Dark Money Hit Piece Against Saldaña in District 2 San Diego City Council Race – ‘A Pack of Lies’

by on May 12, 2022 · 94 comments

in Election, Ocean Beach

Shadowy Group “New San Diego” Backed by Republicans, Developers, Some Labor Accuses Saldaña of Being in Big Oil’s Pocket

By Geoff Page

Dark money in the District 2 San Diego City Council race appeared in this writer’s mailbox on Monday, May 9. It appeared in the form of a hit piece on District 2 city council candidate Lori Saldaña.

The only clue regarding who put it out was at the bottom of the second page where it stated:

“Ad paid for by New San Diego – Not Authorized by a candidate or a committee controlled by a candidate.”

It took some effort to find out more about this group, but first the flier.

The front page of the mailer has, in big font, “Lori Saldaña Showered By Big Oil.”

Below that were three claims. The first stated:

“Big Oil companies like Chevron showered Lori Saldaña with lavish gifts worth $84,634.”

Source: San Francisco Chronicle, “Lobbyist Gifts: lavish but legal.”

Choice of words is important, “like Chevron” shows right away this is not a fact. No link was provided. An article was located with that title dated April 30, 2006.  The article stated this about Saldaña:

“Assemblywoman Lori Saldana, D-San Diego, accepted $4,811, including a $346 concert ticket paid for by Amylin Pharmaceuticals; $235 in meals from the San Diego Association of Realtors; a $200 ticket to a holiday event hosted by Biocom, a biotech trade organization.”

There was no mention of $84,634 or any oil companies in what was listed for Saldaña.

The second claim on the flier was:

They flew her around the world and put her up in five star hotels in Brazil, Venezuela and Chile. Source: San Diego Union-Tribune, “Officials overseas trips raise eyebrows.”

Once again, no link to this story and no amount of research could find the article.

The third claim on the mailer was:

“She had a private butler. Source: Sacramento Bee. “Energy Firms Help Pay for State Regulators Far-Flung Trips”

Again, no link to the story. This article was found dated July 25, 2009. It lists 24 politicians who were recipients of funded travel from 2006 to 2008. Saldaña is not on this list of 24 people.

So, the first page is full of lies lie. The second page was an even bigger lie.

The second page states:

“Lori Saldaña Opposing Renewable Energy – After traveling the world with Big Oil, is it a surprise that Lori Saldaña tried to block renewable energy for our region?”

This really is a despicable falsehood. The flier goes on to say the Saldaña led the charge to stop construction of a solar project in Jacumba. It cited a Union-Tribune story from August 2017. Here is what the article said:

“Gathering in front of the San Diego County Administration Center, the Protect Our Communities Foundation joined about 30 residents of the town at a demonstration Tuesday. The foundation has long advocated for renewable energy projects but its leadership objects to the scale of the JVR Energy Park.”

“Not every solar project is an environmental justice project,” said Lori Saldaña, a Protect Our Communities board member and a former speaker pro tem of the California Assembly. “This one does not meet the needs of this community. None of the power from these 600 acres of solar power will even go the residents of Jacumba.”

The key words in that were, “The foundation has long advocated for renewable energy projects,” — the opposite of the mailer’s claim.

The protest was over a 604-acre solar farm being developed by a company based in Munich called BayWa R.E. The project is named JVR Energy Park. The company has already signed a deal with the new San Diego Community Power organization.

Saldaña and the Jacumba residents were not trying to stop the project, they just wanted it down-sized, hopefully to around 300 acres. As we know today, they were ignored.

A comment from one Jacumba resident said the plaintiffs in the lawsuit are not against clean energy but believe the project is too large and the county should prioritize other renewable efforts, such as distributed rooftop solar instead of utility-scale solar.

That is the crux of the issue, rooftop solar versus utility scale solar. This battle is being fought at the state level right now.

The last thing on this hit piece was a quote from Jared Quient, identified as Past President, League of Conservation Voters.

“Politicians like Lori Saldaña who stand in the way of renewable energy are contributing directly to the climate change crisis. Actions speak louder than words.”

It is almost impossible to state how hypocritical this last part was. The League of Conservation Voters is a respected organization, hence the misleading association for Quient. What the flier did not say was that Quient is the Chief Compliance Officer & EVP, General Counsel, BayWa R.E. Solar Projects, LLC., the company building the solar farm.

There is no doubt the mailer was a pack of lies.  So, who is New San Diego?

The only identifier on the mailer was an address on Meade Avenue in San Diego that turned out to be the Christ Methodist Church. The church rents out offices in the church building. This writer visited the office and found one person there who was a treasurer who managed money for several groups including New San Diego. It was not the PAC’s address.

Research discovered a number of interesting pieces of information. The first item of interest involved documents in five filings with the city. The first was a simple Fair Political Practices Commission, or FPPC, Form 410 – FPPC 410, Statement of Organization, Year: 2021.

The form has a section where the entity identifies the type of committee it is. There are four categories and New San Diego marked a box labeled “City Committee” under category number four:

General Purpose Committee – Not formed to support or oppose specific candidates or measures in a single election.

