Skip to main content









Donation Heart Ribbon

Political Fix by Gloria Penner

Above: Watch video of the debate

On Monday, August 11th, I hosted a conversation with San Diego's city attorney, Michael Aguirre, and his re-election challenger, Superior Court Judge Jan Goldsmith. Thank you for your questions and feel free to continue the conversation in the comments section below.

Amber McHale from San Diego
August 06, 2008 at 04:50 PM
1. In regards to the City waters being fluoridated, what does the City Attorney intend to do when law suits are filed by citizens of San Diego; it was made clear at the June 10th City Council meeting that the City will be the liable party. 2. How does the City Attorney view the fact that: the fluoridation mandate issued in California specifically states that to install the infrastructure needed to administer fluoride to municipal waters, monies must come from private funding, and that the funds provided by California First 5 come from a .50 tax on cigarettes. Thank you.

Donny from City Heights, San Diego
August 08, 2008 at 05:06 PM
For Jan Goldsmith- You have been endorsed by the disreputable Minutemen, and as an Assembly Member you were responsible for the harassment and terrorizing of Mexican school children. Do you propose to reform your racist stance on public policy, or do you propose to institutionalize racism into the City Attorney’s office?

Concerned Citizen from San Diego
August 08, 2008 at 05:45 PM
As an informed citizen of San Diego, I am thoroughly concerned about the fairness of this supposed debate! First, many of us in the city are aware of Mike Aguirre’s investigation of KPBS programming, and it’s uncovering of journalistic impropriety between the Union Tribune and KPBS; indeed, to this day I can clearly hear Tom Fudge’s prejudice against Aguirre for exposing the improper U-T/KPBS relationship. Second, many an informed citizen of San Diego understand Jan Goldsmith to be a direct extension of the U-T and its right wing supporters. That said, I am concerned that the U-T/KPBS relationship, coupled with the U-T’s prejudice for Jan Goldsmith, will result in a one-sided debated against Aguirre. I may not agree with Aguirre’s style, but appreciate his constant work to expose the corruption and collusion that infect San Diego. Citizens recognize that the powers that be are working against Aguirre for their own corrupt interests! Also, I would like to further express my concerns for Goldsmith’s racist past as expressed by the previous commentator. Thank you

Dennis from Hillcrest
August 11, 2008 at 03:50 PM
It has been said in the primary debates that the city attorney's role is to support the city council. Since we the people elect the city attorney, it seems to me that the primary city attorney's role is to support the people. Do you agree and please explain your position.

Lester from Rancho Santa Fe
August 11, 2008 at 04:15 PM
What will the city attorney's position towards medical marijuana and federal vs. state jurisdiction. If the current ruing stands in the county case, will the city seek further judicial clarification?

Earle Callahan CDR USN (Ret) from Entrance to Coronado-San Diego Bridge from FW 8
August 11, 2008 at 04:58 PM
The steps to the pedestrian overpass, in view of FW 8, at the entrance to the Coronado Bridge from San Diego have been painted red, white, and green for a number of years. Repeated requests have been made to have this graffiti removed from the public property, but the S.D. Public Works refuses to remove it, and Aguirres office says it is City public property. Why wont it be removed?

Carl Starrett from El Cajon, CA
August 11, 2008 at 05:14 PM
To Mr. Aguirre: What is your most significant accomplishment as the City Attorney? More specifically, what have you accomplished with your pension litigation?

Doug Lister from San Diego(Rolando)
August 11, 2008 at 05:24 PM
Wasn't there a better way to handle the officer who in sense killed his dog by leaving him in car, than by suing him? Didn't he feel bad enough already? Couldn't this have been handled more diplomatically?

Kaare from North Park
August 11, 2008 at 05:37 PM
I am listening now, and Gloria Penner you are a partial yellow journalist! Are you too resentful of Mike Aguirre exposing KPBS's improper relationship with the UT, just like Tom Fudge (see the comment above)? Realize that the audience is smart enough to read between the lines.

August 11, 2008 at 08:27 PM
Did Aguirre forget to take his "meds" before going on this show? How embarassing! He looked and sounded like a lunatic! He is insane!

Griffin from N San Diego
August 11, 2008 at 08:53 PM
I listened to this debate on the radio this morning and was disgusted by the behaviour of both candidates in this interview. It was like listening to a pair of six years olds squabbling over who has the biggest lollipop. If this is the best we have to choose from for city government then we really are in a poor place.

Tony Ruiz III from San Diego
August 11, 2008 at 09:01 PM
Mr. Aguirre proclaims the indorsemnet of the Chicano Democratic Club....Wow ...all 25 members !! And is it not true that this club stated " The only reason we are indorsing him is because his last name is Aguirre " and not because of the quality of the candidate ? Tony

Carl Starrett from El Cajon, CA
August 11, 2008 at 09:04 PM
Actually, I was quite suprised at how restrained Judge Goldsmith was in the situation. Mr. Aguirre was way out of line and couldn't resist the temptation to posture for the camera. My last trial was before Judge Goldsmith. I might not agree with every decision he makes, but I know that he will bring a sense of stability to the City Attorney's office and won't file half-baked or even frivolous claims on behalf of the City of San Diego. Let's face it, Mike Aguiree was simply a huge mistake.

mhk from San Carlos
August 12, 2008 at 01:14 AM
Good Grief: Mr. Aguirre I am a regular every day citizen that you say you represeent. I pay your salary and I WANT MY MONEY BACK. You have not represented me well since you came into office. You sue every body and everything in sight and lose every case. I am not a right wing Republican nor am I a liberal Democrat. I certainly hope the public realizes what a fraud you are. You tell people to seek mental help. I strongly suggest that thee get thyself to a psychiatrist. Mr. Aguirre you live in lala land as far as what you think your capabilities are. By the way, didn't your mother teach you not to point at someone when you are speaking. Mr. Aguirre when was the last time that you tried a case before a jury?

Zach from Mission Valley
August 12, 2008 at 01:26 AM
What? Aguirre whines publicly about how the editors on the roundtable don't like him much and that must be why Gloria Penner was gettign exasperated with him? Did it ever occur to anyone here that he was being obnoxious and speaking out of turn? Or that he was interrupting Goldsmith and then accusing him of not finishing his sentences? All Aguirre made me consider about his candidacy is that maybe the "right wing of the right wing" has the right idea if he's not a part of it.

Carl Thomas from East san Diego, Ca.
August 12, 2008 at 03:41 PM
The City of San Diego deserves and is entitled to an honest and respectable San Diego City Attorney such as Judge Jan Goldsmith. We are confident his bi-partisan approach to the City Attorneys office will be a extreme improvement over the MAD MAN in office now. We are fed up with the irresponsible disrespect and "clown-like" antics of Mike Aguirre. As San Diegans, our tax dollars should not be wasted paying this idiots salary. As a taxpayer, we are also sick and tired of using our hard earned "taxpayer dollars" in dealing with repeated frivolous law suits this unprofessional displays over and over again. Please wake up San Diego and let's send this moron packing this November 2008. Respectfully, Enough is Enough

Christopher Glenn
August 12, 2008 at 04:10 PM
Gloria Penner should have been better versed in the skills of moderating Sumo Wrestling competitions before taking on this event. The Japanese have used it as a method of resolving political disputes; similar to the feudalistic European practice of using champions to decide the right of an issue by might. Unfortunately, KPBS's audience was left helplessly on the sidelines, and little was revealed in these competitors abilities to serve as our city attorney.

August 12, 2008 at 04:57 PM

Jim B.
August 12, 2008 at 05:22 PM
Mr. Aguirre is wrong in his accertion that the role of the City Attorney is to represent the people in regards to ,making city policy... legality issues are the realm of the City Attorney, not policy. I elect a mayor and a city councilmember to establish policy. I elect a city attorney to assure that those policies and the behavior of city staff, elected officials and others is legal. Mr. Aguirre showed is skill at belligerent cross-examination and failed to behave fairly or responsibly in the interview. Next time anyone interviews Mr. Aguirre they would be well advised to be able to cut off the power to his microphone when he attempts to take control.

Amber McHale
August 12, 2008 at 08:59 PM
Wow - just got a chance to see the video. Sad, not only were none of our questions asked (Gloria never got much of chance did she?), but the whole conversation (sic) gave me a headache. Thanks for trying Gloria.

Muriel Kulikowski from BONITA
August 12, 2008 at 09:28 PM
After watching the webcast I can only say that as a citizen of this community I'm embarassed by the unprofessional conduct of Mike Aguirre. We deserve better than this and will no doubt get it. Thank you for moderating this "discussion" but I would not be surprised if the Judge doesn't return in the future.

Madeline from RB
August 13, 2008 at 03:19 AM
I listened to the debate on KPBS radio, and I was listening for (and hoping for) the sound of Ms Penner throttling those awful men! Mr. Aguirre was particularly abrasive and disrespectful, refusing to speak in turn. However, Mr Goldsmith was less than forthcoming and direct in his responses. He came across as a manipulator. This season of politics has brought a lot of bad behavior and misdirection to the TV screen. I was looking for the usual straightforward KPBS "scoop". Ms Penner can't be faulted for her inability to stop posturing bulls from rushing one another. She made the assumption that they would speak to the issues and help us know their stance. Instead, they slung mud better than circus monkeys sling THEIR chosen weapon. Isn't there a third city attorney candidate out there?

August 13, 2008 at 03:33 AM
Gloria Penner you are as ethically disreputatble as the racist Jan Goldsmith. Where he hides behind his robes to support the rightwings, you hide behind being a supposed journalist. You are biased and simplistic, and your personal vendetta against Aguirre is apparent to any informed person listening to your "debate". Don't insult the intelligence of the KPBS listeners; or for that matter, don't insult public radio! To the producers: Get rid of Gloria Penner, she is decades past her usefulness as a real journalist, she's become nothing more than a gossip and discredit to public radio!

michael valentine from spring Valley
August 14, 2008 at 02:05 AM
I didn't know that the old boy network was Right wing .... I thought it was Reich wing.

Michael Gildea from Next to the Bay
August 19, 2008 at 04:35 AM
OK, Goldsmith is a tool, but Aguirre is an ass. Gloria - the 4th Estate needs some cajones and the ability to say "shut the F up" respectfully and with some grace and style - YOU STUMBLED. Hey, it happens. Love your show. Long time listener, first time bitcher. I would have been threatening no allowances or throwing cups of water at them - hey it gets my kids' attention! Seriously, don't these LAWYERS understand Robert's Rules or even the Golden Rule? We need Mike. Tough love and real "jerk that dude is crazy politics and I'm gonna slam his ass next time I see him" would be so much better than the behind the doors crap that passes for democracy here in the City in Motion. But he is such a pain. But is that more a voter's problem - or more of a problem for you and others? Just asking! We need a fly in the ointment - we need someone to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Oh - I thought that was what the press was supposed to do... silly moi.

Want more KPBS news?
Find us on Twitter and Facebook, or subscribe to our newsletters.

To view PDF documents, Download Acrobat Reader.