Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
La Jolla billionaire to get the Neil Morgan award
SDG&E, U-T San Diego, Bridgepoint Education, and Qualcomm listed among sponsors of 'Visionary Awards" dinner
2012 was a successful political year for La Jolla billionaire Irwin Jacobs.
Besides the re-election of Barack Obama, to whose super PAC the Democrat gave $2.12 million, Jacobs also won big with Proposition Z, the tax-raising San Diego Unified school bond measure, to which he and his wife gave $80,000.
The cell phone magnate's only major disappointment of the year was the defeat of the anti-death penalty Proposition 34, to which Jacobs and his wife gave $80,000.
The Qualcomm founder - whose cash also backs everything from the controversial Balboa Park traffic and parking makeover to the Voice of San Diego online news operation to San Diego State University's KPBS, which named its newsroom after him and wife Joan after they kicked in $2.9 million - is getting some love in return from some of the city's biggest media and establishment players.
According to a news release , Jacobs and his spouse will be awarded the 2013 Neil Morgan Award for Lifetime Achievement, named after the long-time Union-Tribune employee and last editor of the San Diego Tribune, who in 2004 was abruptly fired at the age of 80 during the reign of late U-T publisher David Copley.
As Don Bauder noted here last year:
I have always said Neil was fired by people who weren't even half as smart as he was. He proved that when he hired a lawyer and got a very generous settlement.
Following his dismissal, one-time columnist Morgan put together the Voice website with former assistant Bob Witty, along with fellow La Jollan R.B. "Buzz" Woolley, a wealthy Morgan friend.
Jacobs reportedly has put major money behind the online news and opinion effort, though specifics have not been disclosed.
Jacobs and his wife won't be getting all the glory at the banquet. Other establishment figures picking up the gold include Republican ex-mayor and current chamber of commerce honcho Jerry Sanders and Malin Burnham, the border real estate baron who managed to back both Democratic congressman Scott Peters and icPurple, the super PAC that rounded up big dollars from a host of local fat-cats, including La Jolla computer magnate Ted Waitt and Qualcomm executives, on behalf of Nathan Fletcher's failed mayoral bid.
The awards event is being put on by Lead San Diego, a non-profit that says its mission is
To provide balanced, issue-oriented programming that informs and inspires leadership and civic engagement on regional issues.