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The word is getting around town on the resignation of nationally known urban planner Bill Fulton after slightly more than a year on the job.

"He had very little support from the mayor and there was no serious effort to try and keep him here," says Steve Erie, professor of political science at the University of California San Diego and an expert in local government. Fulton suffered a "death of a thousand cuts," says Erie.

The turning point came after Faulconer was elected. However, upon the resignation, Faulconer issued the obligatory praise for Fulton, who returned the insincere laudations.

Fulton "lost his million-dollar Civic Innovation Lab, his baby. Faulconer took it out of the budget," says Erie. Fulton supported the Barrio Logan community plan which was knocked down in a referendum. Fulton encountered opposition to greater density in the Ocean Beach community plan, which was modified. He faced more opposition over the Morena trolley line. Also, he lost the authority to oversee economic development when it became a separate department.

"Faulconer was afraid to fire [Fulton] because there would have been a huge backlash," says Erie. "Outside of downtown the NIMBYs rule — there is fierce opposition to higher density."

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Don Bauder Aug. 3, 2014 @ 7:20 p.m.

shirleyberan: Yes, Fulton is good. It was a coup to land him and a blow to lose him. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Aug. 3, 2014 @ 7:16 p.m.

Filner hadn't even been officially lynched yet when they fired most of his people, many of them the very women that were supposedly the victims of his depravity, though they endorse him to this day. The council now pays for Jan Goldsmith's defense of his use of private Email accounts for public purposes, and doesn't even question him for starting the payouts without notifying them officially. I have to wonder if the council conspired with Goldsmith by Email also, in violation of the law. Those with nothing to hide, hide nothing. Those who need six figures in legal help to quash subpoenas conceal crime. Fulton has a story to tell, along with the rest of those hired by Filner.

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Don Bauder Aug. 3, 2014 @ 7:23 p.m.

Psycholizard: Yes, the fact that Goldsmith hired outside counsel before the city council ever knew about it stinks to high heaven. And then, even knowing that, the council voted to pay his legal bills. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 3, 2014 @ 7:25 p.m.

Sherrie Miranda: These days, if you sign off a letter or internet post with the word "Peace," you may have a visitation from the CIA. Best, Don Bauder

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patflannery Aug. 4, 2014 @ 7:42 a.m.

What is most interesting about this Goldsmith/Briggs email spat is that they were as thick as thieves in their efforts to get rid of Filner, but now it's legal briefs at dawn. What happened? I think the answer may lie buried in the Sunroad story.

Goldsmith is very close to San Diego's "other" billionaire, Aaron Feldman, who is perhaps even more powerful and ruthless than Manchester or Jacobs. Feldman has a habit of hiring former City people like Tom Story, who from his days at Development Services knows the San Diego permitting process better than any other.

Is he lining Goldsmith up for a top legal job with Sunroad? He has a big hotel project coming up on Harbor Drive that will require expert handling. It would be classic Feldman to be "working" Goldsmith with promises of after-office riches. Everybody underestimates Aaron and he likes it that way. He doesn't seek the limelight like Jacobs or Manchester.

There is reason to believe that Goldsmith and Story tricked Briggs into helping Feldman by suing Filner over Sunroad in Kearney Mesa. The Sunroad setup was Goldsmith's grand plan to get rid of Filner. The sexual harassment plan only came later.

Filner was told by Goldsmith that the applicable City Code was exactly the opposite of what it actually is. Now that took balls by Goldsmith! How much Briggs understood is uncertain. He was clearly led to believe by Goldsmith that Filner had breached the law and encouraged to wade in with a lawsuit. It is what Cory does.

If Briggs only found out later that he was as much a victim of the Sunroad setup as Filner was, then we are in for a fight to the death between these two top-dog lawyers. It may well be that Briggs has reason to believe that Goldsmith is hiding email proof, perhaps involving Tom Story, that Sunroad was indeed a setup. There is lot of money and prestige riding on this one, perhaps even somebody's law license.

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Don Bauder Aug. 4, 2014 @ 8:01 a.m.

Pat Flannery: You hit the nail on the head, as always: 1. I would hardly be surprised if Goldsmith, upon being termed out, goes to work for Feldman. San Diego's corporate welfare crowd takes care of those who do its bidding; 2. I agree with you that Goldsmith was going to concentrate on the Sunroad matter until the sexual harassment strategy arose -- thanks to Frye, Briggs, and Gonzalez, all Democrats. 3. The email proof may involve both the sex smearing (manipulating the media) AND the Sunroad legal interpretation; 4. Goldsmith and Story may have tricked Briggs. That may be why he is indignant and pursuing the email litigation.

I am not convinced that Frye, Briggs and Gonzalez were working with Goldsmith at the time they did their press conference. They certainly may have worked together later. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Aug. 4, 2014 @ 12:20 p.m.

Robert Collins: There are a lot of critics of the smart growth strategists like Fulton. Trouble is, the alternative to smart growth is sprawl. Best, Don Bauder

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patflannery Aug. 4, 2014 @ 1:15 p.m.

