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The body isn't quite yet dead, but apparently anticipating the imminent political demise of Democratic mayor Bob Filner in today's vote on a reported departure deal, ex-Republican Nathan Fletcher has been the first to jump into the race to replace him, according to a declaration dated August 20 and posted online by the San Diego city clerk's office.


Fletcher has gone from a hard scrabble life to San Diego political prince, much of his early adult life being spent as a Republican party operative and subsequently a GOP Assemblyman.

Expected by insiders to enjoy the backing of La Jolla billionaire and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs, who recently gave big money to Hillary Clinton's putative presidential bid, Fletcher has changed from Republican to Independent to Democrat in the space of about a year.

The filing allows Fletcher to begin fundraising for the race immediately, and may also mean that Jacobs will be able to revive his controversial plans to revamp Balboa Park's traffic, parking, and road plans, as reported in here February:


To promote the traffic and parking makeover plan, the combative cell phone magnate and mega-million dollar political campaign donor pulled out all the stops with city hall politicos and the San Diego non-profit media outlets he has funded. U-T San Diego, the daily news operation run by GOP mogul Douglas Manchester, also served as a willing stage for the plan, with critics the recipients of editorial dressing downs and negative cartoons.

As previously reported here, a non-profit organization he funded used a Denver design firm to hire MJE, a San Diego lobbying outfit to grease the wheels at the city.

MJE Marketing, the lobbying outfit that’s been helping to push the controversial Irwin Jacobs Balboa Park makeover through city hall, picked up another $31,000 for its services in the second quarter of the year, recent City lobbyist filings show. That makes MJE’s gross income from the project a total of $105,000 so far.

La Jolla billionaire and Qualcomm founder Jacobs set up and funded a nonprofit foundation to mount his pet project. That group, in turn, retained Civitas, Inc., a Colorado-based architecture and planning consultant that subsequently hired MJE to represent the project’s interests at the City.

MJE’s most recent disclosure shows that the firm’s Kristen Byrne and Lauren Bogart lobbied mayoral staffers Gerry Braun and Darren Pudgil for approval of the Jacobs park deal. In addition, Byrne gave $250 to the failed mayoral campaign of ex-GOP–turned–independent assemblyman Nathan Fletcher, who backs the Jacobs project.

Jacobs political money has been the key, insiders say, to special favors granted Qualcomm by the city.

Jacobs also was a key fundraiser for past campaigns of GOP mayor Jerry Sanders, who pushed the Balboa Park plan using his new strong mayor powers. Jacobs had backed Prop D, the strong mayor campaign.

Sanders did similar bidding for Qualcomm's so-called Snapdragon Stadium gambit, in which Sanders allowed the cell phone giant to rebrand the city-owned stadium for several weeks during the football bowl season. Sanders took the action knowing that the city attorney had called the deal illegal.

Though afraid to go on the record, more than one city staffer claims that Sanders and his people pay little attention to the city council’s prerogatives under the law, as exemplified by the Snapdragon tangle.

The measure that ultimately tilted the City’s balance of power in favor of the mayor, June 2010’s Proposition D, was backed by a host of major business interests, including Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and his wife Joan.

They gave a total of $10,000 to the campaign committee, which ironically called itself San Diegans for Accountability at City Hall. The couple had given maximum contributions to Sanders’s 2008 reelection bid.

But the key to the city council’s quiescence about the Snapdragon deal, some observers say, is the fact that Jacobs, his family members, and Qualcomm colleagues have backed many other city politicos.

Even those whom Jacobs and the company haven’t supported in the past are looking for future money from the La Jolla billionaire and his friends, the sources say. Jacobs has been an Obama backer.

Other big California politicos have also benefited the largesse of Jacobs and his wife Joan.

And then there was the story of California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, who last year wrote a letter to State Historic Preservation Officer M. Wayne Donaldson, warning him not to oppose the plan.

Said Newsom's February 15 letter:

"This is a project with broad local political, philanthropic and community support so it may be more productive to work in collaboration with the project development team to achieve your goal of preserving this historical open-space.

"As the State Historic Preservation Officer I hope that you will consider these arguments, withdraw your comments, and begin to work in collaboration with the leaders of the Plaza de Panama project."

"Should you need help making contact with the project team I stand ready to assist."

A month after he wrote the letter for the Jacobs project, the La Jolla billionaire and his wife Joan gave the Democrat's re-election campaign $12,000.

Donaldson subsequently lost his job.

We have a call into Jacobs-founded Qualcomm, where Fletcher is currently employed.

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politicalsanity Aug. 23, 2013 @ 9:25 a.m.

So now that we know who is behind Fletcher, we know who NOT to vote for.


photog921 Aug. 23, 2013 @ 9:32 a.m.

Not looking forward to next few weeks in San Diego politics. Especially not looking forward to seeing and hearing Nathan Fletcher's self-important announcements. I hear he promotes himself as a "UCSD professor" now. Guess he doesn't understand what a professor "of Practice" really means. Would think the real profs would find him totally galling. Thanks for the heads up. A round the world cruise is sounding very appealing right now.