The description is important, “not formed to support or oppose specific candidates.” That did not comport with the mailer, and, as it turns out, another form New San Diego filed.

Form 496 – FPPC 496, 24-Hour/10-Day Independent Expenditure Report, Year: 2022

The form states the purpose of the group is specifically to oppose Saldaña. This contradicted what Form 410 stated.

The filings with the city are as follows:

8-9-21 – First filing Form 410, no financial information

11-29-21 – Second filing, Form 410 – added qualification date and bank account, no financial information

1-25-22- Annual report for 2021, Form 496 contains a list of donations and donors. Total donations $105,850.

5-6-22 – Form 496 asks for name of candidate supported or opposed and it states New San Diego opposed Saldaña. It lists expense all for a mailer totaling $17,857.62 all dated 5-5-22.

$7,605.10 – mailer: postage

$1,583.68 – mailer: data

$950.00 – mailer: design

$7,718.84 – mailer: print & handling

5-9-22 – Three days later, another Form 496 with the same list of costs minus the “mailer: data” item for $1,583.68. No explanation why.

Contributions and Contributors

It was not possible to find out who the people are behind New San Diego but it was possible to get a full list of contributors, as seen in the table below:

What is immediately notable is that one contributor, Badiee Development, Inc. donated almost half of the total funds New San Diego received, $50,000. Someone really does not want Saldaña elected.

The next largest donation was $10,000 from a company with an unintelligible name NUWI 2 CMR LLC. Oddly, this company is listed as a “Foreign” company incorporated only four years ago. It has an address in Los Angeles. One wonders what the rules are about a foreign company donating to political campaigns in this country.

One name was very recognizable: Ben Haddad, former Republican Mayor Golding Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff/ Cabinet Secretary under Republican Mayor Pete Wilson. Haddad is the Government Affairs Consultant at California Strategies, LLC. Haddad gave $1,250.00.

Another name from California Strategies, LLC was listed –Craig Benedetto, who was listed as a Principal at the LLC. Benedetto also gave $1,250.00.

Rachael Laing, the Communications Director for Mayor Todd Gloria, was also a contributor – $500.

Also, there was some labor support to New San Diego. The United Domestic Workers of America Action Fund gave $7,500 and the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters Political Action Fund threw in $5,000.

The other donors will be researched but it was clear that Republicans, developers, some unions and certainly the mayor do not want to see Campbell defeated and certainly not by Saldaña.

The San Diego Reader had an article dated March 2, 2022 that had this:

“In addition to those donations, on December 20, 2021, Sempra gave $2500 to the New San Diego PAC, a political action committee registered with the city clerk’s office on August 21 of last year. Its cause, according to the filing: “supporting initiatives and candidates that will make San Diego and the region better for all of us.”

The timing of New San Diego is interesting. It was only started in August of 2021. None of the financial information was shown until January 2022. All of the contributions took place from November 29, 2021 to December 27, 2021. No money was spent until last week, May 5.

There is still about $90,000 to spend between now and the primary and the election. And, that does not take into account any future donations.

If this mailer is any indication of what is to come, dirty politics and dark money have invaded city council politics. If it can be determined which candidate this PAC favors, that information will definitely follow.

{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

Frank Gormlie May 12, 2022 at 10:09 am

There’s an unholy alliance out to get Lori Saldana. This is some incredible research by Geoff into a hit piece against her that’s being delivered in D2 mailboxes. Once educated, the voters will remember who published it.


Denine May 12, 2022 at 10:19 am

I really appreciate the excellent reporting!


korla eaquinta May 12, 2022 at 10:33 am

Thanks Geoff for this investigation. Lori has been part of several presentations I personally have heard on renewable energy and I know she is in favor. I hate these tactics. Sadly, life isn’t fair.


s May 12, 2022 at 11:00 am

Nice work Geoff. You are doing the public a great service by investigating. There definitely needs to be more transparency and oversight of campaigns and elections. Keep up the great work!


Judi May 12, 2022 at 11:31 am

There was another flyer received yesterday by same group


Frank Gormlie May 12, 2022 at 12:22 pm

Same one as Geoff’s or a different one?


Dr Jack Hammer May 12, 2022 at 3:22 pm

I received a different one a few weeks ago. I believe she was in a red dress in that ad. Same message though and they mentioned the butler and a paid trip to Brazil as well. I will keep the next one…


Frank Gormlie May 12, 2022 at 12:22 pm

Obviously, Mayor Gloria wouldn’t or couldn’t attach himself to such spurious claims, but he could ask his communications director to donate to the group making them.

Oh, wait! He was attached to similar fliers attacking mayoral candidate Barbara Bry that called her a QANON supporter.


Frank Gormlie May 12, 2022 at 12:26 pm

Just wondering here. What lobbyist or consultant got to those to 2 labor-aligned groups? I’m hoping it’s not the same ones used by Campbell during the recall campaign. Even if it’s true or not true, Campbell should correctly view Saldana as her main opponent, as Saldana has the most gravitas of all the candidates to make Campbell a one-term councilmember, like her predecessor. Ironically, they both hail from Clairemont. As does Day.


