I had hoped yesterday to speak with Matt Adams, head of government affairs for the Building Industry Association, for my story on Phil Thalheimer’s change of heart regarding campaign contributions from developers.

But he was holed up in meetings all day and could not return my calls. I caught up with him today.

Adams reiterated what others had said about the effect Thalheimer’s 2004 campaign for the District 1 San Diego City Council seat had on his relationship with the local business community, and the development industry in particular.

Thalheimer lost that race after forcing incumbent Councilman Scott Peters into a November runoff. He is running again this year against Marshall Merrifield and Sherri Lightner.

In that race Thalheimer refused, in a very public way, to take campaign contributions from developers and anyone who worked in businesses related to development. At one point he held a news conference on the front lawn of the BIA San Diego headquarters to loudly protest contributions Peters had taken from developers.

“That certainly did not sit well with our leadership,” Adams said. “We had a few frank and candid conversations with him following the election.

Adams added that Thalheimer left the conversations with a different mindset regarding developers.

“He came to a better understanding of our industry and the relevance it has in our economy,” he said.

The BIA has not endorsed anyone in the District 1 race.


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