The emails of Elena Cristiano, City Hall's mystery lady

Started her career in San Diego as a waitress at Seau's Restaurant

Charles Steinberg has had a pretty good year. Until last week, the one-time Baltimore dentist and his lawyer pal Larry Lucchino were riding high on this season's storybook success of the Boston Red Sox, of which Lucchino is president and chief executive officer and Steinberg is executive vice president of public affairs. Before that, as most local sports fans no doubt remember, both men were affiliated with the San Diego Padres in similar roles. Indeed, the pair's Boston success has many of the earmarks of the Padres's trip to the World Series in 1998. Then in San Diego, as now in Boston, the baseball team was interested in taxpayer financing for a new venue. Long-suffering fans -- desperately grateful for a winning season -- seemed willing to give the wealthy baseball owners almost anything they asked for.

In San Diego, that ultimately meant abandoning Qualcomm Stadium and anteing up more than $300 million of taxpayer money for a new downtown baseball park. In Boston, the team's plans to abandon or radically remodel venerable Fenway Park remain thinly veiled, pending conclusion of the current season. "We have a vision for what Fenway should, and, I believe, can be," Lucchino cryptically proclaimed last August. "What we don't know is whether we can get there from here." Added Red Sox owner John Henry: "Someday, maybe after I'm gone, there needs to be a new ballpark. The question is: 'When?' We're trying to push that date back as far as possible."

That was more or less the same line offered by Lucchino and Steinberg to San Diego back in 1995, as they planted palm trees around the Qualcomm outfield and put up new fish-taco stands. They called the team the "new Padres" and played down the need for a new ballpark until the time was ripe. The same technique is today on display at Fenway, where Lucchino has just opened a new bank of seats atop the left field fence (called the "Green Monster") and inaugurated a sprawling new food mall beyond the right-field bleachers called "The Big Concourse."

The mayor of Boston also appears to be acting in a manner all too familiar to students of San Diego politics and Mayor Dick Murphy. Boston's Thomas M. Menino showed up at the August ribbon-cutting for Fenway's Big Concourse and announced, "It's better than a new ballpark. We have all the history at Fenway. Why do we need a new ballpark?" But when pressed by reporters to tell whether he would lend his support to a major taxpayer-backed ballpark expansion of the kind hinted at by Lucchino, Mayor Menino tersely acknowledged, "We would look at it."

Murphy, too, was an early skeptic of Lucchino's plans. During the mayoral primary campaign in the spring of 2000, he questioned whether the location of the new stadium would create monumental traffic tie-ups on game days. And he argued that outgoing mayor Susan Golding and her staff had underestimated the financial burden on taxpayers. "They know there is not going to be adequate revenues from hotel taxes," he told a Union-Tribune reporter in March 2000. Many voters said they believed the mayor would veto the huge public expenditures demanded by Lucchino and team majority owner, multimillionaire John Moores.

But after that November's election, Murphy abruptly changed his tune. In his January 2001 State of the City speech, the mayor proclaimed his unconditional support for the project and vowed he would do everything in his power to finish it by 2003. He was off by only a year. But why did Murphy turn from a self-described healthy disbeliever of the Moores ballpark to its biggest proponent? The mayor himself said he was just honoring the will of the city's electorate, citing the 60 percent majority who had voted for the 1998 ballpark referendum, which had come just weeks after the Padres lost the World Series 4-0 to the New York Yankees.

Others who worked for the city took a darker view. They believed that Lucchino and Steinberg had somehow managed to infiltrate Murphy's operation, cajoling and bullying the mayor and his staff into doing their bidding, and obtaining public information regarding the city's ballpark-negotiating position for their own benefit. Exhibit A, according to the critics, was Elena Cristiano, the mayor's strikingly attractive 36-year-old press secretary.

She was born Elana Marie Myers. As she later would explain to a reporter, she "informally" changed it to Elena Cristiano because "I was adopted, and my adoptive father was extremely abusive, and I didn't want his name anymore. I didn't want my ex-husband's name anymore for the same reasons."

Murphy's office told questioners that Cristiano had been a newswriter at KNSD-TV and a public relations woman, but that was just a small part of her story. A dropout from UC Santa Barbara, Cristiano had started her career in San Diego as a waitress at Seau's Restaurant in Mission Valley and later had gone to work in 1997 as a member of the "Pad Squad," a cheerleading organization sponsored by the San Diego Padres. Later she would go to work for the Stoorza PR firm, handling the Padres' campaign for the new ballpark.

During her initial interview for the Pad Squad, Cristiano said, the divorced mother of two met Charles Steinberg, then the Padres' publicity chief, and they quickly became friends. Not lovers, she stressed, just close friends. Steinberg agreed they did not have a "romantic" relationship. His role, he said, "was more to teach her that good things happen when you surround yourself with good people."

They were close enough, both acknowledged during separate interviews, that during her time as the mayor's press secretary they frequently exchanged gifts, including dental care in Baltimore for her children. They also purchased a Poway condominium together for $130,000. "Charles owns the condominium, but I'm on the deed because he used my money as a down payment, and he basically came into the situation to help me keep the property when I was renting it and the landlord was selling it." She said that she had never reported her ownership of the condo on the city's required conflict-of-interest forms because someone in the city attorney's office had told her she didn't have to.

