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Political Fix by Gloria Penner

Where’s the Sacrifice?

On a lovely, balmy San Diego evening in January, I reluctantly went indoors to watch a television program . Soon, I was sorry that I did. The content and tone saddened my spirits which had been uplifted by the sweet breezes and warm temperatures of our unseasonal weather. The star and lone actor was San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders who somberly told us in his State of the City speech that sacrifice was in our future.

This wasn't a surprise, given the economic crisis. But it was a surprise, given his opening comments. During the first few moments, he looked and sounded jovial and grateful for a new city council, a new city attorney, his wife, and his daughters. He talked about trust and pride and successes and reforms. But then the problems invaded and we heard words like challenges, selfishness and our unfortunate past. I was prepared to hear more about sacrifice and girded myself for what my sacrifice might be. But, I wasn't asked to do anything sacrificial, except maybe to cut my showers short (my idea) to conserve water and forego some extras to finance a conversion to solar power. I don't think he was asking me to clean out fire pits or trim my neighbor's tree. Here's where I believe the Mayor missed a great opportunity. Although he alluded to new or increased fees, there was nothing specific that applied to me.

He had spent 30 minutes softening me up for that "ask" and it didn't come. This might have been the perfect moment to begin the campaign for what San Diego's single-family home owners have managed to avoid for almost 100 years: the trash pick-up fee. City councils throughout modern San Diego history have pulled back from reinstating a charge for residential trash collection, although apartments and businesses have to pay. Isn't this the time for equitable treatment, especially when it's time to sacrifice for the common good? Here's where some mayoral courage and leadership could have sewn the seeds to result in a bountiful harvest for his city now suffering from lean times.


Used to live in S.D. from tokyo
January 20, 2009 at 11:26 PM
Ms. Penner, Your comments may be reflective of your/our age. Mayoral and moral courage are two elements that have largely moved out of the political scene in our present day and time. Rather a spirit of entitlement and "What's in it for me Jack?" seem to be the order of the moment for both voters and those elected to govern us. I currently reside in La Mesa, we pay for trash pick up there and the earth has not opened and swallowed up our elected officials. Obviously if the past mayors, council and bureaucracy had not conspired to loot the city's treasury imposition of such a fee in San Diego would be easier. Cheers, I do miss the nice weather. I am in Tokyo at the moment and it is a bit chill.

January 31, 2009 at 03:42 AM
Courage? Leadership? I'm afraid Ms. Penner's got both the wrong City and the wrong Mayor . . .