The cost of voter approval

Shepard’s cow pie

Bill Horn recused himself from a Lilac Hills Ranch vote due to a campaign-cash conflict with the developer.
  • Bill Horn recused himself from a Lilac Hills Ranch vote due to a campaign-cash conflict with the developer.

How much does it cost a well-heeled San Diego developer to obtain voter approval for controversial North County real estate ventures? In the case of Accretive Investments, would-be builder of 1700-house Lilac Hills Ranch, a cool $1,158,105 has been spent through June 30, with the November election still to come.

The county board of supervisors split on approving the plan after member Bill Horn, a nearby property owner and beneficiary of $25,000 of Accretive campaign cash, was forced to recuse himself. More than 70,000 valid voter signatures were subsequently obtained by the developer, and the county supervisors, minus Horn, put the measure on the fall ballot. Accretive funneled its cash through a campaign committee it calls San Diegans for Housing and Jobs.

Aside from the cost of signature-gathering, the developer’s biggest expense was a poll by Newport Beach’s Probolsky Research costing $43,000, according to a July 6 filing. Tom Shepard, former political guru of fallen San Diego mayors Roger Hedgecock, a Republican, and Bob Filner, Democrat, received $8922.

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Follow the money and you will find the puppet politician.

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