Last week, while financial reform ballot measure developed by San Diego City Councilwoman Donna Frye evolved, I asked her numerous times if she had spoken with Mayor Jerry Sanders about the plan.

Each time, she told me unequivocally she hadn’t.

Here’s one exchange Frye and I had on Friday after the council had passed the ballot measure, but before Sanders endorsed it. I asked her about the development of the ballot measure.

Me: How involved was the mayor in this process?
Frye: The mayor was not involved with this to my knowledge. I have spoken with (city Chief Operating Officer) Jay Goldstone. I made a point of sending [Sanders] each of the iterations of the memo, but I have not spoken directly to the mayor about what he thinks or doesn’t.

But two days before that statement, during the thick of negotiations on the package, an hour-long meeting appears on the mayor’s calendar with Goldstone, Sanders’ chief of staff Kris Michell, Council President Ben Hueso, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith and … Frye.

Sanders today confirmed the meeting happened.

I asked Frye about the meeting and she also confirmed it. She said the people listed plus other aides shuffled in and out of the meeting.

When I asked why she didn’t tell me about it before, she said she didn’t intend to mislead. Instead, she said, she took questions I asked about the process literally. She hadn’t “talked with” the mayor about the plan because the mayor didn’t talk.

“The mayor and I didn’t have any dialogue,” Frye said. “He just sat there when I was in the room.”

Further, Frye said, he didn’t give away if he would eventually back a measure.

“There were no comments or any indication from the mayor or the mayor’s staff that he would support this,” she said.

For his part, Sanders laughed when told Frye’s explanation. Sanders said he had a lot of meetings to understand what was happening, but he didn’t remember specifically what the topic of discussion was with Frye. He also didn’t remember if he spoke.


Dagny Salas was web editor at Voice of San Diego from 2010 to 2013. She was an investigative fellow at VOSD from 2009 to 2010.

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