After being abruptly pulled from the city's procurement website two months ago, San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer's $1.6 million anti-drought public relations campaign is back out for proposals, as costly as ever.
As first reported here, the former PR man issued an initial call in April for a pricey media consultant to assist "in informing the City’s customers about the need to conserve water as well as drought messaging."
The prospective tab was considerable: "The allotment for contract expenses has been approved for a range of $1,000,000 to $1,600,000 over the course of five years."
In addition to related promotional duties, the high-priced helper was to "identify press opportunities and media partnerships," to promote the mayor's water agenda.
As in the case of other state politicos, the deepening drought has offered the Republican mayor the opportunity to pontificate on the need to build costly new recycling plants, including the city's long-contemplated toilet-to-tap plan to convert sewage into drinkable water.
"The governor said he would speed up the approval process for projects that increase local water supplies," said a news release from Faulconer after an April 28 meeting with Democrat Jerry Brown in Sacramento.
"That's great news for San Diego as we begin work on the largest water recycling program in the state and create our own independent, drought-resistant water supply."
Turning an environmental crisis into a big-money development opportunity is a priority for the mayor, who is widely thought to have have his eyes set on higher office, and the revised PR plan appears to be designed to provide him with plenty of exposure.
"Up front development of a specific theme is a critical component in the formulation of a drought advertising and outreach campaign, and sets the tone for all forms of marketing communications throughout the campaign," the revised request says.
In the media manipulation department, the prospective consultant is to "help identify press opportunities and media partnerships" and "provide support as needed for press conference or campaign related events," as well as to "coordinate location shots and sites for interviews."
The photogenic Faulconer does best in pre-scripted events covered by generally unquestioning TV news crews, veteran political observers note.
The city's revised call for consultants makes it clear who's in charge: "When this Agreement refers to an act or approval to be performed by City, that act or approval shall be performed by the Mayor or designee, unless the Agreement specifies otherwise."
It also outlines the terms of consultant compensation, "including all reasonably related expenses, in an amount not to exceed $1,600,000.00."
Responses are due August 5.