Mayoral candidate Peter Navarro Monday accused rival Susan Golding of inflating the number of jail beds in San Diego's correctional system, but the two-term county supervisor said that Navarro has botched his calculations and "doesn't understand the criminal justice system."
In the second of their monthly debates on KFMB-TV, Navarro contended that Golding's oft-repeated claim that the supervisors have added 3,200 jail beds to the county correctional system, nearly doubling its capacity, is "totally incorrect."
Citing a San Diego Assn. of Governments report, Navarro claimed that there are only 3,200 jail beds in the county.
"I've got the statistics right here," Navarro said. "There's only 3,200 jail beds existing now. . . . Your facts are fantasy."
But Golding said after the debate that the 6,800 beds she lists as the total in the county's correctional system include more than 4,000 in county jails, 1,500 unopened beds at the East Mesa jail, and almost 1,200 at Juvenile Hall, the county's work furlough center and four honor camps.
"The professor once again hasn't done his homework, and I'll stand by my facts and my statistics," Golding said. In her accounting, she credits the supervisors with opening 2,000 beds at East Mesa, 792 at the men's and women's Las Colinas jails in Santee, 437 at the Vista jail and 120 at Juvenile Hall during her two terms.
Golding also noted that she has received the endorsement of county Sheriff Jim Roache and the city's Police Officers Assn.
Navarro campaign aides said that it is deceptive for Golding to count the 1,500 empty beds at the East Mesa maximum security facility, because the county still lacks the money to open them. They said Navarro was relying on the state's "rated capacity" for the county jail beds, a planning figure that is far less than the actual number of beds in the jails.
Navarro also chided Golding for a remark made during their televised debate two weeks ago, when the supervisor contended that the economy was robust and unemployment low during her two-year tenure on the City Council, from 1981 to 1983.
"I went back and looked at those numbers, Susan," Navarro said. "In the middle of your term, the unemployment rate was over 10%."
In an interview, Golding contended that she never said the unemployment rate was low. But a transcript of the debate produced by the Navarro campaign quotes Golding as saying "the economy was extremely strong. The unemployment rate was very low."