San Diego’s ex-mayor Jerry Sanders is so far batting .500 in the new city council political business this year, but not because he hasn’t been laying out a lot of cash. The Greater San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, which Sanders now runs, anted up a total of $51,500 for a political committee calling itself Urban Neighbors United and $30,000 April 26 for another fund called Coastal Communities for a Fair Economy.
The former is backing Ricardo Flores, the downtown establishment’s choice to replace Marti Emerald on the city council. The latter supported La Jolla Republican Ray Ellis over his Democratic opponent Barbara Bry, whose lopsided margin in the June primary convinced Ellis to bow out of the race in August, saying it would be hard to raise money for the runoff.
Ironically, Ellis was also backed by a group calling itself Neighborhoods, Not Stadiums, which raised $100,000 from the GOP Lincoln Club. Ellis and his allies attempted to use the proposed tax-funded downtown Chargers stadium against Bry, although she, too, said she was opposed to a public subsidy for the team. A few weeks after the election, Sanders announced that his chamber of commerce board had voted to endorse the Chargers deal, saying, “We understand there are risks to this initiative; no ballot measure is ever perfect. But in our evaluation, the benefits far outweigh the risks.”