Mayor Jerry Sanders and police Chief William Lansdowne just held a press conference in which they absolutely blasted City Attorney Mike Aguirre’s conduct during last year’s wildfires.
Sanders and Lansdowne said Aguirre pestered them with phone calls and almost caused a panic by calling for a mass evacuation of the whole city. And Sanders said Aguirre acted irresponsibly during last year’s landslide in La Jolla by admitting that the city had liability for the slide.
The accusations aren’t new, but Sanders and Lansdowne took things to a new level today, calling Aguirre “reckless” and borderline “irrational” only 18 days before the election.
“I have never experienced an elected official, let alone a city attorney, try and insert himself into a serious, ongoing emergency in such a reckless fashion, without any actual information about what was actually happening on the ground,” Lansdowne said.
Aguirre didn’t respond to calls for comment.
Sanders also used the press conference, which was organized by the Jan Goldsmith for city attorney campaign, to express his support for Goldsmith’s run for city attorney. He said he’s endorsed Goldsmith.
“This is political,” Sanders said. “We need to have a competent city attorney who will pre-plan for disasters and won’t expose the public to more danger because of his actions.”
Lansdowne fell short of endorsing Goldsmith, saying instead that he simply doesn’t want Aguirre to be his city attorney. He said he hasn’t been able to work with Aguirre, so any change would be change for good.
“I try very hard to stay out of some of the politics in the city of San Diego,” he said.
Pushed on why he was at the press conference criticizing Aguirre if he wasn’t endorsing Goldsmith, Lansdowne added: “What I’m saying is Mike Aguirre’s the wrong choice. You can interpret that any way you like.”
Goldsmith said that, if elected, he would set up a team of lawyers who would work on disaster preparedness and disaster response issues. He added that his office would work in tandem with the County Counsel to best serve the public.
“Our attorneys have a role, but we need to stick to what we do best, When a disaster hits, we are one team working to protect San Diegans.”