Much of this occurred during sensitive negotiations between the Padres and Murphy's office regarding the details of city financing of the new ballpark, but Cristiano denied that she ever allowed her relationship with Steinberg to interfere with the confidential work of the mayor's office. "In fact, Charles always used to tease people and say, 'I can't get anything out of her,' " Cristiano related in an interview last year. "Not that he really tried, but it was definitely a situation where we were extremely careful that we were very professional, and I would never disclose anything to him that I learned within the confines of city hall that would not be appropriate public information. I was just really careful with that because I knew it was sensitive."

Cristiano's last major appearance as press secretary occurred in January 2002, during a joint news conference in support of the ballpark held by Murphy and his erstwhile mayoral rival, county supervisor Ron Roberts.

On February 19, the day after ground was broken for the downtown ballpark, the mayor issued a three-sentence news release headlined "Mayor Murphy Makes Staff Changes." It went on to say that Murphy "today announced that Colleen Rudy has been appointed Press Secretary in place of Elena Cristiano, who has been appointed Director of Communications." After that, Cristiano dropped out of sight.

Weeks later, the city confirmed she had left the mayor's employ but would say nothing more.

During the ensuing months, rumors of Cristiano's volatile personality made their way through city hall. Court records showed that during her 20s she had been twice convicted of shoplifting at department stores in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. While working as a broadcast newswriter, according to court records, she had also gotten into an altercation with a La Jolla Shores lifeguard after she allegedly questioned the size of the man's penis during his attempts to persuade her to keep her dog off the beach. She subsequently pled guilty to a misdemeanor in that case. During a March 2002 interview, Cristiano acknowledged the shoplifting incidents and having had other rough spots in her life, which she attributed predominantly to a series of bad relationships with abusive men, beginning with her adoptive father.

During the same interview, Cristiano said that she and mayoral chief of staff John Kern had various unspecified "issues" between them that contributed to her departure. Kern and other mayoral staffers did not return repeated phone calls seeking information about her status. Cristiano maintained that the mayor still had confidence in her and vowed that she would keep her $65,000-a-year job, a sentiment seconded by Steinberg during a telephone interview that same month from his new office at Fenway Park. But Cristiano never returned to her desk, and city officials said she was no longer collecting her pay.

This summer, court files show that Cristiano legally changed her last name and the last names of her two sons to Cristiano. Superior Court Judge Lisa Foster, wife of San Diego school superintendent Alan Bersin, made the change final on August 8. Cristiano, who filed a confidential application for waiver of court fees, said in an affidavit that she desired to make the changes because she had "been using Cristiano for 10-plus years, do not want abusive adoptive father's name (Myers) or abusive ex-husband's name (Price)." Cristiano did not respond to requests for comment left at her home.

In an attempt to answer some of the lingering questions caused by the unusual circumstances of her departure, in the summer of 2002 the Reader made a request to the city under the California Public Records Act for copies of Cristiano's official e-mail files and certain telephone records covering the last several months of her tenure with Murphy. The mayor's office denied the request, and the newspaper subsequently sued to gain access to the material. When Superior Court judge William Nevitt sided with the city, the paper appealed to the Fourth District Appellate Court, which earlier this summer overturned Nevitt's decision and ordered the city to produce the bulk of the requested material. Below are presented excerpts from those records.

January 2, 2002; 9:07 a.m.

From: "M D"

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Hang in there!!

Message: How are you? I am doing pretty good... keeping myself pretty busy so I don't think about the ridiculous position I have put myself in. I'm going to work out tonight, how about you?? Maybe we can motivate each other, perhaps I can call you tonight and tell you about my workout, and then you will feel guilty and want to work out too!! And vice versa because you know that I will be procrastinating!!! I need to go get some food now, but I hope that you have a wonderful day which will not be stressful -- keep your chin up!!

Love, Melanie

January 6, 2002; 9:13 p.m.

From: Paul Durso

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Pam's party

Message: I really enjoyed talking to you the other night. Thank God you were there or I would have ended up having to do the "Conga Line" with the other soccer moms, ugh...

It's too bad the night had to end the way it did. I would have been pissed, too, if I were you. After you left everyone was consoling Pam. I told her I don't blame Elena for reacting the way she did. I would have done the same. Needless to say she wasn't real thrilled with me. That's when I made my exit. I pretty much say what's on my mind. I call it like I see it. If you want to email me, my address is...

Talk to you later,

Joan

January 7, 2002;

1:01 p.m.

From: Joan Durso

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re:

Message: You can call me at work... Or my home... I was pretty lit, so my memory is limited, but I do remember some.

January 7, 2002; 12:24 p.m.

Elena Cristiano ([email protected]) wrote:

Me too. I was hoping you'd email me. The shots, the adrenaline from defending Bobby, and the pent-up frustration from years of his family resenting me for "changing him" were a bad combination. I am not sure why Pam "removed" me from the garage. Call me please so I can tap your brain for some of the details. Besides, I like you and we should hang out again.

January 7, 2002; 1:31 p.m.

