Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jan Goldsmith: right wing and reckless? Andrea Dixon and developers are back in favor.

Jan Goldsmith is still going negative after being sworn in. Jan Goldsmith apparently likes campaigning more than he likes the job of San Diego City Attorney. In his inaugural speech, he combined his fondness for developers with some reckless, unsubstantiated allegations.

Goldsmith stirs up criticism with claim
Inaugural speech lashed out at foe
By Matthew T. Hall
December 14, 2008

The rub on Michael Aguirre was that he was reckless: He made unsubstantiated allegations that were beneath the dignity of any lawyer, much less San Diego's city attorney.

No one sounded that criticism louder than Judge Jan Goldsmith, who used it to unseat Aguirre in an election last month.

But in his first five minutes in office, Goldsmith made an unsubstantiated allegation of his own. During his inaugural speech in front of 2,000 people Monday, Goldsmith alleged that Aguirre had reassigned an attorney who dared to take an ethical stand in an office run amok.

From the dais, Goldsmith restored Deputy City Attorney Andrea Dixon to her old position advising the Planning Commission. Afterward, he declined to back up his claim or elaborate on it.

“I really think it says something about his character and integrity that he's willing to jump on this for political advantage to continue to grind his heel into Mike,” said Kathryn Burton, who was an assistant city attorney under Aguirre. “He made spurious accusations about the office and the management of the office that he hasn't even vetted. In a funny way, he's as reckless as Mike is.”

...The inauguration came a month after the supposed end of a tough political campaign in which Goldsmith said Aguirre habitually circumvented due process and Aguirre said Goldsmith was too close to builders and business interests.

A quarter of Goldsmith's high-profile speech involved the tale of Dixon being punished for refusing “to do something that she was ordered to do because it violated her ethical obligations.”

...Another former assistant city attorney, Karen Heumann, said a belief that Dixon was rubber-stamping development projects played a role in her being removed from Planning Commission duties.

Burton and Heumann said Goldsmith never spoke to them before making his accusation, to hear their version of what happened. Both were relieved of duty during the transition.

The public accusation by Goldsmith is surprising because, again and again in his campaign, he criticized Aguirre for making unfounded allegations.

“Your work is based upon conduct and actions, not based upon a lot of accusations and hot air and making enemies,” Goldsmith said at one televised debate. “That's a huge difference between us. I have never shot first and asked questions later...

UTC expansion

Retail giant Westfield's proposal for a $900 million expansion of its University City shopping center was at the center of the Dixon dispute.

The company sought approval to add 750,000 square feet of shops and 250 to 300 condominiums, raising concerns for neighbors about traffic, noise and other environmental issues.

Two July 25 e-mails show Burton asked Dixon to rewrite her memo reviewing the project to more fully analyze the legal issues and “to protect the public interest.”

Dixon wrote, “While I am very aware the project is controversial, I have not found any legal inadequacies in the EIR (environmental impact report), nor is there anything illegal concerning the draft permits.”

Burton replied, “Irrespective of any personal opinion regarding the merits of the project or the merits of the EIR, any opposition position that could prove problematic for the decision maker should be addressed.”

Burton added, “When I spoke to you about the project, you shrugged your shoulders and said: 'Ehhhh, the council is going to do what the council is going to do. Nothing we write will change that.' Your work on this project has not been of a quality that could be approved for distribution to the council.” ...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Cheryl Cox should resign or be recalled; she has brought corruption, not character, to the Chula Vista mayor's office

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis' office investigated and prosecuted a young man for taking two hours off when he worked for mayor Steve Padilla. Why? Because Cheryl Cox supporters were outraged that the young man used the time to try to get a photo of Cheryl Cox with disgraced politico David Malcolm. Dumanis topped off her gift to Cox cronies (including San Diego County Supervisor Greg Cox, Cheryl's husband) by prosecuting another Cox opponent, Steve Castaneda. That political prosecution ended with the vindication of the victim.

Cheryl Cox told the voters that she was the candidate with more "character." That gambit was a hoax.

