Rewrite the Charter No. One, the City Attorney

Rewrite the Charter No. One, the City Attorney

We should begin the revision of the San Diego city charter with the Office of the City Attorney. San Diego has endured numerous disputes over the proper role and authority of the city attorney, and...

 Breakthrough technology featured at the San Diego Inventors Forum Invention Contest

Breakthrough technology featured at the San Diego Inventors Forum Invention Contest

The San Diego region is truly a hotbed of ingenuity and inventiveness as evidenced by the 9th annual Invention Contest held by the San Diego Inventors Forum on Thursday, August 14, 2014, at...

San Diego's retirement system: best public pension plan

San Diego's retirement system: best public pension plan

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The online publication Reuters PE Hub Thursday named the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System as the best public pension plan in the country when it comes to the...

  • Rewrite the Charter No. One, the City Attorney

    Rewrite the Charter No. One, the City Attorney

  •  Breakthrough technology featured at the San Diego Inventors Forum Invention Contest

    Breakthrough technology featured at the San Diego Inventors Forum Invention Contest

  • San Diego's retirement system: best public pension plan

    San Diego's retirement system: best public pension plan


August 20, 2014

First debate set for City Council seat

in SAN DIEGO POLITICS by City News Service
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Plans were announced Wednesday for the first debate in the general election campaign for the lone San Diego City Council seat up for grabs in November.
Aug 19, 2014

City Council overrides increased minimum wage veto

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The City Council on Monday overrode Mayor Kevin Faulconer's veto of an ordinance to increase the minimum wage in San Diego and give workers five paid sick days, setting up a…
Aug 18, 2014

Minimum wage veto: City Council special meeting to commence

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The San Diego City Council is scheduled to hold a special meeting Monday morning to consider overriding Mayor Kevin Faulconer's veto of an ordinance that would increase the minimum…
Aug 18, 2014

Low candidate turnout in 2 North County cities leaves election in question

The northern San Diego County cities of Del Mar and Solana Beach are tasked with a decision: to elect or appoint.


Aug 28, 2014

Public meeting in Oceanside: decommissioning Nuclear Generating Station

OCEANSIDE (CNS) - The latest price tag to decommission the shuttered San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station will be the focus of a community meeting scheduled for Thursday evening in Oceanside.
Aug 22, 2014

Community colleges may offer 4-year degrees; bill passed by Senate

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - A bill authored by a San Diego lawmaker allowing community colleges to offer four-year degrees when a local workforce need can be shown is on its way to Gov. Jerry Brown's desk after being passed by…
Aug 20, 2014

Defeated motion on revenue producers refuels old debate at LJVMA meeting

A proposal to explore revenue-producing alternatives, including the installation of parking meters in the Village, resurrected a simmering community debate at La Jolla Village Merchants Association's (LJVMA's) August…
Aug 19, 2014

North Park residents unite to fight crime spree

Vowing to "take back their streets," North Park residents gathered on the evening of Aug. 9 in response to a recent spate of attacks on women. At the meeting, residents recommitted themselves to using any and all…
Aug 14, 2014

Mixed-use housing proposed on Camino de la Reina

A 305-unit mixed-use housing development could be coming soon to the site of a boat dealership in Mission Valley. The Mission Valley Planning Group voted Aug. 6 to recommend that the Planning Commission approve the…
Jul 31, 2014

Planners updated on Point Loma Village revamp, planned international language school

The Peninsula Community Planning Board (PCPB) gave a unanimous thumbs-up in July to Point Loma Village, a revamped mixed-use condo project at the corner of Rosecrans and Byron.

Q&A with San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith on Disagreements with Mayor Filner (Part 2)

goldsmithEarlier this week, San Diego Newsroom presented part 1 of its interview with City Attorney Jan Goldsmith.This second installment compares his previous relationship with former Mayor Jerry Sanders to that with current Mayor Bob Filner and discusses the Port Commission controversy, the Balboa Park flap and whether Goldsmith plans to challenge Filner three years from now.

Michael Rosen (MR): It’s not as if Mayor Filner is the first mayor you’ve interacted with. Can you compare and contrast your relationship with Mayor Filner to your relationship with Mayor Jerry Sanders?

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith (JG): With Jerry Sanders, we were still very independent, we said no and issued guidance. But the difference is, Sanders consulted with us beforehand and tried to get our guidance on how to do what he wanted to do. When we raised legal issues that he or his staff didn’t agree with, they’d come to us and they would say, “You’ve got this wrong because you haven’t considered these facts, you haven’t considered this, that or the other thing.” We’d take a look at them. They worked with us. We looked at it and tried to get it right. But if we said, “No, you can’t do that,” or “You can’t do it that way,” Sanders respected that. I’ve been practicing law for 37 years, and I’ve had many clients over the years. There’s not a client out there who likes to be told “no.” Clients want you to just bless what they want to do. It’s natural. Jerry Sanders had it, Bob Filner has it. In the final analysis, when we decide we’ve considered everything you guys have submitted to us, but we still don’t think it can be done that way legally, they would accept it. They understood that we had an independent obligation to make the final decision on the law. Filner does not recognize that, nor does he consult with us up front. And so there’s a huge difference.

MR: What’s been going on with the Port Commission? What can you say about the opinion about the controversy that your office just issued, which reversed several years of precedent and held that the mayor cannot veto Port Commission appointments?

JG: I wrote this opinion. The City Attorney’s Office’s initial opinion was in 2006, that there was a [mayoral] veto. There was not much analysis. It was just listed. And since 2006, the mayor has been given a veto right on every appointment. Our office issued an opinion earlier this year which continued with that legal opinion. I took a second look at it when the legislative counsel opinion came in. I do not agree with our January 17 opinion or the opinion since 2006. And so I reversed it. I’m very, very comfortable with the opinion I wrote. I’ve written hundreds, if not thousands, of opinions as a judge. I viewed it the same way I would view it if I were sitting as a judge on the issue. I’m very comfortable and confident of my position. But, I changed it, no question about it.

MR: What kind of backlash do you expect to result?

JG: I don’t know, and I really don’t care. My job and my lawyers’ job is to try to get it right, and that’s what we’ve done. This is a tough environment, and it’s been tough since the beginning of the year. It’s the kind of environment that almost invites mistakes, not only by our office but by the executive branch. It is a very difficult environment, and so my job is to try to get it right and try to focus on quality and let the chips fall where they may. It’s a solid opinion, and there’s not much I can say more than that I got it right and I exercised my authority as the city attorney and overruled the six years of opinions that were not correct.

MR: Your office has recently indicated a possible resolution to the Balboa Park remake plan, and specifically the Plaza de Panama issue. Can you explain what’s going on there?

JG: We had raised the issue of a project-specific ordinance that would allow the City Council to amend its ordinance to allow the Jacobs plan to move forward. We were asked by Council President Todd Gloria to provide a memo as to how that would happen, and that’s what we did. People need to understand that this is a quasi-judicial matter, approval of a project. Quasi-judicial means that you rely on the applicant to submit an application, and then you as the City Council have to consider both sides and you act almost as a judge. It’s different from other areas when the Council might approve a road or something like that when there’s an application. The applicant in this case was a group known as the Plaza de Panama Committee, the committee that was working with Irwin Jacobs. In order for the Council to consider this project-specific ordinance, the Plaza de Panama Committee would have to amend their application to ask for an amendment of the ordinance. So that’s the only way. The City Council can’t do that. My office can’t do that. It has to come from a third party, otherwise you’re not acting in a quasi-judicial manner because you’ve got to remain unbiased, sort of like a judge doesn’t act like a plaintiff or a defendant. You have to detach yourself from that, and it’s got to be the applicant. The PDP Committee decided not to include a project-specific ordinance, and they considered it, but decided not to. And they’re not going to do it now, from what I hear. So it’s nice to submit the memo about how you do it, but it’s probably not going to happen because they would have to file their application and amend their current application.

