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“Do the right thing.” That’s the mantra instilled in me as a young deputy district attorney by District Attorney Ed Miller. It’s an underlying principle that I continue to live by as the chief law enforcement official in the county. And it’s what I tell our deputy district attorneys when they join our office.

When it became clear that there needed to be a criminal investigation and potential prosecution into allegations against Mayor Bob Filner, law enforcement leaders from several agencies worked together to determine which agency would be best to handle it.

Collaboratively (and for several different reasons) we all agreed that the Sheriff’s Department should lead the investigation. In addition, it was decided any potential prosecution would be handled by the California attorney general’s office, whose attorneys are just as skilled.

It’s not at all unusual for any district attorney’s office to refer cases to a different prosecutorial agency—including the U.S. attorney, attorney general or city attorney— and it’s something that’s done for varying reasons. The important thing isn’t who prosecutes a case. The important thing is that a defendant is held responsible for their crimes and brought to justice.

As a longtime resident of the city of San Diego and someone who has spent their entire career in public service, I decided to run for mayor because I believed I could help the city I love move forward. It’s not politics, it’s public service.

Elected officials don’t take a leave of absence to run for any office, including the district attorney in San Francisco and Los Angeles during their recent campaigns for attorney general. Only judges are required by law to take a leave of absence to run for an elected position. When I was a judge and ran for district attorney in 2002, I took a leave of absence for more than a year.

When it comes to endorsements, I believe that as the district attorney elected by the people, I have a duty to evaluate races that have an impact on public safety in the county. People expect me to weigh if I believe one candidate is more qualified than another. That’s what leaders do.

That’s also why I spoke out about the demeaning and inappropriate behavior toward women I witnessed during the race for mayor. I wanted better for the city of San Diego. I wanted better for victims. And I wanted better for women.

Unlike my potential opponent, I refuse to sit on the sidelines when it comes to speaking out about important issues.

During my three decades in public service, as a prosecutor, a judge and now as district attorney, public safety has always been my passion.

I make decisions based on the law, ethics, and the right thing to do—not politics.

Dumanis’ commentary has been edited for clarity. See anything in there we should fact check? Tell us here. Want to respond? Submit a commentary.

Bonnie Dumanis

Bonnie Dumanis is the District Attorney for San Diego County.

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