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For a day, an unelected Powegian became the city of San Diego’s most influential policymaker.
Vince Mudd, a Poway resident and the owner of an office interior business in Kearny Mesa, tried to answer to a problem that has vexed the city for 10 years. He produced a plan he believes ends the city’s ongoing budget deficits. Neither Mayor Jerry Sanders nor the City Council has created a similar report.
Yesterday, the council adopted his proposal, developed along with a task force of other business leaders, lock, stock and barrel.
So just who is Vince Mudd?
He’s a well-placed member of the business community who has seen an increasing amount of political influence in recent years. He’s the incoming chairman of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce and held high-ranking positions with the local Economic Development Corp. He’s served Sanders as a close advisor, too. In the weeks that led to Proposition D being placed on the ballot, meetings with Mudd litter the mayor’s calendar.
Mudd has served the city in formal roles, such as the mayor’s Convention Center expansion task force and the city’s Charter Review Committee. Less exciting for Sanders was a report Mudd’s task force authored last fall that recommended significant cuts to the city’s budget and bankruptcy as a last resort. Even though Sanders had at least tacitly endorsed Mudd and his task force, the Mayor’s Office distanced itself once the group issued that report.
Mudd also has been the chairman of the local chapter of the Red Cross, a position Sanders held before he became mayor.
Mudd has been ecumenical in his political donations. State and federal election disclosures show that he gave to Republican Nathan Fletcher’s campaign for state Assembly in 2008 and Barack Obama’s presidential campaign.
For city elections, Mudd has contributed to the mayor’s re-election campaign, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s successful campaign, accountant April Boling’s failed City Council campaign in 2008 and both of Councilman Tony Young’s successful campaigns.
According to his company’s website, San Diego Office Interiors creates, permits, builds and furnishes offices, lab space and bank branches.
No matter any bona fides, it’s still strange for an unelected, non-San Diegan to propose legislation on a topic central to the city’s financial future and get it passed in a matter of two weeks.
Prop. D opponents referred to Mudd as a “Poway resident” in a press release criticizing his proposal.
Mudd said he was as qualified as anyone to weigh in on San Diego issues.
“I have multiple businesses in San Diego,” Mudd said. “I own four properties in San Diego. I’m a taxpayer, a property taxpayer. I pay sales taxes in the city of San Diego. I’m very interested in seeing the city of San Diego do well.”