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I note the joining voices of the editorial boards of the Union Tribune and voiceofsandiego.org on one topic, the dissatisfaction, nee sense of fright-anger-despair(?), at the personality of one particular person in government, Mike Aguirre. Whassup?

These two sources of news do not always sing in the same register, so when they do it’s an important “trend,” especially in a place like this city where the “consensus,” “cooperation” and “collaboration” of the past has led us with such goose step efficiency to the bottom.

There is hardly a day the U-T editorial page doesn’t take a pretty good slap at Aguirre.

Voiceofsandiego.org has been less critical on a personal level. This could be confused for a sense of journalistic support, or perhaps just recognition that great leaders in times of crisis don’t generally remind us of daddy in “Ozzie and Harriet” or “Father Knows Best.”

Mike isn’t your “average” City Attorney. He probably should be a District Attorney or an A.G. because of his prosecutorial bent. Unfortunately we needed a “clean out the muck” type of person to take the City Attorney’s Office in 2004 as evidenced over and over again in report, after investigation, after suspension of credit after – well you know.

Mike has people he trusts and listens to. Sometimes that’s me. But there are plenty of others as well.

Having said that, it is also true that he regularly disagrees with everyone on substance and process. Kind of his own guy, in case you haven’t noticed. If you are going to be in the giving-Mike-advice business, you know that you’ll sometimes get the phone hung up on you. Not the way I do it, but there you have it.

And, it’s preferable, by far, to soothing songs of support, adoration and sycophancy that are available elsewhere in local government which are neither genuine nor intellectually honest. Worse, they can lead to ruin.

I’ll tell you why a return to “happy days” is not yet available, or even what you want.

SLOP wants “alliance-building and calm.” With whom in city government should Aguirre be “alliancing?” Think of the powerful people and interests down there. How many were directly, or indirectly through inaction, involved in the creation of the messes (plural) we face? How many of them threw any penalty flags? Most of ’em? All of ’em?

And, were those interests lined up in the forefront of the fight for reform government that has been going on for the past couple of years? Who have those leaders been that a Mike can enlist as powerful allies?

I suspect your list is pretty thin. I’ll tell you why.

There is actually some science in all this.

(My friend, Fred Sainz, suggests my blogs are tiresome because you need a graduate degree to read them. Not always Fred, but this time, maaaayyybe.)

Ilya Prigogine was a physical chemist who won the Nobel Prize for his theory on “dissipative structures.” Its principals have application to all sorts of systems, including psych, health, politics and economics.

Basically (very), “open systems,” like our local government, are “dissipative structures.”

These require continuous consumption of energy. But because they are also complex, meaning connected at many points in many ways, huge energy is required to keep all the connections maintained. The more you fight to keep everyone coordinated, collaborated and singularly focused, the more energy you use.

In this system, instability is the key to transformation. Sorry, it’s true. The system does not reform itself without being stressed.

If the fluctuations reach a critical size, they “perturb” the system; they shake it up. Elements of the old order come into contact with each other in new ways and make new connections. The parts reorganize into a new whole. The system escapes into a higher order.

Our city government is in that process right now. Lots of “perturbing” going on. The system is “shaking.”

If the Krolls are right about anything, it is their concern about the locked-in nature of our existing government system.

Our city governance is so systemically weird that the Krolls had to insist on the deployment of financial “peacekeepers” to see if some semblance of order can be imposed when the outside financial troops are pulled from the region. That’s because for all the talk of “accepting” reform, it is still not welcome.

And, it’s worth noting that the Krolls reflected, in their interviews of City Hall big-shots, a consistent sense of anger and intolerance at a personality level of every person involved in exposing the disclosure of the city’s financial mischief over the past four years.

There is great resistance yet. We really don’t really know if we want to change. We don’t want to give up our bank records from four years ago. We don’t want to even talk about real solutions to financial problems. We still don’t even want to talk about the reality of how we got here.

And in that system, the Mike Aguirres of the world will always fall short of the desired collaboration voiced by the papers.

This city needs to be stressed to the point where it will escape to a higher order, or we go back to the days of corruption and incompetence for which there was nearly universal approval just a few years ago.

Which ever way it turns out, you’ll know it when it happens.

Aguirre is just a part of the physical process that periodically occurs in natural systems that have gone to imbalance.

There are reasons for the people and events of history. Aguirre’s personality is different because that’s the way we needed it to be.

PAT SHEA

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