Tessa May 12, 2022 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for the excellent spade work!
I’ve been to hear/see Lori, and at this point am convinced that she is just what we need. Campbell needs to go, and Lori has the chops to stick up for the “little guy”.


Gravitas May 12, 2022 at 3:54 pm

Forward to the City Attorney and the District Attorney ASAP!
surely this deserves some kind o investigation and consequences.


Gary Wonacott May 12, 2022 at 7:17 pm

Right now the City is infested by a group or groups who work in the background believing that no one will put the spotlight on them. Hopefully as the truth is revealed, not only will those responsible for these abominable messages be exposed, but perhaps they will think twice in the future.


Andrew May 12, 2022 at 7:28 pm

Great reporting! I’ve received these mailers. The content seemed odd given how Lori has presented herself and her viewpoints in online comments and forums. The ads are a complete 180 from her known stances on issues. I was on the fence and have been waiting to hear more from the candidates; but I’m fed up with these nasty tactics and am now convinced that Lori is the choice for D2. Just completed my ballot with a vote for Lori and dropped it in the mail.


Geoff Page May 13, 2022 at 10:42 am

That’s great to hear, Andrew, I’m sure Lori appreciates your vote. It’s fun to see the mailer had the opposite effect it was intended to!


Richard Ram May 13, 2022 at 6:15 am

Thank you for the reporting. I have posted about these mailers and the group on my personal page and will post to your article in an upcoming newsletter from San Diego County Democrats for Environmental Action, of which I am president and our members voted to endorse Lori Saldaña’s campaign for this seat. The anti-environment special interests will say anything to stop a grassroots candidate who’s not in bed with them.


Geoff Page May 13, 2022 at 10:45 am

Good to hear, Richard. Do you have anything to add about who is behind this group? Other than the contributors of course. Maybe some of them created it, it sure looks like the Badiee could be one.


Michael Durkin May 13, 2022 at 9:53 am

Anyone who knows Lori or who has heard her speak for more than a few minutes would know how ridiculous these lies are.
“ … you can fool some of the people all of the time… “ Candidate Abe Lincoln called this out more than 150 years ago.


tim May 13, 2022 at 11:02 am

Since we’re educating people here on the Rag (and speaking of an unholy alliance), I’m moved to point out how Lori had no problem taking $150K in PAC support (the thing all of you are complaining about) from serial sexual harrasser Mickey Kasparian because she desperately wanted to win the Supervisor’s race in 2018.

“Support and contributions from Kasparian-controlled groups has become controversial after the labor leader was sued four times since late 2016, including two lawsuits that accused him of sexual misconduct. One woman accused Kasparian of pressuring her into an unwanted sexual relationship while she worked under him at Local 135. Another woman said that Kasparian had groped her several times and at one point pinned her to a sofa inside his office.”

She then went back on her word to not accept his support –

“Saldaña said on Twitter at the time, “I have no plans ‘to accept a contribution, an endorsement or other types of campaign support from UFCW 135 or the Working Families Council while Mickey Kasparian is president.’”

She later said she changed her mind as circumstances changed.

“I said, literally in a tweet, that I had no plans…I had no plans to ask for it because they had no plans to offer,” she said in an interview in March.”


Is this the kind of person we should be speaking so glowingly about? Someone who is willing to ignore MULTIPLE LAWSUITS RELATED TO SEXUAL HARRASSMENT against someone so that they can get $150K in support? I’m sorry but those are not the values I want representing me at City Hall.


kh May 13, 2022 at 12:50 pm

If a dirtbag wants to give me $150K, I’ll take it every day of the week. And I’d use it to further whatever proper causes it can go towards, regardless or in spite of the particular dirbag’s needs. And I wouldn’t be afraid to admit as much upfront.


tim May 13, 2022 at 1:28 pm

PAC contributions are not direct contributions kh, which is something that I thought everyone commenting here knows.

And while it’s great that you would be comfortable with that, you’re not running for office (though if you were, I would love to hear how the women in your life would react to you telling them that you’re totally OK with accepting money from someone who would call a woman into his office who was working for him and demand oral sex, firing women who didn’t go along with his urges and making life hell for the people he was supposed to lead. I’m sure they’d agree, totally cool!)

The thing though is that Lori IS running for office and said she wouldn’t take anything from him. Then she did. Because she cares more about winning at any cost, even if that means 150K in outside spending from a serial sexual harasser who she had previously demanded resign his post AND had tweeted out that she wouldn’t accept ANY endorsement or support from his organization as long as he was running it.


kh May 13, 2022 at 2:02 pm

I understand the basic rules on PACs. And I’m probably far off the mainstream stance on this particular campaign contribution question. It’s more optics than anything else. Even if a candidate was ok with taking that money on principle, I think most would still refuse out of fear of the vast majority of voters are too simple to understand the distinction. And that’s because they’re more concerned about perception and winning than what I think is a good principal, or repurposing that dirtbags money toward a good cause.

