July 20, 2001

Editorial

RGEC Good for the power structure, bad for the Hispanic community

Don't look now, but regional government is coming! What is worse is that once this new form of government is in place, you will have even less to say about how this new form of government will impact you than you do now.

The idea is rather simple. The County of San Diego is too big, there are too many conflicting agendas, too many politicians and it lacks a cohesive regional plan. Under the auspices of State Senator Steve Peace, a plan was devised where regional issues, i.e., freeways, airports, housing, et al., would fall under the jurisdiction of a regional board whose members are not elected. A year ago the State Legislatures agreed with this plan and created the Regional Government Efficiency Commission (RGEC) for San Diego County.

RGEC consists of eleven members who are appointed by the Governor. After a year, they were to report back to the State Legislatures with a plan. The year is up, and these eleven members are now prepared to present their first recommendation before the State Legislature on August 1 _ the creation of countywide airport authority.

On the surface, the creators and supporters of RGEC are saying that with the county fractured into so many cities, boards, agencies, special interest groups and involved citizenry, the ability to get anything done is impossible. In their opinion, the only way to move their projects forward is to bypass everyone else and make unilateral decisions.

But if you scratch beneath the surface, `regional government' has a greater impact on the Hispanic community; it means a loss of political power, just when we are starting to gather some.

As the Hispanic community continues to grow and to make political gains via elected positions, a regional governing board dilutes the power of elected officials. In response to this growing Hispanic power, and in an effort to solidify its own power, a non-elected regional board will consist of more of the present-day power structure. This "good old boy system" will be making the county's most crucial decisions, and they will wield all the power.

The creation of an airport authority is a good example of a loss power for the Hispanic community.

The airport authority will consist of nine "citizens". Three from the City of San Diego, one named by the Board of Supervisors, one named by the San Diego Unified Port District and one each from inland North County, Coastal North County, the South Bay and East County. These "citizens" will be appointed and serve five-year terms.

And if history is any indicator, this board will not be representative of the community. The airport commission will be drafted to represent the interests of Anglo community. The interests of the minority communities will be relegated to spectator status.

Let's not be coy about this, the only agenda the airport authority will have will be to find a replacement site for Lindbergh field. The City of San Diego and everybody north of I-8 made it clear last year that they believed Brown Field would be an excellent airport for cargo planes, and that it could replace the present day airport. But, through a coalition of citizens, and organizations, cities, south of I-8, the Brown Field expansion was stopped

With a non-elected regional board, these same citizens, cities and organizations will have NO power to stop any future Brown Field expansion.

Regional Government flies in the face of democracy where our elected officials are voted on to represent our interests, our needs and our concerns. Through a regional body these will be bypassed, and the only interests represented will be those of the present-day power structure and special interest groups whose bags of money will buy influence.

The voices of our citizens will be muted by this regional body.

The only way to stop the advent of regional government is to write, call, fax or e-mail your representative. Let them know, now, that a regional airport authority is not in your best interest. In fact, a regional governing board is not in the best interest of the entire San Diego community.

In politics power is never given away, and the present day power structure is fighting like hell to keep their power. God forbid the Hispanic community becomes strong enough to take some of this power.

E-mail comments Return to the Frontpage