continued By this time a firm itinerary for the Sanders trip was in place. The mayor would not be in New York on Sunday after all, instead taking an economy-class red-eye out of San Diego on Monday evening, March 27. He would arrive in New York at 5:31 Tuesday morning. Sunday was still on in New York, however, for several members of the economic development corporation team. Members of the delegation included former mayoral candidate Steve Francis and San Diego Padres president Dick Freeman.
That day Andrew Poat, still in his San Diego office, wrote to the economic development corporation's president, Julie Meier Wright, inquiring about New York weather. "It's cool but sunny," she wrote back from the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. "Truth be told, I am still in my pj's. Had breakfast in the room ($46 for bacon and eggs, juice and coffee!!) and will head to the gym in a little while."
But "there was no downtime when we got to work on Monday," Wright tells me. She says her team spent the day in meetings with CNBC, the Christian Science Monitor, and other media organizations.
The development corporation was joined on Tuesday morning by Sanders, his communications director Fred Sainz, and chief financial officer Jay Goldstone. The city officials' itinerary for the day included a meeting with Ambac Financial Group. According to Hoovers Online, the company's "flagship Ambac Assurance writes municipal bond insurance and insures municipal and structured finance obligations. Ambac Financial also provides triple-A investment contracts to states and municipalities."
Briefing notes were prepared for each of Sanders's New York meetings. Those for the Ambac meeting state that the company "insures the Petco Park Bonds." Goldstone, scheduled to make a presentation at the meeting, hoped to get Ambac to reconsider the city's "request to refund the 2002 bonds PRIOR to audited financials," say the notes. "One 'free' refunding (i.e. no insurance payment required) was included in the original transaction, but has been conditioned on audited financial statements." A sheet attached to the briefing notes, referred to as the Ambac meeting's "talking points," has Sanders telling the company, "The irony is that San Diego has one of the strongest regional economies in the country -- it is booming." The sheet states that Sanders is at the meeting "to tell you about my reform efforts at City Hall." He is to say, "I am the city's first strong mayor" and advertise that his administration will have the first chief financial and ethics officers. "My budget, due April 14, will be honest and accurate (unlike those of the past)."
Sanders's Tuesday itinerary also included meetings with media organizations Bloomberg News, Fortune,Time, the Wall Street Journal's Dow Jones Newswire, and the New York Times. Scheduled to attend the Times meeting was economy writer David Leonhardt. The newspaper ran a September 7, 2004, article labeling San Diego "Enron by the sea." The briefing notes tell Sanders that for the meeting "you will be accompanied by the entire traveling EDC delegation of business people." The accompanying sheet of talking points asks Sanders to point out that "the ONLY national news coming out of San Diego over the past two years has been the embarrassing financing and ethics scandals at City Hall." The sheet states that "that news constitutes less than 1% of the total 'San Diego story.' We're here today to tell you the other 99%. And for me to tell you about my plans to clean up...City government."
In between meetings that day, Sanders was to give live interviews to San Diego radio talk show personalities. On the schedule were KOGO's LaDona Harvey and Dave Mason, KUSI's Dan Plante and Susan Lennon, and KFMB's Rick Roberts (called tentative).
The itinerary had Sanders, Fred Sainz, and the two security officers boarding Amtrak at six o'clock Tuesday evening for close to a four-hour train ride to Washington, D.C. At 6:30 the next morning, the mayor was to take a short walk from his hotel to Capitol Hill. Next week, part two.