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The first of what could become many campaign squabbles broke out today during the City Council meeting when council members postponed asking the city attorney to perform an impartial legal analysis of proposed ballot measures.

“I wouldn’t want to support something that was pro or con or misleading,” Councilman Brian Maienschein said of the analyses the City Council can request to be produced alongside citywide ballot measures.

Maienschein, Aguirre and Peters squabble in council chambers.

Aguirre quickly shot back. “We don’t politicize our legal opinions,” he said — an answer that apparently inspired a chuckle from Maienschein. “It’s unfortunate you find it humorous, Mr. Maienschein,” Aguirre added.

He then asked Maienschein and Council President Scott Peters to restrain themselves, saying it was clear that they are both involved in a political campaign, referring to Maienschein’s recent announcement that he will challenge Aguirre in this year’s election, and Peters’ recent statement that he was strongly considering a candidacy.

That led to this exchange:

“The comments you make are obviously contrived,” Aguirre said to Maienschein.

“And yours aren’t?” said Maienschein, who, for the first time I’ve seen in council chambers, wasn’t wearing a tie. (He later put one on.)

Council members Tony Young and Donna Frye voted against the postponement, with Councilman Ben Hueso absent.

ANDREW DONOHUE

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