The soon-to-be publisher of U-T San Diego — recently unloaded by exiting publisher and local Republican titan Douglas Manchester to Chicago-based Tribune Publishing — is, like his predecessor, a big money giver to California politicos. But the cash has been flowing to members of another party. Democrat Austin Beutner, who has been closely aligned with billionaire Los Angeles Democrat Eli Broad, came up with a total of $110,950 during the years 2013 and 2014. Recipient of the single biggest contribution was the campaign of Democratic governor Jerry Brown, who got $54,400. The re-election committee of Democrat Gavin Newsom raked in $6800, and Bobby Shriver, a nephew of John F. Kennedy, received $1800 for his 2014 race for Los Angeles county supervisor. Shriver was defeated by Democratic former state senator Sheila Kuehl. Ex–Pete Wilson Republican Dan Schnur, who mounted a failed independent bid for secretary of state, got $6800.
An investment banker by trade, Beutner once served as “First Deputy Mayor” in the administration of Democratic L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, where he “became the point person in the city’s effort to lure an NFL franchise to AEG’s proposed stadium downtown,” according to a May 2011 account in Los Angeles Magazine. Meanwhile, Manchester, who is spending plenty of time and making lots of political donations in Texas, where he is building a convention hotel, has one big project left to finish in San Diego. Following the mega-developer’s sale of the Grand del Mar resort to Richard Blum, husband of Democratic senator Dianne Feinstein, Manchester has given Tom Voss, the Grand del Mar’s former honcho, a new job.
“Voss will work closely with the Manchester Financial Group’s executive team to identify investment opportunities and coordinate significant real estate projects including the development of Fairmont Austin in Austin, Texas, and Manchester Pacific Gateway, a $1.3 billion multiuse redevelopment project of the Navy Broadway Complex at the downtown San Diego waterfront,” says a May 9 news release. The mammoth Navy project, to include hotels, retail, and offices, has been held up by an ongoing legal challenge by the California Coastal Commission.