Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Lobbyists use Twitter to rip Filner over downtown banquet speech
With transcript yet to surface, tweets provide unusually candid glimpse of how hardball special interest politics is played in San Diego
But how do they really feel?
Prolific tweeters among the ranks of San Diego's real estate and development lobbyists and political consultants have been burning up the Internet over remarks reportedly made by new Democratic mayor Bob Filner at a banquet held last night by the Downtown San Diego Partnership.
Exactly what Filner said is unclear, since, as of this morning at least, recordings of the mayor's speech had yet to surface, and the critical tweeters didn't go into specifics.
In any event, the Democrat's remarks appear to have upset many of the lobbyists and political consultants present, more than a few of whom backed GOP ex-city councilman Carl DeMaio during last year's mayoral campaign.
A taste of the intensity of the online hubbub was provided by tweets of business and industry lobbyist Lani Lutar of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association, whose board includes fellow lobbyist Craig Benedetto of California Strategies and Sempra's Mark Nelson.
Stephen Puetz, whose Revolvis GOP political consulting outfit handled a major chunk of the failed DeMaio mayoral effort and at one point acted as his spokesman, re-tweeted remarks originally dispatched by Lutar and Mark Cafferty, president and CEO of the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation.
Cafferty's board includes Sempra CEO Debra Reed and wealthy Mission Valley developer Tom Sudberry.
Downtown San Diego Partnership board members include Erik Greupner of the San Diego Padres; Walmart's Aaron Rios; and San Diego's dean of lobbyists, Paul Robinson, who works for U-T San Diego owner Doug Manchester and Las Vegas developer Irwin Molasky, among many others.
The partnership’s new board chairman is Keith Jones of Ace Parking Management, Inc., the parking management firm that has many lucrative government contracts, including with the city and the San Diego airport authority, of which lobbyist Robinson is a board member. Jones backed GOPer turned Independent Nathan Fletcher in the primary, then turned to DeMaio in the run-off against Filner.
Filner has taken on the Padres over the campaign by U-T San Diego columnist Matt Hall to get local cable operators to carry the team's baseball games.
The downtown partnership runs a sizable political operation, including the San Diego Jobs Political Action Committee.
As reported here last June, the fund has accepted thousands of dollars from a variety of special interests:
Donors have included cable TV giant Cox Communications of Atlanta, Georgia, with $8,000 on April 20; Herzog Contracting Corp. of Saint Joseph, Missouri, $5,000 on April 18; Rural/Metro Corporation, the controversial paramedic outfit out of Scottsdale, Arizona, $5,000 on April 28; and AT&T California Employee Political Action Committee of San Francisco, $2500 on March 29.
The single largest contribution during the period from the first of this year through May 19 was $22,000, made by the casino-owning Sycuan band of the Kumeyaay Nation.
The downtown interest group spent $18,426 for opposition research and campaign literature on behalf of Republican Steve Danon, currently an aide to GOP congressman Brian Bilbray, himself facing a tough race to hold on to his seat.
Danon, who previously lost a city council race to former San Diego city councilwoman Donna Frye, is now running for the seat held by departing Third District San Diego county supervisor Pam Slater. The district covers a large swath of North County and parts of the city of San Diego, but does not include downtown.
We're trying to catch up with the players for a day after follow-up.
Update: KGTV Channel 10 news has reported one Filner quote of the evening. Speaking of GOP City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, the mayor reportedly said:
"He would be the first to argue size doesn't matter, and as judges have recently noted, his arguments aren't very persuasive. In fact, he asked me to lunch the other day and I said he would have toupee," Filner said, referring to Goldsmith's hairpiece.