When I got to City Hall three years ago, I found a mess. As I started to address big problems, I also learned. Every day I learned.
When I saw things not working. I started asking why. I researched. I reached out to people who were not always listened to. I learned.
What I brought to City Hall was decades of experience in the private sector where I learned critical traits of success. To admit when I needed more information. To question. And to listen to other perspectives.
But I was shocked to find how commonplace dogmatism, rather than introspection, steered our public policy.
This is exactly why I gave up my council seat to run for Mayor.
I was right to seek out new answers when I saw Housing First failing. I was right to oppose the SoccerCity land grab. I was right to take on Airbnb. I was right to support regulations on ride-share scooters. And I’m right about opposing the YIMBY’s and their radical ideas to abolish single-family neighborhoods.
But I didn’t come to any of these positions overnight. I studied. I listened. I questioned myself. I learned.
I have learned that much of the conventional wisdom at City Hall is just plain wrong. And, I’m going to change that. I’m going to challenge myself. This is what I mean by “data-driven decisions.”
I have learned that politicians fall in love with slogans. They know the names of programs, but very little about either their substance or their track record. They campaign on talking points rather than insight. Of course housing is a critical component of the homeless solutions. But at this point, you have to be blind to believe that the focus on Housing First policies is working.
As I said when I started my campaign. It is time to move on. Move away from programs that don’t work.
There is more change to come. More introspection. More reassessment. But, one thing we must renew is our commitment to listen, learn, and question what is best for each and every neighborhood.
We must insist on better information, better legal analysis, and less dependence on the lobbyists who have a duty to represent their clients. Our duty is to represent our neighbors throughout San Diego.
After years of atrophy, the city must refill the brain trust.
I know how to lead. I’ve done it. I know how to get out of the way when I need to. I’ve done that. Most importantly, I know how to listen. I do it everyday.
And when things aren’t working I know how to steer things back onto the right track.
I’m ready to clean up the mess.
Barbara Bry currently serves as President Pro Tem and represents District 1 on the San Diego City Council. She is also a candidate for Mayor.