Have you read this yet?

You have to.

County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Pam Slater-Price are taking junkets to China and Austria respectively.

Roberts’ trip seems to make a bit more sense but they’re both strange and both unquestionably being paid for with taxpayer dollars funneled through community groups. The deal is simple: The supervisors each get $2 million a year of taxpayer funds to hand out however they please.

So, walk around town and you’re bound to pass an announcement or baseball field that says something like “this public benefit brought to you by Supervisor So-And-So” when really it’s brought to you by the taxpayers.

Slater-Price gave thousands of taxpayer dollars to the city’s Mainly Mozart festival. And now, Mainly Mozart is sending Slater-Price on what sounds like an amazing trip.

The killer passage in Davis’ account reads as such:

Slater-Price leaves in early October on a 12-day trip to Austria and the Czech Republic. She’ll attend a Mozart opera in Prague, followed by a wine reception and dinner at a Renaissance-era castle. In Salzburg, she’ll see private concerts at a palace and at the home where Mozart was born.

In Vienna, the supervisor will attend a performance of “The Magic Flute,” Sunday mass with the Vienna Boys Choir and a gala dinner at Palais Auersberg. Then it’s off to an all-Mozart concert by renowned German violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter.

Slater-Price is planning to meet with business leaders and Austrian tourism officials to promote San Diego, but her chief of staff doesn’t know who she’ll meet and did not have an itinerary. She leaves in eight days.

Sounds quite nice. But read that again. Her chief of staff is trying to hold that the trip is going to be beneficial to San Diego because Slater-Price will meet with business leaders and tourism officials. But eight days before she leaves, she doesn’t have any meetings set.

I’m just a lowly editor but even I usually need more than eight days notice to schedule someone to meet with me. Austrian and Czech business leaders might as well.

And the kicker.

In a memo to board members, Slater-Price said her European trip is a “fact-finding exchange” that would promote tourism in San Diego.

But Barbara Riggs, Mainly Mozart’s director of public relations, said the trip is “not actually a fact-finding mission. It’s more for the information and entertainment of the people who are going.”

Again, give it a read. Rob Davis did an excellent job reporting the story.


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