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Lobby lucre

The battle over a new city hall is already costing taxpayers a small fortune, judging from a recently filed lobbying disclosure report by California Strategies, the Sacramento-based firm run by Bob White, the ex-aide to former San Diego mayor, U.S. senator, and California governor Pete Wilson. As reported here back in April, the company got a $280,950 contract from the city-owned Centre City Development Corporation to act as “community outreach consultant” to “educate, increase communications with, and engage the entire San Diego community with regard to exploring the possibilities for redevelopment of the Civic Center Complex.” During the quarter ending September 30, the firm’s Ben Haddad was paid $9000 for “community outreach,” and Craig Benedetto got $13,500.

Besides its City work, California Strategies picked up $34,000 from three corporations to lobby against a proposal to subsidize low-income housing by raising fees on commercial development in the city. It also got $10,000 from HNTB, the big Los Angeles construction firm that favors expanding the convention center, to lobby mayoral aide Phil Rath and the “Civic Leadership Group.” In addition to that, White’s company was paid $24,000 by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, a government agency, to “provide advice and counsel on Airport Authority-related business” to Sanders press aide Darren Pudgil and chief of staff Kris Michell. The disclosure filing also reveals that Benedetto contributed $500 to the city council candidacy of Felipe Hueso, running to succeed his brother Ben in the Eighth District.

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The battle over a new city hall is already costing taxpayers a small fortune, judging from a recently filed lobbying disclosure report by California Strategies, the Sacramento-based firm run by Bob White, the ex-aide to former San Diego mayor, U.S. senator, and California governor Pete Wilson. As reported here back in April, the company got a $280,950 contract from the city-owned Centre City Development Corporation to act as “community outreach consultant” to “educate, increase communications with, and engage the entire San Diego community with regard to exploring the possibilities for redevelopment of the Civic Center Complex.” During the quarter ending September 30, the firm’s Ben Haddad was paid $9000 for “community outreach,” and Craig Benedetto got $13,500.

Besides its City work, California Strategies picked up $34,000 from three corporations to lobby against a proposal to subsidize low-income housing by raising fees on commercial development in the city. It also got $10,000 from HNTB, the big Los Angeles construction firm that favors expanding the convention center, to lobby mayoral aide Phil Rath and the “Civic Leadership Group.” In addition to that, White’s company was paid $24,000 by the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority, a government agency, to “provide advice and counsel on Airport Authority-related business” to Sanders press aide Darren Pudgil and chief of staff Kris Michell. The disclosure filing also reveals that Benedetto contributed $500 to the city council candidacy of Felipe Hueso, running to succeed his brother Ben in the Eighth District.

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2

Corruption laid out plain to see.

The CCDC uses tax money to persuade tax payers to spend tax money on CCDC projects. Why isn't this illegal?

Insiders like Haddad and Benedetto stuff their pockets quietly while out campaigning for these expensive projects. They are paid to lie to us, using our money.

It's disgusting.

Anyone opposing these projects now faces huge campaign warchests...of public money...arrayed to fight against the public interest and in favor of the wealthy few who have a history of ripping-off San Diego, deceiving voters, and denying any responsibility when things turn out badly.

It's disgusting.

Each and everyone one of the individuals highlighted in this article deserve the contempt, ridicule, and rejection of San Diegans. Tax payers of our city should be stopping these jerks in the street, grabbing them by the shoulders, and spitting right into their faces.

They've already spit in our faces.

Nov. 15, 2009

Didn't you hear Fred-Malin Burnham said that only 1% of the population understands the business of developement, and Malin of course is in that 1%, so the rest of us should just let the CCDC and their cronies like Malin go about their merry business, at our expense, because, you know, we just don't understand it.

Nov. 15, 2009

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