From: Paul Durso, Enterprise Technology Division, San Diego Data Processing Corporation

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: Pam's party

Message: Hey Elena, Paul here. You can e-mail Joan via... I agree you got shafted! Joan told me she enjoyed hanging out with you and so did I. Talk to you later.

January 8, 2002; 8:25 a.m.

From: Joan Durso

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re:

Message: Hey Elena, How's it going today? If you want to talk, give me a call.I do know one thing, Pam took the first blow and you were merely retaliating. I would have done the same thing. I think she had wayyyy too much to drink and lost control. I think she resents you for taking her baby boy away. Believe me, I know all about that. I had to go through the same thing when I married Paul. These mother-in-laws, whether you're married or not, need to get a grip. Hang in there girl, you don't have it easy being in your position.

[Editor's note: At the time he wrote the following e-mails to Cristiano, Mike Gotch, a former San Diego city councilman, was legislative director for then-Democratic governor Gray Davis. In March of this year, Gotch abruptly resigned his $108,000 position after a reported falling-out with Davis chief of staff Lynn Schenk. Last month he became deputy secretary to California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley.]

January 10, 2002; 4:36 p.m.

From: Mike Gotch

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: For shame

Message: You are coming for an interview and didn't let me know! Secretary Maria Contreras-Sweet is pretty classy. She is from LA. BTH will be very busy this year; they could use a top flight PIO. Are you that person? Bring lots of wine.

January 11, 2002; 10:40 a.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Mike Gotch

Subject: Re: For shame

Message: I suppose all is right in the world as you knew before I did. I shall bring lots of wine I just hope it's the right kind. Nevertheless I will do my best. This email is taking on a nice rhythmic tone... I await Oliver's next call, I sit by the phone.

January 11, 2002; 11:09 a.m.

From: Mike Gotch

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: For shame

Message: The state does not move at the pace of local government. You could be covered in cobwebs if you stay in one place near the phone. All I can tell you is you are being considered for PIO for BTH agency. Pretty high brow stuff. The wine was for us to drink now. Since I don't recommend you drink before an interview, or even before sundown, you may be off the hook. Unless you hang around to see the sights. Regardless, Oliver's office is around the corner from mine, so do stop by and say hi. Good luck.

January 11, 2002; 2:22 a.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Mike Gotch

Subject: Re: For shame

Message: I'm on for the 22nd. Details to follow. Any suggestions (wine or otherwise) that you deem appropriate would be greatly appreciated. I will be doing my homework between now and then. Thanks for the luck; hopefully I won't need it.

January 11, 2002; 2:25 p.m.

From: Mike Gotch

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: For shame

Message: Great. Good weekend to you.

January 15, 2002; 11:14 a.m.

From: C Fine

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: (no subject)

Message: Hi. How are you? I talked to Charles about this proposal and he suggested that I e-mail you, since you are Ashton's mother. I know that Ashton broke one of the new veneers. I want to fix this for him. First, I need you to send me the models to have a new one made on it. You probably have these although Charles may have these. Second, the weekend of Feb. 23 -- Can he come to Baltimore this weekend? It may be a good weekend to fix the tooth. Let me know.

Charlie Fine

January 23, 2002; 5:11 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Jeff McDonald, Union-Tribune

Subject: quote

Message: Try that again. Thanks.

Mayor's quote regarding parking contracts. Thanks. Elena

January 24, 2002; 11:14 a.m.

From: Jeff McDonald

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: quote

Message: thanks for your effort... not surprisingly, this is a useless quote... if the mayor wants to discuss the issue of Ace's dominance of city contracts going back decades then please have him call me at his convenience... if not, I will report that he did not wish to discuss the issue... I have until tomorrow afternoon... thanks again

January 24, 2002; 2:24 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Jeff McDonald

cc: Colleen Rudy; John Kern

Subject: Re: quote

Message: Hi Jeff. Attached is a quote that explains why the Mayor feels it is inappropriate to discuss the issue of past parking contracts.

January 24, 2002; 2:30 p.m.

From: Jeff McDonald

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: quote

Message: hi... this is still useless... most of these deals are made at staff level... if the mayor is concerned about multimillion-dollar, multi-year deals being hashed out at staff level, fine... but these quotes are not relevant...

January 29, 2002; 4:35 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: John Kern

Subject: NYC Firefighters

Message: Details: The weekend of March 1st. One firefighter and a guest (chosen by lottery held on February 5th). Two-day visit. This is a travel and tourism promotion by the U.S. Conference of Mayors. We would need to ask ConVis to set up free lodging, passes to Seaworld, the Zoo and the Wild Animal Park, and I can't imagine they'd say no. The Mayor would just need to attend a brief welcoming ceremony with Chief Osby, Reindt Reinders, and maybe Sathoff. I'd like to stage it at Fire Station One right [around] the corner. Easy, good media...

January 29, 2002; 4:45 p.m.

From: John Kern

To: Elena Cristiano

cc: Colleen Rudy; Rachel Shira

Subject: Re: NYC Firefighters

Message: Okay -- Let's bring it up first thing at scheduling.

February 4, 2002; 11:40 a.m.

From: NBC; KNSD

To: 1EC; Elena Cristiano

Subject: Hey!

Message: Yo Elena... How the heck are you. You don't write, you don't call... I hate being ignored. Hope things are going well.

