An outfit from Chicago that is lobbying here to sell the city of San Diego what it calls “street level mapping and asset identification” for “sidewalk assessments,” has already made some political waves in the Windy City. A May 16 account in the Chicago Tribune says the company gave $15,000 to the campaign fund of mayor Rahm Emanuel, although the mayor sent out an executive order banning city vendors from making such contributions. “The donations linked to a company that uses digital mapping to find illegal billboards are the latest example of a political tie-in to the mayor’s billboard initiative, rolled out last fall with a no-bid contract to another Emanuel campaign donor,” the paper reported. “The recent donations from three businessmen behind the tech startup CityScan came months after Emanuel officials added the firm to a shortlist of companies qualified to seek city contracts under the mayor’s municipal marketing program.
“The men’s connections to CityScan — formerly known as Government Enhancement Services — are not apparent in the campaign disclosure reports filed with the state by Emanuel’s political operation; all three have broader business interests and are listed in the disclosures by their associations to other companies.” After the Tribune got onto the story, Emanuel’s office said the mayor was refunding the campaign cash. According to last week’s disclosure filing with the San Diego city clerk’s office by the firm’s contract lobbyist, El Cajon’s Policy Development Group, CityScan seeks to provide “Lidar technology to conduct sidewalk assessments.” No contributions to San Diego politicos are listed.