Move over idle downtown construction crane, the previous reigning bird-symbol of San Diego municipal malaise. San Diego has a new City Fowl: the Lame Duck.
First Jerry Sanders gets reelected last June to a second, dead-end term as Mayor. Termed out in 2012 there’s already been speculation that his mayorship might get gubernatorial fever by 2010. Note that Jerry has been a three to six year wonder in his recent gigs at the PD, United Way and Red Cross. Sticking with it for a seven year haul is something out of character for Gentleman Jer. Yet even if he sticks it out for the full term he becomes increasingly marginalized after the 2010 Council elections when the question “Who’s Next?” begins dominating the tongues of the chattering classes.
Now Ben Hueso announces his plan to try and bail on City governance by 2010. No long term San Diego future for that bright young ambitious man. So with the two principle leaders of San Diego government aiming for the door, how much pressure and influence are they going to be able to generate dealing with the matters of the here and now? With the multiplicity of boards he serves on, Hueso is already spread in his energies and attention about as thin as a spritz of “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter.” Throw in a run for Assembly and pretty much the only thing he’ll have time to use his Council office for his to store newspaper clippings.
Meanwhile the city drifts on towards a pension and foreclosure precipice of fiscal doom.
Note to City Council: You already screwed up once passing over the brightest bulb on your political marquee, Donna Frye in favor of the more political and less influential Ben Hueso. If he’s turning himself into a self-inflicted lame duck, might you not at least want to consider turning over the gavel to the a lame duck Donna and her greater gravitas? Might you atleast consider giving Ben an early good-bye present by stripping him of all that time-consuming responsibility of being council president so he can pursue his higher aspirations and elevate one of your fellow members whose shelf life is longer than 2010?
But, then, this is San Diego, where we force out of touch nice guy Republican mayors to resign so we can replace them with out of touch nice guy Republican mayors and make the lightest-weight council members Council President skipping over the established talent.
That the city should endure a couple of years of Lame Duck leadership is truly lame. It’s also truly San Diego.