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Kris Michell tapped an array of big-money special interests

Gander goosed

Kris Michell’s campaign generosity seems to have yielded government gold.
Kris Michell’s campaign generosity seems to have yielded government gold.

More than a decade of campaign money-giving to San Diego city council members — including Republicans Lorie Zapf, Chris Cate, Mark Kersey, and Scott Sherman, along with Democrats Barbara Bry, Chris Ward, and Myrtle Cole — appear to have guaranteed the city’s putative chief operating officer Kris Michell quick council confirmation.

Campaign disclosure records show that, since 2007, Michell has personally kicked in a total of $24,260 to city campaigns, with nearly 30 percent of the cash ending up in the coffers of GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer, who named Michell to her new executive post two weeks ago. A longtime Republican operative, Michell oversaw much political activity as chief of the Downtown Partnership and its San Diego Jobs PAC, which went all out for GOP ex–city attorney Jan Goldsmith and Superior Court judge David Berry. Over the years, Michell tapped an array of big-money special interests to finance her political causes, including the Sycuan Tribe, owner of downtown’s Grant Hotel, and city paramedic contractor Rural/Metro, many of which still have dealings with city hall.

Staffer and confidante to Republican mayors Susan Golding and Jerry Sanders, Michell jumped back to city hall this past summer when politically besieged Faulconer tapped her as deputy chief operating officer for special projects, ostensibly to ride herd on downtown’s burgeoning homeless problem. Per an engagement letter for that job released by Faulconer after a request under the public records act, Michell received a $195,000 yearly salary, a monthly car allowance of $475, and a raft of generously grandfathered pension benefits due to her previous city employment.

Such rich retirement packages were abolished for new hires by 2012’s Proposition B, championed by both Sanders and Faulconer, who claimed the city couldn’t afford them. “Michell noted that she left the city nearly a year and a half before the pension-reform vote and played no role favoring or opposing the ballot measure,” the Union-Tribune reported in November. But a May 2012 campaign filing by Michell’s San Diego Jobs PAC shows the group spent $29,000 on a slate mailer touting the proposition. The size of Michell’s latest salary and benefits deal has yet to be made public.

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Kris Michell’s campaign generosity seems to have yielded government gold.
Kris Michell’s campaign generosity seems to have yielded government gold.

More than a decade of campaign money-giving to San Diego city council members — including Republicans Lorie Zapf, Chris Cate, Mark Kersey, and Scott Sherman, along with Democrats Barbara Bry, Chris Ward, and Myrtle Cole — appear to have guaranteed the city’s putative chief operating officer Kris Michell quick council confirmation.

Campaign disclosure records show that, since 2007, Michell has personally kicked in a total of $24,260 to city campaigns, with nearly 30 percent of the cash ending up in the coffers of GOP mayor Kevin Faulconer, who named Michell to her new executive post two weeks ago. A longtime Republican operative, Michell oversaw much political activity as chief of the Downtown Partnership and its San Diego Jobs PAC, which went all out for GOP ex–city attorney Jan Goldsmith and Superior Court judge David Berry. Over the years, Michell tapped an array of big-money special interests to finance her political causes, including the Sycuan Tribe, owner of downtown’s Grant Hotel, and city paramedic contractor Rural/Metro, many of which still have dealings with city hall.

Staffer and confidante to Republican mayors Susan Golding and Jerry Sanders, Michell jumped back to city hall this past summer when politically besieged Faulconer tapped her as deputy chief operating officer for special projects, ostensibly to ride herd on downtown’s burgeoning homeless problem. Per an engagement letter for that job released by Faulconer after a request under the public records act, Michell received a $195,000 yearly salary, a monthly car allowance of $475, and a raft of generously grandfathered pension benefits due to her previous city employment.

Such rich retirement packages were abolished for new hires by 2012’s Proposition B, championed by both Sanders and Faulconer, who claimed the city couldn’t afford them. “Michell noted that she left the city nearly a year and a half before the pension-reform vote and played no role favoring or opposing the ballot measure,” the Union-Tribune reported in November. But a May 2012 campaign filing by Michell’s San Diego Jobs PAC shows the group spent $29,000 on a slate mailer touting the proposition. The size of Michell’s latest salary and benefits deal has yet to be made public.

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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
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