I’ll leave this quote from Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, in response to an outrcry that he received a $500 donation from someone that was a known racist:

“ Dr. Paul stands for freedom, peace, prosperity and the protection of inalienable individual rights for every American. All of our campaigns energy is dedicated to spreading the message of liberty and limited government, and we do not spend time screening donors or blocking websites. We don’t know who Don Black is, and pay him no attention. If a small number individuals who hold racist beliefs want to waste their money by giving to Dr. Paul, a man who stands firmly against their small minded ideologies, then the campaign will simply use those funds to protect freedom, peace and civil liberties across our Nation.”


tim May 13, 2022 at 2:25 pm

While I normally don’t agree with Ron Paul about anything, he’s correct about this. Small-dollar individual contributions to a campaign are one thing (though I’ve seen this website suggest otherwise when it comes to small-dollar contributions in San Diego). However kh, it’s a bit disingenuous to compare $500 to $150K. It’s not even close.

And she did have a compelling reason to change her mind: she had no money and Mickey Kasparian was going to support her w/ $150K. She didn’t give a shit about those women and what they suffered through, she just saw dollar signs. It’s absolutely gross.

Sadly, this is a pattern from Lori. She has a history of not supporting survivors if it’ll help her political career. Disgusting – https://earthysara.com/2018/04/03/survivors-are-not-lori-saldanas-political-pawns/

I see people in these comment threads trash elected officials they don’t like all the time, but if Todd Gloria or Jen Campbell had done ANY of what Lori Saldana did, the Rag commenters would be screaming bloody murder. Instead, it’s crickets (minus the honest comments from KH and the (unsurprising) downplaying of clearly unforgivable behavior by Geoff Page).


kh May 13, 2022 at 2:08 pm

But to respond directly to your first comment, that’s a pretty chickenshit backtracking response, she should’ve stuck to her word unless she had some really compelling and transparent/honest reason for changing her mind.


Frank Gormlie May 13, 2022 at 2:26 pm

Tim, okay, you’ve splattered Saldana with your rant on Kasparian. However, you didn’t respond to the main point of the post and the hit piece against her. Are you saying it’s okay cuz she’s despicable?


tim May 13, 2022 at 2:49 pm

In the words of Geoff Page in this OB Rag piece about a PRO-Lori dark money mailer, which everyone should also read, (https://obrag.org/2018/05/lori-saldana-and-the-lincoln-club-just-say-no/) “I am also concerned about the funding source but with politics as they are today, candidates have to get money wherever they can and every source has its drawbacks.” (which he clearly does not believe anymore when mail ATTACKING Lori is also disingenuous)


Frank Gormlie May 13, 2022 at 5:07 pm

Also Tim, please identify yourself as you take pot shots at commenters with real names, well, except for honest kh. But kh has been around long enough, we know who he is and where he lives. As you accuse me and the Rag of being dishonest, unfair and in “an unholy alliance with Lori Saldana,” you cannot no longer hide behind your anonymity.


kh May 13, 2022 at 6:57 pm

I don’t know Tim from Adam, but I do know if he was agreeing with you, you wouldn’t be asking him to identify himself.

It’s your house and your rules but it seems like a double standard to me.


Frank Gormlie May 14, 2022 at 12:57 pm

kh, the honest one, it was more than disagreement, dude. He was saying the Rag and I were dishonest and unfair — taking unfounded pot shots at other commenters whose names are public. I simply asked him to id himself — as I have with other commenters making spurious claims under a cloak of anonymity. Besides that, you and I have had our disagreements but we were cordial so never had to ask you to identify yourself publicly.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 3:23 pm

If you are going to quote me. don’t do it out of context, you left out the sentence I followed that with as follows:

“I think judging her by this one thing is unfair, she has a public record of what she did while in office, that is the best way to judge her, and it was a good record.”


tim May 13, 2022 at 2:58 pm

As they famously said in “Casablanca”, “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” Are you really surprised that there’s this kind of mail going around? Does anyone remember the Zapf ads with her in a kayak talking about being an environmentalist? This is part of the territory. I wish it wasn’t, but it’s the system we have.


tim May 13, 2022 at 3:06 pm

One more thing – if a bogus mailer about Jen Campbell or Joel Day or Mandy Havlik, full of all sorts of incorrect and disingenuous information, came out would this publication give THAT hit piece the same in-depth reporting as Geoff gave the one this article is about? Time will tell I guess, but I’m assuming no.


Frank Gormlie May 13, 2022 at 4:08 pm

It sounds like you’ve made up your mind. You are still missing the point here. Why don’t you ask yourself why haven’t multiple hit pieces come out against Campbell or Day or Havlik? Could it be that the San Diego establishment just doesn’t want Saldana on the city council — and that’s why she is being targeted?


kh May 13, 2022 at 4:16 pm

Also tim, the Rag has posted volumes of unflattering coverage on Jen Campbell. If you think otherwise, then it’s clear you are new to this site, which probably means you’re not in a position to be criticizing it.


tim May 13, 2022 at 4:24 pm

Oh I’m well aware of the reams of anti-Jen stuff that’s come out here. In the words of Frank right above here, the Rag has certainly made up it’s mind. I’ve been a Rag lurker for a number of years now and have seen it go from anti-Lorie to pro-Jen (briefly) to anti-Jen. I’m very familiar with where the loyalties of this publication (and it’s commenting audience) lie.


tim May 13, 2022 at 4:30 pm

Much like you sometimes see Democrats go on FOX to try to reach an audience that’s made up its mind, my intention today was to remind everyone that despite what you think about poor ol’ Lori Saldana, she’s played the same game around dark money that Geoff is so mad about (and did it with people way worse than those listed above. At least none of them settled sexual assault cases out of court).

