All posts by San Diegans for Open Government

Appraiser for SDOG-Sunroad Settlement Appointed on February 27, 2015

Inaccurate reporting recently stated that the appraiser appointed to perform work under the SDOG-Sunroad settlement had been hired “within the last week,” measured from April 15, 2015.  The actual date was February 27, 2015, and is reflected in e-mail correspondence between SDOG’s attorney and Sunroad’s attorney.  You can read the e-mail here: 2015-02-27_SK_Appraiser_Confirmation.


Open Government Boot Camp – Handouts and Resources 3/18/2015

Thank you to everyone who attended our inaugural Open Government Boot Camp tonight! Attached here are the handouts and resources provided and/or referenced at the meeting. Please contact us at with any questions about the materials.

_Open Government Boot Camp _Resources Handout v3

_Open Government Boot Camp _Resources Packet v3


CPRA 2015 PRESENTATION (Marco Gonzalez)

SDOG Demands Chula Vista Correct Open-Government Violations

Today San Diegans for Open Government, along with Chris Shilling, notified the City of Chula Vista of their intent to sue for violations of the California Public Records Act and the Ralph M. Brown Act in connection with the illegal appointment of a replacement member of the city council. Here’s the notice: Notice of Intent and Demand for Cure Chula Vista.

Update (2015-01-28): The City of Chula Vista responded today to SDOG and Chris Shilling’s request for public records by turning over the requested records; a response to the Brown Act cure request is expected next week.  You can read the City’s response and review the records here: CV_Pub_Records.

San Diego City Attorney Boasts Victory over SDOG and Attorney Cory Briggs

Today San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith issued the following press release by e-mail:

From: “Braun, Gerry”
Date: January 15, 2015 at 3:59:56 PM PST
To: “Braun, Gerry”
Subject: NEWS RELEASE: Cory Briggs Loses Again to City of San Diego
Contact: Gerry Braun, Director of Communications: (619) 533-4782

Briggs Loses Again to City of San Diego
SDFOG now 0-for-2 in trying to block City infrastructure bonds

Lawyer Cory Briggs and San Diegans For Open Government have failed again in their efforts to keep the City from issuing lease-revenue bonds to pay for badly needed infrastructure projects.

The City uses lease revenue bonds to finance capital improvement projects prioritized by the Mayor and City Council, including libraries, fire stations, life guard stations and accessibility projects, and to replace crumbling sidewalks and aging storm drains.

Briggs’ first challenge to the City’s practice of using bond proceeds to finance infrastructure projects went down in flames last November. After a three-day trial, Superior Court Judge John S. Meyers issued a resounding affirmation of San Diego’s method for funding neighborhood improvements.

Briggs made the same arguments in a second complaint, but this time he couldn’t even get a trial.

Instead, Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Styn ruled that the case was not properly handled by Briggs, because Briggs had failed to timely serve a copy of his complaint to the state Attorney General and Treasurer, as required by California law.

Briggs argued that the filing requirement applies only to bond lawsuits initiated by governments, but Judge Styn noted that the law explicitly states otherwise.

The case was dismissed “with prejudice,” a legal term meaning it is dead and cannot be refiled. Judge Styn signed the dismissal order Monday.

Then, early today, Briggs informed the City Attorney that he would seek to resuscitate the case by asking the Court to set aside the dismissal due to Briggs’ own negligence. By seeking this type of relief, Briggs will be acknowledging under oath that his own negligence caused his client’s case to be dismissed. Briggs’ motion may also subject him to civil penalties as punishment for his negligent representation of SDFOG.

There is little doubt that Briggs’ latest desperate attempt to stall the bond issuance is frivolous and not grounded in the law. Unfortunately, the City will be forced to waste scarce resources to fend off yet another frivolous Briggs’ attack on City operations.

The Briggs lawsuits challenging the bonds have already added months of delay to the City’s efforts to improve neglected neighborhoods.

“Through these dubious lawsuits, Cory Briggs is delaying the City from addressing infrastructure deficiencies in some of its oldest and least affluent neighborhoods,” San Diego City Attorney Jan Goldsmith said. “Mr. Briggs has filed over 50 cases against the City of San Diego and has won only a few. Still, his losses cost taxpayers a lot of money. We could fill many potholes for what it costs to deal unnecessarily with Cory Briggs. ”

Last year, the San Diego City Attorney’s office won an important case in which SDFOG and Briggs unsuccessfully tried to prevent Business Improvement Districts from promoting neighborhood events such as street fairs, farmer’s markets and community festivals.

If successful in that case, SDFOG would have likely shut down such events as the Little Italy farmer’s market and festivals. However, Superior Court Judge Ronald S. Prager found that SDFOG and Briggs failed to show they had even a reasonable likelihood of prevailing on the merits.


Last year SDOG sued the City of San Diego to obtain copies of the city council’s closed-session transcripts showing that former mayor Bob Filner treated former assistant city attorney Andrew Jones in a manner that Jones described as comparable to the treatment suffered by civil-rights figure Rosa Parks. City attorney Jan Goldsmith refused to turn over the transcripts even though his office unilaterally turned over redacted transcripts for a subsequent closed-session meeting showing a Filner-Jones altercation, without ever seeking the city council’s approval. You can read the complaint here: 15_P’s_Amended_Complaint.

Here’s what Jones told U-T San Diego about the earlier incident: “‘He’s (verbally) attacked me in closed session to the extent that at one point he asked if I would sit in the back of the room,’ said Jones, who is black. ‘I, of course, considered it something similar to asking Rosa Parks to sit in the back of the bus. I was extremely offended by it but in deference to my boss I decided not to make a big deal out of it. But clearly he has a problem with me. I’m not sure why.'” You can read the article here: UT_2013-04-15_Young_RosaParks.

Judge Richard E.L. Strauss recently agreed with SDOG and ordered the city to turn over redacted transcripts from the closed-session meetings at which the alleged offensive comments by Filner to Jones took place. You can read his ruling here: 54_Minute_Order.

Today the city attorney’s office turned over redacted transcripts showing two verbal exchanges between Filner and Jones. You can read those exchanges here: 58_Redacted_Transcripts.

Is this treatment akin to what Rosa Parks experienced?

SDOG Settles Lawsuit with Downtown San Diego Partnership

San Diegans for Open Government is pleased to announce that it has settled several disputes with the Downtown San Diego Partnership over its management and renewal of the downtown Property and Business Improvement District (PBID).

SDOG has filed two lawsuits against the City of San Diego over its imposition of taxes on downtown property owners to pay for DSDP’s Clean & Safe Program without a vote of the electorate; and a separate lawsuit against the DSDP, the City, and others over DSDP’s past spending of the collected PBID taxes.

As a result of the settlement, DSDP will be incorporating into its 2015-2025 PBID renewal a number of transparency, kaccountability, and taxpayer-protection measures that will become legally binding and cannot be modified by the City. In exchange, SDOG will drop its lawsuit over the past PBID spending; will no longer challenge the past imposition of PBID taxes without a vote of the electorate; and will not challenge the renewal if approved by property owners and the City. (SDOG’s legal challenges against the City over the constitutionality of maintenance assessment districts and business improvement districts will continue.)

You can read the settlement agreement here: SDOG-DSDP_Settlement_Agrt.

You can read the settlement agreement’s Exhibit “A” (2015-2025 Management District Plan) here: SDOG-DSDP_Settlement_Agrt_ExA_MDP.