November 18, 2005

Editorial:

Is National City Politically for Rent?

There is a line in one of the Godfather movies that the character Michael Corleone, played by Al Pacino, with anguish, states: The more I try to get out (of the crime business), the more they drag me back in! This is how we feel when it comes to National City politics.

National City politics have always been a bit quirky, a bit backwoods, a bit patronizing. Just little things like the city council regularly gathering together after city council meetings, which is a Brown Act violation. Like changing city council meetings from weekly to every other week (not enough work for weekly meetings) then giving themselves a hefty pay raise. Having tamale parties at the city’s expense, then there was the cover charge for a community meeting. It is these little things that keep popping up and causes one to say ‘come on guys, what are you thinking here!’ It has gotten to the point that you start to feel immune to the indiscretions of the National City power brokers.

That was how this Editor felt, when two weeks before the vote on Prop. B, he saw, at the Sweetwater Shopping Center, parked in front of Staples, a National City fire truck with a VOTE YES FOR PROP B banner attached to it, that ran along the length of the truck. There were a couple of men, dressed in casual clothes, passing out flyers. Shortly thereafter, they hopped unto the fire truck and took off for points unknown! And you say to yourself, this is just wrong and illegal! It doesn’t come close to passing the smell test. It stinks of bad politics. Then, you stop and say to yourself: That’s National City for you. It is basic Politics 101, that city services and property can not be used for political purposes!

The following weekend, several citizens saw the same thing as this editor, they also noted that a City Councilman was riding around town actively promoting this propostion! (In a Union Tribune editorial it stated “city officials cannot provide tax funds or promote this ballot or personally advocate for it.”) These citizens complained to City Manager Chris Zapata. He told them that the City Fire Truck, being used for political purpose, was rented out! What the citizens failed to do was to ask for the documentation stating the National City policy on allowing Fire Department’s equipment to be rented out for political purposes! The Citizens of National City need to be informed who authorized the renting out the fire truck and the use of City personnel to assist in a political campaign? We need to know “What was the Fire Department supposed to do if its’ fire truck was out on a rental and there was a major fire in the city, then what?

La Prensa San Diego is asking the Mayor of National City, City Manager, and the City Attorney, for a public statement on who authorized the use of the Fire Department Equipment and Personnel to be used for political purposes! As soon as we get a written response, we will share this information with you our readers.

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