Mandy, Jen, Joel – at least they’re doing it because they’re trying to make this community better (in obviously different ways). Now running for her 5th different office (assembly, congress, mayor, county supervisor and now city council), Lori is just trying to get in power – and will do so by any means necessary.


kh May 13, 2022 at 4:38 pm

Jen signed on because it was a unique opportunity to unseat Zapf in a now blue district and finally secure a 6-3 vetoproof democrat majority on council, and no Dem of any gravitas ran against her.

She let a life devoid of political involvement and then suddenly gets a call from her cousin David Axelrod about this great opportunity, and poof! The rest is history.

If she cared about her constituents she wouldn’t bail on them at every opportunity. She’s made a name for herself being a servant to special interests.

I recall OB rag has been anti-Jen from the outset since her gaffe in the previous primary about homeless people not actually being homeless.


kh May 13, 2022 at 4:44 pm
Frank Gormlie May 13, 2022 at 4:59 pm

Okay, Tim, that’s your opinion and you’ve made your point.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 3:26 pm

Show me something, Tim. Show me something Lori has done – or anyone else has done for her – in any of her campaigns that rivals this mailer.


kh May 13, 2022 at 4:13 pm

If that is your persuasion, then write an article and submit it to the editor and see where it goes. These articles are predominantly from unpaid volunteers writing about subjects that motivate them.

That is a very different deal than intentionally hiding the ball on Lori, as you have suggested.

Yes, I remember those ridiculous Zapf mailers. I also remember the Campbell PAC mailers photoshopping Zapf hanging out with Donald Trump. And the ones acccusing Campbell of disability fraud. What a sad state of affairs our democracy is in. People are actually persuaded by this trash.


Mike May 14, 2022 at 12:08 am

Tim, you’re lying.

Neither Lori Saldaña’s nor her campaign ever received money from Mickey Kasparian.

It looks like you do a lot of research into past elections. It would be pretty astonishing that you never looked that up.

Of course Kasparian was a labor leader and Lori was a Carpenter and a Professor and an active union member on both accounts. Lori was also endorsed by Dolores Huerta. The simpler explanation, not the dark sex-assault-conspiracy lunacy, explains her Labor support.


Geoff Page May 13, 2022 at 11:41 am

So clear something up for me. Was this money from Kasparian’s own pocket? Well, if so, I agree that would be despicable. But, what if it was from the union and wasn’t Kasparian’s own money?

Why would it be wrong to accept a donation from a large union just because the guy they had leading it was an idiot? The candidate isn’t representing the desires of just one person, the candidate is representing the desires of a great number of people. So, toss them all because of one man? Don’t have a chance of being elected because there is no money? And, dash the hopes of those who support the candidate?

She did the right thing. Your sense of morality makes no sense.


tim May 13, 2022 at 11:58 am

Geoff, did you even read my whole post? She CLEARLY knew it was wrong by tweeting out “I have no plans ‘to accept a contribution, an endorsement or other types of campaign support from UFCW 135 or the Working Families Council while Mickey Kasparian is president.”

Oh, and she called on Mickey to resign in 2017. Seems like a pretty clear sign that Lori thought this guy was bad news (until he gave her $150K)


If you’re OK excusing the actions of someone who will take financial support from an organization run by a credibly accused serial harrasser (and someone who later was voted out of the organization he led because of this) after specifically saying she would not (and demanding his resignation a year beforehand), it’s not my sense of morality that’s problematic, it’s yours.


Frank Gormlie May 13, 2022 at 2:23 pm

Tim – quick question: do you live in D2 and if so, who are you supporting?


tim May 13, 2022 at 2:37 pm

I am a D2 resident but I have not made up my mind yet. I’m looking at Jen, Joel, Mandy Havlik as well. Each have their pluses and minuses. I’m doing my best to be as informed as possible and during that process, the amount of just awful things I’ve read about Lori is important to share. I would hope that a paper priding itself on having a “progressive view” of our community would want to ensure their readers are also informed.


Frank Gormlie May 13, 2022 at 4:05 pm

Tim, we do and that’s kind of why we posted Geoff’s piece – which you ignore. Plus it sounds like you’re ignoring the awful things Jen Campbell has been getting away with. Oh, well, thanks for adding your 2 cents.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 3:35 pm

Like I said, he was a bad guy but that didn’t mean the whole union was bad. It was the union’s money, not his personal money. He was voted out, as you recounted, leaving behind the union membership that endorsed her. You are applying your sense of morality to the whole union, that’s what is wrong here..


tim May 13, 2022 at 12:14 pm

Also, I love how you sanitize Mickey as an “idiot”. He wasn’t an “idiot”, Geoff.

