photo illustration by Chris Woo
Call it a revolving door or merry-go-round, the faltering city-hall operation of San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer continues to reshuffle its deck chairs to the benefit of a major financial booster, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
Such is the message gleaned from Faulconer's latest appointment to the board that runs the San Diego Convention Center, mired in a long-running battle over where to expand the bayfront behemoth and how to finance it.
"San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer has appointed Jaymie Bradford to the San Diego Convention Center Corporation Board of Directors, effective Tuesday, August 22, 2017," notes the center's website of the mayor's discrete late-summer move.
"Bradford is the Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, where she leads the Chamber’s strategy and vision."
As reported here last month, Bradford had been Faulconer's deputy chief of staff and policy honcho, pulling down a cool $137,000 a year, until heading over to work for the chamber in July of 2016.
There she was required by city ethics laws to endure a mandated 12-month cooling-off period before being allowed to overtly lobby public officials beginning last month, including Faulconer and the city council, regarding the chamber's long special-interest list.
The timing was propitious for both the chamber and Faulconer, as the chamber's former chief influence-peddler and executive vice president Aimee Faucett simultaneously decamped this July to become the mayor's chief of staff, replacing longtime GOP operative Stephen Puetz.
Whether by coincidence or not, Faucett's assignment while working for the chamber included occupying the same convention-center board seat that Faulconer has now given Bradford, bringing Faucett's public-private seat-swap with Bradford to a neatly symmetrical conclusion.
Orchestrating the moves of both women, multiple sources have it, is Jerry Sanders, former GOP mayor and longtime Faulconer mentor who became the chamber's top honcho after being termed out as mayor in 2012.
Not noted for his management brilliance, Faulconer is said to rely on plays phoned in to his office by Sanders staffers and his business brain trust, including utility giant Sempra Energy.
Along with its subsidiary, San Diego Gas & Electric, Sempra has often used the chamber to funnel money to the mayor's political and social causes, including $4000 in cash on May 3 to help pick up the tab for Faulconer's January state-of-the-city speech at downtown's Balboa Theatre.
For Falconer, a stalwart backer of the controversial plan known as SoccerCity to privatize the site of Qualcomm Stadium, Bradford brings a unique qualification: “While earning her degree in Political Science at UC San Diego, she was a member of the NCAA Women’s Soccer team,” according to the convention-center website.