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Scott Ellis 5:15 a.m., Aug. 5
With a projected $73.2 million deficit for next fiscal year, every city department in San Diego is at risk of having its budget slashed. But there is one department that will see an increase in the 2012 budget: the city attorney’s office.
For next year, if the Mayor’s budget is approved, Jan Goldsmith and his team will receive $42.5 million, a $500,000 increase from fiscal year 2011.
During a meeting of the Budget and Finance Committee, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith presented an idea on how the city could reduce his department’s budget. His idea: have everyone in the city stop driving while intoxicated.
“We prosecute about seven thousand driving under the influence cases a year. Seven thousand,” Goldsmith told committee members. “There’s one easy way to cut our budget and it doesn’t cost the taxpayers a penny; just don’t drink and drive.”
Goldsmith is correct, San Diego has a high number of drunk-driving cases every year. Out of the 20 most populated cities, San Diego ranked first in DUI convictions, according to a September 2010 report by insurance.com.
During his budget presentation, Goldsmith says that drinking-and-driving cases amount to more than 23 percent of all cases reviewed by the City Attorney’s office each year.
“I’d like them to put us out of business,” said Goldsmith. “But they won’t stop.”