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Many thanks to those who have chimed in to reinforce my support for Phil, as well as to those whose tart observations, even when misguided, enrich our discourse on important local issues.

It’s difficult, given the limited space, to fully catalogue all of Phil’s various civic accomplishments, so I chose instead to focus my initial essay on his challenge to the status quo at City Hall, and on how he stands out among his rivals for his willingness to fight tough battles.

But I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss Phil’s long and storied history of involvement with community groups. For many years, he has served on the board of the regional YMCA serving such District One communities as Rancho Penasquitos, Torrey Hills, and parts of Carmel Valley.

Phil also served with distinction on the Rancho Penasquitos Town Council and the PQ Planning Board. Now residing in Carmel Valley, Phil has lived in two prominent communities within the district. And he has long been a strong supporter and generous benefactor of East County’s Home of Guiding Hands, a facility for the developmentally disabled. Somehow, on top of all of that, he finds time to run the leading flight training school in the County.

Phil is deeply immersed in community affairs and intimately familiar with family concerns. In fact, on the campaign trail, he emphasizes how city budget shortfalls have resulted in closures of local pools and community centers, a problem he would redress, once again, by cleaning up the budgetary mess at City Hall and channeling San Diego’s resources to the most effective destinations.

Along these lines, in 2006, voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot measure that at long last enabled managed competition. A study by the San Diego Institute and the Reason Foundation concluded that allowing the private sector to compete could save the city up to $200 million per year. Phil is foursquare behind managed competition, but it appears Ms. Lightner isn’t.

This, by the way, along with my original post, is a criticism of Ms. Lightner’s policies and her ability to articulate them. Such critiques are essential to political debate and in no way constitute ad hominem attacks, which, by contrast, assail the moral character of their targets without regard to issues of public importance. I have little doubt that Ms. Lightner’s positions are well-intentioned and adopted in good-faith, but there’s nothing “nasty” about assessing a candidate’s wrong-headed ideas or affiliations, no matter how sincerely he or she embraces them.

One other word, this time of a truly ad hominem nature: I am indeed the secretary of the County Republican Party, a party that has not endorsed a candidate in this race. Just so there’s no confusion, my views are entirely my own and do not reflect the party’s positions. My friendship with and support of Phil precedes my involvement with the County Party; I am an unpaid, volunteer supporter of his campaign.

And finally, with respect to the Veterans’ Memorial (and, yes, that’s what it is, not simply “the cross”), it is now property of the federal government, thanks in part to Phil, so any subsequent lawsuits will name the United States, not the City of San Diego, as a defendant. Thus, Phil’s advocacy saved San Diego taxpayers additional money, even if unintentionally.

Please keep the comments coming. I am eager to continue the dialogue.


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