Former La Jolla Light reporter Corey Levitan was put on the public payroll by councilwoman Barbara Bry when she was running for mayor earlier this year.
Sherman’s “paid volunteer”
With last week’s change of staff at San Diego’s city hall has come a torrent of leaving-office filings, shedding light on the politics and finances of a bevy of departing aides. Cheryl Hoy, the confidential assistant to exiting Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, reports on her December 8 disclosure owning an interest in Cypress Consulting, [doing business as] JH Campaigns, valued between $10,000 and $100,000, from which she received income in the same range. Hoy got $128,216 in salary and benefits last year for her role with Faulconer, according to TransparentCalifornia.com.
The nature of Cypress Consulting’s business is said to be “public affairs & campaign consulting,” Three clients each provided an annual income of more than $10,000. They were Manolatos, Nelson, and Murphy, a political public relations outfit, the failed Steve Vaus for County Supervisor campaign; and MNM advertising. John Hoy is president of JH Campaigns, with clients who have included Republican ex-councilwoman Lorie Zapf. “She’s standing up to Donald Trump on offshore oil drilling,” Hoy announced to the Union-Tribune in October 2018 regarding Zapf, shortly before she was beaten by Democrat Jen Campbell.
Lorie Zapf stood up to Donald Trump but fell to Jen Campbell.
Elizabeth Spillane, who was paid $157,319 last year as chief of staff for termed-out Republican-turned-independent councilman Mark Kersey, reported having a $100,000 to $1 million interest in Red Rock Group. The outfit deals in “political consulting and public affairs.” The San Diego County Medical Society paid the company more than $10,000 in the past year, per the disclosure. Spillane sits on the Republican Party County Central Committee.
Sheldon Zemen, a council representative for termed-out GOP councilman Scott Sherman, with a salary of $87,880 in 2019, reported receiving between $1000 and $10,000 as a “paid volunteer” for the campaign of Joe Leventhal, a Republican who unsuccessfully sought to succeeded Kersey on the council.
A former La Jolla Light reporter put on the public payroll by councilwoman Barbara Bry when she was running for mayor earlier this year has taken his leave of city hall. Corey Levitan got his job as a council representative for the La Jolla Democrat on April 13, according to an statement dated August 31. He left the position on December 10, per a December 8 leaving-office statement filed with the city clerk. According to that document, Levitan reported having an income between $10,000 and $100,000 from the Light, owned by the Union-Tribune. “I drafted speeches, all social media and proclamations and commendations for San Diego City Council President Pro Tem Barbara Bry,” says Levitan’s LinkedIn profile. “I created and wrote a weekly newsletter profiling local small businesses devastated by the pandemic. And I managed special projects for the District 1 Council office, including the preparation of case reports on problematic short-term vacation rental units. Our term ended on December 10, 2020.”
Barbara Bry lost to San Diego’s first LGBTQIA2+BIPOC mayor.
Bry lost the mayor’s race to fellow Democrat Todd Gloria on November 3. In October 2020, Levitan bagged a second place win in the San Diego Press Club’s annual journalism awards for coauthoring “La Jolla restaurants fight to survive amid coronavirus lockdown,” which had appeared in the Light March 25.
Two of San Diego’s most prominent bayside hotels are using their Corona-19 hiatus to retool their dining and bar operations for a hoped-for turnaround in the post-pandemic era. According to a November 30 filing posted by the California Environmental Quality Act website, the Hilton San Diego Bayfront is working on the “renovation of existing restaurant space to convert it to an event function space.”
Meanwhile, the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, per a November 3 post, is undertaking a “renovation of an existing lobby and conversion of lounge space to its previous historical guest room configuration.” The presumably covid-resistant plan calls for “construction of a 108-seat dining lounge, buffet, grab and go, hydration station, business center, and a pantry within a newly laid out M-Club lounge.” Also, “demolition of the existing six-bay concierge lounge on the 24th floor” will precede “construction of six standard guestrooms to their original configuration, increasing the number of guestrooms to their previous historical number of 1,366 rooms total.”
The Hilton’s work is “anticipated to occur in Winter 2020 and would take approximately five months to complete.” The Marriott plans two phases. “Phase 1 would occur in Winter 2020, and Phase 2 would occur in Fall 2021; each phase would take approximately six months to complete.”
— Matt Potter (@sdmattpotter)
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