My Vote for Mayor: Nathan Fletcher

May 18, 2012

By Raoul Lowery Contreras

The U.S. Marines carefully worked their way through the Iraqi village on foot towards their vehicles outside the village. On both sides of the road shops with metal corrugated roll-up doors faced the road. Iraqis stood outside their shops sullenly watching the Marines walk by; obviously disliking these invaders of their homeland. One of the Iraqi men started loudly cursing the Marines in Arabic. The squad’s interpreter, a United States Marine born in Morocco, verbally re-acted and their Arabic exchange grew more intense every second. The Marine was livid over the insults hurled at the Marines by the Iraqi.

There is an old Marine maxim: You can insult a Marine but not the Marines. Sergeant Nathan Fletcher approached the translator and calmed him down. Once calmed down, Fletcher started talking – through the interpreter – with the excited Iraqi man. After some minutes Fletcher got down on one knee talking to the man while the translator changed his English into Arabic. When done, Fletcher stood and the Iraqi man shook Fletcher’s hand. So says Tom Montero, the Miami-born Hispanic who was mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher’s Commanding Officer in Iraq in 2004. Montero (CWO 5, USMCR ret.) says he never saw anything like what Fletcher did that day. Nor did Fletcher flinch during any of the many actions or firefights Montero said in which Fletcher was involved.

Montero says Fletcher worked well with him and the other San Diego Hispanic, Lou Orozco, in the unit as well as a Filipino American Marine Master Sergeant. In fact when Fletcher was elected to the State Assembly, Montero and Orozco flew to Sacramento to observe Fletcher being sworn into office as the Assemblyman’s guests.

Montero, a Rancho Bernardo resident is supporting Nathan Fletcher for Mayor.

La Prensa San Diego once asked why Fletcher waited till now to create a Latino coalition to work with. Interestingly, he has significant Latino/Hispanic support of 25% in a survey released May 14th. His Coalition consists mostly of young educated Mexican American business and professional men and women and it looks to this veteran political observer that they really like him.

He didn’t need such a coalition to help him in the old 75th Assembly district that he won twice because there weren’t that many Latinos in the district and he won the seat with percentages approaching 60%. Running in the City of San Diego, however, is a different story.

Unlike his three opponents, Fletcher is acutely aware that 51.4% of the city’s population is Hispanic (28.8%), 15.9% Asian and Black (6.7%).

This is proven by his widespread Hispanic support unlike his opponents; Carl DeMaio whose television advertising shows but one minority person out of dozens of supporters talking about his being “courageous.” Bonnie Dumanis has little if any “minority” support. Bob Filner has a cadre of hard-core Hispanic support and some Filipino support but that is not based on his 20 years in Congress, it is based on his labor union and Democrat Party support.

Most importantly, “Councilman Carl DeMaio voted against the (City Council censure on Arizona’s infamous anti-Mexican SB 1070)… because ‘We need to speak from a position of principle and a position of fact as well as a position of balance,’” DeMaio told the Union/Tribune, May 3, 2010.

Comparing Bob Filner’s 20 years in Congress to Nathan Fletcher’s four years in the State Assembly in Sacramento draws a good belly laugh. Fletcher has passed more bills into law in four years than Filner has in 20 years in Washington D.C. Fletcher has “Chelsea’s Law” as his shining moment. Bob Filner has what?

What should be clear to San Diego’s 376,532 Hispanics is that Fletcher is the only mayoral candidate who has worked in stressful situations with Hispanics, life or death situations. He really knows Hispanics, having put his life on the line for them and depended on them to protect his.

He is clear on Hispanics and their place in San Diego that no other candidate can possibly have. Fletcher works well with Hispanics as manifested by Tom Montero. But Montero is not alone.

“He is well respected in the Legislature for his willingness to work across party lines to find thoughtful solutions for California,” Democrat Speaker of the Assembly John Perez told the Associated Press.

Is there a Democrat alive that can say that about Carl DeMaio, or Bonnie Dumanis, or is there a Republican alive that can say that about Democrat Bob Filner after 20 years in Congress?

The four candidates for mayor each bring something to the race, yes. But three of them fall short in knowing Hispanics, in serving Hispanics and in having worked under the most stressful of circumstances with Hispanics.

The Marine Corps reports that in the Iraq/Afghanistan wars one in five, 20%, of all Combat Marines were Mexicans and Mexican Americans. Nathan Fletcher served with them in Iraq, at the Battle of Fallujah and many other engagements. He knows Hispanics.

Nathan Fletcher lives today because his back, literally, was covered by Hispanics and they live today for the same reason in that they trusted Fletcher, to cover their backs.

San Diego Hispanics can count on Nathan Fletcher when he is mayor of San Diego because he knows Hispanics better than most, maybe even better than me.

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