I agree that Frye, Briggs and Gonzalez were unlikely to have been working with Goldsmith at the time they did their press conference. But they knew, everybody knew, that Goldsmith wanted to get rid of Filner at any cost.

From Sunroad Cory would have gauged the depth of Goldsmith's commitment to oust Filner. He knew that there would be no legal opposition from the City on any attack, no matter how far fetched. He probably advised the sexual harassment planners accordingly. Cory understood the awesome power of the City Attorney's office.

The moral of the story (which may explain the recent Council vote): if you can't be sure that Goldsmith will defend you, you are toast. It will be interesting to see what they will try on Alvarez. But David is squeaky clean and may be able to outfox them (and Gloria) in the long term.

In the meantime, Cory must win this one. He is going up against the biggest law firm in town. It is High Noon for both he and Goldsmith.

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Don Bauder Aug. 4, 2014 @ 5 p.m.

patflannery: This may be another case in which the correct position -- Cory Briggs's position -- loses at the trial level because of the coziness of the corporate welfare crowd and the local judiciary. However, the trial level decision could be reversed on appeal.

Remember that a local judge, Prager, gave the go-ahead to the kinky plan for the convention center expansion. Briggs and Mel Shapiro appealed, and the appellate panel realized that Prager's decision defied the state constitution as well as San Diego laws. If Briggs loses the Goldsmith suit at the trial level, it could be easily reversed on appeal. The law is on Briggs's side on this one. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Aug. 4, 2014 @ 6:58 p.m.

It appears that Briggs is willing to drop his request if the City pays him $100,000 and admits that his request for the emails was lawful. However, there's nothing in the proposed settlement that actually obligates or requires Goldsmith or Gloria to actually provide the requested emails. And even if Briggs goes forward with the lawsuit and obtains the emails, there's no guarantee that he's going to make the information public.

https://sandiegans4opengov.files.wordpress.com/2014/08/2014-08-02_settlement_offer.pdf

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Don Bauder Aug. 4, 2014 @ 8:31 p.m.

Burwell: Yes, I have read about that. I am very disappointed in Briggs. It is critical that San Diegans know what is in those emails. It appears that Briggs will sell out. Shame. Best, Don Bauder

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patflannery Aug. 5, 2014 @ 10:43 a.m.

The emails Goldsmith is hiding are his (ill-advised) conspiratorial leaks (probably concerning the Tom Story/Sunroad setup) to U-T’s Trent Seibert and Ricky Young in the first half of 2013. It was to protect himself against the legal consequences of leaking such confidential information about his client (Filner) to selective members of the media using his private email account that he MUST defeat Brigg’s lawsuit.

It was fear that Donna Frye’s CalAware ballot measure might be helpful in Brigg’s case that Goldsmith put his best people like Kathy Bradley on the job of killing it. They succeeded on that but may not be so lucky with Briggs.

Both Goldsmith and Briggs know that leaking client-privileged information about a client, in this case the City’s Mayor, Bob Filner, puts Goldsmith in revocation of license territory.

Briggs may be many things but he is one excellent tactician. He knows that offering to settle a case and being refused impresses a judge. That is why he ALWAYS does it.

I believe Cory is after Goldsmith’s license and may very well get it. Can you imagine what that would do for his reputation, for his bargaining power? I suspect Goldsmith is having some sleepless nights. He knows he may well be "hoisted on his own petard".

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Don Bauder Aug. 5, 2014 @ 2:15 p.m.

Patflannery: Even bereft of his law license, Goldsmith would be taken care of by the corporate welfare establishment. Best, Don Bauder

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Burwell Aug. 4, 2014 @ 7:07 p.m.

I am glad to see Fulton go. He was trying to ram density down San Diego's throat. I don't want to see anymore crackerbox apartments constructed in San Diego as the City was completely built out in the 1970s. By some estimates, one-third of the population of Michigan has already moved to Southern California. We should not try to accomodate or encourage more population growth from Michigan and other depressed areas by building more dog cages (apartments) for transplants. San Diego has always been primarily a community of single family residences and should remain that way. We don't have enough water and there's no room for these morons. We can't accomodate every midwesterner who wants to move here so s(he) can party and pass out drunk at the beach.

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Don Bauder Aug. 4, 2014 @ 8:33 p.m.

Burwell: To me, the water problem is enough of a threat to San Diego's future to justify a residential development moratorium right now. Fulton, had he stayed, would not have liked that. Best, Don Bauder

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Psycholizard Aug. 4, 2014 @ 10 p.m.

When they raze an orange grove and put in housing, it saves water. I'm for managed growth and zoning, but not due to water issues.

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Don Bauder Aug. 5, 2014 @ 6:41 a.m.

Psycholizard: That's a thumbnail description of what has been happening to California for decades. Good farm land is replaced with tract housing. In the case of the area around Davis, great farm land is being covered over with homes. Is this intelligent land use? Good question. Best, Don Bauder

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