Don Bauder 8:42 p.m., May 23
Large-scale developers of River Bend and One Paseo unite to win favor at City Hall
Recent disclosure shows big money spent at City Hall to lobby for controversial projects.
Developers looking to build massive mixed use projects were scrambling to win favor at City Hall in the weeks before and after the new mayor and city councilmembers were sworn into office in early December.
Their strategy was to join forces as one influential lobbying group to influence City Hall and gain the support from councilmembers needed to make their proposals a reality.
A recently released lobbying disclosure covering the period from October 1 to December 31 2012, shows Urban Housing Partners, the developer proposing River Bend, a 1,000-plus unit mixed-use community at the site of the former Superior Ready Mix Concrete Company, was hired to lobby for several massive development projects, including their own.
The disclosure shows Urban Housing Partners received $19,500 from Kilroy Realty to lobby city councilmembers Mark Kersey, Scott Sherman and Sherri Lightner for support on the controversial, and large, One Paseo project in Carmel Valley.
Work still needs to be done to convince Mayor Bob Filner of the merits of the project. Last week, Filner appeared at a planning group meeting to speak out against the One Paseo project.
But that wasn't the only project in need of support from elected officials. Urban Housing Partners also received $40,000 from it's own development arm Shawnee LLC to sell councilmember Marti Emerald on the River Bend development, a project that has been met with stiff opposition from local community groups.
Lastly, Navarra Properties, owners of Jerome's Family Furniture Stores, paid Urban Housing Partners $18,000 to win support for the development of a five-block property that the family owns in the East Village.
But lobbying wasn't the only strategy used by Urban Housing Partners. Executives from the firm were also making campaign contributions to local politicians weeks after the election had taken place.
On November 26, twenty days after the election, Sherm Harmer, president of Urban Housing Partners, gave $250 to councilmember Scott Sherman to shore up debts accrued during his campaign for city councilmember.
Two weeks later, Harmer then donated $250 to Bob Filner.
As Matt Potter recently reported, Harmer isn't the only lobbyist that gave money to Filner. At a recent fundraiser event hosted by Public Policy Strategies, one of the donors was land-use lobbyist Marcela Escobar-Eck, whose clients include Kilroy Realty.
Click on the following links to learn more about the projects:
One Paseo: http://www.sandiegoreader.com/weblogs...