Kris Michell, the President and CEO of Downtown San Diego Partnership, a nonprofit focused on coalescing downtown businesses and making San Diego's urban core a vibrant locale, is joining forces with Mayor Kevin Faulconer's team at City Hall.
Michell is considered a City Hall insider, having served as Mayor Jerry Sanders' top political aide and chief of staff for years during his tenure from 2005-2012.
In 2010, Michell left City Hall to spearhead Downtown San Diego Partnership, and now, 7 years later, returns to the Mayor's office.
Sources have told IVN San Diego Michell is expected to be the point person on special projects, including the Convention Center expansion plan and working on a viable homelessness solution. As most are probably aware, the city of San Diego is making national headlines for the Hepatitis A outbreak that's claimed the lives of 17 people and hospitalized nearly 400.
As for the Convention Center expansion, Michell worked on the issue with Mayor Jerry Sanders about a decade ago. And recent reports have surfaced that a citizens initiative could be in the works for the June ballot for voters to consider. The initiative could call for a contiguous expansion and to raise the Transient Occupancy Tax (TOT). San Diego's current TOT, 12.5%, is well below that of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
It's been a tumultuous year at City Hall with the Hepatitis outbreak, the city council battles and leaks over the much discussed Soccer City project, the departure of Faulconer's chief of staff, and the loss of the city's NFL franchise.
Political insiders say the experience and stabilizing presence of Michell, who has a reputation for her ability to move civic projects across the finish line, is the likely reason for the move.
The City of San Diego issued the following statement regarding Michell's arrival: