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Precisely a month after Democratic Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom attacked a prominent critic of a controversial Balboa Park traffic and parking makeover plan being promoted by La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs, the Qualcomm founder and his wife Joan contributed a total of $12,000 to Newsom's 2014 re-election bid.

According to a March 16 campaign disclosure filing posted online by the state secretary of state's office, the contributions were made March 15.

As we reported earlier this month, Newsom sent a February 15 letter to San Diego architect and state Historic Preservation Officer Milford Wayne Donaldson, criticizing him for questioning the so-called Plaza de Panama proposal.

Without mentioning Jacobs, Newsom called the project "a shining example of what we can do to improve our communities when private and public parties come together with the shared goal of preserving California's history."

He then advised Donaldson: "This is a project with broad local political, philanthropic and community support, so it may be more productive to work in collaboration with the project development team to achieve your goal of preserving this historical open-space.

"As the State Historic Preservation Officer I hope that you will consider these arguments, withdraw your comments, and begin to work in collaboration with the leaders of the Plaza de Panama project."

"Should you need help making contact with the project team I stand ready to assist."

A link to Newsom's letter was subsequently tweeted by Rachel Laing, a spokeswoman for GOP mayor Jerry Sanders, another beneficiary of Jacobs family financial support who is backing the Balboa Park project.

(Last week Laing announced she was leaving the mayor's employ to work for Public Policy Strategies, a lobbying firm founded by his close political advisor Tom Shepard.)

Prior to his latest contribution, Jacobs previously gave $5,000 to Newsom's successful 2010 campaign for lieutenant governor.

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Comments

BlueSouthPark March 19, 2012 @ 6:19 p.m.

The Reader has so many wonderful things to read! Thank you, Reader.

Gavin loves his public-private partnerships (called PPPs, by those who follow). Maybe Gavin is so terribly interested in San Diego because his long-time bestie (crushy?) lives here, our very own PPP king, Marco Li Mandri.

Gavin and Marco go back to at least 2004, when Marco wrote the PLAN for San Fran, and Mayor G authorized it. It was brand-new municipal code entitling Marco to earn a nice bit of the green by forming community benefit districts all over the foggy town. And that he did. Including the Fillmore Jazz District, in 2006." Alas, that PPP fell to its knees recently, killed by property owners who had grown weary of throwing their money away in big, fat assessments.

The SF Examiner headline in July 2011 read: "San Francisco’s investment in Fillmore has yet to bear fruit" For all the dollars invested, the numbers were ugly.

By December, the headline was "Music stops for San Francisco's Fillmore district"... "a 5-year-old special benefit district was disbanded when the largest property owners opposed its renewal"..."with infighting and questions raised over the use of funds."

The municipal code Marco had written for Mayor G required that each district vote on renewal vote after 5 years.

So, too bad. The party is over. If only the period before the required renewal vote was longer! Property owners would die, or sell and move on, and eventually there would be owners who wouldn't even know they were paying.

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monaghan March 19, 2012 @ 7:38 p.m.

Ugh on Gavin Newsome. Who knew he was friends with our own Irwin Jacobs OR Marco LiMandri? The handsome Newsome should stay sequestered in the Lieutenant Governor's office, if there is such a thing, figuring out ways to needle Jerry Brown whose job he covets. He'll never get my vote, even if he does get big bucks from Jacobs. Actually, Ugh on Irwin too for interfering outside the realm of his expertise in Balboa Park and Ugh again for the illegal Qualcomm Stadium Snapdragon deal.

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Visduh March 19, 2012 @ 9:46 p.m.

The Jacobs clan is slipping down the food chain with each one of these interventions in the local process of deciding what gets done. Frequent poster Burwell is convinced that Irwin Jacobs wants Balboa Park as his personal memorial. Why else do he and sonny boy keep pushing so hard for that bridge remodel? At first I tended not to believe Burwell's claim, but now I think he's right on the money. The bridge will being the masses to Irwin's version of the Getty museum in LA, only his won't be free.

Money talks, and Paul Jacobs and dad have more of that than any of us can imagine. But philanthropists usually try to tread lightly and avoid pushing unpopular ideas. These two nouveau riche technocrats haven't figured that out yet. Let's let this be when/where they learn their lesson.

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