• Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

On or about October 17, 2008, Police Chief William Lansdowne was summoned to the office of an irate Mayor Jerry Sanders. The mayor wanted to know how a criminal investigative report coauthored by one of Lansdowne’s detectives, Dan Vile, had gotten into the hands of Scott Kessler, deputy director of the City’s Economic Development Division, and to the City’s Ethics Commission.

Earlier, Kessler had informed his superiors that he was cooperating with Vile and FBI agent Gerald Cook. Beginning in 2005, Vile and Cook had been investigating activities of Marco Li Mandri, a Little Italy powerhouse who had clout with the mayor, and Paul (Joe) Mannino, a fellow with a dubious past who had been conducting questionable business with Li Mandri in a San Diego business improvement district. Kessler was cooperating with the investigators because one of his jobs at the City was to monitor business improvement districts for fraud and irregularities. The exhaustive investigative report had concluded that, among many things, Li Mandri and Mannino, using fraudulent procurement processes, had engaged in a conspiracy to misappropriate money.

The FBI/police criminal investigation had been submitted to District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis in early 2007, but she had refused to prosecute. The mayor’s office was continuing to do business with Li Mandri and his colleagues and criticizing Kessler when he would point out Li Mandri’s ongoing contractual violations. Therefore, Vile and Cook began to look into whether the mayor’s office had had any influence over Dumanis’s refusal to prosecute Li Mandri and Mannino.

Not long after Lansdowne met with the mayor, Cook told Kessler that he could no longer talk with detective Vile, who had been disciplined.

Before 2008 was over, Kessler had been fired from his City post. After the axe fell, he recalled three conversations he had had with Julie Dubick, the mayor’s legislative director, between late 2007 and the spring of 2008. She had asked him several times how the investigation was going. Invariably she would end the conversations with her observations that so much time had elapsed she doubted there would be a prosecution. All along, Kessler had reported these conversations with Dubick to Vile and Cook.

Kessler is suing for wrongful termination and retaliation. In the issue of March 4, the Reader reported on the FBI/police report and Kessler’s lawsuit. Both the investigative report and lawsuit were posted on the Reader website. Now, new allegations have arisen, including the story of the mayor allegedly dressing down the police chief; the apparent sanctioning of the detective; the account of the two investigators wondering if there had been communications between the mayor’s and district attorney’s offices on the decision not to prosecute Li Mandri and Mannino; and an assertion that it was the mayor’s office that fired Kessler.

The Reader has obtained a copy of Kessler’s answers to 57 interrogatories posed by the city attorney’s office, as well as copies of Li Mandri’s communications with the mayor’s office seeking relief from Kessler’s restrictions on the Little Italy leader’s allegedly self-serving activities.

Through Kessler’s answers and those emails, more detail can be added to the story — a story that San Diegans might ponder soberly when considering the concept of a strong mayor and the outsourcing of government jobs to private-sector companies.

It was Bill Anderson, Kessler’s boss, and Beth Murray, his eventual replacement, who specifically told Kessler not to cooperate with the criminal investigators. But according to the interrogatory responses, Murray told Kessler “that the directives she was relaying to [Kessler] were not her own but came directly from individuals in the mayor’s office.” Murray had previously told Kessler that Dubick and Kris Michell, the mayor’s aide, had unreasonably criticized his attempts to curtail Li Mandri’s questionable contracts. Anderson and Murray joked that they had to watch Kessler’s back because of Dubick’s and Michell’s biting criticisms, according to the interrogatory responses.

Murray told Kessler that Michell and Dubick accepted at least some of Li Mandri’s complaints about him, such as that Kessler was unduly harsh on Li Mandri and trying to ruin his reputation; that the FBI/police investigation was “an anti-Italian witch hunt”; and that Li Mandri “was unfairly caught up in the investigation because of his association with Mannino,” according to the interrogatory responses.

At one point, FBI agent Cook told Kessler of a rumor that he might be fired. Murray wondered if something uttered at a secret meeting she had attended had been leaked. She asked Kessler, “Do you think our offices are bugged?” Kessler asked her if she were serious. She replied, “Really, do you think the 11th floor [of City Hall] is bugged?” The offices of those indicted in the Strippergate scandals had been bugged, she pointed out.

At that point, Kessler asked Murray if there was talk around the office that he would be fired. She replied in the affirmative. According to the interrogatory responses, Murray said she didn’t want to get into any trouble. She told Kessler that Phil Rath, the mayor’s policy advisor, had said, “He hopes he never gets put under oath about what he’s witnessed in the mayor’s office regarding Li Mandri.”

In a phone call, Anderson told Kessler that he was a public employee and had to take directions from his superiors. Kessler “wasn’t a private citizen anymore and couldn’t do what [he] wanted,” said Anderson, according to the interrogatory responses. What’s more, Kessler “didn’t have to respond to questions [the investigators] posed right away.”

