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After 35 years in public education as a high school English teacher and university administrator, I began my second life as a freelance writer, winning San Diego Society of Professional Journalist awards for my opinion columns in the former San Diego daily North County Times and the San Diego Free Press.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Who Owns Cody Campbell?

Hint: They're Not Vista Voters

Of the $16,874 from a total of 41 donors to Cody Campbell's campaign for reelection to Vista's City Council, only $2,640 came from city residents. He could thank the six of them by having them over for dinner.

To thank the others he will have to drive up the coast to Irvine and Newport Beach, after stopping in Oceanside to thank Mayor James Wood for his $300 donation and visiting other generous residents of Vista's neighboring cities.

But take a closer look at the out-of-towners to get a clue to their affection for the politician.

Vista limits individual campaign donations to no more than $440. But that didn't stop four businesses with shared urban development interests and the same mailing address (6885 Alton Pkwy. Suite 100 Irvine, California), from giving Campbell $1,760 on the same day last month, September 28.

Progressive Realty Partners is a property management group; Trico Capital Investments specializes in multi- family, mixed-use and retail properties; VASF 1 CA SPV, LLC is a Self-Storage business, and Hard Hat Inc. is a design/build firm.

At the City Council's March 8 meeting, Campbell proposed an amendment to the city's General Plan to change zoning on a 1.9 acre parcel of vacant land to allow Trico Capital Investments to build a two-story, commercial building with office/retail and storage space.  Hard Hat Inc. partnered with Trico in the plan. Seven months later the two companies joined to give Campbell $880 for his campaign.

Silvergate Development, the San Diego firm responsible for developing Vista's new City Hall, gave Campbell's campaign $440 the following day, on September 29. The development firm has a plan to demolish the Breeze Hill Shopping Center to build apartments, as well as another to build apartments at Creekside, next to Frazier Farms.

Silvergate has appealed to the City Council to overturn the Planning Commission's recent vote to require an Environmental Impact Report for the Breeze Hill apartment project. Deputy Mayor Amanda Rigby appealed an earlier Planning Commission's vote to approve the Creekside development. Both appeals are scheduled to be heard by the city Council at its November 15 meeting.

Pathfinder Management Co., partners with Silvergate on the Creekside apartment project, gave Campbell $440 on September 29.

The four partners of Integral Communities, a Real Estate firm in Newport Beach, kicked in a total of $1,760 to Campbell's campaign. They want a 17.7-acre site in South Vista to be rezoned to allow for a mixed-use project. A vote wasn't taken on it at the Council's January 12 meeting, but, as the Coast News reported, "a majority of Council members say they were open to the idea of rezoning the land at 2100 W. San Marcos Boulevard to allow for a mixed-use development. Vista Palomar, proposed by Integral Communities, would include 196 two- and three-bedroom condos and a 100-room four-story hotel. Deputy Mayor Amanda Rigby said she wanted to examine the differences between mixed-use and residential zoning before moving forward on the idea, but her colleagues expressed support for a housing development. Councilman Cody Campbell said he considered the proposal smart growth." (Hoa Quach, The Coast News, Jan. 12) http://www.thecoastnews.com/2016/01/15/new-condos-could-come-to-vista/

Ten corporate donors from Irvine, Newport Beach, La Jolla and San Diego gave Campbell's campaign a total of $4,400; twenty-five other non-residents of the city gave him $9,834; Six Vista voters gave him $2,640. Any question about how Campbell will vote at the November 15 City Council meeting, when the Council votes on whether to approve the Creekside and Breeze Hill development plans?

On November 8 Vistans will decide whether they want him there.


  1. Thanks again Richard. Though I live in Carlsbad, this gameplan looks awfully familiar. Seems as if Orange County wants to annex North County San Diego and maybe all those people who have moved down here would be happy to see it happen. But why do our local politicians have to make it so easy for them? Guess you uncovered the answer to that one...money.