October 27, 2006

Editorial:

Morrison the right choice to lead National City

The City of National City has gone through some tumultuous times under the leadership of Mayor Nick Inzunza who made promises that went un-kept, put the city on a fast-track of development, and went on a hiring spree of consultants and personnel, all the while preparing to run for higher office.

Out of all this came a city that was besieged by budget troubles, eminent domain issues surrounding the redevelopment of downtown, a sales tax hike, and recently a city in chaos following Mayor Inzunza’s off the cuff remark about making the city a sanctuary city.

Because of personal issues the first term Mayor, Inzunza, is not running for re-election. The next mayor facing a laundry list of development issues, a continuation of budget problems, a full restoration of services, a Charger’s stadium issue, immigration issues, a dysfunctional police review board, the school district unification issue, crime issues, health issues, the issues surrounding the Westside, and moving the city forward in order to generate tax revenue. The next mayor will be facing a long list of tasks.

In regards to Ms Alejandra Sotelo-Solis, she has youth and enthusiasm. In choosing to run for mayor at time when the city of National City needs an experienced leader, the residents can’t afford the luxury of on-the-job-training. It is asking an awful lot of the voters to put their faith into someone who has no track record as an elected official. Ms Solis’s time will come, just not yet.

Pearl Quinones’ recently won re-election to serve a second term on the Sweetwater Union High School Board. She then announced that she would seek the office of Mayor for National City. We have a problem with any candidate who makes one promise to voters to serve a full term in office to represent their interest and then to turnaround and then tell those same voters that they are seeking another office.

Ms Quinones track record did not show that her term in office was a productive one, nor was it in the best interest of the Sweetwater High School District. In her term of office the district slipped into a morass of problems during her tenure, including a Grand Jury report that chastised the school board for their handling of Prop. BB monies and the inappropriate use of those monies, an audit of the district that found some serious problems within the district, excessive spending on lawyer fees, a politicization of the school board, and a botched hiring of a new superintendent. These issues and more do not bode well for a person that wants to provide leadership for a troubled city.

We point to the handling of Prop. BB funding as a focal point of mishandling by Quinones and the board where they allowed the monies that were to be used to improve the school facilities so that the students are better prepared for college. Instead of improving the schools, Quinones approved the construction of gymnasiums on several campuses instead of improving facilities. Just take a look at Sweetwater High School which now has two gymnasiums on campus and neglected and filthy restrooms for the students.

Another example of poor leadership is at National Middle School where many promises were made that the oldest school in the district would be at the top of the list for major renovations. It took the parents of the school to protest after three years of waiting for something to happen. Missing in action on this school site was Ms Quinones. And after the parents protesting embarrassed the board to act, the first thing they did was to build a gymnasium! As a school board member she failed to live up to her promises and did not represent National City at a time when she had the opportunity to make a difference.

Quinones did not look out for the best interest of the schools in the city when she had an opportunity to demonstrate her concern for the city and its schools. Quinones was missing in action then and missing in action prior to this, she has no record of involvement with the city which is reflected in the fact that almost all of her campaign contributions have come from outside of the city.

We believe that Ron Morrison represents the best opportunity to lead National City during these unsteady times at city hall. With the departure of Nick Inzunza as mayor of National City, he will leave behind a city that is facing many hurdles and issues that need to be handled.

First and foremost of the issues facing the city would be the budget deficit that led to the city having to put a sales tax on the ballot, which passed. The deficit has not and will not be wiped out by this sales tax, and the city council still has to live on a budget that does not have much of a cushion or growth potential.

Morrison has a vision for the city to bring tax generating business into the city, such as the recently opened Mervyn’s on Highland and Sweetwater Rd. He has a handle on the crime issue and knows what it will take to begin addressing this issue. Morrison has worked with the Westside to bring about some sort of sensible answer to the mix of homes and toxic creating business in the area, protecting the homeowner’s property rights. Morrison has stood up to Inzunza on several issues, often times being a lone voice. Morrison has brought common sense to the redevelopment of downtown National City

But what we like best about Morrison is that what you see is what you get. He is not flashy, nor does he make promises he knows he can’t keep. He is practical and has a commonsense approach to the issues. He is hardworking and even handed. He is what the city needs after turbulent times at city hall. He will bring an even keel approach to a city that will depend on this 14 years serving as a city council person, his roles on several regional boards, and his personal network of friends and associates that can support him in his role as Mayor.

Ron Morrison is what National City needs today, somebody who will keep the city moving forward with measured and experienced leadership.

We support Ron Morrison as the next Mayor of National City

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