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Attorneys Call for Fair Play, Integrity

September 23, 1990

We are all practicing attorneys as well as Santa Monica community leaders. We are outraged and disgusted by the tactics of the supporters of the Elected City Attorney Initiative to discredit the present city attorney and to intentionally mislead Santa Monica's voters. We have often disagreed with our city attorney's positions. However, as attorneys we respect honest disagreement, provided that the rules of fair play are observed and the integrity of our political system and rights of free speech are upheld.

Supporters of the elected City Attorney Initiative have trampled on fair play and integrity. They placed a misleading and unfair "ad" in the local newspaper for the Santa Monica attorney's position. Yet they know full well that our voters have not yet spoken on the initiative and that the position will not be vacant if the initiative is defeated.

They have also unfairly maligned our city attorney by mischaracterizing his exercise of his personal rights of free speech as criminal. As another campaign maneuver, they have filed a complaint with the State Bar Assn. on these same grounds. These tactics show a gross contempt for fair political process and our democratic right of free speech. They amount to an attempt at political censorship.

There are significant reasons to oppose the Elected City Attorney Initiative, including the need to keep our chief legal adviser independent of politics and special interests. Whether or not an appointed or elected city attorney is better government is an issue on which intelligent people can reasonably disagree. However, there is no room for reasonable disagreement on unfair political tactics. The dialogue here should be on the substantive issues. Santa Monica voters should reject a below-the-belt campaign.

KATHLEEN SCHWALLIE

BARBARA BROWN

BEA NEMLAHA

MICHAEL BROURMAN

ERIC CHEN

STEVE ROTHSCHILD

PETER SPELMAN

Schwallie is a candidate for Santa Monica City Council in the Nov. 6 election.

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