July 2, 1999
"Mayor Susan Golding and the City Administration acted improperly with respect to the building of public support for PROPOSITION C prior to the November 3rd election," so stated the June 4, 1999 County Grand Jury Report.
The Grand Jury concluded that the City of San Diego Mayor (Susan Golding) and possibly other members of the City Government may have violated the laws governing the conduct of public officials once an issue has been placed upon the ballot for voter action, specifically: after August 8, 1998, the date upon which the issue was placed on the ballot, by planning and taking improper steps designed to produce a favorable vote on Proposition C, the Redevelopment and Ballpark Project, on November 3, 1998.
For daring to attack the sacred cows of the power establishment, the Grand Jury has been publicly vilified and denigrated by prominent members of the city and county establishment. Perhaps a little knowledge about our County Grand Jury System is in order.
The Massachusetts Bay Colony impaneled its first Grand Jury in 1635 to consider cases of murder, robbery, and wife beating. California established its Grand Jury System in 1849, one year after the Mexican -American War which saw California ceded to the United States by Mexico. San Diego's first Grand Jury was impaneled in 1850 pursuant to the first California Penal Code. San Diego had been a Mexican Pueblo under Mexican law till then.
On June 4, 1999 the Grand Jury submitted its report to the Presiding Judge of the Superior Court, which is required by Penal Code section 933n(c) that states: "not less than 90 days after the Grand Jury submits a final report on the operations of any public agency subject to its reviewing authority... and to every elective county officer or agency for which the Grand Jury has responsibility pursuant to Section 914.1... "The County District Attorney Paul Pfingst, in his official capacity , is responsible to prosecute the Mayor of San Diego who has been charged with "willful misconduct in a document known as an accusation. She is charged, among other things, with allegedly offering to support $4 million city appropriation to promote tourism in exchange for the Hotel-Motel Association's support of Proposition C.
In a move which defies logic, the District Attorney publicly entered into a public discourse `defending" the mayor and attacking the grand jury before he had investigated the allegations. He in fact declared the Mayor innocent! The citizens are baffled by seeing their elected District Attorney defending the very person that he is sworn to prosecute in his role as District Attorney! This is a unique approach that makes one wonder if he extends this courtesy to all alleged criminals he is obligated to prosecute?
We wonder if the D.A. is not acting in a pique against the Grand Jury for issuing an unfavorable report entitled "Court -Ordered Child Support," on June 11, 1999, that question the D.A.'s job he is doing in this area?
We wonder why District Attorney Paul Pfingst denied having seen the report on the Mayor until June 15,1999. The Foreman of the Grand Jury has stated that he had presented the allegations nine months ago! But that the D.A.'s office swept the accusations aside and did nothing.
The Public who pays the salaries of the D.A. and his staff are wondering who the D.A. thinks he is working for, the Mayor or the citizens?
We wonder what the D.A. means when he stated publicly "That it's wrong, unfair, and just plain jumping the gun to assume that because an accusation has been filed. That it has been proved." Is it not plain ignorant to claim that the Mayor is innocent and "just jumping the gun" before he has investigated the Grand Jury's allegations??
The Editors believe that District Attorney Paul Pfingst has lost all credibility and has a serious conflict of interest. The actions of the District Attorney are such that we do not believe that he can conduct an unbiased investigation. He has seriously undermined the concepts that underpin the `rule of law" in this County.
For the civic health of the City of San Diego and the County, we believe the State Attorney General Bill Lockyer should immediately investigate the actions of our District Attorney Paul Pfingst and determine his fitness to continue as the County District Attorney. We petition that he assign members of his State staff to conduct the investigation into the allegations contained in the Grand Jury's report of June 4, 1999 entitled Use of City Resources to influence Elections; The City of San Diego Redevelopment and Ballpark Project: Proposition C, Election of November 3, 1998.