MR: Do you have any sense of why they wouldn’t want to do that?

JG: Well, Irwin Jacobs has said he’s kind of finished with it, and that’s probably the reason. Keep in mind what this is about. There is a city municipal code ordinance which essentially says in layman’s terms, you can’t alter a historical structure unless you can show that essentially there’s no real usefulness of your property without doing that—reasonably useful. The original application for PDP could have said, “We’re going to exempt this project from this ordinance.” They chose not to, and instead said it’s not reasonable. They said, “We have to touch the Cabrillo Bridge, which is a historical structure. The reason why we believe we can change this bridge is because Balboa Park’s core at the Plaza de Panama is at a level of service ‘F’ traffic-wise, just too much traffic congestion. And the reasonable use of Balboa Park requires a better traffic flow and pedestrian access to the Plaza de Panama exclusive of cars.” So they said, “We can meet that standard because we need to change the bridge to have a reasonable use of Balboa Park.” Judge Taylor said, “You know something, I’m not even going to consider that this is Balboa Park. I’m going to consider this the same way I consider anything else, and you have to show a very high standard, and I don’t think that’s the standard. I don’t think a level of service ‘F’ is enough to show the impact on Balboa Park.” What they could have done [was] submit an application saying, “We’re not going to meet the standard. We want to change the ordinance.” They chose not to. That’s just strategy. Maybe it’s because it’s harder to amend an ordinance than to get an exemption. So what I’m saying is they can still do that. They’d have to amend their application. And then the City Council would determine that based upon a quasi-judicial approach.

MR: You have said at times that we have a mayor who acts like he wants to be city attorney, as opposed to former City Attorney Michael Aguirre, who sometimes acted like he wanted to be mayor. But what about you? Have you given any thought to challenging Mayor Filner in three and a half years?

JG: I’ve said many times I don’t want the job. I’ve already been a mayor. I was mayor of Poway. I don’t want the job, so no. I know people are talking about it, but no, I’m not going to run for an office I don’t want to serve in. It’s nothing against the City of San Diego. It’s just that I like the law. My passion has been the law. Even when I was in the legislature, I served on the Judiciary Committee and loved it. My passion is the law, and that’s what I want to do, and I don’t really want to be mayor. So no, it’s not going to happen.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , a San Diego Newsroom contributor, is an attorney in Carmel Valley and resides in La Jolla.




Slow down your meals, slow down weight gain

Slow down your meals, slow down weight gain

Summer vacation health and fitness tips

Summer vacation health and fitness tips

Getting fit will impress your boss

Getting fit will impress your boss

Five flat ab secrets — guaranteed!

Five flat ab secrets — guaranteed!

When the number on the scale won't budge

When the number on the scale won't budge

Seven awesome reasons why you want to be fit now

Seven awesome reasons why you want to be fit now

Why you gain weight on vacation

Why you gain weight on vacation

How to recover from a cheat day

How to recover from a cheat day

Seven reasons the scale won't budge

Seven reasons the scale won't budge

Do you believe the belly fat lie?

Do you believe the belly fat lie?

Prev Next


August 28, 2014

Made in USA San Diego brands succeed in apparel market

in Business and Finance by Michele Nash-Hoff
Would you be surprised to find out that San Diego has a fashion design industry? On July 30th, the Fashion Group International San Diego held a meeting, titled "Going from Designer to Manufacturer," featuring Barrie Kauffman and Heather Haas from…
Aug 28, 2014

Downtown hotspot tailors its brand just for Pacific Beach

Slow-cooked meats, Trader Vic's mai tais and craft beer are among the creature comforts calling patrons back to the two-level space formerly occupied by Nick's at the Beach on Thomas Street.
Aug 28, 2014

Researchers see poor sleep hampering treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder

The effectiveness of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) treatment may hinge significantly upon sleep quality, report researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Veterans Affairs San…
Aug 22, 2014

