By Norma Damashek
To tell you the truth, these mindful walks can give me a headache…notice and let it go… notice… let go…
When I started these walks it looked like letting it go would be the hard part. Turns out the noticing part is worse — because what I’ve been noticing is really screwy. In fact, it stinks.
I notice that while Republican voters no longer dominate San Diego elections, the city’s entrenched wheeler-dealers (still predominantly Republican) persist in manipulating, controlling, and subverting city government, the news media, and public opinion.
I notice that the spiked cudgel wielded by the U-T San Diego (reduced to a 3rd-rate tabloid under heavy-handed revamping by owner Doug Manchester) is the designated weapon to batter, bludgeon, and defame those who dare challenge the hegemony of San Diego’s developers, bankers, hoteliers, downtown partners, Chamber of Commerce, and Republican Party-backed officials. The editorial page churns out distorted, uninformed, hypocritical tirades with nary a blush. Doesn’t a city like San Diego deserve better?
I notice, unhappily, that our news alternatives (with some notable and promising exceptions) still hang out at the shallow end of the pool, content with sniping, feinting, and water-pistol wars. San Diegans desperately need more wave-makers and intrepid underwater explorers.
[And speaking of water — it’s worth your while to read this excellent story in the VOSD about the politics of San Diego’s water supply. We can’t afford to lose you, Will Carless!]
I notice that our local legal system lineup of superior-court judges, federal attorney, sheriff, district attorney, city attorney, police chief, and lobbyist-law firms frequently distorts the legal system in the service of (i.e. aiding and abetting) the city’s power brokers. One recent example among many? an unseemly coupling between our city attorney and court judge to prosecute Jeff Olson for chalking anti-bank slogans on sidewalks near Bank of America.
I notice that these law-enforcement Rockettes took the stage six years ago in an intimidating show of force to bear witness for former-mayor Jerry Sanders as he defended himself against charges of corruption. You may remember that Sanders did his darndest to accommodate Sunroad Centrum developers in breaking the law and threatening public safety. In case you missed it, I encourage you to take a quick look at Don Bauder’s wrap-up of the Sunroad double-whammy brouhaha.
I notice that certain of these henchmen are still kicking up their heels, just like in the old days. They’re wagging their droopy backsides at Mayor Filner — at every speech he makes and every move he takes — in their crusade to bring him down. But their efforts to haul this mayor into court (for protecting Balboa Park, neighborhood plans, seals at the Cove, city taxpayer liabilities, you name it) have come to naught. Now there’s a U-T fueled rumor of a federal investigation of the mayor’s interactions with the slithery Sunroad team — equally specious and getting tiresome.
I also notice that there’s plenty to give you a headache on both sides of the street. Here’s how it looks from the other side:
I notice that the mayor’s office remains inadequately staffed and ill-equipped to head off calculated attacks and cunning political setups. A strong mayor like Bob Filner can’t get the job done without knowledgeable, congenial, and effective backup from his staff — top to bottom. His senior staff must share his goals and values, play well with co-workers, know San Diego’s political topography, be well-informed, have eyes and ears in back of their heads, and spot landmines before they blow up. It’s beginning to give me a headache that these basic requirements are so slow in coming.
I’ve been noticing that the Democratic Party in San Diego lacks sufficient discipline, backbone, mentorship skills, conviction, and forward-looking strategies and goals. And I notice that it shamefully leaves in the lurch the first strong and principled leader the party has seen in all of local history. It’s another big, bad headache-maker for those of us who share Mayor Filner’s vision of San Diego as a city to be reckoned with and proud of.
Let’s get on with it.
Editor’s note: Jeff Olson was referred to as Jim Olson in the original post. This post has been updated with the correction.