Letters to the Editor
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis is overstating her conviction rate
As a resident of La Jolla for over 30 years and a reader of the La Jolla Light, I appreciate your paper’s commitment to reach out and write articles of importance to our community. As a retired appellate justice, I particularly appreciated your thoughtful article in the March 27 Light highlighting the importance of the election for San Diego District Attorney in which the incumbent, Bonnie Dumanis, for the first time in several years is facing a challenge by Robert “Bob” Brewer and Terri Wyatt.
Although Bob is a friend of mine, my support for him is based on principled considerations.
Notwithstanding the fact that the district attorney’s term is not legislatively restricted to two or three terms, the concept of term limits is important. This was recognized long before California’s recently enacted term limits for state elective office; Thomas Jefferson, drafting the constitution for the State of Virginia (later to be considered as a model for the new federal government), urged a limitation of tenure, “to prevent every danger which might arise to American freedom by continuing too long in office.” Jefferson’s concern is highlighted in Brewer’s campaign, as outlined in your article.
Remaining in office for too long seems to have influenced the incumbent to publish statistics in an inaccurate fashion. Dumanis’ alleged 94-percent conviction rate has already been reported as misleading.
The latest court figures (from Fiscal Year 2011/2012) show the district attorney filed 16,406 felonies. These cases resulted in 15,567 convictions. Significantly, however, a “conviction” or “disposition” means the case was resolved
at the trial court through trial or plea as either a felony or misdemeanor and 4,526, of the filings (over 25 percent), resulted in convictions of misdemeanors. Because there were only 11,041 felony convictions the incumbent’s conviction rate is more accurately 67 percent.
Obviously, there may be valid reasons for a district attorney to elect to accept a plea to a misdemeanor rather than a felony, but there is no reason for an incumbent district attorney to distort the conviction record of her office to influence the electorate.
Retired California Appeals Court Judge
■ EDITOR’s NOTE: La Jolla Town Council will host a forum with the DA candidatesduring its next meeting, 5 p.m. Thursday, April 10 at La Jolla Rec Center, 615 Prospect St. The candidates will field questions from attendees.
Future looks bright
for San Diego tourism
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the San Diego Tourism Authority, and we San Diegans have much to celebrate. After a challenging 2013, the Tourism Authority is back running at full throttle, aggressively selling San Diego across the country and the world, and booking meetings, conventions and hotel room nights.
We recently embarked on the city’s largest seasonal marketing campaign, a $12 million blitz featuring national television and digital campaigns, print advertising in cities across the western United States, as well as online promotions on a variety of travel websites.
This investment in our tourism economy has proven to be money well spent. We know that for each dollar used to promote San Diego to potential visitors, the return on investment for San Diego is a robust $24. As we all found out last year, advertising is vitally important. Because we were out of the market in 2013 due to a lack of funds, San Diego fell behind its main competitors (Anaheim, Los Angeles and San Francisco) who were able to capture a greater share of the travel market.
The bottom line: San Diego must constantly sell itself to keep our tourism economy strong. And strong it is. Second only to our military and innovation sectors, tourism in San Diego employs more than 165,000 people, pumps $18.7 billion a year into our regional economy, and generates $157 million a year — every dime of which goes to fund services across the city, such as street resurfacing, police, fire, parks and libraries. To grow our tourism economy, the Tourism Authority is launching several initiatives:
1) To take advantage of the growing international travel market, we’ll soon begin extensive marketing efforts in China, the most populous nation on Earth.
2) We’re also strengthening our online presence with the launch of the “Guides to the Good Stuff” digital campaign. The ads will feature local celebrities, and will be distributed on YouTube and to our more than 50,000 Twitter followers and more than 320,000 fans on Facebook.
3) We’re also working with National Geographic television on the development of a one-hour documentary showcasing San Diego, which will air in more than 10 countries and reach a global audience of 140 million.
San Diego Tourism Authority Board Chair
San Diego Tourism Authority President/CEO
Chance to join WaterSmart landscape makeover classes
The San Diego County Water Authority is introducing a new series of WaterSmart Landscape Workshops. In four classes taught by landscape professionals, you can learn how to analyze your landscape, create landscape designs, choose the right plants and set up efficient irrigation systems.
Plus, you can walk through key steps to retrofit a turf area in your yard and come away with a professional WaterSmart landscape design ready for installation.
The classes are 5:30-9:30 p.m. Wednesdays at SDG&E’s Energy Innovation Center, 4760 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., San Diego; April 30, May 14, 28 and June 11, or 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays at the San Diego Botanic Garden in Encinitas, May 3, 17, 31 and June 7. Call (619) 289-8890 to have an application sent to you or e-mail email@example.com
San Diego County Water Authority
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