Maybe it was because they were still recovering from New Year’s Eve, but state legislators seemed to go easier on the receipt of corporate freebies during the first three months of this year. That’s not to say free lunches and dinners have gone entirely out of vogue among Sacramento’s pols. San Diego’s Sempra Energy reportedly forked over a total of $17,557 in so-called lobbyist activity expenses, including meals worth $93 each on February 11 from Eurest Dining for GOP assembly members Brian Dahle and Connie Conway, along with Conway staffer Stewart Anderson and Republican Sen. Jean Fuller staff member Stephanie Amaral. Newly elected Democratic senator Ben Hueso of San Diego got coffee and a muffin worth $8.85 from Eurest on Feburary 8, as did his staffer Yolanda Apaltegui.
Eurest runs the Blue Flame Café in the Gas Company Tower on West Fifth in downtown Los Angeles, the 50-story headquarters of Sempra-owned Southern California Gas Company... Meanwhile over at the City of San Diego, taxpayers are saving a little bit of change from the decision of new Democratic mayor Bob Filner to fire the Sacramento lobbyists employed by GOP ex-mayor Jerry Sanders. In the final quarter of last year, the city paid $42,000 to the firm of Sloat, Higgins, Jenkins & Associates, bringing their 2012 total compensation to $308,000, according to state lobbyist disclosure filings. Higgins is gone from the report for the first three months of this year, but that doesn’t mean the taxpayers got totally off the hook. The city spent a total of $172,535 in so-called other payments to influence. Those consisted of dues and fees paid to various associations the city belongs to which engage in lobbying, including the California Association of Sanitation Agencies ($27,000); California State Bar ($59,355); Association of California Water Agencies ($41,360); and the U.S. Conference of Mayors ($4080). During the previous quarter, most of it under the Sanders regime, the city spent a total of $189,040 on the payments.