So, Union-Tribune columnist Neil Morgan labels Councilman Scott Peters "outspoken." But it appears that the District 1 councilmember might have appeared a bit too aggressive in an analysis last week of Mayor 10Goals' questionable leadership qualities.
Councilmember Peters, who for the first two years of his term appeared to be grooming himself as the Clarence Thomas of the San Diego City Council with his ability to say very little, has amped it up in recent weeks with comments on a variety of topics, from the use of outside legal counsel by the city (an extremely expensive endeavor) to the likelihood that the city and the Chargers will meet up some day in court (highly likely).
But there he was in Morgan's column last week, appearing to talk about the man he regularly votes with on most matters, and it wasn't pretty by 10Goals standards.
"No, as Councilman Scott Peters puts it, Murphy is not a leader, but a judge," Morgan wrote. "Judges, as Peters says, take one case at a time, move patiently toward a decision, and then go on to the next case. The job description for judges does not include leadership." Well, it didn't take long to get the councilman to start beeping in reverse. In a letter to the paper's editor the day after the Super Bowl-for which Peters had reportedly scooped up eight tickets-Peters recounts like a good soldier the blather that Mayor 10Goals had foisted on the public in his State of the City address, which Morgan found so abysmal that he took it upon himself to write another one that he liked better.
In his letter (which some political observers said reeked of mayoral Chief of Staff John Kern's handiwork), Peters extols the mayor's "tremendous progress on traffic congestion" without enlightening the reader whether he means it in a good way or bad. He copycats the mayor's challenged contention that sewage spills and beach closures are down dramatically from two years ago. Peters even lauds Murphy for laser-beaming the city's attention on fixing roads and sewer and water pipes (tell that to those members of the public deluged by recent pipe breaks).
"My assessment of the mayor's style (judge-like, and sometimes too judge-like) is not a criticism of his leadership," Peters' letter concludes. "Murphy's revolution of professionalism and competence at City Hall has brought remarkable progress."
As the late comedian Steve Allen once said, "The purpose of having an open mind is the same as having an open mouth, the object being eventually to close it on something solid."
We wish you well, Councilmember Peters. We just hope the sting from the woodshed can produce something solid. As for the rest of the council, heed the words of the ol' Roman dramatist-politician Seneca: "The spirit in which a thing is given determines that in which the debt is acknowledged; it's the intention, not the face-value of the gift, that's weighed."