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City Attorney Calls Filner’s Actions “Cruel,” “Over The Line”

Following reports from San Diego City Hall that Mayor Bob Filner had his second-in-command escorted from a closed-session meeting Tuesday, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith today released a statement announcing that his office "will have more to say about this issue next week on the steps we will be taking."

Following reports from San Diego City Hall that Mayor Bob Filner had his second-in-command booted from a closed-session meeting Tuesday, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith today released a statement announcing that his office "will have more to say about this issue next week on the steps we will be taking."

KPBS

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith (L) and San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

Goldsmith wrote in the statement this afternoon that Filner's use of police force to remove Executive Assistant City Attorney Andrew Jones was "a cruel act with no basis in law."

"It was an extreme abuse of power that should never be tolerated in a free and democratic society," he wrote.

According to a story written by the U-T San Diego's Trent Seibert, "Filner repeatedly cut off Jones in the meeting, accusing him of leaking confidential information from previous closed sessions...".

Jones told the U-T that he has never leaked information.

Goldsmith was not present at the meeting, but noted in his Friday statement that he reviewed the transcript of Tuesday's scuffle and now has "a good understanding" about what happened.

Goldsmith also noted that he does not see his interactions with Filner as "feuding." He instead called it a "continuous attempt by the mayor to thwart my office's ability to do the job I was elected to do."

The mayor also this week vetoed a decision by the City Council to restore $508,228 to the City Attorney's office, according to a U-T San Diego article. Filner cut funding and included a list of jobs in Goldsmith's office that he believe could stand to be eliminated when he released his first budget draft this spring. Jones' job was included in that list.

The City Council rejected that proposed cut in an attempt to keep the money in the city's $1.2 billion operating budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

In his memo to the council regarding his veto, Filner called the restoration of those funds "fiscally irresponsible."

Goldsmith's full statement is below:

STATEMENT OF CITY ATTORNEY JAN GOLDSMITH REGARDING MAYOR’S

USE OF POLICE FORCE AGAINST CITY ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

Having reviewed the transcript and statements from many of those present, I now have a good understanding as to what transpired at the Closed Session of the San Diego City Council on June 18, 2013.

I take issue with those who have characterized this as a “feud” between Mayor Filner and me. This is not a “feud.” This has been a continuous attempt by the Mayor to thwart my office’s ability to do the job I was elected to do. It started on January 2, 2013 at our first business meeting when he very loudly proclaimed that he is not bound to keep our office apprised of matters or follow our legal guidance. This petulant and uncooperative behavior has not stopped. We have done nothing to warrant such treatment. Mayor Filner simply does not want to be constrained by the law.

Now Mayor Filner has escalated tensions to the breaking point by using the City’s police force against my number two lawyer, Executive Assistant City Attorney Andrew Jones, a man of the highest honesty, integrity and character who I respect and admire. This was a cruel act with no basis in law. It was an extreme abuse of power that should never be tolerated in a free and democratic society. Filner has gone far over the line of decent behavior in a civilized society. We will have more to say about this issue next week on the steps we will be taking.

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