Jeff Smith 2 p.m., Jan. 29
San Diego pols got lots of Del Mar fair freebies
Political party class uses public clout to obtain and distribute free admissions to fair and rock concerts
It's an annual ritual of summer, the running of San Diego officials, both elected and non-elected, out to the county fair in Del Mar for a slew of free admissions and related gratuities, courtesy of the state's 22nd District Agricultural Association, commonly known in these parts as the Del Mar Fair board.
The board itself, which runs the fair, is a highly political party animal, being made up of members appointed by whoever rakes together enough cash and connections to get elected governor of California.
The positions offer no pay, but grant free access to the fair and, in season, to the Del Mar race track and its tony turf club, and are thus highly coveted by the party friendly big money campaign donors who vie for the high-status appointments.
As experts in the art of the political handout, the board members in turn share their wealth of freebies with friends, family, and associates.
The latest round of giving, revealed by recently posted disclosure reports required by the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, bestowed much beneficence.
Board vice president Frederick Schenk, the brother of Democratic Governor Jerry Brown's political intimate Lynn Schenk, a high profile fixture on the California High Speed Rail board that is bulling the bullet train through the Central Valley, was especially generous to his own family.
Apropos his sister's position in the Brown administration, Schenk picked up two free admissions for himself and wife Shari to the performance of Train on June 27. Admission value for each was given as $14 and concert value was $37.
The Schenks also got five tickets to Kendrick Lamar on June 28, taking along "two children and one friend of his child."
Then on July 2, the couple was off to see Adam Lambert with "two children and Randy and Lisa Kay” in tow.
According to the filing:
The official and/or job duties of the District Official require his or her attendance at the event, for which the District Official may receive enough tickets for the District Official and each member of his or her immediate family.
Board president Adam Day handed out his own round of free tickets to various concerts. Recipients listed were Christy Stamper, Brian Earp, Marsi Reyes, Donna Burton, and Diane Casey. The reason for those gifts was given as "economic or business purposes on behalf of the district" and "community relations."
Along with wife Kelly and two children, ex-San Diego chamber of commerce chief Ruben Barrales, a fair board member who now runs a Republican effort to round up more Latinos for the party's cause, was given a total of four Train tickets.
Democratic state Sen. Marty Block got two $14 passes to the fair, as did Solana Beach city councilman Peter Zahn.
GOP San Diego city councilwoman Lorie Zapf got 3 fair and concert admissions valued at a total of $55 each; Chula Vista’s Republican mayor Cheryl Cox picked up four tickets; and newly elected Democratic state Sen. Ben Hueso got two adult and four child admissions for "Economic and business development purposes,” according to the filing.