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Who knew City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s effort to warm up the crowd for Sen. Ted Cruz last week would get people talking for days.

“We believe in jobs, freedom and security. You know something? The Democrats don’t believe in these values,” Goldsmith said.

Now the people running to replace Goldsmith are universally condemning him too.

Robert Hickey, the deputy district attorney and lone Republican hoping to succeed Goldsmith, said he was trying to stay focused on topics like domestic violence. But Goldsmith’s remarks didn’t sit right.

“I don’t agree with the comments, and if those words left my mouth I would be apologizing. Many people I care about would be offended. We can disagree without being disparaging,” Hickey said in a statement.

Tuesday, Goldsmith sought to clarify the point he was trying to make. It was only about the presidential race.

“The context was comparing the candidates and ‘the Democrats’ or ‘the Republicans’ are typical references when speaking of the candidates. And, I was contrasting the candidates. No one would reasonably interpret those comments to be directed at 72 million registered Democrats across the country,” Goldsmith wrote in an email.

I guess that would mean that only two Democrats don’t believe in freedom, jobs or security.

Rafael Castellanos, another Democratic candidate, blasted Goldsmith’s comments in an op-ed. His spokesman said the clarification looks merely like a response to the blowback.

Here’s part of Castellanos’ commentary:

It’s utter nonsense to categorically state that Democrats don’t believe in jobs, freedom and security.

Goldsmith’s comments reflect the kind of politics that San Diego leaders do not easily tolerate, and for that I have always been grateful.

In his response to Castellanos, Goldsmith doubled down on his criticism in particular of Democratic candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders.

I am happy to have a long discussion about the erosion of job opportunities and freedoms arising out of a collectivism attitude that has been growing in our country. For this response, however, I’ll just quote from Winston Churchill who once said, “socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.”

If it makes Rafael feel better, I also fear Donald Trump and don’t know what I would do if he is the nominee. So, the fear is bipartisan.

Gil Cabrera, another Democrat in the race, said Goldsmith’s clarifiction “is still untrue given that both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders also believe in jobs, freedom and security. And regardless, the city attorney, of all our local elected officials, should be the least partisan.”

Goldsmith says he’s only recently decided to get political.

Finally, during the past 7 ½ years I have mostly not engaged in political activities. I hope my successor has the same self-control. During my last few months in office, however, I decided to get involved a bit in the presidential election, one that is different than any I have experienced. And, yes, the presidential campaign – whether we like it or not – is partisan.

Update: City attorney candidate, and current chief deputy city attorney, Mara Elliott, sent in this comment:

Voters, not politicians, will decide what values they want in the next City Attorney.  I’m proud of mine.  I’m a Democrat and believe in standing up for good jobs for working people, safe neighborhoods in all of San Diego, and a clean, healthy environment for future generations.

Update 2: I should have included Goldsmith’s other response to Castellanos, about how Goldsmith runs the city attorney’s office. Here’s that part: 

“My political views have nothing to do with our office’s legal work. As Rafael should understand, professionals do not  allow their political and personal views to interfere with their work. The 155 lawyers in our office have many different political views and we all keep those views out of our professional work.”

Scott Lewis

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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