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Ron Fowler, the politically-wired California beer distribution magnate who assembled the wealthy group that took over the Padres last year, has made it clear that he's no fan of mayor Bob Filner.

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That might not come as a surprise, considering Filner's combative appearance at last July's "Padres to the People" rally sponsored by U-T San Diego columnist Matt Hall. The issue was whether local cable TV operations should be forced to carry local baseball games, and Filner didn't mince words:

"The Padres get our money, our taxpayers' money," said Filner. "The cable has a public franchise. We can put leverage on them. The mayor should sit down with them and get it done."

"The city has leverage, but they're all bought off by the, you know, cable guys and everything else."

Filner's GOP mayoral rival Carl DeMaio was conspicuous by his absence at the rally. Word on the street is that many fear Fowler's legendary power and influence, much of it meted out through years of campaign and non-profit giving, along with mega-investments such as the Padres deal and other sports related enterprises.

2012 was no different.

Fowler's biggest single gift was $25,000 on February 10 to San Diegans for Nathan Fletcher, the former GOP Assemblyman turned independent who lost his June primary bid for mayor to Filner and DeMaio. In October, the investor, who runs Liquid Investments, kicked in $5,000 to Taxpayers for Carl DeMaio.

In September, Fowler gave $7500 to Romney Victory, a backer of Mitt Romney's failed presidential effort. The major league baseball investor gave $2500 to MLB PAC on November 28 and a total $6500 to the California Beer and & Beverage Distributors Community Affairs Fund during the year.

In all, the Del Mar resident spent a total of $54,645 on California politics during 2012.

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