When Mike Aguirre was the city attorney in San Diego, he'd sometimes call me to talk excitedly about how CityBeat could help define a vision for future San Diego. I would enjoy those calls.
Last week, after our 10th-anniversary issue hit the street, I got a less-enthusiastic correspondence from Aguirre, lamenting that when "the honor roll of those who strove for social change in San Diego is called CityBeat, based on its decade long record, will not be on it. The editor of the paper was more interested in social climbing than social changing."
Ouch. Aguirre based his conclusion on CityBeat's recent endorsement of Scott Peters over Lori Saldaña for Congress and our comment last week that Mayor Jerry Sanders is "likable."
In response, I reminded Aguirre that we supported Peters—the target of numerous critical editorials in this space while he was on the San Diego City Council—largely because we thought he'd have a better shot at defeating Republican Brian Bilbray in November. And I told Aguirre that if he'd done what I did before last week's paper went out—that is, re-read a bunch of editorials about Sanders— he'd realize how wrong he is. We've ripped Sanders' policies and public statements at nearly every turn; in fact, the only times I recall agreeing with him is when he performed his famous flip on gay marriage, backed a tax increase and proposed building a new city hall. Meanwhile, Aguirre and his crusades got far more positive, albeit mixed, coverage in CityBeat.
In any case, I invited him to our anniversary party—though it's a good thing he didn't show, because he wouldn't have liked what ended up being the highlight of my night: a hilarious "CityBeat Day" proclamation signed by Sanders and read aloud by Gerry Braun, the mayor's director of special projects. It's printed below.
Frankly, I like both of these guys—Aguirre and Sanders—for very different reasons. I like Sanders because he can put things in proper perspective, honoring my newspaper with much humor despite years' worth of criticism of his job as mayor within its pages. And I like Aguirre for his tenacious adherance to his values and principles, even when his zealous pursuit of a big-picture ideal blinds him to what's right in front of him, and even when he attacks his targets' motives because he doesn't like their actions.
Anyway, we hope you enjoy the proclamation as much as we do:
"WHEREAS, 10 years ago, San Diego CityBeat published its first edition, immediately filling the alternative-newspaper void left by The Reader's descent into a hellscape of alluring-yet-pointless cover stories, impenetrable conspiracy theories and vaguely unsettling cosmetic-surgery ads; and
WHEREAS, CityBeat, in its own earnest, endearing way, has always tried to speak Truth to Power, to the extent that either of those terms can be understood by a bunch of bar-hopping Bolsheviks; and
WHEREAS, setting aside its inexplicable crush on Donna Frye, CityBeat has approached the great topics of the day with independence, sophistication and wit, resulting in some top-notch investigative reporting and powerful story-telling; and
WHEREAS, CityBeat is a fierce champion of the underdog, the downtrodden and the homeless, all of whom would have been invited to its 10th Anniversary Gala, except they're not on Facebook; and
WHEREAS, CityBeat is edited with courage and panache by David Rolland, a proud alumnus of "Editors Roundtable" and occupant of its prestigious Bob Kittle chair, and has attracted a stable of reporters that includes the talented and charming Kelly Davis, plus some other people; and
WHEREAS, the Independent Budget Analyst has analyzed CityBeat's content on behalf of San Diego residents and determined that it is correctly and defensibly priced at "free"; and
WHEREAS, upon being elected as San Diego's best mayor ever, Jerry Sanders voluntarily stopped reading newspapers, a decision that brings him considerable please; and
WHEREAS, for this reason, CityBeat brings Mayor Sanders pleasure every Wednesday, and probably more often, as he doesn't read your blog, either. NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED, THAT I, JERRY SANDERS, the 34th Mayor of the City of San Diego, do hereby proclaim that today, August 24, 2012, shall be "City- Beat Day" throughout the world, and that the rivers shall be ordered to run backward and the animals in the Zoo set free, and that every child born in San Diego this day shall be given the middle name of CityBeat so that we shall always be reminded of the outstanding work being done on its pages and the great joy we feel on this glorious occasion."