Mayor Filner, City Attorney Goldsmith in Political Tug o' War

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith got in a heated discussion, prompting concern city officials are working in a dysfunctional environment. (Published Thursday, Feb 21, 2013)

    Two San Diego city officials took a disagreement on how to spend a special tax and aired the dispute in a hostile and awkward exchange in front of news cameras at City Hall.

    Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith didn’t mince words at a news conference Wednesday as the two described their differences of opinion over how to spend a special tax to promote the region as a vacation destination.

    City Government Officials Spar in Public

    [DGO] City Government Officials Spar in Public
    Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith got in a heated discussion, prompting concern city officials are working in a dysfunctional environment. (Published Thursday, Feb 21, 2013)

    Hotels in San Diego collect about $30 million per year from guests by way of a special surcharge on rooms. It's a special 2-percent surtax on the city's basic room tax created by the industry in a private election.

    Filner has problems with the agreement and has called for a shorter contract, living wages for downtown hotel workers and more money for the city's general fund.

    Filner, Goldsmith Spar in Front of Cameras

    [DGO] Filner, Goldsmith Spar in Front of Cameras
    San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith fight in front of the media at a news conference on Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013. (Published Thursday, Feb 21, 2013)

    NBC 7 San Diego reported Tuesday how the hotel industry was taking the mayor to court.

    Hotel owners are seeking an emergency order to release the money immediately. They claim without it, the region would lose visitors to Los Angeles and Orange County.

    Filner Goldsmith News Conference - Part I

    [DGO] Filner Goldsmith News Conference - Part I
    Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith didn’t mince words at a news conference Thursday as the two described their differences of opinion over how to spend a special tax to promote the region as a vacation destination. Watch Filner, Goldsmith News Conference Part II (Published Thursday, Feb 21, 2013)

    Goldsmith called the media Thursday to address the mayor's four requests regarding the tax.

    “I hope in the future we'll know about these issues and get consulted in advance but if I read them in the newspaper and they are wrong, I have to comment on them,” he said.

    Filner Goldsmith News Conference - Part II

    [DGO] Filner Goldsmith News Conference - Part II
    Mayor Bob Filner and City Attorney Jan Goldsmith argued Thursday over a special hotel tax. Here, Filner asks a member of the city attorney's staff asking "Are you an attorney?" Watch: Final Portion of News Conference (Published Thursday, Feb 21, 2013)

    The mayor countered, “ I have no obligation to inform you of any policy decisions I make. You have the obligation as my attorney to give me private and privileged communication.”

    Things got really heated when Mayor Filner took the podium and took over the news conference.

    Hotel Industry Takes Mayor to Court

    [DGO] Hotel Industry Takes Mayor to Court
    The hotel industry is taking San Diego Mayor Bob Filner to court over possible changes to the way hotel owners spend a special tax to promote San Diego. (Published Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013)

    “You not only have been unprofessional but unethical in this press conference. I resent it greatly that you’re giving your advice through the press. This advice is to me. This advice is to the City Council and besides it’s wrong,” he said.

    At one point Filner identified a member of Goldsmith’s staff and pestered her asking “Are you an attorney?”

    Watch: Filner "Are You an Attorney?"

    Goldsmith arguing he had not been consulted. Filner arguing he had not been advised.

    Goldsmith spoke with NBC 7 San Diego after the news conference and said he is the attorney for the City of San Diego, not for the mayor.