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The San Diego Convention Center Corp. is seeking a full-time "community outreach specialist" who would, among other things, "develop community outreach and education programs for expansion project phases." Translation: propagandize for the convention center expansion. The job opening, which pays $42,115 annually and includes "competitive benefits," was originally posted August 20 on the job board of the San Diego branch of the Public Relations Society of America. I could not reach Steve Johnson, convention center spokesperson, to learn if the job has been filled. It is still posted. The so-called specialist would "develop and maintain relationships with business and community groups" in relation to center activities, including the expansion. The specialist would communicate with the public "via email blast, online interaction, social media, blogs, video, etc." and develop "story angles/ads highlighting [convention center] accomplishments."

This was posted about a week before Johnson called Professor Heywood Sanders, the nation's expert on convention centers, a "whack job." Sanders warns that convention centers are overbuilt nationally, and has shown how the local convention center uses distorted statistics to make its case.

The hiring of such a propagandist raises an old question about government public relations practitioners. Taxpayers will have to pay for the proposed expansion in higher taxes and fees. But taxpayers will also be picking up the tab for the outreach specialist who is trying to seduce the public into supporting the expansion. "It may be a conflict of interest, but it's standard operating procedure," says UCSD political science Professor Steve Erie. "It's a sign they are desperate -- that they don't have their ducks in order, don't have a coalition." Adds Erie, referring to critics of President Obama, "I thought Republicans were against community organizers."

Today, Mayor Jerry Sanders (no relation to Heywood Sanders), in a speech about the local economy, again pushed for the convention center expansion and lashed out at those who disagree with him on his various construction proposals.

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Comments

Fred Williams Sept. 16, 2009 @ 9:39 a.m.

Over at VOSD the reports on the convention center got lots of comments...almost all negative. They're furious.

So these dishonest phoney number believing clowns want to hire someone full time to fight their online corner. It's not enough they've got the entire establishment in their pockets.

They're like a rapist who whispers he loves you and expects that to make it all okay.

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paul Sept. 16, 2009 @ 11:32 a.m.

Fred,

Add to that the pay-per-view policy speech given yesterday by Sanders ($50 bucks a head). Sanders pushed all the big building projects (convention center, city hall, library and even the stadium), while ripping people who are against those projects. The VoSD ripped him apart for that one, saying:

"this was the most divisive, most insulting, most unenlightened speech I've ever heard him give. Whoever it was who thought it was a good idea to try to shame San Diegans into being great rather than inspire them should never work in the speechwriting business again."

http://www.voiceofsandiego.org/opinion/slop/

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Don Bauder Sept. 16, 2009 @ 1:22 p.m.

Response to post #1: Yes, they have the establishment in their pockets -- or the other way around. They certainly have Mayor Sanders in their pockets; witness yesterday's silly speech. This means that the establishment and convention center expansion tub-thumpers will have all the money if there is a vote on any new taxes required to build the expansion. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Sept. 16, 2009 @ 1:28 p.m.

Response to post #2: Remember when the Union-Tribune labeled anyone who opposed profligate spending an "obstructionist?" The paper used the term most often when it penned editorials favoring the 60,000 seat guarantee. It didn't even stop using "obstructionist" after that guarantee flopped. It used "obstructionist" to vilify anyone opposed to the massive ballpark subsidy. And to my knowledge, the U-T still hasn't recognized that the ballpark is not paying for itself to the tune of $11 million a year, despite the solemn promise that it would be economically neutral. Best, Don Bauder

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SurfPuppy619 Sept. 16, 2009 @ 1:37 p.m.

That KFC Sanders came out with a public statement that he is going to go froward with all of these muni palaces while we are basically BK is a testiment to the stupidity of one of the biggest clowns in our City government.

You just can not make this stuff up-no one would believe it.

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Don Bauder Sept. 16, 2009 @ 1:44 p.m.

Response to post #5: You took the words right out of my mouth. Remember: Mayor Sanders works for the real estate developers, not for the citizens. Best, Don Bauder

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SanDiegoParrothead Sept. 16, 2009 @ 3:37 p.m.

Sounds like a good job for Mark Fabiani ....

maybe he can tell more lies in this job as he does with the Chargers

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Don Bauder Sept. 16, 2009 @ 5:26 p.m.

Response to post #7: If the Chargers move to L.A., as the team would like to do, Fabiani would not be elected mayor of San Diego, even though he would seem to have the necessary personal attributes. Best, Don Bauder

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