Some stunning news here at NBC 7/39. It ain't good news either. They've decided to cancel the hourlong newscast at 4 p.m. It basically means Deb and I are out of an anchoring job... and in the worst case scenario (which unfortunately is not far fetched), our contracts are up in a few months, we could be out of a job. How do you like that. Success on weekends, get promoted, then get dumped. amazing.

Let's get together... jeez I'm right around the corner!

Artie

February 5, 2002; 6:39 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Russell Howard; Christina Simmons; Y Galindo; D Ballister

cc: Ann Blakey

Subject: Re: FW: Final Media advisory/NatGeo, TW, WAP and Mayor Murphy

Message: Hi Russell, I discussed the situation with Mayor Murphy and wanted to let you know that he will be unable to speak at the event. His schedule has become even more jam-packed in recent days and he really has no time for anything other than what was originally discussed -- a few minutes to meet Mr. Schwall, Ms. Ong, and Mr. Ahlering, and to pose for photos with the SuperCroc. He will be unable to attend unless I can assure him that he will not be asked to play a role in any formal ceremony. Please call him back as soon as possible. Thank you. Elena

P.S. He will consider a teleprompted scripted welcoming comment. Let's talk soon.

February 6, 2002; 1:00 a.m.

From: Charles Steinberg

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: FW: George and Tony

Message: My cell phone stopped working today! I may owe money. But then it started working late tonight! I'll hope to talk to you tomorrow. Meanwhile, this is funny...

Forwarded message: George W. Bush and Tony Blair are at a White House dinner. One of the important guests walks over to them and asks what they are talking about. "We are making up the plans for WW III," says Bush. "Wow," says the guest. "And what are the plans?" "We are going to kill 14 million Muslims and one dentist," answers Bush. The guest looks to be a bit confused. "One... dentist?" He says. "Why? Why will you kill one dentist?" Blair pats Bush on the shoulder and says, "What did I tell you? Nobody's going to ask about the Muslims."Have a wonderful day!

Offie Soldin

February 6, 2002; 10:53 a.m.

From: Cynthia Lewis

To: ALL STAFF

Subject: Scheduled Events for the Mayor

Message: John asked me to send an e-mail to everyone regarding our commitments when scheduling events for the Mayor. If we commit to a stop-by or a quick in and out -- that's what it is and there is NO SPEAKING involved. If it's a photo-op, it's a picture with NO SPEAKING involved.

We're saying "Yes" to things because they fit well and will not create stress within his schedule, then suddenly event or his level of participation changes and we're not aware of it until the night before the event. Not a good thing!

John stated that if we have to start getting these commitments in writing, we will. I think if you follow the times listed on the printed calendars you receive each Monday morning when preparing your advances and make sure that the role the Mayor's agreed to is exactly what happens, we'll not have to do it in writing. If you have any questions, please see John.

February 6, 2002; 6:14 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Orbitz Travler Care

Subject: Re: Orbitz Hotel Reservation Confirmation

Message: When I arrived at the Ohana Waikiki Towers they did not have my reservation and I was forced to pay out of pocket for the two nights. Please let me know how to be reimbursed as soon as possible.

February 7, 2002; 3:10 p.m.

From: Jim Neri

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Tree Advisory Board Press Release

Message: Hi Elena, I just received my press release and request to take an oath of office and noticed something in Martin Schmidt's bio that is not accurate. Mr. Schmidt does NOT hold a masters degree from Harvard University. He took a one-week course there one summer.

February 8, 2002; 8:59 a.m.

From: Paul Durso

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Fwd: Reminder for Captain Sven's Contract Revenge Party

Message: Elena, There is going to be a raging party... We can bring guests. Joan wanted to see if you and Robert would like to go. See the attached and go to the "To RSVP, just Click Here web link" for a full line up of the night. Let me know asap so I can rsvp the total number of guests I will be bringing.

See Ya

February 11, 2002; 1:03 p.m.

From: Jennifer Tierney

To: Jen

Subject: New E-Mail Address

Message: Thanks to the conversion of @home to cox, I now have a new email address. Please note: For those of you who have been reaching me at ---- that email address still works as well.

February 11, 2002; 1:21 p.m.

From: John Kern

To: Elena Cristiano

cc: Colleen Rudy; Cynthia Lewis; Dennis Gibson; Paola Avila; Rachel Shira

Subject: Visit of New York Firefighters

Message: Just to be clear on this visit, our role is strictly to welcome them here.

From what you have told me, the visit is sponsored by the U.S. Conference of Mayors, we have agreed to welcome them, and CONVIS, through Sal, who has agreed to provide for them while they are here. We want, ASAP, a schedule from the U.S. Conference of Mayors, and info from Sal on who is doing what for them. If they are flying in at a time when the Mayor can't meet them, then suggest they may want to change their flight.

You are in charge of this event for the Mayor's office and I want to make sure everyone knows that it is not our event, we are not responsible for showing them a good time, and we are not incurring any costs for this.

