To be fair, it’s a bit premature to try to fit Mayor Jerry Sanders into this game. With just over a year in office under the new strong-mayor form of government, his actions haven’t really had time to bear consequences, so we can hardly judge him on his legacy like the rest of the crowd.

Nonetheless, people can still form images, and it appears the opinions are wildly divergent — unlike with past mayors, who were remarkably easy to agree on.

One writer who wishes to remain anonymous said Sanders is the grandfather who spends all his time trying to convince the rest of the family everything’s OK, but you know he’d be saying that whether everything was or wasn’t OK, so you get no security or comfort from it. For all you know, mom has terminal cancer, the bank is about to come foreclose on the house and dad was arrested this morning for arson.

“It seems to me,” this person writes, “the most important thing to this administration is Appearance and Salesmanship. Sometimes this matches reality, sometimes it doesn’t, but there is no way to know.”

Interesting. I’m always mystified by the accusations that the Mayor’s Office is always trying to hide the depths of the city’s troubles.

Really? Because in the less than a year I’ve been at the Chamber, I’ve seen at least half a dozen presentations by Sanders, Ronne Froman and Jay Goldstone that I affectionately call “Gloom & Doom Seminars.”

The posts also suggest Sanders is trying to hide his unease with how deeply ugly the city’s situation is. Again, I’ve heard Sanders and Froman state publicly several times that they had no idea at the outset how dysfunctional things were or how long it would take just to unravel the mess — never mind come up with solutions.

As someone trained to look at both something as it appears to be and then look at it again with a cynical mindset (knowing that either could be true), I’ve always thought that if the Tour of Gloom & Doom is in fact a political ploy, it’s an effort to establish the situation as one that was inherited, rather than created by, the current administration. Maybe it’s also meant to set expectation really low so Sanders would be a big hero no matter what.

Or maybe it is, as it appears, a good-faith effort to inform San Diegans about the rotting innards of the city government body so they’ll understand when asked to swallow the dastardly medicine. (Oops, I’m mixing metaphors.)

Anyway, my point is, where’s the happy salesmanship? I need to sign up for that seminar, because what I hear from this administration is that mom has cancer, the bank is about to come foreclose on the house and dad was arrested this morning for arson.

More views on Sanders coming up…

RACHEL LAING

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