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The behind-the-scenes battle for San Diego's sixth city council district is already on the verge of boiling over, far before the time voters head to the polls, or mailboxes, as the case may be.

As reported here in April, the lineup of candidates includes Chris Cate, ex-interim president and CEO and currently vice president of the San Diego County Taxpayers Association - the business lobbying outfit that was the key player in a nasty legal and lobbying war to force Democratic Mayor Bob Filner to sign off on a big money contract negotiated by his predecessor, Republican Jerry Sanders.

In an apparent attempt by large political donors to clear the Republican field for their preferred candidate, Cate has been awarded early endorsements by both the San Diego GOP and its allied Lincoln Club

The other major candidates in the sixth district contest so far include former school board member Mitz Lee, an ex-Republican turned independent, and veterans’ advocate Don Azul, a Republican who has vowed to stay in the contest despite Cate's early endorsement by the party and its major money men.

The taxpayers association has long been closely tied to Atlas Hotels, Inc., run by C. Terry Brown, one of three old school San Diego hotel moguls spearheading a legal attack to force Filner to sign off on the Sanders deal.

One of the lobbyists' most prominent city hall backers is GOP city attorney Jan Goldsmith, who has attempted to undermine Filner's position. Goldsmith recently dressed as a chorus boy to perform a video song and dance promoting ticket sales to the association's annual banquet next month.

Now comes word that an early campaign attack against Lee has been turned aside by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, according to a June 19 letter to the candidate posted online by the watchdog agency.

As you may know, the Enforcement Division of the Fair Political Practices Commission (the "FPPC") has received a sworn complaint against you. After review of the complaint, the Enforcement Division has decided to close its file on this matter without initiating an enforcement action.

The sworn complaint against you alleged that you sent 200 or more communications electronically, but that you failed to include all of the sender identification requirements of Section 84305.

The letter said that the Lee emails "failed to fully comply with the sender identification requirements," but went on to add:

Since the email communications did contain enough identification so that a person could easily acknowledge you or your committee as the sender, we are closing this matter.

Please be advised, however, that if you send 200 or more mass mailings, either electronically or through the mail, you must comply with all of the sender identification requirements of Section 84305 and Regulation 18435.

Your cooperation in ensuring that the requirements of the Act are consistently satisfied is greatly appreciated.

Though the FPPC's letter doesn't explicitly identify who brought the complaint against Lee, it bears a CC to "Ms. C. April Boling," a San Diego CPA with a specialty in election law, finance, and accounting, specifically for the local GOP and its candidates.

A former city council candidate herself, Boling - a member of the taxpayers association's executive board - has also done campaign work for the Lincoln Club, of which she is currently treasurer.

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monaghan July 6, 2013 @ 5:52 p.m.

Always useful to know who's doing what to whom, especially when it's internecine conflict among San Diego County Republican civil warriors. Thanks for this update, Matt Potter.

Personally, I cannot imagine residents of the 6th Council district preferring to be represented at City Hall by a doctrinaire Taxpayers' Association officer and Lincoln Club operative, especially if he is a sworn enemy of the strong Mayor Bob Filner. How can such a person hope to get anything done for his constituents?

Mitz Lee is a much better fit for that new Council seat. She's an energetic, solution-oriented, community-minded woman with successful elective experience on the SD Unified School Board. And she has the common sense to register as a political independent in these divided times. She sounds like the candidate with genuine qualifications for the job.


Sjtorres Aug. 26, 2013 @ 2:12 a.m.

How about a story about Ben Hueso, busted several times for ethics violations, starting false rumors?


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