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Jan Goldsmith
City Attorney of San Diego
In office
Preceded byMike Aguirre
Succeeded byMara Elliott
Judge of the San Diego Superior Court
In office
1998 – December 2008[1]
Member of the California State Assembly
from the 75th district
In office
Preceded byDede Alpert[2]
Succeeded byCharlene Zettel[3]
Mayor of Poway, California[4]
In office
December 4, 1990 – November 3, 1992
Preceded byCarl Kruse
Succeeded byDon Higginson, Jr.
Deputy Mayor of Poway, California[5]
In office
December 5, 1989 – December 4, 1990
Preceded byLinda Brannon
Succeeded byBob Emery
Member of the Poway City Council[6]
In office
December 5, 1989 – November 3, 1992
Personal details
Jan Ira Goldsmith[7]

(1951-01-26) January 26, 1951 (age 70)[8]
New Rochelle, New York[8]
Political partyRepublican
EducationAmerican University (BA)
University of San Diego (JD)

Jan Ira Goldsmith (born January 26, 1951) is a Republican politician from San Diego, California, United States who served as the San Diego City Attorney from 2008 to 2016.


He received his undergraduate degree from American University in Washington, DC and his J.D. degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.


Upon graduating from law school he worked in private practice specializing in business litigation. He was also a council member and mayor for the city of Poway, California.[9]

California State Legislature

Goldsmith was elected to three terms in the California state legislature, representing California's 75th State Assembly district from 1992 until 1998. The district covers Poway and other northern suburbs of San Diego County.[9]

According to Goldsmith, his greatest legislative accomplishment had to do with juvenile justice. He chaired the Assembly subcommittee that put together a package of legislation that eventually became initiatives that the public got to vote on. He also felt foster care was another of his accomplishments. He was named legislator of the year for the Children’s Lobby. He carried the legislation that eliminated the bias against trans-racial adoption.[10]

Goldsmith was the author of two bills, in 1994 and 1997, that attempted to legalize ferrets as pets in California. However, the California Department of Fish and Game opposed any introduction of ferrets into the state, and the bills failed.[11]

Superior Court judge

Upon being term limited from the Assembly in 1998, Goldsmith made an unsuccessful bid for California State Treasurer, losing the primary to former Assembly Speaker Curt Pringle, who lost that election and went on to serve as mayor of Anaheim. Following his loss, Goldsmith became a San Diego County Superior Court judge, serving for 9½ years before stepping down to run for San Diego City Attorney.

San Diego City Attorney

Goldsmith ran for San Diego City attorney in 2008. In the June primary he received the most votes (32.2%) among five candidates, but not a majority.[12] In the November runoff he defeated incumbent City Attorney Mike Aguirre, 59.4% to 40.4%.[13] In 2012 he was re-elected without opposition.[14]

In 2010 Goldsmith's office threatened the owners of a local restaurant with fines and jail for charging a fixed service charge instead of tipping; the issue was whether they were violating state disclosure laws. The city attorney later dropped the issue and did not pursue the case.[15]

In 2013, Goldsmith was criticized by Mayor Bob Filner for prosecuting Jeff Olson for chalking anti-bank slogans on city sidewalks outside Bank of America branches, calling it "a stupid case" and a waste of city money.[16] The prosecution was ultimately unsuccessful.[17] With the defendant refusing a plea bargain, facing up to 13 years in jail and US$13,000.00 in fines, Judge Howard Shore admonished Olson's attorney, Tom Tosdal, from mentioning the First Amendment and political speech references during the trial. Additionally, Judge Shore issued a gag order, preventing communications with the media concerning the trial.[18]

Goldsmith and Filner were in conflict almost from the day Filner took office, over several issues including medical marijuana, tourism funding, cuts to the City Attorney budget, road paving bonds, and the presence of Goldsmith's aide at a confidential city meetings.[19][20] Goldsmith was a key figure in the August 2013 mediated negotiations that led to Filner's agreeing to resign.[21]

Goldsmith left the City Attorney's office in 2016 as a result of term limits.

Post-political career

In March 2017 Goldsmith returned to private practice, joining the San Diego law firm Procopio as an of-counsel attorney on its litigation team.[9]

Electoral history

Poway City Council

1988 Poway City Council at-large election (2 seats)[22]
Candidate Votes %
Jan Goldsmith 8,709 23.81
Bob Emery (incumbent) 7,984 21.82
Lawrence V. Valente 6,687 18.28
Gordon Meyer 4,968 13.58
Total votes 36,582 100

