Busting Up the Cabal

A Vital Necessity for San Diego’s Future

San Diego’s Hotelier Cabal situation reeks of conspiracy, intent to commit conspiracy, collusion, corruption, misuse of taxpayer funds, election fraud, pay-to-play with elected officials, conflicts-of-interest, conflicts-of-interest with taxpayer money, self-dealing with taxpayer money, anti-trust violations, and on and on.  This unfortunately is re-surfacing the ugly specter of Enron-by-the-Sea in San Diego again, while the FIFA pay-to-play corruption scandal permeates globally. Furthermore, hotelier political donations are pervasive in San Diego, including to our Mayor, Councilmembers, City Attorney, District Attorney and others who are supposed to be our watchdogs:

As such, and in order to insure we have an OBJECTIVE AND UNTAINTED OFFICIAL REVIEW of the situation, we are forwarding this matter to the U.S. ATTORNEY for possible investigation and / or referral to the FEDS. We believe many local and state, as well as federal laws and statutes may have been violated by the Cabaliers. (If the Cabal is in fact found guilty of conspiracy, and misuse of taxpayer funds to benefit themselves, via claw-back provisions it would be reasonable to expect that the over $200 million of taxpayer monies hoteliers controlled and spent to benefit themselves, be returned to the taxpayers, and with interest matching S&P 500 returns over the same period of time.)

One particularly disturbing and audacious action that appears to be pay-to-play with our elected officials is a Bahia Resort Hotel 40-year lease extension on prime city-owned land along Mission Bay that was rushed through City Council right after Thanksgiving Weekend on Nov. 26, 2012 – a bizarre maneuver to beat the inauguration of the Mayor-elect and Councilmembers-elect a week later, on December 3. Why was this rushed through, and which elected officials voting for it were accepting donations from this same hotelier (Evans Hotels) and its allies? Why didn’t the Councilmembers who had received political donations from Evans Hotels see fit to recuse themselves from this vote based on their inherent conflict-of-interest? Why was swift action to help a private for-profit enterprise in the City’s interest? At the time, it was claimed locking in low interest rates forced the immediacy of this deal, why? Rates were not expected to rise, and in fact have remained low ever since – and since when is it the City’s responsibility to help a private enterprise lock in a particular interest rate anyway? Did taking this action help anyone but hoteliers?

Importantly, how did our current 2015 Mayor (then a seven-year city councilmember since January 2006) vote on this November 2012 Bahia lease extension? How did our current Mayor vote on the 2012 Convention Center expansion tax plan that was repeatedly warned to be illegal and unconstitutional, and ultimately cost the taxpayers $10 million? How has our current Mayor voted on issues of interest to hoteliers since? Has our current Mayor engaged the prospect of a multi-purpose Chargers stadium downtown, or simply followed Cabal orders to pursue Mission Valley? Why, and for what purpose, is our current Mayor spending $2.1 million of taxpayer money on a Mission Valley Stadium EIR that no one wants? Why is our current Mayor now proposing to spend millions of taxpayer dollars for a 2016 vote on a contiguous Convention Center expansion plan that is again sure to fail? Has our current Mayor ever, even once, voted against hotelier interests? If he hasn’t, is he our Mayor? Or is he the Cabal’s Mayor?

In the Meantime…

While the U.S. Attorney weighs what actions to take, if any, San Diego needs to take immediate action to bust up the Hotelier Cabal. The Hotelier Civic Failures page illustrates the extensive damage the Cabal has inflicted in their Shermanesque self-serving march across San Diego’s civic landscape. We simply cannot afford to let these people continue. If we do, we risk losing many other cherished civic assets as well – the Chargers certainly hang in the balance because of hotelier sabotage, but there is also significant risk to Comic-Con, a 2021 America’s Cup Bid, a 2028 Olympic Bid, a 2026 World Cup Bid, our Padres, and who knows what else. The Hotelier Cabal is a curse upon our civic landscape that must be eradicated. Here are SIX STEPS to busting up the Cabal once and for all:

  1. CITY OF SAN DIEGO must immediately remove (or force the removal) of the entire Board and Staff of the TOURISM MARKETING DISTRICT (TMD), and replace them with independent (non-hoteliers and non-hotelier allies) individuals. By removing the Cabal’s control over $30 million plus per year of taxpayer monies, we remove their power over people, their power over politicians, their ability to abuse people and other interests, their many conflicts-of-interest, as well as their reason for being.

The constitutionality of TMD is dubious at best – how is it that one for-profit industry has been allowed to levy a tax on their customers, and then actually have control and access over said funds themselves in order to market their businesses and interests as they see fit? Wouldn’t the retailers in town like the same? Realtors? Attorneys? Craft Beer manufacturers? Everyone maybe? But until TMD is found to be unconstitutional and overturned, TMD must be operated efficiently and for the benefit of San Diego, NOT the Cabal.

  1. CITY OF SAN DIEGO must immediately remove (or force the removal) of the entire Board and Management Team of the TOURISM AUTHORITY (formerly CONVIS), and replace them with independent (non-hoteliers and non-hotelier allies) individuals that will seek to market San Diego for the benefit of San Diego. That means ALL of San Diego’s industries and interests, NOT just the Cabal’s hotel rooms. (Alternatively, if Mini-Me is deemed too riddled with Cabal allegiances, as it likely is, it should be de-funded and permanently shut down. In its place a new entity should rise with all new people.)

