Sitting in on Papa Doug’s Gathering of the Elite to Chew on the Election of Kevin Faulconer

tweed_voteBy Jay Powell

Last week Voice of San Diego CEO Scott Lewis reported (“Stadiums and Pensions,” November 27) that he had been informed by a reliable source that Papa Doug Manchester was hosting a lunch for “a group of the city elite” on Monday, December 2nd to “strategize on how we can best move San Diego forward in support of Kevin Faulconer as Mayor.”

He confirmed that the invite was authentic and quoted from it:

“ We all know the need to preserve and protect San Diego from losing the Chargers, fix the pension system, and create incentives that will allow San Diego to reach its full potential and recover from what we have experienced over these past several years…”.

Scott did a fine job showing the irony of some other these assertions and reprised the exchange between Sanders and Manchester when they last convened in La Jolla to pick Kevin Faulconer as the candidate for the elite. Scott then queried his readers to write him and let him know “if you were at this U-T (lunch) meeting, what would you say should be the top priorities for city government in coming years?”

I dutifully replied that if I was at the lunch meeting with Papa Doug and the other “city elite” this day (Dec 2), it wouldn’t be me…

but let’s just pretend for a moment that I was a person who was invited and attending…


Here is what that “other guy” would probably have to say (imagine we are sitting at an ocean view window at the Valencia Hotel above the Cove):

 “We need to marginalize Bill Fulton’s new Planning and Sustainability and Economics department with a token budget to spin around in circles. Let’s get back to the any-development-at-any-cost Development Services Department (DSD) that had evolved in the latter years of Jerry Sander’s administration — the one that brought us the Centrepoint and the Sunroad II and the North Park Jack in the Box and recommended a general plan amendment to build a power plant across the freeway from Mission Trails Regional Park and played patsy with a developer who wanted to circumvent the voter approval requirement of the 1985 citizens Managed Growth Initiative to build an urban development on designated open space in the floodplain of the San Dieguito River Valley.

And most important, a DSD that will give us all the green lights for the transformation of Papa Doug’s old Mission Valley U-T building into a multi-mixed-highest and best use maximum return on investment extravaganza in the San Diego River floodway. And we want video billboards on it that are at least as big as the ones in Times Square facing the freeway.

Let’s bring back the folks on the 11th floor who brought a proposal to the Rules Committee at the last minute in June last year to lease city owned, Pueblo lands for a 25 and option for another 25 year lease to a Canadian company for an 850 MW (megawatt) gas fired power plant on designated open space next to the Miramar National Cemetery.

And, come on, really take the “Action” out of the “Climate Action Plan”. Let somebody else worry about the frickin’ fryin’ planet for cryin’ out loud. We got plenty of places to bulldoze and bury trash. We can boil sea water with electricity from the power plants we want to build for water. And we want our new Mayor to stuff all this silly talk about transit and bikes and walking.
Your talking about slowing down traffic for heaven’s sake!

The only transit we need is up to the skyboxes in the new downtown stadium. We have all the bogus economic studies we need to push ahead with the finest of the worst ideas for a multi purpose sports palace in any metropolitan area in the US of A. Can you imagine what an economic power house Los Angeles might have been if they had an NFL team these past several decades?

I don’t like the shipyards either ’cause they’re just in the way of the Papa Doug super bayfront plan but by golly if that Barrio Logan Community plan isn’t overturned soon, it’ll be goodbye US Navy payroll. Next thing you know they will be taking down our wonderful kissing sailor statue.

Speaking of downtown, as long as Papa D can do whatever he wants in Mission Valley and in the open space around his Grand Hotel and on the bayfront, our downtown deserves to live in the manner to which they have become accustomed. That means whatever we invent for financing infrastructure has to put downtown first. If there is any money left over, the other communities will get their share based on their per capita earnings.

Not to mix my maritime metaphors, but let’s get this city ship back on course, right full rudder, steer 180 degrees from whatever direction those crazy community activists thought they were heading last November.

Oh, thank you, I would like another, but this time just wave the olive over the vermouth bottle. And can you do something about that crappy smell coming in from the Cove? “



Jay Powell

Jay Powell, an occasional contributor to San Diego Free Press, writes about energy, neighborhood and community redevelopment and other challenges and opportunities for peace and productive cooperation in our times. He serves as “environmental advocate” on the City of San Diego’s Sustainable Energy Advisory Board.


