Mayor Villaraigosa, this year's Chairman at the Democratic National Convention, took a break from the Obama campaign trail this weekend to visit San Diego and campaign on behalf of Congressman Bob Filner. The two met up with a small gathering of supporters at Smart Corner in downtown, then jumped on the Trolley to speak with voters on the way to a press conference held at an old progressive hosting ground, El Fandango, in historic San Diego's Old Town.
Some trolley-goers seemed unimpressed by the small cadre that temporarily stole the attention. Others were excited to meet the Los Angeles Mayor and sitting Congressman who were willing to shake a few hands and answer one-on-one questions.
An elderly woman on the trolley, who seemed content in observation, answered a few questions when prodded. She said that she was a teacher for many years, and her biggest concern is the talk about wipping out her pension. She made it a point to say that she doesn't follow politics as close as she used to, because substance is rarely discussed. And while she assumes Filner would do a better job of protecting her pension, she was not aware of either candidates' plan to come to a practical agreement on how to handle the situation. Another passenger, a disabled ticket-salesman who has worked at San Diego's famous Sea World for six years, was unfazed by the candidate and the Democratic figurehead joining his daily commute.
When the trolley stopped in Old Town, the Congressman and Mayor shook hands with few more lively folks who were a bit more excited to see them. Waiting at El Fandego was a crowd of about 75 people, which included former Assemblyman Howard Wayne, Southwestern College Board Member Humberto Peraza Jr., and Christopher Yanov, founder of Reality Changers.
Filner and Villaraigosa took turns at the podium, addressing the crowd and the cameras on the importance of the election. They described San Diego as a place that is ready for a more progressive Mayor and forward looking financial plan. Villaraigosa talked about his 30-in-10 initiative in Los Angeles that has spurred development in his city. 30-in-10 refers to the goal of accomplishing city development projects that would traditionally take 30 years in just 10. Filner joked that he wanted to implement a 40-in-10 plan, but couldn't resist the opportunity to take a jab at the "tea partiers" and others as the source of gridlock and disfunction that have prevented such lofty goals.
Neither Filner or Villaraigosa addressed independent-minded voters directly, but they both referred to a need for a better sense of cross-community cooperation and the belief that goals are better accomplished when resources, both financial and metaphorical, are directed in a common pursuit.
Bob Filner and Mayor Villaraigosa Press Conference: