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Daily Business Report — March 14, 2013

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, left, and Mayor Bob Filner. KPBS photo

City Attorney Doesn’t Want His Lawyers
to go to Mayor Bob Filner’s Office Alone

KPBS — The public got a taste of the relationship between San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith at a recent press conference, which was called by Goldsmith. Filner showed up without being invited. “He did not advise me,” Filner said. “It would have been nice, Mr. Goldsmith, to have a memo. It would have been nice to have advice. I am your client. As privileged communication, you have not only been unprofessional but unethical in this press conference.” In private, city officials said the clashes have been even more fierce and prompted the city attorney to change policy. Goldsmith alerted his staff in late February that his lawyers, especially women, were not to visit the mayor’s office without a “witness.” City officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that directive came after incidents involving Filner and lawyers from the city attorney’s office. In one, officials said Filner crumpled up a legal opinion and threw it at Chief Deputy City Attorney Leslie Fitzgerald. The incident prompted Goldsmith to send a memo to his staff on unprofessional conduct in the workplace. “I consider our office personnel to be professionals who are entitled to be treated with respect,” Goldsmith wrote. He urged his staff to report unprofessional treatment. And then he added this, “Abuse may come in the form of yelling, degrading or even throwing things, none of which will be tolerated.” (Read more at www.kpbs.org)

Judge Delays Final Ruling on
Convention Center Financing Plan

City News Service — A San Diego Superior Court judge delayed a final decision Wednesday on the legality of the plan to finance a planned expansion of the Downtown convention center. Judge Ronald Prager listened to about two hours of oral arguments from lawyers representing the city of San Diego and two opponents of the plan. He then took the matter under submission. On Monday, Judge Prager tentatively ruled that it was legal to have hotel land-owners assess themselves a percentage of room rates and use the resulting $30 million annual revenue to pay the bulk of the debt service on the project. The city plans to kick in $3.5 million annually, and the Port of San Diego would add $3 million a year. The city of San Diego filed suit because, according to City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, the funding mechanism entered a gray area of the law. Lawyers for the city told the judge that they wanted certainty before the bonds were issued. A citizens group called San Diegans for Open Government and civic activist Mel Shapiro joined in the court action to challenge the plan, contending that the process amounts to a tax, requiring a public vote.

Mayor Gets Outside Counsel
For Tourism Marketing District Lawsuit

The San Diego City Council has agreed to pay for an outside attorney to defend Mayor Bob Filner in a lawsuit over the hotel fees used for marketing the city, KPBS reports. In a statement, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said he was very careful not to express an opinion on whether Filner should sign an agreement extending the operation of San Diego’s Tourism Marketing District. And he said the city will soon be legally removed from the case. Filner’s spokeswoman would not tell U-T San Diego what lawyer was hired or how much he or she will be paid. The district allows city hotels to charge an additional fee and then use that money to market San Diego. Filner does not support the district and has refused to release the marketing funds.

San Diegan Appointed Deputy Director of
Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division

Christopher Conlin, 53, of San Diego, has been appointed deputy director at the California Off-Highway Motor Vehicle Recreation Division of the Department of Parks and Recreation, by Gov. Brown. Conlin was vice president of 3D Global Solutions Inc. from 2011 to 2012. He served as assistant chief of staff of operations at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Western Recruiting Region from 2008 to 2011 and was commanding officer of weapons and field training battalion at Camp Pendleton from 2006 to 2008. Conlin served at U.S. Joint Forces Command as deputy director, joint experimentation from 2005 to 2006 and director of multinational interagency implementation from 2003 to 2005. Conlin was commanding officer, 1st Battalion, 7th Marines for the First Marine Division from 2002 to 2003 and director of Marine Corps training at the Pacific Naval Amphibious Base in Coronado from 1999 to 2002. The position does not require Senate confirmation and the annual pay is $114,024. Conlin is registered decline-to-state.

Cavignac & Associates Hires Surety Account Coordinator

Jase Hamilton

Cavignac & Associates has hired Jase Hamilton as its newest surety account coordinator. In his new position, Hamilton acts as the clients’ primary contact at the agency and fulfills their surety bond service needs. For the past five years, Hamilton has been working as a server and bartender at Anthony’s Fish Grotto in La Mesa. Prior to that, he served two years as a junior estimator with BluFin Electric in El Cajon.  For one year, he was a surety underwriter trainee for the Insurance Company of the West in San Diego. A graduate of San Diego State University, Hamilton holds a bachelor’s degree in economics.

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The Daily Business Report is produced by SD METRO.

Contact: Manny Cruz (619) 287-1865. manny@sandiegometro.com.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

Some areas may include Mayor Filner’s first 100 days job performance, should the city be responsible for economic growth and the creation of new jobs, how important are infrastructure improvements to our daily lives (streets and bridges, etc.), how important is water independence, how satisfied are residents with public transit or how do city residents value Balboa Park and other open spaces? Do you believe the City Council should revive the Plaza de Panama plan for Balboa Park?

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