Walter Mencken 11 a.m., May 24
Who's Mr. Clean? Larry Remer? Voice of San Diego?
Larry Remer, the publicist and local progressive, is slamming the Voice of San Diego, the online publication. The subject is ethics. The tale is hilarious, and I thank Matt Potter for alerting me to it. Some history is in order. Warning: this history illustrates how, enticed by money, San Diegans can change their beliefs, their clothes, their habits -- indeed, shed habits and don bikinis. Background: in the 1980s, one J. David Dominelli was a local hero. He and his girlfriend, Nancy Hoover, gave away money left and right -- left when Nancy called the shots, right when Dominelli did (and he seldom called the shots.) It turned out that Dominelli was running an $80 million Ponzi scheme. He spent a long time in prison and died a few years ago.
Hoover, who only spent two years in prison although she was sentenced to ten, gave money (that really belonged to Dominelli's investors) to progressives and moderates. One was Roger Hedgecock, lawyer for the Sierra Club. Yes, THAT Roger Hedgecock. J. David money helped him get elected San Diego mayor. Another was Larry Remer, whose liberal publication, Newsline, got $350,000 from the Dominelli till. Helping to decide where the money would go was George Mitrovich. Hedgecock became an extreme rightwing radio commentator, now in the Manchester/Lynch Tea Party stable at the U-T. Mitrovich became a hyper-enthusiastic backer of corporate welfare schemes hatched by the establishment folks he once vilified. After her short prison stretch, Hoover married a multi-millionaire; after he died, she returned to San Diego and married into the very rich Fletcher family.
After Hedgecock was elected, Remer wrote to Hoover and Dominelli, "I want to mine the political base of support that put Roger in office for Newsline...I want to leverage our relationship to the mayor's office into advertising from entities like the Transit Company." It would be done subtly so no one would suggest there was a conflict of interest, said Remer. Newsline would attack companies while an "arm's length" public relations firm would hit up the same businesses for advertising. That firm would be run by Tom Shepard, now the richest political consultant in town, even after he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor money laundering charge. He admitted it was illegal to take the Hoover-Dominelli bucks that went to his firm for its work in the Hedgecock campaign.
In the current San Diego Free Press, a progressive publication, Remer the ethicist complains that the Voice of San Diego has inveighed against Prop. Z because Buzz Woolley, Voice co-founder and financial angel, is the largest single donor to Prop. Z. (Throughout the Remer screed, Woolley's name is misspelled.) Remer is the campaign manager for Prop. Z. The Voice has not mentioned in its stories that Woolley is a donor to the Voice, wails Remer. Scott Lewis of the Voice defends his publication vehemently. There is controversy over whether Lewis used rough language in speaking with Remer. Naughty, naughty. Journalists don't use coarse language. And on and on. I confess I have read no Voice articles about Prop. Z and know nothing about Woolley's view on the matter. Ergo, I cannot ethically comment about this foofaraw, other than to say I think it is funny as hell.
More like this:
- Did Dominelli Study Ponzi? — Nov. 4, 2009
- George Munger and the Golden Girl: Memories of J. David Dominelli's Ponzi Scheme — April 24, 2009
- She's No Dumbbell — Sept. 8, 2005
- Big-Money Boys — Nov. 22, 2000
- The Minister of Padres Politics — Aug. 19, 1999