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Scott Lewis has been asking locals who San Diego’s most promising leader is. The question prompted a cascade of memories but no responses from me. The recent passing of “Johnny” (as he was known in his heyday) Butler reminded me of the wave of support that swept him into office. In those days, there was an organization known as the Junior Chamber of Commerce and it was populated, to a great extent, by men recently returned from WWII who were establishing themselves in their business or professional lives.

The “Jaycees” boosted  their man into the mayor’s chair.

A little later, we saw local businessmen like investment executive Kenneth Rearwin and auto dealer Dick Grihalva sitting on the board of San Diego Unified School District. These men had no political agenda; they had their careers and were only serving to contribute to the welfare of the school district, not to use it as a stepping stone to higher office.

I think that disclosure rules coupled with the extreme partisan approach to politics have discouraged many competent individuals from entering public life.  In other words, the leadership material is out there but we’re not likely to see it rise to the occasion.  Instead we will be saddled, for the most part, with second-tier under-achievers.

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