Friday, March 2, 2012

Running on autopilot

ATTENTION NEXT MAYOR: San Diego is desperate for a leader who possesses the following four attributes –
  1. Wide open eyes (to see the whole picture)
  2. A truthful mouth (to speak with integrity)
  3. A strong hand (to act with resolve) 
  4. An outstretched arm (to do the greatest good for the greatest number of people)
History will be the final judge of our current lame-duck mayor and his tenure in office.  So far, the record reveals seven years of incompetent management, conflicted stewardship, revolving doors, political posturing, neglectful oversight, and willful failure to address (let alone acknowledge) the city’s crucial challenges. 

What’s been going on? The city is in arrears for almost a billion dollars worth of deferred maintenance on sub-standard city streets…buildings…sidewalks…storm drains...alleyways.  City facilities like recreation centers and libraries are in the pits.  Pension debt is over $2 billion – each year gobbling up bigger chunks of the city budget.  Water-main breaks plague our neighborhoods.  Skeletal crews of city employees have been spread thin and thinner.  You get the picture.

Wasn't our new “strong mayor” system of government supposed to turn our city around?  In his inaugural address our first “strong mayor” Jerry Sanders declared that the era of delay, deception, and denial was over.  But what did we get?  Less political accountability than ever before.  Less public access.  More pulling-the-wool-over the public’s eyes.  More passing the buck!  

Time to expose the down and dirty secret about what’s really been going on.  For the past seven years of this current administration -- that is, ever since our “strong mayor” form of government became official – city government has been running on autopilot.

Autopilot means no one is at the helm…in the cockpit…behind the wheel…pedaling the bike…minding the store...  

Running the city on autopilot has been a monumental swindle.  It's resulted in a hollow city.  It's caused San Diego to decay from the inside out.

Therefore, we're sending out an SOS.

ATTENTION NEXT MAYOR: San Diego is desperate for a leader (with wide open eyes, a truthful mouth, a strong hand, and an outstretched arm) who will use the position of  “strong mayor” to accomplish two fundamental tasks –
  1. Appoint a professional, experienced, well-trained city manager as his/her right hand man/woman -- someone to run the day-to-day operations of the city and restore efficiency, accountability, oversight, and effectiveness to all city departments 
  2. Forget the dead-end mindset that's been San Diego’s trademark for far too long.  Turn the city around.  Pour San Diego's pent-up energy and resources into our city's Infrastructure, Institutions, Individuals, and Innovative opportunities.  It's the magic formula for long-range health and productivity.  
COME ON NEXT MAYOR: You've got nothing to lose and San Diego has everything to gain.  Open your eyes.  Never speak with a forked tongue.  Make good use of the "strong mayor" toolbox.  And do right by all of us.