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I am Ken Klein, a life long Democrat, a practicing lawyer, and a resident of San Diego since 1987. I live in Scripps Ranch.
In 2003, my neighborhood lost over 300 homes, including mine. My City Council member, Brian Maienschein, reacted with calm, creativity, and efficiency in immediately marshalling and organizing city resources and personnel to provide information, support, and material to respond to the needs of the neighborhood. His model was unprecedented, and has since been copied by other communities. It was entirely of his doing. And it was at all levels. He did code review to cut through legal challenges and avoid creating roadblocks to rebuilding, he got representatives of all city services physically into the neighborhood immediately and long term, he secured the neighborhood, and he was personally there for months. It was impressive, creative and effective.
In 2007, fire struck again. Within hours, Brian called asking me to help in repeating a similar effort in Rancho Bernardo. Most striking to me was that this time, it was even better. In other words, he had been thoughtful about what happened in 2003, and improved upon it in 2007. Just one example is he utilized Scripps Ranch residents now to mentor Rancho Bernardo residents.
The next city attorney will need a very particular set of skills in order to serve this city in a productive fashion. The city attorney will need to be capable of rebuilding, and then administering, a large law office. The city attorney will need grounding in municipal law, which is a specialty unlike other areas of legal practice.
The city attorney will need to listen, learn, and counsel on a variety of issues, without regard to the city attorney’s personal views or politics. And the city attorney must have at the top of his or her agenda the good of this community.
The only one that has already demonstrated this entire skill set is Brian Maienschein. Brian Maienschein’s efforts in response to the 2003 and 2007 wildfires mirrors his creation of the highly successful Teen Court — all are instances where he built and administered large scale efforts to address community needs. As an eight-year member of the City Council, during particularly tumultuous times, Brian Maienschein has acquired and demonstrated an understanding of municipal law. Brian Maienschein has been able to build coalitions and move legislation in a bi-partisan fashion, and I can vouch from personal experience that regardless of whether he initially agrees with a position (or whether it is politically popular), he will think, consider, and adjust his thinking. Without question, Brian Maienschein has always put service to this community first, as he has not waited to amass a personal fortune in the private sector before taking jobs as a public servant.
That is the skill set that matters to me in the selection of our city attorney. What is striking to me is that for the past four years, the City Attorney’s Office has not, at least in my view, been productive. The city is not a better place — better run, more cost effective, more efficient, or in a better legal footing — as a result of the efforts of the City Attorney the past four years.
Running a large law office (and that is what the City Attorney’s Office is) requires a particular kind of person. Brain Maienschein has demonstrated to me that he is that person.
He is calm under pressure. He is thoughtful. He reflects on past actions, whether good or bad, and learns from them. He can mobilize large numbers of staff in an efficient fashion. He seeks to do the right thing, as he sees it. He listens.
Brian Maienschein is not the hand-selected candidate of either party. But he will have the unswerving support of many people throughout the City, regardless of party affiliation. And that means something.
I have gotten to know Brian Maienschein personally over the last several years. I like him. I trust him. I respect him. I will vote for him. I ask you to do the same.