So far, we have had a very interesting cross section of commentary. Although I did mention the city attorney in my original post, it was only for example and I wasn’t expecting or hoping for a debate. Then again, it wouldn’t be Café San Diego without one. For those of you opposed to Mr. Aguirre, I want you to ask yourself if the city would be having a much needed discussion about the appropriate level of benefits for public employees were it not for him. For those of you who are supporters, I simply ask you to read “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.” Now, let’s move on to other topics.

Joe wrote:

All the candidates for both mayor and city attorney stink…

While I don’t agree with Joe’s assertion, his comment does beg the question of why we don’t have more and better candidates for office. Each of us knows at least one or two people who would be excellent public officials. If they are like the people I know, they would rather have a root canal than run for and potentially serve in elected office. Why is that? It is because we, the people, expect perfection from our public officials and are unwilling to accept even the most trivial of faults. We expect them to be experts on every possible subject and then turn their every mistake into an accusation of corruption. I don’t know about you, but I make mistakes at my job every day. The difference is my mistakes don’t make the front page of the local newspapers and they aren’t discussed ad-nausea on talk radio. Until we accept that our elected officials are human, and despite their best intentions will make mistakes, many of our best and brightest will not choose to serve.

Fred Williams wrote:

Andy, I respectfully disagree that we should ignore the corruption that got us where we are today… Our future in San Diego is similarly handcuffed to the corrupt deals of the past…Any candidate who shrugs this off isn’t providing leadership, just distraction.

Fred, I never said we should ignore the past. In fact, we need to learn from it. What we can’t afford to do is continue to place blame for our current challenges or use past mistakes as an excuse for not making the future better. Simply criticizing the other guy is not leadership.

CMR Wrote:

Andy, I take a different and historically accurate view – that what you see in the successes of McCain and Obama is what you have seen at least since Carter – those candidates that run again Washington win (Bush I PERHAPS the exception)…

CMR, every candidate this year was running against Washington. The main theme for Romney, Huckabee, Edwards and even Clinton was change from business as usual in Washington. What makes McCain and Obama different was their message that the best is yet to come and their ability to point out policy differences without turning their criticism of those who disagree with them into a personal attack.

CMR also accused me of being a “card-carrying member of the establishment.” To this I proudly plead guilty. It takes a rare person who can affect change from the outside. I do not have those skills, so I have worked hard to become a member of the establishment so I can affect change from within. Though my accomplishments to date are admittedly minor, I am proud of them nevertheless.

In my next post I will try to address the consequences for real people when elected officials do little but argue amongst themselves. I will also look at how easy it would be to overcome many of the challenges we face without having to ask anyone to give up core beliefs.

— ANDY BERG

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