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It is June 2011, and Nathan Fletcher, a 34-year-old California assemblyman and candidate for mayor of San Diego, is speaking at his campaign kickoff.

“Let me tell you how I got here,” he says to the crowd standing in a conference room at a biotech company in La Jolla. “I grew up in a blue-collar family.

“My dad was a factory worker.

“My mom, who is here today with us, is the inspiration for my desire to serve. She works helping crime victims. She taught me that, while no one gets rich helping those in need, there is a wealth of satisfaction that comes from a life of service.”

To a television reporter, the candidate later offers a few more details.

“My dad was a laborer for International Paper,” he says.

“I was from the factory-working Fletcher family.”

Later in the interview, he says, “I mentioned my dad. He became a police officer, and so I got a great appreciation growing up of hard work.”

He adds, “That’s a difficult job, it’s a hard job, it’s [an] under-appreciated and over-worked thankless job. They see things that people don’t want to see, they deal with problems, we want to act like they don’t exist, and they put their life on the line when they go to work.”

To another TV reporter, Fletcher says, “I grew up in Carson City, Nevada. I was born and raised in Carson City, and loved it.

“I remember as a kid, I remember people walking around with literally six-shooters on their hips.”

“Grew up there as a little guy, and then went to high school in Arkansas.

“All of my family was from Southern California.”

“You know, I was the first one in my family to graduate from college, and my parents worked really hard. You know, in factories, and my dad became a cop to give us a better life.”

That is one version of Fletcher’s family history.

What follows, based on an extensive review of public records and interviews, is another.

∗ ∗ ∗

Nathan Fletcher has had at least two father figures.

One, his birth father, Randall Earl Fletcher, was, for a time, a deputy sheriff in Carson City. Later, as a reserve officer, he was fired for lying. The other, Danny Farley, his mother’s second husband, was from Smackover, Arkansas, where he worked at an International Paper factory in nearby Camden. He later pursued law enforcement and contract security work.

Nathan Fletcher’s mother, Sherrie Graham, with her latest husband Jim

The saga of Nathan Fletcher and his mother Sherrie involves a series of men, a nasty custody battle, bankruptcy, divorces and remarriages, children and stepchildren, and the death of a husband. In all, Sherrie has been married four times. Though she has managed to hold her life together, it has not always been easy.

“You know, there’s no part of the American Dream that says everyone gets the same size house” is a frequent Fletcher campaign line. “We don’t even guarantee you equality of ease.”

Nathan’s conflation of the lives and careers of Randy Fletcher and Danny Farley is perhaps understandable, given the domestic turmoil with which he grew up. For San Diego voters, it provides an intriguing hint of the true story of Fletcher and his upbringing in Nevada — where his grandfather served a prominent role in the rough-and-tumble politics of Reno, Carson City, and Las Vegas — and Arkansas, where he knew the privation of a working-class Southern lifestyle.

Over the course of his tumultuous relationship with Sherrie, and their subsequent fight over the custody of their young son Nathan, Randy Fletcher quit his deputy sheriff’s job, rejoined the force, then quit again. Then he became a Carson City reserve officer. According to testimony given during the custody battle, Randy Fletcher was fired in June 1979 by a review board for “falsifying a police officer report.”

Though he cared deeply for his son Nathan, Randy had a checkered work history. In addition to his work as a deputy, he was at various times a softball referee, casino security guard, management trainee for a drugstore chain, and an office worker for a pharmaceutical company.

∗ ∗ ∗

Nathan Blaine Fletcher was born on the last day of 1976 to Randall Earl Fletcher and his wife, the former Sherrie Ann Morgan, in Carson City, Nevada. The couple had been married in the Southern California city of Riverside, her hometown, on November 21, 1975. Sherrie recalled in an interview last week that she met Randy through her brother, John Morgan, Jr., who was working as a deputy sheriff in Carson City. Sherrie was 18 when they married. She later testified that Randall told her he was 21, when he was actually 25. It was just the first of many untruths, small and large, she said.

“He lies,” Sherrie said of Randy, “and I don’t think he can help it, and there is [sic] several instances during our marriage, and since our marriage, during our separation, and since our divorce, that he has showed me that he is just not, you know, not…I don’t know if…that he is just not always what he appears to be, you know?”

Randy’s marriage to Sherrie lasted less than three years.

Their final divorce decree, granted October 4, 1978, awarded custody of Nathan to Sherrie. Randy, having left the sheriff’s department, was making $714 a month working security at Reno’s MGM Grand Hotel and Casino. According to court records, he was granted regular visitation rights and ordered to pay $100 in monthly child support.

