District 6 council candidate Chris Cate interviewed by KFMB at Golden Hall in November. Photo by Chris Stone

By Marti Emerald

Chris Cate must resign from the San Diego City Council. No excuses. No delays.

One of the first lessons drilled into our heads as newly minted members of the San Diego City Council is to never, ever divulge any privileged correspondence from the city’s lawyers.

We are warned that to release privileged legal information is a crime. A misdemeanor. And it will be dealt with harshly, as the law instructs.

Chris Cate knew he was breaking the law when he shared privileged legal information to developers of the SoccerCity proposal. He knew it was a misdemeanor.

He knew and he did it anyway.

Regardless of his excuse or the spin he now puts on his actions, Mr. Cate knew he was violating the law.

The city attorney is right to demand Mr. Cate’s resignation.

He jeopardized the city’s bargaining position in negotiations on a major project at the expense of taxpayers and the public’s confidence in its government.

Marti Emerald

Mr. Cate now admits he shared this vitally important and confidential legal memo. But just admitting his guilt is not good enough. Now he must accept the consequences.

If Mr. Cate refuses to resign, he could be compelled to by his colleagues on the City Council, the courts, or both.

Meantime, he will operate under a heavy cloud going forward, which no doubt will impact his ability to serve his constituents in District 6, and cast serious doubt on his judgement regarding issues that impact our entire city.

The voters and taxpayers of San Diego deserve better.

And on a more personal note, Mr. Cate replaced me as chair of the City Council’s Public Safety and Livable Neighborhoods Committee — a position I held during my entire eight years on the City Council. It galls me that a man who so casually violates the law and public trust would run a committee intended to make our streets safer from criminals. San Diego deserves better.

Chris Cate, do what is best for the city you swore to serve, the Constitution you swore to defend. You have violated your oath of office.

For the good of our fair city, you must resign your position on the San Diego City Council.

Marti Emerald is former president pro-tem of the San Diego City Council. This post originally appeared on her Facebook page.

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