BlueSouthPark April 25, 2012 @ 2:53 p.m.

The killed Vargas bill, which Li Mandri apparently wrote, was a modified PBID that eliminated the biggest hurdle in the existing state Property & Business Improvement District law, the requirement that 50% of all property owners in a proposed district sign a petition asking to go to a vote on forming a district. Li Mandri and the City Council evidently think the reduced percentage, 30%, will fly in San Diego as an ordinance, because the private business groups that would benefit will rally in support. In 2002, when Li Mandri and Vargas tried to push a similar bill, AB2561, it was vetoed by the governor, who wrote:

...this bill offers no compelling reason why the assessment period should be extended so significantly, or for why the percentage of property owners signing a petition in support of such a [bill] is reduced from 50% to 30%. I am committed to the principles of smart growth and urban revitalization, but I do not believe that this bill provides the proper balance between these principles and those of fair and just taxation.

Vlad Kogan is exactly right: the types of property assessments that Li Mandri is always involved in creating are terrible. They are terrible because Li Mandri's self-serving fiefdoms do not address financing local needs, but, instead, address only the financing of luxuries and private groups. Li Mandri-style assessment districts finance private business groups (who will be the 30% signing the petitions and asking to be appointed managers), whose members in turn use the money handed over to them by the City for empowerment, personal leverage, and to finance their rent, office supplies, phone and computers, salaries for staff, directors, and managers, parking, lunches, promotions, retreats, and decorative luxury items such as flower baskets, decorator trash cans, and banners, not infrastructure. At least half, if not much more, of all of the assessments, which are public (taxpayer) money, are wasted on overhead. At the same time, the City, as administrator, is also spending money overseeing the business group contractor, more overhead.

Public-private partnerships are never economical, but are fiercely advocated by those who benefit financially from them and have come to expect them as a way of life in San Diego. The Downtown San Diego Partnership is a case in point: the board has no legal ground to allocate money to Li Mandri for the purpose of drafting state and local code. All of assessments are required to be spent on special and proportional benefits to the properties that are assessed.


madhatter April 25, 2012 @ 2:43 p.m.

Well, well well, the benefits that maintenance assessment districts offer are zero, if not look at the rightly dissolved MAD (Hey! where is our money?). People like Li Mandri and many like him exist thanks to are great representatives. So, my advice is, be careful for whom you vote in the coming elections.


nostalgic April 25, 2012 @ 2:23 p.m.

This is a Maintenance Assessment District or a PBID with another name and no state restrictions. What DOES the city get back from all these people? The amount of money that stays inside offices is staggering - the flower baskets are to make you happy spending it. Please, everyone who reads this article needs to keep an eye on the city's latest scheme.


GHH2 April 25, 2012 @ 5:44 p.m.

Li Mandri is a schemer who, as owner of a private, profit making entity has no right whatsoever to put his hands into the taxpayer's pocket. If he has such good ideas he needs to market them AND SELL THEM TO THE PUBLIC...who can then decide whether they want to buy what he is selling, OR NOT. Doing it through property tax additions/manipulations is out and out piracy. And the council members who support this are co-conspirators and need to be held accountable. They are stewards of the public's treasure and have a duty to ensure that the public's money is spent wisely. When was the last time an audit was performed on where our Property taxes are spent and how? We need to have an audit to see if our public officials are acting responsibly and wisely. And if they are not, they need to be thrown out of office. Everyone is going through hard times and having to make hard decisions. Decisions on what are priorities and what are non-essential's. And I can see no reason whatsoever that our public officials be exempted from these hard times and hard decisions. if they can't come up with more efficient and creative ways to do their jobs then they need to stop sucking at the public teat and step aside to let other, more worthy people serve the public. Remember that. You are public servants, not rulers.


Dennis Jan. 18, 2012 @ 12:46 p.m.

"But the neighborhood is in the midst of a makeover." Sounds more like a "takeover" by the developers.


Fred Williams Jan. 18, 2012 @ 10:52 p.m.

Some very familiar names...the same ones who are connected with previous notorious frauds in San Diego.

Now they're preying on Barrio Logan.

How much do you want to bet that the "stakeholders" soon will both out-number and out-influence the residents, who will lose their homes as yet another "redevelopment" scam is aided and abetted by the corrupt cabal downtown.

My only hope is Councilman David Alvarez, who seems to have a firm grasp of how this will turn out for his constituents. Can he fight this swarm of parasites who want to chew up and defecate on yet another part of San Diego?


InOmbra Jan. 19, 2012 @ 10:27 a.m.

Fred, it'll be hard for Alvarez to stand up to the people who look to profit in the next decade from real estate and development. They've got money, lobbyists, and connections to the ruling downtown developer class, inside and outside City Hall.