As Kessler took more and more flak for providing the investigative report to the Ethics Commission, he went to Jay Goldstone, the City’s chief operating officer. Goldstone told Kessler that “people were concerned that the mayor’s office might get dragged into this now that the Ethics Commission has the report.” Goldstone claimed he had not read the investigative report but said others had, including people in the mayor’s office. Goldstone asserted that he supported Kessler and that the City should not “shoot the messenger,” according to the interrogatory responses.

In one meeting, Michell, the mayor’s Machiavelli, told Kessler he had a “bad attitude” toward Li Mandri, according to the interrogatory responses. She also expressed her unhappiness that Kessler had disclosed that he was cooperating with the two investigators.

Dubick, Michell, and the mayor’s former flack, Fred Sainz, told Kessler on several occasions not to share information with the city attorney’s office. The city attorney at the time was Mike Aguirre, who sided with Kessler in his attempts to restrain Li Mandri. And the mayor’s office hated Aguirre. But there was a political reason. Anderson told Kessler, “City Attorney Mike Aguirre might latch onto the [FBI/police] investigative report regarding Li Mandri as a campaign issue, which the mayor did not want to happen, since the election was two weeks away and City Attorney Aguirre’s office had authored opinions critical of Mr. Li Mandri’s contracting practices which often validated [Kessler’s] actions and ran counter to what became the mayor’s office’s position,” says Kessler in a response to an interrogatory.

Li Mandri was a political force in Little Italy and Sanders knew it, says Joshua Gruenberg, Kessler’s lawyer. That’s how Li Mandri kept getting contracts.

The new material shows that another person in this drama was none other than Nancy Graham, who resigned as head of Centre City Development Corporation in mid-2008. Her official explanation was that she had to care for an ailing mother. But that wasn’t the nub, or the rub. The Centre City board had chosen a company to do a big project at Seventh and Market. Graham had worked with the company while she was mayor of West Palm Beach and also as a private developer there. She claimed she was not involving herself in the Seventh and Market project, but it became clear that she was. Both Centre City and Aguirre investigated. She also faces charges that she did not reveal her relationship with another contractor.

Li Mandri in 2008 had attempted to wangle a $250,000 parking contract for the nonprofit Little Italy Association. The mayor’s office had concealed the deal from Kessler, who administered the community parking district program. (Community parking districts are managed by local nonprofits on behalf of the City to provide parking and transportation solutions. The funds are derived from 45 percent of parking meter revenue within the district.) Centre City managed the entire downtown community parking district for the City free of charge. Li Mandri proposed breaking off the portion in Little Italy and charging the City $20,000 a year that would go to his for-profit company, New City America. Michell had told Graham to back Li Mandri in the deal, according to Kessler’s interrogatories.

Li Mandri was steadily working on Graham. On March 27, 2008, he wrote the mayor’s policy advisor Phil Rath and Michell and boasted, “Nancy and I have a very good working relationship.” He also noted that he was getting support from Kevin Faulconer, councilperson for the district.

The same month, Li Mandri peppered Rath with emails, trying to get the mayor’s support for the parking district contract and wanting to be sure Kessler didn’t put the kibosh on the proposal. In mid-2008, Li Mandri sent a letter to Sanders thanking him for his and Faulconer’s support for the new Little Italy parking district. However, he was ordered to withdraw the proposal the week after Kessler gave the investigative report to the Ethics Commission, according to Gruenberg. (Li Mandri then managed to get a different juicy contract.) As a result of the entire Li Mandri flap, Anderson told Kessler that he had “really pissed off the 11th floor.”

Of course, throughout 2007 and 2008, Li Mandri was writing various members of the mayor’s staff, blasting Kessler. In 2007, he was successfully trying to get meetings with the mayor’s then–wizard of ooze Fred Sainz. According to Gruenberg, Sainz told Kessler that he was wrong about Li Mandri and that Kessler should focus on more problematic contractors.

Meanwhile, the FBI/police criminal report on Li Mandri and Mannino has gone nowhere with authorities. The city attorney’s office is trying to get Kessler’s suit dismissed. According to Gruenberg, the office is seeking the dismissal even though it has not deposed Kessler.

Dumanis’s office refuses comment on the question of whether it communicated with the mayor’s office in the decision not to prosecute Li Mandri and Mannino. The mayor’s public relations representative, given a list of eight City Hall officials about whom the Reader wanted information, did not return calls, as usual. The city attorney’s office, also told by voice mail specifically what the Reader requested, did not return calls. Police Chief Lansdowne declined to comment.

  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


SurfPuppy619 March 17, 2010 @ 1:25 p.m.

"Centre City managed the entire downtown community parking district for the City free of charge. Li Mandri proposed breaking off the portion in Little Italy and charging the City $20,000 a year that would go to his for-profit company, New City America. Michell had told Graham to back Li Mandri in the deal, according to Kessler’s interrogatories."

