Febuary 2, 2007

(Editor's Note: 4/9/07: This editorial is factually incorrect. The City of National City does have, and has had in place, a General Plan. This editorial was derived from a conversation with Mayor Ron Morrison in which we talked about the public meetings that he was hosting in order to create a vision for the city. During our conversation it was noted that what he was going through was similar to what neighboring city Chula Vista had just completed in updating their General Plan. Herein is where we misunderstood the Mayor in that we understood him to say that this is what National City was in the process of doing creating a General Plan.

We bear the responsibility of not checking for a General for the City of National City, which is easy enough to do. Also, we should have known the mechanisms of an incorporated city.

Our intent with this editorial was to discuss the lack of a community vision for the city. The vision has in the past appeared to be driven by individuals, in particular the prior Mayor for the city. It was our intent to applaud the mayor for his effort to bring the community together and become a part of the vision for the city. It was also our intent to provide reasons for the community to become involved with their city.

We have lots of excuses we could share with you for making this mistake, but in reality none of them are good enough to excuse us. We could delete this editorial all together, but this editorial is a part of our history and is in print. Deleting this editorial all together from the web site would be wrong. We leave this editorial here for you to read and as a constant reminder to us in hopes that we never make this type of mistake again.

Daniel H. Munoz, Jr.


National City’s First Step Toward a General Plan

On Tuesday at the Kimball Senior Center in National City, approximately 150 people showed up to begin the process of developing an agenda or, if you will, the beginning of a General Plan for the City of National City.

For a city, a General Plan outlines what type of City it will be and how it will go about achieving their goals. A General Plan takes a look at issues such as redevelopment, business development, land use, parks, quality of life, traffic, housing, safety, and everything else that comes under the purview of the City Council. A General Plan is developed by involving the community, local organizations, community groups, and the city staff. Normally through a series of public meetings a vision for the City is developed, priorities are spelled out, and an agenda is developed.

The Cities of San Diego and Chula Vista have General Plans, which, in the case of Chula Vista, were developed over a four year time period and are a vision for the Cities for the next 25 years. They are a look at the Cities, where they’re at today and where they want to be in future years. These General Plans will be in place no matter who sits as an elected official and will be the blueprint by which the future of these Cities will be developed.

The City of National City has never gone through the process of creating a General Plan. In the past, developing a vision of the City has been the sole responsibility of the mayor. Long time mayor George Waters, who served as mayor for 16 years, was the visionary for the City, which by all accounts was a lack luster vision. Following Waters was Nick Inzunza, who hoisted an overly ambitious agenda on the city that was reflective of his ambitions for a higher office rather than the best interest of the City.

In a break from past tradition, Mayor Ron Morrison has taken the first steps towards developing a General Plan for the City with community input and involvement by holding three meetings, with the Tuesday meeting being the first, to develop a sense of where the City wants to go in the next four years.

Because the City has never developed a General Plan, there are no mechanisms in place to develop this plan. Mayor Morrison’s vision is that these meetings will be the seeds by which a General Plan will develop. These community meetings will formulate the future for the city and the mayor will incorporate this vision for the City in his first State of City address in April.

It is about time that steps are taken to begin the process of developing a General Plan for National City. But as noted, it took four years for Chula Vista to update their existing General Plan. It may well take at least that same amount of time in the development of a General Plan. We congratulate Mayor Morrison for the start of this process, and more importantly, for including the whole community in developing a city wide vision instead of one man’s vision for the city.

The next community meeting is set for the last Tuesday of the month at the Kimball Senior Center.

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