Image: TrueStatement: “I cannot allow any women on the team at the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. to engage with the mayor – a serious problem, since nearly 70 percent of our team is female,” San Diego EDC CEO Mark Cafferty wrote in an Aug. 1 op-ed for Voice of San Diego.

Determination: True

Analysis: Business leaders were largely mum on the sexual harassment allegations directed at Mayor Bob Filner until this week.

Then, on Thursday, the San Diego Business Leadership Alliance unanimously voted to call on Filner to resign. San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. CEO Mark Cafferty was among them.

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In a Voice of San Diego op-ed published just after the vote, Cafferty explained his decision. He bolstered his argument with a claim that nearly 70 percent of EDC staffers are women, and he doesn’t feel comfortable allowing any of them to interact with the mayor.

We recently fact checked state Assembly Majority Leader Toni Atkins’ claim about the male vs. female ratio among city workers and turned up some surprising results, so we decided to vet Cafferty’s claim too.

The gender breakdown at the EDC turned out to be vastly different than the city’s staffing makeup.

Here’s a look at the staff page on the group’s website.

San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. staff directory

We confirmed with Cafferty that the EDC has 18 staffers. Of those, 12 are women and six are men.

Cafferty said his organization seeks out the most qualified candidates but has tried to maintain gender diversity as the ranks of female executives and business leaders grow.

He acknowledged the group’s board of directors, who are largely selected by member companies and community leaders, are male-dominated.

But when it comes to staffing, women make up the clear majority at the EDC. In fact, about 67 percent of its workers are women and that makes Cafferty’s statement true.

Here’s how that compares with city staffing.


It’s worth noting that the EDC employs far fewer workers than the city, so it’s much easier for the organization to post such a high percentage of female workers, and means even a single hire can have a significant impact on the EDC’s overall gender breakdown.

If you disagree with our determination or analysis, please express your thoughts in the comments section of this blog post. Explain your reasoning.

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    This article relates to: Community, Economy, Fact Check, Government, Mayoral Election Issues 2014, News, Share

    Written by Lisa Halverstadt

    Lisa Halverstadt is a reporter at Voice of San Diego. Know of something she should check out? You can contact her directly at or 619.325.0528.

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