San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith has had discussions about a package of reforms that would involve “the city essentially going out of the trash business,” he told me in a voicemail message last night.

I’ve been trying to reach Goldsmith since late yesterday to talk about a November ballot proposition on city trash. A City Hall source told me yesterday that Goldsmith was meeting with City Council members to discuss a “trash tax ballot proposition.”

In the message, Goldsmith denied that he had talked with anyone about a “trash tax.” Instead he implied his plan would cut costs.

“It’s a way that would reduce government,” Goldsmith said. Goldsmith also declined to say with whom he was having discussions.

Goldsmith’s proposal comes within weeks of an Aug. 6 deadline to place items before voters for November’s election, the last regularly scheduled election prior to the city choosing a replacement for Mayor Jerry Sanders. It also comes on the heels of Sanders’ failure to broker a compromise between business and labor groups on a fiscal reform package that involved a sales tax increase.

Goldsmith referred to a short time frame as the reason his proposal was unlikely to go far.

“It’s at a late date and I doubt that it’s going to be able to go forward,” he said.

That Goldsmith is discussing new city policy would seem to conflict with a pledge to remain apolitical when he entered office. I haven’t asked him directly about that issue yet. But in the message, he said he would continue to “throw out ideas” and referred to his speech on city finances last January.

“I said I would discuss different options and that’s what I’ve done,” he said. “I’ll keep doing that.”

I have a call and e-mail into Goldsmith and a call into his spokeswoman this morning and will update when I have more information.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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