Friday, April 15, 2005 | CC: People of San Diego
First of all, we sincerely thank you for volunteering your time for the city of San Diego, with special gratitude to those of you who aren’t residents. You have a daunting task in front of you, this we understand. You are taking on a volunteer position in which you will find yourself in the middle of San Diego’s political and financial crisis.
That process begins today as you convene together as a board for the first time. It is perhaps fitting that the most important business you face first will be an action taken behind closed doors, as you replace a board that was often criticized for its lack of public disclosure and forthrightness.
The decision is whether or not to waive the attorney/client privilege and allow investigators from the Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Attorney’s Office access to the previous board’s closed session documents.
While we certainly will not be privy to the finer nuances of the private conversation, we cannot fathom an argument against the waiver that would trump the argument for the waiver. Quite simply, federal investigators who cherish cooperation – and punish non-cooperation – need these documents to move forward in their investigations of the city’s finances and politics. It would seem the only arguments for the waiver would involve protecting certain individuals or the previous board as a whole. The city needs to wipe away the looming ugliness of the federal investigations and restore its fiscal and political credibility. For this, the preservation of the few certainly takes a backseat to the restoration of a city of 1.3 million residents.
We are troubled that you will be relying on the same administration, consultants and attorneys as the previous board relied on when they chose not to hand over the documents in question. And before you had even sat down in the sleek, high-tech board room at the SDCERS headquarters in the Wells Fargo Building downtown, there were questions from many as to your own independence.
On this, your first day as the new board, you can demolish these fears and criticism with one solid move for the greater good of the city of San Diego: Waive the attorney/client privilege and help San Diego as a whole escape from this dark epoch.
Voice of San Diego