San Diego City Attorney candidate speaks at SDSU

by Tashfina Rahman, Contributor

Robert Hickey, a deputy district attorney for the San Diego County, is running for San Diego City Attorney and spoke at an event hosted by the SDSU College Republicans on Sept. 29.

Hickey began his speech by mentioning his qualifications to serve as San Diego City Attorney.

“I’ve been a Deputy DA for about 20 years and a lawyer for about 20 years,” Hickey said. “I was the 2011 prosecutor of the year for a gang-related case. After taking that on, I became Assistant Chief of the Gang Prosecution unit. I also spent time in civil practice and worked for a major international law firm.”

Hickey said he also assisted in moving forward the project that made Petco Park into what it is today.

“Due to lawsuits against the city, the park sat literally rusting when it was only about 20-25 percent complete,” Hickey said. “The owner of the Padres then hired my firm and turned to me to help get it back on track. My firm and I came up with a creative litigation strategy and got the project back on track.”

Hey said this particular case left an impression on him after he witnessed the struggle of this businessman to create what is now a “civic treasure.”

After highlighting the reasons why he is qualified to be San Diego City Attorney, Hickey explained what the city attorney’s office does.

“Half of it is criminal and the other half is civil,” he said. “While some of the criminal cases are nuisance crimes, we do deal with some serious stuff such as driving under the influence or domestic violence.”

Hickey said on the civil side they can take on smaller cases all the way to defending larger civic projects, like Petco Park.

As City Attorney, a few of the issues Hickey would focus on include domestic violence, homelessness and human trafficking.

“Another issue that’s really important at the city attorney’s office is human trafficking,” he said. “About 80 percent of women in prostitution in San Diego are doing so under the direction and control of criminal street gangs. It’s a $800 million business in this city.”

Another issue Hickey said he hopes to tackle as City Attorney would be the cost and difficulty of doing business in San Diego, as well as the cost of living. Hickey said doing business in San Diego takes far too long and is far too expensive, which is making it difficult for businesses to prosper.

“If the city attorney can expedite this problem, we can also lower the cost of living,” Hickey said. “Our cost of living is incredible in comparison to our wages. We’ve got to balance that out- either lower our cost of living or raise our wages.”

Hickey also touched on the upcoming election. While he is a republican himself, he does not support either major party candidate. He said he advises anyone in the same position to consider all the opportunities to vote in the down ballot.

“Local races can impact everything,” he said. “The magnitude of your vote is much greater and the impact on your actual life is greater.”

Robert Hickey is endorsed by a number of elected officials, as well as organizations including the San Diego Police Officers Association, Latino American Political Association of San Diego and the SDSU College Republicans.

“We need a city attorney like him who will really tackle these important issues, like the sex trade and pension reform,” said Chairman of the SDSU College Republicans and senior political science major Jordan Dennison.  “It’s also important that we have a city attorney that doesn’t try to legislate from his position, but defends the city and prosecutes as needed.”