The Morning Report
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I’m looking forward to my day here in Café San Diego. Since winning my City Council seat outright in the primary, I’ve spent the past few months doing a lot of listening and learning. I hope today’s forum will generate even more input and suggestions on how we can advance positive change in our city government.

“Stay true.”

That phrase kept coming up time and time again from my constituents during the year I was on the campaign trail.

I ran on a very focused platform: balancing the budget, reforming the pension, rebuilding community infrastructure, and holding government accountable.

My constituents want me to “stay true” to those priorities.

I ran emphasizing a specific leadership style: speaking bluntly from my gut, making sure the public gets the full truth, taking a citywide perspective, working across party lines, and challenging the city to try new approaches.

My constituents want me to “stay true” to that leadership style.

If we are to fix our city government, we have to not only fix the finances, but the dysfunctional political and managerial culture that created the city’s problems in the first place. Since the day I started thinking about running for City Council, my biggest concern has been going from an outside reformer to someone on the inside governing day-to-day.

So I ask you loyal Voice readers: How can I resist the culture and “stay true?” Better yet, how can we get all elected officials in the city to commit to change the culture?

I’ve gotten a number of great ideas from people already, but I’d like readers to share their ideas as well.

While you ponder that, let me preview my next posts. I’ll be talking about the bipartisan Council governance project that Councilmember Donna Frye and I are working on to improve the effectiveness, decorum, and independence of the City Council. In short we believe you can’t just change the faces on the Council — you have to change the internal rules and processes if you want better results from the City Council.

I’ll also discuss the efforts Councilmember Kevin Faulconer and I are making to get the city to make proactive spending reductions to achieve a balanced budget in light of the slowing economy and state budget cuts. The city is already near the end of its financial rope, and now we are headed for some very difficult budget cycles. We have to get bold in advancing our financial recovery.

I personally see every day as an opportunity to honor the trust the voters placed in me. To me that means working hard and “staying true” to both the issues platform and leadership approach I campaigned on.

— CARL DEMAIO

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