U-T San Diego CEO John Lynch threatened to use the newspaper he manages to push to dissolve the Unified Port of San Diego, an email given to Voice of San Diego Thursday by port Commissioner Scott Peters reveals.
The threat came as Lynch pressed Peters on his decision to vote for a long-term lease with Dole, which operates at the Tenth Avenue Marine Terminal.
Lynch and U-T San Diego publisher Doug Manchester made moving the cargo operations and replacing them with a sports complex at Tenth Avenue the newspaper's No. 1 priority.
If Peters and his colleagues went forward with the Dole lease, and did not make provisions to change it if the U-T's vision gained steam, Lynch said the port would face consequences.
"There should be a provision that the PORT of successor (if PORT is disbanded) should be able to move Dole to National City. Otherwise this will become a major issue in the campaigns and the UT will be forced to lead a campaign to disband the PORT," Lynch said.
A version of the email had previously been released to Investigative Newsource and KPBS, which are taking a deep look into the machinations of the U-T's new owners as they brashly try to force the city to remake the waterfront.
But the threat to disband the port was not in the email KPBS posted because that was an email forwarded to the port by Peters seeking advice. He'd truncated it to edit out the threat so as not to distract port staff.
Then, Investigative Newsource obtained the port's copy of the email through a public records request. Voice of San Diego asked Peters for the full exchange and he provided it. Manchester and Lynch have had no luck so far in their push, but they keep trying.
In the email, Lynch threatened Peters that various groups like business, labor and the U.S. Navy (even one mayoral candidate) would be willing to disband the port if the port doesn't cooperate.
Investigative Newsource's Joanne Faryon asked DeMaio what he thought about all that in an interview and rundown of their research. DeMaio said categorically he does not support the U-T plan and wants to maximize cargo operations at the port area in question.
Lynch denied to the Daily Transcript's Andy Keatts that he had ever said he made progress with a mayoral candidate on his vision for the port.
Lynch and Manchester claim to have the ears of local politicians.
"In the radio business, I would ask to meet with the mayor, but they would blow me off, and I’d get with some junior staffer three months later," Lynch told a business group recently. "I’ve been in about six meetings with the mayor(s), and they’ve all been in my office -- it’s an entirely different experience."
Later Thursday, KPBS reported that Rep. Bob Filner, wants to see communications between the newspapermen and the man they endorse for mayor, DeMaio: "Filner says he believes Manchester and Lynch have a well-organized plan to take over the city government."