As the ultimate status of San Diego mayor Jerry Sanders continues to intrigue political onlookers, yet another rumored candidate to replace him has come to the forefront. GOP assemblyman Nathan Fletcher (whose official campaign biography, posted on his website, says that “before his election to the Legislature he served honorably in the military, the community and the political arena”) is said by some city hall insiders to have the inside track to collect the big money expected by some to come into the race from corporations seeking to benefit from a possible City bankruptcy and an ensuing orgy of outsourcing and asset sales. Fletcher’s bio, which also appears virtually verbatim on Wikipedia, touts his service as a Marine in Iraq and eastern Africa, where he was a “Counterintelligence/Human Intelligence Specialist.” Regarding his wife Mindy, it notes that the two “are members of Community Bible Church and proud parents of their son Zach.”
Nowhere does it mention that Nathan is the co-owner of a public affairs company, Arrow Advisers, and that Mindy, a hardened political pro who was an ex–PR aide to George W. Bush and Arnold Schwarzenegger, now is employed in Sacramento as a senior advisor by the lobbying outfit Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide. Fletcher’s most recent personal financial disclosure report, filed last March, says that in 2009 Mindy — whose hiring was announced November 17, 2008, shortly after her husband was elected to the assembly’s 75th District seat — was paid between $10,000 and $100,000. According to its most recent disclosure filing with the secretary of state, Ogilvy, a branch of the big national PR and lobbying firm, grossed $57,800 in fees for its Sacramento lobbying activities during the third quarter of last year, the most recent period on record.
Clients included the American Chemistry Council ($5800), the investment firm the Blackstone Group ($30,000), and California Strategies & Advocacy LLC, working on behalf of the Centinela Valley Union High School District ($6000). Previous Ogilvy lobbying clients have included Planned Parenthood Affiliates of California and California Strategies working on behalf of the Los Angeles Turf Club.
California Strategies & Advocacy is a sister firm of California Strategies, run by Bob White, longtime top aide to Pete Wilson when he was San Diego mayor, senator, and governor. A partner in the firm, which has performed consulting work for the City-controlled Centre City Development Corporation and Mayor Sanders regarding a new city hall, is Ben Haddad, another ex–Wilson aide and former staffer to Mayor Susan Golding. Last fall, Fletcher authored a controversial bill signed by then–Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger that lifted the cap on spending by San Diego’s redevelopment agency, a move widely seen as intended to assist Sanders and his allies in the downtown establishment build a new taxpayer-financed stadium for the Chargers.
Also of interest is the fact that Ogilvy’s most recent client is the California High-Speed Rail Authority, the troubled state agency tasked with building a taxpayer-subsidized bullet train across the length of the state. In November 2009, the authority gave the firm a $9 million contract to lobby for the project through 2014. Fletcher has been vice chairman of the Assembly Select Committee on Rail Transportation.
Fletcher reported that his Arrow Advisers, which has a mailing address in University City, had a fair market value of between $10,000 and $100,000. He listed one client, United Friends of the Children, as being the source of income greater than $10,000. The board of that Los Angeles–based charity includes L.A. Democratic mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Both Fletcher and his wife contributed to Jerry Sanders’s 2007 reelection bid. He was listed as partner in Arrow; she was listed as president of the firm. Neither Fletcher nor his wife responded to questions left regarding the disclosures.