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The position of U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California, based in San Diego, has long been a political football. Whether the job was held by Alan Bersin, an L.A. lawyer swept into town on his wealthy wife’s coattails, aided by healthy campaign contributions to President Bill Clinton, or by Carol Lam, ousted by the Bush administration’s Justice Department in an ideological coup, campaign cash has ruled. So it comes as little surprise that newly empowered Democrats have already introduced big money into the method for choosing the next occupant of the office. San Diego lawyer Candace Carroll has been named chairwoman of Senator Barbara Boxer’s judicial and U.S. attorney screening committee. According to the website CampaignMoney.com, during the 2008 election cycle Carroll gave a total of $87,500 to 64 Democratic and liberal campaign funds, including $28,500 to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee; $5000 to the League of Conservation Voters Action Fund; and $2000 to Friends of Barbara Boxer. … Stockton, California, the hometown of Chargers owner Alex Spanos, has been designated the nation’s “most miserable city” by Forbes magazine, in part because of all the houses that have been built there. “Stockton was ground zero for the housing boom and now the subsequent bust,” notes Forbes, citing the city’s predicted unemployment rate this year of 13.3 percent. Because of urban sprawl and congestion spawned in large part by developer Spanos, the city is also a difficult place in which to get around.

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monaghan Feb. 19, 2009 @ 9:25 a.m.

Money can't buy you love, but it does buy influence, even in this Age of Obama. Local lawyer and longtime wannabe political player Candace Carroll gave $87,500 to Democratic politics in the last year and now she's going to vet judges and U.S. Attorney candidates and make recommendations to the deciders? That's scary. Carroll has always been easily impressed by anyone in the public eye, so you've got to worry about her judgement. (Carroll was a big fan of ex-School Superintendent Alan Bersin, who himself snagged appointment as U.S. Attorney here after serving as a money machine for Bill Clinton, as Matt Potter notes.)

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JohnnyVegas Feb. 24, 2009 @ 5:29 p.m.

US Atttorney is a 100% political appointee job-it has very little, actually nothing, to do with knowledge or qualifications. It is a politcal job and everyone needs to understand that.

Alan Bersin couldn't win a small claims court case if his life depended on it. Bersin's only way to get a job was, and still is, through political influence and connections. And it is not just him.

The same thing goes for being appointed to a federal judgeship. You don't get "appointed" to those types of jobs unless you're connected.

Marilynn Huff, the biggest hack we have sitting on the local federal bench, is a perfect example- she has the brain power of an untrained circus chimp. Yet she is a judge in the federal court system-and face it, if not for her connections she would have trouble working at a free legal clinic.

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