An ex–Kevin Faulconer assistant, whose most recent gig for the Republican San Diego mayor was as a member of his ill-starred Citizens’ Stadium Advisory Group, has bagged a mayoral appointment to the board of the city’s controversial convention center corporation. Aimee Lepore Faucett, Faulconer’s onetime city-council office chief, became deputy chief of staff to GOP mayor Jerry Sanders before following him to the chamber of commerce, where he is now president. In addition to Faulconer and Sanders, Faucett once worked for GOP ex-councilman Jim Madaffer, for whom she functioned as both chief of staff and reelection campaign manager. Besides her city hall work, Faucett was briefly a lobbyist for garbage-hauler Republic Services. The San Diego State graduate has been a prolific campaign-giver, contributing a total of $13,117 to city political causes since 2007, including $7000 to Faulconer’s 2013 election fund and $400 this year to his 2016 reelection bid. Her spouse, real estate man Erik Faucett of Lee & Associates, has kicked in $7150 on the mayor’s behalf. “Erik’s area of expertise focuses on leasing and sales of strip and neighborhood centers with a principal emphasis on landlord representation in San Diego County,” according to his company bio.
Says Faulconer’s announcement of his ex-aide’s appointment, “Ms. Faucett oversees the Chamber’s day-to-day operations, directs public policy initiatives and develops and implements long-term goals and strategies to ensure the organization is meeting its goal of making San Diego the most business friendly region in California.” Long beset by deferred maintenance and failed expansion efforts, the convention-center board is likely to occupy a key role in the expected battle by Faulconer and local hotel moguls against a ballot measure being circulated by ex–city councilwoman Donna Frye, attorney Cory Briggs, and ex-Padres owner John Moores to boost the city’s hotel room taxes. The additional cash could be used for fixing roads and building fire stations, among other public improvements. That prospect is disdained by the hoteliers, who continue to push center expansion, despite skepticism about its effect on future business here. “It’s not clear that, aside from the growth of Comic-Con and the Rock ’n’ Roll Marathon, the center is doing better than it was in the late 1990s before the [last] expansion,” Heywood Sanders, professor at the University of Texas San Antonio, told the San Diego Reader’s Don Bauder in October. Meanwhile, the $9491 public meeting tab at the city’s Qualcomm Stadium incurred in March by Faucett and the rest of the mayor’s now-defunct Chargers task force has reportedly been paid. The city sent the May 17 invoice to Faucett at the chamber’s address, according to documents obtained under the state’s public records act. Faulconer had pledged not to spend city money on the group, though he later championed a $2.1 million environmental impact report in what is increasingly seen by many as a futile battle to keep the Chargers from leaving for Los Angeles.