February 11 2002; 3:26 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: John Kern

cc: Colleen Rudy; Cynthia Lewis; Dennis Gibson; Paola Avila; Rachel Shira

Subject: Re: Visit of New York Firefighters

Message: Thanks. I thought all your concerns were made clear in the staff meeting. In any case, I spoken again this morning with Sal. As I've said, he has agreed to handle the firefighters accommodations and activities. He will be sending a confirmation e-mail to that effect by tomorrow. Right now everything in the way of details is on hold, as they are contingent on the incoming flight. I already told the Conference of Mayors our concerns over the timing of the flights. They say they'll let us know as soon as possible. Either way, I plan to greet the firefighter and his wife at the airport. As far as the Mayor is concerned, I had always envisioned a late Friday afternoon event. If Friday does not work out, we might want to consider asking Chief Osby to have some sort of welcome breakfast or lunch with him on Saturday if the Mayor agrees. I'll keep you informed as details unfold.

February 11, 2002; 3:33 p.m.

From: John Kern

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: Visit of New York Firefighters

Message: Elena -- Re late Friday or Saturday, was any of this run by scheduling? Before you plan anything we need to go thru scheduling.

February 12, 2002; 10:52 p.m.

From: Lisa Villarimo-Long

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: turtle stickers

Message: Hi Elena, I have not forgotten you since the Honolulu Airport. I did find some stickers for you and will be sending them shortly. Please forgive me for taking so long to respond to you. My brother that just had heart surgery was the one I had dropped off to catch a plane back to Kauai. My mother-in-law had pneumonia and just discharged out of the hospital, I was babysitting dogs, just started a class and was getting my vehicle repaired during that brief moment of meeting you at the airport. I'm glad that I could be of some help to you. I will send them to the address on the business card you gave to me. It will have my name and return address so you know it isn't make believe. My name so you know is Lisa Villarimo-Long. I hope you had a good flight. Much aloha, Lisa.

February 13, 2002; 11:04 a.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Robert; Charles Steinberg; M Dailey; 1CB; Impala Sue; Cathy; Lindag; Deb; Elena Salsitz; C Carillo; I Chamberlin; Joan Durso

Subject: Cute

Message: Ladies' Bumper Stickers:

So Many Men, So Few Who Can Afford Me.

God Made Us Sisters, Prozac Made Us Friends.

My Mother Is A Travel Agent For Guilt Trips.

Princess, Having Had Sufficient Experience With Princes, Seeks Frog.

Coffee, Chocolate, Men... Some Things Are Just Better Rich.

Don't Treat Me Any Differently Than You Would The Queen.

Warning: I Have An Attitude And I Know How To Use It.

Of Course I Don't Look Busy... I Did It Right The First Time.

Do Not Start With Me... You Will Not Win.

Sorry If I Looked Interested... I'm Not.

If You Want Breakfast In Bed, Sleep In The Kitchen.

February 13, 2002; 11:15 a.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Lisa Villarimo-Long

Subject: Re: turtle stickers

Message: Hi Lisa. Wow! Are you always that busy? I usually am but I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I hope everyone is doing better. I think it is wonderful that I got to meet you and experience such a special demonstration of the aloha spirit before I left Hawaii. You are wonderful to do this and I will repay you somehow. Much, much mahalo and aloha.

February 13, 2002; 12:03 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Terry Rodgers

Subject: Re: thanks

Message: Hey Terry. Anytime. But why did you e-mail Colleen Rudy instead of me? A hint? Ahh the pain. Yes, and had you pushed him, I'm sure he'd have done it.

February 13, 2002; 12:36 p.m.

From: Terry Rodgers

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: thanks

Message: I e-mailed Colleen because I happened to have her card handy. No slight intended. Really. You're awesome in every way.

February 14, 2002; 9:20 a.m.

From: Clifton Williams, office of Councilman Scott Peters

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Lunch

Message: Are we still on for lunch tomorrow? How about Alhambres on 5th. Good Mexican food!

February 14, 2002; 9:32 a.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Clifton Williams

Subject: Lunch

Message: We're on! Just let me know how to get there or walk with me, ok?

Elena

February 14, 2002; 10:08 a.m.

From: Robert Nelson

To: 1EC; Elena Cristiano

Subject: Hawaii

Message: I want to fax this proposal to you. Why are you offline IM?

February 14, 2002; 10:10 a.m.

From: Colleen Rudy

To: ALL STAFF

Subject: FEB 14 PRESS CLIPPINGS

Message: A bit of trivia for this Valentine's Day. On the front of the U-T it states the average spending on Valentine's gifts for men average $158 and women spend $36. Just as it should be!!!!!

February 14, 2002; 11:01 a.m.

From: Clifton Williams

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: Lunch

Message: We'll walk together. I'll come up to your office at noon.

February 14, 2002; 11:28 a.m.

From: Charles Steinberg

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: Hi, I sent you a card from Egreetings.com

Message: Wow... that one's making me leak again... thank you. I love you eternally.

February 15, 2002; 9:52 a.m.

From: Eric S. Hensley

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: Hi, I sent you a card from Egreeetings.com

Message: Elena, I am extremely moved by this. You are right that it is never too late... I really appreciate the sentiment and the thoughtfulness. I did go through some emotional pain during those years past but I am grateful for the experience in my life because in a strange way it has helped me to understand relationships better and taught me some good lessons at an early age... I want you to know that I am fine, and that we are fine. I only hope that you are happy in life and with yourself, because that is certainly what you deserve...

