As of early this week, only one campaign committee weighing in on the move of San Diego International Airport from Lindbergh to Miramar had filed its official papers with the county registrar of voters. A group calling itself Support Our Military-Vote No on Miramar registered last week, saying it will oppose November's ballot measure, according to a spokeswoman with the registrar. Its treasurer, she says, is listed as Bill Baber, onetime staffer to ex-mayor Dick Murphy, always a big booster of moving out of Lindbergh; John Kern, Murphy's top aide, is working for the pro-new-airport side.
Meantime, rumors are circulating that Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs is preparing to sink a small chunk of his fortune into the drive to keep the airport downtown and may have been responsible for that poll a few weeks back conducted by Houston-based Voter Consumer Research. A nominal Democrat who normally shies away from hot local causes, Jacobs did give $100,000 to the failed November 2000 effort to dislodge school board incumbent Fran Zimmerman.
But don't look for another veteran of local big-money politics to get into the Miramar fray. In 1994, bayfront hotel magnate Doug Manchester was a prime mover behind a ballot measure in favor of relocating the airport to Miramar. His ally in that fight, U-T owner Helen Copley, spent $50,000 on the campaign, which garnered 52 percent in favor of the move. This time around, though, Copley is in the grave, and Manchester, who's negotiating with the Navy to build an office and commercial complex on government property at the foot of Broadway, is said not to be in a frame of mind to cross the military brass, which is bitterly opposed to turning Miramar over to civilians.