Now that is a straight up fraud. These people should get investigated for this alone-ala Randall "Duke" Cunningham style. . . "Dumanis’s office refuses comment on the question of whether it communicated with the mayor’s office in the decision not to prosecute Li Mandri and Mannino. " ========== I would file a request under the freedom of information act-and if there was communication between the two that was material then there may be grounds for an obstruction of justice charge-against both KFC Sanders and Bonnie Dumbass.


Don Bauder March 17, 2010 @ 2:49 p.m.

Response to post #1: You make excellent points. Li Mandri's attempted parking deal reeked. (Incidentally, there is a question whether he intended to get $20,000 or $50,000 a year out of it. We used the $20,000 figure because it was the most conservative.)

Yes, we should get freedom of information act papers from both the DA's office and the mayor's office. But we believe we will get this reply: "Sorry, we can't provide the documents, there is a lawsuit going on."

Best, Don Bauder


a2zresource March 17, 2010 @ 3:54 p.m.

"At one point, FBI agent Cook told Kessler of a rumor that he might be fired. Murray wondered if something uttered at a secret meeting she had attended had been leaked. She asked Kessler, “Do you think our offices are bugged?” Kessler asked her if she were serious. She replied, “Really, do you think the 11th floor [of City Hall] is bugged?” The offices of those indicted in the Strippergate scandals had been bugged, she pointed out."

I was in the jury pool for the Strippergate federal criminal trial. A jury was sworn in before I made it onto the jurors' box. As part of sitting in the pool, we were treated by an hours' long reading of the indictment with breaks, essentially an extremely long list of individual recorded telephone calls between the indicted council members and various persons related to the Cheetah's strip club or other interests in Las Vegas.

I'm glad I didn't make it into the jury box. From the fidgeting alone of the council members and their attorneys during the reading of the indictment, they all sure looked pretty darn guilty to me.

I didn't help matters that my own council member got out of it by death before appearing for trial.


Don Bauder March 17, 2010 @ 5:28 p.m.

Response to post #3: Generally, Washington tells the US attorney's office in San Diego to concentrate on the border and avoid political or white collar crime. The US attorney under whom strippergate proceeded got sacked by the Bush-Rove crowd. People have written me saying there is an excellent obstruction of justice case here for the new US attorney to tackle. Taking any bets on whether this will go further? The San Diego judiciary will do its best to sweep this one under the rug. Best, Don Bauder


paul March 18, 2010 @ 6:53 a.m.


What I don't understand is why the democrat AG also has no interest in prosecuting the mostly republican power players in San Diego. As you said, now even though a democrat appointed the US Attorney (and the FBI is investigating), there is still not much chance of anything happening here.

My best guess is that it runs deep on both sides and they have no interest in turning over rocks. You could smell the fear every time Aguirre turned over a rock.

In fact, Aguirre found so much under so many rocks that people stopped believing him and started listening to his critics because they were tired of the message.


SurfPuppy619 March 18, 2010 @ 8:12 a.m.

In fact, Aguirre found so much under so many rocks that people stopped believing him and started listening to his critics because they were tired of the message.


And now we have guys who were overly critical of Mike basically singing his exactl same tune, like Chris Reed at the UT. I could never figure out why Chris Reed attacked Mike so viciously while he was basically on the same page as Mike with regard to many of the Cities problems. Never added up.

Hey, someone once said politics makes for strange bed fellows (??) or something like that-and I guess it is true.

But Mike Aguirre will have the last laugh-because SD will be filing BK somewhere down the road, most likely after KFC Sanders leaves office-totally vindicating Mike, if he has not been vindicated already.

In fact I am going to rename the "kick the can down the road" game to the "KFC Sanders" game.


Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 8:28 a.m.

Response to post #5: The Democrat AG was in on the smearing of Aguirre. That Democrat, Jerry Brown, is now running for governor again. San Diego's corruption crosses party lines. Aguirre definitely made mistakes, but his smearing -- along with the denigrating of Donna Frye, and the stealing of her mayoral election victory -- has meant that no reformer dares come forward in San Diego. In San Diego, the forces of corruption completely control the administrative, legislative, judicial and prosecutorial branches of government, not to mention the mainstream media. Keep that sentence in mind. Best, Don Bauder


MURPHYJUNK March 18, 2010 @ 8:42 a.m.

great report Don.

another reason we don't get honest "politicians" in office, an honest person would not want to associate with these types


Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 8:47 a.m.

Response to post #6: I have seldom read Chris Reed's blog, but during the Aguirre pogrom somebody would often call his column to my attention. I can tell you exactly why Reed smeared Aguirre: he wanted his job at the U-T. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 8:52 a.m.

Response to post #8: I will repeat what I said in post #7: In San Diego, the forces of corruption completely control the administrative, legislative, judicial, and prosecutorial branches of government and, of course, the mainstream media. This is why the city and county will continue to go in exactly the wrong direction: there will be more residential construction when the real need is for more infrastructure, maintenance, and services. Best, Don Bauder


CuddleFish March 18, 2010 @ 10:33 a.m.

