Garrett Harris 4 p.m., Feb. 11
Lobbyist for Fox Sports in Padres cable blackout also represents pot vending machine maker
Southwest Strategies, whose ex-employees include spokesman for city attorney Jan Goldsmith, seeks to cash in lobbying for medical marijuana law
As reported here two days ago, Southwest Strategies LLC, the influence peddling boutique founded by ex-San Diego Tribune reporter Alan Ziegaus, has been lobbying city hall of late on behalf of Fox Sports San Diego regarding Time Warner Cable's blackout of Padres TV coverage.
Now the Ziegaus firm, - which once employed Jonathan Heller, media handler for GOP city attorney Jan Goldsmith - has picked up yet another client, this one whose ultimate fate may be tied to the battle between Democratic mayor Bob Filner and U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy over the future of medical marijuana sales in San Diego.
According to a lobbying disclosure report filed late yesterday afternoon and posted online by the city clerk's office, Southwest Strategies has been retained by Medbox, Inc. to "seek amendment to proposed medical marijuana ordinance."
The firm's specific objective: "City Council approval of medical marijuana ordinance that does not ban Medbox technology."
As Dorian Hargrove reported earlier this month, a draft ordinance drawn up by the Filner team would prohibit such installations in the city.
According to a news release dated March 6, posted on the company's website before news of the proposed vending machine ban become public, Medbox has a considerable amount at stake:
Medbox has boots on the ground in San Diego and is already securing leases within the city with the appropriate distances from sensitive uses being strictly adhered to and recognized. The company aspires to opening a maximum of 30 Medbox branded San Diego dispensaries for both new and existing consulting clients in Southern California.
Medbox has already received deposits on 12 locations within the city and will be accepting more clients as additional lease locations are identified, up to 30 total.
Each of the dispensaries is priced at a total of $150,000 to build, including all related zoning permit assistance, technology costs for the company’s patented Medbox dispensing equipment, and everything else needed to erect the dispensary.
Southwest Strategies, which lists a staff of 18 lobbyists including Ziegaus, handles many other clients, including Lamar Outdoor Advertising; Palomar Card Club; Wal-Mart; Westfield Corporation; Pardee Homes; the Barrio Logan Smart Growth Coalition; and Care Ambulance Service, all of which have various agendas pending at the city.
Southwest's work for Fox Sports regarding a resolution passed by the city council earlier this week caused controversy among some baseball fans; they asserted that the council’s action was toned down by behind-the-scenes pressure applied by parties unknown.
More like this:
- City attorney’s report on medical marijuana ordinance — Feb. 17, 2014
- Really smoking sediment — Sept. 11, 2013
- Money well spent: after hiring local lobbying firm, exception carved into marijuana ordinance for vending machine manufacturer — June 14, 2013
- Downtown lobbyists' laugh fest backed by controversial North County developer — May 10, 2013
- Mayor Filner backtracks on enforcement of medical marijuana dispensaries — Jan. 29, 2013