He was a serial sexual harasser.
Someone who preyed on women he oversaw.
He would intermittently demand oral sex or sexual intercourse.
He took advantage of women on his payroll, causing lasting, damaging, trauma.

It’s all right here – https://voiceofsandiego.org/2016/12/26/everything-we-know-about-the-lawsuits-facing-labor-chief/.

Lori knew this. It’s why she called on him to resign in February, 2017. It’s why she tweeted out that she wouldn’t accept ANYTHING from his organization as long as he was in charge of it.

Well… until there was $150K up for grabs.

She doesn’t stand for the “little guy”. She’ll do anything to get elected, including taking money from someone Mickey Kasparian.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 3:43 pm

I did not sanitize anything, you are reading through too many lenses.

I’m familiar with the Kasparian story, I don’t need a refresher.

She took money from a whole union membership of “little guys” led by a criminal so she could help the “little guys.”

So, what was the money for? What are you implying this indebted Lori to do? Kasparian wasn’t a developer or businessman. What then, Tim?


korla eaquinta May 13, 2022 at 12:41 pm

Add me to the list. I received the flyer today. Maybe we can get to the bottom of it at the upcoming Candidate’s Forum at Liberty Station.


kh May 13, 2022 at 12:47 pm

The best way to determine if something is a bold-faced lie is if it’s printed on a political mailer.

When I research this stuff, including about politicians I don’t like, it’s always pure horse manure, with at best, some tenuous misrepresented relationship to something that actually happened.


Gary wonacott May 13, 2022 at 2:55 pm

I am a strong supporter of anyone but Campbell. Not only did she mislead voters in the last election, but she was stating three months after she was elected that she was opposed to vacation rentals in residential zoned areas. I was in a meeting when she made that statement. And then a couple of months later she’s changed her position 180°. I feel she was strongly influenced by Bridget Browning who has had it in for Mission Beach ounce she was named in a lawsuit by Evans hotels against her union. The mission beach town council explicitly stated that the 30% was and is dependent on substantial permit requirements and and enforcement. Neither of these is included in the current budget with the current regulations. In addition servile over us spoke with all of the council members and convinced four of them that it was imperative that a provision be added in the current Per regulations to establish accountability to platforms that continue to operate and work with illegal STR‘s after the regulations were implemented. It was clear when she turned this down that she was in the pockets of Airbnb and other platforms. I believe she is so far down in their pocket that she has no clue of the light of day so while I support Laurie first because I have a history that my wife and I have supported her in the past I will repeat once again anyone but Campbell.


kh May 13, 2022 at 4:26 pm

Not to mention Bridget is the spouse of Jen’s campaign and recall consultant.

Jen knows she doesn’t need the support of engaged voters, because there are plenty more idiots out there to buy with mailers.

Must be nice to be an influential insider with a patsy councilmember to do your bidding, against the will of the people she was elected to represent.


Paul Webb May 17, 2022 at 11:07 am

And let’s not forget that Adam Day was part of Kevin Faulconer’s administration. To me, that is close to automatic disqualification.


Frank Gormlie May 17, 2022 at 11:27 am

Who is Adam Day?


Paul Webb May 18, 2022 at 11:14 am

Sorry,I meant Joel Day, not Adam. Adam Day is the executive officer of the Sycuan Band. Got confused (which occurs too frequently these days).


Frank Gormlie May 18, 2022 at 11:30 am

… and uh, what were you responding to …?


Paul Webb May 18, 2022 at 2:12 pm

Frank, just saying that Dr. Jen is not the only candidate that has baggage.


Frank Gormlie May 18, 2022 at 3:08 pm

You didn’t get my joke, apparently.


Geoff Page May 18, 2022 at 11:56 am

I agree with that, Paul.


OBLovely May 13, 2022 at 5:31 pm

Interesting infromation. Thanks!


Gary Wonacott May 13, 2022 at 8:43 pm

This is the same kind of crap that Campbell pulled four years ago against Zapf. Campbell has no scruples. Gloria, Campbell, Browning, and Campbell’s campaign manager are a mafia. Oh, I forgot Campillo. Marnie Wilpert and Steven Whitburn have one finger in the cookie jar and could go either way.


Mike May 13, 2022 at 11:35 pm

New Day San Diego; address: 3295 Meade Ave. Suite 212, San Diego CA, 92116
Joel Day for City Council; address: 3295 Meade Ave. #212, San Diego CA, 92116

So, it looks like it’s Joel Day’s campaign office sharing space with “New Day San Diego.”

So Joel Day did it.. The Joel “New Day” Day. He’s new.

Get it?

Really, d’ya? Get it?

It may be trying to be a cult or a candidate., but it defiantly stinks.

An apparently uncoordinated dark money group heavy with right-wing developers and other unpalatables is doing an end-around on campaign finance laws. Because it represents billionaires and it thinks it has a right to do this. And, it has the same address as Joel Day’s campaign.