Your friend, always,

Eric

February 15 2002; 9:57 a.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: F Lemasters

Subject: Re: Hi, I sent you a card from Egreetings.com

Message: I'd love that Aunt Allene. You can send anything you want, here or at my personal e-mail address. How is Geri? She holding up? Give her my love please, as well as the rest of the family. Are you writing? Hope so!

Love, Elena

February 15, 2002; 11:42 a.m.

From: Rachel Shira

To: ALL STAFF

Subject: American Ireland Fund

Message: There are 6 spots (complimentary of course) available to anyone on staff who would like to attend the American Ireland Fund Gala tomorrow night at 5:30 p.m. The Mayor is being recognized as 2002 Heritage Award Honoree. The event is Black Tie and anyone interested, please reply ASAP.

First come, first serve.

February 15, 2002; 11:47 a.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Rachel Shira

Subject: American Ireland Fund

Message: I would love to go if it's not too late. Two?

February 15, 2002; 12:00 p.m.

From: Rachel Shira

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: American Ireland Fund

Message: You're in!

February 15, 2002; 12:02 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Elena Salsitz

Subject: Re: movie

Message: No. Wanted to take a train to Santa Barbara (it's two-for-one this month) but can't find a room. You?

February 15, 2002; 12:19 p.m.

From: Elena Salsitz

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Look what I just found on Excite.com!

Message: Did you know this guy?

Attachment: "Padres outfielder Mike Darr Killed in Crash

"PHOENIX (AP), -San Diego Padres outfielder Mike Darr was killed and a minor league pitcher was injured early Friday when the vehicle they were riding in rolled over on an interstate highway.

Darr, 25, was San Diego's opening-day center fielder in 2001, his first full big league season. He moved into the starting lineup after Ruben Rivera was released in spring training but eventually gave way to Mark Kotsay, who was obtained from Florida just before opening day.

Ben Howard, a 23-year-old pitcher who played for San Diego's Class-A and Double-A affiliates last season, was treated at the scene and released, Arizona Department of Public Safety spokesman Frank Valenzuela said. The team said he sustained scrapes and bruises.

"We who work in baseball so often enjoy living in our own world, apart from the realities of life," Padres general manager Kevin Towers said in a statement. "Tragedies such as this burst the bubble and remind us how vulnerable we are and how precious life is."

February 15, 2002; 1:47 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Elena Salsitz

Subject: Re: Look what I just found on Excite.com!

Message: yes

February 15, 2002; 1:55 p.m.

From: Elena Salsitz

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: Look what I just found on Excite.com!

Message: Sorry to hear that. What a horrible thing to happen.

February 15, 2002; 1:57 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Elena Salsitz

Subject: Re: Look what I just found on Excite.com!

Message: yes, drunk driving -- a wife and two little boys, It's a shame.

February 15, 2002,

2:05 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: John Kern

cc: Paola Avila

Subject: Danielle van Dam case

Message: I met the spokesperson for the family last week. She said she had heard the Mayor say he would do what he could to help on the news (Ch. 10) last Friday. I just received a faxed "wish list" from her. I am passing on the list to Maienschein's office and will leave a copy for you with Leslie. I think number six is something we could explore. Does the City have billboards? Thanks.

Elena.

February 15, 2002; 5:32 p.m.

From: F Lemasters

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: Hi, I sent you a card from Egreetings.com.

Message: Gerri seems to be doing really well. She's settled in her new home in OK. She's coming back here in March to try and sell their trailer in Wellington. I'm so afraid that reality will hit her when she walks into the trailer. He left just five days after Leo was buried and I don't think she was facing reality when she left. But, she's a very strong woman. If you'd like to email her address is ---- Do you realize that this is the first time you've referred to me as "Aunt Allene." Thank you for that. Let me know how you like the pictures. I'm planning to write another book but I want to have Microsoft Works installed into my computer first. The program I have isn't a very good one. We'll see.

February 15, 2002; 6:10 p.m.

From: Eric Symons

To: Aimee Faucett; Ana Molina-Rodriguez; Chris Cameron; Jeffrey Gattas; Jeff Van Deerlin; Lance Witmondt; Michael Simsonsen; Ronald Lacey; Colleen Rudy; Elena Cristiano; John Kern

cc: Bruce Herring; Carl Nettleton; Hank Cunningham; Michael Uberuaga; Natalie Crosthwaite; Lamont Ewell; Debra Fischle-Faulk; Eric Symons; Michael Jenkins

Subject: Arnold Schwarzenegger to Highlight "6 to 6" program at press conference

Message: Attached is a memo regarding a news conference in San Diego on 2/21/02. We wanted to let you know as soon as we knew that the date and time for the event were finalized.

Arnold Schwarzenegger's staff have asked the City and the School District to keep this quiet, as they were overwhelmed by members of the public in Los Angeles when his visit became known. This will be a closed event to the public, with City and school officials welcomed.

February 16, 2002; 8:48 a.m.

From: John Kern

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Van dam

Message: You were going to give me copy of the material you received from the Van Dam family spokesperson. I haven't got it. Please give me a copy.

