The race for mayor of San Diego is important, not only for voters in Del Mar Heights, Carmel Valley, and La Jolla, but also for residents of all communities within reach of this newspaper. The mayor is not only CEO of the city of San Diego but also chief spokesperson and cheerleader for the San Diego region — as we learned from a recent episode of “South Park.”
The San Diego County Board of Supervisors is the neglected stepchild of politics and political journalism. Most county voters live in one of 18 incorporated cities, so they don’t think much about county government.
The redistricting process of 2010 was not kind to Republican Congressman Brian Bilbray. His newly drawn 52nd Congressional District has a Republican registration edge of only 3 percent, compared with 9 percent in his old district.
“Habits of the Heart,” a 1986 book by my teacher Robert Bellah and four colleagues, is a sweeping and provocative study of individualism and commitment in American life — and a fit focus for a meditation on community life and civic responsibility.
He walks south from the trailhead. The sky is clear and blue and perfect. Ground squirrels scramble over the rocks. The earth is smooth, tan streaked with gray. He fixes his gaze on the left side of the trail, deciding to focus on the other side only on the walk back.
In the June 30 column, I challenged the view of some “independent” voters that there is “not a dime’s worth of difference between Democrats and Republicans.”
I suggested that Democrats want to raise taxes on the very rich; Republicans want to lower them. Democrats are pro-labor; Republicans are anti-union. Democrats support Social Security, Medicare, and national health insurance; Republicans oppose them. Democrats are pro-choice; Republicans want to outlaw abortion and stem-cell research.
A growing number of “independent” voters hold that there is no meaningful difference between Democrats and Republicans. I disagree. Democrats favor progressive taxation. Republicans favor huge tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.
My 400-word limit for these musings often leaves me with more material than I can use, so my desk becomes cluttered with info-bits about the topics of recent columns and other interests.
On March 11, a massive 9.0-magnitude offshore earthquake triggered a tsunami, a super-wave 30 feet high, moving at the speed of a jet airliner. Minutes later, that wave slammed into the northeastern coast of Japan, washing over low-lying areas, destroying everything in its path, killing untold thousands, devastating the national economy, and wrecking a nuclear power plant, with effects that are not yet known. How cruel and ironic that the only nation ever to be attacked with atomic weapons should again be so devastated and threatened by the nuclear cloud. Their suffering, live via satellites and cell phones, is deeply disturbing.
The proposed widening of Interstate 5 has triggered renewed discussion of how to expand the use of public transportation so as to reduce the need for ever-more freeway lanes.