She’s the most powerful person in San Diego you’ve never heard of.

She’s been Jerry Sanders’ behind-the-scenes political mind since he took office. And she’s led the efforts to make some of San Diego’s biggest downtown extravaganzas happen — the Republican National Convention, the 1998 Super Bowl and Petco Park.

Yet Kris Michell has maintained a remarkable level of anonymity.

In the latest in our occasional special report series, Profiles in Power, we attempt to throw back that cloak of anonymity on someone who, despite being rarely noticed and quoted, is among the most influential people in our city.

“Michell’s anonymity makes her elusive, despite her power and influence,” political reporter Liam Dillon writes. “Everyone has a stake in defining who she is. Some might want to ingratiate themselves with her or the mayor. Some might want to settle old scores. Her lack of a public persona feeds her intangibility. She’s so much a blank slate that those with money, power and status in the city can depict her however they want.”

If you’d prefer to print it out to read it, we’ve layed out a nice PDF version of the story that includes the photos.

In the past, we’ve gone in-depth to profile Aaron Feldman, the towering mogul who landed in hot water during the 2007 Sunroad scandal; Luis Acle, the former school board president who had trouble playing by the rules; George Gorton, the celebrity political consultant grappling with a life-altering disease; and Bonnie Dumanis, San Diego’s most powerful politician.

What else:

• There are signs of a slowdown in San Diego’s economy, says Rich Toscano.


• San Marcos is turning 30. The North County Times uses that milestone to explore the city’s growth from a cow town to a college town:

“San Marcos has evolved from an agricultural outpost to a suburban community with busy roads, packed schools and ambitious plans. It has seen the addition of dense communities like San Elijo Hills, embraced the opening of Cal State San Marcos, and is preparing for a new downtown along San Marcos Creek that will feature multiple stories of stores, offices and housing units.”

• The Chargers finally signed hold out star Marcus McNeill this weekend and couldn’t get a trade together to dispatch of their other discontented star, Vincent Jackson. To understand the back story, catch our San Diego Explained with NBC 7/39 on why these two were refusing to play.

• Vista City Councilman Frank Lopez says he won’t resign in the midst of a scandal over his failure to pay workers comp premiums for employees at his restaurant.

His colleagues, however, might just give him the boot from the many committees he serves on, worried that his troubles will tarnish the city’s image. (NCT)

• There has been little campaigning over the initiative that would ban the use of project labor agreements in county government. Perhaps that’s because the ban is already law. Or because the Board of Supervisors doesn’t have any desire to use them anyways. (NCT)

Organized labor, who would be the big opponent of the measure, is focusing on the city of San Diego’s sales tax measure, Proposition D.

• We have the fifth-best airport in the country, according to a Conde Nast poll of business travelers. (U-T) It looks like the fliers enjoyed the airport for the very things that set it apart from others around the country: easy parking, closeness to downtown and overall accessibility.

I don’t know, though. It’s been nearly four years since they tried to move the airport to Miramar. Perhaps it’s time for the latest airport relocation campaign.

You know the saying: If it ain’t broke, break it.

Please contact Andrew Donohue at or 619.325.0526. Follow him on Twitter: @AndrewDonohue.

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