This month, San Diego Metropolitan magazine refers to the Coxes as “powerhouse mates.” Campaign contributions demonstrate the entanglement of that power. While Mayor Cheryl Cox heads up redevelopment of Chula Vista’s bayfront, Supervisor Greg Cox has collected thousands of dollars from the parties involved with a piece of potentially lucrative bayfront property. The land is owned by a group of investors led by Adnan Zakkout, who gave the maximum amount to Greg Cox’s campaign. Iman Zakkout also donated $500. The land is leased by Pacifica Companies, which is hoping for government approval of development plans before the lease runs out in December. Pacifica was founded by Ashok Israni. Supervisor Cox collected a stunning number of contributions from the Israni family: 11 members each gave the maximum for a total of $5500. Also contributing were the vice president of Pacifica Companies, Naresh Kotwani, $500, and Sindhu Kotwani, $500.
Prior to becoming supervisor, Greg Cox was a lobbyist for the San Diego County Disposal Association. Allied Waste has an exclusive trash-service contract with the City of Chula Vista, and the Otay Landfill, a subsidiary of Allied Waste, is located in Chula Vista. Edco, another collection service, picks up trash in many South Bay communities. Edco employees donated $2250 to Cox’s campaign, and Allied employees donated $800.
Allied has become the second-largest trash-handling company in the nation. Revenues in 2006 were close to $6 billion. Nevertheless, in January 2007, the San Diego board of supervisors voted to approve an Allied Waste request that the California Municipal Finance Authority “issue and sell up to $250,000,000 in tax-exempt obligations (the Bonds) and lend proceeds to Allied Waste to finance improvements,” according to the board of supervisors’ minutes.
In the second half of 2007, employees of San Diego Gas & Electric and its parent company, Sempra Energy, gave Greg Cox $6150. SDG&E has been pushing hard to get the Sunrise Powerlink project approved. Supervisor Cox and Mayor Cox have given strong public support to the controversial project.
Worth mentioning is that the Coxes have investments in three companies located on Otay Mesa: Medtronic Inc., Copart Inc., and Ethos Environmental. Disgraced former port commissioner David Malcolm is a major stockholder in Ethos Environmental.
Do campaign contributions affect the future? Ask the Coxes. A February 1995 Union-Tribune article reported, “In the six weeks before Greg Cox was appointed to the Board of Supervisors, he and his wife made campaign contributions to three of the four county supervisors who would select him to the coveted position.” Dianne Jacob, the one supervisor who did not receive contributions, said she would not have “accepted money under circumstances like that.… It carries the wrong message.”