Thursday, December 09, 2010

The City Is Losing Institutional Knowledge on the Chargers Issue

...The City Is Losing Institutional Knowledge on the Chargers Issue

More than just football fans should be concerned about Michell's departure and how it fits into the unrelenting Chargers debate.

Downtown stadium or not, the city has to do something about the Chargers. The city loses $12 million a year operating Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley, money that otherwise could pay for police, fire, parks and library services.

Why does the city lose that much money? Because past city officials failed in their negotiations the team. The city struck such a series of bad deals with the Chargers that the team essentially gets free rent and can leave town whenever it wants while the city bleeds tax dollars.

Michell, Rath and outgoing downtown redevelopment head Fred Maas all were key figures in the city's current talks with the team. Soon they'll all be gone — though the city could hire Maas back as a consultant.

Whomever takes that trio's place will be going up against a team attorney who has worked on stadium issues for eight years and in his recent spare time has advised on other crises involving one of the nation's largest private financial institutions, Lance Armstrong's doping allegations and the divorce case with the fate of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the balance.

Five Things to Know About Kris Michell's Departure
December 8, 2010
by Liam Dillon

1. The Mayor's All Grown Up

Yesterday's departure of Kris Michell, San Diego Mayor Jerry Sanders' top political aide, came with many things left undone...

"I think she was critically important to the mayor," said Phil Rath, a former city policy advisor who is now a lobbyist. "She was intimately involved in all of the major issues. She was the mayor's point person for pretty much everything that is a major issue in our time."...

2. She Was the Mayor's Link to the Downtown Establishment

...Still, Sainz agreed with the premise that Michell provided the link between the Mayor's Office and the downtown establishment.

3. Expect the Mayor to Hire a Political Expert

If Michell was the city's most powerful person you knew nothing about, her replacement Julie Dubick is a little less of a mystery.

She's an attorney, former partner at downtown law firm Seltzer Caplan and has worked as assistant director of the U.S. Marshals Service and with the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington D.C. She ran unsuccessfully for school board in 2000. Her biography from that time notes that she was the highest-ranking woman in federal law enforcement when she worked with the Marshals Service.

Dubick joined Sanders' staff when he took office in 2005. Her legal background has allowed her to give the mayor guidance independent of the City Attorney's Office. Rath said Dubick was one of the top lawyers in the city.

"We never trusted (former City Attorney) Mike Aguirre's legal advice because we always thought it was political advice," Sainz said. "Julie provided the legal perspective."

[Maura Larkins comment: Baloney, Mr. Sainz. Julie simply provides the interpretation of the law that suits your agenda.]

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