The battle over a new city hall is already costing taxpayers a small fortune, judging from a recently filed lobbying disclosure report by California Strategies, the Sacramento-based firm run by Bob White, the ex-aide to former San Diego mayor, U.S. senator, and California governor Pete Wilson. As reported here back in April, the company got a $280,950 contract from the city-owned Centre City Development Corporation to act as “community outreach consultant” to “educate, increase communications with, and engage the entire San Diego community with regard to exploring the possibilities for redevelopment of the Civic Center Complex.” During the quarter ending September 30, the firm’s Ben Haddad was paid $9000 for “community outreach,” and Craig Benedetto got $13,500.
Besides its City work, California Strategies picked up $34,000 from three corporations to lobby against a proposal to subsidize low-income housing by raising fees on commercial development in the city. It also got $10,000 from HNTB, the big Los Angeles construction firm that favors expanding the convention center, to lobby mayoral aide Phil Rath and the “Civic Leadership Group.” In addition to that, White’s company was paid $24,000 by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, a government agency, to “provide advice and counsel on Airport Authority-related business” to Sanders press aide Darren Pudgil and chief of staff Kris Michell. The disclosure filing also reveals that Benedetto contributed $500 to the city council candidacy of Felipe Hueso, running to succeed his brother Ben in the Eighth District.