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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.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 Dec. 17, 2010 @ 1:46 p.m.

Michell has been named president of the Downtown San Diego Partnership

Who funds the Downtown San Diego Partnership?

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Don Bauder Dec. 17, 2010 @ 2:56 p.m.

SP, I won't tease you. According to the partnership's website, there are more than 325 members from such areas as real estate, law, and insurance. They pay dues of $500 to $10,000. One two newest members is Bridgepoint Education. Best, Don Bauder

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nativesd Dec. 17, 2010 @ 6:07 p.m.

C'mon Don

Do you really think that there isn't an easy way to get around this one-year prohibition? These people are mingling among themselves all the time and can certainly find ways to get their views to whomever they want. And besides, what's the difference whether Mitchell personally lobbies the Council (or anyone else) or whether one of her minions, prepped by the boss, does the actual "lobbying"

Or for that matter, anyone of the corporate welfare fat cats who make up the organization's membership?

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Don Bauder Dec. 17, 2010 @ 10:14 p.m.

Of course. I mentioned in the blog item that she will be able to use facts and figures, statistics, background information gleaned from her days in government. She can pass them on to her colleagues at the partnership. I also mentioned that a former high-level city employee, after leaving for Sunroad, blatantly broke the one-year rule and got away with it. Best, Don Bauder

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nan shartel Dec. 17, 2010 @ 8:04 p.m.

corporate welfare fat cats....good terminology nativesd ;-D

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Don Bauder Dec. 18, 2010 @ 7:16 a.m.

Agreed. I like "corporate welfare fat cats." Best, Don Bauder

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Ponzi Dec. 17, 2010 @ 10:25 p.m.

Why stop there. She is corrupt and should be indicted for several crimes. I’ll leave it at that.

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Don Bauder Dec. 18, 2010 @ 7:17 a.m.

Don't hold your breath. Best, Don Bauder

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nostalgic Dec. 18, 2010 @ 8:18 a.m.

The Downtown San Diego Partnership manages the PBID under contract with the City of San Diego, I believe, to the tune of several million dollars.

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BlueSouthPark Dec. 18, 2010 @ 10:27 a.m.

They also "manage" the BID (manage = get the money). The PBID adds an assessment to every downtown property tax. The BID adds an assessment to every downtown business license. The PBID is the big money.

All of the money goes to the DSDP to spend as they decide, e.g., on banners, powerwashing sidewalks. None of the property-based PBID assessment can be used for capital improvements or infrastructure (e.g., sidewalk repair), only for maintenance, by State law. The CCDC redevelopment money (property tax money share) can only be used for capital improvements and infrastructure. See how it works?

CCDC buys porta potties and the PBID is told to use property assessment money to clean the potties. There was big fight over this last July 20 in the Council, because the DSDP said they weren't legally allowed to pay for potty maintenance (because it's not specified by their legal description of services). Councilmembers didn't care if was legal, just said "do it!"

Jan the Handyman Goldsmith issued a ruling saying that all we have to do is ignore the State documents and change the City operating agreement w/DSDP. Clever, how it works in San Diego! Who needs to worry about State laws?

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Don Bauder Dec. 18, 2010 @ 12:18 p.m.

San Diego doesn't just ignore state laws. It ignores San Diego laws. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 18, 2010 @ 12:17 p.m.

That may be one of the partnership's duties, but if you read the website, it's pretty clear that lobbying for downtown corporate welfare is its major mandate. Best, Don Bauder

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BlueSouthPark Dec. 18, 2010 @ 3:57 p.m.

Absolutely agree. The PBID and BID tax-taking role is just a minor perq of a being allowed to function as quasi-government.

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MURPHYJUNK Dec. 18, 2010 @ 9:51 a.m.

a year should give here knees ( ala rug burns) to heal.

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SurfPuppy619 Dec. 18, 2010 @ noon

LOL^^^^^

It is a dirty, low down, rotten to the core system.

Happens at all levels of gov though.

One of the reasons Ross Perot did so good in his 1992 presidential run was because he brought these scams to light and said he was going to fix it. He said it was like a general retiring in the middle of a war and then going over to the other side for $$$$ to help the opposition. He was one kooky and egotistical guy-but he sure did have the problems with our system down, and he knew how to fix them, and had a plan-the question of IF he could have fixed them is another untold story.

BTW-here is the 1993 video of Ross Perot and Al Gore debating NAFTA-and now that time has told the NAFTA story we know Perot was 100% on the money and Al Gore was a big fat bag of hot air (no pun intended). Everything Al Gore said in this video turned out to be 100% false-and everythinbg Ross Perot said was on target 100%;

. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhwhMXOxHTg .

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Don Bauder Dec. 18, 2010 @ 12:24 p.m.

Perot has seemed to disappear, although his son is sometimes in the public eye. Best, Don Bauder

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Don Bauder Dec. 18, 2010 @ 12:21 p.m.

Rather than get rug burns, I think the Sanders administration people she bossed, along with corporate welfare mendicants, got rug burns. She likes to have people salaaming at her feet. Best, Don Bauder

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a2zresource Dec. 19, 2010 @ 10:29 p.m.

Somehow it all sounds related to that KESSLER V. CITY OF SAN DIEGO mess. After all, Kris Michell is STILL top aide to Mayor Jerry Sanders until January 14, and perhaps hiz honor's testimony offered in deposition reflects that.

I'd like to play stupid and ask "Rug burns? What's that all about??" but just I can't do it...

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Don Bauder Dec. 20, 2010 @ 7:50 a.m.

I wondered whether Michell's departure is tied to the Kessler case, but at this point I probably think it isn't. She plays a prominent role in the machinations described in Kessler vs. San Diego. Best, Don Bauder

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a2zresource Dec. 20, 2010 @ 3:43 p.m.

I would be suspicious. The current mayoral administration does not seem to encourage many separate "branches" of independent municipal authority, and a top aide is just that: involved in everything the fearless leader is involved with.

At the same time, there may be no evidence if one has been at least superficially clean and tidy in ways hiz honor has not.

My question is this: Why leave after scoring that major coup in getting the Sacramento CCDC tax increment deal through? The Downtown Partnership seems like a step down from wheeling and dealing for City of San Diego in Sacramento... or maybe I just don't understand exactly what connections that private downtown security agency and garbage truck service REALLY has...

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Don Bauder Dec. 20, 2010 @ 9:21 p.m.

Money may be a major motivation behind her move. She may have bruised the mayor's ego in some way we don't know about. In any case, this is typical San Diego: it takes care of the downtown cheerleaders who for one reason or another want to leave their jobs. Best, Don Bauder

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