Thursday, March 7, 2013

Is it heartburn or the stirrings of true love?

What you always wanted to know...

One time or another we've all experienced that unsettled, mid-gut sensation.  Strangely, it always feels the same -- whether the cause is dread, pleasurable anticipation, or a pesty upset stomach. 

This affliction has gone viral ever since San Diego elected a mayor who happens to possess the following attributes: 
  • the habit of straight-talk (Bob Filner says it aloud whenever the emperor has no clothes) 
  • common sense (he deals with obvious, ordinary facts and cuts through subterfuge)
  • an agenda oriented toward the broad public welfare (good jobs, neighborhood benefits, local representation, face-to--face interaction)
  • independence (no kowtowing to the established and influential downtown elite)
  • a sense of humor (sometimes going for the jugular)
  • an openly-admitted tendency toward intolerance (specifically targeting local corporate welfare schemes and generous financial giveaways, as well as noxious air, water, and neighborhood pollution)
  • ambitious ideas to create a healthy, vibrant, diversified economy and cultural environment in San Diego (maritime/port development, top-notch understanding of the benefits of binational coordination, going 'green,' reinvigorating community planning and regeneration, stringent standards for city contracts, endorsement of  'the arts')
Yes, Bob Filner is giving a lot of San Diego greybeards a bad case of heartburn.  How?
by prying open the locked jaws of powerful land developers, tourism profiteers, and respected enablers -- bankers, law firms, judges, consultants, radio/TV/news purveyors -- whose business has traditionally been to keep the reigning power structure intact and thriving.  He's forced them to swallow a new style of home-town brew and it's not to their liking.  

Filner's determination to help our city throw off its resistance to change… aversion to conflict… conservative inertia… indifference to the insidious undertow of corruption that has long undermined the conduct of city business... feels toxic to some.  BUT...

Mayor Filner is also titillating a new generation of creative, ambitious, forward-looking, and (fingers-crossed) environmentally and socially aware entrepreneurs, political and natural scientists, lawyers, educators, builders, business owners, artists, planners, historians, and other categories of 21st century urbanites with the churnings of pleasurable anticipation.  

As more people become aware of the exciting possibilities of working alongside a mayor who is honest and earnest when he promises equal access to the success and rewards of living, raising a family, and/or doing business in San Diego -- every day could be Valentine's Day in our city.  I, for one, am throwing my heart in the ring.