California State Assembly

1992 California State Assembly district 75 Republican primary[23]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jan Goldsmith 26,084 49.27
Republican Connie Youngkin 14,987 28.31
Republican Ken Harrell 8,668 16.37
Republican Mike Schaefer 3,200 6.04
Total votes 52,939 100
1992 California State Assembly district 75 election[24]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jan Goldsmith 100,858 64.47
Democratic Dante Cosentino 42,375 27.09
Libertarian J. C. Anderson 6,282 4.02
Peace and Freedom Alfredo R. Felix 3,037 1.94
Green Daniel Ford Tarr 3,899 2.49
Total votes 156,451 100
1994 California State Assembly district 75 Republican primary[25]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jan Goldsmith (incumbent) 38,299 100
Total votes 38,299 100
1994 California State Assembly district 75 election[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jan Goldsmith (incumbent) 91,109 70.02
Democratic Katherine Wodehouse 31,145 23.94
Libertarian J. C. Anderson 4,768 3.66
Peace and Freedom Ann Archer 3,037 2.38
1996 California State Assembly district 75 Republican primary[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jan Goldsmith (incumbent) 44,708 100
Total votes 44,708 100
1996 California State Assembly district 75 election[28]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Jan Goldsmith (incumbent) 106,944 71.62
Democratic Adrian S Kwiatkowski 35,805 23.98
Natural Law William S. Cowling 6,573 4.40

California State Treasurer

1998 California State Treasurer Republican primary[25]
Party Candidate Votes %
Republican Curt Pringle 1,506,892 62.20
Republican Jan Goldsmith 915,787 37.80
Total votes 2,422,679 100

San Diego City Attorney

2008 San Diego City Attorney election
Candidate First-round[29] Runoff[30]
Votes % Votes %
Jan Goldsmith 68,326 32.22 278,830 52.89
Michael J. Aguirre (incumbent) 61,257 28.89 189,628 40.38
Scott Peters 43,295 20.42
Brian Maienschein 26,267 12.39
Amy J. Lepine 12,687 5.98
Total 212,035 100 469,663 100
2012 San Diego City Attorney election[31]
Candidate Votes %
Jan Goldsmith (incumbent) 182,787 97.82
Write-ins 4,066 2.18
Total votes 186,853 100


  1. ^ Federalist Society Bio
  2. ^ Dede Alpert - Democratic
  3. ^ Charlene Zettel - Republican
  4. ^ City of Poway Mayoral History
  5. ^ "City Council History | Poway, CA - Official Website". Poway, California. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  6. ^ City Council History
  7. ^
  8. ^ a b California Legislature at Sacramento (1997) - page 201
  9. ^ a b c Cox, John (March 19, 2017). "Former City Attorney Jan Goldsmith Joins Procopio". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 20 March 2017.
  10. ^ "Jan Goldsmith: interview with Tom Blair". San Diego Magazine. May 2008. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  11. ^ "Ferret issues". Department of Fish and Game. State of California. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  12. ^ "City of San Diego Attorney" (PDF). Direct Primary Election, June 3, 2008. San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  13. ^ "City of San Diego Attorney" (PDF). General Election, Tuesday, November 4, 2008. San Diego County Registrar. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  14. ^ "City of San Diego Attorney" (PDF). Presidential Primary Election, June 5, 2012. San Diego County Registrar of Voters. Retrieved 13 January 2013.
  15. ^ Showley, Roger (March 6, 2010). "Linkery off hook over mandatory-tip policy". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  16. ^ "San Diego mayor, city attorney in dust-up over chalk vandalism case". Los Angeles Times. June 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  17. ^ Perry, Tony (1 July 2013). "San Diego jury acquits chalk protester in sidewalk graffiti case". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 4 July 2013. That Bank of America had contacted the city attorney's office to urge prosecution had become part of the dispute between the Democratic mayor and Republican city attorney.
  18. ^ Hargrove, Dorian (27 June 2013). "Judge issues gag order in case of man prosecuted for scribbling anti-bank messages in chalk". San Diego Reader. Retrieved 4 July 2013. The decision is in addition to a previous ruling from Shore which prohibits Olson's attorney Tom Tosdal from mentioning the First Amendment, free speech, free expression, public forum, expressive conduct, or political speech during the trial.
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Wian, Casey (August 21, 2013). "San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, city reach mediation deal, city attorney says". CNN. Retrieved 27 August 2013.
  22. ^ "** OFFICIAL ** COUNTY WIDE CUMULATIVE REPORT SAN DIEGO COUNTY- GENERAL ELECTION NOVEMBER 8, 1988" (PDF). 20 November 1988. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  23. ^ "STATEMENT OF VOTE Primary Election June 2, 1992" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  24. ^ "STATEMENT OF VOTE General Election November 3, 1992" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  25. ^ a b "STATEMENT OF VOTE June 7, 1994 Primary Election" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  26. ^ "STATEMENT OF VOTE November 8, 1994, General Election" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  27. ^ "March 26, 1996 Primary Election STATEMENT OF VOTE" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Statement of Vote November 5, 1996" (PDF). California Secretary of State. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  29. ^ "COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO DIRECT PRIMARY ELECTION Tuesday, June 3, 2008 Official Results (San Diego County Portion Only) #14 Final" (PDF). San Diego County. 7 July 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  30. ^ "COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION Tuesday, November 4, 2008 Final Official Results (San Diego County Portion Only)" (PDF). San Diego County. 2 December 2008. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
  31. ^ "COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY ELECTION Tuesday, June 5, 2012 Official Results (San Diego Portion Only) Report # 23" (PDF). San Diego County. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2020.
This page was last edited on 10 February 2021, at 17:44
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