Regarding your June 12 editorial favoring an appointed city attorney: I find the editor's desire for smooth-running politics peculiar.
Politics is not clean or smooth or nice. It is by definition—especially when policy is undecided—rough. "Hair-raising" and "frenetic" politicians like Mike Aguirre do more to further the public discourse than "passive" ones like Casey Gwinn.
Democracies are not corporations. I much prefer loud, embarrassing and ineffectual to smoothly going down the wrong path. On nearly every issue, there should be multiple positions to be heard and evaluated on their merits.
In local politics, and this seems especially true in San Diego, when everyone's getting along, everyone's corrupt.
San Diego could use a populace that's half as attuned to its government as its sports teams, but, on balance, we manage to pick capable candidates who perform adequately in their posts. It can easily be argued the mayor and City Council are complicit in as many or more costly snafus as any city attorney ever was.
I understand CityBeat likes to consider itself a liberal rag. In fact, it is reliably liberal only on the homeless, drug and crime issues with which its journalists and editors are familiar.
When venturing outside this comfort zone, opinions lean toward sophomoric more often than insightful. In this case, the opinion is downright undemocratic.
Mike Stevens, Point Loma
Keep attorney elected
I was surprised upon reading your June 12 editorial, "City attorney should be appointed." I highly recommend against appointing the city attorney for a city once dubbed "Enron by the Sea."
The city of San Diego is notorious for embarking on questionable projects. The prior mayor attempted to build a $300-million City Hall and give the Chargers $500 million-plus for a new stadium when the city was having major financial problems and cutting services. He ignored a safety hazard for a friend when the Sunroad building was allowed to be constructed 20 feet too high per the FAA.
Unfortunately, I don't believe that the City Council provides a strong enough check when it comes to these types of situations. They seem to be willing to give in to political pressure to either protect themselves or to obtain something in return for their own districts.
For awhile, we did have a bad situation when there was a Republican mayor (Sanders) and a Republican city attorney (Goldsmith). The voters remedied that situation when they elected a Democrat (Filner).
I believe it would be a bitter mistake to allow the city attorney to be appointed in a city that tends to rule by way of the good-old-boy club.
Ronald Harris, Scripps Ranch
John R. Lamb's July 3 "Spin Cycle" was a balanced, accurate and hilarious report of the continuing contretemps between Strong Mayor Bob Filner and Pesky Adversary City Attorney Jan Goldsmith—a column worthy of Mark Twain, actually.
When I read about "the Dickery Scale," I was reminded of the prim former U-T editorial-page editor Bob Kittle, who long ago was shocked by CityBeat's language.
And thinking of Kittle in turn reminds me of Goldsmith.
My personal prediction is that Goldsmith will never live down having prosecuted an Occupy sidewalk chalker protesting—of all iconic protester-places—Bank of America, for being associated with a case where the judge forbade talk of "free speech" and even issued a gag order, and then for losing by a unanimous vote of an enlightened jury.
Frances O'Neill Zimmerman, La Jolla
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