February 19, 2002; 10:41 a.m.

From: Robert Nelson

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: e mail to John

Message: that's great! (like u should be surprised)

[Editor's note: On Friday, February 15, 2002, the city sold $169 million in municipal bonds to finance the Padres' downtown ballpark, and the team announced it would begin construction on Monday, February 18. "I just met with my construction guys," Padres president Bob Vizas told the Union-Tribune. "It's hard to believe, but I think we're finally there."]

February 19, 2002; 2:10 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Paola Avila

Subject: changes

Message: Thanks for calling me. I am running out to an appointment and will be back in an hour or so. Meanwhile, I ask that you please not implement any changes until my role has been more clearly defined. I have written a memo to John and will cc you on it. Hopefully things will be ironed out quickly. I hope you feel better soon. You have a wedding to plan! Elena

February 19, 2002; 2:40 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Robert Nelson

Subject: e-mail to John

Message: I am sorry that our telephone conversation ended so abruptly. I am extremely proud of my loyalty to the Mayor and his office.

I asked you repeatedly yesterday whether having my role be completely out of press was the Mayor's directive. I am assuming that your decision to send the release out this morning, in spite of my request to change the language, indicates that it was. I reiterate that my understanding was the Mayor wanted me to handle long-range communications strategy, including media. Regardless, I am very excited about the opportunity to write speeches for the Mayor.

A director of communications oversees external communications, including website, speeches, press and memos. I have a proven track record with getting the media where the Mayor wants them. The one advisory written and approved by you and Colleen in my absence had errors, both spelling and in content, and I strongly feel would not have been effective had I not changed it. Ask other Council offices and staff and they'll recount calling me a miracle worker. I take exception to any suggestion that I performed substandard work as the press secretary.

Finally, it is clear from our conversation yesterday that you believe the Mayor is blind to my faults. John, you are blind to my talents, skills and dedication. You said that I am an "ok" writer. I am an excellent writer -- in all likelihood the best that you have. I respectfully suggest that you [find] a writing test and administer it to the staff. You will be unpleasantly surprised I'm sure. As chief of staff, you should want us all to do our best for the Mayor, yet every success of mine is treated with disdain. That is personal. I am terribly sorry that for some reason unknown to me you so deeply dislike me. I plan to continue to do the very best I can for the mayor in spite of your unfair treatment of me.

I truly hope that we can work towards a relationship of mutual respect, for the better of the Mayor and his wonderful staff.

Elena

February 19, 2002; 3:36 p.m.

From: John Kern

To: Elena Cristiano; Paola Avila

Subject: Re: changes

Message: Elena -- The changes are made. The press release has been sent out. Colleen is the Press Secretary. You are the Director of Communications and speech writer. We are open to additional roles beyond speech writing but we need to know what you have in mind. I expect you to implement these changes and turn over all press secretary duties to Colleen.

February 19, 2002; 4:32 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: John Kern

cc: Dick Murphy; Paola Avila

Subject: changes

Message: John. Your reply had nothing to do with the e-mail to Paola. I have already handed over press duties to Colleen. She talked to me about parking spaces and offices. I understand the parking spot, but do not agree with the need to change offices. Ric Grennel occupied my present office and he was director of communications. I am still unclear about how much of this is at the Mayor's directive. I need clarity on my role before any further changes take place. I agree that the media needed to know to direct daily inquiries to Colleen. None of these changes need be immediate, especially with no press events as the Mayor is out of town. What's the rush? Please see attached memo. Elena

February 19, 2002; 4:57 p.m.

From: Peter Bryan, Director of Communications, Councilman Byron Wear

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: YO!

Message: Elena, Congrats on your new appointment. Was there a corresponding increase in $? If so, then when are you taking me out to lunch?

February 19, 2002; 6:40 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Peter Bryan

Subject: Re: YO!

Message: Much thanks. We gotta chat. Soon.

Elena.

February 19, 2002; 7:10 p.m.

From: Paola Avila

To: Elena Cristiano

cc: John Kern

Subject: to clarify...

Message: Elena, first of all, please do not send email to "Dick Murphy" for privacy's sake as the Mayor is not the one who checks it. Thank you.

Secondly, you say that you are "unclear about how much of this is at the Mayor's directive." So let me make it clear that John and I speak for the Mayor so there is no need to question his direction. If you had questions about the changes I told you about, then why did you not ask me? Also, it is not appropriate to give direction to Sara Cavataio. You are not her supervisor, I am. You did this on another occasion when you asked Cynthia Lewis to stop over scheduling the Mayor. This was also inappropriate conduct as again [you] are not her supervisor.

And lastly, we will clarify your role and job duties, and I ask for your cooperation and patience as it may take some time and "trial runs." However, the change of offices is irrelevant to the definition of your role. Colleen is the press secretary and should be in that office. You, however, can be anywhere, and that is why when you had asked for the office next to Carol and I agreed to that.

Please let me know if you have any other questions.

--Paola

February 20, 2002; 10:22 a.m.

From: John Kern

To: Elena Cristiano

cc: Dick Murphy; Paola Avila

Subject: Re: changes

Message: Elena -- The office you now hold is the traditional office of the press secretary. It is close to the door and easily accessible. You will change offices.

