Faulconer Calls ‘Ghostbusters’ in Taxpayer Group’s Dinner Promotion

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By Ken Stone

Confronted with a haunting “disaster of biblical proportions,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer falters at first.

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Mayor Kevin Faulconer calls Ghostbusters at urging of Barbara Bry Chief of Staff Jamie Fox (left) and Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Awbrey. Image via YouTube.com
He’s asked: Who are you going to call?

“Shelley Zimmerman,” he says — San Diego’s police chief.

But later in the annual promotional video for the San Diego County Taxpayers Association Golden Watchdog and Fleece Awards dinner, Faulconer is shown making the right call after prompting from Deputy Chief of Staff Matt Awbrey.

He phones Ghostbusters.

Intercut with clips from the original film, the scratchy 2-minute video posted Tuesday features five City Council members and county Supervisor Dianne Jacob.

They’re dressed like the 1980s movie stars Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd, wielding toy proton packs and targeting “ghosts” of San Diego civic life. (The dinner’s theme is “Make the ‘80s great again!”)

Council members David Alvarez, Barbara Bry, Chris Cate, Scott Sherman and Lorie Zapf — unidentified in the video —target “ghosts” such as “overly optimistic pension returns,” “short-term vacation rentals” and “public subsidies.”

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In her star turn, Supervisor Jacob whips out her proton gun and says: “I’m coming after you, SDG&E, for your shady lobbying practices.”

San Diego City Council members Chris Cate, Lorie Zapf and Scott Sherman in “Ghostbusters” spoof. Image via YouTube.com
But her gun doesn’t work.

“Oh, no,” she says as she throws it over her shoulder. “No power. Big surprise.”

The video was shot mostly around Civic Center Plaza on April 23, said a spokesman for the taxpayers association.

The video was produced by San Diego’s Media Melanie — Melanie Merritt, who also serves as stage manager for Fox Sports San Diego during Padres season. (She says she teamed with Jessica Hernandez, who formerly worked with SDCTA on similar videos.)

“We did the shoot in half a day,” Merritt said. “It was very ‘run-and-gun’ with very limited time spent with each talent. They have very busy schedules, after all!”

Hernandez did a “lot of the heavy lifting on this video and also managed post production,” Merritt said. “We worked with a local camera operator and sound person and will have a different crew for the next video shoots — we have two days of shooting left with SDCTA for the videos that will play at the Goldens.”

Councilman Chris Cate shoots his proton gun at the ghost “Overly optimistic pension returns.” Image via YouTube.com
The Ghostbusters theme was chosen by the SDCTA Dinner Committee, which helped pick the “ghosts” being busted (including labor leader Mickey Kasparian, featured in the Alvarez segment).

“The SDCTA Dinner Committee collaborated on the script and concept,” said Tony Manalatos, the spokesman, who said no taxpayer money was involved in the video’s production.

“The [SDCTA] dinner is always one of the best events of the year, and the videos certainly have a lot to do with that,” said Kimberly Miller, a board member of the group and event co-chair.

“Our Save the Date video is a glimpse of what’s ahead. None of this would be possible, of course, without our elected leaders on both sides of the political aisle. They’re great sports and our region is lucky to have them.”

The promotional videos date to 2008, and include one in 2009 with a sheep (evoking the “Golden Fleece” theme) singing a version of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and masked finger-snappers for 2013’s “West Side Story Sharks vs. Jets…San Diego style!”

The 22nd Annual Goldens, as they’re called, is set for Thursday, May 25, at the San Diego Hard Rock Hotel.

“Our awards give the public the opportunity to voice both admiration and criticism of government,” Manolatos said.

2009 Goldens video

2013 Goldens video

2015 Goldens video

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