June 3 2011 01:56 PM

Spin Cycle's blow-by-blow analysis of the city's response to redistricting lawsuit


San Diego City attorney Jan Goldsmith has removed the gloves and employed brass knuckles to the guts of local Republican boss Tony Krvaric's lawsuit seeking to disband the city's Redistricting Commission and transfer its duties to the City Council.

In a scathing, scorched-earth response to Krvaric v. City of San Diego, Assistant City Attorney Donald Worley concludes that the only goal of Krvaric, chairman of the county GOP, is to “interfere with and bring to a halt the Commission's work, so that new City Council districts will not be in place in time for the June, 2012 Primary Elections.”

The response, filed Thursday in Superior Court and hand-delivered to Krvaric attorney and California GOP board pal Steven Baric following a brief court appearance, eviscerates Krvaric's unsubstantiated claims against three commissioners that they are left-leaning partisans.

Krvaric's lawsuit, Worley argued, “complains only of pre-selection acts and affiliations of three commissioners, which are undoubtedly protected political activities under the First Amendment of the United States Constitution and cannot possibly be disqualifying activities for any individual commissioner.”

The City Charter, Worley added, “does not require an absence of prior partisan affiliation or background. All it requires is the ‘capacity' to serve impartially in a nonpartisan role. This is similar to what we require of jurors – to set aside bias and prejudice and act on the evidence and the law.”

If that concept doesn't make Krvaric's shiny head implode, well, nothing will.

Regarding Krvaric's claim that the current citizens commission was improperly seated because only two of the three retired judges that constituted the city's Appointing Authority were present when seven volunteers were selected last October, Worley noted the missing judge was tending to “grave circumstances of her husband's health” (he died days later) and that the remaining judges reasonably constituted a quorum.

The absent judge also participated in subsequent authority meetings, Worley noted in rejecting Krvaric's argument that the judge “declined to act,” which the GOP honcho claimed should trigger the City Council taking over redistricting duties.

The council, in turn, would be able to function even without all members present and act on a majority vote. “If action by a majority of members is reasonable when the Appointing Authority is the City Council, it is also reasonable for the three-judge panel,” Worley zinged.

Worley also pondered Krvaric's ability to know how the commission will act and his failure to detail his objections to the other four commissioners, since he is asking that the entire panel be dismissed.

“The petition is silent on the backgrounds of the other four commissioners,” Worley wrote. “The petition must be deemed to admit that they had the requisite qualifications and that the panel judges properly chose them….

“Remarkably, the petition is also silent on the behavior of any of the three named commissioners during the commission deliberations since October 2010. It does not allege that any of them acted improperly or contrary to their duties as commissioners.”

Which leads to Worley's final, death-blow inquiry: Why did Krvaric wait eight months to file suit challenging the October appointments?

“The unreasonableness of the delay and its prejudice to the City and the work of the commission are obvious and undeniable…,” Worley wrote. “The petition is obviously a partisan action which, ironically, complains mostly of partisanship.”

Clearly, Krvaric and his attorney buddy have an uphill legal climb between now and June 24, when the case returns before Superior Court Judge William R. Nevitt Jr. The city will seek dismissal of the suit.

“[T]he delay jeopardizes the important and urgent work of the commission and the June 2012 elections,” Worley concluded with a bang.


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