February 20, 2002; 3:59 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

cc: Dick Murphy; Paola Avila

To: John Kern

Subject: Re: changes

Message: John -- So is the office next to Carol. I have been with the Mayor's office since the start and deserve to be treated better than this. You still haven't replied to my question. Is this at the Mayor's directive? What's the rush? I again request that you stop making unnecessary changes until my role and hostile work environment can be resolved.

February 20, 2002; 4:46 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Paola Avila

Subject: Re: to clarify...

Message: Paola, I meant absolutely no disrespect to you by telling Sara yesterday that I had sent you an e-mail requesting that no additional changes be made. I did not consider that direction. Also, I did not direct Cynthia Lewis to stop overscheduling the Mayor. I certainly know that that would be inappropriate. I simply relayed the frustration that he had just expressed to me.

As far as not reacting immediately when you called, I apologize. I am under a great deal of stress and I've allowed John's hostility to erode at [my] self confidence. Having suffered for so many years from Battered Women's Syndrome, the first thing to surface is a fear to confront and defend myself. So again I am sorry. Finally, I have been ordered by my doctor to stop all interaction with John. I very much want to resolve this and I can try to work together to reach a solution that everyone can live with, for the sake of the Mayor. Please let me know if you'd like to try, or if you prefer that I wait until the Mayor returns. Thank you in advance.

Elena

February 22 2002; 11:10 a.m.

From: Rossana Burgess

To: ALL STAFF

Subject: Signing of Mayor Murphy's letters

Message: In Sheila's absence, all letters to be signed with Mayor Murphy's signature are to be forwarded to Robert Young. To facilitate record keeping for Robert, please include a short memo requesting signature for that document. John Kern wanted all to know that the actual process of approval HAS NOT CHANGED. All letters MUST be pre-approved by John prior to final signature by Robert. There will be no exceptions.

Robert will also sign recognition items, which will be pre-approved by Bruce Williams. Recognition items include proclamations, commendations, form letters for Eagle Scouts, special occasions, etc. Resolutions will continue being processed through Carol and John.Your help and cooperation is much appreciated.

February 25, 2002; 12:24 p.m.

From: Mapintar

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Congrats

Message: on the promotion. Sounds like your talk went well. Hope this worked out the way you wanted it to.

February 25, 2002; 12:27 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Mapintar

Subject: Re: Congrats

Message: Thanks! The talk went great (your name came up...), but the backlash was stronger than expected. Let's chat soon. Maybe lunch again?

February 25, 2002; 12:39 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Paola Avila

Subject: your message

Message: I'll get the Sony camera back to your office ASAP. Just FYI -- it really doesn't suit the needs of the press office, and I've been working for months with DPC to come up with a better option.

As far as your other questions, I'll be available this afternoon by phone, or we can communicate by email, whichever you prefer. I've laid out three options that I think might work.

  1. I would love to prove myself in the traditional capacity of director of communications: overseeing the office's external communications; being involved in proactive media strategy; speechwriting: developing a comprehensive history of your term as Mayor including photos and videos and month or quarter-in-review articles; and creating a regular schedule of one-on-one get to know the Mayor video interviews to be aired on the website.
  2. To minimize contact with John Kern for the time being, I could devote my efforts mainly to speechwriting. I feel this would best be done working primarily from home, attending staff, scheduling, and strategy meetings, as well as events where you give significant speeches or there are potential video or photo opportunities.
  3. I am willing to take a paid leave of absence with plans to revisit the issue when my emotional and physical health is better in a few weeks.

Of course, I am open to whatever other suggestions you might have. I intend to keep serving the Mayor in the best way I can under the circumstances. Thank you.

Elena.

February 25, 2002; 12:46 p.m.

From: Mapintar

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Re: Congrats

Message: Ouch... is John going to be mad at me? I'll send some dates for lunch.

February 25, 2002; 2:56 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Mapintar

Subject: Re: Congrats

Message: No, not in the least. I await the dates.

Elena

February 26, 2002; 3:23 p.m.

From: Paola Avila

To: Elena Cristiano

Subject: Irish award speech

Message: Elena, the Mayor asked me to remind you to return his speech from the "Irish" event as soon as possible. Also, we do need to move forward on the move we had planned since the 19th. Please let us know if it's ok for Carol to care for the items in your office to prepare for the move as you know the movers will not move the furniture with items inside of them. Thank you,

Paola

February 28, 2002; 1:15 p.m.

From: Elena Cristiano

To: Paola Avila

Subject: Re: Irish award speech

Message: Paola, please let the Mayor know I will return his speech as soon as possible. As to my things, I really prefer that they not be handled. I asked Sara to please let me know a time when I would not have to see John to retrieve some personal things, as well as pack my desk contents and files.

I know we have been playing phone tag, but I really need some sense of where we go from here. My unexplained absence is putting my professional reputation at risk. My doctor is willing to let me return to "light duty," which can be defined as working primarily from home, doing speech and any other needed writing, while attending all relevant/pertinent meetings and events. I much prefer this alternative to others that have been suggested to me. I would appreciate knowing the Mayor's and your thoughts as soon as possible. Thank you.

Elena.

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