Monday, June 25, 2007

Who are attorneys supposed to represent when they're paid by a city?

You might think that Cheryl Cox, former CVESD trustee and now mayor of Chula Vista, would somehow be in charge of what the City of Chula Vista does. Cheryl says it isn't so.

She might have had something to do with the choice of John Witt, former San Diego city attorney, as a special counsel for Chula Vista. But she has nothing to do with the fact that he is suing city council candidate Patty Chavez for $100,000 because she lent herself $11,000 for her campaign and didn't report it to her opponent, Rudy Ramirez.

You might think Rudy Ramirez has something to do with this draconian attack on a housewife who ran for office. After all, he might want to strike some fear into her so she won't dare run against him again. Rudy himself is under investigation, he says. He claims he will be vindicated. Somehow, I think he's right. I don't imagine John Witt feels the same way about Ramirez that he does about Chavez. Ramirez is a Republican and Chavez is a Democrat.

Cheryl Cox says she's formed a committee to look at the rules.

How about a committee to look at how the rules are enforced, Cheryl? You've made it clear that you believe attorneys who work for cities should represent the interests of the elected officials. Somehow, I don't think you've changed your mind about that.

Jon Osborn of La Mesa disagrees with Cheryl Cox regarding the proper recipient of a public lawyer's loyalty.
On June 22, 2007 he wrote to the San Diego Union-Tribune:
"Judith Wenker (Letters, June 20) asked "How can [City Attorney Mike Aguirre] expect his city official clients, to whom he owes the duty of confidentiality and competent legal advice, to confide in him...? The client to which Mike Aguirre owes those duties is the city of San Diego."

Why do so many public officials depend so much on secrecy? Why can't public business be carried out in the open?

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