It’s not on the scale of Watergate, but Sempra Energy’s recent gift to one Republican state politico bears a whiff of nostalgia for the good old days of the 1970s. This March 5, the utility giant picked up a $65 food-and-beverage tab for Gary Neely, district staff representative for GOP state senator Bob Huff of Walnut. The locale: the Richard Nixon Library in Yorba Linda.
Sempra’s other venues for wining and dining legislative officials were less colorful: GOP assemblyman Martin Garrick’s senior field representative Marie Joyce and Andrew Poat, a member of the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission, each got $65 in food and beverage at Roy’s restaurant at the San Diego waterfront Marriott. And Gerard Loaiza, staffer to GOP senator Roy Ashburn of Kern County, got a $90 meal and drink at the Visalia Convention Center. Ashburn was one of the few Republicans to back Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tax increases, spawning an ongoing attempt to recall him.
Meanwhile, AT&T has been spreading good cheer too. In January, Christy Crozby, staffer to GOP senator Mark Wyland of Solana Beach, got tickets to a Sacramento Kings game, with refreshments, valued at $120. In February, she attended World Wide Wrestling’s Raw, also at the Arco Arena, valued at $120 as well.
On March 13, Wyland himself bunked down in a room worth $96.12 at the Barona Resort and Casino, thanks to the Barona Indians. He also got a meal worth $113. 22. Julie Griffiths, chief of staff to GOP assemblyman Joel Anderson of La Mesa, did the same. Her boss apparently didn’t stay the night, but he received a $113.22 meal courtesy of the tribe.
Over at the Viejas Casino, Democratic assemblyman Marty Block of San Diego chowed down at a $41.49 lunch at the Grove Steakhouse, as did staffer Chris Ward. Other Block staff members, including Jonathan Goetz, Rich Grosch, Lisa Silverman, Martha Rañón, and Joyce Temporal, each got lunches worth $37.11.
Also partaking of the Viejas hospitality was Republican Anderson, who got a meal worth $40.63. His staff members, including Collin McGlashen, Rorick Luepton, and Maggie Winn, each ate $39.47 meals. … Kelly Burt, president of the 22nd District Agricultural Association, whose efforts to give a 29 percent raise to Del Mar Fairgrounds CEO Tim Fennell were foiled after a public outcry in March, has given $25,000 to the Republican gubernatorial primary campaign of former eBay chief Meg Whitman. Fair-board appointments are made by the governor.