Y'all need to cool your jets.

Let me ask the simple question posed in the first sentence of this article: How did Kessler get the investigative report?


HonestGovernment March 18, 2010 @ 10:53 a.m.

This story is real web, indeed! - Part 1 Yes, Nancy Graham, the Redevelopment Agency, and Marco Li Mandri had a very good working relationship, going way back. When Graham first arrived in San Diego in 2005, the Redevelopment Agency spent over $1000 each for decorative trash receptacles in Little Italy. In July 2007, as reported in the U-T, http://archives.signonsandiego.com/uniontrib/20070712/news_1m12flowers.html Graham riled downtown residents by budgeting $200,000 of Redevelopment Agency money for hanging flower baskets in Little Italy. Li Mandri, Little Italy Association administrator (in 2007 in charge of over $700,000/year in property taxes imposed especially for the LI Maintenance Assessment District, co-administered then by Kessler/Anderson/Murray), defended the decision, even though a determination of "blight" was required, a label that property owners paying hefty LI maintenance assessment fees might find objectionable. Graham dodged the blight issue by saying that the blight didn't have to be on India Street for the expenditure to be legal: "“You don't have to say this particular corner on this particular block has to be a problem in order to put this flowerpot on it. That's just not the way it works”. The "way it worked" was that the RA was giving up public money to decorate Li Mandri's fiefdom.


HonestGovernment March 18, 2010 @ 10:54 a.m.

Part 2 Why spend Redevelopment Agency money on items such as business district trashcans and flower baskets, in an area that already collects a huge amount of maintenance assessment money form area property owners? The answer resides in State law: the California Constitution seriously restricts the way monies collected in legally formed "maintenance assessment districts" may be spent. Trashcans and flowers, blocks away from a property, do not meet the legal requirement of being a "special benefit" to the distant property.

Li Mandri had been addressing this inconvenient legality for years. Working with former City Attorney Casey Gwinn, Li Mandri got Gwinn to write legal opinions in 1998 and 2003 in support of broadening the ways San Diego assessment districts could spend their assessments. The City Council approved ordinances in both years, amending the then-existing Municipal Code provisions that governed maintenance assessment districts. The amended ordinances no longer followed State law. The ordinance changes amended the code such that the definition of assessment district "improvements" was expanded to allow for a variety of facilities, services, and activities. These facilities, services, and activities, such as powerwashing business district sidewalks and business district private security patrols, were exactly like those already allowed under State law for property-based business improvement districts (PBIDs).


HonestGovernment March 18, 2010 @ 10:56 a.m.

Part 3 So why didn't CPCI/Economic Development just encourage the formation of PBIDs, instead of maintenance assessment districts, and instead of amending Muni Code such that it violated State law? The answer is that PBIDs are more difficult to form, compared to legal maintenance assessment districts (MADs). It is easy to rig a MAD ballot election, at least in San Diego, but not so easy to rig a PBID election, because of tougher State laws dictating formation processes. In San Diego, there are scores of legally formed MADs, run by Park and Recreation. There are eight illegal MADs: these were all formed and are run by CPCI/Economic Development. Ben Hueso, never to be overlooked as a player, worked in Economic Development before being elected to the Council. Hueso was instrumental in helping create the first of the illegal MADs, the Central Commercial MAD. Li Mandri was next, involved in setting up the Adams Avenue MAD. In addition to Li Mandri’s Little Italy MAD, the other illegal MADs are named City Heights, College Heights, Greater Golden Hill, Hillcrest Commercial Core, and Newport Avenue MADs. (In Feb 2010, the Greater Golden Hill MAD, the last of the Economic Development-run MADs formed, in 2007, was ruled illegal in San Diego’s Superior Court. That means that the other seven sister Economic Development MADs are also illegal.) The eight illegal MADs generate a total of $8,135,000 property tax dollars/year for the nonprofits (such as Li Mandri's Little Italy association) that run them, of which $322,000 is taken by the nonprofits and $193,255 is taken by the Economic Development division, for "administrative" costs. There would have been another illegal MAD, in Pacific Beach, if Faulconer hadn't pulled it from the ballot in May 2008. I always thought Faulconer pulled back on taking the PB MAD to ballot because of the huge outcry by PB residents; reading now about the behind-the-scenes fights between Kessler and Li Mandri, and the legal violations and investigations going on with Economic Development and the RA and HUD money, I wonder....


HonestGovernment March 18, 2010 @ 10:57 a.m.