This act includes playing on the goodwill, the generosity, the benefit of the doubt, and suspension of judgement – after all who would do something so shameful?! And, no one wants to be the one to say it- from the same voters who they are lying to. To play along (but, why would anyone?), voters are not supposed to be insulted. Oh dear me no. Voters are supposed play along as if, to pretend to play stupid and to pretend they don’t know that it’s Joel Day. But, It’s Joel Day…and he is still trying to climb into this race. Dishonesty is his survival strategy.

This is hackneyed, degenerate, dishonest, corrosive, community-dividing, democracy-killing politics and everyone hates it. The perps, evidently, believe that the lie is worth the disgust. But it has the same problem as Trump being caught with a burner phone. He can deny it. He can pretend that he doesn’t know what it is. But no grown person can possibly believe him. Perhaps it’s more like defecating in the Capitol after the attack. Once you decide to take the support of investors who will command that you defy your campaign promises, whatev’s. Day is new to being a candidate. Perhaps it is his lack of experience and stunning ignorance? Or, it is his very poor judgement at choosing friends. Maybe it just the simplest problem that is all too common these days – personal ambition trampling civic honesty and decency. But, it doesn’t matter why. There is only for voters to hold candidates accountable for behavior like this and to prevent future occurrences. Adopting the worst kind of politics-as-usual, corrosive and corrupt dishonesty-was the wrong move for a former “fresh face.”


kh May 16, 2022 at 11:39 am

I’ve actually been inside this particular space, it’s a swath of cheap office space in the dingie basement of an old church. A lot of non-profits operate out of this particular address. I suspect it’s mainly because it’s cheap office space and staff services to handle mail on behalf of various causes or politicians. I wouldn’t read much into who shares this address.


Andy Kopp May 16, 2022 at 3:18 pm

No, Mike. That is not correct. That office address is the address of a well known political campaign treasurer. There are very few political campaign treasurers in San Diego, so many candidates and committees utilize the same services. In the San Diego City Council races alone, it is also the treasurer’s address for Councilmember Montgomery-Steppe and Councilmember Moreno. This is a well known fact to people who pay closer attention to these things and I’d hope the moderator would delete your comment that casts a baseless conspiracy to try and pin political activities on him – and update their article to reference the facts instead of letting commenters take uninformed potshots at good candidates.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 4:30 pm

I agreed with you comment, I made mine before I read yours and the one from kh about this association. But, part of your comment caught my eye when you wrote “update their article to reference the facts.” What specifically were you referring to in the article?


Andy Kopp May 16, 2022 at 5:09 pm

Hi, Geoff. With respect to updating the article, even though the article notes that it’s not New San Diego’s address, the narrative leaves ambiguity as to who is at that address. The address is expressly known – it is a political campaign treasurer.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 8:43 pm

Well. I like to think the article was pretty clear on that point.

“This writer visited the office and found one person there who was a treasurer who managed money for several groups including New San Diego. It was not the PAC’s address.”

Was there some other language that you felt made this ambiguous?


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 4:26 pm

In all fairness, the office, as I described, just contains one person doing accounting for several organizations. It is not actually New San Diego’s office, they probably don’t have one. I would not make the connection to Day just from the fact that they both use this address.


Mike May 14, 2022 at 12:13 am

This is an important article and well presented. Success makes imitators and there is no success like winning a presidential election. Pols at every level have imitated Trump and few have been held accountable for it. It’s a hard job and no one wants to have to be the person to tell on others. In our era, that is what it takes to defend democracy.


Madeleine May 14, 2022 at 12:41 am

Attacking Lori Saldana is a desperate measure of some big developers, corporate Democrats, and Democrats who will sell out to the highest bidder! They know Lori can’t be bought. They know Lori will work for us, who the powerful see as the little people. It’s disgraceful and fear is palpable. I read in the San Diego reader that Sempra energy donated to Joel days Campaign. And from your investigative reporting, we see that Sempra is a donor to this Dark money group, News San Diego, whatever that means. Coincidence? Again, whoever the developers, Republicans, and newbie democrats who are cool with lying about Lori so they have a shot at power Joel Day), it won’t work. This is an excellent piece of investigative journalism, taking the time to do the research, and get to the bottom of the dark money, who is donating, and why they want to attack a grassroots campaign – and by the way, Lori Saldaña is NOT doing a mail campaign, it’s a waste of paper and voters don’t like it! I’ve seen Lori on her electric bike dropping off yard signs. She knows policy, she’s got experience, and she’s got the receipts! Plus, she is a true blue local San Diego, born and raised in Claremont! She is the local yokel that all voters who care about decency and integrity want in public office!


Andy Kopp May 16, 2022 at 3:29 pm

Respectfully, Madeleine, that is incorrect with respect to Sempra donating to Joel Day’s campaign. To begin with, committees and corporations cannot make contributions to local race campaigns. Joel has received a contribution from an employee of SDG&E, with whom he has a personal friendship, rooted in their attendance at University of Denver, where he earned his PhD. He is not backed by the establishment in the slightest – they’re all in for Councilmember Campbell.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 4:39 pm

That is all true, Andy. But, Sempra could give to a private PAC.


