4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Impure coincidence

— The timing couldn't be better, at least from the standpoint of termed-out San Diego assemblyman Juan Vargas, who's trying to unseat congressional incumbent Bob Filner in June's 51st District primary election. At the same moment in history, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has kicked off his attempt to take control of the L.A. Unified School District. But instead of asking L.A. voters to approve the change, a risky and expensive proposition at best, the mayor and his business allies have decided to take their case to the state legislature, where bills are often molded by the highest bidders. Villaraigosa says he's the last best hope to reform L.A.'s troubled public schools; his critics say putting so much concentrated power into the mayor's hands without the oversight of the elected school board would be an invitation to rampant corruption. But merits aren't expected to figure much in the debate; instead, familiar contributors have already begun opening their checkbooks. Arrayed against the mayor is the state schoolteachers union. In Villaraigosa's corner are the city's major real estate interests, who count on him for a multitude of favors.

Enter Vargas, who could play a key role in making sure Villaraigosa's takeover bill slides through the Assembly. And, right on cue, the L.A. mayor's moneymen have begun to deliver funds to Vargas's until-recently bereft congressional campaign kitty. Leading the pack is Richard Meruelo, a well-heeled Cuban-American developer with homes in L.A. and Miami. Meruelo owns big chunks of L.A. real estate and is Villaraigosa's biggest backer, dumping more than $190,000 into last year's mayoral campaign, most of it in the form of so-called independent expenditures that paid for phone banks, radio spots, and robo-calls. Meruelo family members gave Villaraigosa another $7000. In December, Meruelo gave his first $1000 to Vargas. Then on March 23, Meruelo, along with his parents, Belinda and Homero, contributed another $5000.

The Meruelo family is not without controversy. A decade ago, brother Homer Jr. was convicted of insurance fraud. And Meruelo himself has been engaged in an ugly showdown with the L.A. school board over a 23-acre parcel he owns that the school district wants for a high school. Earlier this month the board voted to condemn the land after Meruelo refused to sell and instead went to court, claiming the district didn't do a proper environmental review.

Other wealthy backers of Villaraigosa have also been giving to Vargas. On March 31, Eli Broad, the billionaire developer and insurance magnate, kicked in $500. Closer to home, Arthur Bersin, the father of state secretary of education Alan Bersin -- former chief of San Diego Unified, as well as a good friend and political ally of Broad's -- gave $1000 on March 5. Annie Malcolm, whose husband David did time in a work-furlough program for felony conflicts of interest arising from his tenure as a San Diego port commissioner, contributed $600 on February 2.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Little apes on a little rock in a sea of nothingness

Scoobert Doobert, Sorry It’s Over, Nortec Collective, Stephen Pearcy, Mrs. Henry
Next Article

Let them eat French Charolaise steak

Controversial U.N. Foundation bankrolls Jacobs aide's Nicosia junket

— The timing couldn't be better, at least from the standpoint of termed-out San Diego assemblyman Juan Vargas, who's trying to unseat congressional incumbent Bob Filner in June's 51st District primary election. At the same moment in history, Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa has kicked off his attempt to take control of the L.A. Unified School District. But instead of asking L.A. voters to approve the change, a risky and expensive proposition at best, the mayor and his business allies have decided to take their case to the state legislature, where bills are often molded by the highest bidders. Villaraigosa says he's the last best hope to reform L.A.'s troubled public schools; his critics say putting so much concentrated power into the mayor's hands without the oversight of the elected school board would be an invitation to rampant corruption. But merits aren't expected to figure much in the debate; instead, familiar contributors have already begun opening their checkbooks. Arrayed against the mayor is the state schoolteachers union. In Villaraigosa's corner are the city's major real estate interests, who count on him for a multitude of favors.

Enter Vargas, who could play a key role in making sure Villaraigosa's takeover bill slides through the Assembly. And, right on cue, the L.A. mayor's moneymen have begun to deliver funds to Vargas's until-recently bereft congressional campaign kitty. Leading the pack is Richard Meruelo, a well-heeled Cuban-American developer with homes in L.A. and Miami. Meruelo owns big chunks of L.A. real estate and is Villaraigosa's biggest backer, dumping more than $190,000 into last year's mayoral campaign, most of it in the form of so-called independent expenditures that paid for phone banks, radio spots, and robo-calls. Meruelo family members gave Villaraigosa another $7000. In December, Meruelo gave his first $1000 to Vargas. Then on March 23, Meruelo, along with his parents, Belinda and Homero, contributed another $5000.

The Meruelo family is not without controversy. A decade ago, brother Homer Jr. was convicted of insurance fraud. And Meruelo himself has been engaged in an ugly showdown with the L.A. school board over a 23-acre parcel he owns that the school district wants for a high school. Earlier this month the board voted to condemn the land after Meruelo refused to sell and instead went to court, claiming the district didn't do a proper environmental review.

Other wealthy backers of Villaraigosa have also been giving to Vargas. On March 31, Eli Broad, the billionaire developer and insurance magnate, kicked in $500. Closer to home, Arthur Bersin, the father of state secretary of education Alan Bersin -- former chief of San Diego Unified, as well as a good friend and political ally of Broad's -- gave $1000 on March 5. Annie Malcolm, whose husband David did time in a work-furlough program for felony conflicts of interest arising from his tenure as a San Diego port commissioner, contributed $600 on February 2.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

San Diego Loyal fans – non-stop chants, non-stop drumming

I don’t have any reason to hate Orange County supporters
Next Article

The revelation and revival of 3-D

What I wouldn’t give for the deep-focus enhancement of Bambi’s Multiplane Camera pyrotechnics
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close