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Early this month, the city attorney's office filed to appeal a cross-complaint in GIC841845 that had been filed by former City Attorney Mike Aguirre. The judge had ruled against Aguirre in 2006, and the case had sat in the judge's chambers for technical reasons for four years. Current City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, in running against Aguirre, had ridiculed him over the merits of the cross-complaint. Jerry Sanders had joined in the jeering, too, as had then-Union-Tribune reporter Alex Roth who now -- surprise! -- is a flack in Sanders's office.

Here, in abbreviated form, is what the complex and long-running case was about: the San Diego City Employees' Retirement System (SDCERS) first sued Aguirre on two points: it wanted him to stop saying negative things about the pension plan and it wanted to block his desire to become lawyer for SDCERS. The pension system lost on the first point but won on the second. Aguirre then filed the cross-complaint, making two major points: that SDCERS board members had a conflict of interest voting for their own increased benefits, and that in agreeing to boost benefits in 1996 and 2002, SDCERS officials were violating debt limit laws in the California Constitution and City Charter. Aguirre argued that the benefits boost created a future debt, and voters should have been able to vote on it. Thus, those increases were unenforceable. Aguirre lost.

What I find quite interesting is that the appeal will be handled by Walter Chung of the city attorney's office. Chung assisted Aguirre and Don McGrath in the original cross-complaint. This morning (Jan. 19), I called Goldsmith's public relations assistant and said I needed answers quickly. Had Goldsmith changed his mind about the suit or the theories supporting it? Would the appeal only focus on part of the cross-complaint? If he was contemptuous of the cross-complaint, why did he appeal it? I called the PR specialist back in mid-afternoon and said I needed the information. After hearing nothing, I called Chung. He said I would have to go through the PR specialist. I said I had. He said he would send an email to her. I made a third call at the end of the day and heard nothing. If Goldsmith has any explanation for his action, I will print it as soon as I hear.

Comments
8

The silence from our supposedly apolitical city attorney is deafening.

With DeMaio darting back and forth on local and national news, like a humming bird on speed, Goldsmith has been forced out of the limelight. While DeMaio pimps his Roadmap to ruin, Goldsmith has to try something, anything, to get media attention focused back on him. But you gotta wonder, is resurrecting some of his predecessor's dead litigation, a well reasoned move? Especially after just issuing his olive branch/Kumbaya sing-a-long to the unions a few days ago.

Jan. 19, 2011

But you gotta wonder, is resurrecting some of his predecessor's dead litigation, a well reasoned move?

By JustWondering

After yesterdays court hearing on the exact same issue, it is not a "well reasoned move", it is a brilliant move.

There is virtually NO downside, and billions in upside.

If I were JustClueless I would prepay the rent on the doublewide.

Jan. 20, 2011

I have always thought that cross-complaint was a solid one. So resurrecting it could be a very good move. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 20, 2011

Resurrecting that cross-complaint may be part of the strategy in dealing with the public employee unions. But I don't know until I hear. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 20, 2011

Aguirre argued that the benefits boost created a future debt, and voters should have been able to vote on it. Thus, those increases were unenforceable. Aguirre lost.

This is the same theory that OC sued their sheriff deputies on, illegal retroactive pension increases violated debt limit laws.

That case had oral argument yesterday morning in DT Los Angeles at the court of appeals (which I am following) and the Sheriff's attorneys got their butt handed to them.

Don't be shocked to see OC win that case that and Mike was right all along-from the get go;

. http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.gov/search/case/mainCaseScreen.cfm?dist=2&doc_id=1918905&doc_no=B218660 .

The link has ALL the background info.

Ronald Reagan State Building 300 So. Spring St. 2nd Floor Los Angeles, CA 90013 Tel: (213) 830-7000

Jan. 20, 2011

Yes, that OC case could be helpful. In that sense, it may have been fortunate that the judge knocked down Aguirre's case in 2006, but it sat for 4 years before it could be appealed for technical reasons. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 20, 2011

At the City of San Diego Retired Employees Association debate on April 8, 2008 for the 2008 City Attorney election, the Fifth written question was: Do you intend to pursue the Pension Issue in light of Judge Barton's ruling?

Goldsmith said "No... The one year statute of limitations has run out... Three years does not equal one year... Basic math."

The crowd of MEA employees cheered the same pension stance of Goldsmith, Scott Peters, and Brian Maienschien. They were all trying to get the Municipal Union endorsement during the Primary.

After he was elected Goldsmith is still pursuing this same lawsuit, that he specifically said he would drop. Which is great news for taxpayers.

Jan. 20, 2011

Good information. I am still waiting to hear from the city attorney's office. So much for San Diego politics. Best, Don Bauder

Jan. 20, 2011

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