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If you’re interested in Carmel news, there’s really only one place to get it these days and that’s the Carmel Pine Cone. Which is too bad. The last two editions of the weekly illustrate both of those points.

On the positive side, there was quite a bit of news about Carmel in those papers, and though much of it was the stuff of press releases, there was a lot of it. Chicken dinner news, we used to call it when I was a paid journalist. Informative if not very illuminating.

In the not-so-positive column, among the biggest stories two weeks ago and again this past week was that the Carmel City Council was hiring local lawyer Glen Mozingo to replace the retiring Don Freeman as city attorney. Actually, it wasn’t the hiring that was not-so-positive. It was the Pine Cone’s selective fashion of reporting it.

The Pine Cone stories contained plenty of useful information about Mozingo and how happy the council is to have him but they left out some of the most interesting parts, such as how he was heavily involved in the successful mayoral campaign of Steve Dallas. The Partisan found that part interesting enough to suggest as far back as January that Mozingo was the favorite for the job, which pays $156,000 a year plus $275 an hour for such things as going to court. We made that prediction on the basis of the city’s decision to start slipping him some legal work here and there after Dallas’ election and the barn-burner of a speech Mozingo made at a Dallas kickoff event last year. The speech was largely a rant against the previous administration of Mayor Jason Burnett and City Administrator Jason Stilwell. I think we mentioned then, too, that Mozingo’s wife, Heidi Burch, had blasted Burnett and Stilwell when she resigned from a big job at City Hall. That wasn’t in the latest Pine Cone stories either.

The Monterey Herald hasn’t written nearly as much about Mozingo, but it did mention the Dallas connection in its story announcing his hiring.

Carmel plays politics hard. It’s personal and factional. Who’s in and who’s out is a big deal, and the Pine Cone hasn’t been shy about playing along both in print and behind the scenes. For it to trumpet Mozingo’s selection without mentioning his history and connections is like profiling Newt Gingrich without mentioning that he’s a Republican. Pine Cone Publisher Paul Miller did everything in his power to cultivate Burnett and Stilwell and everything in his power to run Stilwell out of town when he didn’t play the right kind of ball.

The Monterey County Weekly may have been a bit slow to pick up on the Mozingo thing but it did do a nice job in a Squid Fry column reporting on two impressive-sounding medals “dangling” on Mozingo’s curriculum vitae.

The Partisan wrote about one of them, the U.S. Congressional Medal of Distinction, in January but not the other. The Congressional Medal of Distinction is awarded to GOP campaign contributors and is given out by the National Republican Congressional Committee. It isn’t a hard medal to come by as long as you don’t mind writing a few checks.

The other big award touted by Mozingo is the Congressional Gold Medal. Mozingo said on his resume that he received both of the congressional awards for work he did negotiating highway funding.

Here’s what the Weekly wrote about that

“As for the prestigious Congressional Gold Medal, it’s been awarded to the likes of Winston Churchill, Ronald Reagan and Mother Theresa. Squid could find no evidence Mozingo ever received one, so Squid checked with the U.S. Office of the Historian in Washington, D.C., just to be sure. Their answer: nope. Mozingo emailed a photo of the medal in question to the Weekly, and it’s another NRCC medal (that’s the one for campaign contributors.) The box states, ‘In recognition of support for President Bush and the Republican Party.’ Squid found one on eBay for $19.99.”

The Partisan emailed the author of the two Pine Cone pieces, Mary Schey, early Tuesday to ask why she hadn’t included anything about the Mozingo-Dallas relationship or the congressional awards. No word from her yet but we’ll add her response if it arrives.

One of the Schey articles, under a headline about how the Carmel Council was “ebullient” over its ability to snag Mozingo. did mention Dallas in passing, quoting him as saying that no one had objected to the hiring of his friend.

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Some scoffed back in January when the Partisan suggested there was a decent chance the next city attorney in Carmel could be one of Mayor Steve Dallas’ most ardent political backers, Carmel lawyer Glen Mozingo. Read it for yourself. Though it remains only a possibility, there is increasing evidence that the Partisan might have gotten one right, to the surprise even of those responsible for this periodic exercise in local observation and commentary.