KLoEditor Aug. 23, 2013 @ 11:55 a.m.

Marco and Lorena's guy. They've become the power brokers in this city now.


dwbat Aug. 23, 2013 @ 11:58 a.m.

I asked Todd Gloria in North Park this morning about the report. He hadn't seen it yet, and said he couldn't comment.


aardvark Aug. 23, 2013 @ 12:13 p.m.

Ah, Nathan Fletcher, a member of the Repubdependantcrat party.


John Kitchin Aug. 25, 2013 @ 7:43 p.m.

The Mafia "Obey Me Or We Rape Your Children" Party?


KLoEditor Aug. 23, 2013 @ 12:29 p.m.

So it's a choice between Fletch Flack and Men's Room Mayo. Decisions, decisions ...



Yankeedoodle Aug. 23, 2013 @ 3:36 p.m.

KLo If this happens, it may be the first time in my life that I fail to vote in an election. I have never been too pure or disappointed about a primary to shoot myself in the foot and fail to do my duty as a citizen by voting.

I guess we'll see.


John Kitchin Aug. 25, 2013 @ 7:43 p.m.

Obviously all scum-bags. All worse than Filner so we need lots more choices.


glenn Aug. 23, 2013 @ 2:34 p.m.

Will be interesting to see who the conspiracy theorists choose to back for the election. Those who are sure that everyone is being run by someone else (Developers, Unions, Preservationists, Downtown insiders, City hall insiders, etc) when each candidate has something that will be disliked by someone.

Nathan can’t be supported because he works for Qualcomm. Todd was not hard enough on the Jacobs Plan. Carl is anti-union and a fiscal conservative. Kevin looks too Republican.

My concern is San Diego gets another mayor that will have to learn on the job. Will it be someone who does not have any experience leading a large organization, or someone with lots of baggage that people will have to ignore like Bob’s?

Nathan is very electable; the real question is can he do the job once elected? Todd is not well known outside of district 3 but knows his way around city hall. Carl has the financial, management and policy chops but also carries lots of negatives. Kevin not well known outside of his district and like Carl is too Republican.

Will some other candidate emerge; Chris, Toni, Bonnie, Lori? Will the party bosses gain control of their teams?
This will be interesting and I’m looking forward to it.


KLoEditor Aug. 23, 2013 @ 3:25 p.m.

Looking forward to it? Another election in less than a year? Oh wait, this is your do-over, of course you're looking forward to it.



glenn Aug. 23, 2013 @ 5:46 p.m.

KLoEditor, It will be a very interesting election. The last one was a predictable union vs pension reform fight. Some interesting contrasts this time and the issues have moved.

Here is my view: The party bosses will determine the outcome based on who they support and who they can keep OUT of the race.


John Kitchin Aug. 25, 2013 @ 7:45 p.m.

Conspiracy Theorists? Who is that, and why do you not know what has been going on? Did you think than ANYTHING in the News Media was on the up-and-up?


monaghan Aug. 23, 2013 @ 4:51 p.m.

A marvelous timely story. I'll bet Todd Gloria had not heard about another DINO twerp filing for mayor.The less he comments, the better off we all are.

Atque in perpetuum, brother Bob Filner, ave atque vale.


dwbat Aug. 23, 2013 @ 5:44 p.m.

And don't let the door hit you in the butt, Bob! Mark my words, Mrs. Zimmerman. Todd Gloria will not be mistreating employees as interim Mayor. Nor will he be misusing the city credit card. Nor will he be making Westgate Hotel runs for "meetings" in the hotel rooms. He will be making comments, and you need not listen to them.


John Kitchin Aug. 25, 2013 @ 7:46 p.m.

Yes, because he is a Mob Insider, and corruption as usual will continue


McLovin Aug. 23, 2013 @ 8:22 p.m.

I think almost everyone on the City Council has benefited from Jacob's generosity. If anyone has paid any attention to Todd Gloria's latest press release in the last couple of weeks patting himself on the back for getting free wifi access in Balboa Park. Who do you think is behind that? http://www.balboapark.org/bpoc/blog/balboa-park-wifi#.Uhgkq5LVCeY

The Balboa Park WiFi project is possible because of the generous support of our donors:

Joan and Irwin Jacobs Legler Benbough Foundation Office of Councilmember Todd Gloria, City of San Diego, Third District County of San Diego, Neighborhood Reinvestment Program Cox Communications Ruckus Wireless


John Kitchin Aug. 25, 2013 @ 7:48 p.m.

Please! Jacob is one of the (deleted, deleted, deleted) ding-dongs that orchestrated this whole idiotic nightmare. And Gloria is a sheep. Why do you not have any brains?


John Kitchin Aug. 25, 2013 @ 7:50 p.m.

I say in one of my humor blogs at www.NZ9F.com/r/14 that Balboa Park becomes a new Car Wash.


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