Part 4 In an ironic turnabout, early in 2009, both the Redevelopment Agency and the Economic Development division under Murray/Anderson were after some of the illegitimately collected MAD money. Both Tracy Reed of the RA and Li Mandri were pushing the Crossroads PAC members to vote to approve spending College Heights MAD monies on sidewalk repairs and replacements. The Crossroads PAC members rightfully objected and voted the idea down, repeatedly, feeling that RA money should be spent on sidewalks, and questioning the legitimacy of making all property owners throughout a district pay special taxes for sidewalks in front of individual properties. Li Mandri, attending the Jan 2009 College Area BID meeting, along with Luis Ojeda, Tracy Reed, and Cynthia Harris from D7, said of the CH MAD that “with a surplus of funds and new members in the City office that this would be a good time to ask about limitations on spending.” Was Li Mandri planning on approaching Jan Goldsmith, like he did Casey Gwinn? Given the exposure of inside-City processes, provided by Kessler's lawsuit, will Goldsmith be as flexible as Gwinn was, in proposing Muni Code changes that violate State law? Time will tell.


Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 11:54 a.m.

Response to post #11: Kessler was a major source of the information in the FBI/police report. He knew more about these conflict-of-interest and no-bid contracts than anybody. He asked both the FBI and the police investigator for permission to get the report and give it to some people in the Sanders administration. After a wait, he got permission from both. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 11:57 a.m.

Response to post #13: That is excellent information, and highly believable. I did not know about it. I hope your word gets around. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 12:08 p.m.

Response to post #13: Ah, Casey Gwinn, the city attorney who gave away the keys to the city coffers to the Chargers and Padres (billionaires always beg for more public money), then left city hall with a fat contract under the D.A. to pursue domestic violence. None of this surprises me. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 12:10 p.m.

Response to post #14: Now there is a subject for more investigation. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 18, 2010 @ 12:16 p.m.

Response to post #15: Time may tell, but contrary to the old adage, time does not wound all heels. Not in San Diego, anyway. You raise a topic that must be flushed out and presented to the citizenry, which will be voting on the strong mayor concept and is being fed hooey on outsourcing. While some media will be trying to flush out this story, the powers-that-be will be trying to flush it down. Best, Don Bauder


Anon92107 March 19, 2010 @ 3:57 p.m.

Response to post #20:

Don, FYI: One more Strong Mayor Death occurred today as a result of "Nero" Sanders' lust for fire since his 2007 Firestorm deaths exposed him for what he really is.

As your Blog keeps proving almost daily, "Nero" Sanders' greatest legacy continues to be the destruction of quality of life for all San Diego families so that the GOP can satisfy their most maniacal dreams (nightmares for everyone else who lives here) of power and avarice regardless of how much death, destruction, disease they cause:

"Fatal Fire Highlights Brownout Issue: Union President" http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35951419


Don Bauder March 19, 2010 @ 5:13 p.m.

Response to post #21: That's what's wrong with the strong mayor concept. What happens when you get a Nero? Similarly, outsourcing is a good idea in theory, but it will only work in a reasonably clean city. The Li Mandri/Mannino experience is just one example of why it will not work in San Diego. Best, Don Bauder


Anon92107 March 20, 2010 @ 12:42 p.m.

Response to post #22:

Why hasn't the FBI been arresting top San Diego politicians such as Sanders and Murphy and GOP Establishment criminals for participating in all the criminal activities that you have been exposing for decades?

The consequences of criminal activities that you have exposed are already resulting in out of control public safety (such as firestorms and brownouts), health (such as drinking water pollution) and education systems failures that have already resulted in hellacious death, destruction and disease threats to everyone in San Diego?


a2zresource March 20, 2010 @ 1:21 p.m.

RE #12-15:

Discussion of BIDs, MADs and PACs is due for airing out in public.

In my hot little hand, I am holding a 16-page SEDC document handed out late last year, calling for the formation of one consolidated Project Area Committee (PAC) on merging project areas to allow for increased bond capacity up to $29 million, with a stated goal of "Achieve a financial surplus for community projects and prioritization".

This is the same SEDC that may or may not have executed loan agreements regarding HUD funds, part of the $139 million in undocumented inter-agency loans that nobody at Economic Development for City of San Diego will return an email about. The agreements covering that much money were necessary under the HUD Office of Inspector General audit (http://www.hud.gov/offices/oig/reports/files/ig0991005.pdf) mentioned in Kessler's lawsuit (http://media.sdreader.com/pdf/kessler-suit.pdf).

I did not know that SEDC was authorized to have it, its PAC or any other part of it acquire a "financial surplus"... unless Carolyn Smith has been hired recently as another under-the-SEDC-board's-radar consultant...


Don Bauder March 20, 2010 @ 6:38 p.m.

Response to post #23: The FBI (in this case in conjunction with another agency) does the investigation. The U.S. attorney (or in this case DA) is supposed to do the prosecution. Dumanis was handed a thorough and professional piece of investigation that clearly indicated fraud. She failed to prosecute. Why? It's pretty obvious the case would have been extremely embarrassing to Sanders. It might have implicated him. I have never seen Dumanis pursue any case that would embarrass or implicate anybody in the establishment. Under her, the DA's office is completely political. I doubt any prosecutorial body in San Diego -- kept as it is -- would tackle this one. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 20, 2010 @ 6:40 p.m.

