Boycott staged against A-1 Self Storage Company
Caster is second largest donor supporting same-sex marriage ban
Published Thursday, 20-Nov-2008 in issue 1091
Californians Against Hate is calling for a statewide boycott against A-1 Self Storage Company of San Diego.
Terry Caster, the chair of The Caster Companies, which owns A-1 Self Storage Company of San Diego, was the second-highest individual contributor to support Proposition 8. Caster and his family gave nearly $700,000 to support the proposition, including $400,000 just five days before the election when California voters decided the fate of Proposition 8, amending the state Constitution to ban same-sex marriage.
“I am sure Terry Caster was stewing all summer long, just waiting for the right time to write his big check, which he sent in at the eleventh hour,” said Fred Karger, campaign manager of Californians Against Hate. “As we look back at the proposition passing as close as it did and the financial boost that came towards the end, clearly Terry Caster was responsible for helping with their victory.”
Caster is the chair of the third generation family owned San Diego business specializing in the acquisitions, development and management of A-1 Self Storage and other commercial properties.
Karger said he plans for it to be a “virtual boycott” with information set to be distributed on the Internet beginning Friday, Nov. 21. No demonstrations or rallies are planned for now. Karger, however, said those who rent the more than four million storage A-1 Self Storage units owned by Caster need to know where their money is going.
Caster told The San Diego Union-Tribune in May that marriage equality threatens society. “Without solid marriage, you are going to have a sick society,” he said. Caster also encouraged his friend Doug Manchester, owner of the Manchester Grand Hyatt, to give $125,000 to the campaign, the newspaper reported.
In July Californians Against Hate waged the “Call Terry Caster” campaign, asking supporters all over the United States to call Caster and ask him why he and his family are so strongly against marriage equality.
Karger said it was a very mild campaign to draw attention to the Caster family contributions to qualify Proposition 8 for the Nov. 4 ballot.
Members of the Caster family are San Diego County’s largest contributors to passing the proposition.
Californians Against Hate is also responsible for two other boycotts, one against the properties owned by Doug Manchester and another against Bolthouse Farms.
Karger called the boycotts successful.
“None of the others we shined the light on made any further donations,” he said. “Manchester has lost a lot of business and it has severely impacted his two hotels. The gay community and its friends have joined together and now even the Grand Del Mar is struggling.”
A settlement with Bolthouse Farms was reached on Oct. 9 and an arrangement was made for Bolthouse Farms to donate $110,000 to several GLBT nonprofits, including Equality California and the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
“We also settled for a change in corporate policy to include medical benefits for partners of same-sex couples and the company publicly state they would strive to reach a 100 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Quality Index,” Karger said, noting that is a big goal to work toward for a company headed by a family opposed to same-sex marriage.
William Bolthouse Jr. is one of the original people who gave $100k to the initial fight to put the proposition against same-sex marriage on the ballot.
Additionally, on Nov. 13, Karger filed a complaint accusing the Mormon church of failing to report the value of the work it did to support the same-sex marriage ban.
The complaint was submitted to the enforcement division of the California Fair Political Practices Commission, the agency that regulates campaign activity.
Karger’s allegations claim The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints ran out-of-state phone banks, produced commercials and provided other services that must be reported as contributions to the Proposition 8 campaign.
“Let’s be transparent here. If they are going to play in the political process, they need to abide by the rules like everyone else,” he said.
Karger also notified the attorneys general of California and Utah, where the Mormon church is headquartered.
Spokeswoman Kim Farah said the Salt Lake City-based church has complied with all campaign finance laws and is confident an investigation will prove that.
Last month, the church reported making an in-kind donation of $2,078.97 to the coalition of faith organizations and conservative groups that sponsored Proposition 8, according to a report by the Associated Press.
It’s the only donation listed under the church’s name in support of the measure.
Based on in-kind contributions reported by other religious groups, Karger estimates that the Mormon church actually spent hundreds of thousands of dollars backing the marriage ban.
The Fair Political Practices Commission has 14 days to respond to Karger’s allegations. The agency could decide to open an investigation, to warn the party named in the complaint or conclude no action is needed, according to commission spokesman Roman Porter.
For more information about the Californians Against Hate boycott, visit www.gaylesbiantimes.com/links/1091.