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On October 23, the Neighborhood Market Association trade group, comprised of liquor marts and small neighborhood markets, contributed $100,000 to the pro-Fletcher political action committee called "Neighborhoods for Nathan Fletcher for Mayor 2013."

It's not the first time the group has supported Fletcher in his run for mayor. Last year, Mark Arabo, the head of the association, attacked then-congressman Bob Filner for being an "obscenity-laden" "bully" who, according to an interview with the Reader's Matt Potter, was "bad for small business." At the same time, Arabo, a local leader of the Chaldean Church, donated thousands to Fletcher's failed run for mayor.

But Arabo is no newcomer to the world of soft-money politics. In 2010, also reported by the Reader, San Diego's Ethics Commission slapped Arabo and his convenience-store cohorts with a $14,000 fine for failing to report pouring thousands of dollars into mailers meant to defeat the effort to ban booze at San Diego's beaches.

According to recent disclosures filed with the city clerk's office, the independent expenditure committee Neighborhoods for Nathan Fletcher for Mayor 2013 was made official on October 21. The committee is based out of Los Angeles and, oddly enough, lists Arabo as one of its "principal officers."

Subsequent filings show that just two days after, the committee received $33,000 in seed money from the like-minded pro-Fletcher PAC "Restoring Trust in San Diego."

The pro-Fletcher committees will need all the help they can get to keep Fletcher in the front of the pack. During this past month, the candidate has found himself on the front lines, having to defend his name from attacks by both sides of the aisle; one having been launched by the Lincoln Club and local Republican Party, the other by unions hoping to tarnish the new Democrat's credibility. Both groups have spent thousands of dollars on anti-Fletcher mailers.

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