For those drinking the Cabal kool-aide that believe the Tourism Authority does a good job on behalf of San Diego, ask yourselves this – What is San Diego’s identity on the global stage??? Exactly, there isn’t one. If you go to the Tourism Authority website you will find examples of their so-called marketing brilliance – “Happy Happens (Shit Happens)“, “Yooo Hooo, Big Smiles Are Calling”, Happiness is Calling“, “Mr. Positivity“, “Smile“, and so on – shallow and embarrassing throw-away campaigns geared solely to rent hotel rooms short-term. Furthermore, if you wonder if there are any serious proposals to establish a true global brand and message for San Diego, we know of at least one (www.CityofLife.com) that the Cabal and its agents have repeatedly sought to undermine and kill. View the 30-plus rotating San Diego images on the City of Life Home Page, the Endorsement Team, as well as the Universal Messaging Platform for San Diego.

  1. ELECTED OFFICIALS of the CITY OF SAN DIEGO, and COUNTY OF SAN DIEGO, who have previously worked with or taken money from the Cabal, are now on notice. As such, these officials would be well-advised to stop taking calls from the Hotelier Cabal and their allies, return their political donations, and disavow allegiance to them. Those who don’t promptly do so will risk a vigorous Recall Campaign against them as tainted individuals. Likewise, these same elected officials should start showing true “independence” in their decisions for the benefit of San Diego, NOT the Cabal. Voting records are fingerprints, and San Diego will be watching closely. In fact, San Diego is already watching:
    • Scott Sherman for City Council 2016 – Individual Political Donations (1-1-2015 through 6-30-2015)
      (Pay special attention to maxed out political donations by hoteliers Estee Bartell, Hannah Bartell, Lizabeth Bartell, Lydia Bartell, Richard Bartell, C.Terry Brown, Charlene Brown, David Cherashore, Grace Evans Cherashore, William Evans, Robert Gleason, Doug Manchester, Geniya Manchester, Cynthia McDowell, Michael McDowell, Joseph Terzi, etc.) ***With respect to the Chargers Stadium issue, why is this Councilmember proposing a mega development project in his own council district, a district already overrun by traffic and with virtually no parks or open space? Does this make any sense? Does his constituency in District 7 support him on this? If not, why, and for whom is he proposing this?***
    • Hotelier Political Donations
  2. Political Donations (made directly or via PACs) by the Hotelier Cabal (and their agents / minions) need to henceforth be widely publicized and treated like the kiss-of-death by all San Diegans. Only when our elected leaders, and would be elected leaders, see that feeding at the Cabal trough equates to political suicide, will they stop. Once stopped, there will be no more reason for them to follow Cabal orders.
  3. San Diego’s media needs to get in the game – and in a big way. The media can accomplish this by calling out ALL of our political leaders, as well as our civic leaders, to publicly declare where they each stand. Either they are with the Hotelier Cabal…or…they are with San Diego. They can no longer have it both ways. (If they refuse to answer, we will assume they are with the Cabal and we will act accordingly.) Furthermore, our elected officials need to be repeatedly questioned about the Cabal donations they have each accepted, and why, in turn, they have consistently voted “the hotelier way”. (Though already obvious, the “truth” needs to be heard.)
  4. Boycott Cabal Hotels – If our Mayor and City Council refuse to take measures to eradicate the Cabal, and / or if the Cabal decides to fight being put out to pasture, then San Diegans need to take measures into their own hands by launching a massive full-scale BOYCOTT of all Hotelier Cabal hotels. (Those leading such an effort should consult the LGBT community, who previously proved themselves highly effective at this tactic locally.)

Of late, the San Diegans most under attack by the Hotelier Cabal are Chargers fans – and yet, few are even aware of it. Thus far, most fans have been successfully duped by the Mayor’s PR blame-game campaign against the Chargers. Despite what the hoteliers and Mayor think though, Chargers fans are not stupid and they are quickly realizing that the Hotelier Cabal (and Mayor) are the real culprits here. While pretending otherwise, the Cabal (and Mayor) are in fact seeking to run the Chargers out of town, while working overtime to spin the blame against the Chargers themselves. (Note the Mayor’s August 23rd op-ed, long on blame while absent of a viable financing plan: The End Game) With nearly 70% of San Diegans polled claiming to be fans, this group represents a significant power-base if they ever come together to fight for a common civic goal. Once the fan base collectively understands the truth in this situation, they will be outraged and in an extraordinary position to return fire and make the hoteliers pay for their transgressions against the Chargers and our community. This means a full-scale CHARGERS FAN BOYCOTT of all Cabal hotels, with large numbers of picketers in front of each hotel, and all the other effective boycott bells and whistles in place. As a unified force, Chargers fans have the ability to financially bleed the Cabal dry.

The Unholy Alliance

The unholy alliance between the Hotelier Cabal, our current Mayor, and multiple other well-place San Diego elected officials (right and left), is exactly that – unholy. Only by eradicating this Unholy Alliance will San Diego finally become the world-class city it has long deserved to be.