Sherrie insisted on one important limitation to her son’s visits with her ex-husband.

During testimony at the custody hearing, Sherrie’s lawyer said, “I notice the divorce decree, the original divorce decree, requires that Mr. Fletcher not leave the child at his parents’ [home]. Is that correct?”

“Yes, sir,” Sherrie said. “That’s correct.”

“What’s the reason for that?”

“I feel that his parents have a very unstable home life,” Sherrie said. “It’s oftentimes violent, due to the fact that his father, who is a diabetic, doesn’t always eat on time. I have seen him go into insulin reaction and become violent, where it has taken three guys to hold him down.

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monaghan May 25, 2012 @ 1:08 p.m.

What a story: Nathan Fletcher, the kid with hard-scrabble roots and a tumultuous childhood, ranks right up there with Theodore Dreiser's ambitious "Sister Carrie" in self-promotion, social ingratiation and unflinching personal advancement by any means necessary.

His most recent transformation has been from registered Republican to Independent after failing to get the County GOP endorsement for Mayor.

But Politician is his name and politics is his game. Handsome Nathan caught somebody's eye to get appointed to that GOP military/foreign affairs "institute" right out of Baptist college where he'd been in the Marine Reserves. He met and married a GOP publicist from the Bush White House. He now has two adopted children. He runs. He surfs. He works out. He identifies with the Marine Corps and with fundamentalist Christian beliefs. He has influential rich friends in high places. But this seemingly charmed adult life was forged from childhood chaos and disfunction, and Fletcher maintains an impenetrable facade and practical ruthlessness.

While for two-plus years he ran the San Diego office of GOP Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham, he was doubly-paid as he spent eight months overseas in the Marines and got himself an official service commendation. Just before storied macho flying-ace Cunningham was indicted, convicted and sent to jail for selling votes for bribes, Fletcher strategically exited that cushy job. (When asked recently about this association by a reporter from the LA Times, Fletcher flatly denied ever "really" knowing his mentor Cunningham.)

Now Fletcher's a State Assemblyman from a safe suburban GOP seat and, at age 34, he's running for Mayor of San Diego as an "Independent." Fletcher refuses to interview or comment for this hometown Reader profile, but he scored two big-time interviews in the last month -- one with conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks and the other with celebrity reporter Patt Morrison from the Los Angeles Times. One wonders how that happened. One wonders how open or confident he really is if he won't talk to the local alternative paper just before the election.

Fletcher is presently trading on his greatest claim to fame: the terrible murder of Poway teenager Chelsea King. He had prominently, publicly and unseemly involved himself in that tragic event from the outset -- press conferences, photo ops, office staff updates on the crime to community groups, attending the high school stadium memorial -- and ultimately he ostentatiously authored a flawed and toothless bill in Sacramento called "Chelsea's Law." Yesterday Fletcher started running TV ads with Chelsea King's solemn grateful parents endorsing him for mayor. One wonders how one can allow this to happen. One wonders if there is any sacred line that NathanFletcher won't cross to get ahead.

Untold stories indeed.


Wellington May 26, 2012 @ 10:59 p.m.

This confirms my belief for a while that fletcher is a classic sociopath. This kind of maladjusted upbringing usually underlies the disorder. In the many dealings that I and others have had with him we have seen the typical behavior: oversized ego, ill at ease and unbalanced when challenged, lack of compassion, rehearsed rhetoric (like memorized lines), charming manipulations, lies easily, deceives regularly and unable to discern lines that should not be crossed (like using a human tragedy of immense proportion for personal political gain.)


monaghan May 27, 2012 @ 11:36 a.m.

Of the few glimpses we are permitted into Nathan Fletcher's true character, his willingness to use a "human tragedy of immense proportion for personal political gain" is the most terrible. We're talking about his expropriation of the Chelsea King murder as a ticket to ride.

How can Fletcher's recent TV ads featuring the King parents not be called out and denounced? Everyone claims to want a less debased political environment in San Diego -- better candidates who are qualified, honest, decent and motivated more by public service than personal vanity.

So where are those proud local honkers calling for "civility" in San Diego's political culture when they are confronted with this disturbing evidence of Nathan Fletcher's anything-goes style? Their silence is damning.


nan shartel May 28, 2012 @ 11:41 a.m.

the Kings seemed happy enough to have his help and he did what he promised to do...politicians can't help but be noticed when they complete a task

did any of u step up to the plate?

tell me about it

this sounds like an "any good deed can't go unpunished" scenario

why do i need to know all of this about his hard luck family??? sounds mighty prejudice to me


Wellington May 28, 2012 @ 4:04 p.m.

