John Mann 12:38 p.m., March 11
Michell Told She Can't Lobby City for a Year
The Ethics Commission yesterday (Dec. 16) told Kris Michell, former top aide to Mayor Jerry Sanders, that she can't lobby her former City colleagues for a year after she leaves Sanders's side, which will be Jan. 14. Michell has been named president of the Downtown San Diego Partnership, essentially a lobbying operation for downtown corporate welfare projects. Answering Michell's questions, the commission told her that for one year, "post-employment lobbying prohibitions will preclude you from communicating [or helping others communicate] with current City officers and employees on behalf of [the partnership]," wrote the commission. However, "you may still work on [a] decision internally for [the partnership]. You may, for example, provide background information, statistics, and personal observations to a [partnership] employee regarding a particular issue."
Such Ethics Commission rules can be broken or badly bent, however. For example, when a donor to Mayor Sanders had constructed a building too close to Montgomery Field, defying federal rules, a former city employee, who had a high post with the offending developer, had talked with his former city employees inside the one-year restriction period and got away with it.