Defense attorney running as write-in for SLO DA

May 8, 2014

slo_courthouseA longtime defense attorney has joined the race for the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s seat as a write-in candidate. [Tribune]

Paul Phillips, 57, is a San Luis Obispo native who has practiced law since 1982 and doubles as a civil litigator. Phillips said he decided to run as a write-in candidate in order to give voters a choice of of someone outside the district attorney’s office.

“It looks like labor versus management,” Phillips told the Tribune. “How can we expect someone within to solve that problem? So I’m the right person at the right time with the right skill set to fix things and to move our community forward.”

Currently, Deputy District Attorney Dan Dow has the support of the majority of his fellow deputies, while Assistant District Attorney Tim Covello is backed by outgoing District Attorney Gerry Shea.

Phillips said he plans to campaign on a theme of positive change and do so primarily through social media. He also said prosecutors must increasingly plea bargain or find alternatives to incarceration in order to adjust to prison overcrowding and realignment.

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Let’s take a little different look at this —

Mr. Phillips does not have an ice cube’s chance in a “warm-place” of winning this race.

He is a spoiler – that was ‘convinced’ to enter the race by the announced candidate that has the most to lose.

My belief is that this was Mr. Covello (or people who support him).

Without a third person, this race would have been decided in the June primary – only 2

candidates – someone has to win. But with a third (even a ‘write-in’ with no chance) , to

win would require 50%+1 vote. Mr. Phillips can get 1 or 2% of the vote (himself, wife and

a few friends) and can prevent either of the other 2 from getting 50%+1.

If Mr. Phillips really, truly believes he can win (or even finish 2nd) should concern

everyone. After all, he has practiced law for 30+ years – surely he knows how politics


Now back to the ‘spoiler’ issue. With Phillips preventing Dow from getting 50%+1 vote in June, the race will go all the way to November. 5 more months of accusations from

Covello and Dow; thousands of $ spent to try to convince the voters that either Covello or Dow is the answer. In my opinion, Covello feels he must have the extra 5 months to try to turn this race around.

Look at it this way – can either of these two candidates report to and work for the other?

Probably not. Whomever loses will find a way to leave the DA’s office and most likely

move out of the county. Neither want to do this – but that is politics.

My advice to the voters – completely ignore Mr. Phillips – he can not win. Vote for Dow or Covello (based on current knowledge) and get this race over in June. Absolutely nothing

to be gained by having it go for another 5 months.

That is just awful advice. With that mentality, the two dominant (and corrupt) political parties will run the show forever, or in the case of a nonpartisan office, 2 day old crap vs. 2 day old vomit. Also, I don’t believe there is any evidence whatsoever to support your “spoiler” theory, not even circumstantial evidence.

Indeed. Talk about an ignorant and arrogant diatribe. I’m wondering if “Paso_citizen” is Covello or Dow or do they simply work for one or the other?

Well. looks like somebody may not like to hear the unvarnished truth.

I may be arrogant, but I ain’t stupid. Write-in candidates have an extremely

low chance of being viable – even Mr Phillips comes close to admitting that when he states he will campaign mostly on social media – why not demand live debates between him and and the other two candidates – get his positions on this county’s pressing issues out in front – challenge the other two – be asserttive on where and why he is the one. But doesn’t sound like he wants to do it that way.

I will grant you that either of the other 2 candidates may be much less than what this county deserves, but they are the ones that are running.

If someone else was interested, they should have entered the contest much earlier and be ready and willing to clearly define where they stand on all issues.

With Mr. Phillips ‘Facebook and/or Twitter’ write-in campaign, the only feasible

result will be to keep either of other two from winning in June. If you think that

what each has said about the other has been bad so far – just see what each says over the next 5 months. It will be nasty, mean, degrading, and more – politics with a capital ‘P”. Won’t that be fun.

What you characterize as the “unvarnished truth” is in reality nothing more than a load of malarkey and your own personal opinions. What I don’t understand is why you’re trying so hard? Sounds to me like you have a vested interest in the outcome of this election? Sounds to me like you are uneasy with Paul Phillips entering the race? In the end, I’m simply not buying what you’re so desperate to sell.

