Some city-elected officials, who always seem to have a good excuse to party and scarf down free food and booze, do report at least a portion of the largesse they benefited from. Take Harry Mathis, who represents San Diego's first district on the city council. The Hotel Motel Association gave him four dinners worth $102. The Super Bowl Host Committee gave him two tickets to the "NFL Experience" at the Super Bowl and a souvenir football worth a total of $208. Somebody named Deborah Horwitz gave him two aerospace dinner tickets worth $190. The Hard Rock Cafe gave him a jacket valued at $275. The Hall of Champions gave him admission to its Champions dinner ($65), its Touchdown dinner ($80), and a sports lunch ($15). Cloud Nine Shuttle paid for his attendance at a Holiday Bowl lunch ($70).
Second district councilman Byron Wear said he got a $20 congressional lunch ticket from Pacific Bell, a $50 ticket to a Museum of Contemporary Art dinner, two tickets to a $50 Chamber of Commerce dinner from Solar Turbines, and a $75 holiday picnic basket from weight-loss drug company Metabolife. He also reported he'd gotten a $200 admission to the "Insights" program from the Chamber of Commerce and a $60 T-shirt and bag from Elite Racing.
Wear's third district colleague Christine Kehoe said she picked up a $50 lunch from UCSD's San Diego Dialogue, a $150 floral arrangement from the Padres, and Old Globe tickets worth $75. She also reported $250 worth of "booth rental" from the Adams Avenue Business Association. Compared to others, a paltry take. Was she telling the truth? There's no way to verify.
In the fourth district, George Stevens says he got $140 worth of roses from Padres owners John Moores and Larry Lucchino and a Charger polo shirt worth $45. He said he stayed three nights at the "West Bay Bahia Hotel," the value of which he pegged at $159, a rate not usually available to the average tourist. The Bahia is on land leased by the city to the Evans family and has long been the subject of controversy regarding how much public space along the shores of Mission Bay the city council has let it gobble up.
Among her eight city council colleagues, fifth-district councilwoman Barbara Warden reported the most goodies received. Her take included a guest pass for free movies at Pacific Theatres, which she valued at $100, a discount card at Carvers Restaurant worth $50, admission to the Chamber of Commerce's "Insights" conference, worth $225, from Cush Automotive Group. (Owner Steve Cushman is a city council appointee to the city-owned and subsidized corporation that runs the convention center.) The San Diego Super Bowl Host Committee gave her a ticket worth $100 to its "Go West" party, the Padres gave her food and beverage she said was worth $40 and a bottle of wine she valued at $35. (Other elected officials who got bottles of wine from the Padres said they were worth $50.)
Warden also got $60 tickets to the city-subsidized San Diego Film Commission's gala. She received two tickets to the Holiday Bowl worth $92 and a Holiday Bowl dinner valued at $40, thanks to bowl sponsor Culligan.
Over in the sixth district, Councilwoman Valerie Stallings's gift declaration was quite meager in comparison to Warden's. She said she got a $185 scarf from Tiffany's and two dozen roses from the Padres, along with a book worth $35. Similarly, seventh district councilwoman Judy McCarty's disclosure statement was thin. She said she got a commemorative football from the Super Bowl Host Committee worth $185 and admission to an Alzheimer's Association fundraising dinner worth $100. The eighth district's Juan Vargas also took few freebies, at least according to his report. San Diego Playgoers gave him two tickets to Miss Saigon worth $114, and the Padres gave him baseball tickets he said were worth $140.
Mayor Susan Golding reported getting two tickets to the La Jolla Playhouse worth $60, two San Diego Symphony tickets she valued at $50, and Padres tickets from John Moores worth $184. Golding's biggest bonanza came in the form of a free trip to Hong Kong, thanks to the Port of San Diego, which picked up her $5056 travel tab. The British government was talked into giving Golding $2797.53 to pay for her tour of the British Isles, in which, according to her disclosure statement, she "met with British ministries of England, Scotland, and Ireland to provide advice on municipal affairs." Golding also went to Washington, D.C., at least once, where $550.60 in "hotel expenses" were paid for by the Heritage Foundation. There was no word on who paid her airfare.
City council staffers also got to partake of free offerings from a long line of lobbyists. When he was a Chargers executive, Richard Ledford gave Barbara Howard, a staffer with Councilwoman Christine Kehoe, a $45 ticket to a Chargers vs. Denver game. He also gave two press-level tickets worth $116 to the same game to Paul McNeil, a staffer for Mayor Golding. Kris Michell, a lobbyist for the Padres, took Susan Golding to a $43.35 breakfast at the Grand Hyatt in New York during the World Series.
Once back in San Diego, Michell sprung for a $30.81 meal at Dobson's for Kimberly Layton, Golding's chief of staff. The Padres lobbyist also picked up a $23.52 tab at Dobson's restaurant for Teresa Silvers, another Golding assistant, and paid for food worth $17.33 eaten by Jim Madaffer, chief of staff for Councilwoman Judy McCarty. Michell also paid $33.34 for food and beverage consumed by Victoria Hamilton, executive director of the city's Arts and Culture Commission, at the Wyndham Emerald Plaza hotel downtown.
Manny Aguilar, from the Pacific Telesis Group, reported lunching at Horton Plaza's Panda Inn with Colin Rice, chief of staff for Councilman Juan Vargas. The tab was $14.70. Aguilar took Theresa Miller, an assistant to the mayor, to lunch at Horton Plaza's California Cafe Bar and Grill for $11.04. Toni Atkins, a staffer for third district councilwoman Christine Kehoe, enjoyed $9.70 of Aguilar's hospitality at the Panda Inn.