The Person

For the last 15 years, no one in San Diego has wielded as much power with as little public scrutiny as Kris Michell. She’s been Mayor Jerry Sanders’ political brain since he took office in 2005 and before that she worked behind the scenes at the Republican National Convention, the Super Bowl and Petco Park.

Who She Is

Michell is anonymous and elusive. She’s so much a blank slate that those with money, power and status in the city can depict her however they want: Hired gun, establishment secret weapon, cautious operative, savvy strategist and, to some, manipulator.

Why She’s Important

She’s at the center of the Sanders administration’s paradox as it enters a crucial stretch. The mayor’s positions have been politically astute, but they’ve yet to answer the fiscal problems voters elected Sanders to solve.

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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