Mayor Bob Filner's veto of City Attorney's Office funding stands

City Council fails to override veto

SAN DIEGO - Members of the City Council Tuesday harshly criticized San Diego Mayor Bob Filner for vetoing their attempt to restore budget cuts to the City Attorney's Office, but an override vote fell short.

Council President Todd Gloria and Councilman Kevin Faulconer said the $500,000 cut to the office of Jan Goldsmith, Filner's chief political rival in municipal government, was "petty."

Filner originally reduced Goldsmith's budget by $1.4 million. He restored $900,000 when he issued revisions last month, but the City Attorney's Office said the addition was tied to consumer and environmental protection.

The City Council put back the rest of the funding when it approved the budget on June 10. Filner issued his veto of the restoration last week.

Five council members voted for the override, but six votes were needed. Councilwomen Myrtle Cole, Marti Emerald and Sherri Lightner voted in favor of the veto.

Emerald noted the $500,000 cut represents 1 percent of the City Attorney's budget.

"I would just ask that Mr. Goldsmith and his top officials would look for ways to streamline as everyone else has done over the last several years of the recession," Emerald said.

She and Lightner said extra funding could be directed toward the City Attorney's Office when mid-year budget adjustments are made early in the next calendar year.

Failure to override the veto condones and rewards "bad behavior by the mayor," Councilman Scott Sherman said.

"This, to me, like I've stated before, is a prime example of Washington-style politics, using your budgetary power to penalize your political or personal opponents," Sherman said. "This, to me, is obviously a personal vendetta by the mayor."

Councilman Kevin Faulconer said Goldsmith will be forced to eliminate his Neighborhood Prosecution Unit, which handles misdemeanor crimes like public urination in certain parts of the city. He said the program has proven to be effective.

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