While Gomez Trial Attorneys handles cases nationally, I without question still consider San Diego home and myself a true “San Diegan.” My dad was in the Navy and so my early years were spent moving between different oceans and bases, including San Diego. We ended up here for good when I was around 10. We lived in Bonita where I attended Valley Vista Elementary School.
I without question still consider San Diego home and myself a true “San Diegan.”
After my parents split up, we moved to Chula Vista where I attended Hilltop Jr. High School. Back then, my favorite activity, by far, was skateboarding. We would get our decks and trucks and wheels at the Spring Valley Swap Meet and hit the parks at Spring Valley, Home Avenue or wherever else we could find a ramp or pool. My buddy’s dad was an engineer and so we had a really impressive half-pipe that he built for us. I was also a San Diego Union paper boy.
Through high school, I became more interested in team sports, and particularly, football and basketball. As we moved around, I played football at Hilltop High School, and both football and basketball at Mt. Miguel and El Cajon Valley High Schools. Football (and injuries) led me to (and from) Grossmont Junior College and SDSU, and eventually to the University of San Diego, where I remained healthy enough to play four years. I am a proud graduate of that University.
During college, I worked virtually every job imaginable. Most of my jobs were in restaurants, bars and clubs. I worked as a busboy at Marie Calendars in La Mesa, a busboy and waiter at the Old Spaghetti Factory, when there was virtually nothing downtown, and as a waiter at Pizzeria Uno’s in Pacific Beach, among other places. I worked the door and occasionally bartended at what was then “Halcyon”, a live music club in Ocean Beach. Our buddies worked at “Rasputin’s Disco and Night Club”, right next door. Halcyon played rock. Rasputin’s played a more “urban” mix. I also worked security at “Players,” San Diego’s first big “dance club” in Mission Valley, and for Elite Security at Chargers Games. I also helped manage program sales for Chargers games. Selling programs is how I saw my first Super Bowl live. Another great job I had was as a “Beer Rep” at USD for Mesa Distributing Company. My job was basically to sell kegs to fraternities for their parties. That job also allowed me to attend virtually any event in San Diego I wanted to. I learned that beer and events go hand in hand.
After graduating from college and trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life, I worked as a Social Worker on Market Street in Southeast San Diego. My job was to determine eligibility and coordinate cases for recipients of AFDC and Food Stamps. I also kept working at Pizzeria Uno’s at nights and on weekends. When I was accepted to Yale Law School, I quit my “day job” to concentrate on surfing and fun for my last six months or so before I headed to Connecticut. I lived in Pacific Beach and surfed every single day, and more often than not, twice a day. We surfed mainly the Mission Beach jetty and the Pacific Beach Pier, but I hit virtually every break in San Diego that year. At night we spent our tip money having fun in PB.
I headed to Connecticut wearing trunks, visors and flip flops. It took me a while to adjust. And I was never happier than those moments I was able to return home. I spent three years on the East Coast in Law School and then four years in Los Angeles. I always knew I would come back. My ticket back to San Diego was a job as a federal prosecutor. I came home to prosecute border crimes and narcotics cases. After several years working in the federal courts on Front Street working cases from El Centro to Imperial Beach, I returned to private practice to represent people in trial.
I believe I am a “hardcore” San Diegan. I have “cruised” both National City Boulevard in “lowriders” and Second Street in El Cajon in 4×4 trucks. I have surfed virtually every wave on our coast and played virtually every high school in San Diego in one sport or another. I have now seen lots of the world and now understand fully why we call ourselves “America’s Finest City.” Our weather and the beauty of this place speak for themselves. Tijuana, along with the beauty of Baja California is just minutes away. And yes, I spent lots of time in both Tijuana’s clubs and surfing Mexican breaks and sleeping on Mexican beaches in my younger days as well. We can literally surf and snowboard in the same day here. The desert, in all of its beauty, is just a short drive as well.
San Diegans, though, make this place best. We are incredibly diverse, interesting, and frankly, super nice to each other for the most part. I guess we just feel so blessed living here that we can’t help but be just a little more positive in our attitudes. I feel very blessed that this ended up my home and that I get to live and work here every day. I am super happy my kids get to grow up here too. Maybe growing up in San Diego made me so determined to form a law firm here that helps both our clients, and improves our community daily. San Diego and me. We are a team forever.