Barbara Zaragoza 4:30 p.m., May 25
Day after Jacobs speaks, Plaza de Panama lobbying deal with Shepard ends
Public Policy Strategies Plaza de Panama lobbying gig with Turner Construction is dropped the day after Qualcomm billionaire pulls out of controversial Balboa Park road and parking makeover
It didn't take long for the announcement by Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs that he was pulling out of his controversial big-money plan to remake Balboa Park with new roads and a huge parking garage to impact an influential player in city hall's lobbying world.
On Tuesday, the high-profile La Jolla Democrat called KPBS, San Diego State University’s public broadcasting operation - which named its newsroom for Jacobs after he gave it $2.9 million - to say he was giving up on his costly battle for the planned traffic makeover.
The move came in the wake of a Superior Court judge's ruling on Monday that the city council had acted illegally in approving the proposal.
To promote the traffic and parking makeover plan, the combative cell phone magnate and mega-million dollar political campaign donor pulled out all the stops with city hall politicos and the San Diego non-profit media outlets he has funded. U-T San Diego, the daily news operation run by GOP mogul Douglas Manchester, also served as a willing stage for the plan, with critics the recipients of editorial dressing downs and negative cartoons.
Part of those efforts involved the hiring of a local PR and lobbying firm, as reported last August:
MJE Marketing, the lobbying outfit that’s been helping to push the controversial Irwin Jacobs Balboa Park makeover through city hall, picked up another $31,000 for its services in the second quarter of the year, recent City lobbyist filings show. That makes MJE’s gross income from the project a total of $105,000 so far.
Then two weeks ago we noted here that contracting giant Turner Construction had retained the services of Public Policy Strategies, the downtown influence peddling outfit owned by GOP political consultant Tom Shepard, to push the Jacobs project through the city:
According to the firm's most recent lobbyist disclosure filing, dated January 15, current clients include SDG&E ("Monitor city decisions related to energy policy.); Turner Construction (“Construction of Plaza de Panama Project…completion of project”); American Medical Response Ambulance Service (approval of EMS contract); and San Diego State University (monitor).
Shepard was San Diego mayor Bob Filner's chief political strategist during last year's election battle with then-city councilman Carl DeMaio, a Republican; Public Policy Strategies recently sponsored a fundraiser for the Democratic mayor.
But Public Policy's deal with Turner was not destined to last for long.
This Wednesday, February 6 - the day after Jacobs announced he was shutting down the Plaza de Panama project - Public Policy filed a "Delete Client" amendment with the city clerk, naming Turner Construction as the departing business.