Response to post #24: I agree. There should be a public airing. San Diegans should learn why these deals get swept under the rug. Best, Don Bauder


SDsince1944 March 20, 2010 @ 9:30 p.m.

Don-Each time I read your column I shed a tear for the city I was born in 66 years ago. For years I read your columns at the Union and followed you over to the Reader. It is shocking that our city government and our local press has become so pro-business, anti-truth that the Reader is the only place where these sorts of allegations are even mentioned. I just spent 10 minutes doing a quick search of the Union website, trying to find any pertinent articles on Kessler, Vice, etc. I could not find ONE reference to this issue, which happened more than a year ago. All of the current "journalists" at the Union should be ashamed of themselves. And for the Mayor's office to refuse to even take questions from the Reader is incredible. You are the very same guy who was skilled enough to write for the pro-govt Union, and now they shun you because they are afraid that something negative might come out. THESE BASTARDS ARE PUBLIC SERVANTS, NOT CELEBRITIES that can demand a right to privacy. If they dont answer the tough questions, they must be fired! GIVE ME MY CITY BACK!


Burwell March 20, 2010 @ 11:34 p.m.


That't what I say. I blame the slack jawed midwesterners and easterners who infest this city like maggots on a dead carcass for the city's woes. They are the ones who elect politicians like Sanders to public office and do not care about the city or the state of its finances. They are the ones who tolerate, and even support, outrages like the proposed convention center expansion and the new Chargers stadium. They are the reason why older neighborhoods like North Park, Bankers Hill, and Pacific Beach have been destroyed by the proliferation of cracker box apartment buildings.


Anon92107 March 21, 2010 @ 5:10 a.m.

Response to post #25, 26, 27 & 28:

The tragedy for America today has already been the fact that the FBI allowed bin Laden to attack and slaughter Americans on 9/11.

So their failures to protect San Diegans from the GOP Establishment and the totally corrupt San Diego justice system is becoming one more historical tragedy that you keep documenting with your excellent investigative reporting that gives the FBI all the proof they need to save our Democracy.

But another truth is that the GOP is allowed to destroy our Democracy not only by the FBI but also by the majority of San Diego citizens who choose to look the other way, watch and do nothing to save American Democracy.

It has to be totally frustrating for an excellent investigative reporter like yourself to continuously provide the FBI with proof of criminal activities by the San Diego GOP and know that the FBI will never protect us from GOP corruption that has been allowed to destroy the lives of too many San Diegans for too many decades with no end in sight until San Diego crashes and burns like the WTC holocaust that the FBI allowed.

But history also documents far too many cases of failures of democracies before ours, such as the fall of German Democracy to the Nazis before WWII, and now the fall of American Democracy to the GOP.

We never learn from the lessons of history, so the ongoing GOP destruction of our education system make the Fall of American Democracy inevitable because the last decade including the Bush-Cheney Autocracy and the current congressional republicans who keep proving that to be the goal of the GOP.

It is Time For San Diegans To Fight Back using the proof of destructive GOP destruction you keep providing Don, but you also keep proving that the FBI will never put them in jail in time to save us from ourselves.


Don Bauder March 21, 2010 @ 6:22 a.m.

Response to post #27: You raise an excellent point. How can a democracy function if a government refuses to answer questions from the one publication that is trying to tell the truth about what is going on? It's fraud. That government answers questions of publications that kiss its rear. You saw it in the private sector when crooked companies such as Enron refused to take questions from analysts who were skeptical about its accounting, which turned out to be completely fraudulent. Sempra, too, refuses to answer questions posed by the Reader. What is it hiding? We intend to find out. Sempra is a regulated public utility that has an obligation to deal with the public. Not so. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 21, 2010 @ 6:31 a.m.

Response to post #28: Excellent point. Far too many San Diegans are permanent tourists. They want to play golf and go to the beaches and they don't want anyone rocking the boat. You can see why crooks pick San Diego as a haven for picking the citizens' pockets.The real estate development establishment has the mayor and most of the council in its pocket. With the establishment controlling the administrative, legislative, judicial and prosecutorial branches, San Diego will continue going in exactly the wrong direction: the emphasis will be on residential and downtown commercial development when it should be on infrastructure, maintenance, services, and neighborhoods. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 21, 2010 @ 6:37 a.m.

Response to post #31: In this case, though, the FBI and the San Diego police department did their jobs: they produced a well-researched document outlining the fraud. But Bonnie Dumanis wouldn't touch it because it would implicate her friends. We should thank the FBI for its participation -- and also the police detective, who wound up getting disciplined for daring to expose the truth. That's San Diego. Best, Don Bauder


a2zresource March 21, 2010 @ 12:17 p.m.

I've made mention of catastrophe theory before. It's only my opinion, but I believe we're only one good wildfire away from making like Floatopia to get away from the flames as Enron by the Sea burns to the ground later this year.

