Saturday, August 06, 2005 | The election is over; the election just began.

We are both lucky and unlucky. The Padres are the worst team in baseball, showing no leaders, in a free-fall, allowing the rest of this terrible division catch-up time, as Arizona has accomplished; our gentle manager of our team quoting every cliché with which baseball is saturated. We have no power, no luck, no leading edges and prospects-at least I don’t think so. We were good and lucky in May, but one month a season does not make.

Then there is the mayor’s race, where we have two fine leaders who are evenly matched to make their points and plans. It will be interesting to see which may be bolder, which will not bite the other, which will arrive at conclusions to communicate to the voters concerning ethical politics, infrastructure (more than potholes), affordable and workforce housing, canyonlands and gang prevention. It is encouraging to see that religion or even party affiliation intrude upon this race, unlike Iraq where religion leads the way in the prevention of women’s liberty and democracy in any form, where our troops die and are maimed as our “leaders” muddle their way out of this sinkhole. There is a scientific discussion whether PAM is safe to fry in, yet our leaders have a coating of Teflon that defies logic.

Leadership energizes followers; intelligence and creativity attracts and creates followers. What of the obligation of those followers? Are they to behave like sheep being led to whatever? Or people who will take time to vote when November rolls around? Or are they also obligated to think? Plato wrote: “Thinking is the talking of the soul to itself.” There it is; the electorate can have soul not just opinion, not just be against someone, not name call and fabrication of blame on all but itself. Henry Ford said that “thinking is the hardest work there is, which is the probable reason why so few engage in it.”

San Diego can become America’s most thoughtful city (as if titles matter) if we would just take the time to think what it is we wish to become, rather than what clichés claim that we are. We are laid back, but can we be energized by ideas, by creativity, by possibilities? Do we allow imaginations free reign or is that only for Harry Potter and fairy tales? Are we so practical that we fail to use that unique gift between our left and right ears, that often ignored space that is more important than outer space exploration – for “only the light that we kindle within ourselves can illuminate others.”

Sanford “Sandy” Goodkin is acting chairman of Civic Solutions, a group of leaders who analyze San Diego’s problems, prioritize them and search for solutions, representing diverse points of view. He is a trustee of the Urban Land Institute and is a pioneer of residential market and marketing analysis. Read his real estate columns at

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