The Star-News

Damned from the start

Fri, Sep 23 2011 12:00 PM Posted By: Carlos R. Davalos

That San Diego mayoral candidate Bonnie Dumanis cancelled an appearance at City College this week reiterates what should have been obvious: The District Atorney was damned if she did, damned if she didn't. What's not clear is on which side of damned she wants to be.

Scheduled to speak during the college's Constitution Week, Dumanis backed out less than a week before she was supposed to appear.

In the days leading up to her withdrawal, angry students and activists said they called her office telling her she wasn't welcome. Her presence on campus, they said, would be an insult to the memory of Diana Gonzalez.

Show up and there will be protests, they told Dumanis.

Gonzalez, as most have probably forgotten, is the 19-year-old college student allegedly killed by her estranged husband in 2010.

The homicide occurred weeks after the District Attorney's Office had refused to prosecute him for reportedly strangling and abducting her from campus. Not enough evidence, Dumanis' office said at the time.

A year later, the victim's friends and family are still angry with the DA's handling of the case. The lingering sentiment is Diana's blood is on Bonnie's hands.

Show up and there will be protests.

A spokesman for Dumanis said, "Unfortunately, the district attorney had to cancel her scheduled appearance today (Wednesday) at Constitution Week." He couldn't say why.

Damned if she does.

If Dumanis shows up and there is a protest, she draws negative attention.

"We think part of the reason she cancelled her appearance is because she wants to be mayor and she doesn't want to be tied to the Diana Gonzalez case," said City College professor and Gonzalez family confidant Larissa Dorman to KPBS news.

Dumanis would also appear insensitive and dismissive of a grieving community's wishes.

Damned if she doesn't.

Don't go and Dumanis reinforces the growing public notion that the candidate avoids confrontation, debate and negative publicity at all costs.

She also raises the perception that she can be bullied. Want to keep Dumanis away from a public event or fundraising party? Throw a protest outside of her door.

From the time she accepted the invitation to speak at the college Dumanis couldn't win.

But sometimes the way a person handles a losing situation tells you more than a victory ever could. In this instance, her silence and unanswered questions spoke volumes.

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