Some of the long-time family-business-land owners in Barrio Logan have genuine concerns about keeping their businesses in place, and may oppose rezoning to stricter residential specs. But to a more powerful, newer group, the historical identity and roots of Barrio Logan mean nothing more than a concept to exploit (and gentrify) and market. They'll resist restrictions on commercial zoning in the CPU, until they sell their commercial properties at jacked-up prices to high-end condo developers.

One recently formed 501c, Barrio Logan Smart Growth Coalition, is where to start studying the takeover group: dynamodata.fdncenter.org/990_pdf_archive/263/263773376/263773376_200912_990EO.pdf Note the money listed as contributions, gifts, grants... (by whom?) and how it was spent.

Unnamed entities tied to those named on the 990 form include Mitchell Investments and R&H properties. R&H owns and has a current listing for 1841 National (0.3 acres, 5500 sq ft warehouse)for $1.4 mill. You can get a better deal in Point Loma. At that price, a developer-buyer would want to build higher end condos, ya think?


InOmbra Jan. 18, 2012 @ 7:07 p.m.

Probably most of the people who would like to exploit Barrio Logan are at the Urban Land Institute's mayoral forum tonight. Follow the money.


Javajoe25 April 26, 2012 @ 11:28 p.m.

I don't get this. It seems to me they would not even be satisfying any legal requirements by holding public hearings in Marin County. Or, is it because it's the California Coastal Commission, so they are covered if they hold the hearing anywhere in California??? I still think if someone from the affected communities filed a complaint, the hearings would have to be held in the area. This is too ridiculous.

And you're right, Twister--an incredible indignity--to the people in Pt. Loma most especially.

Must be big money behind all this.


NorthParkGemini Feb. 25, 2012 @ 10:21 a.m.

Todd Gloria is an idiot! After the very people he is supposed to be representing said no to this he is pushing it through anyway. Why is the word representative used if he's not representing. I don't know who he's in bed with downtown or at SDSU but neither of those places are his district! Those are the people he needs to be concerned with. I say, vote the idiot out!!!


Dennis Feb. 18, 2012 @ 3:58 p.m.

Does SANDAG think students live downtown & go to SDSU? Why does every bus in the city run through downtown? I see busses going into SDSU every day with only one or two people on the bus. There are whole sections of the city that do not have any bus service within a reasonable distance of where they live, why not serve them instead? Most SDSU students wouldn't be caught dead riding the bus!


gfjmcginnis Feb. 25, 2012 @ 10:46 a.m.

Exactly what community concerns were addressed? When the signs taped to the lamp posts with duct tape, maybe intentionally looking like yard sale signs so people would ignore them, at Park & Polk went up the wording made it clear that the project was going forward and that the intersection was going to be closed to through traffic and at the end announced a community meeting at a time when most people are working or commuting. That is how our community was informed of this atrocious waste of tax dollars. The project serves no useful or legitimate purpose other than to put more money into the pockets of contractors to work on projects that are not needed or wanted. This new bus lane only takes minutes off the trip the bus that now takes that route uses. They would be better off changing the existing route or increasing the frequency of busses with the busses leapfrogging the bus stops to half the number of stops it makes while still providing service to the entire route. That would save more time and would not cost millions of dollars. I believe Todd Gloria is just a mouth piece for the companies that will get the construction contracts rather than of a representative of the people in his district. That money would be better spent fixing the broken sidewalks all over this area of north park, fixing the street light on Alabama Street between Lincoln and Polk that has not worked in over 5 years and I have reported numerous times. As it is the only street light on the entire block we have a very dark block. There are palm trees with dead palm fronds growing over the power lines on Polk between Georgia and Florida Streets; one of the trees on that hill has grown leaning into one of the power line poles. That has also been reported and I got a response from street maintenance saying that they don't consider it an emergency like the brush that was overgrowing the sidewalk on the other side of the street. There are so many more useful and urgent things that need to be done in this area, adding a dangerous lane is not one of them. Perhaps Todd Gloria should actually tour the neighborhood before he decides what projects to support in the name of his constituents.


Burwell July 15, 2012 @ 11:41 p.m.

Irwin Jacobs recently donated $2 million to the President's reelection campaign. Qualcomm is currently under investigation for accusations of bribery and payoffs in violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. I suspect the investigation will be dropped shortly.


jelula Oct. 4, 2012 @ 11:58 a.m.

It's amazing that, no matter how often opponents to the plan (myself included) tried to tell people that the Jacobs plan was not going to be covered entirely by Jacobs, or even by the fundraising that is supposed to pay for the bypass and related elements, no one paid attention. Over and over, we pointed out that the garage was not included and would be on the City's nickle - or, to be more direct, on the City's General Fund nickle as backup for bond payments if revenue from the parking garage is inadequate.

