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Subtle it isn't.

Ex-Republican Assemblyman turned Democrat Nathan Fletcher, duded up in a tuxedo and wearing a red rose, hoists a glass of the bubbly in front of an executive jet on which some very white looking corporate types are preparing to embark.


The copy reads:

2011: As a Sacramento politician, Fletcher was the “lead negotiator” to get Qualcomm a multimillion dollar tax break.

2012: Qualcomm asked Fletcher to help increase taxes on their competitors by $1 Billion. Fletcher provided the critical vote.

2013: Qualcomm gave Fletcher a “$400,000 no-show job.”

Now: Qualcomm executives are raising big money for Fletcher’s campaign.

Welcome to San Diego's mayoral battle royal 2013, pitting Republican hotel magnate and publisher Douglas Manchester, an ally of the conservative billionaire Koch brothers, against La Jolla billionaire Democrat and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs and his son Paul in an unprecedented political proxy war.

As previously reported, political insiders have expected the gloves to come off in the Manchester versus Jacobs battle for control of city hall, and the first volley is a doozey.

Rarely have San Diego's monied classes faced off so directly against each other, but Manchester and Jacobs are unusual animals.

As reported here in August, the Republican U-T owner has aligned his paper with the Virginia-based Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, which the Columbia Journalism Review has reported has financial ties to the Kochs.


For his part, billionaire Jacobs has given millions of dollars to political committees backing President Barack Obama. The same pro-Obama groups have also gotten big money from fellow billionaire George Soros.

Manchester and Jacobs each has his own local media base; Jacobs has funneled at least $3 million into San Diego State University's KPBS broadcasting operation and is a major financial backer of the non-profit Voice of San Diego news and opinion website.

Last year Manchester gave $50,000 to the Lincoln Club, a group that eschews hot button Republican social issues for hard core business lobbying, which backed the GOP's Carl DeMaio for mayor.

And downtown super lobbyist and San Diego airport board member Paul Robinson, who peddles influence for both Manchester and Las Vegas developer Irwin Molasky, a friend and business associate of late mobster and La Costa developer Moe Dalitz, is a key Lincoln Club player.

Like Manchester, Molasky has thrown considerable financial weight behind the Lincoln Club and Republican-endorsed city councilman Kevin Faulconer for mayor.

As reported here last month, Molasky's leaseback deal with the federal government to build a palatial FBI building in San Diego is now under scrutiny by Republican Senator Charles Grassley, who has released emails and related documentation showing it was financed by Chinese investors seeking U.S visas.

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