As an unprecedented wave of political intrigue and big money sweeps the corridors of power at San Diego city hall, the city’s ethics committee — chaired by ex-FBI agent Clyde Fuller — has decided to take the month off because the panel ostensibly doesn’t have enough work to do.
“At present, the staff has only two very minor items for next week’s meeting docket (one audit report and one short investigative report),” wrote commission executive director Stacey Fulhorst to the board in a February 2 email missive. “Therefore, unless a new issue arises before Monday afternoon (the docketing deadline), Clyde will be canceling the meeting.”
Political insiders say the commission’s pace has slackened considerably since the ascension of Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, allowing all manner of questionable activity to pass under the so-called watchdog’s radar. Critics point to last year’s 6 enforcement stipulations, down dramatically from 17 in 2014. In addition, the commission no longer posts advice letters online, as it did until 2014, relying instead on Fulhorst to furnish regulatory guidance to select parties via phone and email away from the public’s view.
Public records requests made to the commission show Fulhorst frequently in behind-the-scenes contact with April Boling, a Republican campaign treasurer, regarding compliance questions, none of which have been open to public scrutiny. Now, among her other political roles, Boling is promoting a controversial initiative to develop a soccer and commercial complex on the Mission Valley site of Qualcomm Stadium.
Though they didn’t register with the city as lobbyists until late last month, the well-heeled project promoters from La Jolla have been meeting secretly with the mayor and San Diego State University officials for more than a year, according to documents divulged following a public records request to SDSU.