Decision 2013: Amending the charter for greater transparency an Alvarez priority

In the closing days of the mayoral primary, the candidates are appealing to voters on issues that will bring them votes.

Nathan Fletcher taking about public safety, Kevin Faulconer is pushing the jobs issue, and David Alvarez is side by side with Donna Frye on open government.

The Alvarez campaign is proposing charter amendments to combat what it calls a history of secrecy and back room deals at City Hall that denied the public access to how the government is working. At Kate Sessions Park with Frye, a former councilmember, the two proposed charter changes for the 2014 ballot. “I believe these two changes are critical to the future of our city,” says Alvarez. “This is why I include openness and transparency as a foundation of my blueprint and vision for the future of San Diego.”

Donna Frye once boycotted closed sessions of the City Council because there was not record of the meetings. That changed in 2004, but city officials denying documents to the public hasn't changed.

“We have seen time and time again, I know the members of the media have too, where you get a response to public records act requests that would say 'It's out policy not to provide these'.”

These additional amendments are to prevent city officials from citing policy as a reason to deny the public its right have those documents. “This would require a public hearing and allow these issues to be vetted so that the city,” says Frye, “and the mayor and the City Council have to explain to the public and actually take a vote as to why these particular policies should remain in place.”

Alvarez: “The burden is no longer on the public, it's now back on the responsibility of the city.”

The changes would also limit the cost of getting documents to what it costs to reproduce them.

We are less than a week to election day and the Alvarez campaign is energized, feeling good about Alvarez getting into the runoff. “We got a game plan we've executed the whole entire time frame,” says Alvarez, “and people have responded tremendously and we got great support, and now it's making sure everybody shows up at the polls, and we feel confident that they will.”

Political consultant John Dadian says this race is about who comes in second.

“The way it's shaping up, Faulconer the Republican, even for a non-partisan race, finishes first, and I think the battle is the second spot, and I think that's between Fletcher and Alvarez.”

Alvarez is confident because he has the backing – the Democratic Party and the Labor Council have pushed Alvarez, in bulk mailers, as “The Democrat” in this race. Alvarez: “If you're an average Democrat, maybe doesn't pay attention to politics but votes, you get these mailers, you're gonna think to yourself I'm a Democrat, this is how I should vote…. We've identified our voters, we know who they are, we have high confidence that if we get those individuals out to vote we should be successful in being in the top two to get into the runoff.”

Nearly 70% of the vote will be by mail ballot. So the first set of numbers we get at 8 PM on election night could be telling – because that count is going to be nearly half of the total vote.

Steve Bosh

Categories: KUSI