Attorney Cory Briggs is among the city’s most frequent legal foes. City Attorney candidate Mara Elliott said her opponent Gil Cabrera should have turned down his endorsement.
Cabrera, a former chairman of the city’s Ethics Commission, did not do that. In fact, he’s proud of the endorsement and says his collegial relationship with the city’s most disruptive lawyer will benefit the city once they’re on opposite sides of the table.
In the time since the endorsement, Briggs’ role in the city has only grown. He’s pushing a far-reaching November ballot initiative to raise hotel taxes and remake Mission Valley and East Village while potentially helping the Chargers stay in San Diego with a new convention center-stadium downtown.
So his endorsement of Cabrera has emerged as the biggest criticism of the candidate. And it will follow him into a runoff election if he makes it. Voters will winnow the field of five candidates in June to just two who will compete in November. Cabrera and Port Commissioner Rafael Castellanos are the best funded and have begun releasing television commercials. Cabrera, though, is not shy about his relationship with Briggs.
Elliott, who’s currently a deputy city attorney, said it should trouble voters that Cabrera is unapologetic about his relationship with Briggs. Briggs isn’t interested in solving problems, she said, he’s just looking to collect legal fees with questionable lawsuits.
“The city attorney’s job is to protect taxpayer dollars, and Briggs is an impediment to progressing as a city,” she said.
We Stand Up for You. Will You Stand Up for Us?
Mara Elliott brags about having written the city of San Diego's Climate Action Plan in a manner that makes it legally unenforceable. Hardly someone who seems fit to get promoted to the top job in the department. The mayor and city council members all believe that the CAP IS legally enforceable. So it looks like she wrote it in a manner that violated the will of her own clients. Wonder who will benefit by that action on her part, and what they are doing to help her
get elected now? Something for VOSD and the UT watchdog to look into?
"Would Mr. Briggs promote Mr. Cabrera because he thinks he'll make more mistakes than his predecessor and thus open the city to bigger loses to Mr. Briggs? Unlikely."
I had the same though: Briggs is endorsing an attorney he thinks he good in order to poison the well (see ZachW's comment).
But truly, I think Briggs is keeping his friends close and his enemies closer. After all, that is also what litigators do.
Mr. Briggs has written here in the past lauding Mr. Cabrera's talents and ethics. To me, the fact that he may think Mr. Cabrera is the most suitable candidate for the position is certainly not a disqualifier. Where Mr. Briggs has won cases involving the city, presumably that was because the city erred in some manner, as determined by the judicial system. Would Mr. Briggs promote Mr. Cabrera because he thinks he'll make more mistakes than his predecessor and thus open the city to bigger losses to Mr. Briggs? Unlikely. It's hard to imagine some advantage that might inure to Mr. Briggs if the City Attorney is someone he respects. Litigators litigate. It's what they do.
IMHO, instead of engaging in these "Lucifer in the flesh" type of articles sprinkled with generous amount of gossip and innuendo, VOSD needs to present us instead with a matter of fact article examining the pros and cons of the 5 candidacies for the city attorney position.
Compare Gil Cabrera, Rafael Castellanos, Mara Elliot, Robert Hickey and Bryan Pease and tell us who is the stronger candidate.
The "is too close to Briggs label" is very weak and could only be invoked as a partisan republican argument. Republican arguments(aka whining) in the context of our democratic process are generally o.k. (meaning acceptable), except in this election year when finally the uber corrupt GOP is about to meet its maker thanks to the Trump phenomenon.
@Dean Plassaras You'd like me to tell you who to vote for?
VOSD does make its readers 'read between the lines' a bit too much.
If a guy is a union hack, say so. If he is owned by the business interests, let us know.
The candidate coverage can be a little bland.
UPDATE: OK, I think bland is unfair here; you are trying to spice it up by framing the candidate as taking sides with the city's 'foe'. But, the coverage is somewhat opaque as I still don't feel I am getting to know the candidate very well. Limitation of space, perhaps.
@Brian Edmonston @Andrew Keatts @Dean Plassaras in my opinion, we've provided the most in-depth and interesting coverage of the city attorney's race. We're not trying ot make you read between the lines here. This was an effort to explore and explain the biggest criticism Cabrera's rivals have mustered about him. We don't have a limitation of space. Perhaps if you have some time and would really like to get to know the candidates, you could listen to the interviews I did with each one:
Rafael Castellanos: http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/politics/special-podcast-rafael-castellanos-makes-an-urbanist-case-for-city-attorney/
Gil Cabrera: http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/topics/news/special-podcast-gil-cabreras-hunt-for-the-city-attorneys-office/
And here are all the stories so far:
So what if Briggs supports Cabrera. Briggs has kept the current incumbent on his toes, and if he did so by adopting remora behaviour; good for him. Perhaps he will do the same for the next City Attorney.
Cabrera looks cool. It's not about who supports whom; it's about competence and the best talent for the job: