Homeless PR agent

Tapping a Democratic practitioner of the art of spin

Stacie Spector, enlisted to work on the mayor’s anti-homelessness effort
  • Stacie Spector, enlisted to work on the mayor’s anti-homelessness effort
  • Image from LinkedIn

San Diego Republican mayor Kevin Faulconer, a veteran of the high-dollar public relations world via the firm of NCG Porter Novelli, has tapped a Democratic practitioner of the art of spin to run his flagging downtown anti-homelessness effort. Per Stacie Spector’s LinkedIn profile, she has specialized in “project management; applying and maximizing the relationship between policy, politics, and communications to priority initiatives and issues; strategic planning; creative marketing; advocacy based and non-traditional communications tactics; relationship and coalition building; problem solving, crisis and public affairs consulting.”

If putting a positive spin on the city’s ever-growing plight of the homeless proves to be an impossible gig, it won’t be a new experience for Spector. A former political operative for ex-Democratic vice president Al Gore, Spector arrived in town back in August 2004 to become vice chancellor of university communications and public affairs at UCSD for the then-tidy annual salary of $180,000 a year. During her five-year reign, Spector announced a six-figure “branding initiative” for the campus, promoting it to national media and telling the Union-Tribune, “The bottom line is, outside of San Diego the UCSD name is not that well known.”

Spector’s flashy tenure peaked in May 2007 with a $100,000 on-campus appearance by Gore. “Sponsor shall provide the monetary equivalent of round-trip air transportation at first class fare from Nashville, Tennessee or New York, or Vice President Gore’s then current location, at Vice President Gore’s discretion, to the place of engagement for Vice President Gore and one (1) additional individual,” said a May 25, 2007, contract between the university and the Harry Walker Agency. A margin notation said, “Airfare $12,200.”

Added the agreement, “the Sponsor will also pay for first class hotel accommodations, for Vice President Gore plus one additional individual. The Sponsor will be responsible for meals, phone calls, and any other related expenses for Vice President Gore and one additional individual.” To avoid any appearance of being an energy glutton, Gore specified that his UCSD-supplied chauffeur-driven car would be “a sedan, NOT an SUV. In addition, sponsor will make best effort to use [a] hybrid car for Vice-President Gore’s transportation in the city of engagement.” As for the media, the contract said, “There will be no press opportunities or availabilities, i.e., press conferences or statements,” and “Vice President Gore will accept no interview requests.”

Two years later, in October 2009, Spector was out at UCSD, said to be let go due to university budget cuts. She later became chief communications officer at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies from 2011 to 2013 and went on to handle public relations for the nonprofit nutrition sciences initiative in Washington DC. This past April, Democratic governor Jerry Brown put her on the board of California’s state Bar. Local GOP wags assert that if Spector fails in her homeless mission, Faulconer can say it’s the Democrat’s fault.

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And the point is? San Diego is a magnet for homeless people because they won't freeze to death here and there are lots of free services available especially in the down town area. Hiring a spin doctor will do nothing except line Spectors' pockets with taxpayer money. Unless the root causes of homelessness, alcoholism, drugs addiction & mental illness, is addressed no amount of BS PR will make it any better. It will, however add to her resume.

In politics (as in retail), perception can trump reality.

San Diego will notice any change in homelessness after, 4 years? Maybe? Of course, all will remain the same and the next Mayor will convene another study, appoint another "expert" and nothing will change. What's with these "experts"? What's the matter with Mayor Faulconer and these "favor" appointees. The Mayor should be empowering -fundin$- Churches, nonprofit organizations and neighborhoods who have a proven record of helping the homeless. We all know the Mayor has "many" things he has to deal with, but, he should go to the trenches and get his hands dirty helping these communities get a hold of this situation. What? He's already doing that? I guess -"you'll just have to go wake him up now, won't you"- is not working.

Let's not be too cynical. Sometimes things happen and there is nothing to it except that finally it happened. Stacie Spector was a perfect selection for our region. At least the city had the guts to finally hire a person with the intelligence, political acumen to handle county egos who hang onto to their services monies, an elegant, refined woman to help bring many municipalities, cities, county, providers and businesses to the table for real solutions for the homeless problem. Let's get on board and help Stacie instead of throwing cold water.

A very good idea: always responding negatively will reap nothing new or better. San Diego's huge homeless population is a disgrace and black mark on Mayor Sunny's otherwise slickly successful agenda and will come back to haunt him should he run for higher office. If Stacie Spector helps the addled and addicted folks on the streets, it will be a win for everyone.

Truth of the matter is "homelessness" is a game to the political environment. A game where Hundreds of Million$ of DOLLAR$ are given out annually, right here in San Diego, yet nothing really changes bu the problem getting worse! More women, families and the continually Veterans homeless, and out on the streets. WE NEED REAL AFFORDABLE HOUSING, and living wage jobs. No employer should be able to keep a person if they do not have secure housing that has some privacy for those housed. Without privacy people go crazy, without shelter/housing people die! People need space to be intimate with themselves and/or others. People are not machines, they are humans with physical, psychological and social needs. If they are not well "fueled"(fed), if they do not rest(sleep) well, and if they can't be productive(job in our society), then they die, some slower than others, but they die. Yes, I understand we all die, but at what co$t to our society, to our communities, to OUR NEIGHBORHOOD! Like throwing away a car that is still running, or just pulling out the battery from our smartphone, to expecting everything to continue to work well is just not wise. Like a saying goes: "What you do with the least(poorest/weakest) is your society tells the world who you are." SO WHO REALLY ARE WE SAN DIEGO? Kick the can, or literally the humans, down the road, or significantly deal with the problem, #EndHomelessnessSD via #AffordableHousingSD , and consider the imperfect human HUMAN, so we can nurture, help, and growth that human into surviving then participating again with OUR SOCIETY?!!!

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