The Mayor’s Backroom Buddies: Who is Cox Really Looking Out For?
By Jen Badgley
Anyone who’s been following the bayfront development knows that Mayor Cox has been on Gaylord’s side since day one. Even when Gaylord got caught lying to the Port Commission , she was quick to jump to the company’s defense. Why has the Mayor been such a devoted cheerleader for a disreputable, out-of-state developer whose shaky finances earned it an “F” grade from one financial rating service?
Mayor Cox claims that she supports Gaylord because its plan is the best for Chula Vista, but if you take a look at the facts—especially the money trail—it’s obvious whom she’s really looking out for.
Most Chula Vistans probably aren’t familiar with the Lincoln Club, an elite group of corporate executives and real estate moguls who fund campaigns for business-friendly politicians, but this group pumped almost $80,000 into Cox’s mayoral bid. The director of the Lincoln Club, Gordon Carrier, is also a principle at the architectural firm Carrier Johnson, which was retained by the City to work on the bayfront redevelopment, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Another Lincoln Club contributor is Phelps Development, which formed the Gaylord Phelps Development LLC partnership last year for the “sole purpose” of winning a contract to oversee the bayfront development, according to Gaylord spokesman Brain Abrahamson. The port district was about to hire Phelps to oversee the budget, development and environmental guidelines on the bayfront project until the Voice of San Diego exposed this classic “wolf guarding the henhouse” set-up.
This embarrassing stunt hasn’t stopped Cox and her real estate cronies from stacking the deck in Gaylord’s favor. How do you think Gaylord’s local representative got a seat on Chula Vista’s Real Estate Advisory Committee? And as long as we’re asking questions, here are a few more questions that the Mayor won’t answer:
After years of public meetings, why is she ignoring the Citizens' Advisory Committee and giving free reign to Gaylord to build a development considered an eyesore and environmental disaster by many Chula Vistans?
Considering Chula Vista’s burgeoning debt, why is she giving away $300 million to Gaylord, a company that is already carrying a debt load of more than half a billion dollars? And what about the hidden infrastructure expenses that will cost Chula Vista even more?
Besides Gaylord’s convention center, what else do the Mayor and her Lincoln Club buddies have planned for the bayfront area? Why won’t she talk about the big picture for the future of Chula Vista?
Mayor Cox is supposed to represent the interests of all Chula Vistans, not just the wealthy developers who bankrolled her political career. But it’s clear whom she’s working for in City Hall. The Lincoln Club got its money’s worth when they helped elect Cheryl Cox.
Posted by LJF Team on September 26, 2007