CleanTECH San Diego partners with CyberTECH

Nonprofit trade organizations CleanTECH San Diego and CyberTECH today announced a partnership to advance San Diego's technology startup industry.


o QUALCOMM 76.10 ▲0.18 (0.24%)
o JACK IN THE BOX INC. 59.45 ▲0.21 (0.35%)
o ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc. 23.98 ▲0.37 (1.57%)
o NOVATEL WIRELESS 2.25 ▼0.01 (-0.44%)


Company ID [NASDAQ:QCOM] Last trade:76.10 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▲0.18 (0.24%)


Company ID [NASDAQ:JACK] Last trade:59.45 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▲0.21 (0.35%)

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Company ID [NASDAQ:ACAD] Last trade:23.98 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▲0.37 (1.57%)


Company ID [NASDAQ:NVTL] Last trade:2.25 Trade time:4:00PM EDT Value change:▼0.01 (-0.44%)
Partly Cloudy



Partly Cloudy

Humidity: 60%

Wind: 8 mph



GOP Lt. Governor candidate risks alienating much of California with his dogmatic war against marijuana

Aug 20, 2014
I've been a registered Republican for less than 10% of my life. For 35 years I was a registered Libertarian and active in the party. While my views never changed, in 2011 I decided to join the GOP as a more effective…

Scores of CA school bonds this November — to pay for educational materials, not capital costs

Aug 18, 2014
Heads up! This November there will be scores of new local school bonds on the ballot in California, each raising property taxes. We have seven such bonds in just San Diego County alone. But this year most of the…

Is Comic-Con such a great deal for San Diego? Apparently not

Aug 04, 2014
A key (and quite correct) court ruling now blocks the expansion of the San Diego Convention Center. This deal involved a hotel tax that -- contrary to the requirements of the state constitution -- was imposed without…

The little-noticed CRUSHING rejection of Coronado's school bond measure -- how and why

Jul 18, 2014
There's one taxpayer victory in the June, 2014 primary that I SHOULD have reported, but didn't. A tiny, unfunded but determined pro-taxpayer group in Coronado CRUSHED a Ponzi-scheme school bond measure.

Texas now receiving well over DOUBLE the per capita investment of California

Jun 26, 2014
Three years ago, California lost its #1 status as the state with the most new private business funding -- Texas took over the top spot. Since then the disparity between the two states has grown dramatically. In 2013,…

Escondido’s charter proposal needs to come with a warning label

Jun 20, 2014
In its ideal form, a charter is a constitution of a city that embodies the collective will of the people, framed by civic values and founded upon the most enduring rules of law. In its worst form, it becomes a payoff…


California water bond heading to November ballot

Aug 27, 2014
California has been in a drought for quite some time. Gov. Jerry Brown officially declared the state's drought to be in a "State of Emergency" back in January, predicating 2014 as California's driest year on record.…

Prop 49 no longer on November ballot

Aug 24, 2014
On November 4, California voters will not see the legislature's Proposition 49 on the ballot. The Supreme Court halted its passage on August 11, the Court voting 5-1, the day the Secretary of State's Voter Information…

Record number of Latino voters expected at Nov. 4 election

Aug 01, 2014
In California, a record number of Latino voter turnouts are expected at the November 4 general election. According to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO), 2.4 million Latino…

Kashkari requests debate; still no answer from Gov. Brown

Jul 29, 2014
Republican Neel Kashkari, who is running against Governor Jerry Brown in the November election, made a request to Brown to face him in 10 separate debates. The request was made on June 5, two days after the June…

Pérez ends recount; Yee heading to November election

Jul 25, 2014
Assemblyman John A. Pérez has ended his recount for votes in the state controller race during the June 3 primary. Board of Equalization member Betty Yee won with 481 more votes than Pérez.

Brown to sign budget in San Diego

Jun 19, 2014
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Gov. Jerry Brown will sign California's $156.2 billion budget for the upcoming fiscal year in San Diego tomorrow, according to the governor's office.