Though Mozingo has relatively little government experience, the city initially hired the him to help negotiate a contract with the non-profit that operates the city-owned Sunset Center. Though Don Freeman hadn’t yet announced his pending departure from the city attorney’s post, Mozingo confirmed back then that that, why, yes, as a matter of fact, he might be interested in the job.

Since then, the city has scheduled a discussion of Freeman’s replacement for noon Tuesday and has hired Mozingo to help the city with its legal filings on the short-term rental issue and issues surrounding skin care businesses. City Administrator Chip Rerig said he signed the contracts with Mozingo, for $250 an hour, but it was actually Freeman who assigned the work.

Close observers of Carmel politics may remember Mozingo’s impassioned campaign kickoff speech on behalf of Dallas and his spirited resignation from the city Library Board a couple years earlier. Three years ago, Mozingo’s wife, Heidi Burch, resigned as city clerk and assistant administrator, saying she couldn’t work under then-City Administrator Jason Stilwell. Mozingo followed up a year later with a blast at Stilwell and even an accusation that Stilwell and former Mayor Jason Burnett would stoop to stealing newspapers from the racks in Carmel when they contained critical articles.

Mozingo has practiced primarily in Southern California as a partner in a firm that specializes in estate planning, business law and civil litigation. Though the firm’s website doesn’t mention government work, Mozingo says he has represented several government agencies, mostly as a litigator, and represented former LA Police Daryl Gates for 18 years.

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Big Dallas backer up for city attorney post in Carmel

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Two years ago, Carmel lawyer Glen Mozingo resigned from his city’s Library Board with a blast, saying he was upset by the administration of Mayor Jason Burnett and City Administrator Jason Stilwell. In an interview with the Carmel Pine Cone, he even accused the two Jasons of stealing newspapers from the racks whenever they contained critical articles.

The year before, Mozingo’s wife, Heidi Burch, had resigned her post as Carmel’s city clerk and assistant city administrator for similar reasons, disgruntlement with Burnett’s management style and Stilwell’s personnel policies. Their resignations were among the storms in a long-playing controversy that ended with Stilwell’s  resignation and Burnett’s decision not to seek re-election.

That was then. In the 2016 election, Mozingo was a key supporter of successful mayoral candidate Steve Dallas, who defeated Burnett ally Ken Talmage, and he is now considered a good bet to be the next city attorney. Longtime City Attorney Don Freeman still holds the part-time, contract position but he acknowledged Wednesday that “there could be an announcement in the near future.”

Freeman said he doesn’t believe Mozingo’s appointment is a done deal, however.

“My recommendation would be to do a national search for someone with the right experience and temperament to serve the city of Carmel,” Freeman said. Freeman, 75, is also city attorney for Seaside and represents the Peninsula mayors’ water authority and the Association of Monterey Bay Area Governments.

Sparking considerable speculation, the city recently retained Mozingo to assist the city in negotiating its next contract with the non-profit organization that operates the city-owned Sunset Center. Mozingo said his work for the city is limited to that role for now but he acknowledged he might be interested in the city attorney’s post.

Much of Mozingo’s law practice has been in Southern California. He is currently a partner in the firm of Mozingo and Patel, which lists offices in Carmel, Irvine and London. According to its website, it specializes in estate planning, business law and civil litigation. The website goes into considerable detail about the firm’s specialties and representative clients but doesn’t mention any government work or municipal clients. Mozingo, however, said he has represented numerous local government agencies, all in Southern California, mostly as a litigator. He mentioned that he also represented former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates for 18 years.

The website also lists several awards for Mozingo, including the “American Jurisprudence Award in Trial Practice,” a 2003 Top Lawyers in California award from the American Lawyers Council, and a 2003 Congressional Medal of Distinction.

The American Jurisprudence in Trial Practice designation is awarded to high-achieving students in many law schools. Mozingo graduated from the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego in 1979.

The Top Lawyers award is given by American Lawyers Media, which operates a number of legal publications and directories. The Partisan couldn’t find any record of the American Lawyers Council.

The Congressional Medal of Distinction is awarded periodically to top financial contributors to the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Dallas didn’t return messages seeking comment Wednesday. His campaign Facebook page features a video of Mozingo addressing Dallas’ campaign kickoff event with a 16-minute denunciation of Talmage and Burnett.

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