Mayor Jerry Sanders had a clear message to send in his major speech last week: defeatists have always stood in the way of progress in San Diego.
Just think back 120 years ago, Sanders said, to when voters overwhelmingly passed a plan to bring water to the city. A “clever lawyer” was troubled by the pro-water vote and challenged it in court.
“So apparently,” Sanders said, “no idea is so good that it can’t attract an impassioned opposition.”
Fair enough. But Sanders, who relied on a brief account in a history book, missed the real story behind the epic 19th-century battle over bringing water to San Diego: In a mad dash for profit, wheeler-dealers fought each other in newspapers and the courthouse over who would control water.