Don Bauder 9:30 p.m., July 30
Purported Ethics Commission Pulls Another Slimy One. This Is So Blatant It Could Backfire
San Diego's alleged Ethics Commission is back to its pre-election dirty tricks. The caper is still another example of how city government and the Union-Tribune collaborate to thwart reform and keep the establishment in power. Today (May 10) the U-T printed a story saying that the commission will hold a "probable cause" hearing on whether one of city attorney Mike Aguirre's volunteers, popular blogger Pat Flannery, sent election solicitations to some city employees. Hearings on this have been going on for some time; Aguirre and Flannery agree that Aguirre knew nothing about Flannery sending out emails. "They (the commission) wanted me to pay $2500. I said no; I didn't know about it," says Aguirre. This was carried out in closed session. U-T reporter Craig Gustafson revealed that he got the information about closed session over the phone. Flannery asked if this was proper procedure. The reporter gave a puerile, blustering response: he was conducting the interview, not Flannery. The ethics commission personnel "are using the U-T as their propaganda arm" says Flannery. Commissioners "know their case will collapse; they are just trying to smear him before the election." (Commission chairman Gil Cabrera insisted to the U-T that timing was coincidental.) Because the word got out in early May, opponents can put the U-T's propaganda piece in their mailers. "They [the commission] would have brought it forward in March or April if they knew they had had a case." Stacey Fulhorst, executive director of the commission, is a former Casey Gwinn employee. Among many eyebrow-arching rulings, the commission decided that Tom Story of Sunroad, upon leaving his city post, was clear to contact former underlings, as he did on behalf of Sunroad's illegal project. But Story had been deputy planning director in charge of development from 1989 to 2000, and ex-mayor Murphy's senior policy advisor overseeing development after 2000. It was an astonishingly indefensible ruling, but typical of developer-dominated San Diego. Flannery will have more on his blog today, www.blogofsandiego.com. I tried unsuccessfully to reach Fulhorst, Gustafson and Cabrera.