This and That, Fire Style

Looks like this was my weekend to get quotes in the LA Times. In addition to Tony Perry’s piece on Jerry, I also got picked up for a quote in a piece by Perry and Kevin Baxter for the sports section on the Charger’s Sunday game at the Q.. Scheduling the game and pushing the fire refugees out was a chancy decision for the City and the Chargers, but seemed to pay off, not the least because the Bolts won. My question is now how this may play out to help the Chargers in their quest for a new venue.

And acknowledgement to loyal reader Mlaiuppa who succinctly commented to a previous post that Jerry is now teflon. How about we compromise and call him gold-plated teflon?

As long as we’re on the subject, a few more fire related links. The San Diego Institute for Policy Research places the cost of the fires at over $2 billion dollars. Read the report here. This figure includes almost $900 million in loses due to businesses being closed during fire week. My bet is that the reality will be that most of these businesses will recoup much of this loss by simply increasing productiviity to make up for lost time. And the rebuilding effort can only help the economy. Talk about the creative destruction of the market place.

And finally, for now, Murtaza Baxamusa’s blog for Cafe San Diego (hosted by Voice of San Diego) deserves a quick read. Once the euphoria over the fires being over ends, the harder questions will begin. But I think the City Council and San Diego’s rapid anti-tax advocates will take more of the heat from the fire (ok, couldn’t resist that pun) than will Gentleman Jerry.

At least they can’t hang this on Mike Aguirre. Though I expect people to try.
Meanwhile, surfs up and the Santa Ana’s are coming back. Let’s hope that most of what can burn has burned….

Up In Smoke

Sorry about my hiatus from these pages. Was gone weekend before last for a funeral and spent all the time since then dealing with fire evacuations, etc.

So I’ll make this short and sweet. Best way to get a good idea isr to steal other peoples’. That being said, check out Tony Perry’s piece in the LA Times about Gentleman Jerry who, smoke damage not withstanding, now smells like a political rose. And check out the wise words by the fellow at the end of the piece. Any hopes Steve Francis or Democrats had (please note the past tense) of replaceing Sanders went up in smoke along with half of the City.

Pot, Kettle and All That Jazz

Kern? John Kern?

After two weeks of unrelenting attacks, the Union Tribune Editorial Board delivers its coup de’grace on the front page of Sunday’s Insight section. And who do they chose as the trigger man?

John Kern?

John Kern criticizing Mike Aguirre is like Nero criticizing Mrs. O’Leary’s cow.

Look, John Kern is a nice guy. I met him a few times in a professional capacity; he was erudite and polite. People I know and respect know and respect him. Bottom line: he’s a decent guy. Just like Boyscout Dick Murphy is. Just like many of the other political players in San Diego who always seem to be in political waters over their head like they were in a municipal version of “High School: the Musical.”

But he’s also the guy who presided, as Dick Murphy’s chief of staff and political fixer, over the greatest political failure and municipal meltdown in San Diego history. Kern has always insisted that Murphy’s maladies were the product more of media madness and political hysteria than real issues. But Kern, with decades of political experience both behind the scenes and out on stage, should realize that politics—like most of the good things in life—exists ninety-five percent between the ears of the perceiver. Political reality is whatever people think it is.

And the political reality is that San Diegans think Dick Murphy was the greatest civic disappointment since the Chargers got run over by the 49ers in Superbowl XXIX.

Kern blasts Aguirre for contributing to a paralysis at City Hall but the paralysis started on Kern’s and Murphy’s watch. They were the ones who ignored the handwriting on the fiscal Molotov cocktail known as the pension debacle. The result: a failed administration and a badly damaged city.

So what credibility does that leave the man who brought you—and managed–Dick Murphy?

Come on, UT editorial board. You can assassinate character better than that.

Hang ‘em All

Did you all catch the righteous editorial in the UT this morning demanding that the three City Council members who accepted campaign donations from their staffers also be investigated and forced to resign, just as the UT Editorial Board had insisted happen to Mike Aguirre?