Andy Kopp May 16, 2022 at 5:16 pm

Hi, Geoff. Madelein’s comment is clearly alluding to the idea that because a single SDG&E employee has contributed to Joel (with whom he has a longstanding friendship), that Sempra contributions to a PAC might suggest a connection. “Coincidence?” No, it’s not a coincidence. As I’ve explained the facts, it’s nothing at all.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 8:40 pm

I wasn’t arguing Andy, I said your comment was all true. I was just pointing out another avenue for an organization like Sempra to funnel money into local politics.


Richard Ram May 14, 2022 at 12:56 pm

In regard to the PAC’s mailing address on the mailer, it is a political treasurer service with whom I am familiar. You will see this same address used among several organizations, PACs, and campaigns that have retained services from this treasurer that handles political finance reports. So don’t read too much into the listed address.


Frank Gormlie May 14, 2022 at 12:59 pm

Very good point, Richard. Do you have any idea of what some of the other orgs are using the address?


kh May 16, 2022 at 4:03 pm

Barbara Bry used the same address for her mayoral campaign, and nobody accused her of being beholden to anyone.


Frank Gormlie May 16, 2022 at 4:21 pm

well, except some of her fellow Democrats (read Todd Gloria and his ardent elite): they accused her of being a Republican, a Trump supporter and a QANON adherent.


Mike May 14, 2022 at 1:37 pm

Fair point. That happens. Still, there is at least one dark money op using the same address that was created to influence this election in this district and is also marketing “Day.”

I’m still going with he short odds. But, if they share contributors as well as branding strategies, no one has to risk that this is merely an incredibly unlikely coincidence.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 4:34 pm

Mike, when you say the dark money operator is also marketing Day, do you have something to substantiate that?


R.W. Loony May 14, 2022 at 4:34 pm

Great article. How about a follow-up on whether you can get any info out of the contributors on why they donated & who decides how the money gets spent?


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 4:35 pm

R.W., I’m researching the list for a follow up if it is interesting enough. Very curious about Mr. Badiee.


R.W. Loony May 16, 2022 at 8:23 pm

Seems like someone San Diegans should know more about. BTW, he’s now sending emails w/ subject line “Mayor Todd Gloria’s Voting Guide”. The man definitely has a very specific agenda. You’d think he’d be happy to talk about it.


R.W. Loony May 14, 2022 at 5:57 pm

I want to know more about this Ben Badiee fellow. Maybe a follow-up story?


Lyle May 15, 2022 at 8:36 pm

The most recent flyer slamming Saldaña includes a quote from Gretchen Newsom, “…. I could never vote for someone like Saldaña who flew around the world with oil companies and opposed solar energy.” What’s up with that?? (OBW it was not easy for me to produce an enye, but I took the effort because I care.)


Lyle May 15, 2022 at 8:48 pm

Oh yes, to elaborate on this flyer phenomenon, I have long had the habit of saving all those flyers and considered each flyer to be a negative point for whoever sponsored it, and a positive point for whoever was slammed. Then I add up those points and consider them when I vote. Saldaña is not my first pick for counsel, but she is gaining.


Geoff Page May 16, 2022 at 4:37 pm

Lyle, I’d love to see that mailer. Can you send it to me at glpage00@gmail.com?


Lyle May 17, 2022 at 1:50 pm



Frank Gormlie May 17, 2022 at 11:49 am

We now know that New San Diego supports Jen Campbell for re-election. They recently sent out a “Voter’s Guide” which has Jen as their candidate.


Frank Gormlie May 17, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Lori Saldana just tweeted:

The #NewSanDieao mystery is solved!
The #NewSanDiegoPAC that’s attacking my campaign part of @MavorToddGloria’s political machine- with his developer friends, appointees, staff et al contributing $100K+ & managing it.
Stay tuned… more to come


Commenter May 21, 2022 at 12:39 pm

Thank you for your research and exposure of this nefarious sleazebag group.
And I was not going to vote until I received so many of these BS mailers attacking Lori Saldana. The fact that they were spending so much money on these attack mailers convinced me to vote for her and all other non-Republicans or Democrats on the ballot. I usually vote Green Party anyway.


LINDA PERINE May 24, 2022 at 1:23 pm

Just to clear up a couple of points. 1. I think I have a pretty good idea of who Tim is. 2. The ACTUAL sin Micky committed was supporting David Alvarez instead of Nathan Fletcher in the scrum to replace Bob Filner. Lorena DID NOT like that. Repercussions followed. 3. The $$$ did not come from MK. It came from the LABOR union that was comprised of over 55% POC and women. Apparently Tim doesn’t think they had agency to make their own decisions. Interesting perspective. 4. Several women in that union did not believe the 3 amigas and said so. The response was pretty ugly – threats abounded. 5. Some of the things MK was accused of doing (no one testified under oath) are remarkably similar to what the current county chair did to Cindy Green. Fired for being a whistleblower. Tim seems to have abandoned all critical thinking to the cottage industry of virtue signaling that sprung up in the Filner days.


Gary Wonacott June 18, 2022 at 7:17 am

If you are going to do a public comment, it would be helpful for those of us who agree with you if you could be less cryptic. Thanks


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