This past week, political wonks had good reason to look forward to Monday morning. KPBS political correspondent Gloria Penner hosted a deba—er, conversation (as she put it) between city attorney candidates Mike “Double Espresso” Aguirre and Jan “Warm Milk” Goldsmith. Aguirre argued that his opponent was “supported by the right-wing of the right-wing,” while Goldsmith said the City Attorney's office has become a place where “cases are being litigated by press conferences.” Penner tried her best to steer the boys toward practical matters and away from personal attacks, asking about Aguirre's recent lawsuit against mortgage-lender Countrywide to halt foreclosures in the city of San Diego. Goldsmith, a former Superior Court judge, argued that there's no legal basis for the lawsuit and urged Aguirre to simply go to the courthouse and ask a judge to issue an injunction to stop foreclosures. “I'll go down and watch,” Goldsmith said. It's not that easy, Aguirre snapped back; it takes time to build a case. “My opponent never practiced complex litigation,” Aguirre said. “Right now we are amassing the evidence that we need,” adding that he's working with “Countrywide insiders” to gather that information.
The Governator must be yearning for the good ol' days, when most problems could be solved with a loincloth and a big sword. Instead, he finds himself trying to bend the state Legislature to his will by threatening not to sign their bills, and he's had to sue state Controller John Chiang for refusing to lower the pay of state workers to the federal minimum wage of $6.55. Republican insistence on spending cuts combined with Democratic demands for taxing the rich have led to a state-budget deadlock that has lasted 53 days (as of Aug. 13), just 19 short of the record.
In April, CityBeat reported on a newly passed law in San Diego that enhanced some portions of Jessica's Law (the 2006 state law that puts restrictions on where sex offenders can live and requires lifetime monitoring via a GPS device), despite studies that have shown the law to be ineffective and a burden on law-enforcement resources. This week, the Los Angeles Times reported that under the law's provision that thousands more sex offenders receive psychiatric evaluations to determine if they should be hospitalized, 79 psychiatrists with whom the state contracted to provide those evaluations billed the California Department of Mental Health for more than $24 million in 2007, one claiming as much as $1.1 million that year. Meanwhile, the number of offenders committed to state mental hospitals has remained the same as it was pre-Jessica's Law.