Thursday, May 29, 2008 | Recently a group of retired businessmen and promoters wrote to the Union-Tribune in obvious support of Mayor Sanders’ reelection. Admitting they might be called “part of the ‘Old Guard’ trying to guide the elections,” they argued that under Sanders the city is getting back on its feet. They then suggested that we need to indulge his developer-supporters for the sake of economic growth. Some feet.
In fact, the main economic growth that these million-dollar, under-the-table, “Old Guard” cronies have supported is that of their own private fortunes, financed partly from various forms of hidden government subsidy arranged by the city officials their money has ushered into office.
But if you don’t have time to follow the money, here are three good reasons to vote for Steve Francis for mayor.
1. Jerry Sanders appointed Steve Peace as the city’s representative to the Ad Hoc Airport Regional Policy Committee.
To fill in the blanks, Steve Peace (CEO of Killer Tomatoes Entertainment, termed-out California State Assemblyman, Gray Davis’s Director of the California Department of Finance, author of California’s electricity deregulation bill, and lobbyist) is the chairman of the California Independent Voter Project, a “nonprofit think tank” funded by John Moores (former chairman of bankrupt and scandal-tainted Peregrine Systems, downtown developer, and owner of the Padres). As Don Bauder writes on February 11 of this year, “I understand that through Steve Peace, Moores is making sure the airport expansion is a mess. He has big plans there.”
As reported in the Union-Tribune, when Peace (not peace) appeared, Mary Sessom, Chairwoman of the San Diego Association of Governments, walked off the Committee, claiming that Sanders’ appointment “threatens to taint the work of the… committee because Peace is lobbying officials to build a massive terminal and transportation hub on Lindbergh Field’s north side… ‘This process needs to be open and transparent,’ Sessom said. ‘I think this appointment makes that much more difficult.’”
In other words, Mayor Sanders is part of the problem, not part of the solution.
2. Mayor Sanders is supporting Proposition C on next Tuesday’s ballot.
Read the proposed charter amendment: Proposition C sees to it that a city auditor is appointed by the city manager, is confirmed by the City Council, and reports to a newly formed audit committee. Who makes up the audit committee? Two members of the City Council plus three “members of the public.” Who appoints the three “public members”? A screening committee made up of a member of the City Council, the chief financial officer (appointed by the city manager and approved by the City Council), and the independent budget analyst (appointed by the City Council).
In other words, the one who audits the city’s books works at the pleasure of those he is auditing. He would be no more independent of the Mayor and Council than the CPA brother-in-law I hire to cook my books is independent of me. Worse, he need not even be a CPA. One of Proposition C’s “minimum professional standards” is either at least 10 years of experience as a CPA or 10 years of “other professional financial or legal experience in audit management.” In other words, if they’d like, the City Council could arrange for any one of that “Old Guard” to serve as city auditor. Most of them have had plenty of experience managing audits, as the city—to its cost—knows well.
3. Steve Francis is the first viable mayoral candidate in decades who is not dependent either on either the “Old Guard” developers or on the union bosses for financing his campaign. And he is the only one who has a specific plan for a truly transparent city government.
The only ones for whom Steve Francis is not the obvious choice in this election are those who stand to lose their dirty insider money if integrity should come back into fashion.