San Diego mayoral candidate Nathan Fletcher, who already is getting major financial support for his campaign from border real estate interests, including La Jolla’s super-wealthy Jinich family, which owns a lot of land on Otay Mesa, has received even more Mexico-related money. Last week the ex-GOP assemblyman and newly minted Democrat pulled in a reported total of $2000 from Ernest J. Dahlman III of New York City, chief executive of the Pacific Imperial Railroad, Inc. That’s the outfit that leases the so-called Desert Line tracks of the old San Diego and Arizona Eastern Railway, snaking in and out of Mexico and owned by the San Diego Metropolitan Transit System. According to the railroad’s website, “Our mission is to meet the cross border transportation and distribution needs of the Maquiladora companies by providing the safest, most efficient, and economical means of transportation.” The SD&AER has suffered a long past of breakdowns and track washouts under previous operators.
Dahlman’s father, Ernest Dahlman, Jr., has been one of the nation’s biggest and most famous horseplayers. “Just how big is anyone’s guess,” wrote the New York Times in a lengthy June 2001 profile. “In a busy year, Dahlman might bet as much as $18 million. Mostly he’s concerned with races at tracks in New York and California, and he doesn’t shy away from the big races. Dahlman bets so much money, in fact, that he has to avoid smaller tracks and certain kinds of bets because, in essence, he would be betting against himself.” Records show Dahlman Jr. owns a racing stable with his son, along with a string of racehorses, including Going Green, That’s for Sure, Haya’s Boy, and Green Monster.