Looking tired and disappointed, City Attorney Mike Aguirre held what could have been his last press conference as city attorney this afternoon to welcome Jan Goldsmith to the City Attorney’s Office and to dissect his crushing loss in last night’s election.
With 100 percent of the votes counted, Aguirre had 40.5 percent of the vote and Goldsmith had 59.5 percent.
In a short speech, Aguirre thanked his supporters and said Goldsmith should be given a chance as the city’s next attorney. As he has for the last four years, however, Aguirre spent much of his press conference blaming the city’s special interests, The San Diego Union-Tribune and business leaders for his loss.
Calling San Diego “government by organized money,” Aguirre said his detractors have consistently attacked him not for his style, but for his substance — that is to say for the things he’s trying to accomplish, not how he’s gone about doing them. His tenure as city attorney was eroded from the start by “a constant drumbeat of criticism” from the local newspaper, the Chargers football team and the Chamber of Commerce, among others, Aguirre said.
“At some point, I’m really hoping that the good people of San Diego begin to understand how entrenched this problem is and that we need to uproot it,” Aguirre said.
Aguirre also said he’s not going to be running for office again anytime soon. He said he wants to spend some time with his fiancée Anna, who helped him with his reelection campaign and, he said, has been put under pressure from the constant demands of the City Attorney’s Office.
Aguirre mused on what he said was a marked contrast between the election results on a local level and the national race. Four years ago, he said, San Diego elected a progressive while the country stuck with President George W. Bush. Last night, he said, while the country voted for a progressive, San Diego decided to return the City Attorney’s Office to its pre-Aguirre ways.
“San Diego’s going in the opposite direction as the rest of the country,” he said.
However, Democrats fared well in the City Council races and President-elect Barack Obama had an especially strong showing in San Diego County.
While we don’t yet have specific results from the city of San Diego for the presidential race, Obama won San Diego County easily with 53.83 percent. The city typically votes more Democratic than the county as a whole.
The city of San Diego elected Democrats in all three City Council races.
The city attorney reserved a wry smile for his answer to the question of whether he’ll be approaching Goldsmith with any advice as the city attorney-elect takes office.
“I don’t think the incoming city attorney wants any advice from the outgoing one,” he said.