A little corruption in government is annoying but tolerable. At least that's the way it's been here for decades, since the filming of IT'S A MAD, MAD, MAD, MAD WORLD. If there's any doubt about that, then note the police map that Captain Culpepper points to and the prominent use of Yellow Cabs at the climax of the film.

Now, the corruption is sufficient to reduce public safety services, put government employee pensions at risk, reduce library hours, pink-slip teachers, close schools, and ration our water and electricity while developers continue to contribute their way to filling the hillsides with homes that are barely selling anyways.

I say that everybody needs to do some preparation for the disasters to come.

I have a PDF list of all FEMA Emergency Management Institute online courses offered free to US citizens at http://cemis.stickywebs.com/ispindex.pdf that contains links to each course's study materials and final exams. I obsessively compile such lists because I was an old senior patrol leader from Troop 376 in Lemon Grove, even before Nixon resigned. Be prepared!

Some of you may think this is a silly approach, but when things get REALLY screwed up here, I'm hoping that some of us knowing how emergency incidents ought to be managed under "best practices" will keep us from looking like New Orleans on a very bad day after Katrina... At least it just might help those of us who want to know how all that emergency money from Uncle Sam gets spent. Or is supposed to be spent. Whatever.


Don Bauder March 21, 2010 @ 1:23 p.m.

Response to post #33: You make several good points, but one stands out: the real estate development industry controls city government. So there are more and more plans for residential and downtown commercial development. But both of those markets are dismal and probably will be for some time. At some point, San Diego has to stop being a real estate-driven economy and become a products and services-driven economy. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 21, 2010 @ 1:33 p.m.

Response to post #34: That was wonderful. If I heard it correctly, that cop was losing his pension because he was an honest cop. Is there a solution to SD's pension problem? Hiring honest cops? Best, Don Bauder


a2zresource March 21, 2010 @ 3:31 p.m.

RE #36

I should refuse to answer on multiple grounds.

In any case, the following segment appears to show that a good cop going bad can get a pension, times three...



Don Bauder March 21, 2010 @ 5:32 p.m.

Response to post #36: I recognized Spencer Tracy and Mickey Rooney. I'm sure frequent movie-goers will recognize more. I thought we had determined that only bad cops get big pensions. Best, Don Bauder


Anon92107 March 21, 2010 @ 7:27 p.m.

Response to post #32:

Actually, the corruption of the San Diego Establishment, our judiciary, Sanders, Dumanis et al. that you keep documenting demand that the FBI take responsibility for arrests in San Diego.

However, the FBI looked the other way while the al Quaeda trained and planned 9/11 right under their noses, then looked the other way while Major Hasan ran amuck then murdered 12 American Heroes and Patriots at Ft. Hood last November when the FBI should have been protecting them after they risked their lives so many times for America.

So it is no surprise that the FBI is letting corruption destroy San Diego right under their noses while they watch and do nothing again and again and again.

Besides, isn't the FBI supposed to take over when local politicians and judges are too corrupt to protect the citizens from GOP corruption that you expose continuously?

Or are we really learning that the FBI are actually part of the GOP establishment themselves?


Don Bauder March 21, 2010 @ 10 p.m.

Response to post #39: It's not the FBI's job to handle the prosecution. Nor is it the FBI's job to police any city. The FBI hardly has a spotless record, to be sure. During the reign of J. Edgar Hoover, the FBI pretended organized crime didn't exist (the mobsters had plenty on him) and chased purported communists. Those were the bad years. The FBI has done some good things, too -- including the San Diego FBI office. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 22, 2010 @ 11:58 a.m.

For your wide-screen enjoyment...


Off to the lobby with ya!

One of the funniest shows of ALL TIME~~

The "BIG W"!


Anon92107 March 22, 2010 @ 12:05 p.m.

Response to post #40: Thank you for your thoughts on the FBI Don, I really want to believe that.

By coincidence Time magazine’s March 22 Cover Story was “10 Ideas for the Next 10 Years” and Important Trend Number 9 was “The Twilight of the Elites” which had the opening paragraph that sounds like somethings you have said:

“In the past decade, nearly every pillar institution in American society — whether it's General Motors, Congress, Wall Street, Major League Baseball, the Catholic Church or the mainstream media — has revealed itself to be corrupt, incompetent or both. And at the root of these failures are the people who run these institutions, the bright and industrious minds who occupy the commanding heights of our meritocratic order. In exchange for their power, status and remuneration, they are supposed to make sure everything operates smoothly. But after a cascade of scandals and catastrophes, that implicit social contract lies in ruins, replaced by mass skepticism, contempt and disillusionment.” http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1971133_1971110_1971117,00.html

QUESTION FOR YOU DON: Isn’t it way past due time that all San Diegans get outraged over the tsunami of corruption in and destruction of San Diego you have been reporting for decades, along with the “well-researched document outlining the fraud” produced by the FBI and SDPD that you mentioned?

