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Million-dollar Annie

Ian Campbell and Ann Spira Campbell — who wouldn’t want to give these people millions?
  • Ian Campbell and Ann Spira Campbell — who wouldn’t want to give these people millions?

Word that Ann Spira Campbell, formerly number two at the San Diego Opera, has become the senior executive director for principal gifts at UCSD has tongues wagging among local rainmakers. The ex-wife of former opera honcho Ian Campbell grabbed the job early last month even as the California attorney general’s office continues to investigate the opera’s financial operations during the couple’s tenure. The pair departed the opera last year after the board, acting on Ian Campbell’s recommendation, voted to shut down. A shakeup ensued and a subsequent board reconstituted the organization, with the Campbells agreeing in July to take settlement packages, the terms of which were undisclosed. According to an advertisement for the job posted by the university in November, UCSD’s new hire “will be responsible for the development of personalized stewardship and communication strategies, and overall results of a collaborative fundraising effort for prospective donors whose capacity to give to the University is a minimum of $1 million.” Adds the solicitation, “This is an entrepreneurial, results-oriented environment that requires innovative thinking, initiative, focused action and collaborative communication. The ability to develop deep, trusting relationships with Advancement leadership is essential.” It will also be important to “dispense appropriate disciplinary action when necessary,” says the notice. Local fat cats should be prepared for a call or two. According to the announcement, “the Principal Gift strategy program is expected to grow as key staff members are aligned with this program for the success of UC San Diego’s forthcoming comprehensive campaign including the Health Sciences and central campus initiatives.” Amount of salary is not mentioned. Campbell’s ex-husband is reported to be currently living in New York City. Don Bauder reported in October that he was engaged to opera soprano Susan Neves (pronounced “nevs”).

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Mega-fund-raising in San Diego by this kind of take-the-money-and-run fund-raiser fits perfectly with the approach of University of California President Janet Napolitano who continues to insist on raising the price of in-state undergraduate tuition while adding more out-of-state and foreign students who pay higher tariffs, all the while maintaining six-figure salaries for too many administrators.

A stunning recent report in the Sacramento Bee indicated that fully 20% of undergraduate spots at the campuses of UCLA and Berkeley currently go to non-Californians -- which amounts to authorized hijacking of our State system of higher education.

Salt-of-the-earth State Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins is the only California legislative leader outspoken in opposing these Napolitano's policies, as Governor Jerry Brown officially votes against tuition hikes at Board of Regents meetings but does nothing to rein in Napolitano's political power. (Like, Governor Brown, is it really good for California to have a former Arizonan and head of Homeland Security running our flagship University system?)

Meanwhile, locally, huge gifts from private donors to UCSD likely will increase private influence over the school's direction, if the past is any indication of what the future holds.

Fact is - Didn't this lady coochi-coo the opera manager TO GET A JOB (she couldn't handle) ... I mean if you can't even bilk rich bitch trophy wives any more, what are you really good at? SO THIS POLITICAL PATRONAGE IS REALLY HER FIRST JOB! We must ponder: What will selling off of the naming rights for every building, fountain, bench, bus shelter, fire hydrant, porta potty, lunch counter, foyer, umbrella stand, atrium, LBGT center, and staircase achieve? The Ultimate. Finally. It will permanently memorialize the state of envy these phonies love to live in... And! They get paid to turn the UCSD campus into a legitimate sponsorship whorehouse...Ruining its dignity. But, as the great Ian Campbell said "I thought we could close with dignity. But then I remembered where I live".... Is New York Big enough for a water head like this? Hell . . . Gotta at least be better bars to drink at. And he's rid of her... Winner winner chicken dinner

While we're talking about de-railing the purpose and direction of the University of California system, I want to add that, according to the San Jose Mercury News, 30% of incoming freshmen at Berkeley and UCLA last Fall were out-of-state and foreign students. Also, Janet Napolitano said this week she intends to freeze at the present level the number of spaces open to California students in the Fall of 2015 at all UC campuses.

Students and the current vogue of pandering to "Military Veterans" in our institutions of higher learning are only nostalgic images dragged across the diorama when our Educational Elite need to have taxpayer and voter compliance. And we long ago gave away the idea that our California institutions of higher learning are supposed to focus on our in-state students first.

“This is an entrepreneurial, results-oriented environment that requires innovative thinking, initiative, focused action and collaborative communication. The ability to develop deep, trusting relationships with Advancement leadership is essential.”

How did her skills prove useful for the SD Opera? Not so great, so it seems.

She must have had the skills to make good friends with top people at UCSD. That's better than having good experience or qualifications!

From the reports at the time of the near-demise of SF Opera, Ms. Spira Campbell was not making a great effort in the past several years when it came to fundraising. I am sure, however, she is good at throwing parties for wealthy people.

Maybe all the bigwigs who walked out on the opera need another social outlet. If so, and if her parties are good enough, UCSD may do ok.

But as was mentioned, the investigation of the opera's operations has not concluded. Let's hope we actually find out what was going on with all the travel, the perks, the bonuses and all the rest of it. Tax ramifications, anyone?

Money, money, money, follow the money.

That Ian and Ann toxic "Campbell's Soup" of SD Opera money-grabbing was definitely NOT "mmmm mmmm good."

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