February 15, 2002

Editorial

Time for a New District Attorney

The election for the District Attorney for the City and County of San Diego has historically been a shoo-in. Since World War II, only three men have served as D.A. James Don Keller served for 24 years, Ed Miller served for roughly 30 years, and today we have Paul J. Pfingst, who is struggling to hang on for his second term.

In his quest for a second term, Pfingst is facing an uphill battle. His biggest challenge is not so much his opponents, but his own record in office.

Consider that 68 percent of the Deputy District Attorneys within his office issued a "vote of no confidence" in his ability to lead and that Pfingst did not receive the general endorsement of the law enforcement community. A number of scandals have also occurred under his watch, including sex in the D.A.'s offices, an attorney using his office and his secretaries for real estate dealings and the embarrassment of losing an unlawful firing case for firing an attorney after her maternity leave.

With regard to minority communities, Pfingst has failed to defend the rights of the people by declining to pursue investigations into any of the police shootings that have occurred, including the Dubois shooting, the shooting of an individual holding only a stick, and the shooting of a mentally ill man in National City. Pfingst has represented the interests of the power structure, rather than those of the people of San Diego. This is best exemplified by the way he handled the Grand Jury investigation into the dealings between Mayor Susan Golding and the San Diego Padres.

The Grand Jury, which represents the people of San Diego, did their job: they took a complaint, and interviewed and gathered information with regard to how the deal was put together. After extensive interviews and research, the Grand Jury presented their findings to Pfingst, believing that there was enough evidence to indict Golding. Instead of investigating the indictment, Pfingst chastized the Grand Jury and refused to investigate.

In this primary race, unless one candidate receives over 50 percent of the vote, the top two vote-getters will face-off in the November general elections. It is unlikely that any one of the candidates will receive 50 percent + in this primary.

Of the three remaining candidates seeking the office of District Attorney, La Prensa San Diego recommends Mike Aguirre.

Throughout his career, Mike Aguirre has shown a great desire to do the right thing. This attitude was demonstrated long ago when, right after César Chávez' death, Aguirre continued Chavez' battle by defending the United Farm Workers (UFW) against Arizona farmers. Aguirre worked pro bono for the Union and spent more than two years defending the UFW. He eventually helped the farmworkers to sign a unionized contract with the farmers. In the 1990s Aguirre, himself a Hispanic, worked to empower the Hispanic community through district only elections. While we did not agree with the method, we do admire his goal: empowerment of the Hispanic community. He fought for and saved the pensions of hundreds of victims of investor fraud. Aguirre has challenged energy companies in courts for raising utility rates and he has challenged the Padres' deal for its deception.

Mike Aguirre has spent his life representing the people, which is the primarly function of the District Attorney's office.

We recommend Mike Aguirre for District Attorney

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