If so, the FBI has to make the arrests of all the corrupt San Diego politicians, judges and other establishment elite that you have exposed, because as you say locals like “Dumanis wouldn't touch it because it would implicate her friends.”


Don Bauder March 22, 2010 @ 12:16 p.m.

Response to post #42: That paragraph from Time is well-written and sagacious. I hope Time goes on to explain what society is going to do with its major institutions justifiably held in contempt by the citizenry. Do the institutions reform or will they be replaced in esteem by other institutions? The former is not likely and the latter is only faintly possible. As to San Diego, you know the enemy: apathy. People will not respond until taxes have to go up sharply, the infrastructure decays so badly that citizens scream, or the city goes into bankruptcy. Then there will be an awakening -- maybe. And that's still a few years away, probably. Best, Don Bauder


Anon92107 March 22, 2010 @ 1:06 p.m.

Response to post #43:

The fact is that if the FBI won't arrest the corrupt politicians, judges and establishment elite based on your investigative reporting plus the FBI/SDPD fraud documentation they already have then saving Scam Diego from the increasingly hideous consequences of corruption is truly a hopeless goal even if San Diegans were to become enthusiastic against corruption that has already destroyed far too many San Diego lives, health and property.


Don Bauder March 22, 2010 @ 2:38 p.m.

Response to post #44: By and large, the prosecutors in San Diego are kept by the establishment -- DA, AG, city attorney, and probably the U.S. Attorney's office, although we should give it a try under new management. Those agencies will catch small-time criminals, but won't even attempt to go after anybody connected with the downtown powers. The judiciary has the same mentality. It's sad, but it's a fact. Look at the Reader's past stories on the John Moores episodes. Best, Don Bauder


SurfPuppy619 March 22, 2010 @ 8:22 p.m.

I have been reading about our DA papering certain local judges because she does not like the way they are ruling against her. Man, you talk about the bottom of the barrel.

I can only think of one other time in recent memory where a county DA had a blanket, ongoing boycott of a superior court judge-and it had nothing to do with the judges rulings but with how he was treating young, female DDA’s in his courtroom. He was rude, threatening and very obnoxious to them. That was the only time I can recall where a DA in any county in this state had this type of boycott. And that didn’t last too long because that judge was pulled from office by the CJP, and now he doesn’t even have a law license.

I am pretty sure most prosecutors would roll over in disgust over our local DA boycotting judges based on adverse rulings.


Don Bauder March 22, 2010 @ 9:59 p.m.

Response to post #46: It's pure hubris. Dumanis has the complete backing -- and bundles of money -- from the downtown establishment, to whom she has granted legal immunity. She has no opposition. She can do whatever she likes. Best, Don Bauder


Don Bauder March 22, 2010 @ 10:06 p.m.

Belated response to post #41: To me, the big "W" is the University of Wisconsin, alas, humbled by Cornell Sunday. Fortunately for my cardiac and psychological condition, I didn't get to watch more than a minute or so of it. Some other game was on. Best, Don Bauder


epaulmit March 23, 2010 @ 2:46 p.m.

Don After the article that you wrote in the Reader several years ago about Moore's partner having mafia connections( I can't remember his name-started with an L,I believe), I feared for your safty. Now this. Watch your back.


Don Bauder March 23, 2010 @ 3:42 p.m.

Response to post #49: That article was not written by me. It was written by another Reader staffer -- an excellent reporter and writer. In fact, I was not on the Reader when that very revealing cover story was penned. I was still with the U-T, and wishing I had gotten the story, although knowing that the editors would never have let it run. However, given the nature of your message, I don't think I should give that Reader writer's name. Best, Don Bauder


jcsuperstar March 24, 2010 @ 7:30 p.m.

First, Don, I am amazed that none of these guys' friends haven't tried to whack you yet. You've written truthfully with keen observations on so many important things for which many of us are grateful.

The thing that really boils my blood is when public servants refuse to answer questions and return calls. It should never have been an option while working under the auspices of our government at any level.

What we need is an initiative, statewide or citywide or whatever, that requires a cogent response from any government worker or office within the covered jurisdiction within, say, 72 hours of such a request. It probably should be limited to requests from registered (however that would be accomplished if there isn't some present licensing or registration that could be used) press agencies to cut down on potential abuse. The citizens who are their ultimate bosses in their collective deserve this. Government offices should never have the individual's rights against self-incrimination. And if one does plead the fifth and respectfully chooses to not make a public statement the voters should remember that person or (if it is not an elected individual) the elected person who appointed or chose to keep hired that person.


Don Bauder March 24, 2010 @ 10:50 p.m.

Response to post #51: Yes, government officials should have to respond to press inquiries. But how in the world would you pass legislation requiring it? Such a law would have to be passed by Congress -- home of the professional shifters and dodgers. Best, Don Bauder


Sign in to comment

Let’s Be Friends

Subscribe for local event alerts, concerts tickets, promotions and more from the San Diego Reader