Anyone who wants to know how the well-connected world of San Diego’s power brokers works need look no further than Mary Lindenstein Walshok, associate vice chancellor for public programs and dean of Extension at UCSD. She’s in charge of the university’s public television station, UCSD-TV, and runs UCSD’s “outreach activities.” In addition to her duties at the university, Walshok has found time to sit on the boards of a host of influential local nonprofits, including the San Diego Public Library Foundation, which is lobbying for a new taxpayer-funded downtown library, and Buzz Woolley’s Girard Foundation, which backs the charter school movement and other privatization causes and paid Walshok $5000 last year for her services. It was recently revealed that Walshok is also on the board of the new “Watchdog Institute,” the nonprofit group formed by ex–Union-Tribune editor Lorie Hearn, based at San Diego State University and commissioned to do investigative reporting for the U-T. So maybe Walshok can be forgiven some downtime in the form of an August 16 ticket to San Diego Symphony’s Summer Pops, worth $154.70 including food and beverages, courtesy of Sempra Energy, according to the company’s recent lobbying disclosure report.
Other Sempra beneficiaries last quarter included now-former GOP assemblyman Mike Duvall, treated to food and drink worth $51.23 at Sacramento’s Chops restaurant on July 8, the very day he was caught on a legislative hearing video bragging about having sex with Heidi DeJong Barsuglia, a Sempra lobbyist. Duvall subsequently resigned, but Barsuglia, who works under the title “government affairs manager,” denied involvement with Duvall and has since returned to action for the utility giant.