  1. avatarAnna Daniels says

    Jay- you nailed the over-arching issue in the mayoral race when you ironically stated: ”We need to marginalize Bill Fulton’s new Planning and Sustainability and Economics department with a token budget to spin around in circles. Let’s get back to the any-development-at-any-cost Development Services Department…”
    Citizen input, the ability to craft a sustainable future for safe livable communities throughout the whole city of San Diego occurs on the planning side of the equation. That very democratic and very necessary process is the very thing that now hangs in the balance.
    The vulnerability of the city’s planning functions impacts La Jolla and City Heights. It impacts Ocean Beach and Carmel Valley. It impacts Barrio Logan and University Community.
    This mayoral race can and should be a massive unification of neighborhood interests throughout the entire city, working together to elect David Alvarez.
    “The abyss does not divide us, the abyss surrounds us.”

  2. avatarJohn Stump says

    Dear Brother Powell, Thank you for your insights. You have correctly brought to light what “Everybody Knows “ ( The poor get poor and the rich get rich and that we hate to admit that the game is fixed by the Manchester masters. Your fly on the wall report of the overlord’s meeting should include their plans for:

    More Taxes and Fees: For projects today the Council will borrow and bond for payment by the future on Tuesday. We will continue to be converted into both Wage and Tax slaves. The regional road body SANDAG will propose extension of the regressive sales tax add ons. Public utilities are exempt from many of these local fees and taxes. Sales and special taxes are tax deductible as a cost of business or can be passed on to customers, residents, and visitors. Families cannot transfer to someone else the new costs. Our Council needs to stop drinking the Kool-Aid, promoted by the Manchesters, we cannot develop, borrow, or tax our City to prosperity for families . The overlords plan to prosper by spreading their costs on to the backs of million families while they prosper.

    Water, Sewer, & Storm Water Increases: The Council will continue to raise water fees (up 7.25% next month) because it refuses to limit water uses by the tourism entertainment industry. Balboa Park institutions get free water and the Zoo uses $1.5 million dollars’ worth/year. Every cruise ship departs with a village’s worth of water. Sewer rates will need to be increased to meet long delayed sewage treatment costs. Hotel water and sewage costs will be spread to the renter residents. Storm water fees will increase to meet the delayed cleanup of storm water. Council has refused to stop developers from having parking lots wash in to the street or to relocate polluting businesses away from creeks. A 18th century landed gentry rule allows only property owners to vote on these matters and permits the Council to raise these fees without the participation of the majority of residents –renters. Only the Landlords get a vote but the tenants must pay! Water and Sewer fees are set much like the Tourist Marketing District fees, so that a few large property owners can impose new fee increases on the many.

    Privatization: Look for master plans to privatize the management of Balboa Park beginning with the 2015 celebration, sale of the water department through some scheme like Coronado’s California American Water operation; and transfer of trash collection to a private waste management company, when the Mira Mar landfill closes. Redevelopment at least had residential oversight through its elected Project Area Committees but now some new Civic body is in charge without the elected citizen committees.

    Budget Priorities: The Council has determined that Police Enforcement is the highest priority for the City. The security force budget is more than 1/3rd of the total City budget and growing. The Council now spends more than $1 million dollars a day on Police. Police expenditures increase as resident disaffection with the City and its benefits to residents diminish. Low wage tax serfs, who only work and serve the Council’s tourism entertainment development program, must be watched and controlled. Council should be encouraging economic and social development for the residents rather than the Hotel developers and theme park attractions. Council must either determine to train and employ our children for maid and service jobs or start new economic initiatives that pay at least a San Diego living wage. Citizens who participate in the benefits of a fair San Diego economy should be less dissatisfied and require less police enforcement. Few families’ burn down their own homes.

    The campaign and election of a new Mayor gives us the opportunity to recapture San Diego for the benefit of its residents rather than continuing the plantation approach of the past. The choice is clear More of the Same or candidate Alvarez’s “Government that Works for Families”.

  3. avatar says

    Jay-Your eaves dropping at this portentous meeting paid off by your hitting the nail on the head of what will take place if San Diegans choose to elect Kevin Faulconer as Mayor. He will be but one more in the long line of developer-oriented Mayors that this city has had. Many thanks. John.

  4. avatarRichard Lawrence says

    Papa Doug:
    Has it ever occurred to you that some of us do not like the idea of a paternal newspaper owner–in part because we are no longer children who depend on grown ups to make decisions for us?
    There will never be a day when San Diego deserves its self-anointed designation as “America’s Finest City” so long as we have nearly fifty percent of our working families who cannot afford to live here.
    And please stop saying that the Linkage Fee kills municipalities until San Francisco’s economy, where new commercial developers pay up to 22 times more in linkage fees than we do, starts to crumble. The latest rumbles from that city were caused by an earthquake reportedly unrelated to linkage fees.
    Papa, please….