Yeah, I missed that one, too.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

I don’t know if Werner Herzog was being prescient or just coincidental with his 1972 masterpiece, Aguirre, the Wrath of God but, by golly, the metaphorical film makes a fine metaphor for our own embattled City Attorney. At least, his many municipal and media detractors would have one think so.

Described by Wikipedia as “a vision of madness and folly,” the Herzog film follows an ill-fated conquistador named Lupe Aguirre as he leads a detachment of misplaced Spanish soldiers into the deepest, darkest New World jungles wasting wealth and lives on a vain quest for glory and non-existent gold. Substitute misplaced Spanish soldiers with San Diego City government, the jungles of the new world with the even more dangerous jungles of downtown San Diego politics, lives lost with lives ruined by Aguirre witch hunts (can you say pension board?) and lost gold with failed lawsuits and you’ve pretty much described Aguirre’s detractors description of his tenure.

Just read the paper.

Indeed, the Wiki-writer characterized Lupe Aguirre as “an oppressive ruler, so terrifying that few protest his leadership. Those who complain are killed.” Can’t you just see the UT Editorial board write the same thing? And of modern Mike’s ill-fated quest for gold? Alex Roth’s Sunday piece hit that piece on the head. Or was it just another in a long line of UT hit pieces?

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The American Military and Politics in Post-9/11 Times

Hello loyal readers. (All three of you. But you are appreciated. We start serving Thanksgiving dinner at the Luna house around three’ish, and I’ll set a place for you…). I’m trying something different in this interactive blogosphere I find my self suspended in. Below you’ll find a raw (emphasize, RAW) draft of a piece I’m working on regarding military-civilian relations in the post 9/11 age. The title is a play on Amos Perlmutter’s renowned work, The Military and Politics in Modern Times.” I had the privilege of studying under him in graduate school and the core of his analysis has stuck with me ever since. (As has the wise edicts of my fifth grade teacher, Mrs. Daugherty, to wit: “Try not to be a numbskull.”

So read and let me know your thoughts about this work in progress. And, reader beware, it is over 6500 words of absolute brilliance/drivel. So get a latte before you start. Or a proxac. Because I’m talking below about what could be the greatest undiscussed threat to this Republic since the Civil War.

(Okay, anything below the ****, this comment not included, would be the aforementioned piece…..)

I was reading a back issue of Vanity Fair the other day (okay, really back issue. April, 2007, to be precise. But I’m too broke/cheap –daughter in graduate school, daughter in college, two more in the pipeline—to pay for my own so I wait for my mother-in-law, bless her (and, yes, I actually like/love my mother-in-law, Duluth-bred-white-fish-and-herring lady that she is) to give me back copies . Which is why I’m often a beat or two behind the current drummer. (By the way, did you all hear about that big vote-count flap in Florida? I’m shocked….).

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Cry Demagogic/Schizophrenic and Release the Dogs of War

Sanders calls Aguirre a demagogue, Aguirre calls Sanders, politically speaking, nuts. And any pretense of even the coolest collegiality between San Diego’s bombastic embattled City Attorney and its Strong Mayor In Name Only is now so much polluted bay water flowing under the Coronado Bridge. Admittedly, things have been heating toward the boiling point in the two men’s relationship ever since the accusations of incompetence and corruption were being hurled by the two over the Sunroad debacle. And now it’s open war, with any sign of a truce or détente not to be seen.

Now Aguirre could arguably have been said to have fired the first shot of this conflict on September 7th when he posted his equivalent of Luther’s ninety-five theses on the Mayor’s and Council’s door: a short list of fourteen remedial steps the City still needed to take to return its financial house to order and reenter the bonds markets. While many of Aguirre’s proposed steps make sense even to the Mayor, Aguirre’s blasting of the Mayor and Council for not taking more decisive actions over the last two years was a guaranteed hackle raiser. But, by my reading, the Mayor’s September 28th response to Aguirre’s proposals was, if anything, more personally directed and personally critical than anything in Aguirre’s maligned missive. But, bottom line, there was more bonhomie and collegiality at this week’s meeting between North and South Korea than in the Aguirre/Sanders memos combined.

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