Cheryl Cox's character has been revealed to be cynical and corrupt. Not only is Cheryl dishonest and secretive, but she abuses her power. And worst of all, she happily watches as the District Attorney's office abuses its power on her behalf.

Chief of staff Dan Forster should go, and he should go now.

And Cheryl Cox should go with him.

Mayor's top aide got pay for other job on city time
By Tanya Sierra
December 12, 2008

Mayor Cheryl Cox's chief of staff was paid at least $25,000 as a consultant for his previous employer, with some of that work done on city time, according to documents released this week.

Dan Forster, who has worked for Cox since December 2006, said last month that he made $10,000 plus expenses for his consulting work for the North Slope Borough, a government agency he once worked for in Alaska...

North Slope Borough records show that officials agreed to pay Forster up to $27,030 between September 2007 and August 2008...Forster said Wednesday that he might have underestimated how much he was paid when asked about the work last month.
Invoices show that Forster has so far been paid $24,957, about $2,000 shy of his $27,030 contract maximum...

It is unclear how much of the work was done on city of Chula Vista time, but numerous e-mails – many with lengthy attachments – were sent to and from Forster's city e-mail account during his regular work hours at City Hall.

Last month, Forster said he did very little consultant work on city time. Cox said she gave Forster permission to consult during work hours because he was a good employee with an excellent record of being available when needed.

[This attitude is a complete contradiction of Cox's attitude toward city manager David Garcia. Being available when needed was not an acceptable defense in Cheryl's opinion just one month ago.]

The city's Internet and e-mail policy, however, prohibits employees from operating a business through the city's Internet link.

[Cheryl made it clear when she was a Chula Vista Elementary School board member that she didn't think policies applied to her.]

...This week, Cox proposed eliminating Forster's position because the city is struggling with a projected $20 million budget deficit next year...

Forster, who makes $124,000 a year at the city, said the idea was his and that Cox initially objected...

[I believe Mr. Forster's comment regarding Cox's objection to a clever idea. Cox is not a gifted problem solver, nor does she believe in doing the right thing.]

If his position is eliminated, Forster would stay through the end of June, when this fiscal year ends.

[Very clever idea, Mr. Forster, but not quite good enough. You should leave now, and take Cheryl Cox with you. And you should both be grateful that San Diego has a District Attorney who protects corrupt public officials.]

Thursday, December 11, 2008

If it weren't for recent stories about Sarah Palin and Ted Stevens, I'd be surprised Alaska is on the list

North Dakota Tops State Corruption List
By John Fritze,
USA Today
Dec. 11, 2008

Federal authorities arrested Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich Tuesday...

"If it isn't the most corrupt state in the United States it's certainly one hell of a competitor," Robert Grant, head of the FBI's Chicago office, said Tuesday.

On a per-capita basis, however, Illinois ranks 18th for the number of public corruption convictions the federal government has won from 1998 through 2007, according to a USA TODAY analysis of Department of Justice statistics.
Louisiana, Alaska and North Dakota all fared worse than the Land of Lincoln in that analysis.

Alaska narrowly ousted Republican Sen. Ted Stevens in the election in November after he was convicted of not reporting gifts from wealthy friends. In Louisiana, Democratic Rep. William Jefferson was indicted in 2007 on racketeering and bribery charges after the FBI said it found $90,000 in marked bills in his freezer. Jefferson, who has maintained his innocence and will soon go to trial, lost his seat to a Republican this year.

But North Dakota?

Morrison said the state has encouraged bad government practices in some cases by weakening disclosure laws. North Dakota does not require legislative or statewide candidates to disclose their campaign expenses.

The analysis does not include corruption cases handled by state law enforcement and it considers only convictions. Corruption may run more rampant in some states but go undetected.

Michael Johnston is a political science professor at Colgate University in New York — which is ranked just after Illinois for corruption convictions. Johnston, who has studied political corruption for 30 years, said places such as Illinois gain a bad reputation that becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.