The importance of his background is that Fletcher has been lying about it, with his account of 2 Democratic parents. First, mom was a teacher, then started a battered women's shelter. Dad was a factory worker turned police officer. First to go to college, etc., etc. There has been a pattern of deception all along. On a recent telephone conference with constituents, Fletcher boasted of saving the state $1 billion by working with the Governor to close a tax loophole. 2 problems here: the bill died and there is now a citizens initiative to attempt to close this loophole; and he only supported it when it was revenue neutral and did not violate the Grover Norquist pledge. During this same call, If I had taken a drink every time Fletcher said the word, "Chelsea", I would have been very drunk. Yet, not one person asked a question pertaining to Chelsea's Law. It was frankly bizarre! And, he was unable to answer direct questions. Responses were in the form of a grandiose speech each time.

I've seen communities live through these kinds of tragedies and it is painful for everyone. I was in No CA when Polly Klaas was brutally murdered, endured the community pain of the loss of Danielle Van Damme and still hear stories of Cara Knott who was brutally assaulted and murdered by a San Diego Police Officer from Poway. I've never seen this kind of sick and twisted attempt to prey on community emotions for one's own political ambitions.


mridolf June 1, 2012 @ 4:08 a.m.

Cara Knott was killed by a California Highway Patrol officer, not a San Diego police officer. I don't know if he lived in Poway. Is that relevant?


nan shartel May 28, 2012 @ 7:40 p.m.

well this is what wikipedia has to say about him Nathan Fletcher (born December 31, 1976) is a member of the California State Assembly representing the 75th Assembly District He was elected as a Republican, but changed his affiliation to Independent in March 2012.[1] He served in the American military and also worked as a business adviser and consultant. In June 2011, Fletcher announced his candidacy for the mayorship of San Diego.[2] Contents [hide] 1 Military service 2 Legislative and political career 3 Personal 4 References 5 External links [edit]Military service

In 2004, Fletcher served eight months in the Sunni Triangle region of Iraq. Among some of his awards from this tour are the Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medal with Combat "V" for valor,[3] Combat Action Ribbon,[citation needed] and Iraqi Campaign Medal.[3] Fletcher served in United States Marine Corps Reserves as a Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Specialist, working in the Horn of Africa on his final deployment, and earning the Joint Service Commendation Medal and Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal.[3] He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Airborne Course and Marine Corps Mountain Warfare Training Center.[4] [edit]Legislative and political career

In 2008 he was elected to the Assembly representing the 75th Assembly District, which includes the City of Poway, portions of Escondido, La Jolla, University City, Mira Mesa, Scripps Ranch, Rancho Bernardo, Rancho Peñasquitos, and Carmel Valley, and the communities of Fairbanks Ranch, and Rancho Santa Fe. He won with 52.2% of the vote.[5] He was re-elected in 2010 with 60.5% of the vote.[6] In his first term, Fletcher had a number of pieces of legislation signed into law, including legislation relating to veterans, job creation, water infrastructure, and health care.[7] He was chosen as one of two Republican Party whips in 2010.[8] He has advised on the democratic leaders in East Timor, Cambodia and Serbia[citation needed] as a trainer for the International Republican Institute. He is currently running for mayor in the City of San Diego.[2] [edit]Personal

Fletcher is an Ironman Triathlete, marathon runner, alpine mountaineer and mountain biker.[4] He is a graduate of California Baptist University,[4] where he received a President's Scholarship [9] and was a member of the CBU baseball team.[citation needed] He lives in San Diego with his wife, Mindy, who has served as Deputy Campaign Manager and Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.[10] Upon his return from Iraq, Fletcher received an appointment to the San Diego County Veterans Advisory Council.[citation needed] In addition, Fletcher has served on the Board of Directors for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot Historical Society[11] and is a life member of both the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars.[citation needed] When he ran for the California assembly, he was described as "a community activist and a businessman."[12]


monaghan May 28, 2012 @ 7:53 p.m.

Thank you, Wellington, for adding to the list of things I never knew about Nathan Fletcher.

He is a puppet of the usual vested interests; no one in the establishment media has questioned him closely about anything controversial from his past and he has been free to create a personal "history" from whole cloth. Thank you, Matt Potter, for lifting the veil.

Nan, I will tell you that there are good politicians in this world with scruples about "using" experiences they encounter in the course of their work. If they can help a bereaved family, for example, they may do their best behind the scenes and without drawing attention to themselves or taking credit. When dealing with a tragedy as profound as the Kings', a conscientious politician who is only peripherally involved would show respect, deference and modesty, and any helping act would be its own reward.

