By Norma Damashek
A couple of weeks ago I wrote that San Diego’s switch to a strong mayor style of government begat “a fresh load of scandal, farce, confusion, and dysfunction….” But can we lay the blame on the switchover? Does the form of government really control the outcome?
Not necessarily. In fact, a recent report on this very subject suggests there is no direct connection between the form of city government (city manager… strong mayor) and how well local government serves the public.
But we could have told them that, ourselves. Especially now that – after many decades of doing business under a city manager form of government – we made the switch to a strong mayor system. Yet even with the changes (we’ll get to them in a minute) San Diego has remained stubbornly true to its own nature. Our city, it would seem, has a very idiosyncratic genome.
After all, switch or no switch, can anyone dispute that business-as-usual is still king in our city? Or that public tolerance for governmental mismanagement – wrongdoing included – is still a defining feature of our go-along-to-get-along town?