Candidate for San Diego City Council District 6 Takes on Chris Cate for his Support From Airbnb

by on May 25, 2018 · 4 comments

in San Diego

Editor’s Note: Matt Valenti is a lawyer and candidate for San Diego City Council District 6 and has been endorsed by Save San Diego Neighborhoods.

By Matt Valenti

As a candidate for city council in District 6, my top priority is to expose the ways our leadership has failed our neighborhoods and communities. Perhaps no current leader has proven to be more incompetent and corrupt than my opponent Chris Cate, yet others downtown share the blame for bungling so many of the most important issues facing us as a city.

Too often their malfeasance is glossed over by a bipartisan cheering squad downtown that sees no evil, hears no evil, and speaks no evil—so long as the campaign cash keeps flowing.

The problem is not that our leaders “lost” the Chargers, for example, but that our leaders lost ten thousand affordable housing units over the last decade.

The problem is not that we’re missing a major league sports franchise, but that we’re missing a real plan to deal with the homeless crisis, even though our leaders have paid lip service to it for years.

Matt Valenti – from campaign website.

The problem is not that our leaders can’t expand the Convention Center—a dubious proposition in any case—but that they won’t expand our police and fire services, extend library hours, or increase rec center programs for kids.

And the failure of leadership at City Hall on these issues is not because our leaders are incompetent. It’s because they’re corrupt.

There’s no better example of this than the crisis of short term vacation rentals (STVRs).

In just a few years we’ve gone from having a few hundred of these mini-hotels operating illegally in beach neighborhoods to over 11,000 of them throughout the city, with more added every day.

In the midst of an epic housing crunch in which San Diego manages to build only 3,000 new housing units a year, we are losing almost 2,000 a year to STVR conversion. We are throwing away two-thirds of our housing gains to STVRs.

And not only do STVRs take already scarce residential housing off the market, displacing actual San Diegans in favor of tourists, they also raise rent and housing costs for everyone else.

Yet despite the fact that STVRs are clearly illegal, Mayor Faulconer refuses to order code compliance officers to enforce the law—and the city council has stood by in passive acceptance of this lawlessness.

Why?

FTM. Follow The Money.

Local lobbyists for Airbnb like Craig Benedetto of California Strategies and Jim Madaffer of Madaffer Enterprises have raised money and donated directly to the campaigns of Faulconer, Cate, Chris Ward, and others who have conspired to allow the STVR industry to break the law.

And it’s not just the lobbyists’ cash that talks. The owners and operators of the largest STVR companies in San Diego, with names like Seabreeze Vacation Rentals, Bluewater Vacation Rentals, Nancy’s Vacation Rentals, 710 Beach Rentals and Vacation Rentals by Aaron, have contributed thousands of dollars to Chris Cate’s campaign. That’s why he does their bidding.

Like so many other San Diego politicians, Cate is in the pocket of the lobbyists and special interests he serves. And he couldn’t be more obvious about it.

Remember the name Craig Benedetto, one of Airbnb’s lobbyists mentioned above? His name may fly under the radar of the average resident, but Benedetto’s insidious influence over Cate and many others at City Hall cannot be overstated. Among his many clients are FS Investors, the hedge fund backers of Soccer City. At Benedetto’s request, Cate illegally emailed him ac onfidential memo from the city attorney’s office regarding SoccerCity—an act that got him fined by the Ethics Commission and investigated by the state attorney general.

Corruption doesn’t get more obvious than this.

Whether it’s STVRs destroying our housing stock or hedge fund investors attempting a $100 million land grab in Mission Valley, Cate and others like him will always sell out his constituents in favor of the big money backers that got him elected.

It’s time to support leaders who will fight to protect our neighborhoods and year-round residents, not sell them out to the highest bidder.

 

 

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Avatar John May 26, 2018 at 4:03 pm

This op-ed would attract more readers – and would IMO be a more accurate description – if it were titled, “Council Candidate Valenti Charges Faulconer, Cate, Ward and Others are Corrupt”.

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Avatar Jon Carr May 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

How about, “San Diego voters call for ALL council members to recuse themselves unless their districts end with a 1 or a 2.”

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Avatar Chris May 27, 2018 at 6:36 pm

Airbnb itself is not the problem. It’s Airbnb being used for full time STVRs as opposed to homes sharing purposes.

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Avatar Christo May 29, 2018 at 9:32 am

What Airbnb professes as their business model (Share a room in your house! Rent out your house while you are on vacation!) and what their actual business model is (Non-owner occupied properties used as full time hotels in residential neighborhoods) is the problem.

So in reality- Airbnb is the problem.

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