What Nathan Fletcher has done and is doing running the King family television testimonial is beyond the pale.


nan shartel May 28, 2012 @ 8:06 p.m.

i guess i just don't know enough about Fletcher to even have an opinion here...i don't have a good or bad opinion about him...i will now defer to the opinion of the good outraged ppl here...i'm way out in the east county and wouldn't be voting 4 a mayor anyway

what are ur resources concerning Fletcher authenticity???

i can't believe the Kings would do the testimonial if they weren't sincere


nan shartel May 28, 2012 @ 8:24 p.m.

my mother was a depression era Okie and had a 3rd grade education.... she became an alcoholic schizophrenic...my father a Bostonian had an 8th grade education and was a civil service carpenter

i and my sister (who is also schizophrenic) were removed from the home by the state 1 year after my dad and mom were divorced to never live at home again

i was in boarding schools and foster homes...married and divorced...went to school ...became a nurse....a neonatal respiratory specialist

i moved at the speed of light away from my jumbled unenthusiastic roots!!!

i used to think i must have been adopted because i couldn't possibly have been the biological issue of such flatly acculturated ignorant people

i guess i thought maybe Nathan Fletcher had escaped his upbringing and beginnings as well


monaghan May 28, 2012 @ 9:50 p.m.

Lo siento for your struggles, Nan. Public office requires a level of openness that is not generally required of regular citizens.

Nathan Fletcher is manipulating the facts of his life -- and our perceptions of him -- to advance himself politically. A perfect example of this is the wikipedia entry you mention: Fletcher undoubtedly wrote and posted it himself, as it never mentions his association with disgraced GOP Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham who went to jail for accepting bribes.


nan shartel May 29, 2012 @ 11:28 a.m.

i feel so politically naive...i read nearly all of Dorian Hardgrave's and Don Bauder's blogs and articles but i don't think i'll ever catch up

thx much Monaghan 4 ur explanations


wadams92101 May 30, 2012 @ 5:28 p.m.

Pretty pathetic low brow journalism, and judging by the comments, the readers aren't much better. All guilt by association. Dig into the childhood hardships of a candidate, and insinuate some sort of moral deficiency. Will we be seeing a similar piece on DeMaio, since I hear that his childhood wasn't a cakewalk either - or will the SD Reader's right wing ownership not allow that? Wow, I guess we should only vote for candidates with pampered upbringings.


nan shartel May 30, 2012 @ 6:48 p.m.

pathetics also want to know the truth...spill if u know something different Wadams...if not barrage ballooning has reached it maximum effect here!!

truth in general is highly acceptable at the Reader so go right ahead

enlighten me


monaghan May 30, 2012 @ 7:45 p.m.

Wadams92101, what are you talking about -- "guilt by association"? For having to watch Nathan Fletcher's scary-exploitive TV ads using the parents of murdered Chelsea King? For witnessing Fletcher distance himself from his former mentor and employer, disgraced and imprisoned Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham? For his cynical shift to political 'independent" after being denied the County GOP endorsement for mayor? I don't think you are paying attention to the facts that are coming to light about this guy.


nan shartel May 31, 2012 @ 2:28 p.m.

monaghan i love these ppl who come here once to spew their opinions then never return

i rarely consider what they have to say unless they stay and like on Don Bauder's posts battle it out



mridolf June 1, 2012 @ 4:25 a.m.

I voted for Fletcher by mail before reading this article. I'm still hoping he'll be in the runoff. But, with this article, and other things I've read in the Reader, I know he doesn't have my final vote guaranteed in the fall election. Much more will be revealed by then, if he gets in that is. My primary vote is just saying I want to hear more. I really appreciate Matt Potter and the Reader in general.


VictoriaTaft Aug. 22, 2013 @ 9:54 p.m.

You begin your piece by taking Fletcher to task for failing to include in his speeches information that it took you hundreds of words to convey. You would have him recount everything in his family history in every speech?

I also noted that buried inside between his mother's marriages and father's lying, that Fletcher served in Iraq and won a commendation for valorous acts. Valor. It's as if that was a throw away fact; an after thought. Selflessness and valor apparently are in great supply in San Diego political circles for them to be treated so cheaply by the media.

Fletcher sounds like he might be an opportunistic politico. That may be.

I don't know Nathan Fletcher. And I know a little bit more about...his mother after reading this story.

If you hate the dude, save yourself hundreds of words and just say so. It would be more honest.

From where I sit, he still sounds better than Bob Filner.


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