Mayoral hopefuls tout jobs, fish farms and a gun-free San Diego
By: John R. Lamb — San Diego CityBeat
“Ideas run wild without discussion.” –Serge Kahili King
Spin Cycle continues its effort to introduce you, intelligent reader, to the candidates running for mayor of San Diego not named Bob, Bonnie, Nathan or Carl.
As Spin noted last time, it is irksome that mainstream media outlets have, by exclusion, narrowed a field of 14 mayoral wannabes down to The Big Four (repeat after me: Filner, Dumanis, Fletcher and DeMaio) when it comes to coverage.
A pity, really. But for now, we do our small part by bringing you “The Others”:
– Loch David Crane, 63, magician, retired teacher, border/ medi-pot activist: This will be mayoral run No. 6 for the iconic Ocean Beach native, who may be more well known for the Star Trike–his roaring, three-wheeled homage to the Starship Enterprise–he rides around town than his hard-line views on immigration. A medical-marijuana patient as well, Crane also embraces his liberal side.
About his involvement with a border-watching group called the Border Patrol Auxiliary (BPA), Crane noted, “I’m usually the only Democrat on the border, with everybody else usually Republican or Tea Party or both.”
He says he joined the group after leaving the Minuteman Project “when they became a little too controversial.” Crane described the BPA as a “force multiplier” for the Border Patrol but only in terms of monitoring.
“We sit in the popular places and gum up the works,” Crane said. “We basically sit out there with a motor home and some lawn chairs and play loud music and have a drink, and then these guys can’t come waltzing up the valley with their drugs or parrots or people or dirty bombs.”
Smugglers, he said, are then forced to head into mountainous regions where they’re more easily spotted by agents along ridge lines. “The thermal scopes are wonderful,” he said. “It’s like a chorus line and they’re all wearing Michael Jackson gloves!”
Crane dreams of “an American-run country and an American-run state.” He said just “using the E-Verify system” would create, by his estimate, 150,000 job openings. “Then we’ll employ all the American workers who want to work–every single segment of society can benefit.”
Crane is equally passionate about medical marijuana. “Tax it and regulate it just like alcohol, 21 and over,” he said. “And focus on medical quality. We’re talking billions in income and jobs for people with no other skills!”
He’s no fan of District Attorney Dumanis. “She may do a fine job with criminals and murderers,” he said, “but when she sinks her teeth into [medi-pot] patients, then she’s abusive and rude. We need to pull her back like a bad dog!”
– Steven Greenwald, 65, retired orthopedist, real-estate investor, fish-farm dreamer: Del Cerro resident Greenwald, a Montreal native who’s called San Diego home for 32 years, said he got the idea to run for mayor from Councilmember Marti Emerald. “She told me I have a lot of innovative solutions to our present challenges,” he said.
Greenwald, who retired as an orthopedist in 2008, spends much of his time now at his Park Boulevard office complex that houses “multiple” medical-marijuana dispensaries, as he put it. “The city wants all the dispensaries shut down, and they could be coming any time now,” he warned.
For him, recent cop killings emphasize the realization that communities decay when they lack prosperity, public health and public safety: “They are all interdependent on one another in order to improve our quality of life here.”
He writes frequently about this on his Facebook page and how he sees prosperity returning in San Diego. Take, for example, tilapia fish farms in temperate El Centro to help combat the multi-billion-dollar seafood trade imbalance with China and Vietnam.
“In Las Vegas, they grow shrimp!” he said.
Or combining Downtown conventions with San Diego’s languishing cruise-ship industry. “We’ve lost 65 percent of our cruises. So, we market it so people go on a cruise and then attend a convention. Las Vegas can’t offer that.”
He would also like to see all drugs decriminalized, with treatment and school education on the topic becoming the focus, and medi-pot clinics permitted in commercial zones no closer than 600 feet from a middle or high school.
Greenwald thinks binding arbitration would solve the city’s pension mess (“arbitration rather than confrontation”). City employees could boost their spending money with various incentives, like voluntary business discounts and 5-percent cuts to property tax, cable and utility bills. For residents, similar tax breaks for installing local solar and water-retention systems.
“These all create jobs and prosperity and reduce costs,” he explained.
– Rob “Girly Girly” Harter, 48, furniture-store owner, waiter, “idea man”: Rob Harter is a true New Yorker who finds California puzzling, despite living here and in Los Angeles for the last 22 years. “Maybe that’s why California is in trouble,” he said, “because people don’t stand up for what they believe in.”
No problem for Harter, who speaks loudly and enthusiastically. From Girly Girly, his tiny “shabby chic” furniture shop in Bankers Hill, the part-time waiter hints of a tough childhood–“I don’t talk to my family anymore”–numerous moves, even a homeless stint when he first came to San Diego.
But he says it’s allowed him the opportunity to view the city from many perspectives. “It’s like a small town in a big city,” he said. “When I came here, Morley Field was a dump, North Park was dead. Now look at how beautiful these places are.”
He thinks if San Diego–with the “nicest people in the world”– can’t fix its problems, then “there’s no chance for society.”
He believes violent TV needs to go (“There’s no CSI in France.”), the city should become gun-free and San Diego could generate revenue by building a cardboard-recycling plant. “Make computer paper and sell it,” he said.
“What we basically need to focus on is keeping local money local,” Harter said.
Harter keeps a fairly active website: girlygirlyformayor.com.
Update: After reading the column, Loch David Crane wanted to clarify a comment he made about working with the Border Patrol Auxiliary. When he said members would set up lawn chairs and have “a drink” while waiting for undocumented migrants, he didn’t mean that alcohol is consumed. “We have a ‘COLD DRINK’ at the border, never alcohol!” he wrote to Spin Cycle. Added Crane: “And I never take or use medical marijuana with a gun; I use the prescribed pain pills and leave the weed down the hill. This ONE missing adjective can allow our enemies to call us drunks with guns–and as NRA members and trained operatives, we resent the incorrect implication.” It should be noted that during interviews for this column, Crane did not mention to Spin Cycle that BPA members carry weapons while monitoring the border.