They also kept telling us that the garage cost would only be $14 million, ignoring the additional bonding costs and bond payment coverage until the garage is built. By the time we got to City Council, the bond amount was finally stated clearly as $16 million. Yet, on Monday, the Council approved a bond of just over $17 million. And if revenue from the parking garage is insufficient to meet bond payment requirements and operation/maintenance of the garage, the money will come from the General Fund - which is what pays for public safety (fire, police, etc), libraries, recreation centers and pools, parks..... all of the basic public services that are already gasping for life because of radical cuts over the past decade or more. San Francisco built an underground garage in Golden Gate Park and it's not free parking - the City of SF is continuing to subsidize it because the revenue is insufficient to cover the costs. Why would we think it any different here in San Diego?


Fred Williams Feb. 13, 2013 @ 10:02 p.m.

I think most San Diegans would agree that Gerry Braun has betrayed the community.

He gave up reporting on politics to take a swanky job with the Mayor...a move many suspect was payoff for not reporting all he knew about Jerry Sanders real record.

Now we finally learn he spent that taxpayer paid time shilling for Irwin Jacobs and his ugly guardrails and asphalt bypass bridge to paid parking.

As a reward for selling out, Braun now works as a "consultant" for a multi-million dollar extravaganza that is unlike to live up to the hype, or the promised community benefits.

Braun and his ilk need to get out of the way...honest citizens who love San Diego don't need fat paychecks to do the right thing. He brings zero value to the centennial celebration. This is the revolving door, where being an insider is all that matters.

Gerry Braun, in short, sucks. He should be ashamed of himself, but as part of the tight little group that runs the town, he is proud of his contribution to the sleazy reputation of San Diego. Does this political prostitute have a Qualcomm brand on his rear, showing who now owns him, or is he for rent hourly?


HonestGovernment Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:10 a.m.

The city has a Memorandum of Understanding with Balboa Park Celebration, Inc.:


Has anyone seen the reports that the MOU requires? As stated in Section 3.03(b), the most recent report was due on February 1, 2013.



Fred Williams Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:36 a.m.

Slur? Without a drop?

No Randy, it takes a few drops before I start slurring.

As to slandering Braun's reputation...he did that to himself, and continues to do so, by being a political hack for sale to the highest bidder.

At least he's gainfully employed...unlike some hacks we know...when you talk to your ASJA buddies, isn't the conversation mostly about how nobody is getting paid much and all are hoping to land a cushy government PR job?

I guess you're envious of Gerry Braun...and you should be. Even before he sold out he was twice the writer you are, and three times the researcher. Too bad he went over to the dark side and now does as he's told by his pay master...check for that Qualcomm brand on his backside next time you're down there.


Fred Williams Feb. 14, 2013 @ 9:33 p.m.

Hi Tom. The reason Randy gives a flying f*ck is that I'm touching on a sore place...journalists can dish it out, but cannot take it.

Randy is puffed up, proud of himself, but really he's a pansy. Look at what he writes professionally, and you can see that it's not very impressive. Yet he sets himself to be the standard, and goes straight to the ad hominem when anyone dares to point out the many flaws of journalism in San Diego.

Notice that nowhere has he contradicted anything I've written. He hasn't shown that journalism in San Diego is fine, a worthy career with a bright future. He's not countered anything I've written about sell-out Braun. He hasn't advanced any argument at all except to call me names.

And I think this is typical. Journalists today are not very bright, but are very full of themselves. They claim to be watchdogs, but are more often lapdogs, doing as they're told because they're afraid of being fired if they step away from the party line.

In San Diego, that party line is drawn by people like Manchester, or Jacobs, or the crew that elected Sanders. These folks have robbed the city blind, using public money for their private projects, stuffing their pockets...all the while the majority of San Diego journalists have been cheering them on.

Randy should know this, and express shame and remorse, even perhaps an eagerness to set things right by doing real research and writing what's actually happening instead of regurgitating press releases or, like Braun, jockeying for a government PR job.

This is why Randy gives a soaring high altitude f*ck when I write about his fellow journalists...he knows I'm right.


Fred Williams March 13, 2013 @ 10:30 p.m.

Those who call Jacobs a "philanthropist" should be prohibited from calling themselves journalists.

When will San Diego learn? John Moores played the same game, spreading his stolen money around town to position himself to steal yet more money. He was called a "philanthropist" too.

Jacobs should be ashamed of his behavior...but his whole career is a series of lies, maneuvering to use public money for his own enrichment.

I'd sure like to see a Reader cover story about his history...how he turned someone else's work into his own private company, using public funding. How he worked his employees like dogs to get the first chips made, then fired them and shipped the jobs overseas so he could avoid sharing the profits...how he continues to abuse the H1B visa system...how much money he has injected into political issues from getting the stadium naming rights for a pittance, trying to subvert the election of the school board, and on and on...