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Manchester and Wisdom face off in mayoral money race

U-T publisher antes up $90,000 for GOP as ex-DJ and financial manager from Rancho Santa Fe backs Democrat

Mayoral candidates David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer
Mayoral candidates David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer

It’s been a busy few days of disclosure by treasurers for the two candidates for mayor — as well as their big-money backers — as next month’s run-off election looms closer.

Republican April Boling — the CPA and onetime city-council candidate who handles the books of the GOP Lincoln Club as well as the local Republican Party — lodged amendments to 2013 statements that failed to disclose $17,000 in donations by Stuck in Rough, LLC, the controversial Escondido developer, to the club’s famous round of hit pieces.

As previously reported here, Stuck in the Rough’s money had been earlier attributed by the Lincoln Club to another donor.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Wisdom, the ex-KGB disc jockey–turned–money manager from Rancho Santa Fe, kicked in $1000 for Democrat David Alvarez on January 17.

Don Bauder wrote about him back in February 2005.

Gabriel Wisdom is a market reporter for KPBS radio and appears on other stations, such as those subscribing to Business Talk Radio, a nationwide syndication operation.

"I have a barter arrangement" with commercial stations and the syndicate, says Wisdom, acknowledging that he effectively pays money to get on the air. He is an underwriter of KPBS programs but insists that has nothing to do with his being a regular performer there.

In 1999, Frank E. Rowlen, former finance director of Vista, admitted that he had put the city in illegal investments, submitted false reports to the council, and received favorable treatment from Wisdom and his stockbroker partner, Michael Axelrod.

In return, they got the Vista account, from which the pair generated $768,000 in commissions. The funds were illegal under Vista laws, confessed Rowlen.

He said that Wisdom and Axelrod gave him discounted commissions (often zero) and gave him access to hot issues of stock that guaranteed him a profit.

Wisdom denies Rowlen's allegations. "I was dropped from that case," he says. "I haven't had any arbitrations since 1996."

And it wouldn’t be a campaign for San Diego mayor without yet another round of big cash from La Jolla real estate developer and U-T San Diego owner Douglas Manchester, whose Manchester Financial Group came up with another $90,000 for the county Republican Party on December 18, according to a disclosure filed by Boling on January 20.

During 2013, the party spent a total of $254,196 on behalf of city councilman Kevin Faulconer, its pick for mayor. A January 18 U-T story about big “surrogate” cash in the mayor's race didn't mention Manchester's sizable contributions.

Manchester Financial gave a total of $150,000 to the county GOP last year, the filing says. In addition, the firm contributed $150,000 to the California Republican Party, which is also backing Faulconer, disclosures show.

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Mayoral candidates David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer
Mayoral candidates David Alvarez and Kevin Faulconer

It’s been a busy few days of disclosure by treasurers for the two candidates for mayor — as well as their big-money backers — as next month’s run-off election looms closer.

Republican April Boling — the CPA and onetime city-council candidate who handles the books of the GOP Lincoln Club as well as the local Republican Party — lodged amendments to 2013 statements that failed to disclose $17,000 in donations by Stuck in Rough, LLC, the controversial Escondido developer, to the club’s famous round of hit pieces.

As previously reported here, Stuck in the Rough’s money had been earlier attributed by the Lincoln Club to another donor.

Meanwhile, Gabriel Wisdom, the ex-KGB disc jockey–turned–money manager from Rancho Santa Fe, kicked in $1000 for Democrat David Alvarez on January 17.

Don Bauder wrote about him back in February 2005.

Gabriel Wisdom is a market reporter for KPBS radio and appears on other stations, such as those subscribing to Business Talk Radio, a nationwide syndication operation.

"I have a barter arrangement" with commercial stations and the syndicate, says Wisdom, acknowledging that he effectively pays money to get on the air. He is an underwriter of KPBS programs but insists that has nothing to do with his being a regular performer there.

In 1999, Frank E. Rowlen, former finance director of Vista, admitted that he had put the city in illegal investments, submitted false reports to the council, and received favorable treatment from Wisdom and his stockbroker partner, Michael Axelrod.

In return, they got the Vista account, from which the pair generated $768,000 in commissions. The funds were illegal under Vista laws, confessed Rowlen.

He said that Wisdom and Axelrod gave him discounted commissions (often zero) and gave him access to hot issues of stock that guaranteed him a profit.

Wisdom denies Rowlen's allegations. "I was dropped from that case," he says. "I haven't had any arbitrations since 1996."

And it wouldn’t be a campaign for San Diego mayor without yet another round of big cash from La Jolla real estate developer and U-T San Diego owner Douglas Manchester, whose Manchester Financial Group came up with another $90,000 for the county Republican Party on December 18, according to a disclosure filed by Boling on January 20.

During 2013, the party spent a total of $254,196 on behalf of city councilman Kevin Faulconer, its pick for mayor. A January 18 U-T story about big “surrogate” cash in the mayor's race didn't mention Manchester's sizable contributions.

Manchester Financial gave a total of $150,000 to the county GOP last year, the filing says. In addition, the firm contributed $150,000 to the California Republican Party, which is also backing Faulconer, disclosures show.

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Comments
2

So Manchester Financial gave $300,000 to the GOP, but had to lay off employees at the U-T for financial reasons. Maybe he should have given that pile of cash to his U-T instead.

Jan. 21, 2014

in answer to Jay Berman: David Alvarez has had plenty of "management" experience. He managed to broker a community plan for Barrio Logan after years of City stonewalling even though Faulconer big-wigs are lying to get it repealed by hook or by crook via popular referendum.

Alvarez managed to find a compromise between the swordspoint former Mayor Filner and intransigent hoteliers on sharing their fees to finance the Balboa Park Centennial. Mysteriously, that celebration has been put on ice, even though do-nothing former Mayor Sanders' flunkies continue to draw Centennial paychecks. (Sanders is a featured Faulconer-fan on TV ads this week.)

Alvarez managed to win his City Council seat by defeating a Hueso-family machine Democrat. He worked harder and smarter and had more (integrity) to offer voters, just the same as now, when he's reportedly running ahead of Kevin Faulconer in the most recent mayoral poll.

David Alvarez IS being supported by regular people and by labor unions (of regular working men and women) who are chipping in, walking and calling to support his campaign for mayor. That's a good thing. We need a change.

Jan. 22, 2014

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