U-T publisher Douglas Manchester, the wealthy real estate and hotel mogul from La Jolla, put up at least $356,000 to help elect mayor Kevin Faulconer earlier this year. Now Manchester’s son Douglas, working for his father to develop a posh high-rise hotel in downtown Austin, Texas, has found a mayoral candidate of his own to get behind. Austin city campaign disclosure records show that on June 26, the younger Manchester, widely known to observers in Texas as “Baby Doug,” kicked in $350 for the campaign of Steve Adler.
A well-heeled developers’ attorney, Adler hit up supporters for a total of $363,000 in seven weeks, “more than current Mayor Lee Leffingwell raised either of the two times he ran for the office,” reported the Austin American-Statesman July 11. Adler, who is running against two city-council incumbents, is closely tied to Texas Democratic politicos, the paper reported, chairing the campaign of a state representative and staff lawyering for a state senator. “His opponents depict him as a millionaire who is supported by business interests,” the paper said. “Adler is widely expected to tap into his own personal wealth to fund his campaign. He already loaned the campaign $120,000 in the spring.” And, similar to the case of his father’s mayor in San Diego, Baby Doug’s Austin pick has “has drawn the ire of environmentalists for representing developers in land-development battles.”
The elder Manchester has also had to contend with environmental critics, but his backing of San Diego mayor Faulconer has resulted in some new allies at city hall. Shortly after he took office this spring, Faulconer named Manchester’s Mission Valley architect Doug Austin to the planning commission. “I’ve always seen the paper as a beacon of the community, so it’s symbolic of that,” Austin told the U-T in 2012 about his design — capped with lighthouse-like turret — for a proposed new U-T headquarters in Mission Valley. “It’s out there to be the eyes and ears of the community — it’s a light. That’s the big inspiration piece.”