Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Chargers, Airbnb, and Mark Fabiani’s vicious knife fighter

"Master of disaster" partner signs on as influencer with home rental outfit

Kevin Faulconer
Kevin Faulconer

Two colleagues from the White House of Democratic president Bill Clinton and his vice president, Al Gore, have followed twisted but prosperous paths since those halcyon years of Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky.

Arguably the most famous of the pair is Mark Fabiani, who landed in the money fields of La Jolla, where he is currently waging a well-publicized war with Republican San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer over the fate of the Chargers, where Fabiani is on retainer as special counsel.

Chris Lehane

Fabiani's longtime partner in power, Chris Lehane, has led a less publicized but equally intriguing life as a well-compensated political and lobbying consultant, sometimes alongside Fabiani, sometimes not.

Three years ago, Lehane tried to become more famous via way of Hollywood, writing and producing a movie about the pair’s dubious trade.

Sex-hyped movie bombs

"Knife Fight is about sex, drugs, money and how politics is really played — a knife fight in a telephone booth, where blood is spilled, low blows are common and the best candidate is not always the best person," said a 2012 promotional piece about the picture, starring professional bad boy Rob Lowe.

With a star like Rob Lowe, how did it miss?

The sordid saga made a quick trip to video.

But the consulting firm of Fabiani & Lehane lives on.

The firm's website says "Fabiani & Lehane is a strategic communications firm based in California with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. The firm provides strategic advice and tactical execution to companies, trade groups, public sector institutions, candidates for public office and individuals facing complex financial, marketing, branding, media, legal, and image challenges."

In Sacramento, Lehane played a key behind-the-scenes role in rallying politicians and public behind a new subsidized basketball stadium for the Kings, partially owned by the three sons of San Diego Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

Other assignments have included a 2009 push in Los Angeles for Italian-made urban rail cars, and for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, doing damage control during a 2007 Writers Guild strike.

In March 2011, they were hired by the L.A.-based Kabbalah Center during a controversy involving Madonna's Malawi school failure.

Hired by Texas Republican Rick Perry

In August of last year, Fabiani was in the news for signing on with the legal team of Texas governor Rick Perry, battling a felony indictment.

Rick Perry

"I'm proud to join Governor Perry's outstanding team which has been assembled to fight back against this attack on the rule of law," a Fabiani statement said. "I am confident this prosecution will be revealed to be contrary to the law and wholly meritless."

As Fabiani has battled on for Republican Perry and against San Diego's GOP mayor Faulconer, Lehane — who earlier this year boasted that he and Fabiani had drafted the Clintons' famous 1995 "right wing conspiracy" memo — has been similarly busy working for a host of other well-heeled clients.

Chief among them has been Democratic hedge-fund billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer and his Next Generation political operation. Lehane boasted in 2014 that Steyer's group had created “one of the biggest political infrastructures in the country in the key ’16 states,” according to Politico, though most of the favored hopefuls lost.

To boost Airbnb’s troubled fortunes

Now comes word via Politico that Lehane has become head of global policy and public affairs for Airbnb, the controversial online vacation-rental outfit that's lately been battling with San Diego's Faulconer-led city hall over whether renters have to obtain conditional use permits or else face stiff fines as high as $250,000.

“Chris will be directing our work with policymakers and our efforts to educate more people, organizations and stakeholders about Airbnb and the right to share your home,” says an announcement of the move on Airbnb’s company blog.

“Chris and his team will also help organize our hosts and ensure their voices are heard loud and clear by policymakers who are learning more about Airbnb.”

According to Politico, "Lehane, who has worked as an outside consultant with Airbnb for about a year, said the move is because he shares a common vision with the home-sharing service, but that he remained close to Steyer.”

Bob White

In San Diego, Airbnb has already retained the services of California Strategies, the Sacramento-based influence-peddling firm founded by Bob White, the ex-top aide to Republican San Diego mayor, senator, and governor Pete Wilson.

White’s mission: “Adoption of a policy that supports AirBnB’s continued operation in the City of San Diego.”

Faulconer's struggles with both the Chargers and Airbnb and their army of lawyers and lobbyists don't appear likely to end soon. In the case of the football team, the September 11 deadline set by the mayor to begin negotiations over his rush Mission Valley stadium plan, has been repeatedly spurned by Fabiani.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Corner Chicken spices up East Village

Tajima team embraces San Diego’s hot chicken moment
Next Article

San Diego inside sports

El Cajon Speedway, dark side of NFL, pick-up b-ball, Lakeside's Jarrod Boswell, start of Padres, SDSU football scandal
Kevin Faulconer
Kevin Faulconer

Two colleagues from the White House of Democratic president Bill Clinton and his vice president, Al Gore, have followed twisted but prosperous paths since those halcyon years of Whitewater and Monica Lewinsky.

Arguably the most famous of the pair is Mark Fabiani, who landed in the money fields of La Jolla, where he is currently waging a well-publicized war with Republican San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer over the fate of the Chargers, where Fabiani is on retainer as special counsel.

