As the San Diego City Council whipsaws its way through a mound of work prior to a three-week summer recess, we thought it would be helpful to assist our local leaders-and others-plan out their down time. So without further ado, here's our advice:
To Mayor 1Goal: Golly, you must have a lot on your plate these days, what with your usual workday plus all that campaign strategizing and fundraising you must endure. How about taking the next few weeks and really deciding once and for all if you're going to run again for the mayor's post.
We know, you've already said you're going to re-up for the job, and certainly your fundraising is going gangbusters. Going from less than seven grand in January to more than $205,000 in June has to make you feel, well, wanted by some factions in town. But you won't be able to kick around past challenger Ron Roberts for taking gobs of developer money anymore, seeing that you're now more than knee-deep in contributions from builders, architects, downtown leaders, hoteliers, development-boosting law firms and mortgage brokers.
When you ran in 2000, you frequently boasted about your ability to remain independent while doing the city's bidding, but we wonder how you'll be able to do that now that the same ol' players in town have come to your assistance.
So our advice is to go for a hike, relax with a beverage in the backyard, head for the mountains-just take the time to make the right decision both for you and for the citizens of San Diego.
To Mayor 1Goal's potential opponents: You know who you are out there. You've stayed eerily quiet for these many months since the mayor was swayed by local business leaders to kick-start his "Run Dick Run" re-election campaign. (Well, all of you except soon-to-be-termed-out City Attorney Casey Gwinn, who made the unfortunate faux pas of having his spokeswoman confirm that he was seriously pondering a run for mayor in 2004 shortly before 1Goal jumped back into the race. Bad timing, we guess.)
Well, we think it's high time for some of you to come out of your caves and at least hint that you are considering a run at 1Goal. This town needs a one-horse race like it needs another sports-team controversy. Yes, you could argue that this is merely a self-serving plea from a member of the Fourth Estate who trembles at the thought of an uncontested stroll to the polls next March.
But, come on, ladies and gentlemen, before California cracks off into the Pacific over a governor's recall election that is bound to test our sanity, make a decision to get in the race and give voters the bare minimum of what they deserve: a vigorous, no-holds-barred debate about what San Diego wants to be when it grows up-a diverse city of creative energy or a whorehouse playground for opportunistic greed-mongers. And you know who you are, too.
To three certain city councilmembers: Again, you know who you are. Your heads are likely still spinning since the FBI entered your lives without knocking nearly three months ago. Despite the pronouncements of a certain holier-than-thou wordsmith for a certain hulking publication who last week predicted unflinchingly on TV that all three of you would be walking the bread line in three weeks, we think such predictions are useless, except to make people like KPBS' Gloria Penner practically jump out of her skirt. We can imagine at least one, maybe two, of you sprucing up your resumes, but a federal trifecta? Highly doubtful, considering the low conviction rate that the federal government admits to when it comes to cases involving wiretaps.
We are also fairly convinced that you're not the big fish the feds are after, because if you are, boy do we have loads of ideas for future investigations-even some involving Republicans!
For recess, may we suggest a trip to the spa, an avoidance of freebie lunches and some thoughtful reflection about what it means to be a city councilmember. For at least one of you, it's a lot harder to say "no" to rich political benefactors than "yes" to the public good. But we think if you consider the true value of the responsibility that has been temporarily bequeathed to you, you'll make your friends and family proud.
To those running to replace City Attorney Casey Gwinn: Obviously, the Union-Tribune will miss Casey "I'm Losing Cases As Fast I Can" Gwinn. But we had to chuckle while reading a headline on the U-T's website the other day that proclaimed, "Devaney to take leave of absence to run against Gwinn." No, dear readers, even the evangelical Gwinn isn't immune to term limits, apparently much to the local daily's chagrin. But beyond that, we wonder if there has ever been a more Buster Keaton-esque start to a city attorney race? Certainly, there hasn't been this much press coverage of such a race this early in a campaign cycle. And why not? The near-daily reports of the exploits of Assistant City Attorney Leslie Devaney and Deborah Berger, a deputy city attorney, are enough to make Spin Cycle throw up its hands, if a column could have hands.
Even a quick read-through of the candidates' campaign contribution lists makes us wonder if these apparently bright attorneys ever took a class covering conflicts of interest. Berger's roster of early supporters reads like a Who's Who of San Diego's plugged-in political crowd. Both Berger and Devaney claim about $50,000 in contributions so far, with public-advocacy attorney Mike Aguirre trailing miserably in contributions with less than half that amount.
We recommend a long break from the grind of day-to-day impartiality for Berger and Devaney and ask Aguirre to kick it up a notch-the city attorney's race may be the only interesting one we have!