Mike Aguirre will speak about Occupy Wall Street and OCCUPYSD & FREEDOM OF SPEECH. He will not only discuss actions toward individuals at OccupySD by San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders and the San Diego Police Department, but will also talk about restrictions that other mayors have placed on Occupy protesters.
Join the San Diego Democracy for America and San Diego Metro Progressive Democrats of America on Wednesday, February 1, 2012, at 7:00 PM at at Giovanni’s Restaurant located at 9353 Clairemont Mesa Blvd, San Diego, CA.
Aguirre ran for San Diego City Attorney in 2004, in the midst of a massive financial crisis and investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Scandal had erupted in the summer of 2003 over a pension deal that municipal employees received between 1996 and 2002. Workers were given increased benefits during this period, but the city did not contribute enough to municipal pension funds to cover the increased benefits. The resulting deficit of some $1.4 billion left the city’s finances in a shambles, and made it virtually impossible to issue municipal bonds. Aguirre ran as a “clean up the mess” outsider, with support from Democrats in the officially nonpartisan race, and won with 50.4% of the vote (Wikipedia 2012).
Aguirre was often at odds with the local newspaper, the San Diego Union-Tribune. Aguirre accused the paper of distorting his position when it reported that during the California wildfires of October 2007, he had called for an evacuation of the entire City of San Diego. Aguirre said that he had actually written a memo to the San Diego Mayor in the midst of the fires, saying that a voluntary evacuation should be considered in light of federal regulations, the immediate threat of the fire, and concerns over weather conditions and air quality (Wikipedia 2012).
As City Attorney, Aguirre filed a legal action to force a developer to reduce the height of an office building near a small airport, which Federal Aviation Administration officials said was a threat to public safety, although a city permit had been issued. In 2009 a California Superior Court judge determined the developer had no legal right to erect the building to the unsafe height, and the top several stories had to be removed from the building (Wikipedia 2012).
In 2005, the San Diego City Police Union sued Aguirre in connection with his efforts to set aside alleged illegal pension benefits. The union accused Aguirre of extortion for proposing that the union give up the alleged illegal benefits as part of a settlement agreement with the City. A federal court trial judge and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals found the case to have no merit and the case was dismissed in Aguirre’s favor (Wikipedia 2012).
In 2008, Aguirre ran for a second term, but was challenged by several other candidates. The President of the San Diego City Council Scott Peters ran with the backing of city unions, while Superior Court Judge Jan Goldsmith was backed by the Republican political establishment. In the five-candidate primary race Aguirre came in a close second to Goldsmith, forcing a runoff in the general election in November, 2008, which Aguirre lost to Goldsmith, 59.5% to 40.5% (Wikipedia 2012).
Aguirre sued Countrywide Financial in July 2008 over lending practices, and convinced the federal multi-district litigation judicial panel to move all Countrywide cases to San Diego (Wikipedia 2012).
A 2008 Wall Street Journal article praised Aguirre’s efforts to rid the San Diego of hundreds of millions of dollars of alleged illegal pension benefits. The WSJ wrote: “The garden at this skunk party is City Attorney Mike Aguirre, who has made himself very unpopular with the political establishment by suing to rescind the 1996 and 2002 pension promises. Though a liberal Democrat normally sympathetic to unions, he says the benefits were granted as part of “the largest municipal securities fraud in American history,” and so taxpayers shouldn’t have to honor them.” The editorial goes on to talk about similar pension problems in New York and New Jersey, and closes: “Taxpayers in those states need a rabble-rouser like Mr. Aguirre willing to stand up to union interests. The San Diego attorney faces a tough re-election battle in November, but he’s setting off an alarm that voters across America need to hear.”
Aguirre returned to private practice along with two colleagues from the City Attorney’s office. Mia Severson, who headed the City Attorney’s civil litigation division and Chris Morris, who headed the City’s Criminal Division, practice under the firm name Aguirre Morris & Severson. Aguirre also started the National Center for Regulatory Reform, which has issued extensive reports on the Market Crash of 2008. Aguirre’s law firm has launched a major fraud case against American International Group and he has shown up in the national media lately as an expert on Wall Street financial reforms (Wikipedia 2012).
2012 Website: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Aguirre