Joseph O'Brien 3 p.m., June 28
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People who know me also know I have my problems.
The main problem is dealt with by me consuming a fairly significant daily quantity of hypertension and congestive heart failure medications, but the weirdness of my coronary artery subsystem is such that nobody really considers me a candidate for corrective bypass surgery. If I did have the surgery, the cardiologists' consensus is that I'd be back in the ER in something under two years anyways, and there's that darn right coronary artery aneurysm to consider as well. Let's just say that I foresee a number of smaller, annoying heart attacks before a really big one finally gets me in short order.
There was this television show once upon a time - in glorious back-&-white even? - about a man who had one year left to live... or two.
Personal knowledge of these kinds of circumstances has a way of making one's purpose in life crystal clear. As a student of utilitarianism, I find that when one does the most good for the most people, then one has made good moral choices in life. I choose to continue that trend until the day I die.
Of late, I have been studying something that I call All-hazard Local Emergency Response Theory (ALERT), as I no longer belong to either the Democrat or Republican political parties. In my eyes, these political parties do more to block progress than advance it, and if the Crash of 2008 has proven anything, it's that we need to make some sort of progress out of the bubble-bursting economic mess that was caused by a Wall Street Masters of the Universe addiction to exotic financial instruments.
ALERT is a way of thinking about what ails us then getting it fixed. More importantly, it's also about what might ail us in the future and then taking steps to avoid the hazard before it becomes a disaster. ALERT is based primarily on the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) concept and free-to-US-citizens independent study courses in comprehensive emergency management by objectives that are available from FEMA's Emergency Management Institute. I am also greatly influenced by Colonel T. N. Dupuy's excellent research report A Genius for War: The German Army and General Staff, 1807-1945 which I acquired freshly printed back in my Army Pre-Commission Correspondence Course days at the Old Guard. The "All-hazard" part of ALERT merely extends our ability to understand and respond to anything that we may consider to be a hazard to our families and our community. What ALERT does not do is assume that the federal government will always be there to bail us out. In other words, if we can't take care of ourselves over an extended period of time after a local disaster, then ALERT assumes that there won't be a whole lot of us left after a real San Diego catastrophe among a complex of many other disasters of national importance.
The reason for the ALERT mention is that it seems to be a way to make progress without paying too much attention to the feeding habits of politicians and their parties. ALERT thinking is simply management by objectives, where politics as usual is typically management by hiring more expensive consultants who may just be married, domestic-partnered, real estate-partnered or otherwise related to the hiring politicians with the public purse strings.
Yes, Virginia... nepotism exists. To find it, just follow the money.
As I said earlier, the greatest good for the greatest number is all that I am asking for. There is a saying that all politics are local, and so if I am after the local political greatest good, then I need to offer up a local solution to some big local problem.
A greater good for all
Locally, we have some rather big problems that are not getting any real attention by our civic leaders, where real attention means progress toward the greatest good for the greatest number of us. We may have to spend a whole lot of public money on a new football stadium, or at least on consultants regarding a new football stadium. We need our parks and libraries. We need an expanded convention center to keep the growing events that provide convention and tourism-related revenue. We are cutting back on needed police and fire fighting services while we are under continuing threat of wildfires.
We can always get more consultants on the public dime, but real progress? That's in short supply, mostly because city cash is in short supply. If there was enough city cash, then we'd have our police and fire fighters, they'd have their fully-funded pensions and medical care, the Chargers would have a new stadium, and we'd also have a new library, city hall, and expanded convention center without having to load them down with high schools to get the local school district to fund them as well.
The problem for our civic leaders is to come up with the solution for finding the city cash to promote the greatest good for the greatest number of us. Without that cash, there's no way to let the political games begin in a search of real progress for real common good.
If they have nothing to say by the end of a week next Sunday, then it's my turn.
Now, I'm not gunning to be the next mayor of San Diego, but I imagine that if there was one person who could put all of this together and get it going for the greatest good of all of us living in San Diego, then who knows how many of us would write in her or his name in the next San Diego mayoral election?
More like this:
- Nominate Your Favorite San Diego Craft Beer for the Sore Eye Cup! — April 5, 2013
- On "Jacob Calls For Investigation Of Sempra" — Dec. 7, 2010
- All-hazard Local Emergency Response Theory as Emergency Management by Objectives — July 28, 2010
- On the Utilitarian Calculus of Ideal Democracy in America — Jan. 12, 2010
- Despite Crash of 2008, RBS Sempra Share More Than Doubles in Value — Jan. 10, 2010