By Jim Riffel
City News Service
A group of San Diego business leaders have ditched their party affiliations to become independent in hopes of starting a national movement to end partisan gridlock.
At a news conference on Wednesday, they announced the formation of "Movement to the Middle," which they hope to take national via social media.
“We are fiscally conservative and socially progressive, a position and a place where many of us reside but neither party is willing to visit,’’ said Scott Dickey, chief executive officer of the Competitor Group, a media company that focuses on events for runners such as marathons.
Politicians need to be driven by a desire to achieve results, not satisfy party goals, he said.
Dickey said the group of nearly 40 former Republicans and Democrats and some who were already independent want to take a more problem-solving approach to governance.
The group is following the lead of San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, 75th District assemblyman who garnered national attention last month when he left the Republican Party. He said he was tired of the competition between the two major parties at the expense of the public good.
Dane Chapin of Zephyr Partners said the formation of Movement to the Middle was larger than just one politician or one issue.
“This is about a broad-based majority drawing a line in the sand and bringing common sense back to solving problems for shareholders of government — we the people,’’ Chapin said.
The group’s primary goal is to send a message to political leaders that people are no longer willing to let partisan games keep real challenges from being addressed, the organizers said.
They’ve set up a website at movementtothemiddle.org. A list of supporters on the site include Ted Waitt, founder of Gateway Inc., basketball star Bill Walton, and investor Ron Fowler.