During the Golden Globes on Sunday, an attack ad began rolling against City Councilman Kevin Faulconer.

Basically, the message was that a bevy of “corporate CEOs” were supporting Faulconer in his bid for mayor.

Scott Lewis on Politics Logo

That’s it. That was the gist of the attack. The screen scrolled through a long list of companies that these CEOs led. It was too fast to read. You were just supposed to get the impression that companies are bad, they support Faulconer, thus Faulconer is bad. Also, look at how long this list is.

Apparently, the best attack on Faulconer the Labor Council could come up with is that people who lead companies in San Diego support him for mayor.

Here is one screen shot of the list of companies.


Alvarez is the alternative, the ad said. He’s beholden to the people. And he drove the message home in his initial swipes at Faulconer and his supporters as the two candidates started their live debate series.

“These are the same people that have driven the city into the ground,” Alvarez said at a debate Wednesday. “The developers, the big corporations — those who have enough money to have lobbyists, who have high-paid consultants.”

There are a few problems with this.

Note the list above of the corporate CEOs, who support Faulconer. It includes Southwest Strategies. Southwest Strategies is the lobbying and public relations firm that has led the opposition to the Barrio Logan community plan, which is Alvarez’s most important legislative achievement and the most controversial.

Southwest Strategies’ chairman is Alan Ziegaus.

If getting support from someone like Ziegaus is a sign you are bad, then Alvarez himself does not want to be good. Ziegaus has given Alvarez’s campaign $1,500, according to this fine application from inewsource, in addition to the $2,000 he gave Faulconer’s campaign. (Southwest Strategies’ CEO, Jennifer Ziegaus, also donated $2,000 to Faulconer and none to Alvarez.)

In fact, the list of “corporate CEOs” who support Alvarez is actually quite lengthy.

It includes thousands in donations from folks like Aaron Feldman and his family members. Feldman, of course, is the leader of Sunroad Enterprises, the developer and car dealer that always seems to be on the edge of our ugliest civic controversies. If you were making a list of “big developers, who have enough money to have lobbyists and high-paid consultants,” well, you’d put Feldman at the top.

There’s even $750 from Joe Terzi, CEO of the Tourism Authority and the exact type of “downtown insider” Alvarez leads his stump speech with.

You can scan through the whole list. Just type in “CEO” or “president” and you can see all the company leaders who have given Alvarez money.

I asked Alvarez’s campaign what he thought of the Labor Council’s ad and what his problem was with these companies and their leaders. Would he not accept their money?

All I got was this mushy statement:

David has established a Business Advisory Council to coordinate efforts of San Diego’s business leaders to grow our economy. This campaign is about each candidate’s record. David’s record includes creating middle-class jobs and investing in our neighborhoods. He believes that is a contrast to Republican Kevin Faulconer’s record of putting downtown special interests and his developer friends first.

I asked a Labor Council representative what the group’s specific problem with those companies was. Are companies just evil? Should Alvarez avoid them too?

Kirsten Clemons, the group’s political director, declined to comment.

To boil this choice down for the public, the candidates and their allies appear to be trying to do two things: Identify an enormous blob of people to hate — “unions” and “downtown insiders” and “corporate CEOs” — and then tie their rivals to them.

As they throw the mud, however, they are spilling it on themselves.

Scott Lewis oversees Voice of San Diego’s operations, website and daily functions as Editor in Chief. He also writes about local politics, where he frequently...

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