Monday, March 30, 2009

Leadership, San Diego Style

In today’s Voice of San Diego piece about the San Diego’s water conservation “plan”, these is an interesting bit about why we’re going to punish those who have been conserving water:

Michael Shames, executive director of the Utility Consumers’ Action Network, a utility watchdog, said San Diego’s resistance to the Irvine Ranch approach is likely political.

Mayor Sanders and Water Department officials likely fear that inefficient customers who fall into more expensive billing tiers "could be used to fan some political fires against the proposal," Shames said in an e-mail. "I believe it is more of a political calculation than a legal or ratemaking justification."

Ruiz rejected that criticism and said the city "did not take into account any political ramifications of how this would impact particular market segments. We’re looking at how best to achieve the reduction targets. We came up with a model that I think is fair. We didn’t look at whether there’s some backlash from high-end users to modify our process. That would not be true."

I think that Ruiz is correct from a bureaucratic perspective but I have no doubt the Mayor took the political landscape into account. If there is one consistent thread in the Sanders Administration it is an aversion to direct confrontation that could yield meaningful results.

Aguirre was clamoring about the water issue two years ago and nothing was done. The messenger was the problem but the issue has only grown. The stadium, the pensions, the backlog of city services; all of these issues, and more, can be addressed by a strong mayor who wants to govern.

I can’t help but think that Sanders is just biding time, his staff looking for scapegoats to pin things on, so he can vault away from San Diego for a higher position. Politically, he is the highest- ranking Republican mayor in California although his timidity in the face of challenges makes him politically weaker than most other candidates.

However, it should be noted that his lack of leadership makes him a great candidate for the Board of Supervisors.

1 comment:

Karl Forston said...

I think you have to look at the Irvine water policy as a template. It only took six months to implement and by all accounts has worked. I know B.D. Howard council hopeful in district 8 has been looking at this plan and it just makes more sense than anything the mayor has proposed to date.