Cliff Notes on the News

Cliff Notes on the News

Veteran San Diego news director and reporter Cliff Albert shares his thoughts on the latest news and stories each weekday at 7:22am. Full Bio


How Presidential Politics Gave San Diego a Nickname 52 Years Ago

San Diego has been nicknamed America’s Finest City for 52 years.

It’s now been long enough for many in San Diego who are old enough to have forgotten and others who are young enough to have never heard, why the city’s motto is America’s Finest City.

Those who do know, know the reason involved a political scandal. Timely to think about what with the kind of presidential election year we’re going through here in 2024.

Back in 1972, the Republican Party was all set to hold its convention in San Diego.  Then president Richard Nixon wanted it in San Diego, saying it was one of his favorite cities and the western White House was nearby in San Clemente.

All was set. But then a scandal…when news broke that the IT&T phone company had helped bankroll the costs of the convention and Nixon in return had made antitrust litigation against the company go away.

So the Republicans announced they were moving their convention to Miami. And they did.

A lot of city and tourism leaders were not happy.  “What stung San Diego’s pride the most were the charges that the city failed to live up to its end of the bargain in supplying hotel rooms and cash,” according to the Journal of San Diego History.

So then-Mayor Pete Wilson came up with the slogan of America’s Finest City in an effort to attract more visitors. And after all these years, it has stuck.  

Years later, in 1996, the Republican National Convention was held in San Diego at the downtown convention center with Senator Bob Dole getting his party's presidential nomination.

READ MORE from Voice of San Diego.

(Photo Getty Images)

Photo: Getty Images

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