since 1991, made his official announcement as a candidate for mayor Nov. 6 at a Mission Bay mobile home park.

Stevens chose the site, the De Anza Mobile Home Park, because he is supporting the park’s residents in their attempt to block a planned eviction in advance of the city’s plan to develop the site as a hotel.

Stevens, 67, said he is running for mayor “because I want to make San Diego a healthy, safe, and caring place for our citizens, the people of San Diego, because I have dedicated my life to serving the people. It is what I do best.”

Stevens listed as his main accomplishments while on the council as presiding over a district with the lowest crime rate in the city, and bringing in millions of dollars of federal grants and Small Business Administration loans to the district, which includes such neighborhoods as Oak Park, Emerald Hills, Encanto, Lincoln Park and Skyline.

As for what he expects to do if elected, Stevens said he will “bring people together and reestablish the public trust.”

He also promised to hold regular town hall meetings in every neighborhood.

Regrets Charger Decision

Stevens admitted he was wrong in voting for the Chargers lease extension in 1995 that contained a controversial “ticket guarantee” which has cost the city millions of dollars in lost rent in recent years.

“It’s something I never should have done, using public dollars to subsidize a private business,” he said.

When asked to elaborate on some of his statements in his announcement and other issues, Stevens refused.

He said he would not give the San Diego Business Journal anything more than what he gave to other newspapers.

According to longtime San Diego political observers, Stevens has one strong thing going for him: Among the most viable candidates, he is the lone registered Democrat.

But Stevens’ recent statements regarding a controversial shooting may have weakened his support among African-Americans, and others, said a local political consultant who preferred to remain anonymous.

Stevens, an African-American, supported the District Attorney’s Office findings that the police were justified in shooting ex-football player Demetrius DuBose, a black man who was shot by police after he refused to be handcuffed, and got into a fight with police officers in Mission Beach in July. DuBose was being arrested for allegedly breaking into an apartment.

Despite Supervisor Ron Roberts’ commanding lead in fund-raising as of the last reporting period, several candidates say the race to replace Mayor Susan Golding is wide open.

A late September poll of 411 city residents conducted by consultants hired by mayoral candidate Peter Davis shows none of the top six candidates has an insurmountable lead.

The poll showed Roberts getting 16 percent, followed by Councilwoman Barbara Warden with 11 percent; Stevens with 9 percent; Councilman Byron Wear and Davis tied with 7 percent; Dick Murphy at 5 percent; and Jim Bell, an environmental designer, with 2 percent.

Davis, the former president of the Bank of Commerce and chairman of the Centre City Development Corp., the city’s Downtown redevelopment agency, is the first mayoral candidate to begin campaigning on television, with 30-second ads running on four local stations.

Davis, who made windfall profits when his bank was sold to U.S. Bancorp this year, said he is prepared to spend whatever it takes to get his name out to the public.

According to a knowledgeable source, the Davis campaign spend about $75,000 for one week’s worth of ads. MaryAnne Pintar, Davis’ press secretary, would not confirm that amount. She would not say how long the ads would run.

The San Francisco political consulting firm Dresner, Wickers & Associates, produced the two spots. One of the ads shows Davis visiting a Mexican restaurant in Lemon Grove and a voiceover telling of the Bank of Commerce’s track record in making loans to small- and minority-owned businesses, and ending discriminatory redlining lending in minority neighborhoods.

Dresner, Wickers is the same firm that helped former Mayor Maureen O’Connor’s successful election, and Susan Golding’s first election in 1992.

Eyeing North County

Speaking of Golding, she is setting her sights northward, eyeing the 48th congressional district seat held by Rep. Ron Packard. He announced earlier this month he will retire when his current term expires at the end of 2000.

Ric Grenell, Golding’s press secretary, said his boss is being urged by many to run for the position, “and she’s still taking a look at it.”

Several observers said Golding has little chance of winning the district, which is mostly in Orange County, but includes a large swath of North County.

“Susan would be viewed as a carpetbagger,” said Tom Stickel, a longtime Republican Party affiliate, who now runs a Coronado venture capital firm.

“She doesn’t live in the district and this district has historically been independent.”

Although Golding lives in University City, being a resident is not a requirement to run for the office.

So far the frontrunners for Packard’s spot are Darrell Issa, the Vista businessman who came in second last year behind Matt Fong in the U.S. Senate Republican primary, and state Sen. Bill Morrow of Oceanside, who has declared his intent to run.

Others who are said to be considering the post are former Orange County Rep. Bob Dornan; Melissa Dollaghan, Packard’s district director; and state Assemblyman Bruce Thompson of Fallbrook.


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