Chris Lehane

Fabiani's longtime partner in power, Chris Lehane, has led a less publicized but equally intriguing life as a well-compensated political and lobbying consultant, sometimes alongside Fabiani, sometimes not.

Three years ago, Lehane tried to become more famous via way of Hollywood, writing and producing a movie about the pair’s dubious trade.

Sex-hyped movie bombs

"Knife Fight is about sex, drugs, money and how politics is really played — a knife fight in a telephone booth, where blood is spilled, low blows are common and the best candidate is not always the best person," said a 2012 promotional piece about the picture, starring professional bad boy Rob Lowe.

With a star like Rob Lowe, how did it miss?

The sordid saga made a quick trip to video.

But the consulting firm of Fabiani & Lehane lives on.

The firm's website says "Fabiani & Lehane is a strategic communications firm based in California with offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. The firm provides strategic advice and tactical execution to companies, trade groups, public sector institutions, candidates for public office and individuals facing complex financial, marketing, branding, media, legal, and image challenges."

In Sacramento, Lehane played a key behind-the-scenes role in rallying politicians and public behind a new subsidized basketball stadium for the Kings, partially owned by the three sons of San Diego Democratic billionaire Irwin Jacobs.

Other assignments have included a 2009 push in Los Angeles for Italian-made urban rail cars, and for the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, doing damage control during a 2007 Writers Guild strike.

In March 2011, they were hired by the L.A.-based Kabbalah Center during a controversy involving Madonna's Malawi school failure.

Hired by Texas Republican Rick Perry

In August of last year, Fabiani was in the news for signing on with the legal team of Texas governor Rick Perry, battling a felony indictment.

Rick Perry

"I'm proud to join Governor Perry's outstanding team which has been assembled to fight back against this attack on the rule of law," a Fabiani statement said. "I am confident this prosecution will be revealed to be contrary to the law and wholly meritless."

As Fabiani has battled on for Republican Perry and against San Diego's GOP mayor Faulconer, Lehane — who earlier this year boasted that he and Fabiani had drafted the Clintons' famous 1995 "right wing conspiracy" memo — has been similarly busy working for a host of other well-heeled clients.

Chief among them has been Democratic hedge-fund billionaire and environmental activist Tom Steyer and his Next Generation political operation. Lehane boasted in 2014 that Steyer's group had created “one of the biggest political infrastructures in the country in the key ’16 states,” according to Politico, though most of the favored hopefuls lost.

To boost Airbnb’s troubled fortunes

Now comes word via Politico that Lehane has become head of global policy and public affairs for Airbnb, the controversial online vacation-rental outfit that's lately been battling with San Diego's Faulconer-led city hall over whether renters have to obtain conditional use permits or else face stiff fines as high as $250,000.

“Chris will be directing our work with policymakers and our efforts to educate more people, organizations and stakeholders about Airbnb and the right to share your home,” says an announcement of the move on Airbnb’s company blog.

“Chris and his team will also help organize our hosts and ensure their voices are heard loud and clear by policymakers who are learning more about Airbnb.”

According to Politico, "Lehane, who has worked as an outside consultant with Airbnb for about a year, said the move is because he shares a common vision with the home-sharing service, but that he remained close to Steyer.”

Bob White

In San Diego, Airbnb has already retained the services of California Strategies, the Sacramento-based influence-peddling firm founded by Bob White, the ex-top aide to Republican San Diego mayor, senator, and governor Pete Wilson.

White’s mission: “Adoption of a policy that supports AirBnB’s continued operation in the City of San Diego.”

Faulconer's struggles with both the Chargers and Airbnb and their army of lawyers and lobbyists don't appear likely to end soon. In the case of the football team, the September 11 deadline set by the mayor to begin negotiations over his rush Mission Valley stadium plan, has been repeatedly spurned by Fabiani.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Kanye West for president

Will San Diego voters be lining up at the polls?
Next Article

Björk Live from Reykjavik, Zoonotic Diseases of Marine Mammals

Events August 8-August 12, 2020
Comments
10

Knife Fight obviously failed because Lehane is not a screenwriter. He should have hired a pro. The director/co-writer, Bill Guttentag, has mostly written and directed documentaries--not features. Plus it was a low-budget production. So it's no surprise it went straight to video. A user review on IMDB called it: "West Wing on a shoestring, minus the wit."

Aug. 28, 2015

Short term rentals are uses that do not conform with the zoning ordinances in residential neighborhoods. The Municipal Code allows for nonconforming uses if the property owner applies to Development Services and can qualify for a Conditional Use Permit. A Conditional Use Permit requires that residents and property owners within 300 feet be notified of the application, a staff level review be made of the application, another public notice of the review, and a hearing officers hearing of objections. If appeals are made to the hearing officer's findings they are made to the Planning Commission, another public notice is required, and finally an appeal hearing is conducted by the Planning Commission. San Diego Department of Development Service conducts this review and there is a $250,000 fine awaiting those that do not comply.

