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Last night I got one of those “you-didn’t-get-this-from-me” emails. That led to the phone conversation I just had with Steve Francis, the chairman of AMN Healthcare who ran for mayor last year. So here’s the news: Francis is starting a new think tank in San Diego.

Francis nabbed Erik Bruvold, the economist type who used to do the thinking for the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. Bruvold just started a job with Mayor Jerry Sanders, who barely beat Steve Francis in the mayoral primary last year after a bitter fight about who was more committed to not raising taxes in the city.

Francis says his think tank is going to be modeled after the Manhattan Institute, the nonprofit advocacy group with a massive endowment that helped guide former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Francis said he’s not ready to “roll this thing out” but he said he wasn’t going to avoid questions about it.

“We’re going to provide objective, thoughtful, well-researched information on the problems that face San Diego,” Francis said. “I’m on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, the taxpayers association and the economic development corporation, and these are great organizations but none of them do the in-depth research that is needed in San Diego.”

He said this would be independent and “objective” – he said that a few times actually.

Is it some kind of political move for Francis?

“I don’t know what my future holds as far as elective office. What I know is that San Diego is in need of reform and anything I can do to help is something I’m interested in,” Francis said.


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