There’s an election for San Diego City Attorney in 2024. Current City Attorney Mara Elliott is termed out.

Running to replace her are Deputy City Attorney Heather Ferbert and Assemblyman Brian Maienschein.

The City Council, mayor and police union all support Maienschein — a former Republican, now Democrat, who’s also got a fund set up for Attorney General 2030.

Ferbert has the support of the Municipal Employees Association, the largest union of city employees. Her current title is also a big boost with voters who’ll see “City Attorney” next to her name on the ballot.

But wait: The 2024 ballot could ask voters to choose who should be City Attorney and what the City Attorney should be.

Currently, the City Attorney provides legal services to the city of San Diego as general counsel and has a criminal division to handle misdemeanors. As VOSD Podcast host Scott Lewis explains in this week’s show, the criminal division is unique to the city of San Diego, as the District Attorney handles misdemeanors for all other cities in the county.

The duality is at stake: The City Council wants to strip the general counsel functions from the role. And that’s what voters could decide in the next election. (Emphasis on “could” — it’s currently an idea city leaders are considering.)

On the show, Lewis along with co-hosts Andrea Lopez-Villafaña and Jakob McWhinney discuss the race, the history of the City Attorney’s role in San Diego and what this change could mean for local politics.

Plus: McWhinney explains competency-based degrees Southwestern College is testing out. And former County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher vanished from public affairs. But this week, he responded to the accusations of sexual harassment and assault against him.

One Last Thing

Do you love the podcast? Do you fancy the dulcet tones of our charming hosts? Do you appreciate the jaunty yet informed manner we present local reporting? Then support the crew!

Our fundraising campaign ends soon and we need to secure 100 new members to keep on keepin’ on. Give today — and write a note about the podcast — and we’ll give you a shout-out on the show. We appreciate your ears and your dollars. Donate here.

Listen Now

Listen: Apple | Spotify | Google | PodLink

Nate John is the digital manager at Voice of San Diego. He oversees Voice's website, newsletters, podcasts and product team. You can reach him at

Leave a comment

We expect all commenters to be constructive and civil. We reserve the right to delete comments without explanation. You are welcome to flag comments to us. You are welcome to submit an opinion piece for our editors to review.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.