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Lobbyists Hired for Sam Zell's Otay-Tijuana Border Complex

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.

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Unexpendable Rambo

The first and fourth foray

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.

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2

The u-t recently had two puff pieces on the Otay development and bridge from the US to the TJ airport, but not a word about our former State Senator Denise Ducheny's former office director joining the developer as a lobbyist.

Isn't there supposed to be a breathing space between public employment and signing on with private enterprise in one's own bailiwick? Or does that apply only to the officeholder?

At least we can hope that Jerry Brown will put an end to that bogus committee for termed-out legislators.

Dec. 16, 2010

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.

The so-called boards are nothing but fraudulent slush funds given out to gov cronies. It is fraud, nothing more.

The pay is $114K, plus the benefits package including pensions, they meet once a month for a few hours. So by doing the math of say 6 hours per month, that is 72 total hours per year. So their comp of is $114K plus another $65K in benefits, totals about $180K per year. Hourly comp rate= $2,500 an hour.

Oh, and they do absolutely nothing. The CA UE Appeals Board has never reversed a hearing officers decision. If you lose at the hearing the UE Appeals board is nothing but a rubber stamp for the hearing officer. They should just fire the board and make the appeals process go straight to Superior Court on appeal, but then their scam would end which defeats the purpose of their scam in the first place.

BTW-these jobs are not advertised and not promoted openly, only the connected few get hired.

Like all high comped gov jobs (ie FF, cop, manager) they are reserved for the family and friends network. The only difference is cop and FF must publish the job openings, but they can still hire anyone they want to, without regard to qualifications or merit.

People need to remember this the next time the gov wants a tax hike, and Brown has already floated trial balloons that he is going to ask for a tax hike in the Spring. Have fun getting that passed. Seems we just had a statewide election asking for tax hikes just a month ago and it failed by a 2-1 margin.

Brown needs to call Mayor Sanders and ask him how Prop D did.

Dec. 16, 2010

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