The former district director for ex-Democratic state senator Denise Ducheny has turned up as a new lobbyist for billionaire Sam Zell’s Otay Mesa border crossing complex, planned to connect Tijuana’s airport with the United States. In a lobbying disclosure filed with the San Diego city clerk and dated November 15, Clarissa Falcon is listed as principal consultant of Falcon Strategies LLC, representing Zell’s Chicago-based Otay-Tijuana Venture LLC. According to the disclosure, Falcon raised funds for Councilman David Alvarez, backed by Ducheny, during his fall campaign to succeed now-assemblyman Ben Hueso. Falcon was Alvarez’s boss when he worked as a district representative in Ducheny’s local office.
Otay-Tijuana has also acquired the lobbying services of the Clay Company, which was paid $25,000 in the third quarter of this year. On September 30, lobbyist Nikki Clay gave $125 to the successful city council campaign of Lorie Zapf. Also in the third quarter, the Clay company got $19,000 from Allied Waste, which has its eyes on the City’s Miramar Landfill…Ducheny was recently appointed by the Senate Rules Committee to a $114,000-a-year position on the seven-member California Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board, made up entirely of ex-legislators, including ex-GOP assemblyman George Plescia, appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Critics say the panel is a boondoggle created to provide cushy jobs for ex-lawmakers. The governor makes five of the appointments, the Senate Rules Committee one, and the Speaker of the Assembly another…Congress has defeated a measure to abolish the controversial practice of allowing its members to “earmark” funds independently for their pet projects, and local representatives have been busy appropriating pork for friends and contributors. One is GOP congressman Duncan Hunter.
According to the website LegiStorm, Hunter was responsible for $17,164,500 in earmarks from 2008 through 2010. They included $2.4 million for a “Brownout Situational Awareness Sensor.” According to Hunter’s website, it is “a cockpit display system capable of providing the aircrew visibility through the blowing sand and dust.” It is being developed by San Diego’s Trex Enterprises, which has been a source of Hunter campaign funds. The congressman regularly taps the defense lobby for money. On September 30, according to the Sunlight Foundation’s Party Time website, he held a “Defense Industry Breakfast” at the Capitol Hill Club, collecting $2000 from each PAC and $1000 from individual hosts.