I just received a long message from 805-476-2249. It was a recording from Dan Dow telling me that his opponent Tim Covello is telling lies about him! It sounded sort of sophomoric and I had to laugh at what politics has come to.

At first I thought he said that his name was Dan McDow! I wondered why McDow was calling everybody, I thought maybe he wanted to defend his antics down at the Tijuana – US border and support to give him his job back, LOL.

Got the same call. Deleted it as a reflex action but then regretted hearing the specifics about his opponents “dirty tactics”. Unfortunately this is County government, day-in, day-out. Being it prosecuting criminals or fixing roads, it’s not about getting the job done, it’s about getting compensation and power when it comes to the County employees. Too bad Phillips didn’t jump in, hang out and be on the ballot as an option to this trough-slopping, pointless, waste-of-resources competition.


I find this post to be disrespectful, snarky and not worthy of the decision that is to be made by the voters. You might want to do it over. And, by the way, Mr Covello IS lying…Lying through his teeth!

A defense attorney as a district attorney?

How is this going to work?

. . . Hopefully better than having someone dependent upon the favors of a self-entitled political establishment or overly generous about misconduct on the part of law enforcement officers.

A good defense attorney should be as well-versed in what prosecutors do and how they function as a prosecutor. I don’t know how good Mr. Phillips is or what views he has on many relevant subjects, so I’ll have to wait and see.

It’s High School debate. Just a game to prosecuting and defense attorneys alike.

Any body is an improvement over the entrenched, low-life bottom-feeders of the SLO County Ol’ Boy Clique.

I was going to vote for Covello, but I certainly will read up on this new man in the race

where is his track record?

He just announced, it’s probably being compiled for release right now. I suspect one place to keep an eye on is

Ok Sam Louis you obviously are buddies with this guy tell him to write an op-ed on why he is the best dude for the job. I’m done listening to you I want to hear from him!

He and I are not “buddies.” You’re wrong about that. This guy is an alternative to the often questionable and highly inbred SLODA’s office and I appreciate that, hence my comments.

You might begin by reading the Tribune story that this one is based upon. Once you are done I suspect this candidate will have released additional campaign-related information.

Oh yeah, and “I’m done listening to you” as well…

This is truly wonderful news. Mr. Phillips is simply a higher caliber individual than either Covello or Dow. He’s also not an insider. Electing him would help to break the horrid inbred state that now plagues that office.

Show us who you are and what you stand for! The “I’m not like the other two guys” argument will get you no where.

Given “the other two guys”, it gets a long way with me. Enough to “waste my vote” for Phillips and let the rest of you select the establishment clown of your choice.

I have been aware of Mr Phillips, law firm, business standards and ethics for many years. His sister was a good friend of mine when I lived in SLO. I was thrilled to see his name as an option as it is time to clean house in the DA arena.

Got our absentee ballots today, we have already written him in. Hopefully he will effectively get the word out and be our new District Attorney.

I haven’t seen enough from either of the two previously-announced candidates to make me want to vote for them. Unfortunately, I don’t know enough about Mr. Phillips to know where he stands on many issues of importance to me. As bad as the status quo is, it is still possible to be worse — or just equally bad — in different ways. He needs to get some information out there quickly and heavily if he really wants to be considered. Write-ins have a tough enough time getting votes even when they are well-known public figures.

Certainly can not be any worse than our current DA?

Hopefully being a procrastinator isn’t part of his delayed platform!

I doubt Phillips’ late entry has anything to do with procrastination. I suspect it has everything to do with studying Covello’s and Dow’s platforms and realizing that both will do nothing to heal the ills of the Shea tenure.

Well if he’s against status quo or the good old boys or any of the other known names then he sure drug his boots on this one. Call it what you may….

That’s not true. I suspect his strategy is to win the coming June election (which will require considerably less than 50% of the vote) while expending as little $$$ as possible.

If no candidate wins 50% of the vote (likely) and if Phillips places first or second, he’ll be on a roll and he will then have over four months to differentiate himself in detail from his competition before the November general election.