Tuesday, February 06, 2007 | If there was ever a time that San Diego needed steady leadership, stability and continuity, it is now. But instead we find ourselves in the middle of a wrestling match of wits regarding the election laws of our city. Does the rule of law matter any more? What country do we live in? Unfortunately, it seems that both the need for special interests to control and political expediency have become more important than the need to get our city out of trouble.

There has always been something special about our city. When then Mayor Pete Wilson deemed this America’s Finest City, there was no question he was right. No matter what our party, our political ideology, or our background, we all share a common hope for the future of this place we call home.

Mayor Murphy, whose ten point plan was great political rhetoric four years ago, missed the issues that needed attention then and are the same issues we face today. However, they now are larger and threaten our city’s ability to provide the resources to implement a ten point plan. That same ten point plan was highlighted in his swearing in address, but no action plan was discussed for our fiscal crisis. It’s time to put the rhetoric aside and start making the tough decisions regardless of whose toes are stepped on or what special interest group is affected. We have a crisis on our hands, and we need leadership not rhetoric.

The public is willing to support compromises and hard decisions. For example, we should roll back the retirement benefits increases, eliminate the DROP program (Deferred Retirement Options Program), change the retirement system to a defined contribution plan for new employees, and sell both Qualcomm Stadium and the San Diego Data Processing Corporation. Its time to stop contemplating, its time for action!

I call on the Mayor to stop dancing around the issues and take a strong stand on the fiscal crisis with which we’re confronted. This situation is fixable, and we know it may take a lot pain to get there. However, at the end of the day, we will be America’s Fiscally Healthy City and its Finest! Mayor Murphy, the people will be with you and the business community will support you if you’re willing to lead.

At this point, I’m all Fryed-up.

Bob Watkins is active in the business community and civic affairs in San Diego. He is currently chairman of the Lincoln Club, a business and economic opportunity organization in San Diego.

Click here to Voice your thoughts about what you think the city should do to resolve its financial issues.

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