Douglas Manchester and Kevin Faulconer
  • Douglas Manchester and Kevin Faulconer
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Business at U-T San Diego may not be as good as expected, according to a February 6 company memo, but its publisher, La Jolla real estate developer and hotel magnate Douglas Manchester, has come up with a big dollop of last-minute political honey for San Diego's Republican party, which is backing the mayoral hopes of GOP city councilman Kevin Faulconer.

A disclosure report posted online by California's secretary of state shows that Manchester and his Manchester Financial Group, LLC, gave $20,000 to the local GOP on February 7, the final Friday of the campaign. Election day is Tuesday, February 11.

That's in addition to the $150,000 Manchester gave to the San Diego Republican Party in 2013 and an identical sum he handed out to the state GOP during 2013's mayoral primary, filings show. In September, he also gave $25,000 to the GOP Lincoln Club, which is currently showering hit pieces on the Democratic hopeful in the race, city councilman David Alvarez. The publisher also gave $1000 to Faulconer's controlled mayoral campaign committee.

That brings the total contribution of the voluble mega-millionaire — who is seeking city land use approvals to redevelop his media operation's 12.86 acre Mission Valley headquarters into a mammoth condominium tower as well as to build a controversial commercial complex on Navy land downtown — to at least $356,000 so far, according to the records.

In its coverage of the mayoral runoff, U-T San Diego has disclosed some — though not all — of its publisher's political money, reporting at the bottom of a February 1 story: "Business leaders have also contributed to the Republican Party to aid Faulconer. For example, Manchester, a developer who owns the U-T, gave $150,000 each last year to the state and local GOP, both of which support Faulconer."

In a February 7 report that didn't mention Manchester's contributions to the Lincoln Club, the newspaper quoted the club's president and chief executive T.J. Zane as saying, "The Lincoln Club believes in the accuracy of our mail pieces as much as we believe out-of-town special interest money is trying to buy this election for David Alvarez."

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Visduh Feb. 8, 2014 @ 12:36 p.m.

We can hardly wait for the last-minute "news" coverage in the Mill that will be wildly pro-Faulconer and anti-Alvarez. This election will be a referendum on the influence the paper still holds, if any, over the voters. With the circulation plunging, and with fewer and fewer voters seeing the Mill, let alone those who actually pay any attention to the editorials, the paper may have finally become a non-player in local elections.


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