Our June 5 Election Endorsements are Here!  

The devils you know: We weigh in on local, state and federal races

By CityBeat Staff

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

When it comes to voting, you’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t, but you’re a damned fool if you don’t read our voter guide first. As you dive into the divine comedy that is the presidential-primary election ballot, allow us to act as your Virgil. We’ve spoken with dozens of politicians in races more treacherous than the nine circles of hell, separated the saints from the sinners, the merely impish from the downright demonic, and laid it all out in this endorsement guide. If you disagree with our picks, the choice is yours to vote differently. But if you’re going to complain, you can go straight to hell.

[Skipped to 52nd Congressional District ... For full list of endorsements, click here.]

We saved the 52nd District for last. Until a few weeks ago, this decision was a toughie. Two viable Democrats—former San Diego City Council President Scott Peters and former state Assemblymember Lori Saldaña—are vying to send Republican Brian Bilbray packing. Bilbray currently represents the 50th Congressional District but was redistricted, and the new boundaries are less favorable to him. Saldaña is a pure progressive, and, from our view, she’d probably vote the right way 99 percent of the time. If that were the only consideration, we’d endorse her in a second. The problem is, she also has a volatile personality and a reputation for not working and playing well with others— hardly a trait that’s desperately needed in Washington, D.C.

CityBeat witnessed that volatility in April, when Saldaña pulled out of an interview with us a few days before it was scheduled to happen, because she thought a tweet from our editor indicated support for Peters. She should have done the interview and made her case to CityBeat’s readers in spite of the tweet; instead, she revealed herself to be shockingly sensitive and politically unsophisticated, and she missed an opportunity to reach out to tens of thousands of voters less than two months before the election. Dumb.

We knew of her alienating manner before that, but the occurrence sealed it for us. In this race, we now prefer Peters.

He was never a shoe-in for our endorsement. Numerous times throughout his eight year stint on the City Council, our editorials were less than kind to him, whether they were about his votes against protecting the harbor seals at Children’s Pool, his downplaying of the severity of the city’s financial troubles or his acrimonious relationship with Donna Frye and Mike Aguirre.

However, we believe Peters is well suited for Congress and well suited to represent the middle-of-the-road 52nd District. Peters is smart, calm and savvy and has a knack for behind-the-scenes diplomacy. He’s identifying with the fledgling coalition known as the New Democrats, a group that spans the ideological spectrum from Blue Dog to progressive, and we’re interested to see what they can accomplish.

Most importantly, Peters represents the best chance of beating Bilbray in November, in our view, and probably wouldn’t be as easy a target for Republicans as Saldaña would be during the next election. Yes, we’re looking pragmatically at this race.