Now when San Diego Development Services Director Robert A Vacchi decides to qualify a non conforming use for a use permit, such as a Type 23 microbrewery in a residential neighborhood, an entirely different procedure is utilized. In this procedure Director Vacchi simply avers that the non conforming microbrewery is a conforming use ( despite the Municipal Code) and the permit is granted. Director Vacchi doubles down when he issues an affidavit to Alcoholic Beverage Control that certifies that the non conforming microbrewery in question is a conforming use, and a liquor license is granted.

Mayor Faulconer is fine with that. Todd Gloria fully supports it. The microbrewery industry could not be happier. Residents in the area are just plain out of luck if they are forced to contend with air and noise pollution and drunken activity on or near their homes. Development Services is not going to lift a finger to assist impacted residents and will ignore complaints made to code enforcement. People contending with short term rentals don't know how lucky they are to have the City actually consider enforcing the law.

Aug. 28, 2015

Another meandering story; no focus. Madonna? Rick Perry? Tom Steyer? Republicans/Democrats ... what is the point? Some of this is mildly interesting but I can go to a gossip forum if I want random bits and pieces of intrigue.

Aug. 28, 2015

I think you missed the point of the piece. It shows that Fabiani/Lehane as lobbyists/PR guys/legal eagles/image consultants are basically highly-paid "whores" for their consulting work. They will work for Democrats or Republicans, reputable people or sleazeballs; it doesn't matter as long as the checks clear. Madonna, Rick Perry and Steyer were high-profile clients, thus their mention in the piece.

Aug. 29, 2015

I think "swell" has strategic tunnel vision. This information about the client list of powerhouse lobbyists Fabiani and Lehane and their newest customer, Airbnb, is bad news for discombobulated San Diego homeowners who are trying to establish rules and regs for short-term vacation rentals in their once-quiet neighborhoods of neighbors, not party-hearty renters.

The People will need to get their act together to prevail over "property rights" opportunists and cashiers of the "sharing economy" who have hired this killer team of Fabiani and Lehane to grease the skids with our development-friendly San Diego Planning Commission and ever-amenable City Council.

Potter's description of Fabiani and Lehane's operation reminds me of Garry Trudeau's comic strip "Doonesbury." Trudeau invented a chemically-impaired flamboyant lobbyist named Uncle Duke who works for his ruthless son, Earl, with clients who were mostly dictators and tyrants, memorably a corrupt deposed President-for-Life of the Republic of Berzerkistan.

Aug. 29, 2015

"Doonesbury" rocked. Uncle Duke was, of course, inspired by the outrageous, gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson.

Aug. 29, 2015

We don't realize the power and influence of well-paid City Hall, State Capitol and Congressional lobbyists to change the rules that everyone but developers and other special interests have to live by. That's why Readerwriter Matt Potter's persistent reporting on lobbyist activities is so important.

Only recently, now-lobbyist Marcela Escobar-Eck who used to work for developer-friendly Mayor Jerry Sanders and was responsible for allowing the too-tall Sunroad Building in the Lindbergh Field flight path, managed to get Planning Commission approval to override La Jolla community planning groups' objections and undermine La Jolla's longstanding Planned District Ordinance (PDO.)

Lobbyist Escobar-Eck's efforts will benefit the property owner of a prime Prospect Street site in the "Village."The landlord had claimed a two-year dearth of suitable retail tenants. (Translation: no shop proprietor could meet his price.) So now there will be a big-bucks brokerage-office tenant on the ground floor of his Italianate building that fronts on a small plaza with a charming fountain. The corner site previously housed a small hotel and a street-level retail shop, Victoria's Secret, which attracted passing pedestrians and shoppers.

The PDO in the commercial center of La Jolla encourages ground-floor retail establishments that attract strolling shoppers, with offices off-street or on upper floors. Prospect Street now has many street-level vacancies as other landlords undoubtedly hold out for astronomical rents or further erosion of PDO rules. One busy La Jolla builder, C.A. Marengo, is openly calling for ending the PDO.

Tourists and other visitors to the main drags of Prospect and Girard in La Jolla this Fall may prefer window-shopping sexy lingerie over seeing sweaty-palmed financial analysts at their computers, navigating the iffy stock market. But volunteer planning groups, tourists and visitors are not represented by lobbyists who work for landlords and developers.

Aug. 29, 2015

"...Mayor Jerry Sanders and was responsible for allowing the too-tall Sunroad Building in the Lindbergh Field flight path..."

Wait, I recall that was a building in Kearny Mesa that was encroaching on the airspace of Montgomery Field.

Aug. 30, 2015

Quite right. Thanks for the important correction. While I'm at it, it was then-City Attorney Mike Aguirre who enforced the law. Consequently heads rolled at City Hall -- Sanders' development honcho Jim Waring among them, and maybe even Ms. Marcela Escobar-Eck, now a lobbyist.

Aug. 30, 2015

Mike Aguirre, the best City Attorney ever.

Aug. 31, 2015

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close