Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009 | When I moved here 26 years ago, one of the things I liked most about San Diego was that it was a large cosmopolitan city with perfect weather and great arts and culture yet still had a small-town feeling to me. The sentiment San Diego doesn’t want to “be Los Angeles” repeats year after year. Fine then. What does San Diego want to be?

I liken San Diego to the grown man still living at home with his mother. I think it’s time for him to move out and get a place of his own.

He lived at home while discussions of a new airport for San Diego took place. He lived at home while voters decided a two-thirds vote for tax increases. He lived at home while Proposition 13 froze the state’s ability to generate revenues to keep pace with a growing population.

People cite San Diego’s lack of leadership for its woes. I don’t think it’s solely been the leaders; I think it’s been the constituents too. San Diegans have grown smug about their city. Having near perfect weather has drawn San Diego into a false sense of entitlement. We’re thrilled to promote our “America’s Finest City” lifestyle but we’re not willing to make the commitment and do the hard work to sustain the city and help it thrive.

So in an effort to get the grown man out of his mom’s house and into a place of his own, I suggest the following:

1. Stop complaining about being so overtaxed (which we are not, relative to other U.S. cities) and agree at least to a trash tax.

2. Stop blaming your elected officials for all of San Diego’s woes.

3. Be skeptical about a newspaper that’s only interested in selling bad news.

Any one of these would be a good start in establishing San Diego’s independence and a brighter future for 2009. Think of how many more dates our man could land by confidently saying he doesn’t live with his mother. This would be good for him and for us.

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